Tag Archives: Fleet Feet

Weaknesses, Ambivalence, & a Great 10k

I’m at a week (and a half) in recovery mode: Last week I tried to get a bit more sleep (success), not work a ton of extra hours (moderate success), and ran only 23 total miles. I was feeling a lot more optimistic about the rest of Winter training and going into the Spring racing season. Especially after running the Back On My Feet Mardi Gras 10k on Saturday without falling apart (although it wasn’t without cramping).

The course was .20 short. Whoopsy. Mile 5 was slow because we ran into the 5k..bod and weave isn't in my repertoire.

The course was .20 short. Whoopsy. Mile 5 was slow because we ran into the 5k..bob and weave isn’t in my repertoire.

With honesty I’ve concluded that some of the discomfort and bonkyness I experienced at the LA Marathon wasn’t from having a cold (although that was the biggest contributor and certainly exacerbated things), but also was an illustration of several weak spots in my training and other habits that all reacted at once to the stress of 26.2 miles, on a hilly course, while fighting a lack of rest, a high level of stress, and illness over the past few months while also running at a (for me) high volume.

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Screen shot from thumbnail…used without permission…is marathonfoto really never going to decide to charge a reasonable prices for downloading images?

Also, side note, I’m on my second “rest day” in a row (because of logistics and weather), so it’s plausible I’ve entered a reality distortion based panic where I can’t stop eating, feel 20lbs heavier, and am certain I’m out of shape. You know, the usual.

What are these training weaknesses? In no particular order here are the things I’ve pin-pointed, which if given some attention, it’s realistic to expect I would run (and generally feel) much better:

  1. DIET: True, I maintain a diet that more-or-less keeps me  more-or-less feeling good, and out of the hospital. Having faulty guts  means that I eat much “better” than the average person. But there are several areas where my vices rule me: lots of sugar, lots of coffee, lots of wine. If I just halved my consumption of those three things , I might wake up looking like Shalane… or at least, I’d reliably be able to button my slacks instead of trying to make leggings work-suitable. us-olympic-marathon-trials-results-team-amy-cragg-shalane-flanagan
  2. STRENGTH: I’m as total weak-ass. Figuratively and quite literally. I have very little strength and gave up my weight lifting habit once my weekly mileage went over 40. So, that was like 4 years ago, and now I have all kinds of hip, back, and core issues when I run… because those areas are so damn weak! And, as suggested, I think my ass is pretty wimpy too.
  3. SLEEP: Poor Jorge can share hundreds of anecdotes illustrating how much I struggle in the morning. I’ve been like this my entire life. Doesn’t matter how early I get to bed, my brain, mood, and body take FOREVER to wake up in the morning. If I sleep less than 8 hours (and who has time for THAT?!) it’s worse, and for me sleep debt seems to accumulate very fast and I almost always develop a fever, or catch whatever virus/bacteria is going around – this is what happened in Jan/Feb first the flu then the cold. I was logging only 5-6hrs of sleep per night from Thanksgiving until I got back from LA and said….NOooooooo I can’t take this anymore!
  4. STRESS: Productivity and stress have such a weird relationship. High productivity increases overall stress, but also decreases it… but then if overall stress gets too high then productivity slows down – creating more stress! GAAAAH! This is my life.

    This counts as a whole week's worth of ancillary work, right?

    This counts as a whole week’s worth of ancillary work, right? (and to be clear: this is me NOT Shalane.

  5. CLARITY OF GOALS: For the first time, outside of wanting to break 3:10 in the marathon this year, I don’t really know what I want from running in 2016 … which makes it hard to focus, do the supplemental work, drink less wine,  plan training, and choose races. Which brings me to my next point.

I’m still waffling like crazy over how to proceed in terms of racing and training. More specifically, I can’t decide whether I should go run the Catalina Marathon on March 19th, or stay home and run the Cary March Madness Half Marathon on the 20th (already registered). I registered for Cary on New Years Eve (it sells out within minutes most years), and then last month, very impulsively I entered a giveaway for an entry into the Catalina Marathon. I was really excited when I won! As it says in my entry post, I ran the Eco Marathon in 2013, and LOVED it. I also managed to finish as the first female, and 7th overall… which was an awesome experience. I wrote about it here.FullSizeRenderWhat I failed to consider in my impulsivity, was that this race is 5 weeks after LA and 4 weeks before Boston, and although it’s a comped race entry, I still need to FLY TO CALIFORNIA, which ain’t free. If the weather and sea conditions cooperate I don’t need accommodations because my bother, SIL, nephew and I will go out to the island on their boat. I usually take 36 or so hours to not be sea-sick, but I mean, who sleeps before a marathon anyway? Not me! The bigger concern is running with “sea legs”, basically then you feel sea-sick, but while you’re on land, running a race that is 26 miles with like 4,000ft of elevation gain. Awesome?

Note: not the actual boat.

Note: not the actual boat.

I honestly feel ambivalent, I can get on board with going and with not going. The biggest appeal is an extra visit with my family . I feel too awkward to ask to defer the entry, because, you know. Contest. But I also feel like a douche if i don’t use it. I need to make a decision so I can figure out how to train…

I can’t decide what to do. 

Thanks for hanging in here with me, now it’s time to CROWD-SOURCE this, yay!

What do you think? Catalina: yes or no?  (follow-up question, am I stuck being a jackass no matter how I handle this?)

Reduce training volume by 20% to make time/energy for supplemental work: yes or no?

Give up candy and wine: just kidding, don’t answer this one.

*AB

Boston Marathon 2014 Recap

done 1This was my third time running the Boston marathon, in preparation for the first time (2012) I watched, read, and studied every course description or tour I could find. I am an almost obsessive “visualizer”, mainly because I am easily distracted and typically do things too fast, so there is less chance of breaking something, forgetting something, or hurting myself if I first visualize what I am going to do. I’m not referring to running or even sports exclusively here, I mean everything. Although it is a skill I learned by participating in sports as a child/adolescent/college student, I use it to get through everyday tasks like grocery shopping and answering work emails. I’ll admit that sometimes visualizing the mundane can get you in trouble because it’s easy to think you’ve already completed the things you really only visualized. It can also save your ass when you are alerted to things that you missed or forgot to do.

I bring up this characteristic of mine because I was in a complete panic in the weeks leading up to Boston because I just couldn’t visualize my race. I’ve spent a silly amount of time deconstructing this and will spare you the self-aggrandizement, it suffices to say; I didn’t need to visualize, I needed a guiding principle.

