Weekly Run Down 9-22-08 through 9-28-08

After nailing my first 80+ mile week it was time to ramp down a bit and do a mini taper for the Akron Marathon this past weekend. I wasn't concerned about the pace but still wanted to have relatively fresh legs so that I could easily talk and concentrate. I also knew I would likely be running over 30 miles and wanted to be as ready for that much pavement time as I could be so no double digit days this past week except for marathon day.

Monday- Just over 6 miles easy with Daisy (a little sore from field day!)

AM: 5 miles easy on the treadmill 8:50 pace
Lunch: A little over 4 easy miles with Salty

Wednesday- A little over 8 miles with Daisy practicing pace, 8:49

Thursday- A little over 5 easy miles with Daisy and CV with 6*25 second strides

Friday- Just shy of 3.5 easy recovery miles

3:50 pacer Akron Marathon- 3:49:37
4.5 mile run to pick up cousin 8:53 pace
4.6 miles pacing cousin to finish 13:41 pace

Easy walk to warm up, then 3.6 miles on the trails with TB easy, and an easy walk to cool down

Total for the week 71 miles

Between this week and the previous one this has been my biggest month ever despite 4 days off early in the month (264 including yesterday and hopefully 276 after today). I am feeling surprisingly good. Stiff in the mornings, a bit of PF in my right foot and my left ankle is tight in the mornings, but it seems like once I've woken up and stumbled around I loosen up for my runs and feel good during them. Hoping to keep the momentum this week and next week with two more weeks over 80. We will see how I hold up!

Akron Marathon Pacing Report

Yesterday was my third official pacing job. Friday night rushed down to the Akron expo to sign up some runners for pacing groups. Ran over to the pasta dinner but we were too late, all out of pasta! So instead we got to eat at the Mayors dinner. Fancy! Saw a few people we knew, but definitely felt under dressed and a bit out of place. By the time all of that had happened the expo was almost closed so we helped clean up then it was back to the hotel to go over last minute instructions, have a beer, and get everything ready for the next day. Took some fun photos and went to bed. It's always fun meeting the other pacers and Pacer Betty and I chatted until we were both finally tired enough to actually hit the pillows.

Race morning we were up at 4:45 and I proceeded to go to work on the Faux Hawk that my hubby had suggested I sport for the race. I had not really brought the right hair product for that but it looked all right and at least would be entertaining at the start until sweat and humidity took its toll. Had some coffee, cereal, and an apple then we all hopped in our cars and drove to the start. The race grew a lot this year and traffic was heavy, I got cut off and wasn't sure where the others were planning to park. The heavy traffic was making me anxious so I just pulled off into some bank parking lot and hustled to the porta potties and the start. Had to cut in line to check my bag because I was supposed to be lined up at 6:30 and it was already 6:40. I was freaking out a bit but teh volunteer was great about it and I got to the start with plenty of time to meet my group and get them all ready to go.

Pacer Betty getting ready

Mess of stuff prepping for the race

Trying on the race outfit night before

Wake up call are you ready to pace?

Pace Team members at the hotel

Saw quite a few familiar faces at the start line which was nice. Lots of SERC, CTC, and Vertical Runner friends all stopped to give me some encouragement or comment on the Faux Hawk. It looked like I had a great group and I was excited for the race to start!

At the start Chef Bill caught a photo of me. Thanks Bill!

In the interest of time (as in I have none!) I am including my pacer report as the rest of my race report, then going on to finish it out with a report on pacing in my cousin.

The first few miles were a little slow. It was very crowded and I didn't want the group to be split up. The first few aid stations were chaotic and volunteers were struggling to get water to everyone. The group did a good job though and we were never more than 27 seconds over desired overall time at each mile and later on never got below by more than 23 seconds (all miles were within 10 seconds of desired mile pace with the exception of mile 18 (Over due to hills 9:02) and mile 23 (Under, 8:26, yikes!) Although this did have us arrive at mile 23 right on pace.

Like any rolling course it was hard to hit even miles, but effort was even and the group did great. Other than that one fast mile I am happy with my performance (if I had nailed that mile I would have finished only 3-4 seconds under!), it was definitely hard to keep the pace back in those last few miles, I did not realize how much downhill there was in the last three miles of the course, it definitely helped the group get to their goals. Despite losing quite a few runners in Sand Run I still had a large group at the top and over 5 of them went on to finish in front of me, pulling away around mile 23. I was able to help a lady named Tracy get her Boston Qualifier and gave her the sign after the race. (Had several female Boston Qualifiers finish just ahead of me!) Tracy had looked strong at 23 and I thought she would pull ahead with a few others but she struggled a bit from then so I was really grateful to help her pull through and get her Boston qualifier. Came across the finish in 3:49:37. 23 seconds under and my furthest from the pin pacing finish so far, but still within the 30 second target we give ourselves.

At the last relay exchange point, 7.6 miles to go. Thanks for the photo Elizabeth!

I got highly praised by a lady who will be pacing next week and was a Badwater finisher this year, skinny little blond thing that said she has paced for Jim before. She definitely inspired my group! She did a great job and pulled ahead of us through Sand Run.

I focused a lot of my energy on reminding people to stay relaxed with the breathing and posture and reminding them to drink and take in electrolytes. The humidity was wreaking havoc on people, either through breathing struggles, cramping, or stomach issues due to electrolyte imbalance. I myself had some pretty bad stomach issues, but was able to soldier through. Donated some of my salt pills to some runners who had went out fast and were death marching with cramps.

