Sunday, March 12, 2017

St Patrick's Day 4-Miler Race Recap (ERRS #2)

Last weekend's one mile race was bitter cold.  Monday and Tuesday of this past week, Hill Dynamo and I were running in shorts and tee's and then the temps took a nose dive again. By the time the race came around yesterday it was back into the single digits again.

Friday night I couldn't get off the toilet. My stomach was a mess. I know it wasn't race anxiety because I've had plenty of that before and I wasn't anxious about this race. This was another race I was committed to only because of the ERRS. I woke Saturday hoping my body was emptied out but nope and I was only able to stomach half my morning smoothie.  I spent the rest of the morning trying not to throw up.  We had to drop Tink off at the local University for her All County rehearsal and off to the packet pick up we went.

I drove part of the race course and the roads were covered with a slick layer of snow. Now I was a bit nervous, there was no way I was going to risk slipping and hurting myself. I hate regular sneakers, even more so after this race, but I get ahead of my story, and I did chose to wear my sneakers vs. my Vibrams since they keep my feet warmer and dryer.

We stopped at Dunkin Donuts for My Musician to get a coffee and Hill Dynamo texted me, "How are you feeling today?". I couldn't possible type all the bitching I needed to do so I FaceTimed her instead. I whined about the cold, the slippery roads and my stomach freaking out. Then I was telling her about my friend from my Fast Woman messenger group running 16 miles in this crap and it helped me to stop complaining.

Nothing like a little perspective. 

Cold, slippery morning. Part of the course from miles 3-4
We couldn't find parking in the church's parking lot so we parked across the street in a dentist's office. No one else was parked there yet so we thought we were being pretty smart getting that spot. Neither of us realized that the finish line was on that street!! It ended up being good for My Musician because he got to stay warm while waiting for me. I turned on my RoadID app so he could track where I was and know when to come to the finish line. The downside was we had to wait till the race was totally over to leave.

There was nice swag with this race. A very comfy long sleeve shirt and a very warm pair of gloves came in a really nice bag that I know I'll use a lot this year.

I hope they create a car sticker or magnet for this series

I was glad the bathroom line wasn't too long because I needed to get in there a few time. After last year's GI issues, and at the start of this year, I get very nervous about running when my stomach is messed up at all. I am thankful to report I got through the race without any issues!! 

^^ I have felt like this little girl
the last two races! 
We all stayed huddled in the gym of the church till the last minute. The race was pretty full for how cold it was. I hate to admit that if this wasn't part of the ERRS, I probably wouldn't have run it. But now that I'm committed to this series and I want that jacket. I had to SUIP, as my Sub30 FB running group would say. 

The wind didn't seem so bad at first but after the start we started to spread out and I could really feel it. I was ok until it would gust and then it felt like it was going to blow me over.  With my stomach upset, the cold and the slippery roads, I had decided not to warm up since I was just going to causally run this. I probably should have but I felt great right from start. I had on two long sleeve layers that go over the thumbs and a pair of gloves so I couldn't look at my pace every 2 seconds. I really felt good. The roads weren't as snow covered, there were well salted bare tracks but if you got off them it was pretty slippery so I was trying to be really careful and watch my steps. I kept evaluating my pace and how I felt. I know from past experience I can really book it in the first mile because I get swept up with the field. 

I did a self evaluation and concluded I was doing really good. Breathing was good, footing felt secure, muscles felt ok and stomach was staying put. 

Mile one. I dug through the layers to my watch to see my split. 


Crap. Was that too fast? I started to let my brain freak me out. I hadn't had any decent food since lunch on Friday. What if I don't have enough fuel to keep me going? What if I'm going to fast and slip? What if, what if, what if. 

How the hell do I shut my brain off?? In the past I'd turn up my music so I can't even hear my own thoughts but I didn't have music with me.  We turn the corner onto Riverside Drive and start to cross the river again. For a moment the bridge feels like a mountain and I think, here we go, this is where I'm going to lose it. For the life of me, I couldn't remember which street the race started on so I start to look for My Musician.  I see him about a block up, we wave and it gives me the kick I need to get my pace back and push my negative self talk away. 

