Tagged: summer running

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

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50K Training, Week 16: The Last 26 Miler

MON: Rest Day – It’s a good thing today is a rest day because I’m feeling under the weather. Looks like I’ve caught the same crud that’s been going around my running circle, and it may be the same thing Michael was battling last week. It was nice to have my son and his girlfriend in town, too, which gave me another excuse to relax and rest up.

TUE: Sick – Even though I hate missing a run, I cancelled my morning run with Bill because I just wasn’t feel well. I thought I might be well enough to run with Michael and the dogs in the evening, but my head was still stuffy and achy, so I decided to rest some more. Feeling blah.

WED: Run – 12 mi, Yoga (power: stamina)  – Despite still feeling less than recovered, had a great, fast run with Hari this morning. My legs always feel good after an extra day of rest, but the 58 degree temp also kept the pace fast, though comfortable. I love how I’m able to run negative splits, keep between an 8:30-8:45 pace the last few miles of a 12 miler, and feel strong and never out of my comfort zone. Followed the run with some yoga.

THU: Run – 6 mi, Yoga (21:00) – Met Liz at 5:45 at the lake for a run in the cool darkness. We kept a good pace and I was glad to get in a run, even though I woke up at 1:00am coughing from asthma. Had to use the inhaler to get back to sleep, and again this morning before the run. I need to stay on top of this so it doesn’t turn into some type of upper respiratory ailment so close to the race. Did some yoga afterwards, and felt great!

FRI: Rest Day – The allergies and asthma are really getting old. Another night of coughing and wheezing and having to use the asthma inhaler to get back to sleep. Thankfully, if this turn into something worse than just asthma, it’s happening now rather than in four weeks just before the race. Going to rest up today for tomorrow’s 10 miler.

SAT: Run 12 mi – Nice, easy run with the group. Kept a 9:37 average pace, and it felt very slow for most of the run. The weather was gorgeous, without a cloud in the sky, and the temperature was in the upper 60’s. I’m ready to get tomorrow’s 26 miler done, but I’m also kind of excited about it. Funny how I can look forward to something like that!

SUN: Trail Run – 26.25 mi – Despite waking up at 1:30am and coughing until falling back asleep at 3:30am, which meant less than five hours of sleep, my last really long run of the training plan, and my second 26 miler, was a great run and definitely a confidence booster.

Lake Grapevine, TX Sunrise

Hari, Susan, and I headed over to Grapevine and started in the dark at 6:30am. It was cool, but warmer than it has been for the past few weeks. We decided to run three 8.75 mile loops from Murrell Park to Rockledge, which included breaks after every 4 miles for water and food. This was the first time we’d ever run three consecutive loops and knew we needed to practice running through the monotony of the same trail three times. It wasn’t an issue at all. I ran more and walked the uphills less than any other run to date, and we kept a great pace, sometimes averaging 11:00 minute miles. I practiced running with the hydration vest, then running with only a handheld bottle (which I prefer), in anticipation of the race.

Texas Trail Runners

The last 4 miles were the toughest, which was to be expected. For the last few weeks I’ve been running only in the predawn hours with the temperature between 58 and 68 degrees. By the time we got to those last 4 miles the temperature was in the upper 80’s, and Susan’s car, parked in the shade, said it was 90 when we finished. It was certainly warmer than we’ve been used to, and I stayed with Hari the last few miles because he was struggling to the point that it worried me. We ran/walked the last few miles, then Hari took the lead and we finished strong back to the car. Susan the Beast, who had turbo charged it back long before us, had the camp chairs waiting in the shade. Sitting down, drinking a beer, and eating half a tuna fish sandwich, never felt so good.

Texas Trail Runner

Next weekend I’ll be running my first trail race, The Rugged and Raw 20K trail race. After that, let the taper begin!

STATS for WEEK 16: Run – 56.4 miles, Yoga – 62:00

50K Training, Week 15: The Return of Fall and Sharing the Trail with Poisonous Snakes

Oh, how I love my easy weeks! And I love how 37.5 miles of running is now an “easy” week for me. The most amazing thing about this week, other than the fantastic trail run I had on Sunday at Cedar Ridge Preserve, is the fact that I was able to run again only two days after running 26.4 trail miles. Another great thing about this week: cooler temps. I know we’ll still have some random days in the 90’s, but it looks like fall is slowly making its way into the Metroplex.