I was actually able to pick up a few runners in the last few miles who were struggling, this was a first for me, usually they won't stay with me so it was nice to be able to help them finish a little faster, even if they didn't meet their ultimate goal.

I had a great time out there with this group, the time really flew by, even when I was feeling sick. A lot of 1st timers. Many of them didn't make it to the finish with me but all said thank you for my efforts. I even saw one of the first timers at Walgreens after the race and he thanked me and was still proud of his 4:05 finish. He was one of the ones I lost at Sand Run.

My only suggestion for the race director is longer and better staffed aid stations early on. With the halfers, relay runners, and full marathoners the first 3-4 aid stations were overwhelmed and it was impossible to get water to everyone without dropping pace. I had to get in and grab water for several of my runners.

I think the pace team did a great job (from what I saw). This was the hardest race I have done so far as far as pacing goes. Lots of little rollers and lots of aid stations made it tough to nail those miles. Bonus was actually having the 26 mile marked! Unfortunately with it being a bit of downhill to the finish if you were right on at 26 you were going to be ahead at the finish. The one thing I didn't do well this time was remind people to email Pacer Jim enough.

After I was finished pacing I grabbed a kiss from my hubby then it was time to change into my cheerleader outfit and get my butt back out on the course to run in my cousin Noreen who was running this as her first marathon. I was a bit worried about the timing, so I opted to run backwards through the course to make sure I did not miss her. I cheered on the other runners as I went. Heard lots of "You're going the wrong way" comments and just kept telling people that I was going out to run in my cousin, or made some remark about how I hadn't had enough and was going out for more. I surprisingly didn't feel too bad and was actually still running sub 9s on my way back out. My stomach issues thankfully had subsided and I was having fun cheering everyone on and thanking all of the volunteers for their help.

I found my cousin around mile 22. She was in a bad place. Bonking majorly and very worried about the 6 hour pacer catching her. She had felt great through mile 16 but the hills and drained her energy and between that, the pain, and blisters she was getting worried about finishing under the cut off. We power walked for about two miles while getting in powerade at each aid station. I told her there was plenty of downhill in the last 3 miles and we just needed to stay ahead of the 6 hour pacer til then where we would naturally pick it up and finish on time. We powerwalked the hills and when we would get to flats or downhills we would jog as best as she could and I would pick out points and tell her where we would run too and when we would get to walk and how far it was until we got some more powerade. She did a fantastic job. I could tell she was in pain but she soldiered through and we even helped a few others we passed to pick it up and finish strong. She did so well despite feeling so low and even managed to sprint in to the finish to finish under 6 hours clock time, about a 5:54 watch time. Somehow I had missed the race director earlier so I got to shake his hand officially at this point and we were greeted by our family cheering Noreen on. You could tell how proud they all were and I was so honored to be a part of her finish. Added bonus Tony the tiger and Mike and Kim were still all hanging out and Noreen got to meet some of my fabulous running friends. Tony had broken the age group award for Masters! How awesome to get to see him and give him a hug after such a long morning.

Noreen was kind enough to give me her beers and I sipped on one of those while we chatted with the family. Other than a nasty blister on my heel I felt surprisingly good for having covered 35 miles of pavement. We got to see our cousin John who lives in Texas now which was very nice. My hubby helped me find my car and we headed over to TBs to hang out with Solar and him to celebrate our days. Team F5 did great without me and came is second for females again. TB finished comfortably under 3:30. BB had an amazing day finished in 3:33! Twizzle and Beth broke the 2 person female relay record! The Speed Bumps kicked some serious booty! Basically lots of great races by lots of great friends. (Huge thanks for those that helped to cheer on my 3:50 group after their relay legs, it was much appreciated!) (I have missed quite a few friends here, my community of runner friends is getting so large, congrats to all of you!) And not under ideal conditions. The temperatures were great but I saw a lot of people broken by the humidity out there. Some really great runners were forced to jog/walk or call it a day. Everyone should be so proud of their efforts out there!

Post race in my cheerleader outfit and my rats nest on my head

All cleaned up and enjoying a martini with my hubby

Let's Talk Knee Injuries

Cliff posted a comment asking my opinion on my knee injury and I thought I would share what I learned dealing with the pain for a bit over a month.

Thankfully my knee has seemed to repair itself and I am running pain free right now!

What research I did basically concluded that knee injuries are never straight forward :) (Yeah I know, really helpful!) Lots of different problems can cause knee pain, many not even involved with your knee! When in serious doubt whether or not you are doing damage get yourself into a specialist who can give you sound medical advice. In general the major conclusion I came to which was confirmed by the knee specialist I went to is that if there is no swelling, you probably aren't doing any additional/permanent damage. If there is swelling you have got some serious issues!

