Monday, September 30, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing!

Well all the desperate pleas for help to figure out how to handle a major creek crossing and also my shoe dliemma apparently were for no reason! We received an email listing pertinent information regarding the Blues Cruise 50K. The email was sent to everyone registered however I feel like it was almost written personally for me ;-p It said that there will be NO CREEK CROSSING and also there was a section about shoes. It said that it is not very technical of a course so we should feel comfortable wearing whatever shoes we want, any shoe even road ones will be fine. Of course I received this email after carefully contemplating what I was going to do and already making up my mind. So while that basically solved my problem of course Emir had to bring up issues with my decisions. Once I found out about the elimination of the creek crossing and that any shoe should be fine, I had decided to wear my old Virattas that are ready for retirement. I figured one last good outing to send them out on a high note and if they get torn up on the trail, no big deal. However, now my wonderful husband has pointed out to me that they already have some tears in the top layer and if they start to come apart in the middle of the race it could become a real problem. I do have a brand new pair of Virattas with only a few miles on them but I am NOT risking any damage to them since I definitely want them for NYCM and Philly marathon. So I'm back to going to with my Mizuno waveriders. They are getting ready for retirement but they are in good shape and a nice sturdy shoe that can handle a trail. So that's the end of that saga for now....

So we are down to 1 week until race day! I'm getting pretty excited even though the Blues Cruise 50K isn't really our #1 priority this fall. I LOVE getting out on really long runs especially races. The whole atmosphere is just so much fun and also at this point, it's a day where Emir and I get to spend time alone together (well if you don't count the hundreds or thousands of other runners). Let's call it adult time ;-) Anyway unlike long training runs, we get to run together, encourage each other and just spend quality time together. It's hard to put it all into words, bottom line is, no matter what, it will be a great day and we will spend the whole day together without interuption :-)

Us in the BOB post family 10miler
Like I said last post, lately runs have been going well. Last Sunday for my 20 miler, I kinda mixed together a few different routes and meshed them to make 20. It was fun and I was able to make one big loop leaving and returning to my house. The first 13-14 miles consisted of a lot of flat but some rolling hills. My last 6-7 miles were all very challenging hills. By the time I was done, my legs were sore and I was tired but it still felt good. My 10 mile mid week run I incorporated alot of hillwork as well so I was feeling a bit sore Thursday. So I decided since I worked my legs so hard and since the email from the Blues Cruise race director was talking about our taper, that it probably would be to my benefit to run a more flat 20 miler and 10 miler the weekend before the 50K race.  My 20 miler went ok.  My legs were having aches and pains in a lot of places.  When I got home Emir said "you wore your old Virattas?! how many miles do you have on those??"  I said well now only 430  He said "well of course you are sore, those are only made for 250, maybe 300"  Now I know they always say that about shoes but I'm never completely convinced.  However Sunday we went out together for 10 miles with both kids in the double BOB.  I wore my mizuno waveriders which also have about 400 miles on them and my legs felt really good even when pushing 60lbs of kids in the stroller. So I guess he has a point.  Some shoes really can't be worn after a certain point, maybe I should have retired them when the sides started busting open, hmmmm.  I just have a hard time retiring some of my shoes!!! Especially this particular pair since they were the ones I wore when I PR'd in the marathon and growing up in my dad's baseballcentric universe, I can be a bit superstitious.  And side note, this coming Saturday my dad will be taking batting practice at Citizen's Bank Park!  I am SO EXCITED!  What a great weekend, watching my dad live out one of his dreams and a 50K! :-))))

So with less than a week to go to the 50K, I'm thinking I will rest a bit this week and do 3-5mile runs instead of 5-10-5.  I'm hoping my legs will thank me on Sunday!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Shoe Dilemma

So how has training been the last couple of weeks?  I had mentioned last time that I was tired and feeling sluggish. I know in my head that humidity does make a difference and that it's normal to not run as good in it but I still get disappointed by my runs. I know I shouldn't but they feel so hard and so slow. The last couple of weeks the humidity has gone away again and wow my runs have gotten exponentially better! I just feel GOOD and in my long weekend runs of 18 and 20 miles my pace was really good. It was the type of runs where you just want to keep going, not the kind when you are staring at your watch just waiting for it to hit that target amount of miles so you can stop. It has just made me feel so happy :-) I'm starting to feel like I can really beat my PR of 3:59 in the marathon, well hopefully ;-)  I'm also really proud that I am now sporting multiple blisters on my toes and a nice chafage wound under my left arm from my hydration pack.  That was totally my fault for not having it adjusted properly for the 18 miler.  But I wear my wounds proudly as they are an indicator of hard work!