I think I’ve waxed poetic before that one of the best things about the Boston Marathon is that there really is a specific formula to running well on that course. A strategy that isn’t dissimilar from running any marathon but that does have its own special features. To be more specific would a separate long post, so I give you its essence as delivered by Dan Daly:

Credit: Dan Daly 2014

Credit: Dan Daly 2014

So, riding on the guiding principle of being the turtle (that is: run smoothly) so you can chase the unicorn, here’s a break down of how my race went.

Pre-Race: At the risk of sounding dramatic, but in an effort to be honest: I really, truly, felt like crap. My training was weird, “intuitive” is the nice, buzz-wordy, way I’ve been describing my plan, but really, it was weird, often desperate, and largely inadequate for my goal of running a PR at 3:10 or under. I had random pains in my guts, my general energy level was low-ish, and my hip girdle, back, and hamstrings have been tight and achey since running Catalina way back in November 2013. I was excited to be in the first corral of wave 2, however, and got up there with the perfect amount of time to spare, just enough to wiggle around a little and chit-chat, but not so much you get nervous or need to pee, again.

My basic plan was to run within myself, that is, to focus on even 7:15 splits if they felt manageable, and not get sucked into the fanfare. I heard someone say to Dan just as I was leaving to walk to the start “I’m going to do what you said and start slow” he immediately correct her saying “no! not slow, SMOOTH!” I let that repeat in my head like an annoying Katy Perry song for the first hour of the race.

From the start through Wellesley (roughly to mile 14): Roughly 2 minutes before our start, I was bending over, doing a makeshift hamstring stretch while trying to avoid getting kicked in the head by other makeshift stretchers, when I heard my name. I looked up, and saw Angie, a fellow Fleet Feet Boston365 participant. It’s always calming to see a familiar face right before the start, and you know, that’s ideally how you want to be recognized, by your ass, right up there in the air. Joking around in those final minutes was a great way to calm down, and prepare to run smoothly, my gage there was that if I was passing people in the first 2.5 miles, then I was going too fast. I think this is a good rule for anyone to follow at Boston. The corrals are seeded with precision, and you’re basically being pushed off a cliff, so I figure, if I am passing people then I am both going too fast, and wasting energy with all the bobbing and weaving.

What I sometimes find so weird and also fascinating about running (any competition really) is that even when you are feeling sub-par, in this case, things feeling heavy and tight, you might still be able to pull off, for a while at least, the performance you want. In this case, what was happening all the way until the other side of the scream tunnel, was that I felt like I had a level of discomfort that I could tolerate for 3 hours and 10 minutes, but that if I pushed it even the tiniest bit too hard, it would all fall apart. The problem was judging what “a tiny bit too hard” was, because I kept dipping perilously close to a 7 minute/mi pace, then reminded myself that I had to run smooth like a Turtle and then in the last miles I could chase the Unicorn.

This guy.

This guy.

Getting through the Newton Hills (mile 14 – 21): There is a really important aspect of the Boston Marathon course that tends to get glossed over. There are not ONLY hills between miles 16 and 21. The course sort of rolls and ungulates the entire 26.2 miles. I was tired of hills by mile 4. I even indulged in the thought of “hmm, I swear the course is more hilly this year…” (NOT a good sign) Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t very big hills, but the level of tension in my back and hips was such that every incline and decline sent me into a panic of anxiety that something was going to cramp, or worse actually snap. My family was planning to be just after the turn at the Firehouse, so immediately after Wellesley I started focusing on that. Repeating in my mind over and over “turn right, stay to the right, high-five time”.  Just after Wellesley was also the point where my guiding principle shifted from the “turtle” phase, to the “shark phase”, I wasn’t focused any longer on running smooth and controlled, well, controlled yes, but I started passing people intentionally, and targeting people to slowly chip away at passing. I also started to find it harder and harder to stay at or below my goal 7:15 pace. Each hill seriously threatened to end my race.

One of the Newton hills, trying to stay focused. You can tell I was in pain, no?

One of the Newton hills, trying to stay focused. You can tell I was in pain, no?

Some Bootleg Runner’s who travelled from Chicago, and some teammates family members were stationed for spectating somewhere in the mile 18-19 range, and my family was right after them, my memory is a little foggy here but about a half mile or so before I saw my friends someone had a sign that read “MED WON!”. As I said, I was starting to struggle, trying as I was to “be the shark”, I got so overjoyed when I saw that sign that I unleashed the Kraken a bit too early, and way too intensely. I covered the next tear-jerking 3/4ths of a mile at faster than my 10k PR pace (that is to say, sub 6:30). For a fleeting moment, once I gathered myself and slowed down, this was hugely encouraging, maybe I could still run a sub 3:10 today! But no, about 5 steps later I had crippling side pain. I get these, in my right side, often, they’re not exactly side stitches, but rather come from my back and psoas, and are more cramp-like. Anyway, I worked through it.

When I saw my friends I screamed at them “MEB WON!” and they cheered back. Another brief boost. Then the last hill before Heartbreak, where my family was standing about halfway up. I tried to look tough, and got the high fives. Then cried, of course. It’s impossible to really illustrate to non-runners how much that 2 seconds of interaction with those you love most mid-race means. (So, Mom, Dad, Jorge. Thanks for being there!)

Heartbreak hill seemed like no problem in 2012 (the heat was more of a concern that time) and 2013. But this year, holy shit, I thought it was never going to end. But it did, and it was time to see if the ol’ Kraken felt like helping a Unicorn chaser out.

Right on Hereford

Right on Hereford: No Kraken, more like an antelope trying to survive.

That last 5 miles: It turns out that the Kraken went back to sleep, or something. In 2012 and 2013 I remember the last 5 miles to be totally intoxicating because the intensity and size of the crowds grew and you just got lifted up. This year, there was so much extra support along every mile (which, don’t get me wrong, was amazing and heart warming), that I was sort of numb to it by the time I got to Boston College. I knew there was no way I was running at 3:10 and, as a runner will do, I focused on squeaking in a PR. Every  quarter-mile I tried to surge to freshen my legs, and when that inevitably failed, I took inventory head to toe to see what I could relax, or fix. But that Kraken, he just wasn’t playing, I felt more fear of failing than inspiration or drive for succeeding, loathe as I am to admit it.

Left on Boylston: staring down the sweet relief of the finish line.

Left on Boylston: staring down the sweet relief of the finish line.

