Sunday, September 25, 2016

Oregon Fall Half Marathon

Oregon Fall Half Marathon
Racing the States
 
It's been about 1 year since my friend Kelly texted me, out of the blue, to run some fartleks with her.  When she texted me, we hadn't run together in probably 1 1/2 years, and I had been on a 2 year break, other than running 2-3 times per week, mostly 2-3 miles at a time.  Her invitation was just what I needed.  From that first day with her where I ran my fartleks at just above my slow jogging pace, it seems that the tiny bit of increase from a slow jog was enough to jolt me back into finding and returning to my love of running.  Over the past year, I have taken a super conservative route.  At first, I was conservative because I was still happy with the "non training" side of things.  As things progressed, I continued to be very conservative so that I would be sure to run injury free.   I've been EXTREMELY fortunate and I've only had 1 major injury in my "running career".  I call it major because it sidelined me for about 4-6 weeks, but it totally took me off "my game."  When I was able to return to running, I didn't have much desire to do it.  For 2 years, I ran mostly to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and out of fear of totally letting go of running. 
 
Early this year when I decided to return to the marathon, I also decided I was once again ready to up my training game.  Currently, things are going GREAT ! I'm not training near the level that I did 3 years ago (Boston 2013), but I have stepped it up to doing some speed work and I've increase my weekly mileage some.

Fast forward to Sept 10, 2016.   Early in the summer, Chad & I decided on a trip to Oregon in Sept., and immediately I knew I had to find a race.  I've decided to "Race the States" by my own rules.  I basically want to run a race, of any distance (2 miles-26.2 miles) in each of the states.  I don't know that I will ever finish this, but when I travel to a state that I have not raced, it will be a priority to find a race.

The Oregon Fall 13.1 fit into our schedule the best.  I wanted to fly to Portland on Friday, run a race on Sat. and then proceed with our vacation.  Ideally, if I was trying to PR (run a personal record), flying across the country and then racing the next day is not ideal, but I'm no longer running for PRs, and in fact, my racing is about 80% effort I would say.   I raced for so many years, at this point, I have no desire to jump my racing effort up to 100%, all out "racing."  I've thoroughly enjoyed racing at this level for a change.  It allows for a lot of freedom, and for me currently it's very enjoyable.  Perhaps one day I will return to pushing to 100%, but for now, I'm a happy, happy camper at my current level of racing. 

Friday afternoon we arrived in Portland, jumped in the rental car and headed toward Camby, OR. I wanted to find the race site.  During my research of Camby, I found a Dahlia flower farm.  It just so happens that our timing was perfect for seeing the blooming fields.


  had to share
 
After touring Swan Island Dahlia fields, we went to dinner and we arrived at the hotel for an early night in.  At dinner, I mentioned to Chad that I was very tired and flying across country and racing the next morning was going to be a challenge.  After the travels of the day, I was asleep early.  When I woke up Sat., I felt fully refreshed.  Chad delivered me to the race site.   I was so excited to escape the heat and humidity of the South.  I think it was upper 50s or lower 60s at the start.  During the race it may have been lower 70s at the end, but with the low humidity, it was nice.  The course was a rolling hills course, with the steepest hill at mile 13.  The course was in a rural area, and an agricultural area.  The race started at St. Josef's Winery, and they had grapes on the vines at the winery.





St Josef's Winery, Canby, OR

 The first several miles of the course headed the same direction (east) with mountains in the distance.  There's just something about water and mountains that's so therapeutic to me.  My favorite races are the small, rural races with beautiful scenery.  This one did not disappoint.  They capped the half marathon at 300.  There was also a 10k, but I'm not sure what the cap was for it, but the race was well organized.  The size of the race,  for this facility was great.  
 
Even after the long travel day before the race, I felt great the whole race.  In April,  I went under 2 hours for the half again (1:59), which was a new goal for this year.   My training from May until this race has been great so I was hoping,  and expecting good things, especially with good training, good temperatures, and the low humidity (I'm a HEAVY sweater, so lower humidity makes a HUGE difference for me).  I had mentioned to Chad at dinner the night before the race that if I ran GREAT in the race that I hoped to run 1:55.  I ended the race with a finish time of 1:54.  With it being a smaller race, I was able to win my age group too.  You can't really see it in the picture below, but near the bottom of the ribbon you can barely see a small blue pin.  This is the age group winner pin.  The medal also doubles as a cowboy belt in case I want to "cowboy up."