In my case I am fairly confident my problems stemmed from an incident about a month before the knee pain cropped up. At dinner one night I got up from the table and smacked my knee on the table leg. It was severely painful for several days over which I iced and used a recovery rub which seemed to solve the problem. (Coincidentally, if you didn't know, Magdalena's injury at the Olympics was also caused by smacking her knee on something. Just goes to show, even Olympians can get thwarted by being plain old clumsy) Oddly though about a month after the table incident my knee pain came back with a fury! I was at GCT and trying to get in a long run while simultaneously cheering for my friends doing the half. This resulted in a lot of different paces and a lot of starting and stopping. Something about that run flared up the pain exactly like it had been after I smacked it on the table. Only this time the pain stayed for a bit over a month. Eventually I went to the doctor who confirmed that I could keep running, but no estimate on when the pain would subside. It appears that I am in the clear. The knee has been a little sore this week post runs but does not linger. I'm guessing everything is just a little sore though after running the biggest week of your life :)

In general for me I think that my quad strength is not as good as it could be and that left my patellar tendon susceptible to my injury. I think the tendon was having to do a bit too much work and the impact injury from the table took a long time to heal. So my focus to keep my knees healthy in the future will be to make sure my quads are strong and flexible. I plan to do that by stretching, yoga, and doing squats or lunges a few times a week.

Everyone is different. I have two friends and my mother right now who all have knee pain and all are caused by different problems. I prided myself on never having dealt with knee pain so it was a sad day when I had to join those ranks, but I think with some research and advice from a doc if you take care of these injuries quickly you will save yourself a lot of future suffering!

Feel free to share your own knee pain stories in the comments.

BI Weekly Run Down-September 8th Through September 21st

Once again falling behind on the training updates.

I had the best intentions of "training through" the Punxsutawney 50k. I did not taper for the race. I ran three 10 mile days during the week leading up to it and my intention was that I would not need more than a day or two of recovery. Well you know, best laid plans... So despite feeling great during the race I was still pretty beat up afterwards. The next two runs were extremely painful and from what the company I was keeping told me looked just about as bad as they felt. Between that and plain old life getting in the way the week following Punxsutawney had some dismal numbers. But I think it ended up being good because the week following I hit every run I was targeting and busted out an 85 mile week, my biggest ever, while feeling pretty stellar! And my knee is feeling 100 %!

9-8-08 to 9-14-08

Monday- "Easy" 5.5 mile run with Daisy. Quads were not happy and pace was slow.

Tuesday- Rest

Wednesday- 10.5 miles trails, felt pretty good, knee acted up once we hit some hills

Thursday- 6 miles with Daisy, started outside and finished on the treadmill

Friday- Dismal 6 mile run (was supposed to be 13), pace was slow, and everything was painful, mentally and physically fried

Saturday- Unintended Rest. Couldn't get out of bed early then had a family funeral and a long drive to Michigan. An emotionally draining day

Sunday- Unintended Rest. Again couldn't get my butt out of bed. Golfed 18 holes in the rain at the annual family outing and played wii sports, not a great substitute for a 19 mile run

9-15-08 to 9-21-08

Monday- Feeling a bit run down, likely from the rain
AM: 6.4 miles easy around the hood
PM: 3 miles easy, went out too soon after dinner and stomach was not happy, ran last mile with hubby

Tuesday- 11 miles with Threshold for 5 miles, ran on the towpath with the gals. About 4 mile warm up then 5 miles targeting 6:42 to 6:51 pace. Garmin was broken so I had to use the towpath markers. 6:49, 6:44, 7:00, 6:58, 6:49 (I am guessing miles 3 and 4 were long because effort remained the same throughout) 2 mile cool down

Wednesday- 15 mile run. 4 miles on the pavement by myself and then 6 miles on the bridle trail with Friends and another 5 on the pavement by myself to wrap it up. Average 8:20 pace and felt good.

Thursday- 6 miles easy with Salty

Friday- AM: 13 miles. 3 treadmill miles solo, 8 miles with Bridget, then another 2 on the treadmill. Averaged 8:30 pace
PM: 4 easy miles with MJ (definitely feeling the weeks miles when we went uphill)

Saturday- AM: Walked 4.5 miles with my parents
PM: 6 mile recovery run

Sunday- 20 miles with Daisy, Solar, and CS. Trying to target Akron pace but girls don't know how to run slower than 8:30. Averaged around 8:40. last 5 miles picked up the pace finishing out at 8:15s.

I was actually feeling awesome after this run. Until I went to the CTC picnic and participated in the field day activities. The cartwheels did me in! But it was fun, obstacle courses with running drills, egg carrying, cartwheels, and caterpillars, then push ups (I actually did more consecutive push ups than I ever thought would be possible for me, 42!), sit ups, jump rope, and bur pees. Daisy sure knows how to whip these lazy triathletes into shape!

This week is a back off week to make sure I am fresh to pace on Saturday, after two recovery days I already feel so much more energized. I'm looking forward to the marathon this weekend, lots of friends and family out participating, it should be a blast!

Punxsutawney 50k Race Report

Wow okay so this is long overdue. Can't believe it has been two weeks and I have had no time to post. I guess sometimes real life just gets in the way, Oh and maybe the 81 miles I am trying to complete this week might have something to do with it :) Without further ado a race report finally! (It's long folks so seriously make sure you have some time to get through this beast! I guess ultra runs get ultra reports!)

Despite being in "full" Richmond Marathon training mode I decided I just couldn't pass up a second go around at Punxsy's infamous course. For those not "in the know" Punxsy is a mostly runnable 50k, the majority of it being a downhill grade, flat, or mild inclines that are runnable, except for those 6 hills which are practically vertical. We are talking reach out and touch the ground in front of you steep, and oh yeah there lots of loose rocks that make falling a good possibility (2007 Video, not for the weak). Frank has a good chart up on his blog comparing the Punxsy Hills to the infamous Boston Marathon hills.