Cedar Ridge Preserve, Cedar Hill, TX

View from the trail, Cedar Ridge Preserve

MON: Rest Day – Ouch. Lots of soreness, aches, and general fatigue after yesterday’s tough 26 mile trail run. My calves are a little sore, but I think most of the aches are from the fall and hitting my chin on the rock. Hitting my head on a run is always my worst fear, and with good reason. Hopefully I won’t be too sore to slog through 4 slow miles tomorrow morning. I love easy weeks.

TUE: Run – 4 mi, Strength (upper body) – Despite the soreness, met Bill for a 4 mile run on the Katy Trail. Of course I kept the pace very slow, despite the fact that my messed-up Garmin said we ran 5 miles (not 4) and kept a 6:50 average pace (in my dreams). I’ve certainly never run two days after a marathon, and 4 miles at that, so I’m somewhat impressed with just getting up and running this morning. After another tough finish on the long run, I’ll take any sign of improvement I can get.

Cedar Ridge Preserve, Cedar Hill, TX

WED: Run – 10 mi, Yoga (power: stamina)  – Met Hari and Liz at 5:30am for a jaunt around the lake. It was nice and cool (I could really get used to these morning temps) though terribly buggy. Hari nearly lost his breakfast after swallowing a few bugs, and I had several stuck to my face when I got home. Liz had to turn around early to get back home and take her daughter to school, and Hari and I saw a strange, hissing raccoon that had to have been sick or rabid. I’m pretty amazed that my legs feel as good as they do so soon after running 26 miles. My Garmin is still messed up and won’t download my workouts onto the computer so I can check my splits, but I did notice the last few miles Hari and I kept between a 9:05 and 9:15 pace–which is not bad three days after running my longest distance ever.

THU: Run – 5 mi (hills), Strength (upper body) – Met Liz at 5:45am for a muggy, buggy hill run. Temp was 78 degrees with humidity close to 80%. Had a tough time getting up, but I was glad to get it done. I’m feeling very bored with my weights workout, but did it anyway, then did five minutes of yoga and realized I just wasn’t into it and stopped. It seems counterproductive to do yoga (or anything, for that matter) if  you’d really rather be doing something else. Cool front and rain on the way!

FRI: Rest Day

SAT: Run 10 mi – Great, easy run with the group. It was cool but humid, and the overcast skies were a bonus. My legs felt good, and it’s so nice to run on Saturday knowing the next day I only have 8 miles to run on the trail. Even though the trail runs are my favorites, it’s still nice to have an easy trail run week. Had to rush home afterwards and skip breakfast with the group because my son and his girlfriend were arriving for a short visit.

Cedar Ridge Preserve, Cedar Hill, TX

Just seeing the sign at the entrance to the trails was enough to put Hari on edge for the entire run

SUN: Trail Run – 8 mi – Had an amazing, rainy, magical trail run on my new favorite trail. Hari, Susan, and I ran at Cedar Ridge Preserve in Cedar Hill, just south of Dallas, on some very well maintained, sometimes challenging trails. It really was a beautiful place to run. No bikes are allowed on the trails, and it was great not having to worry about fast bikes around every corner. The only thing we did have to worry about, apparently, was poisonous snakes. Happily, we saw none. A light, refreshing rain fell the entire run, and it made the trails seem somehow quiet and peaceful. Of course, the rain meant the trails turned somewhat muddy, and it was my first time to run with a heavy accumulation of mud on the bottom of my shoes. There were quite a few very steep hills, with wooden logs as steps, so it was great training. As usual, Susan took the hills like a mountain goat and kept a brisk pace, followed by Hari. I loved our run this morning, and can’t wait to go back later in the fall when the leaves change colors. I’m always amazed when I run in Cedar Hill. It feels like being in the Texas Hill Country.

Susan and Hari

The Dynamic Duo, Susan and Hari

STATS for WEEK 15: Run – 37.5 miles, 1 strength/core workout, Yoga – 40:00

50K Training, Week 14: Longest Run Ever!

