April 29, 2009

The Good and The Bad

Got up leisurely at about 7 am, fed my little cuties (my kitties) and sat around sipping coffee, enjoying the company of my husband and playing Text Twist on the computer. (Linens! Why couldn't I get "linens"!?) After Matt had to leave for the gym and work (9:30ish), I started getting ready for my run. I have been itching to try out my new trail shoes which I've now had for over a week! They didn't have even the tiniest amount of dirt on them yet! That is almost criminal!

Since these are my new summer runners and therefore not waterproof (for breathability), I decided to run in Stony Creek Metropark, thinking those trails had more of a chance to be on the dry side. Wrong! There were several nice puddles spread across the entire trail, and therefore unavoidable. As soon as my feet sunk in - instant wet, cold feet! I missed my Gore-Tex on those occasions! However, the icky, wet feeling went away quickly and I was still glad to have the superior breathability in my new shoes. Excellent purchase! Yay again for Salomon!

Since I have no fancy gadgetry, I have no idea what my distance was today. I timed my run, but can only guess at my pace. There are miles and miles of trails that range in difficulty from easy (green) to intermediate (blue) to difficult (black) - the designations meant mostly for mountain bikers. I spent the first several miles just warming up on the green trails, but then turned onto a black trail for rest of the run. What a difference! It was like running on a roller coaster! I had a blast! Plus, I had the trails to myself. Even though these are popular trails for the bikers, I guess Wednesday mornings are not peak bike-riding times. I suppose most average people are at work though. heh.

I did have to work today, but not until 1 pm. Took care of lots of other people's cuties (kitties) for 6 hours then came home to crappy news on the Runner's World website where I spend a lot of time blogging and communicating with other runners. One of my "friends" from the site was hit by a car and killed while jogging yesterday. She was only 22, was a senior, honors student at her college and was planning on teaching Spanish next year. Yep, you read that right, Mom. I even told her about you once.

What is worse is the news articles about it in the local papers where she went to school. They keep saying she was at fault, though all avid runners know that is crap. She was correctly running on the left side of the road, against traffic. They did mention the road had no shoulder. Personally, I'd never run on a road that has no shoulder. I don't trust drivers. Ever. I do very little running on roads as it is. I'm almost always on trails that don't allow cars. This sad news is precisely why.Free Smileys

Good bye, esdi.

April 28, 2009


Speedwork day! Once again I did my training on my pseudo-coach, who never lets me give-up or slow down, the treadmill! (Another rain day. :-( )

Today I did 8 miles total and 5 of them at tempo pace. However, tempo pace (about 7:15 for me) just wasn't making me feel it today even after 3 miles. My legs were pumping and I felt like I was sailing so smoothly and quickly over the belt, but it just felt too easy. I thought, how could this be? This is way faster than I usually do my training runs -- I should be getting pooped! But I wasn't... so I upped the pace to 7:08. After another mile, I was still not breathing too much more than normal, so I upped it again to 7:03. That did it! By the end of the 5th mile I was ready to stop.

I'm starting to wonder. Am I getting faster?? :-) I think for my next tempo run, if I do it on the treadmill, I'll start at the 7:08 pace and go from there.

It was so fun running fast!

April 26, 2009

red's race results - Michigan Trail Half Marathon

Wow. That was a tough race!

We really lucked out with the weather. It rained for several days in a row leading up to the race, including heavy rain overnight! I kept waking up and hearing the rain continue to pound, pound, pound. When we finally got up at 5:45am on race morning, it was very foggy and seemed like the rain may start up again - the forecast was in agreement! Ack! However... It did NOT rain. It actually started clearing up just in time for the packet-pickup and the beginning of the race and was sunny and warm by the end. It was so nice at the end of the race that we lounged by the lake (many people even took their ice baths in the frigid April lake water) and drank some cold ones courtesy of Beer Runner.

As for the race itself... tough, tough, tough!! I'm pretty sure I went out too fast though I didn't suffer as much near the end of the race as I thought I would. I even managed to put in a nice kick at the end to beat out one more woman to put myself in 4th place overall instead of 5th. (Ha! Ha! Haha!) The hills really took a lot out of me, especially the last one that I've heard some call "cardiac hill". That hill put me in my place.

