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Hill Runs

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First 50k

Anxious to complete my first 50k and wanting to get out of Dodge, I drove four hours to Brooksville, Florida: a small unimpressive town with little to do. They have a nice trail though where Croom Zoom and April Fools Croom Race are held. I was met by ten of my Down to Run friends for pre-race packet pickup.

It is ironic that I planned my meals for two weeks prior to the race carefully, focusing on the proper ratio of complex carbs to protein. The night before, we ate at the one “safe” looking restaurant in town. Limited with options, I was forced to have chicken Parmesan with pasta and garlic rolls. I had a cannoli as well just to play safe and top off the carb reserves.

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(This image of chicken parm. is strictly for illustrative purposed, twas not the one I consumed)

8 PM: The night before the race, I got back to my room and started flipping through the channels. I got through all 20 about five times.

8:30 PM: Gave up on finding anything good to watch and settled for something mediocre.

9 PM: Fell into slumber.

9 PM-4 AM: Pee, Drink Water, Pee, Kick Corner of Bed

5 AM: Race Day. I woke-up and traveled across the street for a Waffle House waffle, purposely not thinking about whether I was in the mood to run 31 miles.

Mistake #2 or lesson #2, 5am stomach+waffle house+ running= no good.

The waffle was only in my stomach for a short period of time. My next stop was a 40 person line at the race for the 2 restrooms which had no lights. It was a great way to start the day.

The race started well. It was in the upper 50’s with light fog cover. I felt good and passed a bunch of people. At some point, it almost feels like it takes more effort to go slower than your comfortable pace, so I pushed past some people that maybe I shouldn’t have.

The first 13 miles were relatively effortless. The course had some elevation, likely more than I was prepared for. I didn’t really have a walking plan. The plan was to walk when I felt I absolutely needed to. I had to walk some portions of 14 to 16 as my hips starting killing me, and I was running out of gas. Somewhere between mile 13 and 16 I kicked a root and fell to my face like Humptey Dumptey. I think the person behind me yelled “timber!” That was fun. Nothing like being covered in dirt and having a face itch.

By mile 16 (the end of loop 1 of 2) I had waves of nausea. I should have been eating more looking back, as I tend to start feeling sick when I need calories. The aid stations were not even really setup until the second loop, so I was limited to eating and drinking what I had, or else waste precious time. I was having a salt capsule an hour, and trying to have at least 100 calories per hour, but I lost track of everything. The only thing I could think about was to continue moving forward. At this point, it was around 80 degrees and increasing. The sun was beating down.

I had told myself that when it got tough my mantra would be “you are a machine,” “you can do this all day.” There was no doubt in my mind as to whether I would finish. I had decided previously that I would 100%.

After filling up with water, eating a quarter of a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich, and getting told my Jen I needed to move vs. dig through my bag for some little piece of crap that I didn’t need. I felt good enough to run another mile, before my legs started cramping to the point I felt I had to walk or else I would land on a limp leg and fall over. I got to the aid station and had some Mountain Dew for the caffeine and pickles and potato chips for the salt. That actually helped a lot and I was able to run another mile. When I started fading again I was hopeful for more Mountain Dew and pickles at the next aid station. But silly me…there was no more to be had.

After 18 miles I had to remind myself that this was a running race, and not a hike, as I found myself unconsciously walking. My entire body was so exhausted that I didn’t have many thoughts. My hips hurt viciously, especially on the uphills, so I had to stop running and walk, but I turned off the pain. There was a minute where I asked myself “this is physically painful, why are you doing this? Never do this again!” While every step hurt, I did a good job of not thinking about it, after the moment that I promised myself I wouldn’t put myself in the same position again. The pain was more bearable than the cramps that just shut my legs down. There was more walking towards the end of the race than I would have preferred, but I did the best I could given how my body was behaving that day.

