Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I'm disappointed that I am closing out this year without completing a 100 miler. I've been rather injury prone in 2011, but still managed to complete 8 events of marathon distance or further! And I'll continue chasing my dream and will run a 100 mile ultramarathon in 2012. This is my goal and resolution for the year (well, that and marrying my fiance B at some point). :)
Last week was not a good week. I was grieving the death of a dear friend, haven't done much running since my disappointing last race event, my hip still hurts, I feel like perhaps I'm coming down with a cold, have been holiday overeating, and I ended up with my own gift plopped back in my lap at a "Dirty Santa" party gift exchange!
Small favors/reframing: final results for the One Epic Run are posted. My sloth-paced and meager 32.56 miles put me smack dab in the middle of the pack, finishing as # 24 out of 51 participants, and 6th out of 18 female runners. lol..does sound a bit better that way. ultrasignup.com/results_event.aspx?d
Went walking yesterday (4 miles total; 1.5 miles at Wilson Morgan Park and 2.5 miles later at Delano Park).
I'm obsessing a bit about the pain in my hip; it's my right leg, outside top of the thigh, at the head of femur, below the pelvis (anterior hip flexors?) There is pain when walking, running, changing position while in bed and even while sitting still; it's like a low level "hot" pain present all the time that flares with use. However, it also sometimes seem to lessen when I stretch and do work out, but then makes itself known if I try to go too far, too fast or do too many hills. First noticed it in early November after sweeping trails at Pinhoti (if I actually tore or injured soemthing, that would be where and when it happened, with the repetitive movement of bending and scooping up markers while running up and down trails); was "there" but wasn't a problem at the Flying Monkey Marathon a few weeks later, but has been recurring and more persistent since then.
This symptom is reported as quite common in runners who overpronate (and overtrain). The muscles around the pelvis that should stabilise the hip during the landing phase of your running i.e. the gluteal muscles tend to be weaker and less active. This results in added stress on the hip flexors, abductors and internal rotator. Main areas of strength training to concentrate on are the abdominals (upper and lower, internal and transverse), hip abductors/adductors, glutes (maximus, medius, and minimus), erector spinae, and calf muscles (gastrocnemius, soleus). Adequate strengthening of the gluteal muscles in conjunction with good foot control should eliminate symptoms. (So, B has been having me work on the proper muscles in the gym)
Also need to lose weight (the 20-30 lbs I've post-menopause gradually gained over the last year and half). Extra weight is hard on the joints too, as well as no doubt contibuting to my slowing pace over longer distances. I've been complaining (whining) about this for a long time now, and have start-stopped/lost-gained the same 5-10 lbs a couple of times over, but need a real effort and real results.
I need to get my groove back, get in shape, and train strong and well to be able to do so. I've also realized/accepted that it isn't going to happen on any sort off technical trail event.
Am thinking my best 2012 event options (all multiple loop courses, mostly paths not trails, all nontechnical, over-24 hour timed events) are:
Philadelphia 100 Endurance Run in April 7-8. 36 hour time limit. 8.6 mile course,multi-use path, streetlights (a bit soon?)
Three Days At The Fair 24-48-72, NJ May 13-15 .85 mile lit loop (But it's New Jersey, which doesn't particularly excite me as a vacation destination?) sites.google.com/site/xxctrailseries
Juniperwoods Ranch, AZ 24-48 hour 1 mile loop course (date TBD, sometime in May or June) www.aravaiparunning.com (however..I have rollover registrations already for a couple races in this time frame, Strolling Jim 40 miler and Black Mountain Monster 24 hr.)
Silverton Colorado 48 hour (Sept 3-5) 1 mile loop, will need night lighting (but I like the timing and locale of this one) www.silvertonspecialevents.co
Across The Years, Glendale AZ 48 hour; 1 mile lit gravel path course(Dec-Jan/New Years) www.aravaiparunning.com/acros
Lol...or there is this casting call for a "reality" tv show to train for and run a 100 mile ultra in Jackson Hole WY:
First things first:
work on losing weight
get over hip
Focus on (doing well by and at) Delano 12 Hour in March 10 (12 weeks out)? That should be a good hopefully 50+ mile effort and have me well on my way to 100.
