Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I am a SPAZ...

Really. In capital letters! When only 100 feet from the end of a relatively benign trail, after not even 4 miles out, I trip on something (a leaf????) and do this:

Threw me for a few minutes...you know, the shock of "I'm ok, but that hurt like a SOB, geez I hope no one saw that, omg I'm an idiot, where's the car"....all in one long in-your-mind freaked out run-on sentence!

All is well now. Just a bruise remaining, but crap, I hate it when that happens!

And for those that are going to say that I shouldn't have been on the trail alone. I was and I wasn't. I went to a particular trail alone, but it is well populated and on a college campus. I even had to duck out of an engagement photo shoot! besides, I have fallen in the middle of the sidewalk too....in the middle of town. Yup. Spaz. Maybe I should wear a helmet?!? Lmao! Could you imagine?

All in all, still love the trail and can't wait to get back out there with my buddy in a more remote area.

Have you ever had a spaz moment while out running?

Monday, March 19, 2012

I have a new LOVE!

And her name is the trail! I went for my first run with my new trail buddy today....she who is crazy enough to also think running a 50k through the woods will be fun & exciting (even though we've never trail run before)! Yes, we are riding this crazy train together & I have to say I'm loving the journey!!!!

We set out today with a goal of going slow & easy. We just wanted to see what was out there in those wooded hills behind our houses. There are what seems to be an endless amount of trails up there, from single track, to ATV trail to gravel roads. We tried All kinds. Before I knew it we were 2 hours in and still feeling fresh! Now granted we were averaging 20 minute miles, but we were tackling steep hills, sightseeing, and learning how to orient ourselves In the woods. It only took 2 route tracking programs, a gps map, and a compass app on 2 iPhones (+2 Garmins, of course) to keep us roughly oriented! Lol! If it wasn't for technology we'd run a pretty good chance of becoming a search and rescue mission.
Cornerstone 1847

We found some crazy stuff out on the trail...like this fireplace with trees growing out of it. This is part of why we were slow, our curiosity. We couldn't just run by this type of thing. We had to stop and check it out. We found a stone with the year 1847 carved into it!

We found an absolutely gorgeous lake. We tried to run the perimeter but it was too wet and boggy around the edges still and had to turn back. Plus I'm pretty sure those geese were guarding a nest judging by the cool reception we received from them. Soon though!

We also came across some weird signs:
'Trail'...thanks for the tip
uh really...cause I'm not sure how you'd get a wheelchair TO this point!
4 point deer carcas

The scene of a crime:

And the door to the Leprechaun Kingdom;)

Leprechaun door???
Today was also a personal learning experience. I learned:

I can run without music!

I have found the perfect "sole sister" & can actually run WITH a partner. I was not so sure I would enjoy it. I was wrong...SO much fun!

Trail buddy!
I need a donkey or Sherpa to run with me to carry stuff.

In lieu of the aforementioned Sherpa, I need a camelback with some good storage space. I'm packing a sandwich next time. Seriously. I had the usual running 'food' with me and I could have eaten an entire cow I was so hungry when I got home!

4 hours. 12.5 miles. I smelled like a hockey bag by the end. Even so, my trail buddy still wants to run with me again!
2 deer legs...gross!

This is so freakin' fun!

So ultra/trail runners out there...any tips?

What is more important: miles run or time on your feet?

Beautiful pond!
Um, sure I won't swim
GPS, my new bff
really???this was a field!
Trail buddy checking our location

Friday, March 16, 2012

Trail Tales

Trail Running is whole different beast!

What gorgeous spring weather we've had this week! Absolutely A-Maz-Ing!!!!  My ultra-buddy sent me a few links that she found about trails up behind our houses.  Mostly, wildlife access (hunting) trails....but hey, you take what you can get.  We live on a hill and there is forest behind...you know, the kind that tucks in power lines and cell towers.  Whatever, apparantly it is loaded with trails and I got excited to check it out. Come join me as I run the slowest, hardest 5 miles of my life!