What was amazing is that, despite the torrents of rain, the trail was not very muddy! Most of it was at an elevation that allowed it to drain well. I wish I had known this before the run as I would not have worn my waterproof trail runners. I ended up getting some small blisters on my feet which I am sure are from sweaty feet in Gore-Tex lined shoes. If I do this trail again, I'll know better.

And the results are... 4th woman overall, 3rd in age group (tough group!) and 63rd when you count all those men -- not sure how many total runners there were yet - last year there were over 850 and I'm guessing this year is about the same. My time was 1:51:38.

I really had no idea what time to shoot for since this was my first trail race of this length. I suppose considering my placement that this is a rather respectable time! I'm happy with it!!

April 24, 2009

Love/Hate Relationship with Warm Weather

I'm sure the warm weather played a part, but today's run was HARD. Okay, I'm sure the fact that I have a hard time slowing down also played a part. I averaged under 8:00 min/mile again for 10 miles total. I gotta stop that. Thing is, today's run was hard from the very beginning and it just got worse as I went along. I took my Nathan handheld, but staying hydrated didn't seem to help. The big problem was overall fatigue. Oh well. I'm sure I'll get used to running in 70+ degree weather soon. I'm missing the 40-50 degree days. They are so fleeting... *sigh*

Except when running, I do LOVE summer heat! Shorts, tank tops, bikinis, oh my!!

I'll either take tomorrow off or do a very easy trail run with my new trail runners. Sunday is my longest trail race yet - a half marathon. Let's hope for no thunderstorms!

April 21, 2009

Half Mile Repeats

Treadmill intervals!

Might not seem too exciting, but one advantage I found is this... Even if you're getting tired, you can't slow down on the treadmill. It is kind of like having your own personal coach - forcing you to continue to the end of the interval. Also, you know your pace is consistent! It really was a great workout. Here's what I did:

Six Half Mile Repeats with Quarter Mile Recoveries - Each half mile was 3:24. I did my recoveries in 2:12.

It was nice to get a feel for the pace though I now know that treadmill pace feels much different than outside pace. I was very happy with how I did today. My total distance was 6.75 miles.

April 19, 2009

The Poto Report

Just wanted to boast about a new route I ran yesterday. Okay, I also ran a new route today, now that I think of it. Both were great, but yesterday's was really notable.

Yesterday my husband and I spent over 2 1/2 hours driving out to Pinckney to try out the Potawatomi Trail (The Poto) in Pinckney Rec Area. It should have taken us 1 1/2 hours to get there, but this time of year in Michigan, the roads start sprouting orange and white barrels and one should really check the DOT website for road closures before driving ANYWHERE! We forgot to check.*sigh*


In one week, I'll be running the Michigan Trail Half Marathon over the same trail I explored for the first time yesterday. It was incredible! What a beautiful park and an awesome trail. It had just the right amount of hills and rocks and roots to stumble over (and stumble I did!). Since the trail crosses through some rustic campsites (which we made plans to visit!), there are a few places to refill water bottles along the way. That was very fortunate as I was out of Gatorade just as we came across the first water pump! It was a warmer day than I've been used to so far this season, and I was drinking a lot! There are some spectacular views from the trail of lakes and rivers. At times we were running along ridges with nice steep sides - the view from up high was amazing.

Several Spring ephemerals were already blooming and I rediscovered how hazardous wildflower watching while trail running can be. Also, while driving in to the park, I saw a patch of Bloodroot (my favorite Spring flower) and slammed on the brakes to get a better look. My husband must have thought I was nuts!

I also realized how dangerous a trail marathon could potentially become. We did 13 miles yesterday at a moderately easy pace. Near the end it was obvious how much more often I was tripping over rocks due to my fatigue. That experience made me think twice about doing a Fall trail marathon. The last thing I need is a broken arm and a cracked skull with no medical insurance. We'll see...

If I do choose to do a Fall trail marathon, I am now better prepared for the training as today I picked up a new pair of trail runners! New gear alert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I ended up purchasing the same model as my current trail runners sans Gore Tex. I already know they work great for me, I just needed something more breathable - a summer trail shoe. Here they are: Salomon XA Comp 3 W -- I got them in green!

