When bad runs go good

Sunday had the makings of a spectacular disaster.

I was tired, I was cranky, I did NOT want to go run. My left knee hurt, my left calf hurt, my right foot had both heel and toe issues and I was just not feeling the run-love.

I sat on the couch all “I don’t want to run. But its Sunday, I have to run. But I REALLY don’t want to. But i’ll regret it if I don’t. GO RUN.”

Instead I took the Gus out, and then changed my outfit because you know, stalling… and finally headed out.

I almost didn’t take my Garmin. I didn’t want to know how slow and hideous my pace was gonna be. But I couldn’t remember exactly how far my loop was, and I needed 12 miles, so instead I promised myself if the pace was truly embarrassing that i’d just delete it.

Sure, I have a half-marathon in two weeks and so I should have been trying for a decent run. But it was warm and slimy-humid and with the list of grievances listed above, I knew I had to just let it go and run easy.

Well, not EASY, but slow. Because nothing was going to be easy.

And as I chugged along I tried to change my brain. I stopped to photograph a random stuffed animal.

And I stopped at a waterfall for a minute. And I kept an eye out for critters and commiserated with some other runners about how hideously humid it was.

It was around mile 8 that things started to turn and my pace got better. I want to blame Sasquatch. (This must be freaky at night!)

But really, it was the ‘incredibly fit couple’ i’d seen a minute before. There they were, dressed in black and muscles, strapping their child into a stroller. They gave a very cheerful hello as I went by. And then, I could hear them behind me. And I was all “Yeah, no. I am NOT getting passed by a stroller on a Sunday run.” LOL

So I surged a bit and it felt good. And I shimmied up the giant hill at mile 9. And I kept going.

At mile 11 I had reached my house and debated going in for water and then doing 2 more miles, or just toughing it out for 1. And was afraid if I went inside i’d stay there. So 12 it was going to be.

And as I headed up my loop and saw the row of sprinklers on, I did a happy dance of joy. With my arms raised and a smile on my face I went straight through. And got soaked. Yay!!

And it made me happy enough that I speed up, and had my fastest mile of the day. A 9:00. I ended a hair under 10/mi overall, so I decided it was save-worthy.

Because it truly wasn’t that slow – it just felt it after how great i’ve been running lately. I have to remember that its summer, and that it means i’m going to get a smidge slower.

Which is okay, because a 2:00 Disney POT and a 2:03 Disney POT will put me in the same corral. So I don’t really need to kill myself on course in Bristol in oh, less than two weeks, if I don’t want to. We’ll wait and see what the weather brings.

For now, i’ll just trudge along and hope for sprinklers!

PS. How awesome is my new shirt? I just can’t resist anything hummingbird.

Hello June!

I’ve been waiting for you. Do you mind bringing along some warmer weather? 🌞

Although really, 50’s ARE nice to run in. But I’m reading for shorts and jimmy buffet music and margaritas on the deck in the sun on Saturday afternoons. πŸ˜€

June is a serious training month for me this year.  I’m feeling all recovered from Maine Coast and ready to put in the work and have a great Stars & Stripes challenge weekend (half in Bristol, RI  Jul 1st / 10k at Gillette Stadium July 3rd).

So, I figured I’d set some goals for June. 

  • Log at least 120 miles πŸƒπŸ»β€β™€οΈ
  • Speedwork once a week
  • Strength train twice a week πŸ‹πŸ»
  • Go to the zoo and see the new red pandas (no, it won’t help my running, but it’s a goal. Lol) 
  • Find a local short race (5k, 10k) for a time trial. πŸ…
  • Ride my bike at least twice πŸš΄πŸ»β€β™€οΈ
  • Stretch more

Sounds reasonable right?  

Do you have any goals for June? Let’s all have an awesome month. 😁

Change for a 20…

Two tens? Four fives? Some singles? How do you change a 20. 

When it’s ultra training, and it’s hot out, you don’t just run a 20-miler. Unless you don’t mind looking like a Sherpa and toting along tons of water and supplies. 

Me? I’d rather take the chance to simulate race day conditions, set up an aid station and loop it. 

My original plan was four-fives. Four different 5-mile routes to help allieviate the boredom. 

But after the second one, and experiencing way more traffic than there should be at 8am on a Sunday morning, plans changed. 

It became 2 fives and 10 singles. Yep, the second half of my run was repeats of my 1 mile – mostly shady, sidewalked and sometimes sprinklered – street. And ya know, it was perfect. 

While I’m sure some of my neighbors were like “how many times is this girl coming by” the repeats didn’t bother me. Especially as I hit mile 14 and started walking 1/4 mile of each loop. As a cooling strategy and to let me drink / fuel. 

Because, as I reminded myself, you don’t have to finish fast, you just have to finish. 

And I know, if last year’s 50k taught me anything, its that there will be walking. And I am totally okay with this.  So may as well practice it. 

Ultras, timed ultras especially, are not a race so much as an endurance event. I’m not there to beat anyone but myself. And that’s part of why I enjoy them.  I train smart, which means knowing an accepting my own limitations. And preparing accordingly. 

