Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Life is Good

This past weekend I ran the Salem Lake 30K Trail Race. This is an awesome race! It's located at a greenway at Salem Lake in Winston Salem, NC. The course is wonderful. It's an out and back race where you run almost completely around the lake and then turn and run back. You can see the lake for most of the course. The terrain is mostly packed sand, but there are sections of asphalt in some of the trickier spots. I estimate there was 5 miles of asphalt and the rest was sand. No roots and very few ruts to avoid. It really should be called a Greenway race instead of trail. It was also mostly flat. There were a few hills (possibly 5) that were interspersed, making for a nice challenge just when you started getting bored. Only two hills were really noteworthy.

The first 10 miles were great. I felt strong and ran as hard as I can at the moment. The last 8.6, all I could think about was the .6. Sometimes something ridiculous like that gets in my head and I can't shake it. The last 8.6 were tougher than the first 10. I didn't realize I was running so much decline at the beginning until I was running so much incline at the end. But it was so nice to get off asphalt and do something different. The weather was cool but it was misting the entire time. Towards the end the trail was starting to puddle. Of course, I'm pretty out of shape as far as endurance and I was out there 3hrs 14mins. When I finished Adam was waiting for me and gave me a nice dry towel. It felt so awesome to wrap up in something warm and dry and clean! I'd like to do this race again next year, but will actually train for it!

I had a lot of friends running this race. Adam came in 12th overall and ran a 2:03, Todd P. ran a 2:14, his gf Shenna ran a 2:19, Shawn S. ran a 2:26, Jamie and Tara ran a 2:47 and Luci ran a 3:10.

So given my results, I've decided to up my long runs from 8-12 miles to 12-15 miles and instead of 20-25 miles per week, I'm aiming for 30-35. With the race last week I finished over 36 miles for the week. This week I'll finish with close to 30. This is probably not a great idea since my foot issue seems to come and go. It's currently 'come.'

In addition to running 4 times a week, spin class once a week, swimming 3 times a week, lifting 3 times a week and yoga once a week, I 've started walking twice a week with a friend from work. We walk in the morning twice a week for 3 miles each time. It's really nice. I may not think so in December and January, but I'll be out there!

Outside of fitness, things are going well. Poor Cleo ate a leaf over the weekend and spent all Monday throwing up. She seems to be doing well today. I was worried I was going to have to take her to the animal hospital at one point. She wouldn't let me pick her up (think it was too much pressure on her stomach) so I didn't know how I was going to get her there. I planned my trip to Zion/Vegas for December and I have several concerts coming up this month. So I'm staying busy and enjoying life a bit more these days.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Plantar Issue

I read that if you take 6 weeks off from running, you can heal your plantar fasciitis issue. If you continue to run on it, it will take 6 months. It's been 6 months of running and treating it with ice/heat, massage, new shoes, looser laces, etc. It worked!!! I have almost no pain in my arch or heal. I do feel some soreness in my leg, but I'm sure it's all related. But I'm pretty happy to have it going away. It's funny but it really started feeling better after the Asheville half. I expected it to be worse as hills are what you're supposed to avoid when suffering this particular injury. But two days after the race I ran my best four mile run in a long time. I felt great!

I'm really thinking about a Spring marathon...

Monday, September 14, 2009


I think I mentioned before that they changed the course for the Asheville Citizen Times Half Marathon. I was completely unprepared for this hilly, hilly, hilly course.

The morning started off well. I woke up in the very nice Renaissance Asheville Hotel on Woodfin. Highly recommend this hotel! I was pretty tired when the alarm went off at 6am, so I made a pot of the in room coffee, which was Starbucks. I drank a fairly large cup of coffee and ate my protein bar. The coffee was admittedly a HUGE mistake. I left the room at 7 am to walk to the start line. I was only half a mile from the start so I allowed plenty of time to get there, stretch and be ready for the start at 7:30am.