Finally, I was under the CITGO sign, and I put huge effort into no longer thinking, fixing, or planning , and thought, “ok just run, now, 1 mile, run fast, you sprinted when you heard about Meb’s victory, so clearly you love to do this, and can give it more, so just fucking go faster!” Yah, nope. Nothing. No fight left in me. Eventually those beloved last two turns came, I was able to pick it up a little by glaring like freaking Cyclops at the finish line. The most thrill I felt at this point was when I heard my named called by the announcer a few hundred feet from finishing.

I managed a 59 seconds PR. 3:12:45

I’m not exactly disappointed, but I am dissatisfied. I can tell, and I bet those who know me well can tell too, looking at the race photos, how uncomfortable I was physically, and mentally, and that is something that is wrong with my training right now, and I need to figure it out. That said, one of the best parts of my marathoning journey so far has been the friendships, and the celebrations, and I am totally satisfied with that!

Pickle-backs in Boston with the BRC and "Coach" Dan (on the right with me).

Pickle-backs in Boston with the BRC and “Coach” Dan (on the right with me).

We are now at the almost exact halfway point between the Boston Marathon, and Grandma’s Marathon on June 21st. Oh, right, I forgot to tell you, I am running the Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth next month thanks to Bib Rave! (so please check them out here!)

Cheers everyone!

*AB

Boston Will Be

The 118th Boston Marathon is in 10 days. Everyone is waiting. We know nothing is going to happen. That is, collectively, the running community, the Boston community, and the country know that another bomb will not go off in Boston on Patriot’s Day. Any yet, there was just another shooting at Fort Hood. So let’s be honest. Anything could happen. That is why we run the marathon.

Left on Boylston

Left on Boylston

I don’t mean the Boston Marathon 2014 specifically. I mean, that is why we, repeat marathoners, run the marathon. Whether you have run the distance once or a hundred times, each and every time, anything can happen. You could run like you’ve taken flight and not feel any pain, or you can start falling apart only a quarter of the way in. Both scenarios can be equally unpredictable.

We were reminded at 2:49pm on April 15, 2013 that anything can happen, at any time, and in any context. I’ve had a few minor instances of panic since then while running, when in a crowded space, or when something, usually something arbitrary (read: unpredictable) reminds me of how vulnerable we are, how exposed. This has been my response, and I was not in the blast zone. In fact, I am quite certain I was in a bathroom at the Marriot Copley hotel being post-PR-marathon-effort sick when the first bomb went off. Yet it stays with me, that now prescient feeling, that someone can hurt you, or someone you love, at any time and in any place.

For those running, with 10 days to go, we wait with everyone else, we’re all waiting for the evidence that nothing will happen, it’s evidence that will only come with the absence of tragedy on April 21st. While we wait, we also obsess the way we do before any marathon. We check the weather forecast every few hours. We calculate different versions of our race, we go to great and socially ostracizing lengths to avoid getting sick. We wish we for a protective bubble of protection against clumsiness, like twisted ankles while taking the laundry downstairs. We fight the temptation to cram in last minute hard workouts, which will only wear the body down at this point. All of this is comforting because it’s what we do. It’s not special things that we do before the first anniversary event of a terrorist act, it’s just what we do.

What we do.

What we do.

I (and I believe the vast majority of those running in 10 days) didn’t train hard for Boston 2014 because we want to prove anything about terrorism. Yes, a great many runners are running for people injured from the blasts, and many of us have been compulsively donating to the various funds, and/or fundraising, but that’s not WHY we trained hard, it’s only a part of it, a recent addition.

I would train hard and run this race anyway. Even so, I’ve found myself incapable of visualizing my race. I always visualize my races, especially when I am hoping for a personal best. I heard someone on the radio recently describe something (I’ve forgotten what) as like trying to see a black hole. That when you look for a black hole you cannot see the thing itself, only the edges of it. That’s what the actual running of the Boston Marathon this year is to me: a black hole. The harder I try to visualize, to see, my race, the more blank my mind goes. I feel only grief in my chest, tears in my eyes, and I can see the edges. That is, I can visualize everything that happens before the race, and everything that happens after, but the race itself? Trying to see myself, and everyone else running the actual Boston Marathon is a complete void. I can remember every mile of last year, and most of the year before, but I can’t pretend to see this impending one. What no one will say, is that acts of terror are aptly labeled. They work. They change us, they change our behavior, and how we perceive things. They create terror.

I wish we could quietly continue with our training and racing, continue to revel in the allure of the Boston Marathon in its entirety, of all road races, and the pleasure of gathering in the streets with coolers full of snacks and drinks, without suspicion or anxiety. I want us all to be gracefully unaffected by what happened last year. However, I recognize it’s the American way to be over the top in our effort to show that “you can’t stop us” and “you can’t scare us”. We have to, rather than carry-on as we were before, persevere with extra celebration, and more gusto, more everything. We like to say that the best revenge is a life well lived. My problem is that I don’t want revenge. In fact, the feelings after last year’s events that I’ve had the most difficulty with, are feelings of empathy, not anger, not even fear or sadness, but empathy. Insufferable empathy for those killed, those hurt, and for those who did the killing and the hurting. I don’t think I have to spell out here how very complicated that is, and how very uncomfortable.

Our love for the Boston Marathon is not new, and we'll never take it for granted.

Our love for the Boston Marathon is not new, and we’ll never take it for granted.

I think the way to really show that an effort was futile is to actually behave in a way that is unaffected. Unchanged. I want the other Boston marathon back, the one I dreamed about for almost two decades, and then got to be a part of twice. Or more accurately, one and a half times (because, really, the post race celebrating is half the experience). The old Boston Marathon experience was an emotional, exhilarating, and life affirming one. I’m worried not that those elements will still be there, but that now those elements will be so exaggerated as to be intolerable.

I could go on, I could talk about how unsettling the constant talk of heightened security measures is, and about how much I wish people would stop calling it “the marathon bombing”, but really, the important thing is that in 10 days the Boston Marathon will be. No matter what happened, and no matter what happens. It will be, and I will be there with over 100,000 other runners and spectators, racers and partiers. With laughter and with tears: We will be.

*AB

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What it’s really all about: Chicago Marathon 2013 Recap

(Note: I began writing this a few days after the event, but after 5 drafts I haven’t been pleased with the result. So I decided to just be brief -haha, for me- and make my basic point. Please share your stories of what running a marathon is really all about for you in the comments.)

