Friday, April 30, 2010

A Midwest Welcome!

We are here!  

It was an easy flight from SEA to DEN.  The pilot coming into Denver warned us about possible turbulence coming off of the Rockies.  There were some bumps but nothing too much.  

As we were getting ready to leave Denver, the pilot said they were rerouting just a bit because of a storm.  And little did we know that the Eastern Nebraska area was being hit by storms including a tornado south of where we were landing. 

It's a pretty short flight from Denver to Omaha.  Nonetheless the attendants did not get to finish drink service.  They were ordered to their seats early and we were in for a wild ride.  The "Field" closed due to weather and we were held in the air.  I've never experienced bumping and jouncing like that before.  Outside the window was streaming water/hail/?? I have no idea.  No water was getting onto the windows or onto the engine.  What was it?  All I know was that the effect with the lights of the plane made it seem that we were on the ground (it honestly looked like road going by) jouncing along very very fast.  It was disconcerting.  

Periodically I could see flashes of lighting sometimes near and sometimes far and sometimes loud enough to hear.  It was a very long flight and once I heard the bell indicating landing I was thrilled it would be over soon.  Not only was hubby getting very ill so were many other passengers.  The odd thing was is that I've never heard such a chatty flight before.  If you were not ill, you were awake and chatting with your neighbors.   There was no way you could sleep or knit or read through the landing.  Those are my usual options anyway. 

Everybody cheered when we landed!  

Multiple passengers required assistance (including husband) just to get off the plane. Poor K was really, really ill.  It took a bit for him to feel well enough to finish de-airporting.  I do not feel any airsickness fortunately but the turbulence just frightens me.  Should it be?  I guess not says this article.  We got our rental and started driving off to Lincoln.  There were still cells of storms moving through with incredible displays of lightening.  Oy, it made me nervous because we'd heard the report of a possible tornado.  But soon enough we were at our hotel (got to Lincoln around 1:30 am) and ready for bed.  

Over breakfast we heard the next table over discussing earthquakes versus tornadoes.  And everyone agreed tornadoes were better because you got some warning.  Uh, hubby and I disagree!  No thanks!  How scary!  and I heard from the friend in the area that it was good that we landed much later.  Evidently the peak of the storms coming through the area were around 8 pm (we landed at 11:30).  The people are very friendly but watch out for that weather welcome!  

Today however, it is gorgeous and sunny.  windy but quite pleasant out.  Good thing I brought that sunscreen.  It's easy to obsess over weather forecasts for a marathon but what we were finding out is that the forecast was ever changing.  So, right now forecast looks excellent for Sunday but I'm not counting on it until Sunday at 7 am.  

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I remember now...

I remember now what I hate about running a marathon.

The taper and less running is just fine actually.  I'm generally ready stop getting up at 4:30 am to get those medium long runs in mid-week.  What a relief to only run 8 miles or so.

It's nice to have some more time to catch up on gardening, house cleaning, reading and such. 

But then there is this whole waiting and waiting and waiting.  Is it time to run yet?

NO!  it's taking forever to get here.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Is Taper Here Yet?


Lincoln Marathon is three weeks out.  I am tired and had to force myself out for runs this past week (M-6, T-7.8, W- 3.1, 8.3, Th-7.5, F -off).  That does not mean I've not had good runs this past week.  I had a fantastic track workout with mile repeats on Wednesday.  I am definitely to that point where the bulk of the training is done and I'm ready to start the process of tapering so that all my hard work will (hopefully) pay off.  

I've never really felt I needed that much of a taper in previous marathons.  And since my mileage had never been that high (40s), i think that was correct.  I've been pretty consistently at 50 mpw which is a lot for me and I am ready for the break from running.  I'll cut volume but I am hesitant of cutting quality.  The harder, shorter efforts should work to bring back a bit of speed while my body rests and recovers.  I have some minor little tweaks going on but taper, better self care since i'll have more time and a good massage should do the trick.  

I'm also tired just because I am hitting that lull in my cycle where runs are a struggle and I just feel low energy anyway.  yep, it's that menstrual cycle thing.  My last marathon hit on pretty much the worst day during my cycle and there was nothing really to do except gut it out.  So far, things seem to be going well timing-wise and Lincoln looks like a go.  After a big of googling, I did find a reasoning for why things feel so off at this time.  
"Impact on training
The hardest time to race efficiently, for athletes experiencing a menstrual cycle, is during the week before menstruation and a week after ovulation (Tracy Williams Ph. D 1993). At these times increased levels of progesterone simulate the brain's respiratory centre increasing ventilation rates (progesterone is also linked to the mood swings). Athletes use breathing rate as an indicator of exercise intensity so exercise can tend to feel harder at these times."

Personally I know I need more calories in the five days before my menstrual cycle.  I crave higher fat items, more protein and beef specifically and if I don't plan for extra snacks at work, I end up eating sugary junk and just feel even worse.  Even though I eat more in this time, I do not gain extra weight once I'm through the worst days.  Short, hard efforts like 5k's are doable but longer efforts can be challenging.  Oh I can do it, but it feels much harder and race pace is problematical.  (And then wait a week, and the very same workout WILL feel easy so it is enough to make you think you are crazy but it's just hormones, i've learned.) 