 The race shirt is one of my favorites.  They offered gender specific sizing and the ladies is v-neck which is my personal favorite.  I also love the distressed print.  

This race is the next step in my training for the St. Jude Memphis marathon in Dec.  I don't have a goal for this race because it will be 3.5 years since I've attempted this distance (Boston 2013).   With it being so long between running that distance, I kind of feel like a newbie again.  My goal is to cover the distance and decide from there if I want to do another and attempt to improve from there, or if my 26th marathon will be enough. To be continued....
 
 
 
I can not end this post without posting some of my pics from Eugene, OR - Track Town USA.  My favorite part of Eugene was Pre's Trails.  We also went to Crater Lake, and the West Coast of Oregon from Florence up to Cannon Beach. Oregon is a beautiful state !  I truly hope that I can make it back someday to see more of it.  
 





University of Oregon (U of O) - Track Town USA - had to see it !

Pre's Trail - beautiful, beautiful, beautiful !
Some other favorites from Oregon
Crater Lake, OR


near Newport, OR

Newport, OR


Ney Beach, Newport, OR

Cape Kiwanda, OR

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Runners Know But the Coffee Doesn't Care.....

Southern runners, above all others, know this time of year, if it rains in the afternoon or evening, the AM run will be extra thick and sticky (high humidity).  Runners know you should get an early start. Does the coffee care?  Does the coffee have any compassion?  NO !  The coffee holds me hostage, like a dog on a chain, until I know I MUST leave NOW, or I will not be able to run today (too hot).

When I can no longer delay, I make my break.  Unlike the dog who breaks free of his chain & bolts down the road, I take off at the slowest pace possible, ready to suffer the consequences of my AM "Coffee Capture."    It's a sweat fest, but I get it done.  (7 miles at 10:04 avg)



On my last post I mentioned the upcoming Greek Fest 5k.    I"m ending my 5th week of a 12 week 5k training plan.  My recent best time was mid April, at the Zydeco 5k in Gulf Shores (26:08).   I'm in no rush to see big jumps in speed, but I do love seeing results from my training.  It's getting hot here, but with my recent speed work, I did have a goal to go sub 26:00.  I'm talking about a goal of 25:58 would have been cool with me.

I've been doing some reading about,  and practicing "mind work."  It's given me a new and exciting focus.  With this return to "whatever happens", let's be real, I'm older now.  I don't let that get in my way, and I feel great, but at the same time, I am a realist.  At 48, I'm being extra cautious, training wise.   I truly feel the mind work will benefit me as much as the physical work this time around.  This time around, I will have self imposed limits on my training, but I think the mind work will pick up the slack.  I've come to realize for all of the HEAVY training I did in the past, if I had a weakness, it was the mind.  (ex. - slowing down at the end of workouts = slowing down at the end of races).   I've been practicing not letting myself slow down in the last part of the workouts.  I've been using mantras.  Some of my recent favorites :
 "Finish Strong", "This is Where Growth Happens",  "Maintain the Pace". 
 I'm already seeing the results from practicing this.

The Greek Fest 5k is in New Orleans.   Typically, New Orleans is flat, very few hills, but lucky me, this course was changed this year, and the new course included a hill.  Also, while waiting for the start, and warming up for the race, I realized we would be running out with the wind at our back, and the return would be into the wind.

My return to racing is a little different this time around.  Over the past 3 plus years, the few races that I've entered, I DO NOT "RACE".   I have promised myself to stay out of the "hurt zone."  For me, this has made the return more enjoyable.  In the first mile of the Greek Fest 5k, I kept reminding myself that I was going to fast, but I continued on with the wind at my back.  I realized it was going to take me to a hurt that I don't like to go to these days. (racing)  As we made the turn, hello wind.....
During the 3rd mile, I tried really hard to maintain my pace, but felt like I had fallen off.  I was running a little harder than I wanted to, but not "all out racing."  To my BIG surprise, I finished the race at 25:37.  A 31 second improvement over my recent best time in a 5k.  Excitement

Even though I'm no where near where I used to be, I still run "by the numbers."  I  thankful that I can enjoy THIS  new journey now.  Yes, it's different, yes it's slower, yes the training volume is much lower, but guess what......IT'S FUN AGAIN !    Of course, as soon as I get in the car (hubby driving home)  I HAVE TO look at my splits.  8:09 (too fast, wind at my back), 8:20 (perfect pace, & into the wind), last mile - 8:19 (finish strong, finish strong, maintain the pace, maintain the pace......)   The 3rd mile shows me the "mind work" is working it's magic.  