DM CM post

pain joy 2

Marathons and marathon runners often get a bad rap. Some of the negative reputation surrounding marathon’s and endurance athletes is the same as what draws some people to the sport; it is an “individual” as opposed to “team” sport, training is often done in solitude, and to make improvements, sometimes even small ones, hours and hours of training are required, which means training can have a ripple effect on the athlete’s entire life. These things give marathoners a reputation for being selfish, self-centered, and self-interested.

I'm certain I'd individually come in 1st place for anything at a major international sporting event.

I’m certain I’d never individually come in 1st place for anything at a major international sporting event.

Ready to take our first racing singlets for test run!

Ready to take our first racing singlets for test run!

I can actually agree or at least understand, some of the complaints surrounding very large half marathon and marathon events, especially with there being one or more going on it seems every weekend in or near major cities nationwide. Streets are shut down, public parks, paths, and trails get monopolized, there’s sometimes a lot of clean up needed, some are franchise and commercial events so not necessarily giving much back to the community of a charity organization, and so on.

However, if you are reading this and aren’t a runner, or don’t live with one, or if you are a runner and you haven’t thought about what running means to you and your life, let me tell you something, you can’t pour your heart and energy into training for and running marathon’s without help and support from a whole lot of people. My new running friend, and teammate, Declan, who just made his marathon debut (in 3:17!) articulates some of what I mean in a blog post here.

I've never run with someone at a goal race before. Declan was a perfect race buddy, but it's possible we wasted energy with our enthusiasm.

I’ve never run with someone at a goal race before. Declan was a perfect race buddy, but it’s possible we wasted energy with our enthusiasm. Photo credit: Maggie Wolff

Until about a year and a half ago, I trained alone, travelled to races alone, raced alone, and then came home and outside of my parents didn’t really talk about running with anyone. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that when I started developing friendships with runners, I immediately started to get faster, and fell more in love with running.

On April 15, 2013 and the month that followed many non-runners became familiar with a quote from a marathon legend, Kathrine Switzer, “If you are losing faith in the human nature, go out and watch a marathon.”

The 1967 Boston Marathon. Race official Jock Stemple attempts to remove Switzer from the race. Her running companion (and I think boyfriend) Tom Miller, physically defends her. 5 years later women are officially allowed the compete in the marathon.

The 1967 Boston Marathon. Race official Jock Stemple attempts to remove Switzer from the race. Her running companion (and I think boyfriend) Tom Miller, physically defends her. 5 years later women are officially allowed the compete in the marathon.

It’s a phrase that can be taken as a reference to the perseverance and dedication shown by those running toward their individual goals, it can be illustrated by the hours and hours of time, service, and encouragement given by spectators, and it can be seen in acts of friendship, sportsmanship, teamwork, joy and loyalty shown by competitors.

So rather than detail my own race experience, I’d like to share a few examples of what running really means from the Chicago Marathon 2013. It’s easy to find 100 samples of “inspiration porn” within any marathon event. I’m not trying to minimize the efforts of the amazing people who are fundraising for heart-breaking causes, and the people who preserve through physical, emotional, and situational hurdles most of us can barely fathom, but only trying to say that every marathoner who pours their heart into this sport is an inspiration.

Every single mile is meaningful, and every challenge is meaningful.

A marathon is about finding and embracing joy even when things fall apart. Scott Laumann and Evan Rosendahl are fellow Chicagoans who run with The Track and Trough Athletic Union. Following how these guys train and race, and the matter of fact, yet focused way they approach running, totally helps me to stay focused on long-term goals, and I aspire to race with their sportsmanship and class. Both of these men are capable (and have) run marathons firmly in the mid-2 hours range, and when their races fell apart at Chicago they spent the final miles of the race having fun and hanging on to finish with each other.

Evan and Scott

A marathon is about showing someone that you believe in them even when they have stopped believing in themselves. My friend Lynton (as seen above), jumped in just before mile 20 wearing an injured friend’s bib (thanks Ogi!), I was really struggling, and indeed, evidently, not making much sense during that final 10k. But Lynton stayed right with me, pulling me along, and calling me out on my bullshit.

mile 23 whiney fina;

What does running mean to me? It’s something that makes me feel good, but it also make me feel helpless sometimes, I am compelled to do it. Running means relief and solace, when I’m running there is nothing else. For me, it is the very definition of mindfulness. It means perseverance, and it means love. I’ve never had such good friends and known such amazing people, as the runners I know.

*AB

Kittaka and the (never-ending)Trail

I haven’t successfully made the time or had the patience to do a race-recap of the Chicago Marathon yet, it’s pending, and in the meantime I want to share with you a race re-cap from another race and another runner.

Over the past year I have made huge changes to my running, it’s reflected not just my race times, but also in how I think about running, how I race, how I train, and how I think about running in relation to the rest of life. Running doesn’t fill  a distinct compartment in my life, it is just a  part of it that is sort of woven in.

The biggest factor to all this change is that I developed an insatiable curiosity for other runners,  what they are doing, thinking, and feeling when they train and race, and what do they do with the rest of their time? I am most curious when it comes to how runners who are more developed (read: have more experience, are wicked fast) than I am and how they reflect upon and frame their workouts and races, good or bad.

One of these runners is Dan Kittaka, I’ve not had the chance yet to complete a run shoulder to shoulder with Dan, but I’ve been a mile and growing behind him for a couple of group runs, and have with no exaggeration, never heard anyone say anything about him that was less than totally inspiring.

I was happy in early September when Dan decided to test out his hand at a person running blog, kansai kudasai. He already writes for his work blog, and I was following him on Dailymile.

One of his goal races is the legendary Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon  in Japan, which has a  qualifying standard of sub 2:30, and also has strict cutoff times during the race. If you’re not on 2:27:40 pace through 20km you might be pulled off the course. I have no doubt Dan will get there, his current marathon PR is 2:31:42 and he knows how to train smart.

At about the same time Dan began blogging we had what I thought was a hilarious Twitter exchange regarding not being able to navigate, or stay upright, while running a trail race. I immediately asked him to guest blog a race re-cap.

So without further blathering on, and hero worshipping, here you go (take notes, there are some serious wisdom kernels in here!):

Race Recap – SCOTT Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series: #2 – 13/14 Mile  by Dan Kittaka

First of all, hats off to the race organizers, Seattle Running Club and Northwest Trail Runs for putting on a high quality event!