I felt really strong and sure in my steps and pace. Wait, what was that? Something just hit my ankle. Maybe I kicked up some road salt. There is is again. I look down. UGH!!! My shoe's untied. 1.5 miles in and my shoe comes untied.  I'm just going to ignore it. It'll be fine. Ok so maybe not. Thankfully wisdom kicked in and said it'll be better to stop for a few seconds than to risk tripping. I made sure I wouldn't cut anyone off and veered to the curb to tie the shoe.  I went about a quarter mile father and it happened again. What the heck?!?! I don't like to pull the laces tight because I hate that feeling of the shoe pressing on the top of my foot. Twice in mile 2 I had to stop to tie my shoe. I ranked the laces down the second time. It bugged me for at least a mile more and then I forgot all about the pressure. 

9:43. I knew stopping would effect my pace but not nearly as bad as I had predicted. 

We hit mile 2 marker and turned onto Beethoven Street. I love this street. Not sure why. Maybe because all the downtown races go down this road and I feel like I really know it. Sometimes the incline of the road feels like a mountain and I could feel that today but I just dug in and tired to keep a consistent pace on the inclines.  

9:32. One more to go. 

I have a love/hate relationship with this area but no matter the weather there are always people out cheering on others for the races. I was actually surprised at the amount of people on the course cheering. I so appreciate them out there. I know they aren't there for me specifically but it's a great boost to hear people cheering. 
As we turn onto Chestnut Street the guy that had been behind me started to pass me. I wasn't having that so I started to really dig in. I could feel him pick it up too. Darn it!!  That first hill of the road got me. I just couldn't get the air in. He got by me but I refused to let him get too far away. I stayed on his heels the rest of the race. 

We turned onto Leroy Street and I knew the finish line was about a quarter mile away. I couldn't wait for it to be over. My lungs hurt, my stomach hurt and I was sweating like crazy and freezing at the same time. 

8:57.  Over all time: 37:39.  I was thrilled with my finish time. I had really planned and thought I'd run close to 10:00-10:15 average pace. 

I couldn't breath and started coughing so bad I thought I'd throw up. That's what the wonderful cold New York air always does to me. After training runs I have to keep moving slowly or walk for a bit to get the coughing under control. 

Once my body calmed down, My Musician and I stayed at the finish line cheering people on. It was fun to see Professor Math there. I knew she's a runner but didn't expect to recognize anyone on the course under all the layers of hats and scarves. I was surprised she knew who I was too under all my cold weather layers! 

We hung out in the gym for awhile because we were parked in.  Sometimes I don't know if I should embrace my Irish side or my German side more. In their own ways, both parts know how to have fun!  The Irish fun was in full swing for the post race party.  This is another race I'd really like to add to my yearly calendar.  Two of the Empire Races down, seven more to go....

I rarely drink but I enjoyed a few sips of dark Guinness beer afterwards. 

Flat Kirsten ready for a chilly 4 miler (almost always race with my Sub30 gear)
SmashRuns opinion on the cold 

The Belmar Parade Day Mile ~ Race Recap (ERRS #1)

Fun one mile race

This was a one mile race so not a lot of recap to offer for it.

The star of the day was the cold.  

I had every intention of running this race as hard as I could.  I had been having pain in my left glute and hamstring all week but I knew with a good warm up I'd be ok. Then these temps hit. We had been running in shorts and tee's the week before so I was not mentally prepared for the temps to bottom out.  My friend, Hill Dynamo and Superman were running the race and I decided to just have fun with them.

The wind was right in our face no matter what direction we were facing

I rode to the race with her and her family. My Musician and Tink stayed home, she had the flu. Hill Dynamo's hubs dropped us off at the finish line. The sun was out and it didn't feel too bad. That was until we got away from the shelter of the building where we parked.  The wind was so cold in our face.  In felt like it was blowing right through all my layers. 

I love this we were walking to the road to run a warmup to the start line, we were both trying to get GPS devises up and running. I was trying to be discreet with it. I'm a crazy runner with my own little quirks, rituals and superstitions. I am obsessive and like to have every step counted and credited.  
It was hysterical when I looked back at her and said, 
"We ready?" 
"Yep, just turning this on. Gotta get credit for the miles!" 
Perfect. It's why we run together, she is just as crazy and obsessive as me. 

Before the cold really hit us, we're all smiles.

Hill Dynamo running with Superman 

He was such a trooper in the cold. We let him set the pace for the warm up. That kid has some legs on him, he kept us moving, the whole mile, at a good pace.

