Monday, March 27, 2017

Still Got It!

First, this has nothing to do with running. Thursday night my friends and I attended Puddles Pity Party at the Cleveland House of Blues, and this happened:

Best. Concert. EVER. I highly recommend you see him if he is in your area.

Second, I was worried that my foray into trail running would give me a sense of false confidence. That is, because I allow my self to walk any time I like on a trail, I worried that I would not be able to run on a flatter surface for an extended length of time. To test this theory, I decided to run 17 miles on the Towpath today (Sunday). The Burning River Goddesses have been so kind to me; they offered to either run the full 17 with me (Marta and Kelsie) or join me for part of the fun. Jen's husband Steve, who is an honorary Goddess and a rock star trail runner who is training for Burning River (the full Monty, folks), also offered to join me for the first 12 miles.

So it was that Steve, Marta, Kelsie, and I started from Lock 29 at 8 AM. I was worried that I would hold them back, and I told them all to leave me whenever they felt that they needed to. . .but they didn't. One of my big problems is that I CAN run a good mid-pack pace, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I SHOULD run that pace, especially on the long runs. My goal was to finish strong and feel good, and to accomplish that, I knew I had to run much more slowly than I normally would like to run.

We all had a great discussion on the Towpath, sometimes running fast and sometimes running slowly. I was wearing my Cleveland Ambassador long-sleeved tech shirt, and within two miles I was ROASTING, although I looked super cool.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I'm roasting, but I'm rocking a super cool shirt.
After 9.5 miles, we were back at Lock 29, where I ate a banana, changed into a short-sleeved shirt, and used the bathroom. Then we joined up with Jen and Tracy for the rest of the run.  I'm not going to say it was easy because it wasn't, but I really enjoyed my run with everyone.  We saw turtles, lots of turtles:

This was one log of four in that section--all full of turtles. 

And we talked and bitched and laughed.

At mile 16.9, I decided that the kick had to come now, and I actually picked up the pace and ran very quickly (I'm not going to say I sprinted because I didn't) to the end. Then I had .4 miles to walk as a cool down. I am very pleased with how I finished. I felt strong, and although I felt sore, I still think it was a good run.

I have a while until I need to hit my 20 miler. While talking it through with Jen today, I decided that I'm going to hover around these middle miles for a while, which is what I did when I trained for my first marathon. I would like to get to a point where I say, "Oh. It's only 16 miles." Maybe then my 20 miler won't feel as awful as it did when I ran it for the Akron Marathon.

How is your training? Have you registered for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon?  NO??? Well, you can register here today, or you can check out the Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors to see who is giving away a race entry. Join me! You know you want to see how I handle running this marathon by myself (unless you want to run with me???).  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Don't Go Chasin' Waterfalls

Today I did 16 miles. I got up super early to run three miles along the canal at Bedford Reservation, and then I joined the Burning River Goddesses to do 13 more miles on the trails. Jen warned us that it would be an adventure. . .and that it was.

The adventure started with sucking mud in the first two miles. I almost lost my shoes, but curling my toes helped me to hang on. Then we got to run on the top of the valley, with a drop that was literally one foot to my left with nothing between me and oblivion. Then we hit the waterfalls:

Waterfall #1
Waterfall #2

Waterfall #3. I wish I could remember the names of these falls.
When we hit their halfway point (and my 10-mile point), there was a raging river that, according to Jen's map, we were supposed to cross. Really? Jen spent minutes looking at the river and trying to come up with a way to ford it while we took turns yelling, "We are NOT f---cking crossing that river, Jen."

This is the very shallow part of the river. You can still see whitecaps.
Jen gave it up for this time (with the promise of a crossing at a later time), and we headed  back to the car. This time we took a slightly different turn, and it led to a stream crossing that was more like a stream wading. It was about calf-deep for me (and deeper for Jen, who took a spill), and the water was bone-achingly freezing. This helped me to pick up my pace, as I couldn't feel my feet anymore.

While we paused at the river crossing, we took a picture:

Renee, Tracy, Marta, Jen, Me
All in all, I give Bedford Reservation a double thumbs-up. What a beautiful run! I can't wait to see it in fall!

