Category: Training

50 Mile Training, Week 5: A Week of Thanks and Losing a Friend

Thanksgiving week wasn’t a very eventful running week, and the battle of the cough continued, culminating in a visit to the doctor and a new round of medicine. I enjoyed doing other things, like resting, eating, relaxing, more eating, and catching up on some knitting and reading. Sadly, a running friend came to the end of his life on Thanksgiving evening, and it cast a shadow of sadness over this week of giving thanks.

Dallas Turkey Trot Start Line 2012

A sea of runners at the Dallas Turkey Trot 2012 Start Line.

MON: Rest Day – Took a full day of rest. With asthma and coughing, didn’t even feel like doing any yoga. I’m thankful it’s a rest day.

TUE: Run – 6 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – Met Liz at the lake for what felt like a fairly fast run. Kept a 9:11 pace, which is awesome for Liz considering she ran 22 on Sunday. Asthma kept me up most of the night again, and made the run seem pretty tough. Called the doctor to see if he could fit me in today or tomorrow. Did some power yoga (flexibility) to round out the morning. Today I’m thankful that I was able to keep a fairly decent pace despite struggling with asthma.

WED: Rest Day (Sick)  – Managed to get in to see the doctor this morning, who says he suspects the upper respiratory infection I had eight weeks ago didn’t completely go away and is aggravating my asthma. He prescribed another round of an antibiotic, Prednisone tablets to clear up the asthma, a shot of cortisone and a breathing treatment, and prescribed cough syrup with codeine so I can get some sleep. Going to the doctor’s office, then getting prescriptions filled, was an all-day endeavor. He also told me to lay off the running until Monday, then he said I could run “a little,” but that I had to take my inhaler with me if I did run. Today I’m thankful for doctors and medicine.

Dallas Turkey Trot 2012

Giving thanks before the race.

THU: Rest Day (Sick) – Thanksgiving! Feeling antsy and wanting to run. Decided to sleep in and rest instead of hanging out at the Turkey Trot this year. Dallas has the largest Thanksgiving Day run in the country, but I don’t like crowds, so the only thing I missed was drinking beer with old friends in the cemetery afterwards. Today I’m thankful for friends, family, good food, and the beautiful rainbow that graced our sky after dinner.

FRI: Rest Day (Sick) – Really wanted to sneak off for a short run this morning, but decided to be good and take another day off. Woke up to news that a running friend passed away yesterday evening from his battle with lung cancer. We logged a lot of miles together when we paced and coached together for the Dallas Running Club, and especially when I was training for Boston two years ago. He was a great guy and will be missed by all. Running bonds people together in ways that can’t easily be explained, and we will all feel his loss for a long time. Today I’m thankful that I had the privilege of running with Bob Philpot.

SAT: Run – 16 mi – I decided to meet the group for our usual Saturday morning long run, but wasn’t sure how far I would actually run. Taking liberties with the doctor’s saying I could run “a little,” and knowing he has no idea how far “a little” could be interpreted when you log 50+ miles per week, meaning distance is relative (in my mind, at least), I went ahead and ran the full 16 miles. I just hate not making my mileage for the week. My legs felt nice and rested, and we kept a good pace. It was absolutely perfect weather for a run, 38 degrees at the start and not a cloud in the sky. My breathing was okay during the run, though my asthma immediately kicked in on the drive home. Today I’m thankful for asthma inhalers and friends to run with.

SUN: Trail Run, Grapevine – 8.76 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – For the first time in over a week, got a complete night’s sleep. This is good, considering I broke doctor’s orders and did that 16 mile run yesterday! My quads were pretty sore today, however, whether from three days of rest or the Prednisone, so I decided to call it quits after the first loop. Susan and Hari continued on to the other side of the lake towards at least another 10-12 miles of trail running. It was a gorgeous fall day for a trail run, with temps in the 40’s, and we got to see both the sunrise and three deer. It was strange to pull into the driveway before 10:00, but nice all the same. Did some power yoga (flexibility) to try and stretch out the sore quads so I can jump back into the training plan next week with strong legs. Today I’m thankful for trails, beautiful fall weather, and cool temperatures in North Texas.

Dallas Turkey Trot 2012

That uphill finish is always puke-worthy.

Interspersed with all the thankfulness is sadness. I fought tears all week and am reminded how fragile life truly is. Here’s to good friends and all the miles and smiles in between. Rest in peace, Bob.

