June 23, 2011

Wonderful Failure

Did you ever have a workout that did not go anywhere close to what you had planned but you still felt great about it? I just had one of those! When I finished, it made me think of how, as runners, we need to be adaptable with our workouts (even in the middle of them!), since sh!t happens. ;-)

This workout actually took on a life all its own as it morphed and developed along the way. I had to alter it several times during the course of the run. Originally I was going to run 2 x 3 mile intervals at ~6:50 min/mile. The beginning went great. First two miles were 6:45 and 6:45. I felt amazing. So good, in fact, that by mile 2 1/2 I decided to skip the recovery mile and simply do a 6 mile tempo run. I had a rhythm going and didn't want to break it. Mile 3 was 6:43 and I still felt super strong. By the middle of mile 4 I started feeling a side stitch. ARGH! It wasn't bad at first and I was hoping it'd go away, but I decided that if it was still around at the end of mile 4, I'd take that recovery mile I skipped earlier. I finished mile 4 in 6:39. I was getting faster!! But the stitch was getting more intense and I couldn't ignore it anymore, so I slowed down.

I still wanted to get in 6 miles at tempo pace, so after my one mile recovery, during which the side stitch mercifully disappeared, I picked my pace back up, intending to finish those last 2 miles. Since I was doing this workout as an out and back on the Paint Creek Trail, I turned around during the recovery mile and was heading back toward home. The out is very slightly downhill, which means on the return, I go back up. The only time I ever notice the incline is during speedwork/tempo runs, so of course, it got me today. I tried to keep up the same pace I had during the first 4 mile pick-up, but I was hurting after just one mile which I did in 6:53. I pushed myself an extra half mile (3:28) then had to recover again - I was getting pretty wobbly! This time I let myself take only a half mile recovery and then picked up the pace one last time. The final push was only a mile and that mile was all I had left (6:44)! I finished feeling exhausted but proud! With a 2 mile warm-up and 2 mile cool-down, I did a total of 12 miles today. Happy.

Close encounters of the feathered kind: At the very end of the PCT, just as I was about to turn the corner and head to my condo building, I got DIVE BOMBED by a red-winged blackbird!! The nerve!!! I know these guys are uber-territorial and just plain bratty and I've had them hover 5 feet above my head screeching at me before, but this guy went way beyond that! He swooped down to within inches of my head! I felt the swooosh! And he did it TWICE! Sheeesh!!! You'd think the crazy birds would be wise enough not to build nests so close to well-traveled trails!

I had no such problems with the cute little spotted fawn I saw frolicking on the trail earlier in the run. Awwwww.... :-)

June 19, 2011

Stony Creek Metropark - 18 Mile Training Run


I did a long run today and it was miserable. I figured I should post my thoughts on it so maybe I can learn from my failures. Though now that I think about it, this run wasn't really a failure. I did complete an 18 mile training run in hot weather. How many people can do that? :-) Now I feel better.

Stony Creek Metropark 18-mile training run - 3 loops on the paved hike/bike path around the lake.

First loop went pretty well. First mile was 8:20ish and second was 7:40ish. The next two were in the 7:30s, but I still felt good. Finished that loop okay. The only problem was the Fuel Belt bugging my GI system. I took off the belt, consumed a gel (Accel) and drank some Gatorade. I decided to simply hold one of my small Fuel Belt bottles for the next loop which I wanted to do at around 7:15s.

I started out loop 2 feeling pretty good and feeling pretty fast. I finished the first mile in 7:20-something, slower than I thought I was going. The second mile was also in the 7:20s but included the big hill. Kept up the effort into mile 3 but crashed hard in the middle of it. Ugh. Tried slowing the pace, but that didn't help. I ended up walking. I continued to run/walk until I reached Babylon (the brook). I was feeling icky - my hands were sticky, my face was sticky and I needed chapstick. At the brook I washed my hands and face in the water and rinsed off the sticky bottle. There was nothing I could do about my lips, but I still felt a lot better. I sat down and rested a little while - maybe 5 minutes at most. I then continued on at a slow run and was able to finish the loop.

I contemplated stopping after those 12 miles, but realized I shouldn't. Even walking the final loop would be better than quitting. I downed a LOT of Gatorade (I must have been very dehydrated even though I was drinking regularly), took another gel and rested a bit. I swapped out the small Fuel Belt bottle for a large Camelbak bottle once I realized how dehydrated I had become. I took off at a walk.

I didn't think I'd be able to run for a while since I drank so much, but the fluids absorbed super quickly! I made myself walk the entire first mile and then started running again - slowly. It didn't hurt as much as I thought it would! I was able to continue running until I got to the new drinking fountain at about mile 3.5. I was almost out of Gatorade anyway, so I dumped out what was left and refilled with water. I ended up squirting about half the bottle on my back, so had to refill again! I drank a LOT of water (it was nice and cold!!) and so had to walk again when I took off. I walked for about another mile and then started running again and finished the loop feeling pretty good!