After returning home from one of the hottest camping trips I’ve ever been on, it was tough to stay motivated and upbeat in the continuing heat. I usually get through the summer by never expecting September to be any cooler than August, but this year I allowed myself to have false hope after a few teasers of cooler temps in late August. My misery was my own fault. My friend Nick reminded me not to waste these last few days of hot weather on “the wrong attitude.” Pamela Positive got told. Thankfully, the temperature finally came down just in time for our weekend long runs.

MON: Hike – 3.5 mi – Went for a hike at sunrise with Kurt in Palo Duro Canyon. Hiked the Rojo Grande Trail and part of the Juniper Trail (which I think we will be running on in October in the 50K race). Heard coyotes calling in the field as we walked along a creek bed, and enjoyed the canyon for one last morning. Sad to be leaving, but not sad to leave the extreme heat.
See you again on Oct. 20, Palo Duro!

Palo Duro Canyon

TUE: Running rest day – No excuses, I was simply too tired from the trip and sick of the heat to get out of bed and run the scheduled 4 miles on the plan. I told myself I would run at the gym (didn’t), at least do strength (didn’t) or yoga (didn’t), or run in the early evening (didn’t). Mostly, I’m ticked that it’s still in the 100’s in September. Blah.

WED: Run – 12 mi, Strength (arms), Yoga (twists)  – Great run this morning at 5am with Hari and Susan. Kept up a good pace, and the temp wasn’t all that unpleasant. I’m resolving to make up my missing 4 miles from yesterday, and get back on track with yoga and weights.

THU: Run – 8 mi (hills), Yoga (back bends)  – I decided to punish myself for not running on Tuesday morning by joining Susan for her hill run. I’ve always been envious of Susan’s level of fitness, and now I know her secret weapon. Those hills kicked my butt. It was a great workout. Rounded it off with some yoga.

FRI: Running rest day, Yoga (forward bends and hip openers) – Woke up feeling somewhat stiff and a little sore from Susan’s killer hill run yesterday. Did some yoga to help loosen up the muscles for this weekend’s long runs. Thankfully a cold front is supposed to roll in tonight and bring cooler temps, so I couldn’t be happier about starting Sunday’s 26 miler in 64 degree weather.

SAT: Run 10 mi – What a difference 10 degrees can make! Everyone today on our group run couldn’t stop talking about how much better it felt to run this morning compared to our usual Saturday morning runs. It rained very lightly before the run, which brought the humidity up a bit, but it still made a huge difference. I loved telling Michael last night that I was “only” running 10 miles today. I felt strong during the run, and it felt easy. Yay!

SUN: Trail Run – 26 mi – Longest training run ever, and longest distance run ever. 26.4 miles in the books, and it was tough. We were lucky to have the coolest temps all training season (around 60 degrees), and it made a huge difference. We ran at Isle du Bois, which is in Ray Roberts State Park, and perhaps it wasn’t the most optimal trail for a 26 mile training run. The trails were very rocky and hilly, and after Susan fell twice in a ten minute span of time within the first 10 miles, we questioned whether we would really be able to run a full 26 miles on all the rocks and hills.

We ran 16 miles before a break at the car for more water and food, and knew we would be able to finish off the last 10 miles. I felt good, though fatigued, but after a few times of almost rolling both ankles on loose rocks, and then falling hard on my chin on a big rock at mile 21.5 (and crying in front of my friends!), the last five miles were both mentally and physically tough. We did it, though, and somehow we made the 57 mile drive home afterwards, too. I was asleep by 8:30 on the couch, achy and sore from the fall, and oh so glad it was done.

Susan and Hari at Isle du Bois, Ray Roberts State Park, TX

Susan and Hari

Trail fall at Isle du Bois

Ouch!

STATS for WEEK 14: Run – 56.7 miles, 1 strength/core workout, Yoga – 80:00

50K Training, Week 13 – A Trip to Palo Duro Canyon

As always after a hard week of running, I was happy to have an easy week. For one reason or another, I didn’t do as much strength training or yoga, and that’s something I want to work on in the coming weeks. Summer decided to hang on a bit longer, with temperatures rising again above 100 degrees, but I ended the week with a wonderful trail run in Palo Duro Canyon, site of our 50K race in October, with my friends Hari and Kurt. 