Philpot, Bob Robert W. Philpot, Jr. (BOB), November 22, Bob passed peacefully in his sleep at home after a long, courageous battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Elaine Philpot, son, Ryan Philpot and wife Morgan, daughter, Chelsea Philpot, and his five beautiful grandchildren, his mother, Beverly Philpot, and siblings Lynn Pueschel and Steve Philpot. Bob cherished the times with his family, watching anything sports related, but his biggest passion was running. He ran many marathons, and loved spending time with his running family. Bob will be thoroughly missed by all; he was one of those good guys that everyone loved to be around.

STATS for WEEK 5: Run – 30.8 miles, Yoga – 40:00

50 Mile Training, Week 4: Good Timing for an Easy Week

When training for the 50K, we adopted alternating hard and easy weeks of training to slowly assimilate to the higher mileage. For our upcoming 50 mile race we decided to build on our base and try two hard weeks followed by one easy week of training. Since the first week of training was really a recovery week from the 50K race, this was our first official easy week. The timing was good for me, since it also signaled the return of sleepless nights from asthma and coughing, both of which plagued me the last month of training for the 50K.

MON: Yoga (40:00) – Standing poses and forward bends. Legs felt good after the 31 mile back-to-backs, but even better after some morning yoga. Temp was 38 degrees this morning and I was sad that I missed out on running in the cold weather. Can’t wait until tomorrow morning’s run!

TUE: Run – 6.1 mi, Yoga (20:00) – Had a good pace run this morning with Liz at the lake. It was gloriously cool weather. Quads were a little tight after the two weekend long runs, but we kept a 9:09 pace with the last two miles at sub 9’s. Power yoga (stamina) afterwards to loosen up.

WED: Run – 9 mi, Yoga (25:00)  – Ran a loop around the lake with Liz this morning. The temperatures were perfect for running: 45 degrees at the start, 54 at the end. Legs felt great, and I had to keep slowing our pace since I wanted to save some energy for tomorrow’s hill run with Hari. Did some power yoga afterwards (flexibility).

THU: Run – 11 mi, Yoga (20:00) – Introduced Hari to Susan’s hill run this morning, and inadvertently ran an extra mile when I missed a turn. It was perfect weather for a run, and for the first time I managed to make it to the top of every single hill without having to stop and walk. It was a great run, and we saw three coyotes standing in the middle of the road about half a mile from the house. There is something so satisfying about running hills and knowing you have the strength to make it to the top of steep hills from your own power. I may feel like puking when I get to the top, but it’s a well-earned feeling! Finished off with a somewhat challenging core cross training sequence of yoga poses.

White Rock Lake and Downtown Dallas

FRI: Rest Day – Definitely grateful for a rest day after three great days of running. My asthma and coughing have made a return visit, however, which kept me up in the middle of the night. Not happy about this at all.

SAT: Sick Day – Since this is an easy week, and my midweek mileage was a little higher than I had originally planned on anyway, decided to take today completely off and get some rest. Coughing kept me up in the middle of the night again last night, so I will rest up for tomorrow’s trail run.

SUN: Trail Run, Oak Cliff Nature Preserve – 10 mi – After another night of interrupted sleep from coughing, I was happy that we decided to take advantage of the cooler temps and start our run a little later than usual at 9:00am. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, with a starting temp around 57 degrees and overcast skies. I found the trails at the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve last summer to be quite hilly, but today I felt strong even with the asthma. Susan kept us going at a blistering pace, even after her 22 miler the day before. These are some great trails and I look forward to coming back soon.

Even though I was feeling under the weather and wasn’t looking forward to the run like I usually do, once I started running I was quickly able to lose myself in the trails and go with the incredible feeling of freedom that I always feel when I run trails. Even in a very small forest, concentrating on running over rocks, roots, and fall leaves, I can forget for a few hours that I’m surrounded by crime, traffic, and a bustling city that’s never really felt like home.

STATS for WEEK 4: Run – 36 miles, Yoga – 1:55:00

50 Mile Training, Week 3: Settling Back Into a Pattern

I’ve definitely hit the ground running in preparation for February’s 50-mile race. There’s no time to waste! I had some great runs this week, and for the first time we switched our weekend back-to-back long runs and did the longer one on Saturday rather than Sunday (so that Liz, who is training for the Dallas Marathon, would have some company on her 19-miler). This week also saw me giving Susan’s grueling hill run another go. I survived.