The start line was by the library so we got to go inside, us the bathroom and stay a bit warmer.  I was sweaty from the warmup and didn't want to get over heated and it was so crowded in there that we decided to try outside instead. I hugged the building though to stay out of the wind. Superman was walking around enjoying the sights and sounds of the pre-race atmosphere.  The elite runners started the race before the main crowd. We got to see them off. I couldn't believe how little clothing they had on. I realize they are racing the mile at crazy fast speeds but I think I would have been frozen in place before the gun went off!

Before the race start

Superman, waiting for the race to finally get under way
Not a whole lot to say about the race. It's a straight shot up Main Street. The whole thing is pretty much an uphill incline. Superman did really good for being as young as he is and for as cold as it was.  Only once he lost his footing and down he went. Kids are great though, he got up and just kept going like nothing happened.  He was tired but he kept going. The wind must has sifted or something because it was in our face the entire race. The cold made it really hard to breath and I had to work to make sure I was getting enough air in.

When we hit the last quarter mile, I zipped ahead to get a video of them crossing the finish line. Hill Dynamo and Superman came across hand in hand. I loved seeing that. We didn't stick around to enjoy the after race feeling or see what our times were (my Garmin wasn't right because I forgot to stop it).  It was just too cold plus her hubs and Little C had been standing in the cold waiting to see them cross the finish line.

Hand in Hand

The race itself was nice. If only they could have provided better weather! Guess that's why we train year round, to always be ready for whatever weather we are handed on race day.  I will probably run this one again next year. It was a fun start to kick off the spring/summer racing schedule and this was race one of the ERRS races. 

Official time: 9:32 

By default it's a PR since I've never done a mile road race. I am determined though to find one later in the season. I know what my PR mile is for my timed mile and I'd like to get near that in a race this year. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Be My (Running) Person

It's early winter, I think December, 2015. I'm driving down one of our no-shoulder back roads, the kind that only those desperate to get out and run will run on. It's a road that I've run down many times in the almost 6 years of living here. I live in a small rural community with mostly back roads void of sidewalks. The main road that runs through here carries an array of tractor trailers to and from our "Industrial Park / Corporate Park" areas yet has zero sidewalks even there.  

I'm driving down this road and I see a woman up ahead ticking off the steps. I was desperate to stop and say hi. I was just starting to pick my miles up again from marathon training and recovering from an injury.  I couldn't help but day dream about how nice it would be to have a running partner for some of the cold dark runs that our Northeast winters require we endure.  It was so hard not to bring the car to a screeching halt next to her but what if she carries pepper spray?? I didn't want her to think I was some insane person so I kept dreaming, longing to say hi as I watched her in the rearview mirror. 

Over the next few months I saw her a few times but was never brave enough to stop and take the risk that she'll assume I'm stopping to accost her.  

Then that day happened. I was coming up my hill. I live on a great hill to run on (it can kill your legs!) and there I see her! I stopped to check my mail, took my sweet time getting out of the car, casually walked up to the mailbox and spent way too much time looking over the two pieces of mail I got. Finally she was close enough I could say "Hi!" My car declares I'm a runner with all the magnets I have on the back (you betcha I'm one of THOSE runners!!). We spent a few minutes chatting, found out we live exactly one mile from each other and exchanged numbers. 

I'm one of those obsessive people so I made sure I didn't smother her with running text immediately.  But we started to get to know each other, talk about running and our lives but didn't go for a run together.  Then I was getting ready to run one night and she came down the same road and it gave us a chance to run together. I enjoyed chatting and running with her. 

One day I posted on Facebook looking for others to run a relay race with me. I had a friend from my Sub30 Running Club respond and say she wanted to come up and run it with me. Then I got a text from her that she was interested.  I was so excited she joined us. That was the beginning of what has become a beautiful friendship! 

We've had many runs together since then. Some great, some really sucky. I love to run hills but she makes it a daily part of her running. She helps make me a better runner by making me run the hills, meeting me on days when I'd stay home without her, and motivating (and sometimes downright nagging) me to get off my rear and run! We don't always run together but I enjoy the runs we do have. I look forward to many more this year. 


Here are some pics from our last run. Dick's Sporting Goods is building this monstrosity near us. It used to be such a pretty view of a big field of wild flowers. Not anymore.....

It was a warm but extremely windy day

More Pix...

Cold, dark run - 2016

relay marathon 2016

relay marathon 2016

relay marathon 2016

relay marathon 2016
local 10k ~ 2017

Indulging after a Saturday morning run ~ 2017

Thanks for being my running person!!! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Peeps for Power

Ok, so not really. I don't know why I thought having a Peep would be a good idea right before a run but it wasn't.  It left me with side cramps and stomach pain!