There was just this little thing called a Last Long Run on the schedule this weekend.  20 miles.  Oh I was dragging yesterday at work (a rest day from running).  I'm on my feet a lot during the day and towards the end, my energy was flagging even with extra snacks and a lovely dinner of Beef braised with red wine and basil for dinner for 4 nights!  Run 20 miles the next day? It was unfathomable. I did debate pushing it to Sunday or even pushing it to next weekend but no, i wanted it done.  The little tweak settled with the day off and I knew I could do the miles.  I wouldn't set any speed records but I knew I'd get it done.  

I slept in and had breakfast (oatmeal) while I debated the run.  Hubby was kind enough to come pick me up when done from Downtown.  I could've taken the bus, but a quick ride home is the best! I figured out a good 20 mile distance with just enough hills to keep me honest and off I went.  By mile 2, i knew I could do the distance and feel fine.  I had no oomph on the uphills and the fierce northwind was tough to deal with but I just trotted along not concerned at all and ended up with a good long run pace overall.  The gorgeous views of the Olympics off of Magnolia were just stunning.  Mentally this wasn't even a tough run either.  I knew I could do it.  

Evidently training has worked, I'm ready for the taper and really looking forward to Lincoln! If I run as planned tomorrow afternoon, I'll hit 60 run miles for the week.  A new weekly mileage high and one I never, ever thought I'd hit.  Heck, we don't even drive that many miles in a week! 

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Female Green Lake Runners/Walkers

On Tuesday, I ran from my house down towards Green Lake.  I started at the usual time of around 5:30 am.

I normally run at this time of day and I'm used to the usual goings on at Green Lake and on the streets.  Yep, it's mostly deserted except for a few cars along the roads.  Around Green Lake there is a bit more activity.  Garbage trucks can be out, park employees are out opening bathrooms and there are the usual runners and walkers getting their workout in.

On this past Tuesday, I noticed a lot of police patrolling the area.  I was along Ravenna Blvd (a connector road for runners and bikers) and then onto the outer Green Lake trail.  There is normally a cop right around the Stadium Area of Green Lake.  This particular morning I saw squad cars along Ravenna, around the north end of the lake, the usual stadium presence and one parked in the tennis court area of the south fields.

Ok.  I was seriously concerned.  I've never seen so many cops.  What has happened to warrant this amount of patrol in a usually sleepy area?  I had no idea.

i found out that a fiance of a friend was running along the Aurora section of Green Lake at 7:30 in the morning (daylight) on a friday.  A male runner came up behind her which is not cause for concern as these are well used trails and there are always people around to pass and pass you.  This guy grabbed her around the waist and then pulled her tights down.  He said, "sorry, i thought you were someone else" and ran off.

She reported it to the police but the police have never taken the report.  This incident happened two weeks ago.  Increased police presence in the am this week?  I do not think this is a coincidence.

Please be careful out there! 

And oh this makes me so angry.

A Sure Sign of Spring.

Actually, it's been stormy, wet and miserable here the past week.  Cold and windy with major squalls moving though the area and a ton of snow in the mountains.  It seems like it has been like this all week.  the wind downtown was unreal.  I was walking to work and the wind was strong enough to push me around.

And of course this coincides with the highest mileage week in marathon training.  Sigh.

Spring is here though!  It's definitely lighter and I was back on a trail this morning.  I am so not in single track trail shape right now.  Wow.  It's amazing how different running single track trails feels when you've been doing roads/groomed trails.  I could feel the strength workout and enjoyed the hip/calf/hamstring workout.  And since we've had so much rain, the trails were pretty muddy and slick which gives a good core workout.  Fun stuff!  I had a great time trotting easily on Coal Creek Trail from the shore of Lake Washington to Wilderness Peak on Cougar Mountain and back down the mountain to SR 900.  Ok the trot down the mountain was a bit painful.  My quads were a bit quivery by the time i was done!

Coal Creek between Lake Washington and Red Town Trailhead is my favorite in-city trail.  Yep, it's a slog uphill the whole way but the trail feels very remote and goes by some historic mining activity.  It's single track and winds around the ravine of Coal Creek.  A few years ago the trail was heavily damaged in a severe rain event.  They've replaced bridges which were washed away and today i saw they've been working on patching some of the rougher trail areas.  They were getting a bit barren in places and I often felt like i was in danger of loosing the trail and slipping down the hillside to the creek. It's great to see that these well-loved trails are being cared for. 

Early April means the trilliums are just blooming and the bleeding hearts are getting ready.  The moss is a brilliant chartreuse color which looks like sunlight is hitting it but it really is just glowing all by itself.  Coal Creek was running strongly and the falls were the fullest I've seen.  The forest smells wonderfully fresh and clean and I felt fabulous.  Just 10 miles for this run although it is a longer and harder run just because of terrain and time spent running.  I'll follow today's fun trot with a longer road run and hope my quads don't complain too much. I lived up to the blog name.  Even after scrubbing my toes in the shower, i still have mud. 

And now we have a new ritual of spring.  Last fall we planted a rhubarb plant.  Today was the first harvest day.  Rhubarb is just bizarre.  We've been watching its growth with interest.  So I went out and wiggled and then yanked out a couple of stalks.  chopped them up and we now have some rhubarb bread to enjoy.