How is your training going? Are you enjoying the increased mileage? Are you training for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon? Join me there! Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Trails Are the Answer

I'm amping up the mileage, Peeps. Last week was a fallback week--13 miles. This week I intended to return to 16 miles, possibly do 17, but there was a weird parking problem.  All the trailhead parking lots were closed at 8:00, when I intended to put in possibly 5 miles before meeting up with Jen and Renee.  No matter. I diverted to an open place and managed to run 3 road miles before the official run.

It was cold, Peeps.  Really, really cold. I was thankful that I warmed up on the road, but it wasn't necessarily a fun moment while I did it.

Once I got on the trails I felt fine. It never really got warmer, but I run hot, and the trees protected us from wind, so I had a great time.
This was supposed to be a cool picture of the trails, but it turned out to be a picture of where I broke my ass falling down.

I tried some new fuel: GU Chomps, Strawberry.  I liked the taste, but they were super chewy and difficult to break down in my mouth. At one point I was worried that I would get them sucked into my windpipe and die. I bought a whole case of them, so I need to work this out.

I love running with Jen and Renee for many reasons. Here are a few:

1. They are English teachers, like me. When we bitch about life, we do it in iambic pentameter.

2. They are incredibly kind. When I explained my future dilemma of increasing my miles and getting in a 20 miler before the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, they immediately offered to split up and each run ten miles with me.

3. They don't mind if I talk or swear. They talk and swear.

4. If they think I'm a bitch or a freak, they haven't said so or shown it.

I am going through a bit of a stressful time  right now, so I feel super-lucky that these ladies have taken me in and shared their runs with me. Long runs for me get hard after 15 miles, and the fact that Jen and Renee knew this because of their own experiences and stepped in to help means everything to me. Thank you, Ladies. You are beautiful.

We were pretty thirsty on this trail run. Jen decided to go for the gross, yellow icicles. Renee knew better.
I have some time to increase my mileage before the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, so I'm not going to beat myself up about getting in 15 miles instead of the projected 17.  My long miles were originally for Shelby, and that isn't necessary anymore.

We all need the long miles for proper training, Peeps. It's much easier when you can run with friends. If you don't have any running friends, make some now! I guarantee it will change your running experiences for the better. If you do have running friends, thank them this week. We all love appreciation.

Whom will you thank this week?  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Magical Thinking

I believe in magical thinking. Call it what you want: prayer, visualization, meditation, voodoo. . .it's magic, and I believe it works. To this end, I have participated in some magical thinking lately:

1.  Achilles Tendon.

My Achilles Tendon has been bothering me since October. There are days when it is unbearable, and there are days where I don't even notice it. I spent months researching and doing strength training and stretches for my hamstrings and tendon, but it hasn't gotten better. I finally decided to find a chiropractor who specializes in Active Release Technique.

This is EXACTLY how my Achilles Tendon looks. Probably yours, too, by the way.
Active Release Technique basically uses deep muscle massage to help tendons and muscles that are strained or tight from overuse. My friend Ed, who is an amazing runner, convinced me that this would be the way to go, so I gave it a shot.

I had never visited a chiropractor before, but magical thinking, right? So far, I've had three sessions, and there isn't a magical cure, but I'm still hopeful.

2. K-Tape

This goes along with the Active Release Technique. I definitely think KTape is magical thinking, so it's a good thing I'm a believer.

3. Switching up the Routine

Not gonna lie, Peeps. I didn't post last week because I felt an overwhelming sense of metaphysical despair.  Shelby and I ran 16 miles, and each step felt like death to me. I just never got into a groove, and then I made the mistake of comparing that 16 miler to other 16 milers I have run. . .it just led to disgust with myself and life.

This week I got to roll back the miles a bit, and Shelby, feeling the same disgust, dumped me, so I decided to shake things up a bit. I messaged Jen and begged her to let me go trail running with her and her peeps. I went early and ran three road miles, and then I did ten miles with the Burning River Goddesses.  It was a trail I had never seen before, and I had a ton of fun.
Me, Renee, Jen.  See how happy we are?

 I felt much more positive about my training after a run through the forest with the sun shining through the trees, which leads me to number 4:

4.  Race Registration

I did it, Peeps; I pulled the trigger and registered for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon! This will be my second marathon, and I'm feeling a bit unsure of myself, so SHOW ME SOME FREAKING LOVE ABOUT THIS!!! The first thing you can do is register here so you can run with me! I'll need all the support I can get, PLUS a lot of magical thinking.

What kinds of magical thinking are you using this week, Peeps? Clap your hands if you believe in fairies! Until then, run happy!

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