Sunday, October 30, 2016

Lakefront Discovery Run 15K

Lakefront Discovery Run 15K - October 29, 2016
time = 1:13:48
pace = 7:56
placed 8th in my age group (40-44) out of 91
placed 38th in women out of 595
placed 138th overall out of 1048
link to strava data

i want to start this post out by talking about beetelite.  i picked some of this up from REI a couple of weeks ago.  i tested it out on a couple of runs, and (to my amazement) there really was a noticeable difference in my performance and how my body felt while pushing it.  it doesn't taste that great (all REI had was the cherry flavor so that's what i got), however the taste is completely inconsequential when looking at the results.  as we all know that consuming beetroot juice (or beets in general) has been known to increase performance.  beets are full of antioxidants and good for all kinds of things from lowering the risk of heart disease to boosting endurance to combating constipation.  they just don't always taste that amazing.  when i found this product i thought... let's try it.  so glad i did!

the last road 1/2 marathon i ran was rock 'n sole in 2015 where my pace averaged out at 8:25, and honestly... this was the best i could do.  today's race went so much better!  honestly, i didn't start to "feel it" until mile 7 i guess.  that's when i really had to dig to keep up the pace.  i was doing all the pep talking at that point too.  letting myself know that i was almost done.  that i just had to work through the last couple of miles and so on.  verdict?  yes, beetelite works!

moving on...

the weather turned out to be PERFECT for me!  i hate, despise, and loath cold weather racing.  have i told you guys that before?  the only reason i signed up for this race was because of the promise that we could wait inside the warm building prior to the start.  turns out that wasn't necessary as it was around 55 degrees when we arrived and warmed up from there.   my son max was volunteering with my friend (and fellow oiselle volée teammate) laura.  we arrived at 8am so max could get to his volunteering position at the start/finish line.  one of the really cool things about this race is that they actively encourage costumes. it IS nearly halloween so it fits.  yes, as is evident from the above picture, i am a party pooper and don't dress up.  this is strategic tho'... i cannot run in things i'm uncomfortable in and we all know that i RACE to win not to have fun.  i suppose that sounds kind of stupid but it makes perfect sense to me.  when i run a race i am doing it to see what i'm made of.  to test my limits.  to leave everything i have on the course.  i run all the other days to have FUN... that's not what race day is about for me.

bunny laura, me, and gorilla max

i did all my normal pre-race routine things and pretty soon it was time to begin.  we all lined up and the race director got up on a ladder, said a few words, and then counted down with little fanfare and we were off.

the course was really nice.  we ran past the summerfest grounds along the lake past the art museum, up the hill by the war memorial, and then veered right onto the oak leaf trail.  we followed the trail up to lafayette hill where we hopped off and onto terrace avenue at the top of the hill.  followed that around back to the oak leaf (still at the top of the hill) and ran that for awhile.  this part is a beautiful paved trail that runs through lake park.  we ran through lake park to lincoln memorial drive and that was a most welcome descent.  we then continued to follow the oak leaf along the lakefront where the sun had come out in full force.  man!  was it hot all of a sudden.  the lake was beautiful and calm tho' so that made up for the sudden burst of sun drenched heat.  i'm going to say that this might have been the prettiest part of the whole run.

the whole time i was really focused on my strides.  i have learned that if i lengthen my strides i take less steps and effectively reduce my cadence.  i think this is important for me because i used to take a million steps and it was not energy efficient.  lately i've really been focused on my strides and have found that when i lengthen them and it seems i'm slowing down (because i'm taking less actual steps)... i ACTUALLY am going FASTER with less effort!  it's a beautiful thing!  so i focus on that and try to also focus on my back foot having a really strong push off to propel me forward.  so far so good.

once we got back near discovery world we ran out into lakeshore state park (the oak leaf turns into the hank aaron state trail at this point).  i was hurting by then and just trying to maintain my pace at while tricking myself into believing that i wasn't in any discomfort. i followed everyone (and i mean EVERYONE) in front of me through the park and towards the back of the marcus amphitheater.  there were two women directly in front of me that thought we were going the wrong way.  the one was telling the other that last year they turned around right at the loop we had just passed, and headed back the same way we had come so she was confused about where everyone was going.  however, because there were so many people in front of me i just continued to follow.  i have never run this race before so i had no idea who was right.  i figured that there wouldn't be that many people all going to wrong way... man, was i wrong!

