Sunday, September 30, 2012

Just one week to go...

The Twin Cities Marathon is one week from today. In less than seven days, I will be done with my tenth marathon!

I did my final "long" run today, 13.1 miles at the Bellingham Bay Half Marathon. (Actually it was 13.2 miles, plus .4 mile super easy warm-up.)

I said that Bellingham Bay would be my final test to estimate my possible finish time. So here it is. 2:07 (give or take a couple secs), which is about a 9:37 pace for the full 13.2.

What did I learn from this? 1) Sub-9:30 pace is work, too much work to sustain for 26.2 miles. 4:10 is definitely out. 2) 9:30-9:45 - hard to say whether this effort will be too much...4:15 would be a stretch, but not completely impossible. Maybe. 3) Whenever I felt like I was cruising and comfortable today, I looked at my watch and it was around 10-minute pace. That means 4:20-4:25 is realistic. 4) All my miles today were sub-10 but one. That was mile 12, and it was 10:24. It was a little uphill, but I was honestly shocked at that time. I didn't feel like I had slowed down that much...I had much faster miles on steeper hills. That tells me that you just never know. My body might just slow down in spite of myself.

I am hoping to at least finish under 4:30. But I'll be fine with it (well, okay with it) no matter what happens.

I had mentioned that I might run on both Monday and Tuesday this week. I have rethought that. It would just be junk miles with no real purpose, and I think my body is best served by moderation in this final week of taper. Also, my ankle and Achilles have been bothering me lately, so I don't want to aggravate them more than necessary. Icing the last few evenings has helped too, and I want to keep that up this week.

So I think I will just cross-train tomorrow (Monday), run on Tuesday, cross-train or rest on Wednesday (it's my travel day), then do my last run on Thursday. I know some people like to do a shake-out run closer to the marathon, but I like two full days of non-running rest.

Here I am on the way back to the car after the half marathon today.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hope springs eternal (in the fall)

I just love a pun. I'm not quite sure that is one though.

And now it is just under two weeks to the Twin Cities Marathon (on October 7). This will truly be an experiment in running marathon-plus distances in short time periods. Last year I had eight weeks between Portland and Tucson, and there will be eight weeks between Twin Cities and Honolulu in December, but this is just a four week interval between the McKenzie River 50K and the Twin Cities Marathon. It truly remains to be seen what my legs will do about this.

The meaning of my title regarding hope springing eternally is that I still have hope for a decent performance in TCM despite all indications that I will be slow, slow, slow. My definition of a decent performance has flip-flopped many times and it certainly doesn't include anything close to a PR or sub-4. I vary between what should be a reasonable goal of 4:15 and hoping to at least be under 4:30. However, I am aware that I had that same type of goal for the Seattle Marathon a couple of years ago and Boston in 2011 and I finished those in 4:37 and 4:34, respectively.  So...we shall see. 

My post-MRTR pre-Twin Cities training looked like this.

Week 1 -
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday - Rest and elliptical
Thursday - 5.5 mile easy run.
Friday - elliptical
Saturday - 7.5 miles
Sunday - 10 miles

Week 2 -
Monday - 7 miles
Tuesday - elliptical
Wednesday - 7-ish miles
Thursday - supposed to run but switched to elliptical
Friday - 5.75 miles (run shortened due to GI problems)
Saturday - 18 miles
Sunday - bike ride 18 miles

Week 3 - this week
Monday - 7 miles with leaden legs
Tuesday - elliptical
Wednesday - I am thinking some marathon pace miles
Thursday or Friday - MP miles on one day, elliptical on the other
Saturday - rest and/or bike ride
Sunday - Bellingham Bay Half Marathon

Week 4 - next week
TBD. We are flying out on Wednesday so maybe short runs on Monday and Tuesday, travel on Wednesday, short run on Thursday, rest on Friday and Saturday. Or if I feel trashed after Bellingham Bay maybe I will just cross-train on Monday. We'll see.

