Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 Winter Run for Regis 50K

Winter Run for Regis 50K was my first 50K ever in 2008.  That year I ran it with ESpeed and Solar Squirrel and we hung together for the majority of it and I was hooked on trails!  Year one gave me a time of 5:37 with some pretty nice trail conditions on the old course.

In 2009, I returned to do the 50k again and was feeling pretty darn good.  Young R gave me a run for my money that year and we went back and forth before I threw the hammer down after 28.5 miles to start to try to drop her and she answered back and gapped me the last half mile of the race to take first woman finisher.  Oh did I hurt after that race!  That year the trails had deep snow to work with, I had some bad blood blisters from all the sliding and who starts to race at that point in the race....OUCH!  Yet, I was walked away from the race content with the performance and glad young R was there to push me harder.  Huge props to her on her performance that day.  That year Garmin showed 29.79 miles, 6:01 total time and boy did I work harder for that time vs the 5:37 from the previous year.  Had the race conditions been like the previous year I am certain my time would have likely been sub 5:30 given the effort but race conditions have an incredible time impact sometimes!

In 2010, I was signed up for Run for Regis only to get a tibia stress fracture and sat that year out.  I signed up for the 50K in 2011, but I still felt residual tenderness in the tibia area and decided to play it safe and run the half marathon option.  2011 was another deep snow year and my first time on the new course which started in 2010.  This course is clearly longer and has more elevation than the old course.  It was another slow day on the trails with the snow and I ran hard finishing 12th person in the half and first female in for the half. Total time 2:24.

Now there are a lot of reasons that I sign up for this race every year including-
1.  The race organizers are the best!  Tanya, the RD pours her heart into this race and has good supporters like Nick, Roy and Vince who really lend a helping hand.  There are a million volunteers every year that help setup and tear down and stand out in the freezing cold for hours to provide runners high quality aid stations.
2.  The course is always well marked and offers runners some of the most scenic sites of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  Each trail had tons of streamers, flags, plates and even home signs which were such a welcome site!
3.  Each year with every entry runners always get something awesome like a jacket, running shirt and this year I got the ladies fit Brooks neon yellow vest which I love!
4.  The finish is always enjoyable with warm chili and fireplaces to warm up!
5.  IMO this race has a very laid back hometown feel with lots of local runners that are always fun to see throughout the day on this loop course.
6.  BUT, my main reason I sign up is to give myself motivation to get out there on Ohio's cold snowy days, build a solid training base and really get in some good trail miles.

So as we rolled into November I started getting out on Sunday trail runs.  Mainly I ran each week with Ashley and Guy.  Ashley grew up in my hometown and it was obvious that while she had not yet run a 50k, she was a naturally strong trail runner who attacked the uphills as if they were not even there.  I think ESpeed said it best when she said Guy was a monster on the trails.  Guy just flew down the hills and would effortlessly run those trail miles chatting away clearly in his element.  It seemed each week, I would run on Sunday after logging a pretty huge week and keeping up with the two of them was often more than I could muster and I got my butt handed to me!

I ended up taking Friday and Saturday completely off from training which I think had me feeling a bit fresher on Sunday.  My plan was to hang with Ashley as long as I could and hopefully just make it though the race (I am forever careful to make sure I never push that tibia/tibial nerve too much as it would not be worth the setback so I was prepared to call it a day early if it started to trouble me).

I was trying to channel my inner Emily (as I was running waaay later than I wanted to that morning and was trying to not freak out about it!) but I made it there in plenty of time to get my stuff hit the bathroom twice and listen to Tanya's spunky pre-race message.  I lined up with Ashley and away we went.  We just chatted like a normal Sunday run and the miles just clicked on by.  As usual Ashley crushed the uphills and slowed up as I tried to reel her back in after I caught my breath.

We both stooped at different times to hit the RR.  I hit it the RR after 13 and told her to feel free to head on but she seemed resolved to stick together.  I would say overall, while we were working, it was a pretty laid back run as we indulged in Oreos.  I did take in some water, heed and First Endurance Liquid Shots over the course of the morning.  I enjoyed seeing the many trail running friends and CTC peeps out running on that crisp morning.  (Way to go Jen, Sara, Brandy, Eric and everyone else on those awesome half performances!!!)