 After getting lost in my first ever trail racing experience during the inaugural Paleozoic Trail Run 25k due to poor course preparation (Rich Heffron recapped on his blog here), I was disappointed, but figured it had to be some sort of freak inaugural event snafu. I had promised myself to study the course map before my next trail race which of course I tried to do, but when the map looks like this it can be hard to remember all of the turns. Particularly if it is in a venue where you’ve never run before!

 Thankfully, the courses (and where they split) were very, very well marked. Turn directions were clearly marked with flags. Flags on the right leading into a turn indicated a right turn and vice-versa. This system was intuitive particularly in the latter stages of the races when brain function was a major challenge. In addition to the turns, long, orange ribbon, “confidence markers” were used on straight or straightforward portions of the course in order to indicate that you were in fact still on course.

Look at how green it is!

photo credit: Seattle Running Club 

While I can’t help but smirk a bit at the name of the park, Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park was a fantastic venue for novice trail runners (me) featuring mostly dirt, single track and wider trails and switchback ascents and descents.

 I flew into Seattle the night before the race, joining my sister, Rachel, my dad, and Rachel’s friend, Kian. I was meeting Rachel who had spent the last two weeks driving from Memphis to LA, then up the Pacific coast to Seattle. Rachel and I would continue her road trip, turning east and south ending in Minnesota for our brother, Jonathan’s undergrad commencement a week later.

Upon arrival to the race site, we were greeted by, Seattle Running Club President, Win Van Pelt. Win offered up some pretty helpful advice, the one tip I really remember was this: make sure, particularly on descents that you toe out a bit to help prevent you from rolling your ankles. I would proceed to roll my ankles pretty badly at least 2 or 3 times as I tend to run toed in.

After a short warm-up jog, Rachel, Kian, and I got our bibs on then headed to the combined start area for our instructions. While we arrived early enough to use the 5 or 6 porta-johns that had been dropped for the event, there wasn’t really enough once the bulk of the participants had arrived. In total there were 249 finishers for both events which puts it at just about 41 people per toilet which is not enough 10-20 minutes before a race! This is my only gripe with the overall production of the event. I ran into the forest to “tie my shoe” just before the start. 

After the instructions, we were off. Rachel and Kian were running the 8 Mile while I chose the longer 13 Mile option to get in a nice longer run on the hills of the Northwest (I had also looked at results and figured I’d have a pretty good chance at winning). Both races started together and used a little flat, grassy loop to string out the runners a bit before sending them out onto the trails which was absolutely the right thing to do.

A colorful parade

photo credit: Seattle Running Club

 During the instructions, race organizers had communicated something to the effect of, “The 13 mile course is at least 13 miles long, but we don’t actually know how long it is.” I’m sure this statement would have driven some folks absolutely mad, but given that I had very few expectations other than that I would be running for somewhere around 90 minutes (my best guess) this didn’t really phase me at all. I had a sneaking suspicion that the pedestrian sounding 1:46:41 course record was an indication that this run wouldn’t be a walk in the park. All of this to say I started the race at what I thought was a conservative pace.

 Within the first mile, the front of the pack had strung out significantly with the speedy Joseph Gray (winner of the 8.2 mile race) leading from the gun. I found myself running with 5 or 6 guys who I suspected to be racing the 8 miler for the first 10-15 minutes or so of the race. I was impressed with the agility and speed at which one older runner displayed on the single track (I believe this was 54 year old Michael Smith who finished 4th overall in the 8.2 mile race).

About 10-15 minutes in we started to hit some significant switchback climbs on the single track. I decided that the wisest course of action was to not panic (about losing contact with the other racers) and run by feel (hoping that if they were running the longer course that I would be able to catch them in the later stages of the race). So I focused on running the hills with quick short steps and a high cadence. These climbs were pretty long. I’m not sure exactly how long, but when I would be running the downhill switchbacks, I had plenty of time to feel well recovered so I imagine the downhill sections took 60-90 seconds to run while the uphill sections had to be anywhere from 2-4 minutes of climbing.

At the end of each climb, I made sure to open up my stride and surge in order to shake the legs out of “granny gear” and help keep the pressure on. It can be easy to relax a bit when nearing the end of a steep climb, but I believe it is best to actually surge into the flatter section ahead. This shakes the tension built up in the muscles while running uphill and reminds you to keep running hard. You use different muscles running uphill versus on the flats so while mentally you might feel like the climb took a lot from you, at least some of your running muscles had a break while climbing and should be ready to roll once you’ve hit more flat terrain (at least that’s what I tell myself).

At the first point where the courses split, I was able to verify with race volunteers that the runners I had let go ahead where all running in the 8 mile race. I was in the lead of the 13 miler! I ran more comfortably for a bit until on one of the climbs I spotted a bright blue shirt no more than a minute behind me.


My blue shirted nemesis is just visible in the distance

photo credit: Tim Harris

 It was hard to tell how close this other runner was, but at a few points he probably was no further than 10-20 seconds behind me. For the remainder of the race, I focused solely on making sure I didn’t get caught. I would begin to create a gap on the climbs, but would lose much of that cushion on the descents. I decided the determining factor would be speed on the flat sections of the course. Having just run 1:15:41 at the North Shore Half Marathon back in Illinois, I was pretty confident in my ability to run the flat sections. 

Quite a few places on the course we shared the trail with the 8 milers. This got a little hairy a few times due in part to my total inexperience running on single track. I feel a bit bad about how I got around some of the other participants. This was the only issue I had on the well marked course well that and not knowing how far I had run. 

About an hour and twenty minutes into the race, I figured based on effort and my current fitness that the finish had to be coming up in the next ten minutes or so. I continued to push through the climbs and run the flat sections as hard as I could in order to break the runner behind me. The climbs kept coming. Before each one I would tell myself that this one was probably the last one. After about five or six big climbs this trick sort of stopped working. I was getting tired and this was turning into a pretty long run. 90 minutes came and went. 

I kept running. Each time the course flattened out I would surge hoping there wouldn’t be any more ascents and that the blue shirted runner behind me wouldn’t catch me. Finally, I started to recognize the area we warmed up in around the start/finish area. Bursting into the clearing where we had started the race, I stopped the clock at 1:49:44.8. I had managed to hold off Seattle residents John Berta (2nd in 1:50:27) and Patrick Mcauliffe (3rd in 1:50:35).

