Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Look Back Since We Last Blogged

I'm not going to lie to you, I really wimped out during the dog days of summer! I shut down so much during July and August that I wonder if it's even worth it to try and run. I'm considering taking those two months off next year so that I'm not so discouraged about my running.

Here's a quick run down of what I've been up to since we last blogged (I won't bore you with how much I'm doing at work):

Hood-to-Coast, Oregon, August 26-30 - Hated it! Man, I hated this race. Let me first start with first impressions by saying that Portland, OR, where we flew in, really surprised me. I expected something along the lines of Asheville, NC and was surprised to see a city similar to Charlotte, NC but with mountains. Mt Hood (the race start) was awesome and Seaside, OR (the race finish) reminded me of Virginia Beach, VA.

Post race we took a short trip to Canon Beach (see picture above), which was really beautiful.

The race: I repeat, I hated it. I knew leading up to it I would, but it was too late for the team to find a sub so I went thinking I could make the best of a bad situation. I cannot go without sleep and a relay requires that you go without sleep. This tore my stomach up and put me in the worst mood. The first and last race legs didn't help.

I was leg 11, which means I ran legs 11, 23 & 35. The first leg, was a little more than 4 miles long and was during the evening hours. I had to run along a greenway in the pitch black dark in a deserted for the weekend business/industrial area. I would never do this at home and if I did, you'd call me an idiot. Several faster runners passed me, but none were close enough to make me feel comfortable about being on this greenway at night. I wasn't alone though, there were lots of creepy people hanging out along the course to keep me freaked out the whole 4 miles. They were all dressed in dark clothing with no lights or reflectors. I had on my required head lamp, blinky lights (one in front and one in back) and my reflective vest. So they could see me, but I couldn't see them until I was right on them.

I finished incredibly pissed at myself for agreeing to do this stupid race along with race organizers who would send us through such dangerous places. My second leg was much better. Again it was only a little more than 4 miles, but it was during the day. When I agreed to do the race the upside was that I'd get to see Oregon which I'd heard was beautiful. I finally got to see some beautiful sights in Oregon on my second leg.

My third leg was still during the day, but terribly ugly. I was on a gravel service road with large mounds of grass and dirt on either side. I couldn't see anything but telephone poles and wires. At this point, my stomach was too upset from a lack of sleep to fuel this run. I had no desire to run at all and it was my longest run: 7 miles. It was horrible. I was tired, I was cramping, hurt and I was incredibly tight. I walked most of it. I finished, passed off the bracelet and was ready for a nice bed and a long night's sleep.

I didn't get that until I got home. We were all (2 teams 24 people total) staying in one big house. I had to sleep on the floor. You went to bed when the last person went to bed and you got up when the first person got up. But the rest of the trip wasn't a total loss. I really loved Canon Beach. I want to go back to Oregon sometime and tour a winery or drive up the coast. I'm sure it's prettier than what I saw on the run!

Social Life: Maintaining. Adam and I attended a lot of social gatherings since August. This picture is of us after a wedding anniversary party. It's rare to see Adam in pants that aren't jeans. His brother's wedding and my best friend's daughter's birthday have also been some fun events for us recently.

The house on Minnehaha Parkway

Twin Cities Marathon: Loved it!...but bonked. For the trip to Minneapolis for the Twin Cities Marathon on October 3rd we, along with 3 other friends rented a house in Minneapolis. It was in a great neighborhood! The house had 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. It was perfect! We all attended a Twins game the day before the race. Through the race website we were able to get $20 tickets to the new stadium. The game was packed because the Twins were having a great season and this was one of the last home games for regular season. They won in an exciting finish. Bases loaded, full count, etc. It was exciting!

The race was great as well! Well, it started out great anyway. The weather was perfect. It was in the 40s at the start and in the 50s at the finish. There were a lot of people cheering the runners on. It was like running through block parties. I felt great until somewhere between miles 9 and 12. By 12, I needed a nap! I made it to the end running a 2:05 half, but a 4:45 full. I found out later that what happened to me was what they refer to as 'hitting the wall.' I always thought you couldn't finish when you hit the wall, but now I know differently. Training didn't go well (read: July and August were hot). When it began to get hot my track workouts got slower, my tempo runs turned into 'just get through it runs' and my long runs were no where near the paces I needed. So it wasn't a complete surprise that I bonked. It happens. I felt horrible after the race! I was so sore and stiff! I had planned to do the new full marathon in Charleston in January, but I've downgraded to the half. I think I have an endurance problem and that I really need to focus on that. The next two races I did, prove that! (more on that later)

Vacation: Later in October, I met my parents and older sister in Wild Dunes on the Isle of Palms outside of Charleston, SC for a vacation. Adam joined me a few days later for the weekend. The picture above is of the place where we stayed taken from the beach and the other is a sunrise from the balcony of the condo where we stayed.

Like all good runners (read: addicted runners) we looked for a race to compete in while we were on vacation. The pictures above are Adam finishing the Daniel Island Race for the Cure 5K at an official time of 17:20 and me on the right finishing the same 5K at an official time of 25:31. This race was flat and looped through a pretty neighborhood on Daniel Island. The temperature was perfect for a race PR. Adam PR'd by 2 seconds and I ran what I'll call a recent PR. The following weekend at the 4.9erK (around 3 miles) at UNC-Charlotte I ran a 25:42, which is pretty good for such a hilly course. It's faster than last year's time when I was fighting PF so I'll call it an improvement. With these recent times, according to the FIRST training program, I should be able to run a 4:08 marathon. So you see I have some endurance work to do! Suggestions for improving endurance welcome!!!

Finishing out the vacation theme, we rode bikes along the paths in Wild Dunes, found a rope swing, had dinner out, drank beer, ate way too much Halloween candy and managed to blow my recent diet out of the water. But it was a great time!

Next race: Charleston Half Marathon in January. I may sneak in a 5K in between, but I have a pretty aggressive training program that I got from the internet and I don't know how I'll feel. The plan is one that I found on the FIRST website that was used by Ryan Hall when he ran his half marathon PR. It's similar to the FIRST program but you run 4 or 5 times a week and you have a bit more flexibility in distances. Crossing my fingers and going now for a swim. Bye!