After running 3 miles in October, two in November and 7 in December, it's been nice having the running bug hit me again.  I needed that break, physically and emotionally.  This is my official, Welcome Back To My Training month. I only had 31 miles in January and so far 29  for
February but I'm pretty happy with them. 2015 was my best year ever and I started that year out with barely any miles! I'm hoping on to hope, with a death grip, that this is going to be a good year for running.

Tonight was tough. I'm tired. Less than 6 hours of sleep. I'm a gal who needs a solid 7.5 hours to feel good. That's not been happening lately.  I also made the mistake of wearing sneakers instead of my Vibrams. They felt very heavy on my legs on the hills.  I had very little food today. I had a million excuses but I laced up and out I went.

I was too tired tonight to have any rambling thoughts except how much the wind sucked blowing in my face as I ran up the hill.

I have about a 1/2 miles left and I saw my Musician coming up the hill.  His first run of the year and he was taking on the hill.  He's crazy on them. Blows by me on the hills every time.  I was thrilled to see him and ran a bit more with him.

running with the love of my life

I think a big shift for me in heading into this running season is that even the runs that are great or "perfect" are ok. I'm still loving them!

Delicious, evil little thing.....

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Spring-like Run

What do you do when it's February, almost 60°, with a crystal clear blue sky and you were up, on and off, all night with either a stomach bug or bad food??  Why run, of course!!!  

I had a really rough start to the morning but when I stepped out of church and felt that sun, I knew there wasn't any sick feeling or due assignments that were going to keep me away from the road.

Just a short run. That's all I wanted. Some movement in the blessed sun! 

Even though it was short, I had lots of thoughts today.....

Mile 1 

* The first hill was torture, I wanted to walk but didn't. I haven't run hills in months. I look up the hill and I don't remember it looking so steep.

* One step, then the next, it's how I make it up hills. 

Yep, it's sharpie time again.
I can't explain writing on myself
helps to motivate me, yet it does. 

*Step. Visceral pleura. Step. Cubital region. Step. Adipose connective tissue. Step. Atomic mass. Step. Sagittal section. I stress with each step about remembering what all these words mean. 
The beauty of the hill is that by the time I reach the first flat spot, these words are all gone from my head. The stress of college is eradicated, at least for these 30 minutes. 

* I turn to go up the next hill. Holy cow. The sun feels glorious and incredibly warm. I feel the tiredness melt away. I'm grinning. I wonder if I can grin any bigger. It's been too long since I've had a run to lose myself in my thoughts. 

I have my Sub30 tribe with me....

* There's a sheep on the side of the road. Is the singular of sheep just sheep? I mean geese is goose. Is it shoop? Of course not, but my musing entertain my overworked mind. 

* Oh look at that, mile one already. 11:12 mile. It's ok. I'm out here for relaxation and escape. 

Mile 2

* The hill is making my legs burn a bit. Only 1/2 mile to go and I can turn around. 

* Man this hill is steep, must be time to run around. Dang, only 1.08 miles in. I know right where my turn around is so I try not to look at my watch again. 

* Crap, 1.22. That's it?  
* Hey, is that wild looking dog, that's barking insanely at me, going to stop running towards me? Guess so....he must have forgotten he was on a short chain. 

* Two weeks till my first important race of 2017. One mile. That's it, one tiny mile. I'll have to warm up for 2-3 miles to be able to really push myself in that mile. It will be a good springboard into my spring training for my two half marathons in May. I wonder if I can hit 9 for the mile. Randy reminded me what my fast mile on the track was, 7:21. I won't be hitting that, at least not yet. I'd like to get my fitness back there again. 

* Finally, the turn around point. Some of you have heard me call this run my "running the boob" run. I couldn't stop laughing the first time I saw the elevation map after running this. 

* I become very aware that I'm trying out my new Vibrams on the way back down the hill. I love how my feet feel so in-tune to the road. My last handful of runs have been in actual sneakers and even though it's kept my big toe from constantly hurting, I turn my ankle more in them. 

* Damn it. Right through mud that covered my toes because a truck was coming and I had no choice but to move into the ditch! Here's a pretty picture of them before they because mud covered.....

*As I'm heading back down the hill, I find myself grinning even bigger than before. I LOVE the downhill. The rapid steps, the deep concentration on form, the feeling of free fall, the speed. After pulling my hamstring in 2010, I spent many years afraid of the downhill till I started running these roads. 