turns out there were (at the very least) 50 or more people who all went the wrong way!  it only added a tenth of a mile to my distance... other people said it was longer, but i'm going with what my garmin says.  a 15K is 9.321 and my garmin said 9.4 so not a big deal.  i would have been more worried if we cut the course and since that didn't happen... who cares?

i finished as strong as i could running the final 1/2 mile in with a 7:50 pace.  it was pretty hard to maintain, but i just kept telling myself that i was nearly there and to push as hard as i could so i could be done.  i'm pretty proud of this finish time.  i didn't honestly think it was possible.  my goal for this race was to run it in 1:20 or under.  i absolutely exceeded my expectations there!

me, bettina, & sheila ~ oiselle volée team members
the finish was really crowded.  lots of people in costumes milling around who had finished running.  they had a lot of snacks but no bananas or any of the regular type finish items i'm accustomed to so that was a little disappointing.  there were lots of chips and cookies tho'... if you like that sort of thing.  i had some water and then ran into sheila who is also a fellow volée teammate.  we stood around and talked for a bit and i got to meet another volée teammate, bettina.   it was nice to finally get a chance to talk to these fantastic ladies for more than a couple of seconds.

max and i ended up heading to the car so he could get out of his costume (it had gotten much much warmer) and so i could change out of my running shoes into something more comfortable.  i don't know what the deal is with this new style of shoe, but i'm having an issue with my toes on my left foot.  they hurt after runs and i'm pretty sure i'm going to lose a nail.  i might have to look into different shoes if this doesn't change.  this is only my 2nd pair but i sort of feel like i had the same issue with the last pair... maybe not.

anyway... this race puts on a huge after party.  they had the boogie men playing and offered up more food that had to be purchased for $5.  the awards were really cool.  the top finishers received a disco ball trophy and the top age group finishers received medals with disco balls.  very nice!

yes... those are uggs.
all in all i would absolutely do this race again (contingent upon the weather, of course!).  the course was pretty easy and fun.  it was well organized (minus the detour snafu), and my only complaint is not having foods i would eat after a run.  a banana or two would have been nice as all i had was a handful of potato chips... not my first choice for nourishment after a hard effort.  i'm so glad the day turned out the way it did.  such beautiful weather for the end of october.

lakefront discovery run = a success!

and we're off!

fake it 'til you make it... trying to look strong in the last 1.5 miles

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

more real every day...

so... i just booked my room for bryce canyon.  while perusing the website i decided to read what they had to say about the course.  i can't tell if i'm excited or terrified...

The 50K course starts at the boat ramp area of Tropic Reservoir, near King's Creek campground. Runners will be shuttled here from Ruby's Inn. Shuttles will load at 7:30am and the race will begin at 8:30am. The route starts with about a half mile of road to thin the field out before hitting the singletrack which will lead you out to Keyhole Arch and some beautiful hoodoo running before descending to a doubletrack road after a couple of miles. You'll begin a 5 mile ascent, peaking at over 9,000ft, then descending 500ft over a half mile to the Blue Fly aid station at mile 8.5. After the Blue Fly aid station, you'll hop on a steep and scenic singletrack section that quickly descends through some hoodoos down to a doubletrack at around mile 10. You'll take a left and have a two mile climb until you meet up with the 50/100 mile route. From there, you'll take a right and descend two miles of singletrack to the Proctor Canyon aid station, your only crew access point. You'll have 8.5 miles of singletrack between Proctor Canyon and Thunder Mountain aid stations, with plenty of ups and downs through canyons and along ridges. After Thunder Mountain aid, you'll have a gradual ascent for about two miles before hitting the Thunder Mountain trail for a long and grueling climb up to the finish line.