Palo Duro Canyon

MON: Running rest day – I was like a zombie all day. I felt very fatigued, somewhat grumpy, but my legs felt surprisingly good after a 23  mile run. I did nothing physical, and spent the afternoon and evening on the couch with the iPad.

TUE: Run – 4 mi – Met Mike at 5:15am for a 4 mile run through Highland Park. I forgot to charge my Garmin, and he didn’t wear his either, so we were Garmin-free. It felt like we were pushing the pace, but hard to tell on tired legs. Another humid morning. So ready for summer to be done with. It was a busy day and somehow I never got around to core/strength or yoga.

WED: Run – 10 mi, Strength (arms) – This morning was one of those great runs where everything comes together. The temps were cool, humidity low, and I felt strong and smooth. We added in some significant hills, too, and despite the fact I ran 23 miles on trails just three days ago, the legs felt great. I just felt really good the entire run. We also got passed by a coyote, who came running out of the Arboretum and continued on in the grass. It was a truly beautiful animal, so lean and incredibly fast. Came home to finish off with 20 minutes of upper body weights.

THU: Running rest day, Yoga (forward bends) – 20:00 – Got some much-needed sleep. Going to run 10 tomorrow with Hari since we’re going camping this weekend to Palo Duro to check out the race course–and just have fun. Hopefully we’ll be able to run 4 on Saturday evening and 6 on Sunday morning. Not happy that it’s going to be in the upper 90’s all weekend. Did yoga in the evening to loosen up the legs before tomorrow morning’s run.

FRI: Run –  9 mi – It was such an incredibly warm and humid morning, Hari and I decided to run a loop and add the missing mile on to one of the weekend runs. The air was completely still and the bugs were horrible as well, getting in our eyes, ears, mouths, and noses. The run itself felt easy, and I’m enjoying being able to run so strong and effortlessly on a loop around the lake. I love having this level of fitness.

SAT: Running rest day – Hari, Kurt, and our families drove to Palo Duro Canyon for a weekend of camping and trail running. We were hoping to run at least 4 miles in the canyon in the evening, but the 104 degree temps helped us decide to run long in the morning instead.

Palo Duro Canyon

SUN: Run – 11 mi – Best trail run so far! Started at dawn at the Givens, Spicer & Lowry Running Trail, which took us to the Lighthouse formation, and added on the Little Fox Canyon Trail loop. It was 70 degrees at the start, and it felt great to be running in such cool temps. It also felt great to be running on a trail without roots or stumps. Though the temperature climbed up to 95 degrees by the end of the run, we couldn’t stop raving about how beautiful the scenery was. It’s runs like this that remind me why I love trail running so much.

Palo Duro Canyon

* All photos courtesy of Kurt Cimino

STATS for WEEK 13: Run – 34 miles, 1 strength/core workout, Yoga – 20:00

50K Training, Week 12: Longest Training Run Ever

 My highest mileage week ever, with a 23 mile trail run on Sunday–which was also my longest training run ever. Daunting. Thankfully, the midweek temps were unseasonably cool for August, and reminded us what a difference cooler weather makes in our speed and overall enjoyment of running. Ended the week with the return of hot, humid weather.

Lake Grapevine

Lake Grapevine

MON: Running rest day – I must have done something right last week because my left calf, which was sore all week, feels 95% better today–even after an easy 3 mile run last night. Of course I’m very tempted to get out and run a few miles, knowing last week’s mileage was a little low, but I won’t. I will trust the training plan. And as my friend Hari said, don’t look back, it’s in the past. I’m thrilled that it turned out to be nothing serious. Did 20:00 of yoga (standing poses), and am actually looking forward (???) to tomorrow’s  core/strength workout with the group. Sick, I know.

TUE: Run – 4 mi, core/strength,Yoga (standing poses) – 20:00 – Got up at the ungodly hour of 4:30 to meet Mike F for a 4 mile run before our core/strength workout. The temp was in the mid 70’s and it even drizzled slightly during the workout. My leg felt 100% better and I was surprised to see we had run about 30 seconds faster than I’ve been running–and it felt comfortable. Came home and did an upper body workout with weights, some squats, and yoga. It’s good to be back on track with my training.