MON: Yoga (25:00) – After running 17 miles on Saturday, and 15 yesterday, my body’s not feeling as beat up as I thought it would. Did an easy yoga sequence to gently strengthen some tight leg muscles. Rest days are always nice.

TUE: Run – 4.17 mi, Yoga (20:00) – Met Bill and Marcus at 5:15AM for an easy run on the Katy Trail. Perfect temp in the upper 40’s. I haven’t gotten up at 4:30AM for a run in quite a while, and was grumpy about it last night, but I enjoyed the run. My quads were still a little sore from the weekend runs, so I did some upper body poses to give them some extra rest.

WED: Run – 10 mi, Yoga (25:00)  – Slept in a little because of staying up late to watch the election returns (even though I actually fell asleep on the couch at 10:30pm and missed the speeches), and met Susan at 8:30 for her infamous hill run. It is truly the most grueling route I’ve ever run, full of steep hills, long hills — hills, hills, and more hills. Great training, but it makes me feel like a complete wimp. Easy yoga afterwards.

THU: Run – 7 mi, Yoga (20:00) – Met Liz for a windy, surprisingly tough “easy” recovery run. As opposed to the first time I ran Susan’s hill run, my legs were not sore at all the day after, but they did feel a little dead on today’s run. Liz and I struggled to keep from speeding up, even though neither of us really wanted to run as fast as we did. Did some forward bends afterwards. Looking forward to a rest day.

FRI: Rest Day – Was going to do some yoga, then decided I really didn’t feel like it. My legs felt like they could use an entire day off, so I didn’t do anything athletic. It was nice!

SAT: Run – 19 mi – Good run with the WRRC in windy, warm, humid conditions. 65 degrees at the 6AM start, with a cold front supposedly blowing in sometime tomorrow. The new route took us through East Dallas, University Park, and Highland Park. It was a nice change and we kept the pace easy and comfortable. Wanted to only run 11 or 13 miles, but with the possibility of rain tonight/tomorrow morning, and muddy trails and lightning, decided to go ahead and bank some mileage in case we can’t get in our trail run. We also didn’t want Liz to have to run 19 miles all by herself. That’s how we roll.

Since we didn’t get in our trail run last Sunday, I’m getting antsy to hit the trails again.

SUN: Trail Run – 12 mi – The rain and cold front weren’t expected to show up until later in the day, so Hari, Susan, and I met up with Luke’s and TREX to run trails at Grapevine. It was nice to see old friends who’ve made the transition to trail running. It was not the best weather: 72 degrees and 71% humidity at the start, 76 degrees at the finish. It was also windy, but at least it kept us cooled off. I had to keep telling myself we would have killed for a day like this in August, but now that we’re not used to the high humidity it made for a tough run. Stubbed my toe on something, somehow lost my balance and landed on my hip, and fell up against a small tree, with just a slightly scraped leg. I have no idea what took me down, but the trail is covered with leaves now and it was to be expected. No big deal.

This is the first time we’ve ever done our longest run on a Saturday on road, followed by a shorter long run on trail. In preparing for the 50K it was always the other way around. We all preferred the other way, with 10-12 on road followed by a longer trail run the next day.

My first 4 miles today were crummy. I felt light-headed, groggy, and stiff. After a short break at Rockledge and a GU, the next 4 miles were great. I felt loose and limber and in the zone, even after I fell. The last 4 were just okay, and we were all glad when we reached 12 miles. I’m always amazed at how my run changes from hour to hour on the trails.

Within ten minutes of finishing our run, with dark skies barreling towards us from the north, a gust of cold air stirred up the dirt and the cold front had officially arrived. It was kind of awesome to be right on the edge of the front. We are all looking forward to a week of perfect running weather!

STATS for WEEK 3: Run – 52.2 miles, Yoga – 1:30:00

Give It a Rest

People are attracted to running for various reasons: they want to lose weight, they want to live healthier lives, it’s cheaper than a gym membership, you don’t need a lot of gear, they enjoyed running when they were kids, or they want to run a marathon before they reach a certain age. People who continue running, past the 5K’s, 10K’s, and half marathons, those who run longer distances and think nothing of going out for a Saturday 20 miler, are a particular breed of crazy.

Those are my people.

We have no problem pushing ourselves to run longer and longer distances, and then test our training in a race. We’re goal oriented and enjoy making plans. It’s our days off, when we should be giving our legs a rest, that we struggle with.

