Tagged: trail running

50 Mile Training, Week 10: A Change of Plans

Plans change. Sometimes we expect it, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes the decision is made for us, and sometimes things happen that cause our original intent to merely fizzle out in a rush of an expired oh well . . .

There’s not much point in writing out a day-by-day recap of the week because I was sick and didn’t run a single day this week. No guilt, no regrets. I didn’t do any yoga either. My head felt like it was parked under a car tire this entire week and running and doing downward dog were the last things I felt like doing.

I did, however, enjoy the holiday week. I got to visit with my son and his girlfriend, pigged out on Christmas dinner, and actually enjoyed taking a short break from running.

I had my first White Christmas EVER here in Dallas. EVER.

White Christmas in Dallas, TX 2012

View from my front porch on Christmas Day

Michael and my son, Nicolas,  finished building the fence in the backyard, and Nicolas also built us our very own fire pit. They also spent two full days fixing a plumbing issue. Not so much fun, especially when your house was built in 1926 and the pipes are made of clay. Even worse when the outside temperature barely gets above the mid 40’s.

So while I may have been down for the count, hyped up on Mucinex and taking it easy on the couch, at least the boys were busy.

Fence and fire pit

Our completed fence and new fire pit

I got a lot of knitting done.

But I digress. The subject, after all, is running. Every day since Friday I thought I might feel well enough for a short run, but the congestion in my head and chest were just too bad. My training partner, Hari, also got sick the same day I did, with exactly the same symptoms, even though he was in another state visiting friends for Christmas. Liz is now sick with the same thing. Susan’s hand is in a cast after breaking a finger in her first 54K and needing surgery.

My friends and I are a little beat up at the moment.

And speaking of Hari, this brings me to the change of plans I mentioned earlier. Poor Hari. Feeling sick in Phoenix, he took a hot epsom salt bath, fainted afterwards from low blood pressure, and snapped a rib in half in his back when he hit the edge of the bathtub. Thankfully, he remembers nothing, but the doctor has told him to lay off running for six weeks.

Our 50 mile race is in five weeks. I have no intention of running it without him — I only signed up because he asked me to — so I’ve decided to withdraw and focus on the Jemez 50K at the end of May. I am perfectly okay with this decision. I hadn’t put in enough really long runs before I got sick, and I’m thinking this may give me a chance to shake off the asthma and coughing that have plagued me for the past three months. There will be plenty of other opportunities in the future to train for and run a 50 mile race, if I so choose. At this point, I’m happy to stick to 50K’s for awhile.

So, after a few more days of rest and a new 50K training plan to come up with, which will include lots of squats, lunges, and stair master, I’m looking forward to 2013 and a whole new year of running and training.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Stats for WEEK 10: Run – 0 miles, Yoga – 0:00

 

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50 Mile Training, Week 9: A Case of the Blahs

It was a tough week. Coughing and asthma returned for the third time since October, I felt a little burned out from running, and ended the week with a really bad cold. Whine, whine, whine. I still got in three great runs and two great parties this week, though, and that’s more important than feeling sick. Happy Holidays everyone!

MON: Yoga – 20:00 – Woke up at 4:30am thinking of things I need to do this week, but stayed in bed until 8:30. Feeling tired and a little grumpy from last week’s mileage. Did some power yoga (stamina) to try and get back into the routine.

TUE: Tempo Run 6.09 mi, Yoga 20:00 – Nice, cool morning for chasing Liz around the lake. My legs were still a bit sore from last weekend’s mileage, but they loosened up enough to give us negative splits and one sub 9:00 mile. I am still feeling a little burned out on running, and hoping it goes away soon. Next week will be an easy week, so I will keep that in mind as I continue to struggle.

WED: Christmas Lights  Run4 mi – Our third annual Holidayz in the Hood Christmas Lights Run. The past two years we’ve run from our house and had a great turnout both years. Last year we bundled up in gloves, hats, long tights, and double layers; this year we wore tank tops and shorts and pretended it was winter. When we left the house around 7:20pm the temperature was an unbelievable 76 degrees. On December 19! But this IS Texas, and within an hour of finishing the run, while sitting on the front porch eating pizza and drinking beer and visiting with old and new friends, lightning appeared in the west, the rain came down, and a cold front blew in from the north. Gotta love our Texas winters.

WRRC

Good times with good friends, pizza, and beer after our Holidayz in the Hood Christmas Lights Run

THU: Rest Day – After another night of coughing and trying to sleep on the couch so as not to disturb Michael, woke up at 6:15am and decided to cancel my usual weekly 10 mile hill run with Hari. I hate missing any scheduled runs on my training plan, but I just felt like I needed an extra day of rest. Boo to not feeling well.