AKA for me last year this course was a body wrecker. So major goals going in this year included not wrecking my body. Having only 10 weeks to Richmond and having to pace Akron next week I didn't feel I could afford to have too much time for recovery. Last year I couldn't even run the day after this race so I knew this might be a tall order!

Other goals included having a good time, just enjoy myself out on the course and not get uber competitive, hopefully despite backing off the pace to save my quads and body from getting beat up still run a sub 5, and since they brought back the Punxsy Phil stones this year I was secretly hoping to take one home :)

The Punxsutawney Phil Stones!

We left Friday afternoon and I rode down with the SERC boys. It was thankfully an uneventful ride and we all made it in one piece. The good company was welcome and relaxing for this usual hyperventilating passenger. We got to Punxsy and headed straight to check in which was moved to the local hotel this year. Fun surprise this year at the sign up we got to try on jackets and for our finishers prize they will be sending us a Punxsy Jacket (our choice of color even)! This race has the best goodies! Each year in your goody bag you get a Punxsy Phil Beanie Baby, a groundhog brew, and a technical t-shirt. On top of that the race has a door prize raffle the night before the race and a spaghetti dinner where you get to meet Punxsy Phil. This year I won a case of Groundhog Brew (Straubs), we actually cracked into it last night and despite it sitting around since February it tasted all right :)

Ready to get to Punxsy

Me and the SERC Boys

Me and another SERC boy

Me and Punxsy Phil

After dinner I left the SERC boys to their hotel room and was off to the RDs house to crash on the floor for the night. Of course I slept like crap, but that's nothing unusual the night before a race. I did sleep like a log from 5:10 to 5:30 AM. I swear I thought someone had set their alarm for 5:15 and then realized that nope it was time to wake up and get ready. I was surprised I didn't sleep better, because I didn't feel like I was very nervous about the race (other than getting down two beers in one piece). Downed some cheerios and a cup of coffee then it was off to the start.

It was a little chilly at the start at it was drizzling as we checked in but the rain stopped just in time to walk over to the start line. My plan was to try and stick with PR and Frank and try to run a bit more conservatively than last year. Hmmph. Apparently PR was not too keen on taking it so conservatively. Frank made it clear quick that he wasn't hanging with us because we were going too fast. We were heading uphill on pavement and running with PR and DP. The pace felt fine, but we definitely weren't taking it "easy."

My knee was feeling okay until I felt a searing twinge go through it around mile two that got me worried. It passed quickly and the dull radiating ache I had been having was there again and I just hoped it wouldn't get worse as the run went on. (I was cleared to run by the doc, assured that I was doing no permanent damage, but no guarantee on when the pain would go away for good) As we neared two beers I prepped for the decline and gravity pulling it's own weight. The guys pulled ahead but I made it safely down two beers and despite feeling like I had gone out easier than last year arrived at the same time (32 minutes). (Which just means we ran a lot faster on the pavement because I definitely pussy footed my way down two beers this year)

I asked for Heed at the aid station because at Buckeye 50k I had definitely run low on energy after mile 20 and I didn't want to repeat that again. I knew it would be absolutely disgusting but I was determined to get in some more calories. No Heed so I settled for a cup of Gatorade and a slice of watermelon and was on my way.

The next section takes you through some old fields with some small rollers. I could see the guys ahead and also a girl running with her husband who looked really fit. I tried not to focus on her but despite myself I was well aware I was in 2nd for females. I just tried to settle into my own comfortable pace and decided I shouldn't try to gap the guys.

I caught up to the girl relatively quickly and said hello. This was her first time at Punxsy and despite looking fierce she didn't give me much of a battle to the next aid station. She went back and forth with me on some rollers, pulling ahead on the ups, but as we reached a long gradual climb she fell back. It wasn't long before another girl passed me though and she was booking up the hill.

We came into the first aid station 2 minutes slower than I had last year at 1:07. Again no Heed so I grabbed a slice of watermelon and a pb and j quarter. I had taken my first electrolyte capsule at 30 minutes and an E-Gel at 60 minutes. The plan was to take one electrolyte pill every hour and every other hour (every hour on the hour) take an E-Gel. So every thirty minutes I would be getting in electrolytes. The temperatures weren't bad but the humidity was really high and despite feeling realtively cool I was covered in sweat pretty quickly. I was carrying my handheld for water and had two gels and my capsules in my skirt pocket and an additional gel in my bottle ready to go in addition to whatever I could get at the aid stations.

At the second aid station you turn right into the woods and proceed to go around an approximately 8 mile loop that includes three large hills. The first one you come to is Yellow Bus. Yellow Bus is, like Two Beers, practically vertical and unless your name is Mark Godale you are trudging rather than running up this hill. I'm certainly no Billy Goat but I managed to get up pretty quickly this year and even could see PR and C up ahead of me and hollered at them that they were looking good.

There was a photographer on top of Yellow Bus taking pictures. Thankfully he took them of us at the top and not coming up the hill!

First Time on top of Yellow Bus

The next few miles to the 7 springs station are mostly downhill with a few rollers. Before 7 springs you hit one more steep but thankfully shorter hill named Cry Baby. This section last year helped to shred my quads early on in the race. Last year by the time I finished the first loop my quads were pretty much trashed. Not good when you are only half way done with the race!