The start of the race was great. The field is limited to 1,000 and the 5K has a separate start time so there's plenty of room to get into a comfortable pace early. The first two miles were great. We ran through downtown Asheville and it was mostly small rolling hills. Very beautiful. Then just before mile marker two, they threw in a real hill. Short but steep. It caught many of us off guard. But it was followed by a nice long descent and it was a gorgeous neighborhood. Of course as soon as you finished the descent, they threw another steep hill at you. This one was longer. But again followed by another long descent. At this point we'd run three miles and there seemed to be more downhill than up. So far, I really like this course! Miles four through six presented more rolling hills similar with a couple of steep ones thrown in. Mile seven was my favorite mile. At this point we left the asphalt to run on a small dirt trail near the Grove Park Inn. It's fairly flat at this point and the break from the asphalt is really appreciated. It's at this point that you can pick up your pace a bit and pass a few people (if you can get around them!). However, just before the mile marker, you return to the asphalt and climb a long slow climb around the Grove Park Inn with no satisfying descent at the end. At this point I began running half of the hills and walking the other half. In years past it was this point where the course began to ease up on you. Not this year. Mile eight was more up and down and just when you needed a break from hills, mile 9 was a solid mile of uphill. It seemed to go on forever! Up the hill, turn left and up another hills, turn right and up another hill, for one mile! Miles ten through thirteen were brought more rolling hills with a nice long in mile 12 leading back into downtown Asheville and then approx. one half of a mile from the end is a nice short STEEP hill followed up a short incline then flat to the finish. Rough, very rough.

I've been resting my foot since the Flying Pig Marathon, which is doing much better. I've been somewhat avoiding running hills and long runs and really concentrated on more 5Ks this summer. So to say I wasn't prepared for this race is an understatement! I finished in two hours and fifteen minutes, which is eight minutes slower than my previous worst for this course. But if I didn't mention this before, it was a gorgeous course! Next year I plan to incorporate some hill repeats in my long run training, even though we don't have hills anywhere near the ones I ran on Saturday.

So as I've said before you can always find something interesting/funny in every race and this race had quite a few things! The first thing was a handmade, wooden sign on a fence near mile ten that read "Healthcare 4 Ever One" The '4' was backwards and yes, 'ever one' not 'everyone.' I bet they vote, too. The next thing was a man in his 70s or 80s who was running close to me and when a spectator yelled "You're doing great!" he replied in a grumpy, angry voice "No I'm not!" Awkward! Another thing was a woman yelling from the doorway of her house to a cheering volunteer at the street corner adjacent to her property "Can you move down a block?" and the volunteer replied that she couldn't. She was keeping the cars from driving onto the race course.

I noticed too that this year there was more crowd support than in past years. Not that there was an incredible amount of support, but compared to years past there was. There was also a great deal more advertising along the course. People had hung banners for other races, bike rides and various products. It was good to see people embrace this opportunity, even in a self-serving way. Support in any form is always welcome!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Annual Trek to Asheville

This evening I'm leaving for Asheville to compete in my 4th Asheville Half Marathon tomorrow. I love this race. It's beautiful and the temperature's usually pretty nice. This year will be the first year I don't run it with my friend Jody. So it won't be quite the same, but I'm excited anyway. This is the perfect time of year to go to Asheville. The weather is cooler, but not cold. The leaves are just starting to turn, so you're not fighting for views over the heads of tourists. It's still off-season so you can get a decent hotel room at a decent price.

Tomorrow the expected low is 54 and partly sunny, with an expected high of 79. So I won't be able to blame the weather for my poor performance! My left foot, though much better, is still not 100%. I'd give it more like 65%. And it's mostly my Achilles tendon. Which means the pain is moving, which is supposed to be a good sign. I hope so. I'm really tired of it. This year they're starting the race at 7:30 and they changed the course a little. But they didn't make it less hillier. They didn't even take out the big hill! My best for this race was in 2007, the second year I ran it, I ran a 2:04. The worst I did on this course was a 2:07 in 2006, but it was also the 3rd half that I did in 4 weeks. I'm hoping for anything in between these course records tomorrow!