Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bellingham Bay Half and Portland Marathon forecast

I am not referring to the weather forecast, though rest assured, beginning on September 30 I will be checking that hourly daily. No, what I am referring to is my predictions and expectation (and, I guess, goals) for the Portland Marathon.

Not so unconsciously, I have been secretly counting on the Bellingham Bay Half Marathon to give me the key to what I may expect to do in Portland. Now I know that marathons are always a wild card, and can always go far more badly (or better?) than you expect. But we all have a tendency to develop predictions based on our pre-race training and performances, right? I've had several months of Portland training and quite a few races of various lengths in that period. I had an idea already...but I was counting on Bellingham to really seal the deal.

In 2009 I ran my PR half marathon time (still unchanged) in the Bellingham Bay Half Marathon. That time was 1:53:20. I went on to run the California International Marathon in 3:59:40. The McMillan pace calculator prediction for a marathon time based on a 1:53:20 is 3:59:02. That is pretty darn close.* My 5K, 10K, and other race times from that period, as well as my speed work paces, were also on track for a slightly sub-4 marathon. I don't put too much weight in all that, but it did work out then.

This year I had no expectation of a PR in Bellingham. Although my training and race times have been strong, I have not been smashing any PRs this summer (except for 8K). My speed work paces have been good, but I can't put too much weight in super short distances translating all that well to marathons and halfs.

In order to have a chance of a PR (or close) in Bellingham, I would need perfect conditions and a little bit of luck. And the conditions were far from perfect. As for luck, I had a little good luck and a little bad luck, so I guess that would be a wash.

My training has been good, my carb loading in the last few days was good, I did a reasonable taper, I rested yesterday (except for a bike ride that was pretty easy), and I got enough sleep (less than eight hours, but I wasn't horribly tired or anything).

The weather forecast was less encouraging. Moderate, slightly warm temps, chance of rain, and wind. (Foreshadowing: the wind was the problem.)

Last night I looked at my Garmin and it said it had a 96% charge. That seemed like plenty for a half marathon, even if it lost a little (I said a little) overnight. I checked that out when I was patching up my other Garmin problem.

See that fancy camo duck tape? That is there because a couple weeks ago the band broke right off. I tried to get it fixed but apparently a piece of the watch is broken, so I can't just replace the band. I did reattach the two pieces with duct tape, and that works, but after a few sweaty runs the tape fails and has to be replaced. Even though it was still sticking, I redid the tape last night proactively. I have also order a new Garmin (great deal from Amazon), and it actually arrived at my parents' yesterday, but I told my mom not to bother charging it, I would rely on this one for today. Big. Mistake.

This morning I picked up the watch and saw this.

From 96 to 0 in about twelve hours. Nice. (I have been having battery problems, it has been discharging too fast, and I was thinking of replacing the battery....)

I called my mom and asked her to plug in the new one, but there really wasn't enough time to get a charge and I resigned myself to running sans Garmin.

That is not a good thing.

I know I rely on Garmin too much and look at it far too often, but it's one thing running by feel for an easy run or (alternatively) in a short distance like 5K where you just go as fast as you can. In a half marathon, where you want to run fast but not too fast, it really helps to have some feedback to weigh whether your hard effort is because you are in fact running hard (fast), or just because you are having a hard time.

Anyways. I went over to my parents' and we loaded up and headed for Bellingham. The half marathon didn't start until 9:30, which has some negative points but really makes it much easier to travel to when you live sort of far away. (We're about 60 miles from Bellingham.) We left their house about 7:15.

After a stop at Starbucks which took far too long but did allow me to make my first bathroom visit of the trip, we were on the road for real. I ate my breakfast of an almond butter and jam sandwich, plus the SBUX Americano with half and half.

About 16 miles out of Bellingham I asked my mom to stop at a rest area so I could use the bathroom. Let's just say it was a much needed stop. There were quite a few other runners stopping there as well!

We finally parked in downtown Bellingham about 45 minutes before 9:30, and around four or five blocks from the starting area. I walked over and stood in a line to get my bib and chip. Even though Saturday pick-up was strongly encouraged, there were quite a few people who had opted, like me, to pay $5 to avoid an extra trip on Saturday (or who, also like me, lived sort of far away but didn't want to stay over Saturday night).