i mean... not even a mile in and there's a FIVE MILE ASCENT!  this will likely be the most breathtakingly beautiful and also most challenging race i've ever in my life run.  i'm so excited!  there's no way i'm hauling ass through this race.  i can hardly run our tiny hills at lapham peak!  guess i really do need to seriously start training on some hills.  the bane of my existence.

it's not that i don't WANT to run hills... it's just that it's so damn hard!  i feel like when i "run" hills (and i use that term loosely) i'm going slower than if i hiked them.  also, as i run i'm in way more pain than if i just hiked them... so i end up hiking them.

i think the terrifying part is that the ascents are not just feet... they are talked about in MILES!  we don't have anything like that here in wisconsin that i've run.  the exciting part is that i am going to do something amazing and new and hard for me.  

i am going to conquer something i've never conquered before and i'm going to complete it and be a better person for having suffered through it.

i cannot wait to be bathed in all that beauty!  june cannot come soon enough!

Monday, October 17, 2016

WI Trail Assail - Sweetest Day 10K

WI Trail Assail - Sweetest Day 10K - October 15, 2016
time = 52:54
pace = 8:30
placed 1st in my age group (40-44) out of 10
placed 6th in women out of 57
placed 23nd overall out of 91
link to strava data

i signed up for this race on a whim.  i just joined oiselle voilée, and there was some chatter on the private fb page regarding this race.  sounded like a good way to meet some new ladies, and to run a trail race... what could be better?!?  so i signed up for the 10K.  mainly i chose that distance because i've only run one other 10K and it was awful.  mostly it was awful because it was full on winter (we know how much i love racing in winter) and the course left a lot to be desired.  so i decided to run this distance for that reason and because i had 5mi on my training plan for that day.  what better way to spend those miles?  amiright?!?

on friday night the weather said it was going to be in the high 60's and sunny.  this was music to my ears.  i picked out my gear and got everything ready for saturday morning.  i woke up before my alarm on saturday morning (as is customary for me), let the dogs out, fed them, and did my usual morning things to get my stomach straight.  i got dressed and as i was getting my shoes on to leave the house i realized that i almost forgot my bib!  ugh... great start to the morning but at least i didn't actually leave the house before remembering.  just before all of those shenanigans the groupme messages started pouring in.  this chat group was set up so that all the oiselle birds could communicate and meet up before/after the race.  i messaged that i was leaving and was on my way.

the drive out to nashotah was uneventful.  i've driven it hundreds of times.  we take our dogs out here to the dog park fairly often, and when we lived in delafield we were regulars coming a few times a week.  it's a great dog park.  i've only run at nashotah once... it was thanksgiving morning with the lptr group.  that particular time there was at least 6 inches of snow on the trail and took a very long time to run a few miles so i had no idea what the trail looks like without snow on it.  i was interested to see.

the groupme app was blowing up the whole drive so i was excited to arrive and respond.  i got there and let the ladies know i had arrived so that we could meet up.  the parking lot was pretty full, but the place didn't look too crowded.  i was sure i'd be able to find people without difficulty.  i parked right in the front by the bathrooms facing all the action.  did i mention that it was freaking cold out?!?  turns out that the weather was not correct (surprise surprise!)... it was high 50's and super windy.  the wind made it feel so much colder than it actually was.  i decided to sit in my car to wait.  i asked where people where and only got the response that they were "here" so i opted to wait in my car until i got a more accurate location.  when parking my car i realized that I FORGOT MY GARMIN!  OH.MY.GOD... WHO DOES THAT?!?  i mean... of all the things i could forget... my garmin?  really?!?  ugh...

went to the bathroom 3 times between arriving and the start of the race.  mostly i went that many times because i simply didn't want to have to pee while running and i'm paranoid about that during races.  while in the bathroom line the last time dave and emma came up and said they had been looking for me.  it was great to run into them!  i saw jeff after one of the other bathroom runs... that was nice too.  never ran into the oiselle ladies tho'... that would come later.

i ended up sitting in my car to wait for the race because i was so cold.  after the last bathroom break it was time to begin.  i jogged over to the start and found dave.  i stood with him to begin and when we took off i had to goof around with my strava app on my phone to track the run.  what a pain in the keister.  got that situated (had to hold my water bottle in my mouth to get my phone in my pocket), bid farewell to dave, and started making my way through the hoard.