Today is a rest day. I have two scheduled each week, Mondays and Fridays. After giving everything I’ve got on the five days I run each week, I always look forward to the rest days.

It’s the unscheduled rest days that I struggle with the most. I suspect that’s true for most runners.

I run with a group of very experienced, serious runners. They train hard and race to PR. Many of them win races and place in their age groups. Every single one of them could write a book about how to train for a marathon and what not to do to get to the start line uninjured and ready for your best performance.

That doesn’t mean we follow our own advice.

DRC Half 2012

Last Saturday at breakfast after our long run, my friend Kurt made the statement that runners are bad about doing two things: not resting enough and racing too often.

I actually think I’m pretty good on both fronts — but that doesn’t mean I don’t worry about it. I’m one of those strange birds who likes training more than racing. There is nothing like having a great race, where everything comes together — weather, training, nutrition, energy, course, mind — and you feel great from start to finish and pull off a PR. But I’ve had some pretty lousy races, too, and I struggle with getting past all the uncontrollable variables and still enjoying the race.

I’m in awe of people who race every weekend. I just don’t feel that urge. I like having two or three goal races per year and building up to and looking forward to that day. I like longer distances, and they take longer to train for. And I’m certainly not winning any races these days, so I don’t have the incentive of being first across the line each weekend to spur me on. The older I get, the less I care about speed and more about endurance and strength.

I used to love getting medals, but now they just sit on the wall in the back bedroom, pretty much forgotten and not all that important anymore. It’s rare to get a race t-shirt that’s made for a woman, so that’s never been a big draw. Now I’m all about the experience itself being the reward.

DRC Half 2012

As for rest, I think I’m pretty good about listening to my body and taking a day off when I need to — even though I hate missing a run on the training plan. And I rarely take a complete rest day. I usually do yoga, which seems to give my legs the rest they need but also works out some of the kinks from the week’s training and loosens them up for the weekend long runs.

However, I was surprised at how frustrated I felt when I ran my first 50K a few weeks ago and had to take more rest days than any of my other friends who ran it. This is where age comes to play. It just seems to take me longer to recover these days. When yoga doesn’t help, I know it’s time to back off and give myself a complete rest day.

Post-race, except for the quads, I felt great. I was still floating on my happy cloud of accomplishment a week afterwards, and I wanted to run, dammit! My quads had other ideas, though, and every time I ran more than a few miles they tightened up and let me know I needed to be smart.  A week later they finally felt good enough for a trail run, only I never seemed to warm up and felt fatigued and grumpy the entire run. This was another signal I needed to listen to: recovery takes time, and the body knows better than the mind.

So I backed off and lowered my mileage, and within a week I was back to normal. Lesson: rest is good, and recovery takes time.

DRC Half 2012

We’ve all known people who didn’t give themselves enough time to recover and wound up battling one injury after another. We’ve probably done it ourselves. When you truly love running, and have your next race planned before you cross the finish line, it’s hard to not keep pushing yourself.

Just don’t forget to sometimes give it a rest.

50 Mile Training, Week 2: Jumping Back In, Feet First

I was worried about jumping back into training so quickly after the 50K, but after this week I feel like I gave myself just enough rest to let my quads fully recover from the stress of the trail race. These past two weeks have been a good balance of running, yoga, and rest, and I did two back-to-back long runs this weekend–on roads–that reminded me how much easier long trail runs are on the legs than long road runs.

MON: Yoga (40:00)- After yesterday’s trail run where my legs felt dead, I decided to concentrate on the hips and back for today’s yoga and stress the quads as little as possible.

TUE: Run – 4 mi, Yoga (20:00) – Ran with Liz this morning, and enjoyed starting at 8:00 rather than the usual 6:00am. I love morning temps in the upper 40’s. It was a good run, and my quads felt just a little tight, but not sore at all.

Had lunch with a friend of my daughter’s from middle school/high school who is running her first half marathon on Sunday. Hari and I are planning on running with her through the toughest part of the race, up through the hills. It’s invigorating to spend time with someone who’s new to running and is so excited about the progress she’s made. Her plan is to run the Dallas Marathon in 2013, which gives her a year to build a good, solid base. Her enthusiasm is infectious and makes me excited about my own next race. Did some power yoga in the evening.