April 17, 2009

No More Solitude

Just a quick post before I ice my achilles, shower and head to the grocery store. Hubby will be home on a Friday night for the first time in AGES! He owns/operates a restaurant and usually is quite busy at his place on Friday nights as you might imagine! Sooo, tonight we have a special dinner together!

I just got in a great, easy 8-miler at Stony Creek Metropark. People are starting to come out en masse! Now is when I'll start missing the solitude and quiet - basically having the trail to myself - of the winter training months. Of course, I don't miss the wind, snow, ice and bitter cold!

As I logged my run today, I couldn't believe that what I keep referring to as my "new" Mizunos, now have well over 100 miles on them. *sigh*

Tomorrow - trail running. Pure bliss...

April 16, 2009

red tries to get speedy - part 2

Perfect morning for a run. Sunny and about 45 degrees. I don't have to work until 3pm today (and if I'm lucky, they'll call and tell me to stay home - wouldn't that be nice!?), so I was able to sleep in and start my run at my leisure, though the run itself was far from leisurely!

Six mile total run with 4 miles at tempo pace - had to stop a few times for traffic though. I was able to remember a few of my splits. They were:

1 - 6:57 (oops! way too fast!)
2- ??? (forgot to look - the truck on the trail that has posted "no motorized vehicles" kind of distracted me)
3- 7:04 (rats! too fast again!)
4 - 7:19 (closer to goal, but really I just pooped out)

Not too bad though! A good workout!

This weekend my hubby and I are going to drive over to Pinckney where the Trail Marathon and Half Marathon will take place the following weekend. We'd like to check out the trail and see what we're in for! Not sure if we'll do the whole 13ish mile loop or not. I'm getting very excited for the race! Plus, in the next week or so, I should be getting some new trail runners! WOOO! I got a $10 OFF coupon for new shoes at Running Fit for participating in the Martian Invasion of Races. I hope to put that coupon to good use!

April 12, 2009

red to invade Traverse City - May 23, 2009

Twenty-one glorious miles. Not killer miles like last week. Just 21 wonderful miles. Can I join the club now? :-)

I'm glad today only served to prove that last week was simply one of those BAD days that we all have occasionally. I suspected as much but really needed today to prove it to me.

Stats: 21 miles in 2:57:04 -- 8:26 min/mile. Not bad!

I've just completed the longest training run for this race. Every other run will be SHORTER! I'll do one more 20-21 miler right before my taper, but now that won't be unexplored territory. I've been there! Officially! Can I hear a WOOOOO!?

Weather during today's run: Sunny and 45ish degrees. Does it get any better? I passed and nodded to many a fellow runner on the trail, including two men in a row who had on a Brooksie Way Half Marathon shirt. I did a double-take on that one. haha!! The pooches were out en force including two of the most beautiful Golden Retrievers I've ever seen. You see so many Goldens and, being very common, most of them are not well bred and/or are overweight. These two were well-cared for and had some great genes! Movie Star Handsome, as I like to put it! Also had a close encounter with a cute little garter snake - first one of the season. (Yes, I used "cute" and "snake" in the same sentence! I like 'em, what can I say!?)

The best part of the run was noticing the proliferation of green buds on the woody plants I passed on the side of the road. SPRING is HERE!!

Today I honed my hydration/fueling strategy and I'm starting to consider wearing my Fuel Belt during the race so I can fuel/drink when I want to. Now that I've practiced with it many times, I'm very comfortable wearing it. I don't notice it anymore. I haven't decided for sure...

And to close... Here are the two phrases that have become part of my mantra (the other part being "Respect the Distance!") as the race gets closer and closer, "Nothing new! Don't go out too fast!"

I'm ready for Traverse City. Is Traverse City ready for me????

Nothing new! Don't go out too fast! Nothing new! Don't go out too fast!....