* Quick short steps, hips slightly forward, shoulders back, body tipped back a bit, arms controlled to the sides. All things I pay attention to. 
 I grin like a fool and run down the hill at a pace that has woken up my winter sleepy legs. 
My pace going down the hill was so refreshing.
Now to get my HR down. I know only more
running with help with that. 

* There's no shoulder on these roads so I always, and regretfully, slow down on the curves in case I need to jump into the ditch! 

* Mile two. Gone. 10:36.

 Mile 3 

* I'm trying to decide if I want to keep doing past my road or head home. The lack of sleep from last night is winning this battle.

* I'm daydreaming about a cup of coffee and then a nap. Reality also starts to seep back in. I have so much homework tonight!

* Signs of the coming spring are all around me. The birds are just as happy as I am today. The water is flowing like crazy from the melting snow.

* When I'm on the straight away, my Musician drives by.

* I stop briefly to chat with him and he offers me a ride. It's so tempting but I decline. It's about my 1st minutes. (Motivational Trick) They've been bad this last year. Time to get back to living the lifestyle I enjoy living. One where my pain is from pushing my body to see what it can do, instead of pain from pushing the fork to my mouth.

I get home and I'm out of breath from the last hill but still so elated to be out here on a day that is finally sunny and warm. I realize I have wonderful sweat running down my face.  I love the feeling of sweating from running!

Sweating with snow still on the ground

I'm really excited about the upcoming temps. I know we'll have lots more cold days but for the next few days, the running weather is going to be wonderful! 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

First Race of 2017 ~ AKA: The Epic Fail

A select few know that I spent 2016 struggling with GI issues and severe acid reflux (which I didn't realize was the issue and has since been diagnosed and treated!!) during every single run.

I was really depressed by what a stress running had become. I dreaded all my runs because I didn't know if my body would cooperate or if I'd have to dive into some bushes to avoid yet another accident. I knew running and I had to have a parting of ways for awhile but I couldn't bring myself to stop. Then I went back to work for the first time in 10 years and running got pushed aside.

Since September I can literally count on one hand the amount of times I've run. It's been good for me mentally, but not physically. I've put back on the 16 lbs I lost in the summer of 2015.  The last couple weeks have really had me aching to get back to running, especially since the acid reflux is under control.  My dear friend and running partner, Hill Diva, (let me tell you, she rules the hills around us. I love running hills but she doesn't just run them, she owns them!)  has pulled me out to run a few time. Last weekend we ran 4.5 miles. She's a good running partner. She keeps me moving and pushes and challenges me when I need it.

Today I woke up, hit the bathroom and was thrilled to have the pre-race movement us runners all want. We are always chatting about it in the running groups. Before I joined running groups I though I was all alone in my obsession with it. So I was hopeful that I was all set for the day.

I was so excited to be heading out for race 1 of the 4 part January Freeze series that our local running club hosts each year.  My Musician stayed home this time. He's not felt 100%. It was weird heading to a race without him and Tink there to cheer me on. In hindsight I'm glad they didn't come, it would have been a waste of their time. I picked up Hill Diva and off we went. First race of 2017 and we were both excited.

One and a half miles into the run my stomach started cramping. I felt that all too familiar pressure and panic of knowing I needed to find a bathroom, now.  I was devastated. I wanted to start the new year with better racing experiences than 2016 had. Of course I had to walk to avoid an accident right then. I was able run a bit between there and just past mile two but as soon I ran by the bathroom I had to stop. I hate to admit this, but once again, there was zero control. I was 10 seconds too late getting into the bathroom. In reality, I barely had an accident (unlike races last year) but it was enough that I couldn't finish the race.

My first DNF. I'm still crushed at that thought. I've had races I didn't run because of injury or under-training but I've never started a race I wasn't able to finish. I tend to beat myself up too much but I'm still not handling it well.  I'm pissed. I love to run and these constant issues are messing with that love. I've seen a gastroenterologist and she's been great with trying to figure out what's going on. I have a few ideas that I'll be testing out in the coming weeks. I have three more races coming up and I refuse to have another DNF!! Hopefully I won't have to eat those words!

Flat Kirsten ~ lots of layers to this one!

It was SO cold! I thought my toes would fall off. 

Nice and warm in all my layers and excited to be heading to a race. 

Starting line, frozen smiles. 

Brief Update

Here's a little preview of what's finally coming together, a brief training update, a little chat on our upcoming weekend of 4 rac...