Archive | August 2013

What’s Next?

I just completed my 2nd trail half marathon for the season, my fourth race of the season.  I’ve reached the, “What’s next?” point in my season.  Originally, I thought I wanted to run a 3rd trail half marathon.  At this moment, I’m feeling like I don’t want to run fast, I just want to run.  I want to run for a long time.  So, I’ve changed my mind.  I’ve set a new goal.

2013 dream

I’m going to start training for my next event immediately, as in, this week.  There isn’t much time left, 10 weeks to be exact.  Even though there’s not much time, I think I’ll be fine!  When making this decision, I also decided that I’m not going to “race” this run.  I’m going to run it hard, but it’s going to be a bridge to the next event.  It will be nice to run without the pressure of wanting to run fast.  I’m going to approach it as a long run on a well supported course.  And, of course, I’m gonna enjoy it!

Once again, I will be entering into new territory.  I will be challenging myself with a new distance. I have never competed in a trail event of this distance.  I’m looking forward to actually stopping and taking some of the yummy snacks off of the table at an aide station.

So what is this event you ask?  It’s a 35k (~22mi) on the trails of Folsom.  I have run 2 races put on by this company and both were great events.  I can only hope for the same.

http://www.insidetrail.com/ai1ec_event/folsom-lake-trail-run-fall/

As in any event, there will be unknowns.  I’m wondering what Mother Nature has planned for this November.  Also, I’m hoping that I can figure out what is making me bonk…..I’m hoping it’s as simple as a lack of electrolytes!  Lastly, I’m doing everything (cross training, pre and post stretching, core exercises, massages to loosen up tight areas, consulting my PT, etc.)  I can to keep my body healthy.  I just need my body to cooperate…….no injuries!!!

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This entry was posted on August 27, 2013. 1 Comment

Run on the Sly Race Report

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Two weeks before the race I went up to the Run on the Sly course for a 12 mile run.  Unfortunately, I chose to run an out and back trail instead of a loop.  This meant I only ran the first 6 miles of the course thinking that I would know most of the course for race day.  I should have run the whole thing.

The 12 mile run was the last long run before my race.  I made sure to use the next 2 weeks to taper.  During my taper phase, I still worked out, but my mileage was reduced.  My last workout was a 1 mile, stretch the legs out jog the day before the race.  The reason I taper is so that I feel completely rested for race day both physically and mentally.

I woke up at 5:45 to get ready for the race.  I had laid everything out the night before.  I packed my bag with a towel for after the race and a banana in case I got hungry before the race.  On the way out, I grabbed a sweatshirt since the mornings can be a little cool and I knew the temperature would be a bit cooler at the race’s elevation.  By 6:30, I had eaten breakfast, dressed and I was out the door.  I had about a 45 minute drive to where I would catch the shuttle that would then drop me off at the start area.

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I don’t get out to see the sunrise very often.

Arriving at the start, I was happy to actually be shivering a bit.  I knew the cool air wouldn’t last with a predicted 100+ degree day.  I was disappointed to see and smell the smoky air from a nearby fire.  I wondered if the air quality would affect my run.   I checked out the outhouses a few times and started my 1 mile warm up.  I wanted my hamstrings to be ready for the steep .5 mile climb that started the race.

The half marathoners and 12kers started together.  I spent a few minutes checking out everyone’s bib color.  Yes, I like to know who is running what and who is going to be my competitor, or at least guess.  That way when a 12ker goes by me, I don’t have to worry.  I saw a familiar face and knew that she was going to give me a run for my money.  The countdown began and I was ready.  Off we went.

The first few miles were pretty uneventful.  I took the .5 mile climb slow and steady.  I didn’t want to use too much energy.  The trail was a bit dusty and I was grateful that the top runners took off fast and left a few of us trailing behind, but not breathing their dust.

2013 run on the sly pic 1

By mile 2, I knew that there were three women in front of me:  1 12ker, 1 half marathoner and 1 unknown.  I kept thinking, “Where are the rest of the women?  Did I start out too fast?  Do they know something that I don’t know about this trail?”  I was a little concerned and tried hard to shake it from my mind.

2013 Run on the Sly - elevation

As you can see, we started climbing again at mile 3.  It was a tough climb and I knew that I would use part of it to fuel.  At 30 minutes I power walked for just enough time to use a gel and drink some water.  Before too long, I was at the top of the first big climb and the first aid station.  I didn’t need to stop for anything, so I just kept on going.  At this point, I passed one of the gals.  I spoke encouraging words to her and went on my way.