Shortly after Yellow Bus a girl in yellow caught me. I recognized her from last years race as the girl who came in second a few minutes ahead of me. We chatted and both said our main goal of the day was to break 5 hours. I commented on how I wasn't sure if I was running quite aggressively enough since the guys I train with were up ahead, but I felt good and the pace felt fine so I was just holding steady. I asked her what other races she had done this year and she said she hadn't done much so I assume this was her focus race since she was back again. I also asked her about the other girl who had passed me coming into the Buck Run aid station and she said she was a relay runner so we noted that we were in first and 2nd but both content with whatever place we got as long as we were under 5 hours.

We ran together through the next aid station where I grabbed another pb & j quarter. Hit the station at 1:44 which was actually a minute faster than last year (although I had no awareness of how I was doing compared to last year while out on the course). Obviously sticking with the gal in yellow was keeping my pace up so I stayed with her as we trudged through the boggy detour the course has to take because some local guy doesn't want us on the 100 feet of trail that runs along his property. The bog seemed to be better this year, they must have done some clearing because there wasn't as much ducking and jumping involved, but it was still muddy!

The next few miles are slightly uphill on a gravelly grass path that runs along a small creek. I pulled a bit ahead of the gal in yellow here but not by much. I noticed she had headphones so I didn't feel too bad about running in my own zone. You pop out of the woods and run about 2 miles up a series of pavement hills back to the Buck Run aid station. Last year I ran almost all of these because I was so nervous about the girls behind me. This year I walked the last stretch and let the gal in yellow pull away from me at the aid station. I was getting too focused on competing and not focusing on just running my own pace and having fun so I let her go and made a slower than usual aid station stop. As I was coming into the station I saw C and PR up ahead and yelled that they better pick it up or I was going to catch them. Heard some smirky reply about no skirt was going to catch C as they ran back into the woods to start the second loop.

Came into the aid station at 2:24. At this point I realized I was running pretty close to 5 hour pace, and that I'd have to make sure to hold steady to keep that goal as a possibility. I scored some vaseline from the volunteers for my arm. I thought it was chafing from my sports tank but later remembered I had scratched it on a picker bush. They handed me the vaseline jar and I had to prompt them for something to apply it with. No way did I want vaseline on my hands for the next 16 miles! I grabbed another pb & j quarter here and a watermelon and headed back into the woods.

I got passed by a guy here that I remembered from last year. We had run near each other most of the race last year and had finished together. He looked strong and passed me quickly heading to Yellow Bus. I saw Joe Trask with some lady trekkers to keep him company and said hello. They had been out there since 5 AM! As I made my way up Yellow Bus for the second time I could see PR ahead and he was taking a few breaks so I figured he was either waiting for me or was feeling pretty ragged.

Yellow Bus the 2nd Time Around

Turns out he was feeling ragged but he stuck with me to Cry Baby before having to pull up a bit due to cramps. I was by myself for the most part after that. I was just enjoying the day and trying to have a good run. I was starting to pass trekkers every now and again who would give me updates on how far behind the gal in yellow I was. I would always just tell them they were looking great and say thank you. I had the garmin on but wasn't very focused on it. At the aid stations I would check my average pace and total mileage. As I rolled into Seven Springs Aid Station they announced this was mile 19 and I hit it at 3:02 (three minutes ahead of last years time). The Garmin was short of that (surprise surpise, not really since it has been short on every single trail race I have done this year) so I kept that in mind while calculating my pace. I grabbed a cola to get a caffeine boost and another pb & j quarter and made my way out of the station.

For those with math skills you may have realized by now that having only three gels and running 5 hours I was going to run out at some point. I decided to skip the gel at 3 hours and save it for 4 hours so I would have the extra energy boost in the final miles. I was still worried at this point that pb & j quarters weren't going to be enough fuel but I felt really good so I just stuck with that. Through the bog again and I finally "caught up" to Leo and a few other local friends. I called out hellos and got a boost from Leo's enthusiasm. He will be 80 this year!!! I was just stoked that I felt so much stronger than last year through this section. My quads felt great, my energy was good, and I was having fun.

As I made my way onto the pavement rollers back up to Buck Run I glanced at the Garmin and tried to do some math. I was starting to realize sub 5 was in the balance and I wasn't going to achieve it if I stayed at the same pace. I needed to kick it up a notch if I wanted to ensure a sub 5. I envisioned texting my friends with a "2nd female, and 5:01 again" and was determined not to make that a reality. I passed a long line of gals here who were on their first loop. One was talking to another mentioning how if the girl ahead of them would just stand up straight she would be doing worlds better, I had to laugh and mentioned that I sure hoped I looked good once I pulled away from them, knowing my tendency to slouch forward.

I was starting to catch up to C here and could see him as I climbed the first set of hills but dude must just fly on the downhills because as I crested one of the rollers he was nowhere to be seen. I thought maybe he had dodged into the woods to pee. I decided to again walk the last climb up to the Buck Run station and conserve my energy for the next stretch through water tower and back to the first aid station. Got to Buck Run at 3:44 (1 minute ahead of last years time). I knew it took me and hour and 7 minutes to get to the station in the morning and I knew that the Water Tower stretch was slightly longer, but I couldn't remember how much longer and I knew it would be close to break 5. I grabbed another pb&j quarter and some cola and told the volunteers to say hello to RH and TC for me when they came through.