In my head I have created two tests which will help indicate how TCM might go.  One of them was my 18-miler on Saturday. It actually went pretty well (except for feeling nauseous in the last two miles). I did a variation on a training run I read about on (here is the article). In my version I did six miles slow (11-minute average pace, but that included a one-mile hill), then five miles at alternate marathon pace/half marathon pace per half mile. I think my marathon pace segments varied from 9:45-10:15. The half marathon parts were probably 9:15-9:45. I don't know exactly because I didn't hit the lap button when I switched from MP to HMP. After that I ran the remaining miles around 10:15 pace. I had switched from a paved trail to a busy road with bad shoulders so I couldn't do anything fancy.

The conclusion from that run? Well, 10:15 seems to be about the pace I am running with moderate effort on a pretty good day on a long run. Not sure how that will translate to the marathon though. (I know, it would literally translate to just under 4:30, if I ran the exact same pace.)

My other test will be the Bellingham Bay Half Marathon on Sunday. My history with Bellingham Bay and subsequent marathons is...2009 BB in 1:53, CIM in 3:59 (although CIM was two months later). 2011 BB in 1:58, Portland Marathon one week later in 4:15. Both times I was running the half marathon at best effort pace, not marathon effort pace. This time I am planning on some sort of hybrid best effort/marathon effort pace. Meaning I'll just do it however I feel on the day.

Unfortunately my efforts to lose a few pounds before TCM have been pretty unsuccessful. I feel like I may have even gained a couple since MRTR. This topic is a frustration that could make a whole other post. Bottom line is, I can't really do anything too drastic at this point. So I will save my desperate reasonable weight loss efforts for the six weeks between TCM and Thanksgiving, and for now just keep calm and carry on.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bad things that DID NOT HAPPEN during MRTR

Let me clarify, NO really bad things happened during MRTR. Except for my fall, and even that could have been so much worse than it was.

But there were a number of potential bad things that could have happened, and I am glad to say they did not. For example....

1) No forest fires disrupting the case and course. Last year fires in Oregon jeopardized the race, and while it went on the course was modified. This year there were no fires in the region. Yea!

2) NO BEES! Apparently there is a fair chance of bees on the course. Like maybe swarms of them. I don't think that I am allergic, but I've only been stung three times, many years apart, so who knows if there could be a latent allergy looming, to be brought out by an attack of killer bees. Really, I'm not kidding, bees and the potential of an unknown allergy were the only thing I was really afraid of before the run. I brought Benadryl in my pack. Luckily, not one bee was seen.

3) No bug bites. I did spray my legs with Bug Dope before the run, but forgot about it the rest of the day. No itchy problems for me though.

4) No nettles or poison ivy. I tend to hug the bushes, especially with people passing so much, but I did not encounter any noxious vegetation.

5) No 90+ temps! The weather stayed in the balmy low 80s, even by mid-afternoon. And the woods made it seem even cooler.

And an update from yesterday's mini-woes....

My blister seems to be getting smaller. Really, I think it is.

After a 4-day blank screen hiatus, my Garmin came back to life and is charging tonight! Hurrah! Of course the question remains...what if it dies again?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Running "comeback" after 50K

The big challenge after finishing MRTR was how and when to resume running and prep for the Twin Cities Marathon (coming up quickly on October 7!). I definitely wanted to give my body a rest, but I also wanted to parlay my endurance training into a strong marathon, and try to build back a little speed (just a little, I'm not asking for the moon!).

Sunday was a complete rest day, obviously. It was also the day we drove back to Washington, which made for a lot of hours of sitting. Luckily my Subaru is pretty comfortable and we did make a few stops where I could shake out my legs.

Saturday night, and into Sunday, and maybe Monday, I was pretty sore. Saturday night it was "achy body interferes with sleep" but after that it was less. More like my body froze up every time I sat down and I had to warm-up before moving again. As the overall achiness faded, DOMS hit my quads in a pretty big way. It took until at least Thursday for that to mostly dissipate. On the first couple days I wanted to shriek every time my cat jumped into my lap! Lucky thing my massage wasn't scheduled until Thursday.

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I just cross-trained with an hour on the elliptical. I was pretty weak at first, but got a little stronger (and faster) every day. On Friday I even did about 10 minutes of intervals at the end.