Looking back at what I could have done differently:

  1. Eat better the night before and the morning of
  2. Walk before I absolutely needed to (when to walk I still have no clue because my body usually tells me to stop the entire time I am running)
  3. Force myself to eat more during the race

I have been pretty down since the race; nothing sounds fun anymore. There was so much anticipation and effort that went into training, now what? While my finish was not all I could have hoped for, at least now I will have greater room for improvement and a reference point.

I am looking for another race to hopefully knock off some time. This running thing is a love hate relationship. Hate to do it, love it when it is over.

A few of us stayed until Sunday went to Rainbow Springs over in BFE Florida.

The water was crystal clear, and the perfect temperature. After a quick dip, a canoe ride down and back up the river, lunch and a few cups of coffee, the trip was over.

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First 50k This Weekend!

I signed up for my first 50k this weekend and am excited. Nervous anxious excited. The good news is today starts carb-loading. I have a healthy meal plan I am following:

Pizza, tacos, ice cream, chips and large Italian sandwiches… and a bowl of pasta for good measure.

I have no doubt that I will finish, how quickly and in what shape remains unclear. My realistic expectation is to stay under 7 hours, but who knows, 6:30 might be possible given the conditions of weather and how I wake-up feeling. The body is sometimes a mystery. Sometimes everything clicks and running is effortless (as is life). Other times, we have to carry ourselves through the motions.

The race is in Brooksville, FL, a little north of Tampa. The trails are supposed to be beautiful and the weather will be cooler than Palm Beach, at least a little. It will be two 16 mile loops for me. I might end up stopping at 31 miles though, and ask for my metal since I only trained for 31, the one extra mile could be too much.

I was originally going to do my first 50k the following week, but my body and mind are ready. No sense in delaying when extra training can only get me injured. I have gone a little OCD in planning, without actually physically doing anything. A little OCD for me is making a list and checking it twice.

Buy:

  • Bodyglide
  • Marker

Have:

  • Chair
  • Cooler
  • Water
  • Isa fuel- x10
  • Isa hydration- x5
  • Vest x2
  • Bladder
  • Watch
  • Bag with paper towel
  • Salt tabs
  • tums
  • Flip-Flips/Crocs
  • Headphones

Drop Bag:

  • Isa fuelx6
  • Isa hydrationx3
  • Socks
  • Shoes
  • Anti-chafe
  • Skittles
  • Headphones
  • Vest
  • Portable battery
  • Eye drops
  • Headphones
  • e+

Running Clothes:

  • 2xu or Saucony shorts
  • Long sleeve race shirt
  • Nike running shorts
  • Short sleeve running t
  • Warm-up jacket
  • warm-up pants

Hill Runs Miami Marathon

Doubt

Miami Marathon: T-5 Days. I have put in about 600 miles over the last few months. Weekly mileage has ranged between 30 to 45 miles. One would think I am ready, and feel confident in my abilities. After all, I have followed a plan. Granted there were a few modifications to the original plan, but that is part of the learning process. Some days when my legs were cramping, I decided to stop a couple miles short on my long run. I took a few days off with a cold.

My original plan did not provide much of a taper for the upcoming marathon, as it was just supposed to be a part of a larger 50k training plan. I think my body told me it needed a taper… For the last two weeks I have slowly reduced my weekly mileage so my muscles are fresh race-day. It could have likely been the case that I should have pushed the through the pain and got the training miles in. The only way I learn is through doing, and at this point, the doing is pretty much over. I will learn from what goes wrong.

5-ways-to-stop-self-doubt-in-its-tracks

Still I am full of doubt. Did I train enough? Am I strong enough physically? Am I mentally capable? I fear that I will cramp or get sick to my stomach early on, and have to walk most of the race.

Doubt is what got me into training to begin with. It started off with asking myself, “can I run a half marathon?” A few weeks into training, I thought to myself, “maybe you can’t do it, you just weren’t built for it.” I had to run a half marathon in training three times for the weeks leading up to my first race. The first time was to prove that I could, the second time to prove it wasn’t a fluke, and the third to ensure I was exhausted by the time race day came. I had no heart set finish time. My only goal was to run the race through without walking. I ran the half marathon to prove to myself that I could, and I didn’t walk.