At 9:00 I had my stuff and headed to the row of port a potties. There was no line at all; I had to wait about one minute for door to open and then I was in. I took my time, and when I came out long lines had already formed! (Not because of me!)

Without the Garmin I didn't have a lot of motivation to do much of a warm-up run. (Don't know why, it's not like my warm-ups are speedy or anything.) But I jogged back to the car to drop off my race shirt and get my water bottle. We arranged that my dad would meet me at the starting line to take my jacket. Then I ran another block in the "away" direction and turned back toward the start.

At Starbucks, only a block from the start, I saw that there were only a few people in line for the rest room so I hopped into line for a last pee. I really felt like I had to go, and though I know it was largely psychological, I felt like it would be a bad omen if I had to start the race feeling like I needed to go. Despite a few people stay ing in the rest room inordinately long, I got in with a few minutes to spare then jogged the remaining distance to the start.

Of course I could not see my dad anywhere. I had no choice but to get in the starting area. Unfortunately they did not have any kind of seeding, and I was a little further back than I would have preferred. I don't mind getting passed, and I like to start with people that might make me run faster. But without even self-seeding, I had no idea what pace the people around me wanted to run. Without my Garmin, I could have really used some 8:30 pacers!

I was freaking out a little about the jacket (I was already feeling warm), but I called my mom and she went down to Holly Street to wait for me to pass. I threw my jacket to her as I ran by. She also caught a little video of me running towards her. It was a mistake as she was trying to take a picture and hit video record instead. Ha. Then I was on my way!

Let me say, I do love the Bellingham Bay course. Even though it was a little rough on me today. There are a lot of long downhills and the uphills are gradual. (There are a few short steeper hills, but they are the same as in the Fairhaven 15K so at least they are familiar to me.)

In the first few miles I felt pretty hot. I mean that in the body temperature sense, not my performance. My effort felt like a tempo run, but I needed that so as not to slip into a slow easy pace. After a few miles, I asked a woman near me what pace she was running, and she said 8:16 (at least at that moment). I don't know if we had been running that fast up to that point. Also, she did pull ahead of me soon.

In the middle miles I did come to a place where I was feeling okay. The wind (which was not yet a problem) was cooling me off, and I don't think I was struggling as much. Probably I had slowed down. I don't know if I was in my "half marathon easy" zone which has been around 8:45, or if I was going slower. I hit seven miles at just over an hour. Seven miles is always a good point because you're well past halfway.

In mile 8 we headed back into downtown Bellingham and then onto the South Bay Trail which heads toward Fairhaven (all this is on the 15K). We hit mile 9 on this trail and then headed along the waterfront to approach Taylor Avenue Dock.

This bayside trail is very scenic, which is a good thing because maybe that helped make up for the hellish wind that we encountered along this way. It may be typically windy on the waterfront but today it was terrible. (There had been a weather warning for winds on Sunday.) We were running directly into the wind, and by the time we were on Taylor Avenue Dock it was like running directly into a wall. I have no idea how slow I was running. So much for the big push in the last 5K!

For the last couple miles we headed back up onto State Avenue toward the finish and downtown Bellingham (again). Two years ago I did a great job of kicking ass in those last two miles. This year, not so much. I noticed the gradual uphill much more than I do at the beginning of the 15K and I didn't even remember it being an issue two years back. We did have the wind at our backs now, and that helped a bit. I did try to push a good pace for the last two miles, but without splits I will never know....

Finally the finish line was in sight. I crossed at just a bit over 1:58. It is possible that my chip time could be under, but I don't know yet. This was almost five minutes slower than my PR...sad. I think with a Garmin and slightly less wind I would probably have done about 1:55 (just like most of my other half marathons in recent months). But you have to deal with the race conditions you are given, and make the best of them.

Even though my time was just so-so, I felt pretty ravaged. I walked through the finish area, drank some water, ate a couple orange wedges, and looked for my parents.

I don't know how the race course pics will come out, but my mom took a few after I made my way through the finish area.

This other one is a little dark but it shows the wind a little bit!

On the way back to the car we stopped at Starbucks. I still felt a little sick, but we spent so long waiting for my dad (they were busy, and he was chatting), that I finally felt up to a mocha. Then we headed to the car and drove back to Fairhaven (driving past still finishing slow marathoners and half marathoners) for fish and chips for lunch. I have been waiting for this race to have some fish and chips!