So I was bored at work one day and browsing the internet.  I don't want you to get the wrong idea that I often don't have much to do at work because really it's quite the opposite but currently I have a student so the last hour or so of the day I am just waiting for him to finish documentation so I can read it and sign it.  Anyway I decided to look at the Blues Cruise 50K website since we are running it in 2 weeks! I've been so focused on trying to PR at NYCM or Philly that I kind of almost forgot about this race. So I wanted to read about it and get myself pumped up. Emir is the one who signed us up for this race because being the IT man that he is, he is on the computer way more than me especially at work. He seems to know everything about everything that is out there on the internet especially when it comes to running and races. He's always so full of the details etc about things that usually I just trust him and what he says. I don't have time nor do I usually care to read all the minutia ;-) I mean that's why I have him, right? So anyway I'm reading the course description and I come across this just casually in the middle of the paragraph:

 "Mile 19 Major stream crossing. Stream is about 55 feet wide and water is usually knee deep"

  My first reaction was " what?!"

My second reaction was "Emir probably told me this while he was blabbing endlessly about the details of the race last month but I wasn't listening as usual. hmmmm should I ask him if he knows about this stream crossing??"

  Of course I'm used to being scolded for not listening so I went ahead and sent the email "Did you know there is a major stream crossing in the 50K??" The reply back "No!!! where did you see that?!" Me: "Ummm the race website. I can't believe you didn't notice that!"

HAHA I had to give him grief for missing that SMALL detail as he always gets on my case about not noticing the details about things. Anyway after the initial shock wore off, I am actually pretty excited to have an added adventure thrown into this race. I love getting wet and dirty, makes things even more fun. But now we have some logistical issues to figure out. The race people are kind enough to have the drop bag pickup right after the stream crossing. So we can easily switch into dry socks and shoes. My issue is more which of my shoes am I ok with getting completely soaked in a stream but also ok with running almost 20 miles in? I have a bunch of shoes in my collection due to my awesome sister-in-law's help but some of them are definitely only ok for half marathon or less distance. Also this is a trail race so while I love my Saucony virratas and will do any distance on road in them, they are thin and flimsy, not good for trails. I have two pairs of trail shoes, Salomon XR Mission and Brooks Cascadia 8.  XR Mission I totally cannot do more than maybe 10ish miles in as I get HUGE blisters in the instep of my feet. I have tried several different insoles in these and nothing has completely gotten rid of this issue. At least it's better than the original insoles that tore up my feet with gaping holes after only 1-2 miles!!! The Cascadia 8's may be a possibility as I am not very attached to them so soaking them would not upset me and I did run my previous 50K in them. However I did have to stop to get my big toes taped up as they were giving me painful blisters. I could just tape my big toes up ahead of time. Then there is the issue of what shoes do I change into for the last 11 or so miles??? I definitely don't want to do my last 11 miles of a trail 50K in my flimsy virratas or Kinvara 3's, that's just asking for injury. I do have a pair of Altra Torins which while they are zero drop they do have a lot of cushion and are not even close to being as flimsy as my virratas. However, I seem to have a problem mostly with my left foot really inverting alot when I run in them. Over the course of a 10-12 mile run I usually develop some significant pain in the instep of my foot. So I don't think I want to do that and I don't think I want to risk tearing my feet up in the XR Mission's with so many other races coming up after this one. My last option is I do have a pair of Mizuno waveriders. These shoes have much more support than any of my other road shoes which is what I thought I had to have in running shoes due to my chronic left shin splint. It probably did help when I was healing from the major episode but now that I consistently wear my shin wrap and that my legs are used to the higher mileage, I have been fine using other shoes. While I originally really liked the mizunos because of the support and they were comfortable now that I have broadened my horizons to lighter shoes and 0mm shoes, I have decided they aren't my preference anymore. However I think they would be suitable for the last 11 miles of this 50K as they are supportive and they are much sturdier with thicker soles than any of my other road running shoes. Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated!!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Ultra Running has changed my life