On Thursday I decided to try my first run. I am not sure whether a little more recovery might have been good, but frankly I wanted a change from the elliptical. I had gotten up very early to take my parents to the airport. When I got home a little before 6 I was so tired, so I napped on the couch for 30-40 minutes before going out (best.nap.ever). Then I had some gear failure issues, so I didn't have a whole lot of time when I finally got outside.

That was probably for the best, though. I did manage to get my average pace to 10 minutes in the first three miles (by running an 8:30 in mile 3) and then did another 2.5 at 9:30-9:45 pace. But frankly, I was tired after three miles!

After ellipticalling on Friday (I made that word up), I was out again on Saturday. Once again I pushed myself into a sub-10 average pace, with some extra effort in mile 3. This time I didn't feel too tired until after about five miles (progress). I finished with 7.5 miles, all I had time to do as we were going to a brunch at Rod's folks' house later that morning.

Finally, today I dabbled in double digits, just over ten miles while Rod did some painting at his friends' house. Today I felt tired at mile...2? No, not really, but I was super sluggish and my overall average pace was 10:50.

I have also been hampered by a big Garmin fail issue. My one-year-old new Garmin, after running valiantly for eight hours on Saturday, gave me the blank screen of death on Thursday morning. This was after the screen froze up and I tried a hard reset. It won't charge when I plug it in either. I am trying to decide whether to buy a new one or what. I have read about people with the same problem where it miraculously started taking a charge a few days later. I am hoping that will happen to me....

Meanwhile I have used my old one with the unfixable broken band. On Thursday it was taped together with duct tape (that eventually falls off). On Saturday I carried it in my hand (irritating). Today I pinned it to my fuel belt. The only problem with that is I can't read it when I'm running...I think that is part of why I couldn't regulate my pace today. I know, I have Garmin co-dependency issues. Send me to therapy.

My other leftover irritation from MRTR is a persistent blister on my left big toe. I have drained it several times but it keeps popping back up! It doesn't prevent me from running but it does get uncomfortable after a while. This needs to go away soon. I'm not running 26.2 miles in (less than) three weeks with a blister before I start!

So that's it for the first week post 50K. I'm thinking 18 miles next weekend...then taper (again).

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

McKenzie River Trail Run 50K

It all began on Friday, September 7, with an early morning departure and drive to Eugene. By 8:30 a.m. we--me, Rod, and my parents--were piled into my car and heading south for the five-hour(ish) trip toward Eugene. I actually drove most of the way, all the way past Salem, which is quite an accomplishment as I am not much of a long-distance driver. Then Rod took over for the rest of the trip to Eugene and McKenzie River.

We stopped in Eugene for lunch and for Rod to get my dad an Oregon hat for his birthday. The shopping expedition was quite an ordeal trying to find just the right hat! In the end the one he got was very nice, and it will appear in several pictures throughout the weekend. At first my dad pretended to be uneasy over wearing an Oregon hat, but it got him quite a lot of attention (people assuming he was a fellow Duck fan) and he liked that.

It was very warm in Eugene, as well as in McKenzie Bridge when we got there around 5:00. It was in the 90s that afternoon...a little nervewracking for the following day!

We stayed in a lovely cabin at the Inn at the Bridge. It had two bedrooms and bathrooms (one each upstairs and downstairs), a full kitchen, nice rustic decor, a screened porch, and air conditioning. It also had a big screen satellite TV...what it did not have was a television station that got the Pac12 channel (which would be airing the Oregon game on Saturday). There has been an on-going dispute between the satellite networks and the Pac12, and satellite TV was all that was available in the rather remote McKenzie Bridge area. Troubling....

For pre-race dinner we decided to get a couple takeaway pizzas from Takoda's Restaurant. Convenient (and also the only restaurant in the area that was open). Takoda's was also the race packet picket site, which worked nicely!

Around 7 p.m. I collected my bib number, commemorative blanket, and bought a $10 shirt while Rod ordered our pizzas. The restaurant was pretty mobbed with pre-race diners. We brought the pizza back to the cabin and made it an early night. I was doing the 6:30 early start, so we planned to leave McKenzie Bridge at 5:30 to go to the start at Carmen Reservoir (it's about a half hour drive).