So, returning to my Portland race predictions. If I had come anywhere near a PR today, I might have had thoughts of a four-hour marathon. But I don't think that is a reasonable possibility now. Plus, Portland is harder than CIM (I believe), so there's that factor as well.

Using the McMillan pace calculator based on a 1:58 half, the predicted marathon time is 4:08. Using my three recent 1:55 half marathons, the predicted time is 4:02. My other race times (5K, 8K, 10K, 15K) call for marathon times from 3:56 to 4:03. My speed work (800 and 400), tempo runs, and long runs are all on track for a four hour marathon. (The long runs are on the faster end of the easy pace spectrum.)

So what does that tell me? Well, I think Greg McMillan is more optimistic than me. I can't really count on my ability to conjure up some speed in short distances (including tempo runs) to extend to a long, long distance. If anything, I think that the time prediction based on today's race is most realistic.

My prediction for Portland is, if all goes well, 4:10. Hopefully at least below 4:15. This is also taking into account that I hear Portland has some decent hills, and also that I will need to make a bathroom stop (hopefully just one). Even if I ran a 9:45 pace (which is just barely faster than my long run pace), I would go just over 4:15. (A 10-minute pace would be just around 4:20. Hopefully that is the wheels off the bus worst case scenario...well, no, there is no wheels off the bus scenario. 4:20 is my "I'm sure I can do this even if things don't go as well as I would like.)

Anything faster than 4:10 would make me very, very happy.

*Plus I did stop to use the bathroom once during CIM. But I have yet to manage a marathon without stopping for that, so it has to be taken into consideration.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

The rest of the weekend...

This was last weekend...can't believe it's Saturday already!

A couple more comments about my long run on Friday (9/16).... Although I had no quad pain (in an injury sense) during the run, after I was finished I was, as you would expect, tired and sore in my quads and hamstrings and pretty much all over. I would have loved to take an ice bath but I barely had time for a shower before I needed to get to work.

A few weeks ago I bought compression knickers (capris) and calf sleeves from 110% Play Harder using a Schwaggle coupon. This gear comes with ice packs that you can freeze and insert into the clothing to provide on-the-go ice therapy. Thursday night I froze some of the ice packs to use with the calf sleeves on Friday. My legs would have loved the ice on my quads and hamstrings, but wearing the knickers to work would have been too awkward. I did use the iced up calf sleeves. The ice packs seem to stay cold for about an hour of use.

While I haven't worn the knickers yet, I did try them on Thursday night and they didn't seem the most comfortable (the stitching around the knees felt tight, but that may be because I have fat chubby knees). I do look forward to trying them out some other time when I can just lie around for a while.

Anyhow, moving on to Saturday. (Which I thought I already did when I started this the other day. What happened to my missing paragraphs?) Saturday was a rest and cross training day. I thought I'd probably just go to the Y for some elliptical time. Dull, but convenient. (Now I know that I already wrote about the weekend weather....) The weather had changed from summer sun to cloudy almost-fall. It wasn't cold but it seemed gloomy.

Rod suggested we head over to Rimrock for some mountain biking. The weather was about the same over there but it would be fun. So we took the long drive over the mountains (no fall foliage yet) and hopped on the bikes. We rode around the hilly gravel roads. That's pretty low key for mountain biking but we're pretty much novices so that was plenty. My gears still need adjusting and I was not able to gear down to the lowest gear, so I ended up walking some of the steeper hills. I'll just call that another form of cross training!

On the way back we stopped in Waterville and had an early dinner at Kopey's. Even though it was only 4:30 I was ravenous and devoured my steak, baked potatoes and garlic bread. And a cup of soup. We had only eaten a Safeway sandwich for lunch so I guess my stomach was a little empty. Also biking makes you me hungry!

Sunday I went out for a 9-mile progressive run. I am in this weird place of starting to taper, but still training for the Bellingham Bay Half on September 25 (which is now tomorrow!). I did two miles warm-up (about 10 minute pace), four miles sub-9 (8:45-8:55), two miles at 8:20, and the final mile at 9:20. The whole run pretty much touched on all potential, possible, and likely paces for both the half and full marathons. My average pace for the whole nine miles was 9:01.