I'm not sure about any other 5ks this summer.  I will continue on with the 2nd half of the 5k training plan, and I may run a 5k at the end of the program but it will be HOT then (mid July), so I may be happy to end my spring racing with the Greek Fest 5k.   To be continued......

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A New Plan, A New Journey !


Soooooooo......
The Journey to Return to Fitness begins ! 

After a 3 year hiatus (basically since Boston 26.2,  2013), I'm back at it with passion, a new plan, a new journey.   It's a 3 year plan that I won't fully disclose, that part doesn't matter anyway.  The thrill for me is the journey.  I was truly blessed to run Boston 2 times, but you know what?  What was so much better than Boston was the journey to get there.  I truly mean that ! 

Jan 2016, within the first week, I decided that I would up my average mileage per week from an average in 2015 of ........ 9, that's NINE, yes, 9 miles per week average.  I decided on a goal of 20 miles per week.  So far I'm a few miles ahead of schedule.   I suppose with the higher mileage some motivation developed.  Thank you Jesus !   3 weeks ago, I started an intermediate 12 wk 5k plan. 

Actually, I really should back up to last fall.   My friend Kelly called me out of the blue.  We have been friends for many years, but we hadn't linked up for a run in over a year.   I told her I would meet her on one of her slow days.  One thing led to another,  and she invited me to run a fartlek run with her.  I hesitantly agreed.  I haven't done a lot of running and ZERO speed in 3 years.   Looking back, those few times Kelly text me have been super important in getting me going again.    Through my "running career", I've had several very important run friends that have taken me to another level.   Run friends are amazing and so important.......

So that I could coordinate with Kelly, I ask if she would share the last 4 weeks of her plan with me.  She text it to me and I started following it (somewhat), even when we didn't link up.  October 2015,  I ran a half marathon with my cousin, Laura in Mandeville, LA.  It was so fun to run with her.   We finished with a time of 2:08.   We talked, we walked while waiting on a friend, we ran, we finished the last half mile hard.   Time didn't matter at all to me, I just wanted to cover the distance and have a starting place.    This gave me a start,  and my goal was to improve.    In Dec. 2015,  I ran a 2:04 in which,  either the course was long, or I ran REALLY bad tangents, (13.3).     It doesn't matter, my only fall goal was to see small improvements,  on low mileage,  with a quality day added in sporadically.    Next, was a Feb. 2016 race in Greenville, MS, the MS River half.  It was Valentine's weekend, so what better way to celebrate my love than with a weekend away and a run?  Perfection for this gal!  I finished this one in 2:00 which was my exact goal for the day.   I was pumped with the finish time because the first 7+ miles was into a strong headwind (25 degree windchill), a little break for a mile or 2, and then back into the wind to the finish.   I run my best in this type of cold, but I can do without the wind.  My next, and final half of the spring,  was April 2nd.   The Rise & Shine half in Hattiesburg.  My goal was to go sub 2:00.  I ended up 1:59.   Breaking the 2 hour mark was an important hurdle for me.  Super excited to finish the spring with this time.  

I always run by the numbers.  At this point, it doesn't matter to me that my times are dramatically slower than my former run self.  I'm just thrilled to be back in the game, on the journey, and loving seeing some gains. 

Knowing I was ending my half season, I took a couple easy weeks and then was inspired to focus on some speed for a while.   I'm not a natural speed runner, and it takes a LONG time for me to develop any type of speed.  I've lost all of it from what I had built for 10+ years of intense training.  I'm currently in my 3rd week of the 12 week program.  I can't even explain how happy I am to be back on "a journey" again   So far, I two 5k times -  26:22- the Tomato Fest 5k, Chalmette, LA,  and 26:08 - the Zydeco 5k, Gulf Shores, AL.  The first 5k was just a test run, like a tempo effort, just to get a starting point.   The 2nd, my goal was to run faster than 26:22.   I won 2nd overall female in the first race, and 1st place in my age group in the 2nd race.  My next 5k will be May 27th, the Greek Fest 5k.  I will have 5 weeks of quality runs (hills and intervals) by Greek Fest.  By then, it will be hot and steamy in New Orleans, but I'm still hoping to see improvement. 