This was a TOUGH run. I'm glad I pushed through and at least did 18 of 20 miles I had originally intended. The heat got me. I wonder if running my "easy" run two days ago MUCH too quickly (big surprise) also left me with too little energy for such a hard training run. I also think I may not have drank enough yesterday while sitting around in the heat at Lumberjack. Lots of factors. Who knows what really happened. May also have just been a bad day.

June 11, 2011

Flirt with Dirt 10k - Yeah, that went pretty well... ;-)

I was cocky enough to go into Trail Marathon telling everyone I was going to win, and I did. I knew better than to do the same for a shorter distance, like Flirt with Dirt 10k this morning. I figured someone faster would surely show up! She didn't. I won again!! That's 2 out of 2 so far for the Serious Series. Now I'm feeling the pressure to win The Legend Half Marathon and make it a Serious Series SWEEP. That'd be WAY sweet!!

I learned four years ago to go out fast at Flirt because there are not many opportunities to pass. This is the tightest singletrack I've ever raced on. It isn't very hilly, nor very technical, just TIGHT! Always changing direction! I love the trail! It is very unique.

The few times I got behind someone, he was going at just the right pace to keep me from overdoing it. I used that to my advantage to keep myself from blowing up. I set goals, telling myself, "Once I get to mile 2, start looking for a passing opportunity." Then I'd pass, catch up with the next guy and let him pace me for a while until I hit another mile marker. Then I'd pass, catch up with the next guy, rinse and repeat. It worked great! Trail race strategy is so much different than road race strategy! That's why I consider them two very different sports.

The most amusing part of the day was when Randy went to read Matt's name for his age group award. Instead of saying his name, Randy called him, "Paula's Husband." lol!!!!!!!!

Super fun time and great seeing so many pals!!!

June 8, 2011

Oakland University - 1st Treadmill Trial

Today was my first treadmill trial at OU. I took my "mystery drug" 2 hours before the start and showed up at the lab ready to run. They took all sorts of bodily fluids from me before we started and attached an HR monitor and body core temp reader to me (which read the sensor I swallowed earlier). They set da 'mill at 6.3 mph which is 60% my max speed from my VO2 max test and I ran for exactly one hour. Then they took more samples and I did a performance trial which was similar to my VO2 max test sans headgear/facemask and heavy tubing which made it MUCH easier! I maxed out at 10.8 mph for 1 min after having the speed bumped up 0.5 mph every minute. Total time for performance trial - 10 minutes. More samples taken and then I had to donate my clothes (which will be returned) and got all the sweat rinsed off me (COLD!!!).

I felt totally fine during the treadmill trial. Oddly enough, after rinsing the sweat off, toweling dry and dressing, I started to overheat pretty badly. I had to sit down with a fan right on me and have some ice applied to the back of my neck. I sucked down quite a bit of Gatorade too. It only took a few minutes to get back to normal.

I'm going to have to guess the capsule I took is the placebo unless the diuretic and anti-diuretic are so mild that I wouldn't notice their effects, which I suppose is entirely possible. I didn't feel any different during the trial. Didn't need to urinate, didn't feel excessively thirsty, didn't feel bloated - just normal. We'll see if I can tell a difference during the next trial!

June 1, 2011

Characters and Dirt Roads

I picked up my "mystery drug packet" today at Oakland University for the study I'm participating in with Dr. Tamara Hew. I'm discovering more and more how much of a character Dr. Hew is. She signed off her last email to me with, "giggles and grins." When I walked in to her office, she was wearing a bright red Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat sweatshirt. She had bunny Easter peeps on top of her filing cabinet decorated and in different poses. She also had placed stickers all over our drug packets. Cute. :-) She truly is a character. I like her a lot!

I was given explicit instructions not to store the drug packet in a metal container. Then I got thinking... once I swallow the drugs and the core temp sensor, I'll be sitting in a metal container (car) for quite a while on my drive to the university! Hmmm... ;-)

After picking up my drugs and getting my strength training out of the way, it was time to celebrate National Running Day!! I had a great run, almost perfect. The only tiny little mar in an otherwise perfect run was a nagging sore hamstring. Little bugger. The weather finally feels like late Spring, sunny and warm (but not too warm) so I strapped on my Fuel Belt and headed out for a middle distance run on my beloved dirt back roads. I'm so very spoiled by these roads. The traffic is very light to non-existant, the scenery is lovely with lots of trees, wildlife and wildflowers, ponds, marshes, lakes, farms and fields... Even though my singletrack is still muddy and partially underwater in spots due to all the rain this spring, the roads are so trail-like I hardly miss it.

Happy Running!
"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