Archive for May, 2009

May 18-31 Training

Running in the surf on gorgeous Hatteras Island NC

Running in the surf on gorgeous Hatteras Island NC

I’ve had a productive and very fun two weeks of running! After Lloyd’s lifetime accomplishment of completing the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run, we continued south to the little corner of North Carolina I called home for four years before moving to Northeast Ohio last summer. Though relocation was  welcome and serendipitous, I have really missed the li’l swampland hamlet and was overjoyed to reconnect with some of my favorite people and places around the Outer Banks and Albemarle Region. Returning to the 7-mile course I’d grown bored with after the millionth time before I left, I savored the feeling that my legs knew each step by memory and the realization that a tiny bit of my heart would always belong to this friendly little river city. I was also able to explore a few new places I hadn’t made it to when I lived in the Old North State, and it was extra special to share them with Lloyd. All my runs felt effortless, probably a combination of vacation, recovery from Boston, and happiness to be back where I initially became a “good” runner.

Arriving back in Ohio refreshed, I found myself also pleased to return to the new routes I’ve found over the last nine months.  The nearby hills felt great after a week of coastal flatness, and the towpath I run when I want a flat course looked completely different thanks to late spring’s thick greenery and colorful blossoms. Lloyd and I rejoined the new Thursday night Cuyahoga Valley trail group, and we both had successful 5K efforts at an inaugural race in Lake County.

In short, during May’s second half I appreciated the good fortune of time, health, and beautiful places as I began rebuilding mileage.  What more could a runner ask?

May 18-24

Monday – 3 easy (roads, Strasburg VA)

Tuesday – 7 easy (roads, Elizabeth City NC)

Wednesday – 5.2 easy (roads, Kill Devil Hills NC); 75 min. yoga class at Outer Banks Yoga & Pilates

Thursday – 4 easy (trails, Hatteras Island NC)

Friday – 6.2 easy (roads, Kill Devil Hills NC)

Saturday –  travel and rest day; returned to Ohio

Sunday – 12 easy/long (roads)

Totals: 38 miles running; 75 minutes Yoga

May 25-31

Monday – 5.3 easy (roads)

Tuesday – 4 easy (roads)

Wednesday – 8 fartlek (roads)

Thursday – 5.25 (trails); 1 hour Pilates

Friday – 13.5 easy/long (towpath)

Saturday – rest

Sunday – 2 easy (warm-up), Concord Distance Classic 5K, 3 easy (cool-down)

Totals: 44 miles running, 1 hour Pilates

Good stuff: I am almost superstitously afraid to even write this down for fear of “jinxing” myself, but the pain in my right groin/pelvic area of the last 8 months decreased substantially while in North Carolina. Perhaps I left it there? I am feeling considerably less sore and tight, and only hope it does not flare up again.

Stuff to keep an eye on: I did a great job of logging my nutrition intake daily during our trip, and it really helped keep me on track. Since we’ve returned home and dove right in to summer semester, I’ve been a bit sidetracked with new classes. Time to re-start daily logging. My approach is making good nutrition choices almost all of the time and practicing portion control all the time, rather than dieting, to lose about 5 more pounds. If that does not work in another month, I’ll revise, but I believe if I apply this every day I will succeed.

Goals for the week: My core/functional strength program and personal Pilates and yoga practices have been neglected. The goal this week is one quality session of each and one cardio cross-training session (either swimming or cycling).

May 11-17 Training

I intended to run closer to 40 miles this week … but a mountain got in my way.  Trip preparations, travel time, and crewing for my boyfriend Lloyd during his smart, successful, and inspiring Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run put my own plans on the back burner this week.  Usually I will do everything short of move mountains to get all my scheduled miles in to the nearest tenth, with a couple extra if I’m feeling good.  The only way to do that this week would be to sacrifice sleep time, which was already too low a priority. The 24 hours and 175 miles spent following Lloyd during his Massanutten journey included sleep deprivation, navigation, and trekking – that has got to count for some type of training benefit, right?

The rest of this week we’re on vacation, most around the Outer Banks. After a demanding academic year and very busy past two months of races, I’m looking forward to some much-needed days with minimalistic agendas and new running routes to explore.

May 11 – May 17

Monday – Rest day

Tuesday – 7 easy (roads)

Wednesday – 8 easy with 8 X 30 second strides in last mile (towpath); core exercises

Thursday – 5 easy (towpath); core exercises

Friday – rest day

Saturday/Sunday – 4.5 miles (roads in Strasburg, Va.); 27 hours of crewing for Lloyd in 100 mile run

Totals: 24.5 miles running; can I count 27 hours of crewing?

Good stuff: Wednesday’s towpath run was one of the best “birding runs” I’ve had yet. I was rewarded with sightings of an Indigo Bunting and mated pair of Baltimore Orioles, as well as the usual feathered cast of cardinals, goldfinches, and bluebirds. 

Stuff to keep an eye on: My left Achilles area is still tight and right groin is still achy. These ongoing pains are more annoying than limiting so far (which is lucky), and do not get worse during runs, but are lingering so long I am starting to wonder if they are permanent “trophies” of my running career.

Goals for the week: Log highest mileage week since Boston.  Log food intake each day of vacation, rather than my historic M.O. of letting vacation = vacation from mindful nutrition.

Motley Mountain Crew

It’s not every day that you know with 100% certainly that you’re on the brink of a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.  Thanks to my wonderful partner Lloyd, I have such an infrequent opportunity.

Massanutten Mountain Shenandoah Valley

Poster of Massanutten Mountain

We’re in final preparations to travel to Virginia’s gorgeous Shenandoah Valley, where this weekend Lloyd will be one of 180 runners participating in the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run.