we began in a small meadow, ran around some cones, and then onto the trail.  the trails were wide and groomed mostly covered in grass, packed earth, and wood chips.   it is my understanding that these trails are used for hiking and snowshoes in winter.  there was a decent flat at the start and then the rollers began.  i'm not a fan of rollers if you must know.  they aren't hard per se... i just can't get a steady pace going because i'm not very good at running uphill.  there were a couple of big hills near the end of the loop (the 10K was 2 loops of the same trail) with a pretty nice flat to carry you to the end.  the course is beautiful.

everything is changing right now so the colors are all orange, yellow, and brown... very homey and comforting.  it had rained the night before... actually, several days leading up to the race so the earth was soft and pliable.  made for bombing the downhills a lot less strenuous on the joints.  we all started out together... the 5K, 10K, and the 1/2... then maybe 1.5 miles in we broke off... the 5K broke off and then the 10K and 1/2 stayed together for a bit longer.  when i started the 2nd loop i was with one woman (who turned out to be one of the voilée) who i stayed close to until just before the finish.  i left her when i bombed a downhill and she didn't.

my legs were fatigued on the 2nd loop.  i started pushing hard in the last 2 miles...  i came up on another woman and we were neck and neck passing back and forth on the hills (her running up the hills and passing me and me bombing down the hills and passing her) for the last mile or so.

i ended up leaving her behind in the final flat stretch.  i think that running up that last big hill took it's toll on her and she just couldn't muster up the juice to sprint it in... i took off.  i had a goal of running this race in 53min or less.  there was one other man near us and i passed him too and then there was no one else around us.  as i was running the final stretch i saw the clock said 52 minutes... i opened it up and ran as fast as i could.  i really really really wanted to get in under 53 if i could and it looked like i could make it if only i pushed a little harder.

my legs felt a little burn-y but otherwise i felt pretty good.  i think i should have pushed more on the flats.  it was hard to know how fast/slow i was going without my garmin.  i had to rely on feel and i felt way too comfortable out there.  i should absolutely have been pushing harder.

i ran into the finish with everything i had... or everything i thought i had to give.  i love trail running so much.  the course was beautiful.  i would have enjoyed it more had i not been racing, and had been out for a run instead.  not sure i'll go here to run on my own though...  the loops are pretty short, and i don't drive out that way for something so short... i'd rather run at lapham if i'm going to drive out that way, but that's just me.

i would run this race again... maybe the 1/2 next time so i can really settle into a comfortable pace.  i'm not a fan of the 10K distance.  i don't like it because i feel like i need to sprint the whole distance. i feel like it's too long for a sprint and too short to not be a sprint.  so what do i do?  i try to sprint the whole thing...   on the other hand it could be a good learning experience for me to do this race (the 10K distance) again so that i can learn how to run it successfully and effectively.  there's always more to learn.

the cons... the only thing i am not happy with regarding this race were the results.  the timing company posted incorrect results at first (not really a big deal), and subsequently corrected them before i left.  however... i did get the wrong medal at first.  when they posted the corrected results i was able to give back my 3rd place medal and get the 1st place medal.  my thoughts on that are what about the people who had gotten their medals and left?  such a bummer...  additionally, they didn't post overall results either, and when i contacted them via facebook as well as email asking about this... i've so far today (monday) gotten no response to my inquiry.  that sucks.

i did calculate the overall stats myself and i'm pretty sure they're accurate.  i'm not sure if i'm supposed to count the top male/female in the results or even HOW i'm supposed to calculate them in so i counted them in the total number but not in the results number if that makes sense.

like i said... i'd run this again.  i don't think i'd do the series because there are other races that i'm already doing next year that it will interfere with.  i think if you like trail racing, or even if you've never run a trail race and would like to, this is a great race to do that.  it's not too hard that a novice couldn't do it and feel good about it and it's certainly not easy.  all in all it was a good race and i'm glad i chose the 10K distance.