We did 3 loops of Happy Days /Boston (~5 miles) and 2 loops of Salt Run (~8mi).  Let me say I was happy when I was done with that second Salt Run loop as those last 2 climbs past the lake are just mean when you are getting tired! On the final 5 mi loop, we were both ready to be done and I was so excited to finish the last stupid climb before the Happy days Parking lot (which Ashley still effortlessly ascended).

As we rolled into the finish we just finished together as we ran as the first females in for the 50K. Clearly I feel like if it would have been a race between us, Ashley would have easily taken me.   However running the race alongside a friend and training partner makes for easily one of the most enjoyable races I have ever done.  And while I was tired, nothing specific was really hurting me and I could remember many of the training runs which had me hurting waaaaay worse!

It seems hard to believe that 31.55 miles with a whole lot of climbing in 5 hours, 21 minutes seemed to just click by so easily.  It gives me more hope that maybe my leg is stronger than I have given it credit for and that this solid base of running miles will pay dividends as I build towards triathlon season.

So in summary just want to express my gratitude to my gal, Ashley for the super fun run yesterday, Guy for all the training runs and all the people like Tanya and the volunteers for making this an awesome experience which I will always treasure!

Garmin data-
+ 2819 ft of climbing
Total Miles:  31.55
Avg HR:  160 - seems a little high for such a long event!
Avg pace: 9:59
Untitled by beelz2009 at Garmin Connect - Splits

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Step back and smell the flowers

Hello January I guess???  It just has not really seemed like winter this year.

Life remains the constant juggling act where I feel like I never have enough time to do all the things I want to do and never have quite enough time to do all I know I should be doing....but every now and then I enjoy being able to step back and smell the flowers and reflect where I am at and what makes me happy.

1.  My health-It is so nice to finally feel pretty healthy.  We have been eating pretty healthy over the past 6 weeks or so and while like most girls, I don't like to publicly announce my weight much, I was happy to step on the scale and see that I was 0.6 lbs from hitting the teens.  My goal is to generally stay under 120 which always has required a fair amount of discipline for me and has not happened much.  I was down there back in 2009 and before that it was back in 2001.  Needless to say, it feels good to see the work pay off with regards to watching my intake.  Not only that, it really does make running feel SO MUCH easier with a few less pounds.  This weight drop can be attributed to no dramatic diet changes, just eating more healthy and cutting out the garbage and probably also some extra training sessions.  I owe much of this to my husband committing to be healthy.  So on to the next point...

2. My Donald Duck-aka as Mr. Edwards as I don't think he would like me calling in Donald or a duck!  Watching him come into his own with his training regimen has been super fun to watch.  Plus I am picking up all kinds of bonus workouts with him or while he is at the gym.  He is really enjoying trail running and is logging more and more miles every week.  He is also a regular now at the indoor cycling workouts and I guess today he is working with our friend to learn to swim (like a real swimmer).  Look out world!

3.  My training buddies-I think what I enjoy the most about training is the camraderie of it all.  I love running on the treadmill next to CV even if we barely talk between speed intervals.  I love sneaking in some early trail miles with LP and seeing that she is on the mend.  I love when AM kicks my butt effortlessly ascending the uphills on a 20+ miles trail run.  I love looking around the room at the Bicycle Hub seeing everyone enjoying the tunes and sweating away on their trainers on a cold dark night (or simply ESpeed smiling as she catches up with ET!).   I love getting covered in mud on a group trail run with many other training friends as we slip and slide through the most scenic trails that NE Ohioans call home.  I love plunging into the lake with a million of my CTC friends!  This is how I get through the winters!

In general I feel like I am in a good place right now.  I was really excited last Thursday as I ran with AM and watched the sun coming up earlier.  The two of us will be out running this Sunday as the sun comes up as we embark on the Run for Regis 50k.  I am sure it will be muddy.  I have been feeling pretty good lately but I am never 100% sure about my leg.  If all goes well, hopefully I will have a solid 50k performance.  But if for some reason, I am not feeling it, I am fine with cutting it short or easing off the pace.  Goal was always just the motivation to get out this winter and put in some solid trails miles and I can say without a doubt that I consider it mission accomplished!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

And now, every runners favorite subject...Let's Talk Shoes!!!