Am registered for 2 local 50k's before then...at New Year's and the Mountain Mist Trail Run in late Jan. At the moment, I am unsure if I will actually start or do either of them. The Recover from the Holidays 50K is only two weeks away; can my hip be ok/better enough by then? I do like the idea of finishing out the year with one more ultra, but need to think about things in the long term. Also on my mind, I don't think I'm going to get in the trail work I need to ready for the MM; I've missed cut off times in this race the last two years--I'm afraid I'd just be setting myself up for the same again? Maybe it would be better karma to bow out early, my spot in the MM race could be used by another wait-listed runner? Maybe I could be ready for a decent run at the Black Warrior 50K in Feb?
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The Silver Lining:
Because I only ran for 12 hours instead of 24 at the One Epic Run this weekend, B & I got home on Sunday and I wasn't dead tired and not moving the next day. On Monday, we went shopping and I found the PERFECT (unexpected, just right, only one, full of lovely tradition and sentiment) gift for my grandson Desmond's first Christmas!
And, btw, went to the gym on Monday too, ran 6.2 miles (at an actual running pace) on the treadmill and then lifted weights. :) Tuesday was a 2 mile walk at lunch, more of a mental than physical thing.
A couple less than epic race pics. :) *sigh* I have got to keep being serious about losing some weight; no wonder I'm so slow.
I am also rethinking my planned participation in the 2012 Mountain Mist trail run January 28. I just haven't been doing very well at trails recently; I haven't been sucessful yet at losing weight or pickingup any speed, and I've already timed out two years in a row at the MM. Do I really want to just do that again?
I'm also registered for the Recover from the Holidays 50K the end of this month. Technically, it's a trail too, but nontechnical and just around the local golf course. I'm thinking to go do this one (to finish up the year) see what kind of time I can manage there, and then decide about the MM which would be 4 weeks later.
Am fighting feeling discouraged, but just have to keep on keeping on.
Monday, December 12, 2011
One Epic Run, Dec 10,2011 at Croft State Park, Spartanburg SC resulted in me finishing another trail ultra 50K distance.
And there were other "EPIC" things about this weekend's event as well:
--seeing/meeting running friends. Big shout outs to Terri P, Terri H, and top trail girls Jameelah and Jenn!!
--enjoying the scenic 2.96 mile trail at Croft State Park; it really was very pretty. (In another mood, I could have quite happily run out there all day-oh, wait, I DID!) It wasn't a technical trail, but was narrow watch out for roots and rocks under the leaves single track, with no major elevation but surprisingly numerous smaller ups and downs and curves. So, not technical, but not trivial either.
--For a first year event, it was very well organized and the RD and all the volunteers were great. And the course was well enough marked so even the likes of I could follow it without getting lost.
(only suggestions I can think of for improvement are: 1) begin the race earlier in the morning, say 7 or 8 am instead of the latish 10 o'clock, to start off with a couple of hours more daylight running. 2) have a port-a-pottie down by the Aid station on the road or make the route loop up by the park restrooms; it was just far enough off course to be annoying. Oh, and while we are dreaming of all possible creature comforts, 3) schedule the race earlier in the year when it it isn't quite so see-your-breath cold at night.
--Back to the good stuff, there was having my fiance B. there. As always he was the best and most supportive crew possible. When I got discouraged after dark, he even walked one lap of the course with me, which is our 3 mile "PR" for the most distance we've ever done together. (he's a gym rat by choice and not a runner)
That was the only PR of the event. Overall, my own performance left me rather disappointed. I had planned on going as much of the entire 24 hours as I could, but "could" turned out to only be 12 hours. And I left the course after finishing 11 laps, or 32.5 miles. (please dear readers, do not figure out my overall snail pace per mile and laugh at me.)
I had planned on running conservatively, but I was as slow as molasses in January (or December as the case may be).. and I just kept getting slower with each lap. I think it was only maybe my first 4 laps that could be called any sort of jog/run pace.
Early on, my hip started hurting during some hill climbing moves, which given the nature of the trail course became a recurring and then persistent pain.
Then it got dark, and well, it was like someone turned the lights out (metaphorically as well as actually). I had my headlamp and flashlights, but my vision and old lady reflexes are lousy regardless and I am just not comfortable on trails at night. While it had been perfectly lovely cool weather running during the day, it got colder quickly after nightfall, and I wasn't moving fast enough to really stay warm. Also, I hadn't minded being solitary during much of the day and just seeing other runners as they passed me, bit I was not happy being alone in the dark. And so felt increasingly skittish and stressed.