It was still pretty dark when we arrived, although it did lighten up in time for the start at 6:30. I had expected it to be in the 40s early, and much warmer later, so I wore a long-sleeved shirt over my sleeveless top to begin. It was actually in the 50s, so I didn't really need the extra shirt, but it gave me something to look forward to (taking the shirt off). I did have drop bags for the two aid stations and finish, although in the end I didn't really need them. I left the shirt at the first drop, but didn't even use my bag at the second. I had some extra fuel in each bag, plus bug spray in the first and sunscreen in the second (neither of which I used after the original application in the morning).

We took a couple pictures by the reservoir before heading to the starting spot, which was about 1/4 - 1/2 mile away from the check in. Rod walked over with me, and my parents waited at the car, where my mom was able to get a good picture of me as I ran by her.

The early start was a fairly small group, and the race photographer got some pictures with me in them! Easily recognizable thanks to the bright green cap. (Big thanks to Long Run Pictures for allowing free downloads!)

I had heard that the trails for this were pretty easy as trail races go, but I thought that the first half (at least) was very technical and hillier than I expected (though not as hilly as some of my summer runs). In the first eleven or so miles we ran up to Clear Lake and around it. It was sort of a modified out and back--only part of the trip retraced some trail that we had started on. The first five miles also included beds of black lava rock and a lots of rocks in the trails. These pretty pictures through the lava beds are a little misleading...although the trails are nice and smooth here, they soon turned to rocks.

The race photographer caught us on an uphill. So yes, we are walking. At least I managed to put a smile on my face!

Below, we are looking at Clear Lake on the left. The pictures do not reveal how clear and glassy it really was.

This is the first bridge (of many) that we crossed. The woman ahead of me on the bridge is named Claire. I was lucky to run in her vicinity a lot of the time, though somewhere in the second half she left me behind (meaning I never caught up to her again).

Looking at Clear Lake the distance is where you can rent rowboats (though you can't see it in the picture).  I could be wrong about chronology, but I believe it was just after taking this picture that I took my one fall of the day. (Although I am sure it was before the bridge, so maybe I am off.) Anyway I had just taken a picture, and was going to resume running on a nice wide dirt trail, that had one very large root. Next thing you know, I was sprawled on the ground. My knees had just barely recovered from the bruising the week before, and it hurt. However, I said I was fine (and I was) and got up and went on. I generated a lot of concern along the way, until later when the dirt from the trails combined with the dirt and blood from the fall, and you couldn't really see so clearly that I had fallen down.

Below, the mirror-like clearness of Clear Lake. 
The first aid station was about mile 5.5 (it may have been prior to taking these pictures, it is hard to remember). I grabbed a granola thin cookie and a small cup of Coke and didn't linger. Coke would be my go-to beverage at the aid stations (along with weak Nuun in my hydration pack). The rest of the water pictures are various spots on the river.

Although the lava rocks were done, the trail continued to be rocky and root-laden, with small rolling hills along the way. Also, a lot of the trail was along a sort of narrow ledge, with a drop toward the river on one side. I felt I needed to be very careful with my footing...I didn't want to fall again...or worse!

In the first few miles there were more people around me and I went with the flow on running versus walking in treacherous or hilly spots. When I was on my own I mostly ran (very slowly) but walked in any spot where I felt the ground was dangerous (including both uphill or downhill terrain). I also walked across pretty much every single bridge. Many of them (as you will see) had a railing only on one side, with a drop to a raging river below.

We passed this waterfall from the other side of the river on the way up. I didn't take a picture then (although the view would probably have been better), so I couldn't bypass it again. A lot of my photos have way too much sunlight in them...even though I wasn't in a big hurry, I didn't feel like spending too much time trying to get a "perfect" shot (after all, I wanted to finish in the same day!).

Here is one of the many single-railed bridges. Unfortunately, that is my finger in the frame.

The picture doesn't do justice to this pool, aptly named Blue Pool. It is an amazing shade of azure, best seen in person (or possible in someone else's photo).

 I took a number of pictures from the bridges I crossed.

