Sunday, November 25, 2012


Along Coal Creek Trail

Happy Thanksgiving!

it's one of my favorite holidays. We usually host family for the meal. We've got it down pretty well too so it's not a big deal.  So much so that we were able to go off and do a small little race the morning of Thanksgiving. 

The Magnuson monthly run series sure is convenient.  I'd planned on this 10k but my back was a bit tight earlier in the week.  That meant I held off and registered the day of the race.  usually that is prohibitively expensive but for this race, it's just a normal race fee.  It's a no frills, no chip timed get out there and race sort of an event.  Most run the 5k so just one loop but it's a convenient venue to get a consistent 10k effort for me.  5k?  yeah, with marathon training, i think the 10k distance is a bit better for me.

Lots of rain at the Coal Creek Falls.
K came along just to do a longer mid-week run since it is easy access to a running path. MK a running friend from my work building was there too.  he's a fast master's runner and is always fun to chat with.  It was a lot more crowded than i was expecting.  So with registration and parking, i had scant time to do a 1 mile warm up.  I'd prefer a longer warm up but that would do.

I wasn't sure what pace to expect.  I'd had a long run and then a workout just days before.  My legs felt a bit stiff. and with a "ready, set, " we were off.  This 5k course that I'd run twice is always being tweaked a bit.  There is always Kite Hill and then some gravel/many turn sections.  This time there was a featured grass interlude as they are doing some construction.  No worries.  I felt pretty strong and even passed someone up the hill.  That's a first!  The hairpin turn at the end of mile 3 always feels awful but this time it was better.  maybe i slowed a bit on teh second lap and that was mostly because i was worried about blowing up!  There are many fewer runners who run the second lap so it also becomes a lesson in maintaining focus.  I did better than i have.  

I was delighted to see the clock reading well under 48 minutes as I came through.  MK was cheering for me too which was a nice touch. This course always reads a bit short on my garmin.  It think it is just a 10k and with the multiple turns with that hairpin turns it reads short.  Either way, the well under 48 minutes (47:36 by my watch) astounds me!  It has been since early 2007 since i've run under 48.  Yippee!

Dinner was fabulous and it was nice to visit with everyone.  And then we had friday with pouring rain, a clean house and a lot of leftovers.  That's right.  I never even got dressed for the day.  I knit and relaxed and watch movies.  it's the perfect holiday!

Saturday was pleasantly non rainy and because we had no plans, i was able to go off and get in a longer trail run.  Of course the rain, rain, rain we'd had meant i had to chose my trail carefully.  I didn't want such a bog that i was having to hike about a lot.  There would be no falling or slipping! And the Coal Creek Trail in Newcastle is really good for this.  They've done a lot of work on the trails in the past couple years and it shows with how well drained it is.  Sure there are still some boggy sections but not bad at all.  And i saw a coyote!  Twice!  At first I thought it might be a dog as it was trotting along on the trail behind me (I was stopped quietly enjoying the view and having a gel) but that intelligent considering look was just not dog-like.  I called out to make sure it saw me and to make sure there weren't any humans about with it.  Nope, it was just out for a trail run too.  

RPD at mile 12.
Today was the Seattle Half and Full Marathon.  I was not running it but i had many friends who were doing various events.  I hopped onto the course at mile 9 with RPD to pace him through the final hills of Interlaken.  he was running really strongly and I was excited for him.  I don't think I've ever had a run where I am passing so many people on the uphills.

After 2.9 miles, i turned back wishing him well (stay strong!) and jogged back on course seeing a couple other people out running.  I got back to my car and ate and had some coffee (I'd brought snacks and a thermos of coffee) to wait for TR.  She was running her first marathon and we'd done a lot of training runs together the past couple months.  She's not had a lot of folks cheering her efforts so i thought it would be nice to jump on course with her as well.

Right on schedule she came through and was moving pretty well.  She was quiet and hurting a bit but still maintaining a smile.  She ended up stopping just once to stretch out some verging on cramping hamstrings but got right back to running.  Even though she was hurting you couldn't tell and I was quite inspired by her efforts.