I’m sure many would ask “why do you love ultra running you crazy, weirdo person?!?!” unless of course you are an ultra runner, then you don’t need an explanation. However, I’m going to go ahead and tell you why because I REALLY want an Ultimate Direction Scott Jurek Ultra Vest! As I have mentioned, I am a water HOG. Lately I have been trying to balance my need for LOTs of water and need for Tailwind. If I only use my hydration pack filled with Tailwind, my energy levels are good but I get so thirsty. If I only fill it with plain water, I’m not thirsty but I don’t have my fuel. So I have ended up filling my pack with plain water and carrying my handheld with a concentrated Tailwind. The Scott Jurek Ultra Vest would totally solve this problem for me! I can fill the bladder with plain water and the bottles in the front with Tailwind, seriously I NEED THIS VEST! Anyway I can win this amazing vest from the best ultra website if this blog entry gets chosen to be in the top 3 entries and ALL of you vote for me :-)

So why do I love ultra running? It’s complex yet it’s so simple. The simple answer is it makes me a better, happier person. The complex answer is explaining how. It gives me that break I need from life. I explore all different trails and paths near and far that I would have never seen. I have met many awesome, people online and in-person. I feel like I am part of special, nonjudgmental club. It gives me that sense of belonging somewhere. All of this translates into me being a better, more patient mother, wife, sister, daughter, physical therapist, co-worker and overall person. I could go on forever if there wasn’t a word limit so I’ll finish with this: Ultra running has changed my life. It has helped me lose weight, eat healthier, get stronger and be fitter. It’s also something that has deepened my relationship with my husband. It has brought a new respect and admiration by helping each other through ups/downs, seeing how far we can push ourselves. This is something we never envisioned almost 15 years ago when we met, now we couldn’t picture life without ultra running in it.

Monday, September 9, 2013

life happens but so does running

Since my last post, there have been multiple obstacles that tried to get in the way of our training runs.  A couple times it would have really been easy, actually easier just to say we will skip a run.  But if we let that trend start, there's no telling where that would lead to, not to mention the guilt, restlessness and crankiness that would ensue from missing an important training run.

First of all for the Labor Day weekend Emir and I both took off Friday and Tuesday in addition to our 3 day weekend since the kids school was closed.  We decided to spend 5 days at our condo in Wildwood.  An end of the unofficial summer vacation.  Of course being on vacation is never a reason for us to not run.  Heck, we plan our vacations around running.  Lucky for us, my sister decided to come down for a few days as well.  She agreed to watch the kids for us Saturday morning so we could run together AGAIN, second week in a row!!!  Then comes Saturday morning.  We set the alarm for 5:30 so we could be out by 6:30.  Right around 6:30 as we were about to head out, all hell breaks loose.  Una starts screaming which of course wakes up Niko.  He's crying because he doesn't want us to go run and also he's upset because he's so afraid that we will make him go back to sleep.  Have I told you how much this kid hates to sleep!?!! AHHH!!  I felt terrible!  I didn't want Cindy to have to deal with this.  But being the awesome sister and aunt that she is, she laid on the sofa with Una with a bottle and got Niko to lay on the sofa with his tablet resting watching a cartoon.  Una finished her bottle and I took her to put her back to bed that's when she threw up all over the place.  Emir and I were freaking out, "you just go!"  "No you just go!"  Thank goodness for Cindy, she intervened and said "let's clean this up and then you are both going!"  And that's what happened.  The run itself was a 16 miler.  We ran down the boardwalk to the sea wall to Ocean Drive.  We ran to about the middle of Stone Harbor and then back.  It was a fairly tough run.  It was hotter than expected also due to the fact we left about 45 minutes later than planned and it was humid.  It didn't feel great but I've definitely felt worse.  Emir says he doesn't like running at the shore because he finds it boring.  I on the other hand love it.  Just having the view of the ocean, the beach and the bay is very relaxing and makes me happy.  As I have said I'm a total beach bum.

Us on our beach in Wildwood, NJ

Sunday we should have done a 4 miler however we opted to switch that run to Monday in lieu of extra sleep.  Una woke us up at 3 AM with a fever.  Of course we were out of baby Tylenol so off I went to the CVS open 24 hours.  It was rather interesting being a sober person observing the people out and about at 3 AM ;-)

Niko at Morey's Piers
Monday and Tuesday were morning 4 milers at the shore.  It was pretty humid both days and Emir and I had to take turns going out.  They felt pretty hard.  Sunday we were at the amusement park with the kids for almost 6 hours until about 11 PM and Monday we climbed the Cape May lighthouse which was 217 steps in a sweatbox.  I think our legs were feeling it.