I can't even explain the level of my excitement 3 weeks in.
 I'm love'n it ! 


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Like everyone, I'm finding it hard to believe another year has come and gone.  2013 was much different for me, but the good news is that even with the June injury, and training adjustment, the year was fun and successful.

Even though my training volume was much lower, I still like to look at the numbers.   For me, it's interesting, it's relevant, it's a teaching tool.
 (I know, I know, most of you "don't do numbers" so feel free to skip ahead)

2013
Running mileage - 1240 miles
Walking mileage - 227 miles
Biking mileage - 222.5 miles
Total mileage 1689.5 miles

as a comparsion

 2012          
Run - 2012 miles
Walk - 314 miles
Bike - 125 miles
Total - 2451 miles

2011
Run - 2001.5 miles
Walk - 250 miles
Bike - 300 miles
Total - 2551.5

2010
Run - 1660 miles
Walk - 300 miles
Bike - 60 miles
Total - 2020

so you can see that my run mileage was down this year, and my total mileage was down.  Did I meet all of my 2013 goals - nope, sure didn't,  but here's the thing, I'm totally cool with my year.  This is what I managed to accomplish.

March was the highlight of the year:
* my highest mileage in a week at age 45 - 80 miles  - March  (makes me smile)
*highest monthly mileage -  280 miles - March (another smile)
*5k PR - March - (22:49 at age 44)
* "found my limit" (see below) and with that,  * "found satisfaction"
*1/2 marathon PR @ the Mercedes half marathon, Birmingham, AL on hills :) :)  (1:43:55)

I also had a few other non-running related achievements in 2013
*I've been "processed sugar free" for several months (yes, including the holidays,  & yes including long run - gel free)
*with the lower run mileage, I'm not "starving" all of the time and have found that I have been able to improve my diet again.    Because of some family history, and concerns with some lab work earlier this year, I'm doing a low grain diet.  I've already seen improvement in the lab results so I think I'm on the right track,  but I'm not totally convinced about all of the "wheat-free - no grains hoopla", so the jury is still out on this part of the equation, for me.
The good news is,  I don't have to question the "sugar" part.  I know without a doubt, it's toxic and HIGHLY addictive.  I'm proud that I've been able to get this part under control.  Success ! 

continuing looking back.........
In April,  I ran my 2nd, and possibly my last (never say never) Boston marathon.
Before Boston 2013, and now months after it, I think 2 Boston marathons will be enough for me.  I improved my Boston course time,  2013 I finished Boston at 3:57.  In 2010, I ran 4:08. 

After Boston, I took 3 weeks off from running. 
May 6th was my first run, post-Boston
June 6th - injured.  I've been calling it "my first run injury", but in looking back, I'm not sure if it was running related or not.  I had one leg that was 1 1/2 inches longer than the other, which eventually caused hip and back issues.  
Is this caused by running?
Was it the high mileage in 2012, and peak mileage in March 2013?
or was it from a non-running fall that happened back in the fall of 2009?
I have no idea......


If you look at the top of my blog, you see this:

"THERE ARE LIMITS TO WHAT THE HUMAN BODY CAN ENDURE.... GO FIND THEM! " (NB adv)

Whether the injury was "run related" or not, I think I've found my limit.  It's actually weird, in that, prior to the injury, for YEARS, I had a tremendous passion for intense training.  You can see it in my yearly run mileage above.  Each year, I wanted to do more,  to go faster.  I wanted to see how far I could go, and what I could do.    For years, I was injury free, and continued to test my limits.  It was FUN, it was my passion!   During the time of my injury, not realizing it at the time, I began to find satisfaction with my running.  I started back running and have come back REALLY, really slowly.  I've used the Maffetone heart rate as a guide, but haven't fully implemented it to do the testing etc.  My goal with doing MAF was to come back in a healthy,  reserved way.

I've been back at it for months now, but my drive and desire to train at that level have not returned.    I've lost most of the speed that I worked so hard to build over the past 2 years.  Did I gain anything ?  I would say yes !
 I think I've found peace and satisfaction with my running.   