I hadn’t taken advantage of the aid stations thinking that this was at most going to be a 90 minute uptempo  run, and I immediately felt the effects of not hydrating or fueling on the course after finishing. I became lightheaded and sat down in the middle of the start/finish area for a few minutes before dragging myself over to where Rachel, Kian, and my dad had camped out with some of the other 8 milers. Soon I was feeling better and after a bit they proceeded with handing out awards to the top finishers, Rachel and Kian placed as the 2nd Female and 3rd Male in their race and received Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series pint glasses while I received a similarly branded Mason jar mug, a nice souvenir!

 I’m still a total noob at trail racing. What is the appropriate way to pass another runner on single track during a race? (Running in the same direction and opposite directions).  (AB here, I appreciated when a man behind me on a single track night race -see my next answer- said “when you’re ready I’ll pass”, I followed his example the rest of the race and successfully didn’t sprain an ankle or shove anyone into a tree…opposite direction? I don’t know, “Zena Warrior Princess” battle cry?)

What are some of your favorite trail races? (AB again, to date my favorite trail race is the El Chupacabre de Noche in San Antonio, I wrote about it here)

Your turn!

Go Speed Pacer, Go!

My new achievement:

You'd think I was carrying the Olympic Flame.

You’d think I was carrying the Olympic Flame.

One of my running buddies was signed up to be a 1:45 pacer at the Rock and Roll Half-Marathon this Sunday, but she’s working through a lingering hamstring issue, so I said I would take her spot, with the warning that I might besmirch her name because I had no idea what I was doing, only that an 8min pace is comfortable right now, and I’d planned to run 10 miles on Sunday anyway, so why not? (yes, Half-Marathons are still 13.1 miles)

I’ve volunteered at races before:

  • I’ve volunteered at water-stops
  • As a course “marshal” (i.e. point and yell “go that way!”)
  • And, as a bike-marshal (the “weee! follow me guys!” kind, the “hey jackass, pull over before 1,000 runners come barreling into you!” kind, the “I’m so sorry but you’ll need to finish your race running/walking on the sidewalk” kind, and also the “please send an ambulance, I just got puked on, again” kind)

I volunteer a couple of times per year because, although the business model of big races is questionable, and actually doesn’t make a ton of sense to me, I do recognize that without the huge numbers of volunteers laboring for hours at every race from a 5k to a marathon, then the opportunities for us age-groupers and experience racers would not exist in anywhere near the abundance or quality they do.

I haven’t ever seriously considered volunteering as a pacer. Mostly because between experiences I’ve had while training, racing, and volunteering, the more popular running gets the more I see a whole lot of self-absorbed runners do and say a whole lot of disrespectful things to volunteers, as well as to fellow runners and walkers. Therefore, I’ve selfishly figured that if I’m going to put the energy into running the entire length of a race, then I’m going to be trying to do so as fast as I can, that is to say, I’m going to race (kind of hypocritical isn’t it? I’m complicated).

If the jersey fits...or whatever.

If the jersey fits…or whatever.

I’ve never run with a pace group even, but I’ve heard enough horror stories that although I was really motivated to help my friend out, and a though I felt pretty sure I could maintain the steady pace, I definitely lost a little sleep over the nuances of being what I thought would qualify as being a “good pacer”.

My experience of the actual pacing gig was 90% positive. The runners who stayed by me from start to finish of the race were all pretty stoic runners, which can be good when people are vying for a PR, because it means minimal banter and no energy to spare for heckling the pacer.

I was relieved to learn, when I went to the expo to get my bib and pacer jersey, that I’d have a partner-pacer who was a veteran at this game and could sort of show me the ropes. He definitely got me going and settled in over the first few miles, and totally helped me to not panic when I realized that everyone’s GPS watches were basically useless in this race (bridges, buildings…city races are fun, but offer a lot of satellite interference), he was great in knowing what to say to help people not freak out, and helped me be confident in my own rhythm and using my Garmin’s stopwatch function. (Which is silly because until a few years ago I’d only ever done so, well, no Garmin) Unfortunately, my pacer-pal was not having a great day and needed to ease off about 70% into the race. So it got a little lonely.

The not so positive 10% was actually nothing to do with this specific experience but some general things that happen in every race. There are always a few people who don’t know or aren’t aware of race etiquette, or more accurately, their surroundings.

So of course, there were the few folks who came to a dead stop getting water, and the guy who dropped a part for his iPod and dead stopped then reversed direction to retrieve it (add this to my growing list of why personal music devices should be banned from ALL races).

There were also a few passive-aggressive digs. This infuriates me, and I assume it happens with regularity, in different iterations, to most dedicated runner’s. I tried really hard to be extremely self-aware during the entire half-marathon. In fact, I made a point to only speak when I was either calling out the mile split, or answering a question someone had asked me directly. As it happens there were several people who had lots of questions. Those people, (4 of them) as far as I know, all ran substantial PR’s, I like to think in no small part because I told each of them, when our mini-conversations ended, that they were clearly feeling comfortable and they should speed up just a touch. They all did.

Insult # 1: Just after I finished one of these mini-conversations (lasted exactly a half mile – yes, I was tracking it), a man said “how can you talk so much while running this pace”? Trust me, he wasn’t giving me a compliment. I responded that I was in peak marathon training (a lie).

Insult #2: Post-race another man from my pace-group, said “I know why women are better endurance athletes than men” Sadly, I took the bait and asked why. He said, “Because women always talk the whole time they’re running.” I responded “No, I can talk because I train my ass of and I was pacing not racing. It has nothing to do with being female.”

I wasn’t trying to be an a-hole, that’s really offensive. Obviously, I’m not going to volunteer to pace a target-time that I don’t know is well within my comfort zone (I’ve since learned people do sign up to pace at targets shockingly close to their own PR’s, I do not like this, it seems very irresponsible).

Also, DO NOT use my sex against me because you’re feeling intimidated.

If you’re feeling intimidated, then work HARDER.

Also, seriously, I barely spoke. In fact, I worked really hard at that.

Equally frustrating (to me) are the runners who don’t understand that yelling at people mid-race is not going to teach proper etiquette. Mid-race is not the time to explain to someone why stopping at the water stop is a bad idea, or to yell sarcastically at completely panicked and clueless pedestrians who “Frogger” their way across the course.

In the end, I think I did well. I figure pulling it in 20 seconds under is enough time that people who were keeping me in their sights as a target could pull off a finish in the 1:45 minute, but close enough to 1:45:00 that there were not dead-sprints needed.