 Two hours passed between the bridge above and below (10:30 and 12:30). At around 9:00-9:30 I dropped my Eugene shirt at the 11-ish mile aid station. I grabbed another cup of Coke (probably) and maybe a couple pieces of watermelon and a few M & Ms..I didn't really eat too much along the way. I had a little Coke at almost every aid station, and a little bite of something. That included 2-3 cookies, a couple M & Ms, some watermelon, and I really can't remember anything else. I had a good supply of Gu and even a Honey Stinger in my pack, but all I ate of my own stuff was one packet of Sports Beans (I believe in the 21-26 mile section), and a few Mike & Ike's from a ziplock baggie (that was near the end of the run...I didn't eat them all, but did finish them off later in the day after I finished).

By about halfway through, the trail had become much less technical and much more easy running through the woods. Of course, I was getting tired by then so it didn't seem all that easy. The most interesting views were of the river, from bridges, so I didn't really take any in the woodsy sections.

Somewhere along the way, maybe around 13 miles or so, I started thinking about going to the bathroom (not desperately, just thinking). At the 16 mile aid station I asked if there were any porta potties anywhere along the route. That's not as stupid as it sounds; even driving up to Carmen Reservoir I saw a potty along the road and I thought we might pass through some camping areas that had some. The answer, however, was no.

So it was going to be go in the woods, because I knew I couldn't last eight hours without a stop. For the next couple miles I kept an eye out for a good spot. Portions of the trail were narrow, with a drop from the side, and obviously no way I could safely get off the trail. Finally I was approaching a bridge with a lot of trees and stumps around, so I decided to go a ways off the trail and squat behind some trees. As I did so, I saw runners pass by, but I figured they were concentrating on the bridge ahead and probably didn't see me. And if they did...I don't care.

I would have thought that this one stop more than halfway through would have been enough, but apparently I was hydrating well because I had to go again about ten miles later. This time I found a stump pretty easily and there was no one else around to be seen. Ah, relief.
When I got to 26 miles and a little beyond, I was past the longest distance I had ever run (which would be a marathon plus another mile or so). I had long since passed the longest duration of time I had run (about 5.5 hours). I felt...okay. I think by now it might be a little like childbirth, in that the pain that I felt at the time has faded from my mind in the excitement of finishing, but I know that I wasn't suffering desperately.

I wanted to be done, no question about that. But as for actual knees had stopped hurting from the fall. Somewhere along the way I had felt like I was getting blisters on my feet, but that dissipated. (I did get one blister, but not in the spots that had been sore.) I did start to feel tired and achy in my entire body, not just my legs, but actually I felt less so than I had in the last miles of the Tunnel Marathon, when my back was really aching.

I did start walking a little more, when the trail went uphill (even if it wasn't a steep hill) or just as a little break.  I contemplated trying a formal walk/run pattern, but whenever I walked I didn't really want to keep doing it for even a full minute, necessarily (unless it was uphill). For a while there was a young woman ahead of me who was running faster than me, so she would pull ahead, but then she would walk and I would catch up...this kept up for a while, and there was a portion of time when I was running at my sluggish pace and she was walking and it seemed like the distance between us still remained constant. But eventually I did pass her and, though I expected her to catch up again, she didn't. (Although I did see her at the final aid station at 29 miles, but I took off from there as she and a couple others arrived, and I never did see them again before the finish.)

I had been running the whole way without using headphones and music, which is big for me. In the beginning I decided to keep them out for a while and see how it went. The river was really noisy so that helped a little with drowning out the sound of my breath and footsteps. Additionally, the trail was so tricky, even in the beginning, that I felt like I had to focus all my attention on it, and even the slight distraction of music might make me trip. For a while I had a couple lines of Born to Run (the song) running through my head, but eventually that went away too.

After the 26 mile aid station I decided to go ahead and put on my music. The trail was pretty easy by then, and I really wanted to do something to give myself a kick of energy. (Besides the shot of Mountain Dew at the aid station, which was the BEST.THING.EVER.) I do think it helped, because after a couple of miles I pretty much stopped doing any walking, and after mile 29 I really picked up the pace to the finish. ("Picked up the pace" means a 12-13 minute mile pace...hardly burning up the ground, but fast for me on the trails.)