I picked it up here and passed a few runners. The next section before the water tower hill is a lot of slight downhill and I just tried to cruise, clocking a bunch of sub 9s as I made my way to Water Tower. Got a "cute skirt" comment from a gal trekker that made me smile but for the most part I was on my own and going to work. As I came out of the woods and headed up the pavement hill toward Water Tower Hill I again saw C up ahead. Was starting to close in on him as we climbed the Water Tower Hill (Another doozy) but once again as I crested the hill he was gone. I did not have the nerve or balance to fly down the other side of Water Tower. I took it easy and just tried to stay on my feet. No sense in falling and ruining my whole day at this point.

I made it down safely and knew it was time to pick it up again. My knee was still sore but it hadn't got worse and pushing the pace wasn't bothering it. The sun had come out for a short stint earlier in the race but thankfully cloud cover was back at this point because I remember just frying in the sun on this section last year. Last year I could see the gal in yellow ahead of me through this section, but this year she was nowhere to be seen. I was running 8:30s through this section and trying to remember just how far this segment was. I knew I had to get to the last aid station by 4:20 to have a good chance of breaking 5. Last year it took me 37 minutes to run the last 3.7 miles and I remembered how slow I was going up two beers and didn't want to be cutting it close!

I started to gain on C again and could see another guy in a yellow hat. I was pushing pretty hard and just doing my best to get to that next aid station. I took my last gel at 4 hours and hoped the boost would help me on my way. As I (Finally!) pulled into the last aid station I looked down at my watch to see 4:19. This was great but I didn't want to let up. So far my quads were holding up but I didn't want to play around and miss that sub 5. I grabbed another cola and pb & j and passed a runner who I had chatted with early in the race as we reached two beer and started our hike to the top. I could see C and yelled up to him that I didn't know how he could run those down hills so fast. He responded by listing off his many running PR's to prove his point that he could indeed run fast when needed. I was huffing and puffing and did not bother to respond.

I thought to myself that while it may take two beers to convince yourself to run down this hill that you earn an f'ing keg if you make it up it! I actually cursed out loud when I crested the hill "F*ing Two Beers" and picked up the pace again as I ran downhill and once again was amazed at how C disappeared. Before long you are climing the last of the ridiculous hills, this one not quite so steep but still a walker. I took my last electrolyte pill a few minutes early since I didn't have much else to do besides drag my butt up this ridiculously steep hill.

My Garmin beeped and I looked down to see that this mile had taken me over 14 minutes! That put the fear in me and I picked up the pace while I could run. One last stream crossing and a few rollers and we were back on the pavement. I knew that meant two miles to go. I looked at my watch and knew I was golden as long as no unexpected cramps or searing knee pain were to arise I would definitely get sub 5. Now it was time to see how far below sub 5 I could get!

I stepped up the effort and was once again running under 9 minute pace, hitting an 8 minute mile on the slightly rolling pavement section up to the high school. As we made our way through the high school lot I passed C, surprisingly he just let me go, despite all his smack talk about how no skirt would beat him. I must honestly say I was pretty happy to pass him as I knew I was going to get shit from the VR and SERC guys about not coming in first it would be a good thing that I could at least say I beat one of our fast VR guys. (What can I say, I guess I am a competive jerk sometimes, even when I am not supposed to be racing)

The last mile I just ran as fast as I could. I was so happy that my quads were not a wreck and I could actually push the pace. The next mile I hit 7:15 and the final stretch I got down to 6:45 pace. I had this huge shit eating grin on my face as I cruised into the finish watching the clock and seeing 4:52. I was freaking ecstatic to have that sub 5 monkey off my back and to feel so strong the last 10 miles of the race. I really couldn't have asked for more. I went and grabbed a celebratory beer and then chatted with the other VR guys while we waited for Frank to come in.

The race also has a team competition where the top 5 runners of each team get scored like a cross country meet. The top team gets a free pair of montrail shoes for the top 5 members. The punxsutawney team had placed 1,2,3 and we had placed 4,7,13(me!),14 and we were waiting to see when Frank would get there and also wondering how the other two Punxsy guys would do. Well Frank ran a fantastic race and came in 4:59 for his second 50k! Placing 18th and handing us the team win!

I hobbled into the gym with Frank and DP to get showers. Last year I stood around so long cheering that when they took the newspaper photo of the top three gals I was still in my race outfit while the other gals were all cleaned up. Not this year! Especially since I knew we'd get to do photos with our stones I wanted to look presentable :) I waited while the first gal and her friend from the relay got cleaned up and sipped my beer while we chatted. I couldn't believe how good I felt and was just grooving on the running high. Hopped in for an extremely cold shower and then faced the awful stairs I had to climb down to get back out to the finish. For some reason the guys shower (which they have 2!) are on the first floor and the girls shower is on the 2nd floor. No matter how good I felt, climbing stairs after a 50k still freaking sucks!

1st set of stairs I had to climb down. Seriously Why are the girls showers on the 2nd floor?

Back outside I grabbed another beer and Frank grabbed me a "real beer" so like the famous hill we had just survived I was with two beers and having a good time. Posed with some friends, got my stone and got photographed for the newspaper.

Two Beers and a Happy RH!

A Stone and A Beer=A Happy E-Speed

This would be even funnier if that stone weren't so heavy!