 Now,  I would say I'm more of a "free runner".  Please do not misunderstand.  I loved the intensity that I maintained for years, but I'm thrilled that I've found low key running fun too.  I truly didn't think I would EVER enjoy low key running, but I do, "so far."  Tomorrow this may change,  and I may find a renewed passion for training hard, but for now, I'm chilling.  I thought I would quickly get bored with the "free, low-key, no plan running", but so far I haven't. 

A Look AHead - 

tomorrow I leave to go on a girls trip to South Carolina to run a half marathon.
 will I be racing ?  - ha ha ha - 
am I in shape to race?  ha ha ha
am I in shape to cover the distance and enjoy the day and road trip - oh yeah !

I'm taking this year as it comes......
if I want to continue easy running, I will
if I decide I miss "really training" - I will train
until then,
 I'm living in the moment, and enjoying where I'm at today.
I wish the same for you!
Happy Running 2014 - whatever that is for you.  









Saturday, December 7, 2013

this will shock you

As a recovering marathon addict/junkie, I think my new favorite distance is the 15k.  WHAT????
If you know me, you know I have been addicted to the Marathon since my first one in Dec. 2003.    I've been chasing PRs at that distance since that very first one and FAR exceeded my expectations of what I would ever achieve.  Makes me smile even today.

Fast forward to 2013 - ran my 2nd Boston 26.2 in April, an injury in June, and a SUPER SLOW come back .

I've been on a new training plan recently.
**run if I want to, don't if I don't = about 3-4 days of running per wk, about 20-25 miles per wk
**zero speed work up until the last 2 wks, which was 1 day both weeks
**get the long run up to 11-14 range to be able to jump into some half marathons whenever I want,  during the winter
**not "all out racing" at any race - more like tempo pace and focusing on keeping my heart rate down

It's been FUN !  It's been different, for sure,  but I'm learning to love the relaxed state of my racing, or my "NOT racing" racing.

Racing Updates
Nov 30th -  Keeping my tradition of the "post-Thanksgiving burn", I headed to the MS Coast Marathon at the Stennis Space Center.    This year the weather was PERFECT for racing.  Not sure what the temp was at the start, but as I was traveling to the race, the car thermometer read low 30s.

My last half was a couple of weeks ago at the Houma, LA race.  The conditions that day were somewhat on the warm side and typical South LA humid air.  Needless to say, I was HAPPY to see the 30 degree reading on the car.

With both courses being flat and fast, I expected to pick up a few minutes, not based on any quality training, but solely based on the better weather conditions.  Like most people, I run much better in the cold air.  Oddly, I ended up running the exact same time, 1:55.  I did pick up a few seconds per mile "pace wise" because I ran the Houma course a little short (13.0 for 8:52 avg) and at Stennis, I ended the day with 13.15 for 8:46 avg.  I wasn't disappointed with the result, but it was just an odd thing for me, considering the much improved running weather at Stennis.

Back to my new favorite:
Dec. 7th - Missions in Motion 15k - today I headed over to Petal, MS to run a 15k.  Petal is known for some challenging hills.  I wanted to go and run it because I will be running a half marathon in Jan that will be hilly.  It's in Travelers Rest, SC.  I'm totally excited about it because I will be traveling with some local friends AND.....wait for it.....     wait for it........

if it works out, I think I will finally get to me my friend Lindsay, over at "Chasing the Kenyans"
Super Excited about THAT !  In addition to that, one of my local friends who moved to NC may end up running it too.  I haven't seen him since he moved away.

Good things ahead in Jan 2014

back to today -
with the temps in the low 40s this morning, I was expecting a good day of running.  I wasn't sure "how" hilly the course would be, or how it would impact my time.  With little, or no experience at the 15k distance, I wasn't sure what kind of pace I could expect.    I used my 1:55 half marathon time and plugged it into the McMillan Calculator and came up with a lofty goal of 8:35 avg pace.  Remember, the calculator works based on similar course conditions.  Remember,  both of the 1:55 finish times were  on FLAT and FAST courses.   The course today was hilly, but prior to the race I mentioned to my friend, Nikki, that I would like to run 8:35.  I entered the race hoping for the best on the run through the hills.   I ended the day at a comfortable 8:36 avg pace.    I'll take that !  I ended up winning a $15 I-Tunes gift card for overall female (only because of ridiculously low turn-out, but I'll take that card ANY way I can get it).  The course meandered through some scenic country roads.  I enjoyed the 15k distance because of how easily manageable it is.  A 10k is basically like running a 5k X 2 - too fast, the half marathon is good, but the 15k distance was a perfect distance for today.  I liked being 3 miles into the race and thinking I only have 6 miles to go.  Nice ! 