By the beginning of the descent I could feel hear footsteps along side of me.  “Please be a guy….” Is what I was thinking.  No luck!  It was another woman.  “Darn!”  She started talking to me and I was thinking, “I don’t usually talk when I race.”  But then I erased that thought and started talking with her.  She was super nice and I was glad that we chatted. I learned that she was clearly much stronger of an athlete than I was.  We passed by the second aid station and were told that we were the 2nd and 3rd woman.

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We hit the bottom of the descent and ran through a pocket of cool air.  I enjoyed the flat terrain for the few minutes before the next hill.  We hit that hill and I saw my competitor take off and widen the gap between us (She ended up winning).  Instantly, my calves started to cramp and became rock hard.  I decided to take a walking break.

I tried to run again and was only able to jog a few minutes before needing another walking break.  I walked, jogged for the next mile.  This was a big climb and I had to work hard.  Another gal passed me.  “Darn!”  I watched her run up the hill like it was nothing before she disappeared.  I wished I had that energy.  I’m not sure what happened.  I wondered if I bonked.  Am I out of energy?  I’m only 11 miles into a 13.9 mile race.

It flattened out at the top of the climb.  Oh, good!  Once again I heard someone behind me.  She called out, “How are you doing?”  I told her that I was having a hard time.  As she ran along side of me, I looked over and saw the familiar face from the start.  I asked her if she was Mo Bartley.  Sure enough she was!  I explained that a few weeks ago my husband met her out on an Auburn Trail.  She was leading a running group.  My husband was impressed by her and told me to look her up.  I had actually already done that since I raced against her in a different race and thought I needed to know who she was.  Mind you, she is an awesome, amazing athlete and at 58 years old, she can still kick my butt!  She ran with me and we had a nice chat.  When we hit a steep downhill, she was off.

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After the race, I asked Mo if she’d take a pic with me.  She is such an inspiration!

I was so glad to be done with the climbing!  That second hill was part of the course that I missed when I previewed it.  I knew it was there based on the elevation map, but I didn’t know what it was like.  For the record, it was a very long climb!  I still had a few miles to go, but they weren’t too tough.  I dug deep and I was able to get to the last .5 mile where I coasted down the hill that we had originally climbed!

2013 run on the sly pic 2

That was a tough race!  We climbed a lot……..1800 ft.  I worked hard and finished hard.  I’m glad I met and chatted with 2 great runners.

2013 run on the sly - elevation in ft.

Yep!  1800 feet of climbing!!!!

 I can’t say I felt great the whole race, but I can’t complain about the results of the race.

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I ended up being 20th overall, 5th woman, and 2nd in my age group.

I’m still trying to figure out why I cramped and felt like I was out of steam.  I think it’s time to start experimenting with electrolytes and/or salt tablets.

Do you use electrolytes and/or salt tablets?  In what form (liquid, tablets, gels)?

UPDATE:

2013 Run on the sly age group top 20 revised

The age groups were adjusted since race day.  The 10 year age groups were split into 2 five year age groups.  This meant places were reassigned.  I ended up being 1st female in the 40-45 age group!  Woo hoo!!!!!

Pre-Race Dinner and Race Day Nutrition

It’s a few days before my race and I’m starting to plan my nutrition for the morning of the race and during the race.  That’s the easy part for me.  I will have eggs and oatmeal for breakfast about 2.5 hours before the race.  Then about an hour before the race I will have ½ a banana if I am hungry.  I will sip on water from the time I get up.  It’s going to be a hot day, but I also have to keep in mind that I have a really, really small bladder and I get nervous before the race (TMI?  Sorry).

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During the race I will use my gel of choice, vanilla flavored Hammer Gels.  Since I will be carrying my own water and my own gels, I don’t have to rely on the aid stations (it will be nice knowing that there will be 4 water stations on this hot day).  I will be able to fuel on my own schedule.  For a road half marathon I use 3 gels.  I tend to carry a 4th one just in case.  I’m still getting used to the differences between road and trail half marathons.  I do know that trail half marathons take me quite a bit longer.    So, I’m planning to use the first gel at 45 minutes and then another one every 30 to 40 minutes after.  Since this half is actually 13.9 miles and pretty hilly, I will most likely need the 4th gel.