FRI: Rest Day – After yet another sleepless night of coughing, decided to make another visit to the doctor. Had to sit forever at PrimaCare since my doctor’s office was already closed for the holidays. I actually saw a great doctor at PrimaCare who also happened to be a serious cyclist. He did blood work, said I didn’t have an infection, and that I just have really bad allergies and asthma. He said it’s been a particularly bad allergy season this year since we didn’t get a hard freeze until a few weeks ago, and that there’s really not much I can do other than get another shot of cortisone and another round of Prednisone.

While I’m glad I don’t have an upper respiratory infection, I’m not so happy about the severity of the allergies this year. I’ve never coughed as much in my life as I have these past THREE MONTHS. Talking to a doctor who is also an athlete and could understand my frustration did make me feel a lot better, though. We also had a good discussion about the fact that this is the first fall season I’ve done trail running, which could be resulting in worse allergies due to the simple fact of spending more time outside, and we talked about the possible correlation between higher mileage and a lower resistance to getting sick. Food for thought.

Trying to run through all this coughing and asthma has been a real challenge these past three months. While it certainly adds a physical obstacle to work through, it’s the mental aspect I’m still trying to overcome. I can push through a lot of pain, but THREE MONTHS of this is starting to wear me down mentally.

SAT: Trail Run, Oak Cliff Nature Preserve – 7.5 mi – A great run with a great group of runners this morning. It was colder than expected (36 deg), especially after Wednesday night’s balmy Christmas Lights Run, but perfect for a trail run. Most of the people had never run the Oak Cliff trails before and were pleasantly surprised at how pretty — and challenging — it was. Decided to run all the loops once like everyone else and stop at 7.5 miles. Even though it was a short run, it was just challenging enough to pack a powerful punch. Afterwards, introduced those who could stay to an Oak Cliff landmark, Norma’s Cafe, for a recovery breakfast. It was a very good start to the day. (Even though I did trip over a root hidden in the leaves and skinned up both knees. I will wear the trail scars with pride underneath my wedding dress next week.).

Oak Cliff Nature Preserve Trail Runners

Me and the gang at the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve

SUN: Sick – Woke up this morning with a congested head and feeling like I have a really bad cold. Decided to take a day of rest on the couch, watching TV and knitting. My coughing is better, but my head feels like it’s going to explode. A really blah finish to a tough week. I hate being sick. Here’s hoping next week will find me on the road to recovery and back on my feet stronger than ever.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone!

Stats for WEEK 9: Run – 17.6 miles, Yoga – 40:00

 

50 Mile Training, Week 8: Winter Returns . . . but Not For Long

After last Sunday’s warm, humid weather for the Dallas Marathon, a major cold front blew in just a few hours after most people had finished. My three mid-week runs were all in the upper 20’s/low 30’s (heavenly!), but it had already warmed up significantly again by the weekend. This was my highest mileage week so far in this training cycle, and aside from some minor soreness in my quads following Wednesday’s hill run, my legs felt good for the 20 miler. The high mileage caught up with me somewhat this weekend, especially since we immediately jumped into another training cycle after our last 50K without much of a break, and I found myself feeling a little burned out. Planning a wedding and the usual Christmas chaos also played a part, I’m sure.

MON: Rest Day – Woke up to a light dusting of snow and 30 degrees, which is amazing considering it was 67 degrees when I got up the day before. Crazy Texas weather. Too bad the marathoners had to slog through the humidity and warm temps at yesterday’s Dallas Marathon. Spent the day posting photos and video Michael took at the race, and getting some writing done. Forgot to take a photo of the snow before it melted.

TUE: Run 6.09 mi – Oh, happy day! 28 degrees for this morning’s run with Hari, and a beautiful crescent moon with Venus shining just below. I always say that it can’t be cold enough for me when I run, and today proved me right. It was an amazing run on the hilly path. The hills felt puny and it was an easy run at a fast pace.

WED: Hill Run  – 10.6 mi – Another gloriously cold morning run. It was actually so cold this morning, 27 degrees, that I had a brain freeze headache towards the end of the run. It was worth it. The hills felt just a little bit easier today, and Hari and Mike F kept up a good pace. Wedding plans and my son’s return kept me from yoga yet another day.