When I heard of people running ultra marathons, it seemed crazy. How could someone run more than 26.2 miles and why would they want to? Running that distance is a combination of athletic ability, capacity to endure pain, mental focus, and a loose screw in the head. Like many runners I have met seeking to push distance, we all love to be called “crazy.”

Originally I looked at jogging as healthy, and a good way to fight off fat. Now I find myself less concerned with my outer appearance and more focused on learning what I am capable of. Without the doubt, I wouldn’t need to run. Doubt is one of the most significant motivating factors in pushing the distance.

I have a difficult goal, a plan to achieve it, and have put in the work. If I can apply this to running, there is no reason I cannot confidently apply successful goal attainment to other aspects of my life.

My anxious excitement is going to increase as the week progresses. I wish I could run the race right now!doubt1

Judging progress:

I find it difficult to see my running progress. This is because I am witnessing very small changes over short periods of time. If your friend sees you after six months and you have lost 20 lbs since you last saw them, the change is largely apparent. As the person losing the weight, you may lose a pound or so a week. You are looking in the mirror daily. This small incremental change isn’t as visible to you in the mirror as 20 lbs is to your visible to your friend.

When I first started running the Dunes of Heaven in the back of Jonathan Dickinson State Park, I had to walk every time. They killed me! Now, even if I go through the dunes after I am several miles in, I can always make it through without walking. This is definitive progress. I have completed 20 mile and 22 mile distances. (There was some walking, but people have told me its about “time on your feet,” vs. not walking as its better to walk and continue moving forward then to run until you can’t move and have to quit.)

Often, still, five to seven mile runs seem to be tiring. I question if these shorter runs have me breathing heavily, sore, and wanting to stop, how can I go the distance? Somehow I get through longer runs by putting one foot in front of the other and swinging my arms a little.

There is comfort in knowing that feelings while running come in waves. Experience has proven that most feeling will be fleeting. I can feel fatigued and in pain for a few minutes. Eventually and likely soon, I feel elated with endorphins and able to continue indefinitely. That feeling comes and passes, and I am be left saying “I don’t know how long I can continue.”

My best answer to myself when I ask if I can continue is “I am a machine.”

Have I trained enough? Will I be fast enough? Am I good enough? More will be revealed soon.

New Oleans

When 7 miles feels like 70

I run when it comes easy, I run when it is tough, I run when I feel tired, I run after I have had enough.

running-sucks

I run through the bad running days to get to the good ones.

Running is kind of like fishing in my experience. People fish through hundreds of bad days, for the one great day. I run through the tough days, so that I am stronger and able to enjoy future runs. I have had a few great days when I feel light and motion is effortless. You never know when the good day is going to come, so you have to get out as much as possible!

The past two running weeks have been a struggle. I have lost motivation to do my 50k, questioned why I signed up for a marathon, but I wake up at 5:30 each day and stick to my plan.

Why? Because I said I was going to, and I want to prove I can. I told 100 people I was going to do a 50k, but most importantly I told myself. There is no option to turn back now. I am well past the Rubicon, the point of no return. There is no sense looking back, just at one foot as it lands in front of the other, often sloshing with sweat and tears.

My first miles today felt like my shoes were cinder blocks. The rain did not help my mental state. I pushed onward into the darkness.

Mile 3 to 3.5 I was biting my lip. It felt like I was barely moving and going to collapse.

Mile 3.5 to 6.5 I completely zoned out.

At 6.5 everything started to click. Endorphins started kicking in and I picked up the pace.

Running is a struggle, but I find moments of peacefulness in motion, where I feel completely immersed in my surroundings. It is as if I am right where I am supposed to be, and nothing else matters. I run for these moments. Sometimes they are a second long, other times the seconds turn into minutes.

Sometimes that moment doesn’t come, but the feeling of completing a run when your body wanted to quit yet your mind won the battle is a victory to be appreciated.

 

 

Week 2 Checkin

Training Day 3

Running Shoe Mania!

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