So the last two years, the Trakkers / Rev3 team had hooked me up with shoes.  OMG, did this girl feel so lucky about that!

2010 was the year of Saucony and 2011 was the year of Avia!  I tried several models of both brands that worked fine for me and to my liking.

My shoe history is as such.  I used to buy the over-priced stability shoes when I first got into running more competitively about 8 years ago or so.  Over the years, I have learned I never needed all that stability and have went more minimal over the years.  I pronate to a degree and always wear out the outsides of my shoes.  My feet are on the wide side and over the years I have developed a running style that always strikes with my forefoot.  Prior to Trakkers, I was only an Asics girl.  I ran in the 2100 series for awhile and then fell in love with the Asics DS Trainers.  As the team aligned with Saucony, I looked for what shoe might be the best for me.  I finally landed on the Saucony Tangents and liked those pretty well and completed my first 140.6 in them.  Then I was introduced to the Fasttwitch 4's and the Kinvara's and liked them both....well I think it might have been a love affair with the Kinvara's.  First all, they were super light and felt fast, but I loved the bold hot pink color and have subsequently got 2 pairs in that color and one with the white/hot pink look.

As the team aligned I went to the Avia Bolt II's and III's.  Another shoe I liked for the color and many of the features that made it a nice tri shoe with the speed laces and heel tab and these shoes got me through my second 140.6.

But now that I am a free agent so to speak as far as I am not getting free shoe hookups, (but open to offers!!  ;-0   ) (Sidenote:  This is a subject for a long overdue post to come.  Cliff notes version was that I did not re-apply for Trakkers / REV3 this year and I also resigned from my local Bike Authority Fleet Feet team.  So much to say on this subject which will again be discussed later, but I think the world of both of them and am incredibly thankful for all the opportunities they gave me.  Both teams and teammates will forever hold a special place for me!  But for 2012, I am focusing on the local scene, continuing efforts of the CTC front as well as working with my good friends, Rob and Emily on building their new shop team, Team Bicycle Hub!) ...back to the free agent, anyways now I am trying to decide what I might want to run in because if you have not noticed by now, this girl loves to run!

In several magazines and articles I had read, the Brooks Pure Connects seemed to be garnering a lot of attention and seemed to be the new it shoe to try in my mind. I tried a few different pairs of shoes on at the store (Fleet Feet of course) but I think before I had went in, my mind was made up that I wanted to try to the Brooks Pure Connects.

I thought the Pure Connects had a fun fresh light look.  The shoes feel much narrower on the balls of my wide feet (vs the Kinvara) but they are not too snug.  I am not sure if it is just that they were new, but the cushioned feel was noticeable and I liked it.  One thing I was a bit concerned with that I had heard from others was that the arch was a bit much for some of my friends, but I like the way the arch feels.  Before I even started running I definitely noticed how the heel cup and strap behind seemed to push on my heel.  And once I started running, I have come to find it something that I am having a hard time with.  For me, these shoes seem to dig into my heels a lot.  I was hoping it would be just a matter of breaking them in so I have been mixing them in with others shoes. I have even changed shoes mid-run on the treadmill as they bother me so.  Everything besides the heel feels good, but even after probably 8 runs or so in them which have been probably 60+ miles, they still seem to really tear up my heels.  I always wonder when I have something like this happen if I just got a bad shoe or what.  Maybe it will get better or maybe these shoes are just not for me.

So, fortunately for me, I had scored some Dicks gift cards for Christmas so I headed back to the store to pick up old reliable, the Saucony Kinvara's because I was still in need of some shoes that I could put some miles on as there was a reason I had bought the Connects.  The store had my beloved hot pink Kinvara I's and I was just going to go for a 3-peat as they were on a killer sale, but they did not have any in my size.  So I bought the Kinvara II's.  I threw them on this Tuesday for the inaugural run on the treadmill which was 10 miles with 6x1mile repeats at just under 7 min mile pace.  This could be where the "Reunited and it feels so good" song would be playing in the background.  No issues at all, just happy light feet!!!