DRC Half 2012

Kathleen, me, and Hari

WED: Run – 9.65 mi, Yoga (20:00)  – Awesome run this morning at 6:00am with Hari around White Rock Lake (with the hilly path and Bathhouse hill thrown in). Temperature was perfect (56 deg), kept a 9:12 pace (negative splits with the last three miles sub 9:00’s), and got to see an incredible sunrise.

There’s something about running in the predawn hours that I’ve grown to love. You would think this avowed night owl would hate getting up at 5:15am and running in the dark, and I can’t say that I always love it, especially in the hot, sticky summer, but I love the quiet peacefulness of moving along the edge of the lake as things start to awaken around me. It was a perfect start to my day today. Tried a new  yoga DVD at home afterwards (lower body) that was surprisingly challenging.

THU: Run – 5.23 mi – Had to run alone this morning in the neighborhood with Nevada. Tried to run as hilly of a route as I could. Amazing how 64 degrees now feels warm. Oh how quickly we soften up! Nevada had a major cat surge and two squirrel surges after that, and I remember why I hate running with her in the fall. Discovered I did something to my neck during yoga yesterday because it feels stiff and a little sore.

FRI: Yoga (40:00) – Running rest day, so I did some standing poses and hip openers. Michael massaged my neck yesterday, but my neck and shoulder have been killing me all day. This may be my first yoga injury!

SAT: Run – 17 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – Ran with the group and stayed with Liz for 17 easy miles. Grumpy at first that it was 68 degrees at the start, but then thought about how much cooler it is than our summer temps. Felt great on the 17 miler, all the way up to the finish, even though the route took us on the Santa Fe Trail. Time to make my peace with the SFT and acknowledge that it’s not as bad as it was two summers ago when I was less fit and the temps were in the 90’s every time we ran on it. I was worried about my sore neck being a problem during the run, but it actually felt much better today. Finished off the morning with some easy yoga.

SUN: Run – 16 mi – Rather than do our usual Sunday trail run, Hari and I paced my daughter’s friend, Kathleen, in her first half marathon. Hari wanted to run two warmup miles before the DRC Half, then we jumped in to run with Kathleen. She did great, especially on the hills, and finished strong despite a bum knee and some pain in her foot. It was great to see so many friends out on the course. After yesterday’s 17 miler, and today’s 16 miles on the road, my legs really feel the effects of hours of pounding on concrete and asphalt. I really missed my trail run this week!

DRC Half 2012

Running up the hill at Sperry

I really love how running unites us all. It reaches across races, sexes, economic levels, age differences, and ability levels. It’s been great mentoring Kathleen as she prepared for her very first half marathon, and to share the experience of the race with her. Who would have thought, when she was 16 and getting into trouble with my daughter, that she would grow up and ask for my help with her running?

STATS for WEEK 2: Run – 51.9 miles, Yoga – 2:20:00

50M Training, Week 1: Recovery Week from Palo Duro 50K

The first few days after a long distance race are nice. You can sit back and revel in your accomplishment, bask in the happy afterglow of a job well done, and reward yourself with rest, good food, and memories of the event. Then by the end of the week you may start to feel the urge to get outdoors and run again. At least, that’s how it usually goes for me.

I generally seem to be able to run a few miles by Wednesday or Thursday after a marathon, and by Saturday I’m good to go for a longer distance. This time, after running a 50K for the first time, the recovery time has definitely been longer. My quads took the brunt of the race and they have not been bouncing back as quickly as I expected. Patience is not always one of my strengths, so giving them the time they need to recover has been a challenging lesson.

MON: Rest Day – Quads are very sore from Saturday’s 50K race in Palo Duro Canyon, though they feel better than after any marathon I’ve run. Going to enjoy my day of sloth and do nothing athletic.

TUE: Walk – 2 mi, Yoga (20:00) – Legs felt much better today, though the quads are still sore. Did some yoga in the late afternoon (hip openers), then took Nevada for a 2 mile walk, hoping to run most of it. Ha! I couldn’t even run a block! The quads definitely need another day of rest. On another note, I can’t help but wonder why it’s so warm and humid when it’s the end of October??? Oh, right, we live in Texas.

WED: Yoga (20:00)  – Quads felt even better this morning, so I started the day with some easy yoga but decided to put off running for another day.

THU: Rest Day – Decided to take a complete rest day and do nothing athletic. My quads are taking longer to recover than I expected. Even though my legs feel better than after a marathon, the soreness in my quads seems to go deeper than usual–if that makes sense.