Lloyd is a smart, tough, talented, and fairly experienced distance runner who has successfully completed one previous 100 mile event. Still, he has the challenge of his running career looming before him like, well, a mountain. He knows it, too. A normally sound sleeper, he has been thrashing and restless most of the week despite being as meticulously prepared as if he is poised to deploy on a solo, unsupported operation.

He isn’t. Not by a long shot.

With barely two years of my own occasional, solely amateur participation on courses and sidelines of a handful of ultramarathons, I don’t pretend to be an expert on this inspiring sport. But I  have observed that many ultrarunners really do, as The Beatles harmonized, get by with a little help from their friends. The people around the runners, from race volunteers to loved ones to the random stranger who helps a disoriented and exhausted runner change her socks at mile 87, often keep participants upright and moving forward — and thereby have the honor of sharing a small part of their achievements.

So Lloyd has two great pacers, friends Courtney and Brandon, who will drive from Ohio to join him on the trail after 6 p.m.  He hopes to be about 60 miles along the course by then.

My job is crew chief. As Lloyd travels from aid station to aid station on the course, I will navigate to his next check-point and nap (I mean, wait earnestly!) until he comes through. When he does I will trade empty for full bottles of liquid fuel, provide food or clothing in exchange for discarded items, and administer limitless encouragement. I will watch out that he doesn’t dawdle and lose time in the aid stations. It’s sort of  like a smaller-scale, more eco-friendly version of a NASCAR pit worker.

MassanuttenMtnThe joke in the ultrarunning community is that “CREW” abbreviates “cranky runner, endless waiting.”  In my fledgling crew career I’ve had the pleasure of assisting cheerful and gracious, although sometimes groggy and pained, runners. While waiting, there’s nothing like a short hike or making a new friend as you trade stories with a fellow crew person. Ultras have small fields of diverse participants, and it is easy to quickly become emotionally attached to the athletes and their quests after seeing them pass just a few check-points. This makes the long hours exciting enough and, when each runner finishes, thrilling.

We’ll be traveling 100 miles around the mountain for the better part of 30 hours beginning at 5 a.m. Saturday. Follow the journey online for live reports, or if I’m among your Facebook friends check my status for as many updates as I’m able to post.

May 4-May 10 Training

I know quite a few early spring marathon runners who are preparing to tackle the 26.2 distance for a second time in a matter of weeks in May marathons: Cleveland, Vermont City, Madison, and more.  I had fleeting thoughts of joining in on the back-t0-back fun, but doing so would be ignoring what my body needs. My recovery from Boston has not been swift, and I have a few lingering achy spots that deserve some TLC.  So recovery continued this week of training, and at long last seemed to be working. I felt stronger and smoother again on the run.

Now I should be ready to rebuild an even better training base, so it’s time to start thinking about goals for the second half of 2009.

May 4 – May 10

Monday – 4.5 mile hike (Brecksville Reservation trails)

Tuesday – 5.25 easy (roads)

Wednesday – 1300 yard swim

Thursday – 6.5 easy (Buckeye Trail); core strengthening exercises

Friday – 5.3 easy (roads); core strengthening exercises

Saturday – 11 miles (towpath)

Sunday – Rest day

Totals: 28 miles running; 4.5 miles hiking; 1300 y swimming

Good stuff: Although my legs still feel fatigued earlier in a run, by the end of the week the sluggishness and heaviness had finally cleared out. 

Stuff to keep an eye on: My right shin is a little achy/inflamed again, since Saturday’s run. It did not hurt during the run, but I must have aggravated its somehow. As always, continue to log my food intake each day, along with permanent sensible, balanced, more mindful eating habits to achieve goal weight.

Goals for the week: Look ahead and put some events on my summer calendar, as well as think about fall. Make plans for the rest of the year so I can train with more purpose.

April 27-May 3 Training

Ending the second post-Boston recovery week, I’m in a state of conflict. My body is still not over the effort physically, not by any means. It has never taken so long to feel “normal” after any other marathon I’ve run. My shins feel fatigued and achy after activities I’d usually not give a second thought to, like standing in front of classes all day or low-resistance spinning on a stationary bike. My early week runs were sluggish and heavy, and today’s longer run felt terrific — until I sat down afterward. Then my quads and hamstrings ached.

At the same time, my motivation is through the roof.  Tonight Lloyd had to talk sense into me when I started checking Marathon Guide for late May races. A little bit of me wonders if I could still run that 3:42 I was into shape for if I  gave it another shot, pushed harder, focused better, stayed tougher in the final miles. Mostly I love marathons so much that waiting until October or November for the next one sounds like such a long time. Patience has never been the easiest path for me.

Hopefully the next week will find my physical condition and mental state matching up better than they did this week.

April 27-May 3

Monday – 4 miles (towpath trail)

Tuesday – Rest Day;taught yoga/pilates class

Wednesday – 6.5 miles (towpath trail)

Thursday – 45 min stationary cycling

Friday – Rest Day; taught yoga/pilates class

Saturday – Unplanned rest day; walked through downtown Pittsburgh

Sunday – 10 miles (Pittsburgh Marathon course)

Totals: 20.5 miles running; 45 minutes stationary cycling; 2 pilates/yoga classes

Good stuff: Spectating at the Pittsburgh Marathon was a great time! The best part was seeing my friend Amy meet her goal and catching up with her, but exploring Pittsburgh by foot was a fun way to tour an unfamiliar city.

Stuff to keep an eye on: At the risk of redundancy, log my food intake each day and take extra care that food calories reflect less training volume. I am determined to return to the leaner body composition I feel better at, but through small changes rather than dieting, even if that’s more gradual.

Goals for the week: Add two cross-training workouts to supplement a lighter third recovery running week.