2013 rice and beans pic

The part of my nutrition plan that is difficult for me is dinner the night before the race.  I like to eat at home since I have a sensitive stomach.  Eating in a restaurant can be tricky for me.  The question becomes what to eat the night before a race?  Even with all the racing that I have done, I still don’t have a favorite pre-race dinner.  I will most likely go with rice and beans in corn tortillas with shrimp mixed in.  Or, I will choose a rice pasta dinner with turkey meatballs.  I tend to cut back on the fruit and veggies that night.  However, I can’t skip them entirely.

What is your favorite pre-race dinner?

Suggestions?

Time to Taper…….

The other day I announced on Facebook that I was officially on taper for my upcoming race.  And, so I am.  However, I’d like to clarify what that means.

I’ve been training for this half marathon for several weeks.  I’ve put in both time and hard work.  I’m excited to go run and exert as much energy as I have on that morning.  What’s the best way to be able to do that?  For me, a good taper will guarantee that I am feeling ready to race.  If I taper properly, I feel like a penned up colt ready to break through the fence and run.  Ok, a little dramatic, but that’s the feeling I’m going for.

For this half marathon, my taper actually began earlier than when I announced it.  I began to taper 2 weeks before the race by decreasing my weekly mileage.  This time around I’m using a plan that helps me know how to adjust my workouts to make sure I am tapering.  By the end of this week, I’m gonna feel lazy, I mean well rested.

Honestly, sometimes I have a hard time with tapering.  I get used to a certain amount of mileage/workouts each week, and I crave them.  While tapering for a marathon or half ironman, I tend to get a bit antsy.  I do follow the plan because I know that there are definite benefits.

This time, my taper couldn’t have fallen on a better week.  My kids start school this week and I know that I will be distracted with our schedule changes.  I’m hoping that helps me with the reduced exercise level.

Typically during the taper week I spend some time on visualizing what I want the race to be, I study the race course (this year I’m paying close attention to the elevation gains!), I check out results from last year,  etc.

So, why do I taper?  Well, it’s good for me.  It allows my body the chance to rest and recovery a bit which will make me feel refreshed for race day.  In addition, it reduces my chance for injury.

Do you taper for your races?  Do you like taper weeks?

Here are a few articles if you want to read more about tapering:

This first one is good since it addresses tapering for the different distances, starting with a 5k.

http://beta.active.com/running/articles/how-to-taper-for-your-road-race

http://running.about.com/od/distancerunningtips/a/howtotaper.htm

 

 

 

 

The Color Run……….

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This was truly one of my favorite runs ever!!!!!!  Beware, there are lots of photos.  It may just make you want to sign up for the next Color Run.

One of the reasons it was such a fun run is because I got to enjoy it with my daughter.  Here we are before the run, nice and clean.  We didn’t know what to expect other than we weren’t going to look like this at the end.

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We had to wait in the crowd just to start the run.  The fun began here as people started opening their bags of color.  I ended up with a little yellow and Natalia ended up with some blue on her forehead.

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There’s the start line.  It took awhile, but we weren’t in any rush.  And, the music helped the crowd get pumped up.

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We jogged and walked the best we could for the first moments of the run.  It was crowded, but everyone was in good spirits and it’s not a race, so no one seemed to mind how crowded it was.  Here we are with just a few of our friends.

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Before long we came to the first color zone.  This is what we had been waiting for.  We wanted to experience “orange.”

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Apparently, Natalia wanted to be orange all over.

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Once again we were on our way.  We jogged and we walked and we laughed and we talked.  Before long, we were at the blue zone.  This gives you an idea of what each color zone is like.  It’s very colorful, chaotic and incredibly fun!

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Here are a few pictures after a few color zones.

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Even the local police who were keeping everyone safe had fun.  He probably had more fun than he was supposed to.

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Before long, we realized we had visited all the color zones and the fun was going to come to an end.  Or at least that’s what we thought when we saw the finish line.  However, we didn’t know what we were going to experience next.

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Yep, we were quite colorful!20130803_103651

And then, we came upon the “after party.”  Holy cow!  Who needs to pay extra for a concert?!  This entertainment was so fun.  The crowd was dancing and singing and went crazy for the free handouts.  And, there was time for more coloring.20130803_105445

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When we had to leave, we looked at each other and laughed.  We had a great morning and I had one happy little girl!

20130803_105734We would love to return next year for more fun.  However, we will bring the boys along with us!  What a great way to spend the morning.  We had fun and helped out a great charity (Girls on the Run) at the same time.

Have you ever participated in a Color Run?

This entry was posted on August 5, 2013. 2 Comments