To compare I would say that the shoes feel similar in weight.  My strike does not change between the two shoes.  With my slightly wider feet, I do like the feel of the Kinvara's better.  As a note the Kinvara II's are definitely narrower than the I's but still fine for me.  The Kinvara feels slightly more cushioned than the Pure Connect.  The only drawback to my new Kinvara II's, was the only color that they had in stock was the one pictured above which is a little vanilla for my tastes.  Yet, I could not be happier to be running in a shoe that makes my feet feel light and pain-free!  Time to log some more miles!

And you thought I was done talking about shoes!  The husband picked up a pair of the Salomon Crossmax shoes as he has taken a liking to trail running.  These came highly recommended from Jody at Fleet Feet.  So of course I was jealous of his shiny new shoes and decided I wanted new trail shoes.  After all, I do have a 50K trail run this month on the calendar.  So back to Fleet Feet I went as my old trail shoes did bother my feet a bit (seemed to often have discomfort on the top of my foot where a seem was).  Again, I tried on several pairs, but like before, my mind was already made up and I got myself a pair of the Salomon Crossmax shoes too!

Now these shoes, I have loved from the start.  Comfortable, lightweight, good tread and laces I won't have to re-tie a thousand times (like my current ones despite all my double knotting).  I have wore these on two shorter trails runs and so far, I am impressed!  Now I am just hoping for some nice trail race conditions so all that tread will not be so necessary but lately we are just getting LOTS of mud!!!


Tuesday, January 03, 2012

New Year, New Goals

As I plunge into the NEW YEAR (note me in black 2 piece CTC suit front and center sprinting in at the front), I am excited about all the 2012 may offer! 

I must say 2012 is starting out awesome!  I spent New Years Eve with the husband and 2 wonderful friends over some muy delicioso Mexican Guac, food, Dos Equis and Margaritas of course!!!  I managed to wake with no hangover and then got to go on my 3rd run ever with the husband (who I suspect will become quite the runner in 2012!) and MV.  After a nice rather warm Jan 1st run, we headed up to the Polar Plunge. 

Did I mention that while I have been there helping with the organization for several years now, I have never went in???  Well after years of ribbing and a super cute tshirt design that I had to have, I decided I would PLUNGE in 2012 as long as I was not sick!!  And after my long fall/winter sickness, I arrived feeling good and was treated to some balmy weather! Official sign stated 48 degree outside temperature...36 degree water temperature!

Always pimping Cleveland gangs!!!

Turns out 36 degree water is quite cold!!!
Now I must say, that was waaaaay less painful than I thought it would be!  After sprinting in, diving under, I ran out and donned my cute fur coat...rather pink fuzzy warm robe!

 So the new year is upon us, which is always a good reason to re-evaluate goals.

The one thing I plan to change for 2012 is to log all of my miles! I have actually been diligent for December.  NOW, to keep it up for the entire year!!!

221.8 Miles Ran
9.75 Miles Swam
135 Miles Biked (This will ramp back up here in January!)

Generally I think I am pretty good as far as getting in workouts.  I think I could clean up my diet a fair amount so I am placing a priority there.  This has actually become easier with my husband making a solid effort with his intake as well.  So I am focused on maintaining this focus for 2012.

Other random thoughts for new year!
1.  As I hit my health insurance deductibles in 2010 (insert broken elbow and tibia stress fracture) and 2011 (crash with broken scapula), let's have a nice cheap year there PLEASE!!!!  a) this is expensive  b) being hurt STINKS!

2.  Come on TRI BIKE!  I have been doing tris since 2006...chances are looking good 2012 will be the first time you will see me on my very first tri-bike!! As much as I love my road bike with my clip on bars, I will be soooo excited for this!

3.  So this girl has been regular at Masters Swims every Tuesday and Thursday and I am seeing my 100's dropping a bit.  There is still tons of room for improvement so here's to working towards continued improvement!

4.  CRAP, I effectively age up now.  Seriously I think I still belong in the 25-29 age group!  How can it be I am going to be 35 in March.  Is this a joke?

4.  And above all, my goal is to make every moment count this year!!! This means in everything!  Appreciate all my time with family and friends. Dig in at my professional life to make progress.  Do my best to support those who support me.  Train hard and race hard! And so on....!!!  

BRING ON 2012!