I gutted out four laps after dark, to finish up a 50K distance, and then logged off course.
I was cold, cranky, achy and my hip continued to hurt. I was horror stricken it had taken me 12 hours to do a 50K. (and part of me wants to quote race stats to prove I am capable and have done much better distances and times). I tried resting for about an hour, and then got up and walked around attempting unsuccessfully to find any motivation. I just absolutely had no desire, and actually felt an uncomfortable sort of sick dread at the thought, to go back out for more laps or hours of navigating trails in the darkness.
Sure, I can hear the little voices saying "Suck it up, Buttercup." and whispering "Scaredycat afraid of the dark", "wuss" and "quitter". But, like I said, the lights were out and the runner wasn't home. It wasn't fun any more.
fyi, I had a similar nighttime experience back in September at the Georgia Jewel 50 miler, which was worse because the trail was much more technical and taxing,but was also better because I had Terri Hayes' wonderful company all through the night there! Also, being an out and back course, I didn't have much choice but to keep moving.
If I were younger and sturdier, or if the weather had been a bit warmer for camping, I might have thought about staying, sleeping for several hours, getting up and back on the trail again at dawn. But, I opted for enough is enough and the comfort of a hotel bed back in town. On the bright side, this way B and I got home back to Alabama at a decent time on Sunday, and I have Monday off to regroup with a bit more leisure as well. Looking for additional silver linings, I hadn't been moving fast or far enough to get any blisters, and (except for the dodgy hip) I'm not feeling too bad off bodywise.
It may be, as my boyfriend said that "I like trails, but they don't like me." And I may be happier sticking to trail events I can finish in daylight, and overnights that are on lighted nontrail courses.
So, my event wasn't really all that "Epic", but it wasn't all bad and certainly has some lessons for me. I'm not giving up on my dream of running a 100 miler sometime next year, but it's definitely going to take some thought, changes and effort to get there. So, I'm feeling a bit discouraged, down but not out; I know there will be other days and other races, and maybe even this one again next year.
Friday, December 09, 2011
Good grief... you'd think I was packing for a months' long expedition to the South (or North) Pole instead of a running weekend to South Carolina. I tend to be the obsessive "I MIGHT need this" sort of traveler. Lol..four pairs of running shoes and everything but the kitchen sink!
Dana, since you asked... This event is taking place at Croft State Park near Spartanburg, SC. The course is a three mile trail loop. Not technical and no real elevation issues. (I'm hoping it's somewhat similar to, say, the South Plateau Loop trail up at Monte Sano.) I do wonder how muddy it might be... repeated circuits by lots of feet can really churn up a mucky mess.
Speaking of messes, I have to go clean the trash out of my car before we can leave.
Have a good weekend everyone!
Thursday, December 08, 2011
I'm alternating between being psyched up for and psyched out about participating this weekend in the One Epic Run/24 Hour in Spartanburg South Carolina.
The event website says "it's all about having FUN". And "Have Fun" is my coach/crew/fiance B's main mantra as well! So, we'll go with that. :)
Weather has been cold and rainy this week; good for a pre-race taper and lots of rest anyway (and just a couple of stretch and walk miles). Still might be a bit coolish overnight, but at least it looks like the rain/snow/sleet is done with. Temps are forecast to be between 29/low and 55/high degrees.
This will be my second 24 hour event. In my first, I logged 77 miles last year at the Freedom Park (North Carolina) New Year's Run. Yeah, I'm wishing and hoping to able to set a new mileage PR, but will be happy just to keep moving. Not quite sure how my level of training compares to where I was a year ago? (some aspects worse, some better, and its all moot at this point-- this race will be what it will be.)
Am really, really, really going to try to not go out fast and just find a slower comfortable steady pace for myself and see how long I can hold onto it.
Looking at the participant's list, I'm the second oldest female runner in the 24 hour division. The oldest is my friend Terri Hayes, at 68 years old.
I was feeling rather like a guilty spendthrift when I bought 68$ worth of SOCKS yesterday (2 pairs of wool injinji toe socks and a set of neon pink Zensah calf sleeves), but got an Emplolyee of the Month bonus and a NICE bit of unexpected gift cash from the Friends of the Library when I got to work today! So, I feel better about the expenditures.
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