And here it's the weekend again! The rest of the week went well enough. My main difficulty was getting up in the morning to get the miles in. Monday - very creaky recovery run. 6.25 miles, just under 10 minute pace. Wednesday - 7.27 miles with four tempo (8:24, 8:23, 8:35, 8:15). Thursday - 7.06 miles with four quarter mile interval up and down Grand Avenue Park (about 8 minute pace on the repeats, slower than I would be on the track). On Wednesday and Thursday I was wearing my new shoes for the marathon and I didn't want to get them dirty going to the track! I also cross-trained on the elliptical and went to yoga Monday and Wednesday night.

Today is my pre-race rest day for reals! Except we're going for a bike ride.

It is also carb load day. Kodiak cakes pancakes for breakfast with bananas and maple syrup. Yum!

I have also been filling in the carb-deficient cracks with Pumpkin Chia Muffins. In fact, I just ate one right now to fuel up for the ride...after all it's been almost three hours since breakfast! (A note about the recipe...I used more than one tablespoon of chia seeds, there is no need to grind them up, and the reference to "salt and pepper to taste" is obviously a mistake.)

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The real reason behind the Boston registration change*

Now that the new and revised Boston registration system is almost complete for Boston 2012 (and let me clarify that I am neither a qualifier nor registrant this year), I believe I can reveal the real reason the BAA changed the Boston Marathon registration and qualification scheme.

It was me. Oh, not me personally (although we can't really be sure of that, can we?), but my kind. The dreaded 45-year-old female. The category of runner that completely stole Boston from faster, more deserving (younger, maler) runners.

It is true. While a four hour marathon is the modest dream of every middle-of-the-pack runner of any age, for a 45-year-old female it was (up until now), a Boston Qualifying (BQ) time. Thus making me and my peers hated by most other Boston wannabees, particularly 40-year-old women (and younger), who had to run at least ten minutes faster to qualify, and of course, men of all ages. (Men could qualify with a four hour time at the age of 60.)

And obviously, last year the whole Boston registration system was completely brought down by hordes of mid-pace 45-49 year old women with credit cards and high motivation.** Necessitating the overhaul of registration and change in qualifying times.

I am, I freely admit, the worst of the worst. I exploited every qualification benefit that was available to me. I qualified at the age of 44 (for the Boston Marathon after my 45th birthday), I squeaked in just under the qualifying time (though not into the one-minute window), and I took registration morning off work so I could sit in front of my computer with my credit card until my registration was finally accepted.

Yes, you can blame me for the revolution. (Along with 1,592 other women.) You're welcome.

*In case it is not obvious, this is all untrue. A spoof, if you will. A hoax, if you won't.
**However, there were about 1000 more 45-49 year old male registrants than female.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mountain Dew, elixir of the gods...

Did I mention that I had a great speed work run on Wednesday? Ha, I know I did, in fact I just belatedly uploaded that post. What I didn't mention is that by Wednesday my quad problems were pretty much gone, maybe all gone but I can't remember if I was sure of that on Wednesday or not until Friday.

Anyhow, Friday was slated to be my final long (20+) run before tapering toward Portland. I wanted to do 22 but I was open to cutting back to 20, if that seemed necessary in order to get to work in a timely fashion. This would be my third 20-miler in this training cycle. I originally had four on my plan, but one got switched out for a 16.55 mile hike.

My first one was on August 7, and apparently I didn't post about it. I ran all around Marysville and ended up at my parents' house at something just over 20 miles. It was by no means easy, but I was pretty steady and my average overall pace was about 9:50.

My second 20+ distance was two weeks later, August 21 on my birthday weekend. I started out with 10K on the road at sub-10 pace, added a 13.1 mile trail run at a much slower pace, and forced out 1.8 miles afterwards to push the total over 21.

So it was almost four weeks between that last one and this week, but I did squeeze in a strong 17 miles on August 28, the hike on September 3, 12.5 miles on September 5, a 15K race on September 10 and 13.1 mile run on September 11, and various medium-length weekday runs, of course.

I was having strange dreams again on Thursday night, mostly about not having time to finish the run on Friday morning. This made me a bit apprehensive and nervous!