So, as hot and gross as I was by the time I finished, I actually still felt pretty good. Nothing hurt (love compression socks), I was well hydrated and fueled and I was still smiling. 

Of course, having a chance to go through those magic sprinklers the last two miles totally helped. πŸ™‚ Even if another runner told me it was “cheating”. My response to him was “I’m 18 miles in. I’ve earned it” which got me a thumbs up in reply. Lol

So, while I still have one more really long run in two weeks, as one more “dress rehearsal”, at this moment I’m feeling pretty race ready. And also glad my race is at night (because the sun was the hardest part of my training). 

So what I learned on Sunday’s run is:

  • change is good
  • flexibility is important
  • shade and sidewalk beats sunny roads
  • lemon tailwind is yummy
  • sprinklers rule!

Happy Monday my friends. And happy running!

Beautiful days…

Some days you notice the beauty on your own. And some days you need a reminder to look for it. 
We had company coming for the holiday weekend, so I snuck out early Saturday (like 6:30 early) for a long run, fueled only by coffee and a plan to see if I could last 13-14 miles on it. πŸ™‚ it’s less than 50 days to my attempt at 50 miles (woohoo!) and I don’t have time to miss any runs. 

It was cool out (yay!) and as I hit the end of my drive I saw a runner coming back from her run (how early was she up?) and we exchanged smiles. 

And barely a half-mile in, I noticed they had cleared the brush by the river, and one of my favorite spots of “graffiti” was uncovered.  

Yep, that sounds like good a plan. I would have a beautiful day. πŸ™‚

And, armed with this perspective I really noticed my surroundings. In fact, between miles one and two I saw this guy… 

Sitting in a water hazard at the local golf course. 

And this guy… 

Having breakfast at the edge of someone’s driveway. I also saw three bunnies. Wow. 

Love my animal sightings. And it helped in the later miles, when the “coffee fuel” ran out and the sun rose. I thought of the heron and the deer and smiled and persevered. 

At the end, returning home at 9am as promised, I had logged 13.55 miles. At a nice easy “ultra training” pace. 

And the rest of the weekend was great too – even got out for a steamy four-mile run on the 4th!

Back to work today – and it’s gonna be a busy one. But, I plan to make sure it’s a beautiful one. 

Happy Tuesday my friends.  And happy running! 

A whole new worldΒ 

Ultra runners trying to convince marathoners to become one love to say “You can do a 50k. It’s just five more miles.”

It’s so not! As I’ve discovered over the past couple of weeks, it’s a whole new world. The world of the ultra. 

Marathon training for me has involved how long can I run without stopping. How far can I go before (and between) fueling. It was knowing my stomach (and pockets) had a four gel limit and planning accordingly. 

And heat? I don’t run well in heat. So why would I attempt to train for and run my longest distance ever in such hideous conditions. Am I crazy?

Actually – this may be one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. 

Because training for a 50k (or maybe 35 miles – still don’t know my goal distance yet. And might not until race day) is the complete opposite of marathon training. 

Ultra training involves aid stations (not water stops) and going slower and having not a time goal but a distance goal.  

For my chosen ultra, there will be water and sports drink every 1 1/2 miles and fuel every 3.  And I will have my crew set up at that three mile point with a cooler and ice and snacks and anything I could possible need (like coke. And gluten free granola bars. And ice. Lots of ice. Did I mention ice?)

The one I chose also gives me a full 12 hours to go 50k+. 

In theory – I should only need 6 of them for a 50k. But having that 6 hour cushion is like a security blanket (a soft, cozy security blanket). It means I can go as slow as I need to. And walk if I need to. And rest / cool down if I need to.  Which, considering this will be on July 25th is genius, right?

So I’m training accordingly. I’m training in loops. And I’m taking water and fuel breaks. I’m teaching myself to run slower and easy (no panting, no pushing, no kick) on my long run. 

And Sunday – in 75 degrees with easily 90% humidity (which had to reach 100% cuz it did finally sprinkle – causing me to think ‘scuse me while I kiss the sky. Lol) – I knocked out 16 miles.  Much better than I would have expected to in those weather conditions.  Yes, it took longer than normal. But that’s totally okay. 

I ran my usual 4.5 mile loop with some extra to make it 5 miles between stops for some Heed (trial run with it – and it soooo helped more than water) and stopped at miles 8 & 12 for some Gu chomps.  (And I may have stopped to wait for this one sprinkler to come back around at mile 12.5 – which was a little slice of heaven.)

Electrolytes are so my friend. Because despite sweating more than I ever have in my entire life, I didn’t bonk and I didn’t cramp. Yay!!! (It’s the little things). 

I do know that I could have used the Heed more often than five miles and I should have taken chomps starting earlier (or maybe 3 miles apart instead of 4). But I have several more, and longer, long runs to test things out on. 

And for once, I’m actually looking forward to summer training. Because I think this ultra world is made for it.  πŸ™‚

(Oh and pineapple coconut water freeze pops rule for recovery.)

Happy Monday and Happy Running!