FRI: Run – 3.1 mi, Yoga (20:00) – Met Todd at 6:00am for an easy 3 mile run at the lake. I’m amazed that my quads are still sore. I was able to run, and keep an easy pace, but I’m not where I expected to be six days after the race. This has definitely been the most recovery I’ve ever needed after a race, which I guess is only fitting since it’s also my longest distance. I think my age is also showing, because Hari has already been running for days, but it could also partly be due to the two weeks of no running just before the race. This is a good reminder that I need to do more squats, lunges, and strength training to get in shape for the 50 miler. On a brighter note, loving the cold front that blew in last night and the 49 degrees for our run this morning.

SAT: Run – 4 mi – Quads are slowly coming back. Susan and Hari met at my house at 6:30 and we ran to the top of the Katy Trail for the 13.1 Marathon WRRC water stop. It was cold! I ran with my down jacket tied around my waist and my water backpack (sans water) stuffed with extra gloves and track pants. Toes and fingers were freezing all morning. After the race, we de-layered and ran back down the Katy Trail and across Knox/Henderson to the house. We must have looked like we were coming back from an arctic expedition.

Erwin Park, McKinney Run

Susan and Me at Erwin Park, photo by Hari Garimella

SUN: Trail Run – 8.25 mi – Ran at Erwin Park in McKinney with Susan and Hari. Started at 7:30am with frost on the ground. The temperature and weather couldn’t have been more perfect. THIS is what we dreamed of all summer when it was in the upper 90’s with 80% humidity. Despite the great weather and nice trails, I felt sleepy and my quads were still stiff and sore. I looked forward to trail running all week, so it was disappointing to feel so sluggish. Overall, I just felt tired. Maybe it’s residual tiredness from the 50K a week ago, or three days straight of getting up early and not getting enough sleep, or the music from the party across the alley–or a combination of all of the above. Whatever the reason, I was happy to only run 8.25 miles. Sadly, my happy afterglow from the race seems to have finally worn off. Back to a new training plan and life in general.

STATS for WEEK 1: Run – 15.2 miles, Walk – 2 miles, Yoga – 1:00:00

50K Training, Week 20: A Whole Lot of Tapering Going On

I can’t believe I’m at Week 20, the last official week of my training plan. I look at my color-coded spreadsheet (and see much more red than I wanted), but all in all it was a solid plan. Now that Week 20 is here it’s amazing to remember all those stifling hot runs this past summer. I’m hoping they do me well in Saturday’s race.

MON: Run – 4.41 mi, Yoga (20:00) – Despite my best efforts to pimp myself out, no one wanted to run with me this morning. My dog, Nevada, kept me company instead, and it was my first solo run since early summer. I definitely enjoy running with my friends more than running solo. My legs were still a little sore from Saturday’s run (what was it about that run that made me so sore???), but I kept the pace slow and easy and enjoyed the cool morning temps. Did some easy yoga afterwards (twists) to stay loose for the race.

Rock star Hari waving to his adoring fans

TUE: Run – 5 mi, Yoga (40:00) – Our last official run before the race this weekend! Met Hari and Todd for an easy run at the lake at 6am. We started and finished the run in the dark, with the sky just beginning to change colors when we finished. It was cool but humid, and I dragged a little from asthma and allergies. Walked the dogs, then did some very relaxing yoga to wind out the morning. Starting tomorrow, my favorite part of tapering: carbo-loading!

Heather

WED: Rest Day, Yoga (20:00) – Walked the dogs and did some yoga (back bends). Definitely feeling nervous today about the race. I have watched the predicted high temp rise from 73, to 75, 77, 79, 82, and now 85. It’s still nothing approaching what we trained through this summer, so we should be prepared. Even worse, now they’re predicting my old nemesis, strong winds, torturer from marathons #1 and #2. Got my running clothes and gear together and made a list of food to buy tomorrow for the race. Ate lots of carbs.

Susan

THU: Rest Day, Yoga (20:00) – Went to the store and bought dolmas, hummus, pita bread, bagels and shmear, and got all my energy gels and waffles together for the race. Packed and thought through everything that I may need. Checked the weather for the hundredth time, hoping a cold front would blow through (it’s not). At least the wind has been taken out of the forecast. Spent some time visualizing the race and seeing myself running strong on the canyon trails and enjoying myself. Ate even more carbs.