Top 3 ladies and their stones
Newspaper Photo Blurb

Then Frank and DP and I made a McDonalds run. Frank kindly bought me a caramel sundae and some fries which absolutely hit the spot. Took a few photos around town as we made our way back to watch some other friends finish. All my friends did great, some of them had rougher days than others but they all finished. PR had a rough day but after a beer and a shower was smiling again and ready to take us all home.

One of Many Punxsy Phil Statues

Another Punxsy Phil Statue

Frank Goofing Around Post Race

Hopped in the car and made our way back to Ohio with a few pit stops to stretch the legs along the way. After my 4 or 5 beers I was feeling stellar and was having fun texting back and forth with SH and my other friends about how we all did at the race. Thankfully the guys put up with me and didn't make too much fun of me at our second stop when once the beers wore off and DOMS finally started to set in. DP was kind enough to get me my recovery drink of choice (Starbucks Frappacino!) at one stop and at another the guys thought I wouldn't be able to touch my toes so we had to stop at some steps so I could reach well beyond my toes. What can I say, my hamstrings felt great! It was the rest of me that was starting to hurt :) We made it back to PRs and stopped for a photo of most of the team before all heading our seperate ways back home.

Vertical Runner Team back at Home and Posing with their goods (my stone was already in the trunk)

I once again had a fantastic time at this race. As much as it beats you up it is really just a great run and so worth the money. So many of my friends do the race and the RD and his wife are just fabulous people. I don't know if my goals line up with doing this 50k every year but for sure I will at least do the relay every year. I just can't stay away!

Thanks to PR for hauling my ass to the race and back!
Thanks to Frank and DP for feeding and fueling my broke ass!
Thanks to the RD and his wife for being such lovely hosts and for bring back the stones!

Splits and comparison from last year for those stats nuts like me:

Adrian BuckRun 7Sprgs BuckRun 7Sprgs
Miles 3.5 7 11.2 15.1 19.3
2007 0:32 1:05 1:45 2:21 3:05
2008 0:32 1:07 1:44 2:24 3:02


Not quite a negtive split but with two beers I think it was definitely a negative split effort. The difference in my times from Buck Run to the finish from last year to this year are really crazy! (Granted last year I was cringing with pain every down hill step!) Only odd thing I noticed is that this year I was slower on the sections from 7 springs to Buck Run that last year, but faster on the sections from Buck Run to 7 Springs both times around. Weird!

Aurora Labor Day 5k Race Report

Monday morning I decided to take advantage of the holiday and get in another race despite waking up and wanting to stay in bed.

The Aurora Labor Day 5k is a small little race run in Aurora Ohio at Sunny Lake Park. The park has a nice 1.75 mile loop which the course is run on. They have a 1 mile and a 5k and since it was only $2 more to do both races I decided on arrival that I would do the one mile as my time trial before doing the 5k. The race was mostly for kids so I felt somewhat guilty lining up for it but also knew it was an easy way to get in my time trial and then I could get it over with. So I decided to do the race and just not let them take my bib so I wouldn't count in the results. All I wanted was to know how fast I could run 1 mile :)

The one mile was an out and back so one hairpin turn which isn't so easy as you get older :) I lined up on the outside in the grass so I wouldn't get in any ones way and took off and pulled ahead with one other young gentleman. I wasn't really sure how a mile effort should feel so I just ran hard :) The kid fell back from me just before the turn around and I encouraged him to stay with me. He picked it up and got around the hairpin turn much more efficiently than me. I looked at my watch and saw 2:53. Leave it to me to try and do math while running I had no clue what that meant pace wise. On the way back I cheered on a few of the young girls and tried to stay as close to the kid in front of me. I came across in 5:47 and was pretty happy with that. I would have liked to have run 5:35-5:40 but considering the hairpin turn and the fact that I had run 17 miles the day before I think I am calling it close enough!

Moving onward I needed to do a quick "cool down" before the 5k which started 30 minutes after the one mile. I went out to get ready and saw runners already walking over to the start. Freaking out I headed back to my car to put back on my trainers and get to the start, only to wait because everyone had headed over too early.

We finally started the 5k and I tried to stay with Greg but I just had no oomph left in my legs after the 1 mile. I was content to hold onto 1st place and just stay as consistent as I could. Since the loop is 1.75 miles we do it almost twice, starting and ending in a different location. The path is winding and there is on small hill. No place to really get into a groove, but not a slow course by any means. First mile was 6:22. I realized I wasn't going to break any records but upped the effort as I didn't want to go over 20. The second mile I struggled to pass a small group of guys. I was gaining on them but once they realized I was a female they all upped their effort and boxed me out. I just tried to push the pace so that I wouldn't fall into their slower pace, if they wanted to stay ahead of me I wanted them to have to push to do it. Second mile was 6:16. The last mile like the first had the small hill in it and I have proven not to be exceptional on hills this year. Between that and having raced a mile before the 5k I just couldn't turn it on and came through the third mile in 6:30 although I did drop most of the guys who were with me. I did find enough in me to push hard to the finish and actually go under 38 this time in 32 seconds for a 19:40.

Neither result was quite what I hoped for but I had fun racing and pushing my limits a bit. My knee was a bit ragged but it survived and I took home the overall female win. My friend Barb took second female and the SERC guys who were there placed first and second male so it was a good day for the club!

Next up Punxsy 50K Report!

Weekly Rundown September 1st-7th

Another weekly Rundown. Race Reports for the Labor day races and Punxsutawney 50k to follow as soon as I get a chance!