I took the picture below at 2:00, and it was the last one I took during the run. At that point I was probably about three miles from the finish!
There was a mini-aid station at 29 miles, where I slurped some water and took off for the finish. At that point my Garmin had started flashing low battery. I had not really expected it to last the whole way, so I had my old Garmin with the broken wrist band charged up in my pack to take over, had this one died after six hours or so. I was pretty impressed that it actually lasted over 8 hours! I had used a tip to reset the battery* so it had a longer life, and I guess it worked. I was at 30.25 miles when it stopped, and obviously I didn't bother to get out the spare.

Soon after I saw a guy who told me, 800 yards to the finish! I "sprinted" off, went up a little hill, and there it was!

We received a special finisher's hat at the finish line. I was feeling good, happy to be done, and just happy!

Here I might not look quite so happy....

During the morning while I was running, Rod and my parents went out to breakfast and then he took them on a scenic tour. Here are my parents with the rowboats at Clear Lake. I was somewhere along the perimeter of Clear Lake at the time.

Then they went up to see the lava fields near McKenzie Pass.  The Sisters peaks are in the background.
After I finished we drove to Belknap Resort and took a dip in the hot springs pool. There's Rod and I in the one wants to see a close-up.
After our soak/swim, we walked a few steps across (another) bridge to view the lodge and pool from the river.
My parents on the bridge.
The McKenzie River. Again.
It's a little hard to see, but this is the hot spring where the pool water comes from.
While I had been running in the wild, my parents and Rod learned some other big news--Dish network reached an agreement with the Pac12 and would air the Ducks game! We listened on the radio in the car, then went back to the cabin to watch the rest of the game and rest.

Later we went to Takoda's for dinner. I guessed that at least one person at every table there had run MRTR.
Still happy to be done!
I had a delicious burger with mushrooms and blue cheese. I stole a few yummy fries from my mom...why didn't I opt for my own fries? Must have been delirious.
I didn't take many pictures of the cabin (I think my mom has some, though), but this is the cool view from the upstairs loft. That is the river outside and a few people in Adirondack chairs.
A few final thoughts...I didn't really mention the heat, because it wasn't an issue at all. I think the temperature got into the low 80s by afternoon, but that was about ten degrees cooler than the day before, and it was much cooler in the woods. It didn't bother me at all.

My final time was 8 hours 13 minutes. Yes, slow....but that's the way I roll. It probably would have been a little less without the pictures--maybe under 8 hours--but this may well have been a once in a lifetime experience and I don't begrudge a little time taken to commemorate it. I had estimated that it would take me 8 hours to do it. I didn't set my sights high!

Speaking of once in a lifetime...I don't know that I intend to do another 50K. This was a special one that I really wanted to do. The area has special meaning to Rod (he has family history here), and it is so incredibly scenic, along the course and everywhere. Many of the other 50Ks I know of are loops of a shorter course and I have no real desire to do that, just to get in the distance. Plus the training was a little virtually consumed my summer. (I plan to write a separate post on training for a 50K.) There are too many marathons (and half marathons) that I would like to do, to devote another training cycle to running a 50K trail run. (In future, I might do trail runs, but shorter, like half marathon or maybe up to 30K.)

There are some more nice pictures on my parents' camera, but I am too impatient to wait to add them. I might do a little addendum later. There is a good one of me at the beginning of the run, and some nice pictures from their sightseeing as well. I am so lucky that the race photographer posted pictures on facebook just before I finished this!

If you do want to do a 50K someday, and would like to travel to a lovely part of Oregon, I highly recommend the McKenzie River Trail Run. It is a little tricky to get into (there's a lottery), so check out the website for details!

*How to reset the battery on your Garmin 405: Charge battery to full power. Turn on Garmin and let it run until battery is fully drained. Recharge to full power plus an extra hour. I got eight hours of battery life out of mine after doing this!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The last few weeks (pre-50K)

I've started several blog posts since my last one (dog bite weekend), but they have failed for various reasons--e.g. Forgot to save (that was discouraging) and lack of time (working is so time consuming!).

A few bullet points of catch-up...