RnR PACE STATS

What surprises me is I always considered being a pacer a free entry to races. But it’s not. It definitely felt like work, between staying aware of what a runner might need (count down miles? Yell out splits? Do neither? Talk? Stop Talking? Encourage? Offer gel? Run close? Give space? etc etc etc), making sure I stayed on track for the target finishing time without any periods of sprinting or crawling (my variability ended up being only about an 8 second range), and even trying to find that balance between projecting confidence but not making it seem too easy because that could be really aversive to someone who is just hanging on (maybe I need to work on this, see “insults” above).

Anyway, if they comped your entry into another event (or the next running of that event) so that you could run your own race, then I’d call it a “free entry”, and holy cow, I’d volunteer to pace all the time, my desire to practice racing more and more is bankrupting me!

I probably wouldn’t have ever registered for a “Rock and Roll” event without this opportunity, but I actually can’t review the race at all because I was so hyper-focused on my little pacing-gig that I don’t remember anything except for running through the (McCormick?) tunnel near the list mile and almost falling several times because of the stupid disco-lights and thunderous music. Complete sensory over-load. I guarantee people threw up in there.

IMAG1339-MOTION

Thanks to my new blogger-friend Declan for the above capture of my first-ever pacer finish!

*AB

Transitioning from Boston

Pre-Boston, my plan for post-Boston had been to take 10 days mostly off of running to recover, and put together a killer training program that would span from the 11th day after Boston and carry me through my last planned event for 2013: The Catalina Eco Marathon on November 9th (FYI, that’s the day after my birthday, feel free to send gifts). I have only completed a few uncomfortable runs, and have barely thought about what my training for the next 6 months is going to look like. One run worth noting, however, was the back half of a friend’s marathon, the week after Boston.

brc sistahs

My motivation to run, even a little, took a sharp nose-dive two and a half weeks ago. I recognized it for what it was, which was, I think, equal parts:

  1. a bizarre “injury” to my right side…
  2. legitimate post-PR need for rest
  3. a conflagration of conflicting emotions that were a bit slow to take shape regarding the events post-marathon in Boston
  4. frustration when I realized how big my goals are and how limited my resources seem (and the profound guilt at thinking that way, see #3)

The 3rd point has taken a lot of forms, but the one related to running is that it has seemed foolish to focus at all on my very self-indulgent, self-interested running goals, amidst what has happened.

I spent some time last weekend speaking with a friend who was writing an article that focuses on having ran the Boston Marathon and coping with the stark change in tone that occurred during the experience. It was a hugely therapeutic exercise that made me realize I’ve been avoiding blogging, planning my training, reading blogs/articles, and indulging in all things running, because admitting how important it is to me is uncomfortable given the recent context.

Although this is a personal blog, I still don’t want to re-count my experience in Boston here (it’s not going to add anything to what others have already written), but people have been so kind to inquire so I’ll say this: I felt safe the entire time and  was surrounded by friends. The way the bombing has affected me, personally, has nothing to do with running (Except that I will not be posting a race re-cap) and doesn’t belong in this format.

I will say this piece though: I am very disappointed in the general attitude amongst running-bloggers that it’s important to “move-on” quickly. Within 8 hours of the bombing in Boston I saw posts mentioning moving on and focusing back on your goals and training. I think that is OK, for some people, but to pressure everyone to do the same is not.

Being “Boston Strong” doesn’t mean to push ahead with aggressive defiance, it’s ok to be shaken.

If terrorism didn’t make us self-reflect, didn’t scare us, and didn’t throw us off our game for a while, then we would call it something else, and we’d be changed fundamentally, and in a way that reduces freedom.

Running is perhaps the ultimate expression of freedom.Very often my motivator to get out there when I’m not feeling like it, is to remind myself how amazingly fortunate I am to have not only the capacity to make such a choice, but the freedom to execute that choice.

So please, stop telling me that I am “entitled to celebrate” my PR.

I know that I am.

I just don’t want to.

On a happier note, although jumping right into training again hasn’t panned out, I did, last weekend make a list of the things that would help me move up another “level” in racing. I’ve got two items crossed off already: I am currently “shopping” a few chiropractor, and with help from some former colleagues, I got a membership to the kick-assingest gyms in Chicago (slight bias there). This morning marked my first swim workout in years. Which, as you can see, I was thrilled about.

Flatterning picture, isn't it?

Flattering picture, isn’t it?

I’m running this Sunday in Palos (First Midwest Half Marathon). Back in March I was planning on a PR effort, and to break 1:30, however, it appears I can’t maintain my marathon pace (so certainly not Half pace) for more than a mile without some pain, so I’ll be running just to soak up the environment, and the energy.

*AB

“…Hopkinton…will be a lovefest such as running has never seen…”

That (title), an edited quote from Amby Burfoot’s brief article on the Runner’s World website today. There are many great pieces being published on the internet every hour, and I still find myself devouring every one. This one holds tremendous weight because as Amby (who won the Boston Marathon in 1968, and is editor-at-large for Runner’s World Magazine) points out, that this was not an attack on runners, it was an attack on people congregating in celebration on the public sidewalks of a major city.

boston strong

We runners tend to wax poetic about training, racing, and the running community. It’s usually a practice that is embraced only by our training partners and our closest and most loyal supporters, those who (with an occasional sigh or roll of the eyes) put up with our bizarre habits, constant self-criticism, and tireless sense of betterment.

If runners are a sub-culture, then Boston Marathon runners and spectators, are a fiercely close and loyal family. One of my training buddies, and closest friends, was at work in Chicago when everything went to chaos on Monday, she was there with us last year, and she felt the floor drop away until she knew we were all safe. She described her feelings on Tuesday as I think a lot of us feel, like someone broke into our homes when we were sleeping, and took everything.

The following quote was part of a status update on The Science of Sport’s Facebook page on Tuesday:

“I believe the price of admission into running self-selects people who can hear an explosion at the end of a gruelling test of endurance, turn and keep on running straight into the debris with no regard for safety or trembling legs. Images like this will be the outcome of this barbaric act, and it will unite runners in their common qualities of courage and perseverance”

-from a FaceBook follower, Quill McWilliams

I’m already grateful we took a very last-minute group picture as we were leaving the athletes village on Monday morning.

Village 2013

The weather on Monday was beautiful, and a lot of people posted new PR’s. We didn’t feel exactly right doing it, but we sheepishly took a few photos when we were able leave our meet-up spot on Monday evening. We had to be strategic to not have Metro SWAT officers (agents?) in the photos.