I really, really intended to start at 6 a.m. on Friday morning. Or 6:30, anyway. I did wake up a little after 5, and was up by 5:30 to get breakfast. When I am going to be running a long distance in the morning, I need to eat a pretty full breakfast beforehand since I won't be done until almost lunchtime.

If it's not a race day, I don't worry too much about having a lot of time to digest. I figure that will happen while I run (especially if I am not trying to run too fast). I toasted two low fat whole grain waffles and spread them with almond butter and strawberry jam. I also had part of an Americano that I had saved overnight in the fridge.

Even though I didn't mean to wait a long while to digest, I did lay around for a little while longer...I ended up out the door at 7 a.m. At least it was fully daylight by then!

This time I can say for sure that my quad difficulties were completely gone. I felt so pleased and thankful. I had resigned myself to "living with it" indefinitely (in the way that I continue to live with my touchy achilles tendon and ankle).

I started out listening to the remainder of The Jane Austen Book Club on my iphone. I had joined to get a free download and that was my first book. I don't know if I am going to cancel or not, but since then I have purchased several "sale" books for $4.95 each and I have quite a collection of listening material to draw from. I can't believe how expensive audio books can be! Much more than paperbacks or e-books...comparable to hardbacks, but without the discounts that you can get on regular books.

That book brought me to about 8.5 miles. After a slow first mile, I settled into an easy pace, mostly in the 9:50s. After I finished mile 9, I used the bathroom (port a potty at McDonald's where the bathrooms were closed due to construction), ate a Gu, and turned on my next audio book--Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes. I've read it before (I'd read the Jane Austen Book Club too), but it was years ago and I thought it would be good for pushing through a long run!

I was nearing 11 miles as I approached QFC (which is my typical end point for most runs) and I think I ran around the block to get to 11 before I took another bathroom stop (knowing that it would be about another hour before I approached the next bathroom). Then I headed east on Everett Avenue toward East Grand and Marine View Drive. I was feeling all right. I thought about the women I knew who were walking the first day of the Breast Cancer 3-day that morning. We might have started around the same time of day but I knew I had many more miles in already! It sounds crazy, but I really think that running at a moderate pace is easier than walking. I knew I would finish my 22 miles by late morning but I couldn't imagine walking all day for the same distance! And I think that my legs were more wrecked after that 16.5 mile walk/hike than they have been after any long run (though not necessarily after a marathon).

At 15 miles, I planned to take more fuel. I got out my packet of Luna Moons and ate one piece. It might have made more sense to eat at least half the packet and get more of a rush of energy, but I wanted to space out the pieces to give me something to look forward to each mile. There are six pieces in a package. I had one at 15, one at 16, and one at 17, where I made my final bathroom stop.

Around mile 17, though, I felt myself starting to flag. My running pace seemed to drop below 10 minutes (or would that be over 10 minutes?), even though I felt like I was making the same effort. Looking at my splits, my pace didn't actually suffer until the next couple miles, but I was definitely hitting a wall at mile 17 (even though it was a low wall, it's not like I wasn't going to make it or anything).

I was at the Marina and there were a couple of pop and candy machines, and I thought I might find a Gatorade or something in one of them. But the pop machine had only pop, and the candy machine didn't have anything that seemed better than my Luna Moons. However...I looked at the pop machine selections and my eyes fixed on Mountain Dew. I don't know if I've ever had a "real" Mountain Dew (I've always drank diet pop), and it's been years since I've even had Diet Dew, but somehow I thought that the bright yellow sugar and caffeine spiked drink might be something I would like.

I drank a few, that was tasty. I have never had anything so delicious. I poured the rest of the can in one of my water bottles (I would soon learn that was a bit of a mistake), and headed on my way.

I don't know if it was all psychological or there really was something powerful in that Mountain Dew, but I almost immediately felt rejuvenated. At the next traffic light (luckily only about half a mile away), I pulled out the bottle again and discovered that the carbonation had made it fizz up and leak onto my shirt (luckily the shirt was orange, so I wasn't sporting bright yellow stains) and I'd lost quite a bit. That was okay...I drank the rest over the next half mile or so and then just went back to my remaining bottle of Nuun for the rest of the run.