Me

Tomorrow I’ll pick up Michael at 10:00 at work and hit the highway for Canyon, TX! We’ll check in to the motel, pick up our packets and enjoy the prerace pasta dinner with the other runners, and hopefully get to bed early.

My primary goals for my first 50K and first trail race are:  to finish within the cut-off and to enjoy the experience. That’s it. It took me 20 weeks and a hot Texas summer to get here, and I’ll be ready.

Susan, who hurt her knee in the 20K Rugged and Raw trail race (and nabbed 2nd place overall female), but was then afraid she might not be able to run for a few months, has decided to run the 20K. Heather, who started training with us at the beginning of summer, will also be running the 20K. My dear friend, Hari, who has run with me more than anyone else in my life, is more than ready to be a trail running beast.

Time to show everyone what we can do.

50K Training, Week 19: Salvaging What I Can

It was my last full training week before the race next weekend. After losing seven consecutive training runs over a two week period while I was sick and recovering, I had my doubts about being able to run the race. Even though everyone told me I would be ready, I’m stubborn enough to know I have to convince myself first.

MON: Rest Day, Yoga (20:00)- After a two week layoff, I ran 9 miles on Saturday and 8.6 on Sunday on the trails. Today I am as sore as if I ran a marathon. I’m having serious doubts about being able to run 31 miles when 9 miles hurt as much as it did on Saturday. Yoga helped (forward bends) to loosen up the legs.

TUE: Rest Day – Couldn’t find anyone to run with this morning so I decided to give the legs another day of rest. It’s sad that I didn’t have the mental resolve to run alone. But my legs are still sore (whine whine).

WED: Run – 6 mi, Yoga (1:20:00)  – Met Liz and Hari at 6am for a run at the lake. We kept it nice and slow, then I came home and did a long segment of yoga to try and get my conditioning back up to par for the race.

Photo of White Rock Lake courtesy of Tamara Beltz Adamson, Dallas runner, cyclist, and early morning lake photographer extraordinaire

THU: Run – 6 mi, Yoga (25:00) – Met Liz, Bill, and Todd at the lake again at 6am. Liz and I ran ahead of the men and decided to make it a tempo run. My legs felt great and the pace got progressively faster each mile. Came home and did a new yoga workout with lots of sun salutations. The tempo run was so great I feel hopeful about running the 50K–and making it to the end. It’s also nice to know there’s a 12 hour cut off. God help me if I’m still out on the course that long!

FRI: Rest Day, Yoga (35:00) – Definitely feeling the effects of yesterday’s tempo run, so I did 35 minutes of easy yoga to stretch out.

SAT: Run – 15 mi – A very humid, warm run this morning. I think everyone struggled on this one, whether they ran 10, 15, or 18 miles. I know I did. My legs felt strong, but I felt incredibly fatigued the last three miles. Part of it was the humidity and running back up out of Turtle Creek, and some of it may be the remnants of being sick for two weeks. It’s good to know it was a tough day for everyone. If it doesn’t rain tonight Hari and I will do our last trail run tomorrow morning before next weekend’s race.

SUN: Rest Day, Yoga – (20:00)- It stormed in the middle of the night, just like predicted, and our trail run got rained out. Normally I would probably have gone ahead and ran (the storm was short), but I didn’t want to risk slipping and sliding in the mud and doing more damage to the ribs. I was sore from yesterday’s run anyway, so I did yoga instead (forward bends) and took an extra rest day. Since I am officially tapering, and want to have fresh legs, I’m trying not to be too hard on myself for not going ahead and running in the mud.

All in all it was a good week of running, and I did a lot of yoga to both work my core and stretch out my legs after the runs. I’m not happy that I feel sore after Saturday’s 15 miler, and it tells me that running 31 miles in a week is going to be tougher than I trained for, but it is what it is. Time to start mentally preparing for the race.

STATS for WEEK 19: Run – 27 miles, Yoga – 3:20:00

Hope is a Four Letter Word

For the first time since getting sick, I feel hope. Even though last week I thought there was no way possible, I’m going to go ahead and try the Palo Duro 50K next weekend. After today’s run, I’m really looking forward to it.

Despite a lingering cough and very sore ribs, I ran last weekend. I was slow, my legs were dead, and I was as sore afterwards as if I had run twice the distance. It felt so good to run again. I ran 9 miles on Saturday with the group,  and on Sunday I did an 8.6 trail run.