My next race will be the Jan. 11th half.  In the mean time, I think I will throw in one speed day OR one tempo day per wk, until the race.

Simple Plan (or no plan), Small Goals - it's FUN !
I'm thankful that I am adaptable to whatever type of running that I'm doing.
One way,  or the other,  I learn to make it enjoyable.   
 I like that about ME ! 


Sunday, November 17, 2013

. . . . . because I can



thoughts of Terrod


Yesterday I ran a half marathon in South Louisiana.    As I was driving to South LA Fri afternoon, I stopped in Slidell to visit Nikki and Terrod.  On May 2, 2013, our local running club was hosting a fundraiser for the Boston bombing victims.  Terrod was participating in the run when he collapsed on the course.   



"Terrod Jackson was participating in a memorial run for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing on May 2, 2013 in Hattiesburg, MS. He collapsed about 2.5 miles into the run. Fellow runners initiated CPR and Terrod was quickly transported to Forrest General Hospital. He spent 4 weeks in ICU at Forrest General and another 5 weeks at Regency, a long term acute care facility in Hattiesburg.
On June 11, 2013 Terrod was transferred to Touro Infirmary in New Orleans, LA. During his 13 weeks at Touro, Terrod participated in intense therapy which allowed great progress to be made. The family was informed in the earlier weeks that Terrod would never be able to breathe on his own (trach removed July15), talk (July 24), or walk (September 20).
On October 16, Terrod had a Baclofen pump implanted to help with his tone, pain, and muscle spasticity. The next day he moved to Trinity Neurological Rehab Center in Slidell, LA. Since arriving at Trinity, Terrod continues to make progress both physically and cognitively. He is able to communicate, but has impairment to his memories and often becomes frustrated because he can not adequately express himself.
There has been research conducted in hyperbaric therapy among brain injury patients to help improve cognitive and physical abilities. The idea behind hyperbaric therapy is that anoxic brain injuries are caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. They hyperbaric chamber is designed to increase the standard oxygen pressure which would cause over-oxygenate the brain and help revive the brain tissue. Hyperbaric therapy for brain injury patients is still in the research phase and there is no documented research showing that it does or does not improve cognitive functioning. Trinity has a hyperbaric chamber and the staff reports great improvement in brain injury patients who undergo hyperbaric therapy.
Since there is no documented data with brain injuries, insurance will not cover the costs of therapy unless it is used for wound care. Hyperbaric therapy includes 20-40 "dives" costing approximately $200 per dive. The family wishes for Terrod to participate in hyperbaric therapy, but is unable to afford it without the assistance of insurance. This fundraiser is to assist the family in paying for the therapy.
Terrod is a Computer Technician at Oak Grove Middle School in Hattiesburg and is also a Technical Sergeant in the Mississippi Air National Guard serving in the 255th Air Control Squadron out of Gulfport."



Not knowing Nikki or Terrod, it was hard to make that first step to go and visit.  From the door of his room, as I awkwardly call out Nikki's name with a ? mark, I'm immediately at ease.   Nikki is simply amazing.  She is a sweet, supportive, and optimistic wife.  She misses her "normal" life with Terrod.  I'm amazed at her calm spirit and her faith.    There are good days and bad days, but she is staying optimistic and focusing on the future.  