Although I use gels and stuff on long runs and in races, I have never really felt their effect. I have never had the experience of feeling low in energy (well, I have had that feeling) and then getting reenergized after fueling. Of course I have had my ups and downs, and second and third winds, but I have just never associated that with my fuel.

But on this day I truly did feel like the Mountain Dew gave me a kick in the pants that kept me going and revived me. Yes, my splits after mile 17 are among my slowest, but they did include a notoriously slow-for-me stretch and some ass-kicking hills. So I'm still claiming victory.

After 17 miles, I had either 5K or five miles left to go, depending on whether I stopped at 20 or went for 22. I couldn't make that decision at that point. I decided just to keep on going on the planned route and see how I was doing, whether I should turn early for home or see it through. Even though I was later in the day than I had planned, I was still pretty sure I had enough time to finish either way.

The last few miles took me down Terminal Avenue and along a pedestrian walking path that is about 3/4 mile each way. Even though it is short, I have never really liked this path much. I don't know why. Maybe because it is bordered with chain link fence on either side and there is no where to go if I need to escape. (I'd have to outrun whoever I was trying to escape from.) Still, I headed for the end, and back, and that was enough to ensure that I would be close to 22 miles by the end of my run.

Although I was going to finish with a downhill on Everett Avenue, my final mile or two required climbing back up the hills that had earlier brought me down to the waterfront and Terminal Avenue. Finally, though, I was at Pacific and Colby, and it was all downhill from there. In a good way! My splits for 22.22 miles....

1 - 10:40
2 - 9:57
3 - 9:34
4 - 9:47
5 - 9:50
6 - 9:50
7 - 9:52
8 - 10:13
9 - 9:56
10 - 10:00
11 - 9:52
12 - 9:59
13 - 9:50
14 - 9:38
15 - 9:48
16 - 9:35
17 - 9:53
18 - 10:18
19 - 10:04
20 - 9:54
21 - 10:02
22 - 9:53
Plus .22 at 9:26
3:40:31, average pace 9:56.

Woo hoo! Sushi and watermelon for lunch. And later, there was cake. And pizza. And then a little more cake.

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Running dreams

Note: I wrote this on Wednesday, 9/14, had posting problems, and forgot about it till I ran across it on Sunday....


This morning I was having running dreams before I woke up. Now granted, this was during the half-sleeping minutes while I was hitting the snooze alarm and procrastinating over getting up to clearly running was on my mind.

In the dream we were staying in a motel somewhere and I wanted to go running but had forgotten my Garmin and iPod. Understandably, I was upset. Obviously I could run without them, but I was being unreasonable and passive aggressive even in the dream. I knew that I could use my phone instead of the iPod for music or audio diversion, but I conveniently ignored that. And I kept saying, how can I do a 20-mile run without the Garmin to measure it? Never mind that I had already mapped out a 20-mile route on Map My Run. I was also stressed because it was dark outside and I don't like to run in the dark.

So, let's analyze this dream. Well, I didn't want to get up to run, that could be a factor. And for the first time this summer, it was dark in the morning (though only half dark by 6:15). And I am planning a 20-miler on Friday, which I've already planned on Map My Run. So, duh, my early morning running ambivalence was manifesting itself in my dreams.

Once I did get up, and out, I had a fine run. I didn't manage a 10-minute pace for the warm-up miles, but I made up for it with speed work. Nine half-mile repeats, 7:45 to 7:58 pace. I didn't need to do ten because I have room on the calendar for one more set, about ten days before the marathon. Perfect. I ran nine miles total, 8:53 average overall pace.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Two months

A lot of big things are happening over the next two months. Four weeks from today, the Portland Marathon! (As previously mentioned.) About a month after that, we're going to Maui! And then, about a month after that, the Tucson Marathon.

Portland Marathon training is pretty much on track and going well. There have been some minor deviations in my plan which I am filing under "flexibility" and not stressing over. The biggest change was when I substituted a planned 20+ miler with a 16.5 mile walk/hike. I think it definitely contributed to "time on my legs"! We spent about five hours actually walking and the entire trip (including the time spent peeing in the woods) was over six hours.

Around the time of that hike, I began flirting with leg issues that hinted ominously of injury. Following my great week of running a while back, I got a sore tightness in my right quad which gave me a decent amount of concern back then and has not yet fully abated. However it has improved and I've allowed myself more generous rest which has helped. And it has not prevented me from continuing to run pretty well (meaning fast when I want to be).