AB and Susana Boston 2013

I’m sharing these pictures because like everything else, they come with so many conflicting emotions. It’s impossible to know what is appropriate, what is selfish, what is helpful, what is normal, what is an overreaction…

You try to focus on work or other things you’d normally do three days after a marathon and you feel guilty for not keeping vigilant watch over your friends, family, and the news. Then, you turn to tracking all the news and social media, and you feel guilty for not doing work, or whatever else needs to be seen to. You get compulsively anger when people crack a simple joke, and you’re angry at yourself when you laugh.

At this point things are moving very fast, and yet very slow. For those wanting to help it is my thought that the best thing you can do is contribute to The One Fund Boston. Information here. Don’t buy items on eBay that say they’ll contribute, and don’t donate to any other grassroots efforts, not because they’re a definite scam, but because they might be, and because the charity business can be tricky and even with the purest of intentions, sometimes money doesn’t go where it’s intended.

On the other side of this, there are going to be a lot of people who need medical and mental health services, not to mention things that are long-term such as prosthetics and other technologies. Knowing the running community as intimately as I do, and having taken so much from it in just the past two years, I have every confidence that those directly harmed in Monday’s inexorable and despicable act will want for nothing, because they have millions of runners behind them, and there is not a more driven population anywhere.

Every year (for the past 25 yrs) the BAA offers somewhere around 2,500 entries to charity runners. The Boston Marathon event raises more than 16 million US dollars for a variety of charities. Something I haven’t heard echoed in the media yet, is that many of the runners who were halted from finishing, were there as charity entrants, and each had raised a minimum of $4,000. It was these runners for whom the crowds on Boylston street were cheering.

Just chew on that for a minute.

There really isn’t much beyond the symbolic gestures of support that we can do right now, but we  can contribute funds so that the victims of Monday’s tragedy, our biggest fans, our family, want for nothing, and feel as loved and cared for as I did on Monday afternoon, both as congratulatory messages poured in first, and then as panicked inquiries came soon after.

Adidas is producing shirts , they are the official partner of the BAA and proceeds of the shirts will go to The One Fund Boston. Click on the image to purchase a shirt from Adidas. (it appears they are selling out, I’d bet they do another production round)

all boston shirts

New Balance has announced they’ll donate from sales of this year’s Boston limited edition shoe.

NB One Fund

Running stores all over the country are holding “Runners for Boston” events on Monday evening, the 22nd, and they will all be either taking cash donations, selling shirts and donating the proceeds, or both.

I’ll be at the Fleet Feet Old Town event in Chicago. Click here for information.

Also here is more information on ways to show your support for Boston.

Or, of course, you can go to www.onefundboston.org and make a cash donation.

*AB

A Few Things for You

Here are a few points of (self) interest for you to kill a few minutes with:

Tomorrow (Saturday) I am going to try to recapture my best 10k to date. I don’t even know why, but I love this course. Probably because when I ran it last year it was the best I’d ever felt during a 10k, but also, loop courses appeal to me. At the short distances anyway, I suppose a 3 mile loop would suck if it were a marathon.

fastcat

You can read about last years race here.

Since I can’t resist posting hilariously ugly race pictures of myself here is my submission for the photo-challenge day number 11: PAIN

#PAIN

I’m sure I could have made a 10×10 collage. But I think this will suffice.

The day before that, day 10, the theme was “SWEAT”. I have to say, the upside to the endless cold weather we’re having is that I can get away with re-wearing my running clothes between washings far more often than usual.

But, there is something great about being soaked through and wrung out at the end of a hard run:

#SWEAT

This picture is from last August, I ran a “redemption” trail 10k in San Antonio to make up for one the week prior where I DNF’ed. You can read about that here.

Today (day 13) the theme was tricky: MOTIVATE. As a behaviorist by trade, I tend to employ many different motivation tricks to get myself to do all sorts of things. But when it comes to keeping my head in the marathon training game, I keep reminders of my goal race within eyesight and arms reach all the time. Here’s the central piece of decoration in my office:

Way back on day 9: DISTANCE, I made this (excuse the typo).

Ever since I started getting fast enough to find myself typically running with more men than women during races, I’ve also had several annoying and unnerving experiences of male-runners who get pissed when a woman passes them. It’s infantile, and bigoted, and yet happens just about once per race. I believe that athletes should be treated with respect, regardless of their sex. Fortunately, here in Chicago, and the United States, that’s the typical experience, but it’s a shockingly recent development, and one that women not too far away do not yet know. 
*AB

Who accidentally runs 20 miles?

The answer, apparently, is me. I do that. I run 20 miles in one day, 4 days after a planned 20 miler, 2.5 weeks out from my biggest goal marathon of the year. I wish I could say that it was no-big-deal, that I often run twice a day and have that kind of mileage, but I don’t. Not yet anyway.

We (work peeps) are trying to organize a 5k to incorporate into an existing annual fundraiser for the agency I work for (Garden Center Services), so on Tuesday I planned to go scout out the course. What was supposed to be an easy 3mi run and a short break in the workday, turned into an 8mi shuffle into the Twilight Zone.

First, it grew to a 6mi run so that my running buddy Meredith could join me. But we couldn’t figure out where the course was supposed to be. Then, we saw some trippy birds that we thought weren’t real, or had escaped from some stoners bedroom.

We saw a flock of about a dozen and they were shockingly green. Then a mile or so later, I realized that we were not where I thought we were. At all. We were about 3 miles from there, and in a totally different direction. I decided that we’d clearly discovered a wormhole in Burbank Illinois, and on one side live Monk Parakeets. Because, I have a spectacularly infallible sense of direction. You can trust me on this, don’t ask around.

Conclusion: from now on I’m going to refer to Meredith as “Alice”, as in, “Shit, Alice, I think we fell into the rabbit hole again”.

This is Meredith: expert running buddy, scientist, coach, serious love affair with running.

This is Meredith: heretofore known as “Alice”

I had a series of miserable runs last week, and finally hit my pace targets again  for a tempo workout on Tuesday morning. So by the end of our misadventure, I had logged 20 miles for the day. Crap.

Instead of facing another speed workout alone on Thursday I decided to join the Boston Bound training group at Fleet Feet on Wednesday evening. 10×800 repeats. My legs felt like maybe the heaviest they ever have but after easing in for the first two I ran the rest all between 3:01 and 3:06. So a nice clean session. I think. Actually, I have no idea. But I was glad to be done with a solid workout.

I don’t really have a sound point for this post. Just felt like reaching out and saying:

HURRY UP APRIL 15TH!!!

*AB