After the two weekend runs I felt like I had run a marathon. My legs were sore, really sore. I was amazed at how much conditioning I had lost from just two weeks of complete inactivity. On the flip side, I was still strong on the hills, especially on the short trail hills, so at least there was that. Even if my legs didn’t have a 50K’s worth of running in them, I could at least go out and see how far I got, taking a DNF if need be.

Palo Duro Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon

I lost seven training runs during weeks 17 and 18 of a 20 week training plan. I lost 55 miles of running two weeks before the race. Never having been in this situation so close to a race, I’ve really had no idea how to salvage these last two weeks. I decided to go by feel and run a little more mileage than the training plan calls for this week, and do yoga like crazy to loosen up and gently regain some lost strength.

Yesterday I ran 6 easy miles with Liz and Hari, and this morning I did a 6 mile tempo run with Liz, Hari, and Bill. Yesterday was good, but today I felt great. Yes, the ribs still hurt, but Liz and I ran fast, and it felt amazing. I know speed doesn’t equal endurance, and I certainly won’t be the setting any speed records in Palo Duro, but it was a good enough run to give me some hope.

Even better, I saw on the race website today that there’s a 12 hour cut off. I’m pretty sure, barring a fall that cracks more ribs or something dire like that, I can finish within 12 hours. As long as I can still move my legs, I’m pretty sure I can finish.

So today I feel hope again, and am very excited about racing in Palo Duro Canyon next weekend.

50K Training, Weeks 17 and 18: Betrayal

We think we are in control. We schedule, make a plan, eat healthy, and put in the time. We pound hours of our weeks on pavement and trail, preparing for a race that will prove to ourselves that we’re almost invincible. Almost.

After 17 weeks of training and a second 26 mile trail run, the taper begins. You look forward to running only a short trail distance of 10 or 12 miles the last few Sundays before the race, and you have your first 20K trail race to look forward to as a precursor to “the real thing.” It’s all coming together.

Only sometimes your body betrays you. Your legs and mind are strong, your heart is ready for the upcoming challenge, but something goes wrong. What you thought was invincible gives in only too easily.

It has no other choice.

What starts out as asthma turns into a incessant dry cough, the kind that keeps you up at night and you find yourself running at 5:30am on two hours of sleep.  You cough so much and so hard that you crack a couple of ribs, and the pain stops you in your tracks at mile 3 of an easy run. You realize you have a fever, your body is fighting back, and you forget your body’s only doing what it was made to do: protect itself.

Survival.

For someone who spends the greater part of each day working their body and getting stronger, you realize how quickly everything can change. Even when the mind may be willing, you can’t always talk yourself into doing something your body can’t. If the body isn’t on board, all your plans come to a complete standstill.

It doesn’t have to be anything life threatening. It just has to be something bad enough to knock you off your feet and land you on the couch for a few weeks.

It’s not the end of the world. But it might be the end of what you’ve trained for.

Medicine

MON: Rest Day – Ouch. Feeling very sore from yesterday’s 26 mile trail run, but not half as sore as I’ve felt after running a marathon. I feel such a sense of accomplishment today. Yesterday’s run was really good, and though I’m still nervous about running a 50K, for the first time my brain knows that I can do this. More than anything, I’m amazed at how much I enjoyed the run. I was very tired, and it was hard to keep running towards the end, but I did it, and I did it well. (It doesn’t mean I’m not still looking forward to the taper!)

TUE: Run – 4 mi- This was a very tough run today. Yesterday was nothing but a huge cough fest, which continued through the night until 3:30am. Since I had to get up at 4:30 to meet Bill, I essentially got no sleep. When the alarm went off I prepared a text for Bill telling him I wasn’t going to make it for the run, but decided I’d rather be running than sitting home beating myself up for missing my first run of the week. Even more alarming, all the coughing yesterday caused either a muscle pull in my abdomen or some cracked ribs! I know this is possible, I’ve cracked ribs before, and the pain made the second half of the run very painful. I will try to put some ice on the area, take Advil, try a cough suppressant, and see if anything helps.

WED: SICK

THU: SICK

FRI: SICK

SAT: SICK

SUN: SICK

MON: SICK

TUE: SICK

WED: SICK

THU: SICK

STATS for WEEK 17 and 18: Run – 4 miles, Broken Ribs – 2, Discouragement – a lot