my body feels good.  nothing hurts.  i'm running between 35-40 miles a week right now and it feels really good.  next (and last) on the calendar is the lakefront discovery run.

it's a 15K along the lakefront the weekend after next.  hopefully this weird warm weather will hold out and it won't be freezing...  

emma (dave's daughter), me, dave

jeff & i

the correct medal

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

oh yeah! "race pace"

so the little training plan i put together for the discovery run called for a 3mi run at "race pace" today. why did i put a training plan together you might be asking yourself?

well... because the longest distance i've run in the past 8 weeks since being back at it has been 10mi.  so signing up for a 15K made me nervous, and i thought i should probably train a bit before tackling that distance.

monday's are my running rest day, but i still go to crossfit and then i sit around on my bum the rest of the day. lol!  today i felt pretty good and took off running.  out of the gate is about .25mi downhill so that certainly helps my first mile pace.

i felt pretty great and as my watch beeped for the first mile i was pretty shocked to see it was under an 8 min mile!  my brain wanted to tell my legs they were tired, but i lengthened my stride and focused on my breathing and form and just kept on running.

by the time the 2nd mile beeped at me i glanced at it and noticed it too was under an 8 min mile!  i kept pushing at it all the while realizing that while it felt hard it didn't feel impossibly so.  usually when i run a pace like this it is in a race setting (hence the "race pace" speed for this run) and for some reason i feel so much worse than i was feeling at that moment.  so i kept pushing and pushing.

no i don't know what i was doing with my face... 

i ran up the hill just after mile 2 and then steadied my pace on the flat after that.  i thought for sure mile 3 would be slower (it felt slower), but it proved to be the best mile yet.  i finished this short run feeling spent but really really good!

i guess there's something to be said for shorter distances.  hmmmm who'd a thunk it?

strava data here.

Monday, October 10, 2016

what the hell is wrong with me?

so... i just signed up for the wisconsin trail assail sweetest's day 10K.  it simply doesn't take too much peer pressure when it comes to running and i'm totally on board.  

i figured i have 5miles on my schedule for saturday anyway... why not race a 10K instead?  ugh... what is wrong with me?

i'll tell you what's wrong with me... i wasn't able to race hardly ANY of my races this season due to being out of commission for 8 months, and now i'm rip roaring and ready to go!  i want to race!  i want to speed!  i want to RUN!

anyone else with these same issues?  please tell me i'm not the only one with this "problem".

Friday, October 7, 2016

next race is up

the problem with feeling better is this... now i want to RUN ALL THE RACES! 

the problem with running all the races is this... i absolutely loathe racing in cold weather.  i mean... i actually swore off it back in 12/14 (unofficially of course), and that's really when i stopped racing after october from then on out.  then this year due to my 8 month hiatus i ended up running the ragnar northwoods which was hella fun.  my performance there was so promising that when i came home i committed myself to 25mi weeks.  i've been hitting that goal mileage pretty easily so when the opportunity to sign up for the lakefront discovery run popped up i began seriously considering it.

the deciding factor was that they allow you to wait inside the italian community center prior to the race.  this was the clincher for me because the whole reason i don't race in the winter months is because i get so damn cold!

admittedly i've also been starring longingly at the milwaukee running festival races too.  *sigh*

ridiculous i know..  i can't run that race!  it's in NOVEMBER for christ's sake!  it will be so damn cold!  i can't bring myself to commit.  besides... that might maybe probably is too much too soon as is my usual m.o.

so that's where i'm at.  i've been running really well and put a teeny tiny training plan together for the discovery run so that i've got a little mileage under my belt before the race.  we all know i WILL be racing that race... not just lallygagging around through it.  it's impossible for me to run a race just to run it.  i will leave all of myself on the course.

hopefully i will have some friends there to hang out with at the after party.  that will be fun.  i'm trying to be less introverted and more outgoing.  it's odd because i am very outgoing but there are times where i feel drained by crowds and mostly by new people.  i yearn for social interaction, but then my anxiety kicks in and i just want to be at home alone. lol!  it's the bane of being an ambivert i suppose.  yes, that's a thing.