*After a couple days of recovery from The Incident, I was back on track with two runs on Wednesday and Thursday and a couple of medium long runs the weekend of August 11-12. Saturday - 15.21 miles in town, Sunday - 11.25 miles in town, met my parents at Starbucks and went out to their house to watch the Men's Olympic Marathon on tape.

*The Men's Marathon rocked! It was also great fast-forwarding through the made for a very efficient use of time. LOVE Meb!

*The week of August 13-19 was my peak week (EVER!) and also my birthday week. Monday - 7.51 miles easy. Wednesday - 7.75 miles with 7 x 800. Thursday - 8.3 miles, and I can't remember if any were at approximate marathon pace. Saturday - 23.1 miles! Then I walked around an art show for about a mile, met my parents for lunch, then walked around some more and walked home for a total of 3.25 miles walking (total 26.35 miles on my feet = my Birthday Marathon). This was also a HOT day and I think I started around 6 a.m.

*Sunday, August 19 was my birthday. I celebrated at the Mud and Chocolate Half Marathon Trail Run. If the Half Marathon really was 13.1 miles (my Garmin measured a little short, but it was rather heavily wooded on the trails), then I ran a total of 14.7 miles with my warm-up and a little extra after. (Then I had a real birthday party at my parents' later, with lobster rolls and my favorite apple cake.)

*Total mileage for peak week 61.36 miles!

*Then I went into three weeks of taper. The first one was really just a typical cutback week...Tuesday - 6.27 miles easy, Wednesday 7.60 miles with five tempo-ish, Thursday 8.15 miles with 6 at sort of marathon pace (~10 minute). Saturday 12.75 miles, Sunday 10 miles in under 100 minutes (thanks to an intentionally fast mile 3 to "fix" my average pace). Total for that week 45.78 miles, which just happens to be 25% less than peak week. Sunday afternoon we went for a 15 mile bike ride through town and on the Centennial Trail (stopping for burgers at Cedarcrest on the way home).

*August 27-September 2 I knocked it down another 25% to 30.55 for the week. (There may be a flaw in my math but you get the idea.) This was also the first week all summer (except for when I did the Tunnel Marathon) where I ran only on one day (Saturday).

*I ran on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, all easy miles except for 8 x 800 on Wednesday.

*My total mileage for August - 205.34.

*My one weekend run was 9.32 miles on Saturday before Rod and I left for a weekend in Waterville. I ran in town and in the first mile I tripped on the sidewalk and fell hard on my knees. Luckily I was wearing capris so my knees didn't get too bloody, just a little fabric burn which did become scabs later in the week. The bruising was pretty painful, but I did plug on and managed to finish 15K. (Once upon a time I had 10 miles on my schedule but that was before I had travel plans for the day...I am just impressed at myself (a little) for getting up at 6 a.m. on Saturday to do the run early.)

*We left at about 9 to drive over east. Later in the afternoon we rode our mountain bikes around the hilly gravel roads at Rimrock, about 5.75 miles. We had a bit of an adventure (if you can call it that) in Waterville where we learned that our favorite restaurant was closed for a private party, and the few other places were closed for the Labor Day weekend! We were looking desperately at food options in the tiny market, when we found out that the Harvest House would let us come eat there anyway (despite the private party). We had really delicious steaks with gorgonzola sauce, and went back on Sunday for both lunch and dinner.

*On Monday morning I had a really nice run around Waterville. I have worked out a great loop route from Waterville, toward Badger Mountain Ski Hill, and back into Waterville on a different road. I think it would be about 10 miles if I went all the way to the ski hill, but I've never had time for that. This time I did the minimum distance to complete a loop, which turned out to be 7.5 miles. It was a beautiful day with the early morning sun lighting up the wheat fields.

*On Wednesday I did my last run before McKenzie, 6.25 miles with 4 x 400 on the track. Obviously quarter-mile speed work was absolutely unnecessary for a long, slow, trail run, but I wanted to give my legs one last reminder that they could run a little bit fast, in anticipation of trying to get some speed back after the 50K experiment was done!

Well, that's it, pretty much my whole month of August through the beginning of September. Next up, McKenzie River Trail Run. (Spoiler alert - I made it!)

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