Yep, i'm excited to race in a couple weeks and it was a great weekend to remind myself of all that I am thankful for every day. This was a great way to start a taper. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's that time of year...

Yep, it happens every year about now.  You know what I mean. All of a sudden it is dark and cold and wet outside.  Sometimes it is windy too.  The better days for running re-set standards.  Not raining, only a little breezy and 40 degrees?  Wow, that is good running weather.

I'd planned to be done with marathon training by the end of October but of course my plans were derailed.  I took a week off to regroup and figure out what I wanted to do.  I wanted to run a marathon and soon.  So the past three weeks have been high mileage for me which is 40, and then back to back 50 mile weeks.

And yeah the weather has sucked.  How do I keep it going?  It has helped that I've had someone to run with once or twice a week.  Those miles go much quicker when chatting companionably with someone.  Even better if we are doing a "workout" and are going at a faster pace which requires concentration.  Those are always easier with other people.

I've figured out how to check audio books out of the library and I've been listening to those for certain longer runs.  Normally I prefer not to listen to anything.  Listening to music doesn't do much for me but a good, well read book?  Oh yes, that holds my concentration very well but it does not detract from the mindful running I prefer. 

I try to get out to trails for easy recovery runs.  Of course that can only be on the weekend when i'm not working but a trail run is always better in the rain than a road run.  Recovery runs are particular pleasant on trails as I love the better range of movement i get on trails.

I've also added back in a more consistent weight training routine.  I'd normally do some upper body weights, core and hip strength work twice a week generally.  I'd really wanted to look into a more consistent routine and finally decided on the p90x program.  Note: I am not receiving anything for reviewing their product.

Why this program?  Mostly because they had an app for my iphone.  Yes, really.  I didn't want to go to a gym (although I'd looked at some kettlebell programs) nor did i really want a set of dvds.  Our player is so slow to load and truthfully i get bored!  I need to be able to do a program while watching something i want to watch (not an exercise video).

The app lets you track and schedule the program and you can download (for a fee - much less than the dvd set) guided workouts for the program.  I've picked a program (lean) and I'm doing it concurrently with my run schedule.  I generally keep the specific strength workouts for arms/shoulders/abs/legs/back and am for now skipping the other workouts besides Core Synergy.  I don't feel all that comfortable adding in such different cardio workouts on top of the running.  If I am tired or sore from running I have skipped the strength workouts or kept them easy.  It's worked though.  Even in a few weeks I feel stronger especially in upper body.  I wasn't sure about the leg or back work but it turned out I could either modify it or have found those movements useful.

it's a good reminder about one of the reasons I enjoy running. Keep moving!  I'm not getting any younger or stronger by just sitting on the couch! There are so many reasons to strength train in addition to my regular running routine. 

And yep, that helps me get out the door to get in my runs when it is raining, windy, dark and cold.  


Did Not Finish.

Those are hard. I think this one was even harder because it hadn't even crossed my mind that I'd not finish.  I hadn't even though of it as an option.  And yet, at mile 13.75, it was the right thing to do.

So then what?  I went through the thoughts of I am never running again.

Really?  You love running. It makes you relaxed and happy most every day of the week and lets you do super fun things including keeping you fit for walking and gardening.  And now we've watched the East Coast get pounded with Hurricane Sandy and we've seen the drama of the 2012 Election and thinking about this more, it sure is a privilege being able to run daily and in fun events all over the country.

That doesn't mean I won't be trying again and soon.  It just means I needed a bit of time to think about it all.  I took 4 days off from all activity besides a super cool walk in a national monument.  It was the right thing to do.  I needed to want to run again and it took that much time. 

The super cool National Monument? I highly recommend going to the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument just north of Albuquerque if you ever get a chance. It's a new-ish designation and not a lot of ammenities.  No matter as the scenery more than makes up for it!