Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Little Jaunt Around Lake Georgetown

I ran around Lake Georgetown yesterday. It was just slightly over 27 miles. It was a tough, scenic and incredible run.
The weather was pefect: 31 degrees at the start. It took a while for my ears and fingers to warm up...and, yes, I was wearing gloves and a beanie.

There was a total of 10 of us. Immediately, we kinda feel into groups which suited me fine since I was afraid I'd get lost without a guide. I think I was just nervous going into a semi new course because (looking back) it was almost impossible to get lost.

The course has mile markers, and we started the opposite direction. It was a nice change to pass up mile markers backwards...27, 26, 25, etc.

The initial part of the course seemed fairly easy. There were a lot of sharp jagged rocks that I found myself playing hop scotch around. This seemed to tire me out by mile 13ish - all that jumping around. The last 1/3 of the course was pretty difficult. Plus, due to some of the climbs, my quads were on fire.

A big chunk of the course is just rocks and rocks and rocks. Although, there were some jeep road sections that seemed to go for several miles. It's a nice section to "pick up the pace" before/after the rocky sections.

I tripped several times pretty badly. It was the type of trip where you stumble for what like seems like an eternity with arms flailing. It's funny but when that's happening: I have time to think "this isn't good," but I don't have time to regain my balance and stop.  It seems like a quick trip that plays out slowly in my mind.

My friend, Nancy Marks, showed me a little waterfall at around mile 24 that made me secretly wish it was 50 degrees hotter.

At mile 26, I was boasting to myself that I was gonna finish without a fall, but just then - boom!!! I fell face first. My foot had gotten wedged between 2 rocks. Perhaps, I should've waited 'til I finished before bragging. Nevertheless, I was pretty happy that I was able to focus on the course and not get hurt. A lot of those rocks were jagged and pointy - fall on 1 of them and OUCH!!!

It was a good workout leading to my next race, Bandera 100k, in 2 weeks. I told myself this would be my last long run before the race, but who knows. I'd love to do 1 more before then. Just for my confidence, I guess.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fiesta Marathon '12 (according to me)...

Fiesta Marathon 2012 (according to me):

Right from the start, I felt tired, and my legs felt heavy. Really heavy. I made the decision right then and there that this'd be a training long run. So much for wanting to PR. Besides, I'd been scheduled to do a 30 miler this weekend. Before the race was over, I'd realize how close this marathon came to being said 30 mile run.

At mile 1ish, I (was directed ) took a wrong turn. Quite a few of us did. Like lemmings, many of us followed the runner(s) in front of us. It turns out I added an extra 1.5 miles to my 'thon.

I started having "stomach issues" (and that's putting it mildly) around mile 2. I started going over the course map in my mind for potential restrooms. I'm a germaphobe and didn't want to resort to using a porta potty, so I was trying to remember if we would run by any fast food places, stores, etc. I think I've taken it for granted that during a trail run, anywhere and everywhere is a potential restroom. In a road race...not so much.

At mile 6, I decided that I was probably gonna call it a day at mile 13. It was crazy humid, and I didn't feel like struggling for 13 more miles. Just then, 1 of my fiends, Ysenia, caught up to me. We began chatting about running and inadvertently picked up our pace a little. She was doing the 1/2, and I told her I'd probably veer w/ the 1/2ers when the time came.

When it was time for the 1/2ers to veer left and the full 'thoners to continue forward, I was feeling a little better, so I told her I was gonna keep going (and secretly hoped I wouldn't regret it later).

Miles 10-15 were bearable, but the humidity began to get to me. Also, I was beginning to tire of the only hydration options at the aid stations: water or powerade. If there's 1 drink that upsets my stomach almost immediately, it's powerade, but I didn't want anymore water. Besides, how worse could my upset stomach get? Much worse.

Miles 15-18 had me wishing I'd turned with Ysenia and the rest of the 1/2ers. I was ready to call it a day at mile 18 which happened to be the VRC (Valley Running Company) aid station. 1 of the volunteers poured water on  my head, another gave me ice and another, Carlos, walked a little with me while giving me a little pep talk. I'm sure he doesn't think it was such a big deal, but that seems to have gotten my head back in the game. I told myself "8 more miles!!!"

Seeing my loud friends from our running club at mile 23 gave me that little "extra" push I needed. There they were on the side of the course with grapes and a cowbell (a extra awesome thanks to David for getting me a coca cola also - I'd been craving it for miles).