THU: Run6 mi, Yoga – 25:00 – Met Liz at the lake for her first run since the marathon. It was 34 degrees and a perfect blue sky. My quads were a bit tight from yesterday’s hills and two days of a fast pace, and I was glad I only ran 6. Did yoga for the first time in over two weeks (hip openers) with my son’s twenty-something year old girlfriend. I used to think I was pretty good at yoga; after doing yoga with Nicole (her first time ever doing yoga and she could do full lotus right off the bat) I felt like the old, rusty Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. So not right.

FRI: Rest Day – Enjoyed a full day of nothing athletic. Quads were still a little sore so I took the entire day off.

SAT: Run – 15 mi – After two parties last night and two glasses of champagne, getting to bed at midnight, plus the return of bad asthma and warmer temps, I was feeling pretty grumpy when I met Hari at 6:00am. For the third weekend in a row we’ve had warm, humid temperatures after a week of cold mornings, and the back and forth between cold/warm runs is starting to get to me. We had discussed doing back to back 20 milers this weekend, but because of my asthma, lack of sleep, and general grumpiness, we settled on only 15. I felt less than stellar the first 10 miles, but from mile 10 on I felt great. The temperature stayed the same the entire run (57 deg) but the humidity took a nose dive once the sun came up and it felt cool and pleasant. 20 mile trail run tomorrow — hope my legs cooperate!

Rowlett Creek Preserve trail runners

Good times at Rowlett Creek Preserve

SUN: Trail Run, Rowlett Creek Preserve– 20 mi – Woke up this morning feeling a little burned out and not looking forward to spending five or six hours of my day running, even on trails. Even though trail running is the thing I look most forward to, it’s still a long time to be running. When I got to Rowlett, however, and saw friends who don’t usually come out to run with us, it completely turned my day — and the run — around. Plus, we had perfect weather for running: 55 and overcast skies.  We brought food to eat in between the two loops (PBJ sandwiches, dolmas, Newman-O’s, and Coke) and kept the pace nice and easy. It was a good run. Once again I’m reminded how friends can turn a blah morning run into something special.

Stats for WEEK 8: Run – 57 miles, Yoga – 25:00

* Photo courtesy of Serena Lambiase

All My Friends are Faster Than Me and That’s the Way I Like It

My friend Hari likes to aggravate me by telling others:  She used to be so fastI never really was that fast, and I haven’t really gotten that much slower either. He’s the one who finally caught up with — and now runs faster than — me.

I did qualify for and run Boston two years ago, I used to regularly place in my age group in local races, and I even won second place in my age group at the Borax Death Valley Marathon last year. My bright, shining star of speed seems to have fizzled out this past year and a half, but I’m okay with that. I’ve discovered my one true love, trail running, and no one seems to care as much about my speed out on the trails.

When I run with the group on Saturday mornings I’m always in the back of the pack. I generally like to keep a 9:30-9:45 pace on those 10 to 12 milers, mainly to save energy for the longer Sunday trail runs which can entail up to six hours of running 20 to 26 miles at a time.

On those Saturday runs with the group, the majority of my friends are way ahead of me, running in the 8:30-9:00 pace range. Apparently, a new study shows that running with people faster than yourself is a good thing.

Dallas Marathon 2012

I see a lot of the back of people’s shirts when I run.

My old Garmin used to have a Virtual Partner that I could run against. I never once used it the entire life of the watch. Maybe I should have.

I prefer to use my friends to keep me fast. Running with my friend Susan is always a race to the finish, especially on the trails. Though she’s only a few years younger, she’s much faster than I am, and much stronger. My friend Hari turned vegan, dropped some weight, and grew a pair of wings on his heels. I always knew it was just a matter of time before he would run me into the ground. And Bionic Liz, who has pins in her leg from a stress fracture that took her off the course in her first marathon attempt, can stay ahead of anyone by sheer force of will.

My friends are good for me.

Trail running, a challenging weekly hill route, running five days a week, cooler winter temperatures, and increasing my overall mileage have all helped me to get faster again without really trying. That’s exactly the way I like it. If I have to work too hard at something, it takes all the fun out of it.

And if it’s not fun, why bother?

50 Mile Training, Week 7: Scott Jurek, an Engagement, and the Dallas Marathon

Okay, I went a little crazy this week. I got engaged, signed up for a super challenging 50K, got my picture taken with Scott Jurek, bought a wedding dress, picked out a ring, planned an entire wedding in one week, worked an expo booth, and updated Facebook posts for the Dallas Marathon. And did I mention that I GOT ENGAGED??? I really know how to pack it in, don’t I? I was so busy I didn’t have time to do one minute of yoga, either.