Scene of 1st walk
Nice wide trail...happy
Go Down
or Up
I started up the access road between our neighbourhood and the corporate campus.  It is a long, slow, steep hill.  I make it past the workmen tearing up some pipes in a ditch without embarrassing myself, but soon am forced to walk up the steepest couple hundred meters.  Ok, phew, made it! Must be smoothe sailing from here right?  Ha! I reach a spot with 2 water towers (11 years, never knew they were here) and see a wide trail behind.  It's the kind of trail I imagine ATV's tool around on. Nice soft leaves and not too much mud.  I start out running flat but it slowly turns downhill and then pops out at a small pond by a parking garage in the corporate park.  Ok, am oriented now.  I turn back up, end up walking just a minute or two as the half mile or so climb gets harder.  I see a cross trail.  This one is less groomed, muddier but still looks ok. I dig out my phone, and load the map program to see where I am and try it out.  I quickly scare a herd of deer.  Wasn't fast enough with the camera to catch them.  I took this for several minutes and it remained flat, then suddenly popped out in this giant swath of open space cut into the woods.  It's not the power line trail....no idea why it's here.  It looks like a long wide ski hill.  I'm not quite sure where I am so I find myself on the map again (gps is a wonderful invention). I quickly check out where the trail continues but within a few feet I realize I'm not really comfortable heading in there alone.  I'll wait until I'm with my ultra buddy to head into that smaller trail.  So the choice now is do I go up or down. It's hard to see in this picture, but apparently if you choose down, there is a lake you can get to. Had no idea it was there and where it actually is! As going down is away from home and commits me to climbing all the way back up, I choose up..which looks shorter & is, but is still a long-ass way.  Up is REALLY long and REALLY steep.  I am forced to walk again and have no shame telling you this.  It was really, really hard.  I got to the top, but it wasn't, so I jogged a small flat and then walked again to the real top.  I found a wide open field and several man made rock stacks/sculptures along the way.  It was slow going and I had to pull out the map app and find myself a few times.  This ended up a 20 minute mile. And seriously, I was a hot mess & breathing hard after only 2 or so miles!  I now am trying to find a specific trail to wind back toward my house and low and behold, the map is right and I find it! I hang a right onto another of the smaller ATV trails, but after a few hundred meters I see a single track trail.  I look a little closer and it has mountain bike treads in the dirt.  This is a good sign.  It is going relatively in the right direction, so I hang a left.  I was SO glad I did! This was the funnest part of my run! It snaked back and forth down the side of the hill for about a half mile before popping back out on the path I entered it on.  SO fun! I oriented my self once again and headed towards the power line trail and sent a picture text of our neighbourhood to my ultra buddy who is sitting frustrated at home with bronchitis :-(. Then it was back into the area I started, but on different cross trails. 
Part of the single track

I was a hot, sweaty, tired mess when I finished, but it was the most fun I've had in a long time! 

Clearly, this 50K I have signed up for is going to be a slow going affair.....my fastest mile was 12 minutes & my slowest was 20 minutes!  Now, I know I lost a lot of time having to stop and consult my map, but still....wow!

So, all you trail runners out there: Any suggestions, recommendations?

Are there apps that map with satellite views and show your current route overlaid as you go?  I used the regular map function to locate myself and then the wildlife management service map on safari at the same time.  having one that would show both at the same time would make life easier.
Sweet Lord, that it a long steep hill!

My neighbourhood :)
Woo Hoo! I am a speed DEMON ;-D
Shadow fun, Ha!

Happy Trails!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rocking 20

Saturday, I ran my first 20 since my October marathon. As is typical, I've had a variety of runs lately, ranging from epic fail to awesome. Since my bout with shin splints in January I have been trying to listen I my body closely and have been backing off as needed keeping my ultimate goal of remaining healthy and strong into my spring & summer events. With this in mind I headed out prepared with fuel, fluid and an awareness of pit stops available along my route. I was curious though....how would this run compare to the 2 other 20 milers I did in my first round of marathon training? I feel stronger, but who knows on any given day? Honestly, I was considerably concerned about taking on a training cycle in the winter, but this winter has been so temperate that it has mostly been a joy to run outdoors without the possibility of heat stroke!

My last 20's clocked in at 4:05 & 3:58. I wanted to come in faster than that. I started out ok, but just around mile 2 I started cramping. Luckily, I was within easy reach of a pit stop and had no further issues in that regard after that. I stopped to fill my water bottle at mile 10 but that was it.

I was a little worried as I approached mile 15, not wanting to bonk again. No worries though. The peanut butter cliff bar was substantial enough fuel and sat well in my stomach. In fact, as I was approaching the end of mile 19,I felt the need to finish strong. I started to speed up to kick the last mile. I never quite know if I'm actually going fast or just less slow....but I pulled a 9:42 mile out of nowhere and finished in 3:49!!!!!!

A full 9 minutes faster than my previous best! Yay!