WED: Run – 10 mi, Yoga (twists) – 20:00 – GREAT run this morning. The temperature was 67 degrees, which is the coolest morning we’ve had since spring. There was a little fog at the lake, the wind was still, and the stars were out when we started. It’s runs like this that make me appreciate the gift of running–especially with good friends.

Morning at White Rock Lake

White Rock Lake

THU: Run – 4 mi – A little warmer than yesterday’s early morning run, but still very pleasant. Ran with Mike and Hari, and kept up a faster pace than I wanted/expected–which is good. Looking forward to a day off tomorrow in preparation for the weekend long runs.

FRI: Running rest day –  Yoga (back bends) – 20:00 – Noticed my back was stiff yesterday while cleaning the bathroom (yuck) so I decided to focus on back bends in yoga in the evening. Warm temperatures are back, as is the humidity.

SAT: Run – 10 mi, Yoga (forward bends) – 20:00 – Ran with the group on a very warm, very humid morning. The weather is certainly back to normal for this time of year. The run itself was uneventful, just a regular 10 mile run. I worked on keeping the pace slower than two weeks ago to try and save my legs for tomorrow’s extra long run. Did some forward bends yoga afterwards to stretch out the legs.

SUN: Run – 23 mi – My longest trail run ever–and my longest training run ever. Kept the run slow and easy, walking a lot of the uphills and taking breaks for food and water refills. It was incredibly warm (77 deg at 6am) and humid (87%), but we were lucky to have overcast skies most of the day. It even sprinkled the last two miles of the run. Ran two 8.25 mile loops to Rockledge Park and back, then did the loop to the MADD shelter and back–which was actually one mile shorter than we expected. Hari and I were both more than satisfied with running 23 miles instead of the planned 24, and called it a day, bone tired and happy the running week was done. Even better, I didn’t fall once!

Lake Grapevine

Almost half way done

STATS for WEEK 12: Run – 51.2 miles, 1 strength/core workout, Yoga – 1 :20:00

Surprising Myself

I don’t recognize the woman I’ve turned into this summer. I look in the mirror and see a faintly familiar face reflected there, but it can’t be me. Who is this dedicated night owl who gets up at 4:30am to run ridiculous miles in the Texas summer heat? I hardly know myself anymore.

Two mornings in a row I’ve set the alarm for 4:20am. The first time was for a run followed by a core/strength workout, the second for a ten mile run at the lake. The runs and workouts are not surprising, only the time on the clock.

But then again, who gets up at 4:30am for a core workout?

Anyone can change. Even me.

White Rock Lake Sky

I’m always amazed that other people are out and about at 5:15am when I drive the ten minutes to the lake. Do people really have jobs that early in the morning? I park my car in the dark parking lot and worry about the car getting broken into while I’m gone.

My friends arrive and we spray ourselves with DEET-laced mosquito repellent, a new necessity because of West Nile. Setting our Garmins, we trudge down the hill, legs slow and stiff at first, then fluid and smooth as we run along the edge of the water.

Sometimes the conversation flows, and can veer off into a myriad of diverse topics. Other times we run silently, alone with our own thoughts, sharing a common bond of friendship and movement.

After these early morning runs the traffic is heavy and flows ten miles per hour faster. People tailgate, anxious to get to work. I’m feeling relaxed and satisfied from the run, and take a slower route through the neighborhood.

I pull into my driveway and the porch light is still on. Michael sleeps, and I feel a fleeting sense of regret that I got up so early.

The run has me pumped, and I contemplate doing some yoga before I shower. I need to use up all this energy before the inevitable mid-afternoon wave of sleepiness hits me.

I used to do all my runs alone. I thought I loved it. Sometimes I would listen to music. Mostly I listened to the birds and my thoughts.

Now it’s practically a requirement that I run with someone else. Running alone is not half as much fun when I have only myself to keep me company.

Change is good.

50K Training, Week 11

Before training for Palo Duro, my highest mileage week was 42 miles–and that was in 2010. Last week I made it to 48 miles for the first time ever, and one of my legs let me know it wasn’t happy about it. I took an extra rest day, foam rolled like crazy, and enjoyed the easy week. Best thing about this week, other than stepping back on the mileage: we got lots of rain!

Big Umbrella

You can run, but you can’t hide.