MON: Rest Day – Too busy to do anything but fit in an evening with Scott Jurek. Not a bad way to spend a Monday night, if you ask me. What an incredibly down-to-earth, friendly, nice guy. I missed the group run beforehand, but really enjoyed hearing him speak for about 45 min or so afterwards. I wrote an entire blog post about meeting him, and my friends have threatened a Scott Jurek intervention, so I will force myself to stop now.

Scott Jurek

Gratuitous Scott Jurek Photo

TUE: Run 6.09 mi – Liz chose New York City over me this morning, and I couldn’t talk Hari into running with me, so I was forced to run all alone. I decided to run with music to break the monotony — and had a great run. I never run with music, but it really helped keep me on pace. Plus, I have great taste in music, so it was win/win all around. Best of all, it was cool! It was only 56 degrees and 60% humidity, which, when compared to Sunday’s mug fest, was downright glacial. Even Scott Jurek mentioned the weather last night. But there I go again, off the Scott Jurek deep end . . . (someone please make me stop).

WED: Hill Run  – 10.6 mi – 45 degrees at the start of today’s hill run, and I couldn’t have been happier. I’m still trying to purge Saturday and Sunday’s warm and humid runs. The hills were a little taller and steeper today after three nights of little sleep (wedding plans kept waking me up), and Hari kept a blistering pace. Gorgeous sky and perfect temps.

THU: Run9.56 mi – A wonderful run at the lake this morning at 6:00am, in thick fog, with Hari. Announced the engagement on Facebook and came home to an explosion of congratulations. Heard great songs on the radio both on the way to the lake and on the way home. It was a great day!

Dallas Marathon 2012

Dallas Marathon 2012 – Running over the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

FRI: Rest Day – Spent the day setting up and working at our WRRC booth at the Dallas Marathon expo. It was so much fun to see all my running friends and talk to new runners who might be interested in coming out and running with us. I am so blessed to be part of such a wonderful running community.

SAT: Trail Run, Rowlett Creek Preserve– 10 mi – Great morning for a run. Temps in the mid 50’s and overcast. Met up with Michael S and Jennifer S for the first 4 miles, then Hari and I continued on our way alone. Michael was trail guide for the first 4, and we actually didn’t get lost the last 6, even though Hari and I were on our own and ran around in circles last week. It was a nice, relaxing run. Spent the afternoon at the expo seeing friends and helping out in the booth, and managed to fall flat on my face at the Run On! booth when my Nike Free got caught up in the table skirt as I walked away from paying for a t-shirt I had just bought. Yep, down on all fours, laptop skidding across the floor, and concrete rising to greet me. I knew those shoes were super grippy, but sheesh, it’s pretty embarrassing when my trail klutzery goes on the road with me in a public place filled with hundreds of other runners!

Went to bed that night after reading that Bob’s daughter and wife spread his ashes on the marathon course at Winfrey Point at White Rock Lake. I loved knowing that thousands of marathon runners would be carrying a small part of Bob to the finish line with them.

Dallas Marathon 2012

Dallas Marathon 2012

SUN: Off Day – Volunteer at Dallas Marathon – Got up at 4:30am and headed down to the Convention Center for the Dallas Marathon. When I let the dogs out at 5:30 before I left it was 66 degrees and 89% humidity. Not exactly ideal marathon conditions. For most people, it was a tough day of running, though some of my friends did really well (yay Nicole, who placed 9th female overall!!!). I spent the day in the media room updating Facebook posts during the race and hanging out with local reporters. I got to see the male and female marathon winners interviewed, and then be the first to see how my friends did on the live results web page. It was a full day. As so often happens here in Texas, a cold front blew in around 2:00pm and the temperature dropped all afternoon. Rounded out the day/week at a Ozona’s with running friends, talking about the marathon, tossing back some drinks, and enjoying life. What a week it’s been!

Stats for WEEK 7: Run – 36 miles

Vladimir Safranov

Dallas Marathon 2012 Men’s Marathon Winner Vladimir Safranov

Nastassia Padalinskaya

Dallas Marathon 2012 Women’s Marathon Winner Nastassia Padalinskaya

50 Mile Training, Week 6: Winter and Summer in the Same Week

Dear Weather Gods:

I know I complain a lot about the running weather here in Dallas, especially in the summer. But remember when I sacrificed my new pair of $100 sunglasses in St George and you gave me perfect weather and a Boston qualifying finish time? Well, this Saturday I dropped my brand new $70 sunglasses, got a scratch on them, and the next day you punished me with summer temperatures and high humidity. Have you failed to notice that IT’S DECEMBER??? Can’t you take pity and cut me a break on at least one of my 20 mile trail runs, especially when it’s supposed to be one of the best two running months of the year in Texas? Obviously my sacrifice wasn’t large enough.