April 10, 2009

red tries to get speedy

Alright, all you seasoned runners. No snickering as I relay the results of one of my first attempts at mile repeats. First, keep in mind it was NOT on a track. I did it at Stony Creek Metropark which has a 6 mile hilly loop that is marked every 1/4 mile. The hills had a huge impact on my times! While it makes it harder to keep a consistent pace during intervals, the way I look at it, it makes for a better overall workout. So there. :-)

Here are my times (using my husband's new spiffy Timex that is WAY too big for my tiny wrist - I still don't have a watch that records splits):

1.5 mile warm-up. *Jogged a half mile between intervals*

1 - 6:57

2 - 7:13 (ack! hills!)

3 - 6:39 (wooo! downhill!)

1 mile cool-down.

My goal was to hover around 7 min/mile pace. For a newbie, I thought I did pretty good! It was a hard effort but I felt great at the end. Maybe next time I'll try 4 repeats and see how it goes. :-))))

April 9, 2009

Psychedelic Race Weekend - Run Woodstock!

This is the week of double-double digits. This week I run over 20 miles for the first time. Ever. Just thinking about completing my upcoming 21-miler gives me goosebumps. You see, it still hasn't dawned on me yet. I...am...a...distance...runner. A small part of me already knows this, but there is another part that still isn't convinced. Maybe after Sunday...

Really I should have been convinced when I decided to stick another half marathon in between now and my full marathon because, heck, it's just a little half, right? Somebody please slap me. A half marathon is beyond the ability of the vast majority of humans on this planet - even the ones who most would consider athletic!

Take a look back at where you were a year ago, red. At this time last year, you were fretting about being able to complete the Lilac Festival 10K on Mackinac Island. You were worried about finishing! This year you're having trouble finding time to squeeze in a few "short" 10Ks in between half marathons, 20Ks, 25Ks and full marathons. Funny what a difference a year and LOTS of hard work can make.

If anyone reading this post is wondering how to advance up the distance ladder, this is how I did it... I simply registered for a race that I knew I couldn't do at the time I registered! I made sure it was far enough in the future to give me time to prepare safely, then hit the "register" button on the screen. Being registered for a non-refundable race provides LOTS of motivation to train! Once I completed a 10K, I did the same for a 10M. Then I registered for a half marathon and finally, you guess it, a full. Next up will be a trail full marathon with the possibility of an ultra in this little redhead's future.

Speaking of races, I just learned of an awesome new running event that will take place at the end of September, put on by those awesome, wacky folks at Running Fit (the same who brought us the Martian Invasion of Races). This new event is called Run Woodstock and takes place over an entire weekend. There will be several distances involved - all trail races - including a 5K, 10K, 13.1M, 26.2M, 50K, 50M, and 100M!!! WOW!!! Details are still pretty sketchy as I'm sure it is still in the initial planning stages, but it sounds like a weekend of running, partying, camping, running some more with a little more partying thrown in. I am SOOO in!!

In anticipation of my handful of trail races this year, I hit the trails at Bald Mountain North today. I did a moderately easy pace along the same route as the Mountain Man race I won a few weeks ago. I forgot my watch but didn't miss it one bit. I took my Nathan hand-held water bottle to start getting used to carrying it again. I'm trying to decide whether to use it in upcoming trail races or not. I hardly noticed carrying it today, so there's a good chance it will be racing with me in the near future!

The trail was exceedingly muddy! WOOO!!! I came home caked in dirt and had to hose down my shoes before taking them to the balcony to dry off. Snow from earlier this week was still on the trails. Lots of trees mean little sun hitting the snow equals slow melt! Traction was an issue in places. It was an awesome full body and mind engaging run! Now THAT'S trail running!

April 7, 2009

I'm a Presidential Champion Today

It's funny how "light snow for part of the day" turned into "heavy frickin' snow the ENTIRE day". I thought my treadmill runs were over for the season. I was planning on doing my easy run outside on the Clinton River Trail. Didn't happen!! I forgot both a jacket and my gloves and with the snowfall, I would have been soaked and frozen without them. *sigh*

It really wasn't so bad. This is how I put it in my RW training log today, "Very nice, easy run on the treadmill. Nothing special and nothing to complain about."