The lighthouse in Cape May
Wednesday was a 6 miler on the trail by our house.  I had work so Emir and I had worked out that he would drop off the kids in the morning and I would pick up so that way he could just come home and go right out for his run then I would go when he came back.  Things however did not go as planned.  I had a new student start at work so whenever I have a student chances are that I leave a bit later than usual.  But I was thinking as I left that it was no big deal because Emir was going to run first anyway.  However on my way to get the kids he called me to say that he left about 30 minutes late as well.  So he told me to get ready so I could just go run as soon as he got home.  When I went to Niko's school, it was his first day of 4 year old preschool.  He's at the same school but he changed classes and was soooooo excited.  He was showing me around for a good 10-15 minutes.  I couldn't bear to tell him no, he was grinning from ear to ear and so proud of his new classroom.  So by the time I got home with the kids and got settled to start getting ready, Emir came home.  I didn't leave for my run until after 6 which meant Emir didn't get to leave until after 7. 
Smaller trail near our house

Thursday and Friday Emir did his runs in the morning before work while I took the kids to school then I did mine after work.  Thursday was 8 miles and Friday was 4 miles.  The 4 miler we switched to Friday instead of one of the days over the weekend because I had to work both days of the weekend and we both needed to get in a 14 miler as well.  By Friday's run, I was definitely feeling pretty tired!! 

Niko and Una at Forbidden Drive Trail
Emir did his 14 miles on Saturday afternoon after I got home from work.  He said he felt really tired and the run felt really hard.  I went into my Sunday afternoon 14 miler thinking that it would probably feel a bit hard but should be better than Emir's since I had a rest day Saturday.  Boy was I wrong!!!  I felt terrible!  So tired, legs heavy and sore.  I was also having some GI issues most likely due to gorging on spicy Indian food at our friend's housewarming Saturday night (I never said I was smart!).  I had worn my hydration belt that has four bottles.  Two with plain water and two with Tailwind.  I had planned that I was going to run to the small trail near our house then head from there to the big trail known as Forbidden Drive and then come back.  Emir was out with the kids at Fort Washington State Park which you can take the little trail to in the opposite direction from Forbidden Drive.  I decided to run that direction instead so I could see them since I had been at work all day.  That route is much hilly than the one I was going to do but I wanted to see the family.  I met up with them for about 5 minutes as Una needed a nap and I needed to get moving.  Emir told me to exit the park left and then I could still go to the Forbidden Drive Trail as planned.  There was still a descent hill to exit the park but then once out, it would be some rolling hills the rest of the way.  Well for some reason I kept picturing the right hand turn in my head even though I was saying left.  So what did I do?! I turned right.  And when you turn right, it's a pretty steep hill followed by intense downhill.  Of course my mistake didn't occur to me until I hit the next cross road.  I really didn't feel like turning around immediately and having to face the intense uphill to go back in the right direction so I continued on until I hit the next major intersection and made my U-turn.  I eventually made it up the huge hill and headed in the correct direction.  By the time I hit forbidden Drive, I was exhausted and so thirsty!!!  I was practically out of water and Tailwind.  I did the calculating in my head and I knew I only needed to do 1.5 on the trail and then head home.  However I was so thirsty and only had a little water left.  I knew that there is a spot to get water at about 2.25 miles.  I knew then it would be too many miles but I didn't care, I needed water.  So that's what I did.  On the way back, I stopped running at about 14.5 miles and walked probably about a mile home.  I was so beat when I got home and my left foot has been bothering me a bit the last few weeks.  I grabbed my ice pack and fell asleep in my hammock until of course about 20-30 minutes later Niko jumped on me, the joys of children! ;-) 
Forbidden Drive

It's felt like a tough week and a half or so of training.  Maybe all the switching around didn't work out so well as far as then we ran a lot of days in a row and this week was supposed to be a down week!   But I feel like doing that is way better than skipping a bunch of runs.  Also 5 days of "vacation" at the beach, I wouldn't call relaxing or restful. Don't get me wrong, we had a great time! But not much rest is going on with a 4 year old and 16 month old.  We definitely did way more activities and were busier than an average weekend which while tons of fun took it's toll.  Of course Emir is already worrying away about the rest of training.  Starting this week, it's all up weeks through our 50K race October 6th.  Our next several weekends are as follows: 18 miler, 20 miler, 20 & 10 miler and then the 50K.  I'm sure it's going to be hard and I'm going to feel like I want to die at times but in the end I know it will be worth it and honestly even when I feel like I want to die, I'm still so happy to be running. 
I could have used more of this!!