2 mile warm up
1 mile time trial (Aurora Labor Day 1 mile race)
1.25 mile cool down/warm up
5km race (Aurora Labor Day 5k race)
3 miles easy
Knee sore

Rest/feeling run down and knee was sore/quad above knee felt weak, made doc appointment for Thursday

10 miles easy at North Chagrin on Bridle Trails

AM: Doc appointment, cleared to run
PM: 10 miles downtown: 6 miles easy with group then 4 miles at 7:30 pace on my own

Quick 2 mile recovery jog to bank and back

Punxsutawney 50k Race- Knee held up, was sore but not too bad

6 mile recovery run (Knee pain felt fine in comparison to quad pain. Ouch!)

2008 NERC XC Series Race 3

So way the heck back on August 19th I ran the third race in the NERC fall XC series. With a 20:18 and 19:57 the two weeks before I was ready to drop that a bit more and see how fast I could go on this course. I wanted to target my pace between 6:07 (18:59) and 6:14 (19:23) and see if I could run faster than my PR, maybe go sub 19 if I had a brilliant night. Unfortunately I got out of work late and ran into some traffic so I got to the race without much time to spare. I had to "warm-up" by jogging to the restroom and sign in and do about 2 strides before throwing on my flats and tossing my warm ups in the car. JK was on the line so I knew a win was out of the question. I just wanted to see if I could run faster than last week despite the lack of a real warm up.

Once again the race starts and the high schoolers go out like bullets. I don't pay attention to any of that at least until I am in the woods where I start to take down the girls (and a lot of boys) one by one. I wanted to be in front of a particular girl before the mile since the two previous weeks I had passed her a little after the mile I figured I would be about on target pace if I ran through the mile a hair ahead fo her. Mission acheived as I came through the mile a hair fast at 6:00. There was another female just behind me who looked to be my age and seemed strong so I tried not to let up over the next mile. JK was likely already over a minute ahead of us by the mile marker, girl is fast! So it was a race for second.

I wasn't feeling stellar but I felt like I could hold onto the same pace as I had last week for the last two miles and knew that would get me in around 19:30. I heard David cheer for me a bit before the 2 mile and was surprised he got out of work in time to catch me, I waved but apparently it didn't look like a wave and he didn't know I had heard him. Gotta work on being able to smile even when running at all out effort. I was extremely grateful that he was there even if I couldn't show it, it meant a lot to me that he got out of work early just to see me race. Mile 2 was just a hair shy of last week and was 6:29. I knew I had to dig in if I wanted to get a fast last mile and hold onto that 19:30.

I didn't hear the other girl behind me and that gave me hope that I would definitely come in second. Given that I had run that mile almost 30 seconds slower and she wasn't with me I knew she had dropped off the pace more than I had and I wasn't planning on dropping anymore. The advantage of running this all three weeks is by the third you know where to expend your energy. I took advantage of the slight decline and the flat section of the last mile before heading up the last quarter mile dreaded hill stretch. I didn't feel stellar on the hill but still strong enough to come through 3 at 6:24.

And I kicked it in to yet another 38 second finish. Apparently that is my limit. I think All 6 times I have run this race 38 has been my fastest kick at the end. I never was great at that even in high school. That brought me in at 19:32 and 2nd female. JK ran a blazing 17:14. Nothing like having a serving of humble pie despite running your best time on a course :) I was really pleased with my effort and the result, especially considering that I didn't get in a real warm up. This is only 11 seconds off my PR at Reindeer Run which is a super fast course so I have high hopes that I can get even faster on the roads :)

My husbands college buddies happened to be at the park so while he chatted with them I got in a nice cool down with EH and B. It was downright chilly by the time we did the awards, bizzare how August was actually nicer than September has been so far. The weather this year for the series was absolutely perfect, reminds me of why I was always so in love with cross country. I guess this is the closest I can come to getting those days back for now though and I am happy to take it, even if I am the old lady at the start line ;)

Another Weekly Rundown Catch up Post-8/18/08 through 8/31/08

8/18/08 through 8/24/08

AM Commute to work 12.5 miles bike
6 mile easy run

1 mile warm up (running late!)
5k cross country race (report soon I promise!)
2.25 mile cool down

6 mile easy run

12.77 mile run to work. Knee was bothering me after several days of less pain


~16 miles trail. Knee okay but not 100%

11 miles 8:18 pace now left calf added to injury list. Note to self: stop pushing the pace when tired!


Body a wreck so I took three days off running and instead consumed large quantities of wine and ice cream, thankfully no weight gain despite being a slacker. Issues with left calf, right knee, and right foot (pf) (not to mention the mental stress that all these things caused)

60 minutes upper body and core



6.5 mile run easy (knee and calf felt exactly the same as before, so glad I took time off, not)
60 minutes yoga

10.8 mile trail run (knee sore, calf better)

Easy 6 miles on trails (knee sore)

17 miles with the gals in Solon 8:30 pace (knee sore but tolerable)

The knee has been a problem off and on since GCT four weeks ago. Finally got in to a doc today and prognosis is good. Just a bit of irritation likely from a few months ago when I smacked it on the table. The tendons running from my quad down around the kneecap are just a bit out of sorts. Running is fine and I am not doing any additional damage. Ice after long/hard runs and work on my core, quad, and hip strength until it heals itself. Knee brace is an option if pain is too much while running.