I hope that you will consider making a donation to help another runner.
If you are interested in helping, please go to this page and donate
 https://www.fundraise.com/32-ten/prayers-for-terrod#donate


As I ran the race on Sat. I had no intentions of "racing" it.  I'm not in shape for that, and haven't done speed work, tempos, or much of anything more than cover 12 miles slowly, and 2-4 days a wk of slow running.  This run wasn't about racing.  I signed up with the intention of covering the distance.  Even with low expectations for "a finish time", I did hope to be able to run it under 2 hours.
As the race begins in Houma, very early on, the thought crossed my mind, "what are you doing here?"  immediately as that thought finished, my next thought was of Nikki and Terrod.  I thought about my visit with Terrod and how he would LOVE to be out on this course, just simply covering the miles.   
What are you doing here? this is the answer in my head -  "you are here "because you can" and MANY others would love to be able to do what you are doing at this moment."
From this point on, I turned my thoughts to "running happy".   A very sweet friend of mine gave me a "Run Happy" visor for my birthday this year.  I was wearing it during this race, and several times during the run, thoughts turned to the words on my visor ....  
"Run Happy"  
I did that !    My thoughts turned to being happy for great running friends, my thoughts turned Terrod and Nikki several times during the race, my thoughts turned to being grateful for my health body, my thoughts turned to enjoying the beauty of South LA,  my thoughts turned to being grateful for "showing up" today.   From that early ? in my head, the rest of the day was uplifting, motivational, and fun.  

I'll be honest, it is a "process" to let the "numbers" go.  After all,  most of my years of running have been focused on running faster, or simply "chasing PRs."  Maybe I'm done with "chasing PRs", maybe I'm not, but I'm happy that , yesterday was a breakthrough.  Yes, I can be happy, out on the course, "just running", not chasing a number.
the "red carpet" finish line.....

I finished the race at 1:55
8:52 avg pace
 I wasn't running by heart rate today, I was "just running".  I would say somewhere in between a fast "jog" and a tempo effort.  In looking at the data,  (y'all know I can't help myself - fast or slow, I'm "gonna analyze.")  I was pleased to see that I ended the day with an average heart rate of 141 which is my MAF heart rate.  (or the 180-Formula)

I haven't followed the exact Maffetone heart rate running protocol, but post-injury, most of my runs have been at my MAF zone of 140.  (since starting back in July).   In July, while running very short distances, I would need to walk to keep my heart rate in this zone.  My average paces would sometimes be as slow as 11-12 min miles.  Again, during this run, I wasn't monitoring my heart rate, but I found it interesting that I covered 13 miles at my MAF zone,  with a pace of 8:52.   Definitely, not  blazing speed, but it does reflect that I am getting in better shape, and to date, I'm improving with no quality runs, other than a couple of 5ks recently. 

I'm excited that the weather is good for running and racing now.  I'm excited that it's "race season."   I will not be "racing" as I'm accustomed to, but I'm excited to be "racing" as I'm racing now. 

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Happy Running Y'all ! 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Beautiful Sunday Run/Walk


beautiful weeds !

11 miles today,  after a 5k last night, led me to a run/walk approach.  I would say mostly running the first half, and mostly walking the 2nd half.  I'm cool with that......the most important part was that I was out enjoying an absolutely beautiful day here in the South.  Growing up, spring was my favorite season, but now, as I've aged a little, and have long ago given up my "sun goddess" ways of hours and hours of tanning at the beach, fall is my new favorite season.  

If your curious about the 5k - my slowest time in years (25:07).   So this year, I had my faster 5k ever,  and my slowest 5k in years.   1 month of injury healing(= zero fitness), followed by 3.5 months of easy running, a little yoga,  and a little gym,  and what cha get is a slow 5k.
It's the new me !   :) :) 

To get you up to date, in June, I found out that I had one leg that was 1 1/2 inches longer than the other, which created hip and back issues.  I think that has been resolved through chiropractic care,  and muscle strengthening exercises.   Soon after the injury, I had routine labs to find out I had/have low iron,  and some thyroid issues (hypothyroidism).  I have implemented some major diet changes, and the obvious low volume, low intensity training,  and my recent labs showed some improvement.   I'm working on a strict diet with hopes of avoiding meds.  It may be that I need meds eventually for the thyroid, but I want to be sure that I have tried all avenues before that step.    This will take several months, possibly 1-2 years time. 

It has occurred to me that my years of intense training have not been kind to my body.   So currently my focus in on my health.  no chasing PRs for a while.......  In "some ways", I'm enjoying the laziness of "low key" running.

this week we are predicted to have nice weather all week.  lows in the upper 40s or low 50s and highs in the low to mid 70s.  Perfect !  Happy Me !

today's photos

In my yard today - 10-21-13