MON: Running rest day – Though my left leg feels better today, the calf muscle is still very sore and stiff. Bought a foam roller at Target and am continuing RICE. Hopefully it will be okay enough to get in a few miles tomorrow, but it’s looking doubtful. I’m pretty sure it’s not a full-blown injury, but I certainly stressed a tendon or muscle in that lower leg.

TUE: Rest – My leg is still sore and stiff, though it does feel better than yesterday. After a lot of thought (and sighing and groaning), I decided I needed to rest it another day. I really, really hate not being able to stick to the training plan. I also haven’t been doing yoga because of a freak thing that happened. I may have possibly cracked a rib or some cartilage in my breastplate the other day after twisting around to hug Michael on the couch. We both heard a “pop!” and I felt a sharp pain, and it’s been sore ever since. It feels just like when I cracked a few ribs on a trail run a few summers ago. I’m definitely feeling a little beat up at the moment . . .

WED: Run – 4 mi – Went to the gym and ran 4 very slow miles on the treadmill, interspersed with walk breaks. Leg does feel better, but still tight and sore. There’s no pain, just a lot of stiffness. Kept the pace between 11:00 and 12:00, except for a quarter mile at 10:00 pace. The run didn’t seem to make my leg calf muscles any more sore, and I made sure to wear my compression sleeves and foam rolled the leg really well before I went to bed.

THU: Run – 9 mi – Met Hari and Liz for a 9 mile loop around the lake at 5:45am. My leg felt much better this morning, though still tight. It’s strange to run with one strong leg and one that hurts with each step. Kept the pace a little slower than usual, but all in all a good run. Foam rolled the calf, which helped tremendously, and Michael massaged the knots out before I went to bed later in the evening, which made a huge difference.

FRI: Running rest day –  Yoga – 20:00 – My leg felt much, much better this morning. Decided to do some yoga, even though some poses were a little uncomfortable (because of the freak rib pop the other night). Going to take a complete running rest day and hopefully be good to go for Saturday’s 10 miler. Very excited about the cooler temps this weekend!

SAT: Run – 10 mi – My leg felt about 90% better this morning, with just a small twinge of  stiffness. The run itself was great, with those much cooler temps, as promised. My leg definitely started to stiffen up again after mile 4, but I worked hard not to change my gait in any way, hoping this would keep me from developing some type of overuse injury. Because of the long trail runs, it felt good to find myself thinking: it’s “only” 10 miles. I’m going to foam roll and massage the leg to be ready for tomorrow’s trail run (only 6 miles!!!!). We’re going to run a new trail, Cedar Ridge, which should be a steep, challenging trail run. Biggest bonus: tomorrow is supposed to be even cooler than today.

Runner in the Rain

A runner gets caught in the storm on the Katy Trail.

SUN: Run – 3 mi – Trails rained out – After yesterday afternoon’s deluge of rain (3.5 inches in less than an hour) we knew the trails would be a muddy mess. I decided to take an extra day off to help my calf muscles get an extra day of recovery, but of course I felt antsy all day and went for an easy 3 mile run with Michael and the dogs in the evening. It was the first evening run I’ve done in months, and it was pleasantly cool and not humid. My leg felt great, with just a slight twinge around the ankle. It was one of those runs where you feel happy to be alive, and know how fortunate you are to be strong and healthy.

STATS for WEEK 11: Run – 26 miles, Yoga – 20:00

Badass Old Lady Points

The other day I went to my neighborhood grocery store. It’s a small store, which means I usually see the same clerks working there every time I go. It was, however, recently bought out by Sprouts, and each visit I was starting to see more and more things being rearranged and more familiar faces being replaced by new employees.

I don’t enjoy grocery shopping. I actually hate it. Having everything change in my favorite store made the experience even worse. Because of that, when I was ready to check out I purposely waited in the longer line to be checked out by a young guy I recognized. Even though he was probably one-third my age, he was always friendly and courteous.

On this particular day, as he checked me out, we discussed the incredible humidity outside. I mentioned that I had run earlier in the morning, and he said he had as well. He seemed surprised to learn that I ran. We talked about how brutal it was to run in Texas in the summer, in both high heat and humidity, and I mentioned how tough Sunday’s trail run had been for me because of the extreme heat.

This is what Sunday’s trail run felt like.

He casually asked how far I had run, checking out my last few items, and I laughed and told him 20 miles.