Signed,

A Very Frustrated Texas Runner

Tifosi Photochromatic Sunglasses

My tarnished beauties

MON: Yoga25:00 – Quads are pretty sore from the weekend runs, so I did a vigorous power yoga sequence (stamina). It felt great, and the power yoga seems to be helping to facilitate a lot more flexibility in my legs and making my core even stronger.

TUE: Run 6.37 mi, Yoga – 25:00 – Great run with Liz at the lake this morning incorporating the hilly path on the east side. It was overcast, breezy, and cold — just how I like it for running. Quads are still a little sore, but we kept a brisk pace nevertheless. I tried a new power yoga sequence in the evening (strength) that kicked my butt. It was nothing but sun salutations and arm poses, over and over. I can definitely tell the effects of the more strenuous yoga, in a good way, especially in my spine, back, shoulders, hamstrings, and Achilles tendons.

WED: Hill Run  – 9.01 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – GREAT run with Liz this morning. Cold at the start (39 degrees) and hills, hills, and more hills. My legs felt great, the cold weather was invigorating, and the variety in the route kept it fun. The only downside was the heavy morning traffic on some of the busier roads. It was one of those great morning runs where you feel like you could keep running forever and reminds you why you love running so much. Legs were feeling a little achy from the hills, so I did some forward bends in the afternoon to loosen up.

THU: Run7.05 mi – An absolutely gorgeous morning greeted us on this sad day of laying our good running friend, Bob Philpot, to rest later in the day. Liz met me at my house for a run over to the Katy Trail, and though I am sad and wistful at knowing Bob won’t ever get to run on a beautiful morning like today, I’m happy knowing how much joy days like today brought to his life. Selfishly, I’m happy for myself because I was fortunate enough to cross paths with him and spend time in the pleasure of his running company. It’s hard to lose the good guys, but it isn’t a cliche to say that the world was left a better place because of the years Bob spent here with us. His memorial service later in the day was the most moving Celebration of Life I’ve ever attended, complete with Bob’s favorite music: Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, and Neil Young. It was standing room only and not a dry eye in the place. What a guy!

FRI: Rest Day – An entire day off. Wanted to do yoga but just never found the time.

SAT: Run 9.06 mi – Another great run, even though the weather was unbelievably warm and humid for the first day of December (at 7AM: 66 deg and 90% humidity). Since it was the last Saturday run before the Dallas Marathon next weekend, we had a huge turnout. The pace was easy, the conversation was stimulating, and the distance just right. It was really fun to see everyone in top form for their marathons next weekend, and being reminded that proper tapering really works.

Rowlett Creek Preserve, TX

A steamy December sunrise over Rowlett Creek Preserve

SUN: Trail Run, Rowlett Creek Preserve – 20 mi – 69 degrees at 7:30AM and 81% humidity. 82 degrees at the finish and sunny. MIS-ER-A-BLE. Yesterday I was patient. Today I struggled. It was, however, still a great run. When we ran Rowlett Creek this past summer we all stumbled, tripped, and fell on the roots and stumps. Today it was like a completely different trail. My trail form has drastically improved these past six months, and except for one near-death slide down a steeply sloped embankment while walking (thanks for grabbing me, Hari!), I didn’t fall once. We kept the pace very slow and easy, trying to simulate how we will run for the 50 mile race, and my legs felt great. I could easily have run at least another 10 miles. Starting around mile 14, though, my stomach became very uncooperative — which was no fun at all. Maybe it was the heat, or the meds I’ve been taking for the cough, or the energy chews and GU, or all of the above, but it wasn’t a fun way to finish off a great day of running.

The trails at Rowlett are supremely confusing to both me and Hari, and we literally ran around in circles all morning, never figuring out how to reach loops 11-14. A very friendly mountain biker took pity and stopped multiple times to help us out, admitting that the signs need to be updated, but we figured it didn’t really matter where we ran as long as we got in our mileage. We just kept following trails, happy in our clueless circling. We saw the biker again in the parking lot after our run and had a good discussion with him about the local wildlife. Apparently there are lots of coyotes, owls, bobcats, rabbits, and armadillos out there, and he was very adamant about the number of copper head snakes there in the summer, much to Hari’s chagrin. I hope I can get Hari to go back out there into the wilds of Rowlett because I really like those trails, snakes and all.

Rowlett Creek Nature Preserve, TX

I took a photo of Hari on his way to the Port-a-Potty before the run (a frequent occurrence), but karma punished me for it at miles 14-20.

STATS for WEEK 6: Run – 51.5 miles, Yoga – 1:15:00

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.