However, I momentarily forgot about something very special that happened as a result of my run today. I won my Presidential Champions GOLD AWARD!!! Now I thought after the gold award, I'd start over in the Advanced Presidential Champions program. But apparently, there is a "very special" platinum award that one can earn in either program that they don't advertise in their literature. Very cool! The number of points I have to collect to earn it is 500,000. Bronze was 20,000, silver was 45,000 and gold was 80,000 (completed today). So I have a LOOOOONG way to go to earn that Platinum. That's a major jump in point totals!!! Go me!

April 5, 2009

red's race review

Who says you can't PR in a half marathon two days after completing a 19-miler!? Haha! Okay, it wasn't the best plan in the world, but it worked.

The Martian Marathon was this morning. I competed in the half as a warmup to the Bayshore Marathon in May. I finished in 1:34:45 -- beating my old PR from last fall by over 7 minutes, taking 5th in my age group and 15th woman overall. What a thrill!!!

I felt wonderful the entire race. I started tiring just a bit at around mile 11, but my pace hardly suffered. It was a good effort - I gave it my all. I did a good job picking my pace wisely right from the start. There were no aches and pains and the new shoes were wonderful! Came in just a minute behind my hubby. hehe! Love ya, Bear and Happy Birthday! Hope you like the new watch!

I ended up running with a nice guy named Rick from Erie, PA for 5-6 miles. He was 54 and did a great job managing my pace for that long! It was kind of fun having someone to chat with during the race. I'd never done that before.

The weather was perfect for running, though not great for standing around afterward. I quickly became uncomfortable after stopping - it was close to 40 degrees. I feel kind of bad missing the award ceremony as now I know I won an age group award. I hope I can stop by the store and pick it up next week. Matt had to work so we couldn't have stuck around had the temps been nicer anyway.

April 3, 2009

Back to Normal!

Haha! If anyone bothered reading my last post, you may well have realized how ridiculously fatigued I was. I'm much better now. I tell you, I could barely type a few hours ago. And this time, it wasn't because my fingers were cold.

The last post pretty well summarized my 19-miler, with very few words. One of my best professors in college had a saying, "Be concise and be precise." I think I managed that quite well! He'd be proud.

What I left out was my time. I finished in 2:40:17 -- 8:27 min/mile. My cheapo Timex can only recall ONE split, so I usually hit it at the halfway point on long runs. First and second half were both EXACTLY the same. Weird

It rained and rained all morning. I waited until about 11:30 when the downpour subsided a bit. I couldn't wait any longer! I lucked out. It misted a little for the first few miles, then the rain stopped altogether. It was VERY windy, but on the tree-lined trail I'm shielded from the wind most of the time. The only place where the wind really affected me was when I rounded the last corner with literally a tenth of a mile left and the wind hit me full force in the face at probably 20-30 mph. Glad there weren't any little children around to hear me curse the weather gods. It was brutal and evil.

So now I have a day and a half to rest before the Martian Half Marathon. (So much for a taper, eh?) I've been checking the weather reports every hour hoping they'd change their mind about the rain for race day. It paid off! They DID change their mind! As of a few minutes ago, it is no longer supposed to rain on race morning! WOOOO! The temps should be somewhere between 30-40F. Can't wait to run with the extra-terrestrials! Giant blow-up Martians holding mile-markers! hahaha!

Tomorrow we head out early to check out the expo and hopefully (fingers crossed) find some good gear deals. I need a waterproof (or very water resistant) running jacket, some tight summer shorts and racing tops. I doubt they'll have any, but I need some summer trail runners too. After the expo, it is off to my sister's for a pasta dinner and a birthday celebration for my husband. Happy birthday, Bear!! We'll be staying the night at her place since she's much closer to the race than we are and she's MUCH cheaper than a hotel! Thanks, sis!

Got this idea from Matty. Here's my route! -->

Killer 19-Miler

Finished my first 19-miler a few hours ago. Just now have the energy to write about it.

Wow. That was hard. Felt great for the first 10 miles. Somewhere between miles 11-12, I started getting tired. By mile 15, I was dead tired. The final 2 miles were killer. But I did it!!!!

Now I'm going to take a nap.

"Cats are like greatness: Some people are born into cat-loving families, some achieve cats, and some have cats thrust upon them." -William H. A. Carr

red's 2011 race schedule