He stopped what he was doing and slowly looked up, searching my face as if really seeing me for the first time. Very quietly, in disbelief, he said, “You ran 20 miles?” When I nodded my head, he stared at me, broke into a huge grin, and yelled, “KUDOS! That’s AWESOME!”

As I walked away, feeling his smiling amazement and hearing him yell after me to have a great day, I had a little extra spring in my step. Despite our age difference, I suddenly felt kind of badass. I wished I’d had a Harley parked outside the store, or that I looked like Lolo Jones as I sauntered off.

Somehow, I felt like I had just made his day, when it was really me who scored all the points.

* Photo: By Worldwide Happy Media (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

50K Training, Week 10

Halfway through the training plan! The stomach virus that made last week’s trail run so tough hung on for most of the week, but by the weekend I felt great. It was a good running week, and we were rewarded with especially cool temperatures on Saturday.

MON: REST DAY – I am so glad it’s a rest day. Yesterday’s 20 mile trail run was the toughest run yet. Stomach virus continues to hang on. Quads and calves very sore today.

TUE: Run – 4 mi/treadmill – I seriously considered taking another rest day because of my sore muscles, but decided to run on the treadmill at the gym and stick with the training plan. I kept the pace very slow and easy, and took a few short walking breaks. I think it actually helped. My legs felt less sore by the afternoon. I was still feeling weak and tired from the stomach virus and did no strength or yoga workouts.

WED: Run – 9 mi, Strength (upper body) – 20:00, Yoga (forward bends and twists) – 40:00 – Ran a loop around the lake with Hari, who was also feeling sore from Sunday’s trail run. It was incredibly warm and humid at 5:30am (84 deg with 65% humidity) and was a tough run. It’s getting harder and harder to stay positive about the heat. Felt good enough to do some arm weights, then later in the afternoon two short yoga sessions–which felt great. Still feeling tired from the stomach virus, though a two hour nap in the afternoon helped.

THU: Run – 3 mi/hills, Yoga (back bends)- 20:00 – After some rain last night, the temperature was 12 degrees warmer this morning than yesterday. What a treat! It was still very humid, but it’s good to be reminded what a difference running when it’s in the 70’s can be. I was starting to feel disheartened from the heat. Did 20:00 of yoga later in the day.

FRI: Yoga (back bends) – 20:00 – Running rest day – I always look forward to my Friday rest day! Did some easy yoga in the morning and enjoyed the rest of the day off. Looks like it may be nice and cool for tomorrow’s 10 miler. Sunday is another story, however . . .

SAT: Run – 10.5 mi – 74 degrees at the start and it remained cool the entire run. What a great run! Kept a 9:12 pace, which is the best I’ve run all season. I may pay the price on tomorrow’s 22 miler, but today I felt great. I needed a good run!

Legacy Parks

Hari, me, and Susan after the first of three loops

SUN: Trail Run -21.5 mi – River Legacy, Arlington – Another brutally hot, long trail run. Started out at 84 degrees at 6am, with 41% humidity (it felt more humid), and was around 99 degrees when we finished. Hari fell for the first time ever on the trails, but did no damage. Susan and I both fell twice. We loved the flatness of the trail, but there were a lot of stumps that tripped us up.

I definitely felt the effects of running too fast the day before, and what started out as a small nagging hurt around my left achilles traveled up my calf and turned into pain bad enough to cause me to limp by the end of the run. I hope it’s nothing more than a little tendonitis and will apply RICE this afternoon and tomorrow. I made the executive decision to not take the last loop and cut the run short by .5 miles. Since I ran an extra half mile the day before, I was fine with that. I’m just hoping I haven’t sabotaged the rest of this week’s training by not stopping earlier.

Except for the pain in my leg, I feel much less fatigued than in the past after a long trail run. I think drinking Gatorade on our breaks and eating real food immediately after the run (half a salami and cheese sandwich and a few dolmas) made a huge difference. Had two brisket tacos and some rice for lunch, then quinoa with stir-fried veggies and ground pork, and I felt much less fuzzy-headed than in the past.

And it only took me six years to figure this out!

Fun Town

STATS for Week 10: Run – 48 miles, Strength – 1 upper body workout, Yoga – 3 workouts @ 1:20:00