The night after the hike, I had some very troublesome pain discomfort in the back of my other leg (just above the knee) and I feared a tweaked hamstring. I could hardly sleep that night because I couldn't lay still enough not to bother it. But the next day it was gone and hasn't bothered me since.

Those little problems have been quite a warning sign that I need to be careful not to hurt myself. I'm not laying off the running or anything but I am definitely not jumping into anything new that could lead to problems (like a boot camp or something). I did back off on my scheduled 800s last week, deciding it was too close to the 15K on Saturday. I'm going to do them this week instead. I will also probably take hill repeats off the schedule (they're on one more time) and just keep my hill work to normal uphill running.

So here are the highlights for the next few weeks. This week: 9-10x800, 20-miler on Friday. I would say this will be my last hard week. The next week, Bellingham Bay Half Marathon on Sunday, September 26. Then two weeks of taper. (Obviously, there are other runs in there as well.)

This weekend I had two good runs, despite the heat (yes, I call 60s in the morning heat). Saturday was the Fairhaven Waterfront 15K, which was great as usual though a little slower than I would have liked. I will have a race report, I just need to steal pictures from the race photo website download pictures from my mother's and my camera. Today I ran 13.1+ miles (forgot to start my watch at a light and "lost" .1 to .2 miles) at 9:57 pace...just squeaked in under my 10-minute "easy" pace.

I am planning an easy run tomorrow morning, just to keep on track and allow Tuesday as an off running day before speed work on Wednesday. We have one more hot day this week before it cools off, so I really can't put it off to afternoon even if I am tired in the morning. If I have to, it would be better to wait till Tuesday. That's not laziness, okay? It's being kind to my legs and not risking injury. But hopefully I'll be running in the morning.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

One month till the Portland Marathon

That is all.

Well, one more thing. Over the weekend I'll write about where I'm at one month out, how I'm feeling, where my expectations are. That may well be influenced by how the Fairhaven 15K goes tomorrow morning!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Lost post

I just wrote half a blog post and lost it when I went to download pictures. (Teach me not to save!)

The condensed version: long run today changed to longish hike, 16.5 miles from Gold Bar (up) to Wallace Lake and back (down). Even though I didn't run, my legs are tired. And rather sore.

Here are some pictures...the first is at Wallace Lake, the others are from the trail.

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Friday, September 2, 2011

The good and the not-so-good

The other day I was going to write a post about how I ran six out of seven days, between last Thursday and this Wednesday. Crazy for me. The final run of the six-in-seven was Wednesday. I had a rocking tempo run on Wednesday! After two miles warm-up, I did six tempo miles (two sets of three miles with a .10 recovery between. The splits - 8:00 (oops, definitely too fast), 8:19, 8:21 (those two right on track); then 8:11, 8:39 (lots of lights and a phone call from the office threw me off), 8:00 (strong finish).

Thursday was definitely a running rest day. Also, I was a little sore in my right quad. My legs are often more sore after a hard run than an easy one, not surprisingly. Thursday evening I spent an hour on the elliptical and did a yoga class. My leg was sore enough that doing child's pose and other quad stretching poses was difficult!

So today...quad still achy. I considered not running in order to rest it for the planned long run tomorrow, but I thought I should see how it held up. My legs, and particularly my right thigh, felt very heavy and sluggish. I eventually loosened up, but it took me a full five miles to work my average pace under 10:00! I ended up doing 8.07 miles in eighty minutes. Later the sore quad resumed. I actually spent most of the day with a disposable heat pack strapped to my leg under my jeans. I felt like heat might help.

Needless to say, I became concerned about my planned 22-mile run tomorrow. I was intending to tough it out, but then one of my friends who was walking the route asked me to walk with her, because two other people backed out. I decided that it would be better to go with her, at least part way (we probably won't have time to walk the full 22). I may run on the return trip, if I feel like it, just to get in a few running miles. I feel bad about not doing the long run, but it may be for the best. I still have one 20+ miler on the schedule, and I'll just have to be satisfied with three instead of four.

Yesterday my dress of the day was a Laura Ashley dress from 1988. Here I am wearing it when it was new.

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