I was also reminded that I have reached the point in training where non-running friends and coworkers view me as a freak and enjoy telling me of my imminent early demise. I find them amusing.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Crazy J & A Sunny Day

Me, lulu & the socks had a nice, easy run
It has been a rollercoaster of a week! The weather has been up and down, but today it was in the 60's!!!! I got cheated out of my last unexpected nice day by a puking kid so today I was up and out early to take advantage of this crazy weather. Of course, I had to take my new Lululemon skirt for a spin. It is SO comfy! I love it!  It was a nice loose and easy 6 miles in the spring sunshine :)

Like the weather, my runs this week have been all over the place too.  Monday, I did 7 miles and felt sluggish the whole time.  Seriously heavy legs....know what I mean?  I could not find a bit of pep in me.  Check out these splits:
Slow, slow, blah...

Then yesterday, I had an awesome speed/tempo run! I started out slow, but then was able to crank it for 4 respectable, sweat soaked miles.  Very satisfying, indeed!
Same distance, 7.5 minutes faster = Speed demon ;)
My plan was to go to my Core class at the gym after this run, but I finished a little early so even though my legs felt a little spent, did an easy 20 minutes on the stationary bike while waiting.  Unfortunately, I was somewhat misled by last weeks core class.  Apparantly, not all classes are the same, and when Crazy J teaches it, it is a cardio, bodyrocking, intervals with weights frenzy that had me thinking I was in the wrong class! Too late to leave though, so I stuck with it & when I asked Crazy J what this class was called and she answered 'core', I actually stood there dumbfounded and said 'are you sure because this isn't like last week?'. To which she answers 'well, I like to do core warrior style'.  Ok, I guess that means she likes to make us hurt! At least when I hauled what was left of me home after that I had EARNED the glass of wine I had last night! Mental note: don't do speedwork before Crazy J's torture class!

I still have a 20 miler on deck for Saturday....haven't gone that long since October.  I am hoping that the weather is mild so I don't have to haul around 10 pounds of clothing for it too.  I WILL bring water & fuel though!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Smarten Up!

May 11-12, 2012
May 6, 2012
I have had a couple 'smarten up' runs lately.  Maybe I'm getting lazy, maybe it's the weather.  Certainly the weird pseudo-winter we are sort of having in the Northeast is making preparing for a run confusing....hat/no hat....how many layers...it's warm (40), but windy???? It is truly a crapshoot & more often than not I am either too warm or too cold during my run.  Then there is my inexperience in true winter training.  I've run in the winter, but not trained specifically for a spring event (or 2 marathon length races 4 days apart if you are crazy like me). 

My biggest 'doh' moment came on Friday when I went out for a long run.  I had 16 on the schedule & I wasn't too worried about being able to do it.  I feel like I'm in pretty decent shape right now.  I set out slow and steady, and basically enjoying myself.  Everything was going well for a while. First mistake was not bringing any water.  I don't like doing it in the first place, but it is easier to make myself do in the summer.  I just don't worry about dehydration in the same way in the winter (I know, you can yell at me for being a bonehead now). I DID stop as planned at mile 8 at the gym and had a drink and potty break.  Normally, I would have eaten something, had a GU but I was a little leery of them after my body basically rejected one on my 18 miler a couple weeks ago (I never ever want to see a blackberry gu again in my life).  I did bring a cliff bar and some Wegman's dried fruit strips which both seem to agree with me but for some reason I just grabbed a drink and kept going.  I finished mile 14 and HIT THE FREAKIN' WALL! I've never met the wall before, but it is not a place I want to see again.  Very suddenly I was dizzy and my belly was cramping and I knew that if I didn't stop and eat something RIGHT AWAY it was going to be worse.  Luckily for me, those dried fruit strips went down pretty easy and since they are practically pre-chewed I felt them kick in within a minute or two.  I walked until I felt better, then walked/ran, then was finally able to crank out a slow last mile.  Lesson Learned.

Must. Fuel. Better. &. NOT. BE. A. BONEHEAD.

Do you ever get lazy & forget the basics??????

My inspiration!
I am still trying to do better at cross-training & building a better core (or basically a core at all ;-)).  I biked once last week & I am going back for my second Core class today at the gym.  Last week they had a student teaching his first class & I honestly thought it was a little weak....until the next day, and the day after & the day after that when my abs screamed in that way where you'd think they were punishing me for having the audacity to use them!

So tell me, Have you ever done/not done something during a workout that makes you go D'Oh!

Do you like inspirational emails?
I actually do like the Daily Kick in the butt from Runner's World & the Ragnar ones.