I ended up making 6 pit stops: 2 hotels, Jack In The Box twice, a park and a stranger's house - with their permission, of course. Around mile 25, I was in the 'hood, and the stomach cramping began again. Bad. I was nowhere near a business, hotel or park (or EVEN porta potty). It was about to get real real. Real fast. Fortunately, I saw an elderly lady watering her lawn, so I asked if I could use her restroom. I told her it was an emergency. She turned out to be a life saver.

It was a tough run. I guess I've gotten used to running trails, because my feet ached during the mid to latter part of the race...even in my Hokas, and they were a little achy today.

In the end, my friends, Laura, John and May were waiting for me. It didn't matter that I'd told them to expect me right under 4 hours from the time I started. 5.5 hours and 27.5 miles later, I made it.

Better late than never.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Best Laid Plans...

The plan'd been to run the Fiesta Marathon this coming Sunday fast enough (according to me) to PR, but my plans kinda changed around November.

First, I hurt my knee during Cactus Rose, and it affected my running for over a month. So much so, that I only managed to run about 6 days in November. I'm better, but the knee is still a little tender.

Secondly, just when I seemed to be recovering, physically, I caught a cold.  I've had it for over a week, and you guessed it: it affected my running.  I've just been feeling pretty crappy. Plus, I get a little "weird" when I don't run - like I need a fix. A running fix. Nevermind that my "normal" friends think all this running IS weird - but that's another post for another time.

In the past 6 weeks I think I've run a 10 miler twice and an 18 and a 15 miler. I suppose that's enough mileage to finish the marathon, but I was really aiming for a bit more - for a 3:15ish-3:20ish finish.

I guess it's not in the cards. I cannot really complain, though. My new goal: to take it all in and enjoy. Not that I wouldn't've had fun if I was attempting to PR, but it would have just been a bit different. I think y'all know what I mean.

I'm gonna attempt to make it a "meaningful" long run by running an extra 4 miles (haven't decided if right after or right before) for an even 30 miler. I need this 30.

After this weekend, it's on to Banndera 100k and then Rocky Raccoon 100. It's starting to get real real  - real fast.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Running Is THE Best Medicine

Being sick sucks.

I'd been battling a flu/throat bug thing for a couple of days now. The worst part is that I hadn't run since Wednesday night. I can handle the body aches, the feeling of razors slicing the inside of my throat and's the no running that hurts the most.

I was so antsy for a run this weekend. Especially, since I'd planned to do a 20 miler this weekend.

I finally gave in today. Against the advice of many of my running friends, I ran. I told them I'd only run a couple of miles or that I'd stop if I felt woozy. Secretly, I probably wouldn't've. I wanted to get in a 10 miler. Correction: I needed to get in a 10 miler.

Well, I did, and it was tough. I'm sure the humidity added to the struggle. I did 10 and, now, that I've eaten and rested, I feel much much better. I think I may even be over it. Really.

I think running was the medicine I needed.

This is me keeping my distance from my friends. The fear of getting them sick kept me from posing too close, running with them or even shaking hands with most of them. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Trying (unsuccessfully) To Keep Up With 13 Year Old Running Machines...

Yesterday, I ran with the Boys/Girls Cross Country teams at the Middle School where I work. It was convenient: I get out at 4pm, and I'm already there. No waiting. No driving. No nothing. It's a great workout, and a shame I don't do it more often.

I think I get a better workout out of it than the boys/girls do, though. At least, I think so because they don't seem to struggle as much as I do. I try to keep up with them more than they with me. I usually ask my co worker (who is their coach) which one is the fastest one. After this, it's all about trying to keep up.

I know they're good for about 3 miles or so, and then they start to tire. As usual, the level of their talent never ceases to amaze me. I always tell them that if they were to keep up their running (and grades), they'll be kicking butt in no time (and I mean it).

Yesterday, I caught them eyeballing my hokas. They thought they were the oddest looking shoes. It was no use describing their comfort. Besides, how pointless is it that I am talking about cushioning to somebody that runs in converse chuck taylors??? It ain't gonna happen.

I'd planned on a nice little slow recovery run after having run almost 18 miles the night before. I was fatigued, my quads felt tight and I just wanted to loosen up, but it didn't quite work out (pun intended) that way. Their Coach had other things in mind.

During my struggle (to keep up), I kept wishing they'd cut corners or stop for a little walking break because I would've been all for it...the walking break - not the cutting of corners, of course, but they weren't having any of that.

So what did I do??? As I ran by my car, I got in and left.

Mistake #1: leaving my car along the course.