My bucket runneth over…pt 2

The 5:30am wake-up is a little rough when that’s really only 2:30am at home, but even though I struggle for the real 5:30am every day, I had no problem with it on this trip. I had packed my favorite pancakes which I had with Cherry Coconut Almond Butter and a banana on the way to the Stacks (this is my pre long run or race day meal. always. don’t mess with what works!).

First up, the 5k. I lined up around the 12:30 pace group area with Lynn. If you read the post about my marathon, you know I’m learning that I am/need to be a selfish runner (meaning feeling ok to run my pace if there’s no specific plan with others). We had talked early on about just running with/where it felt comfortable. So, when I was feeling better than expected (and adrenaline was taking over), I went on ahead and ran solo after the first little bit. Being able to do that, guilt free, was the biggest gift ever. I’d been told…that the hills in Bethlehem were more like blueberries, and that training in Seattle would be just fine. For the record, that was a boldfaced lie. Some of those blueberries had had their Wheaties!

5k on top; 10k on bottom
Both the 5k & 10k run a similar route, starting and finishing in the same place (the half finishes there, too). The town is beautiful (founded in 1741 by a small group of Moravians), friendly and picturesque. I love churches and cemetaries, and there are plenty of both along the route/s. Running backacross the bridge over the Lehigh River was breathtaking, and something I enjoyed all three races!

I pushed at the 5k finish, a lot, because there was a kid bobbin’ & weavin’ with his dad…and I made them my mission! There was enough time between the 5k & 10k to change shirts and grab my vest & sunglasses. A bit of a drag that the vest hid my Sub30 shirt, so a few times people would cheer for other Subbers running by, then I got nothing (which only bummed me out once, when I really could have used the boost). I was really surprised though that I still felt good for the 10k. I wasn’t running any of the Hat Trick races to PR, but I was running intentionally. By the end, I was ready for my beer reward. At least I remembered to do the “Rocha” airplane over the finish line, which I’d been too focused to remember during the 5k!

After the Saturday races were finished, we napped, ate, lounged around and then went back to the Stacks for a Deena Kastor interview. Holy smokes – she’s funny, human, smart & very down to earth. We even got to get a photo with her after the half!

“I’m on my tip toes!” ~ Deena Kastor

Saturday night we all gathered for the Editor’s Dinner, with the featured speaking being none other than our “own” Ted Spiker (read his blog post about RWF here). He is a great speaker, which was good since the food was, um….not great. I had planned to save some money and grab a sandwich during the dinner, then meet up with people afterward, but an anonymous donor sponsored a few of us to join the pack. I actually feel guilty about that, because the food… oh well. Thank you, whoever you are! Anyway, the experience was wonderful, and for that I’m glad I was there. Another early-ish night for us though, we’ve got another race in the morning!

Yet another 5:30am wake-up that I had no problem with, but food didn’t really sound great, so I brought it with me. (I actually ate 1.5 pancakes while we walked to the start and while I RAN the first few miles!). Before we headed to the start though, I got a picture with Ted & Mama Canning. Not enough words in my vocabulary to express the ‘awesome’ that they are. So glad they are now friends in real life, and not just in my phone!

  
Once again, Lynn and I started together and split off not too far into the race. Within the first 2 miles, I joined Larry, Meaghan and a few others who were running a really similar pace, though they were doing intervals which I hadn’t run since April or May. Turned out, they (intervals AND the people) were exactly what I needed for this race. We met up with others along the way, some stuck, others kept going at their own pace. It was just fast enough that I was still working, but the walk breaks were enough that we could have conversations and enjoy our 2.5+ hours together. Another gift.

   

 

Sunday night… well, everyone had a very good time. Food and drinks were consumed. And, what happens at RWF, stays there. One thing I will say is that I really prefer smaller crowds.

Monday we got to sleep in – until 7am! Breakfast at the Hyatt was perfect (HUGE shout out to Jennifer, who was always there and with a smile!!!), and then a few of us headed out to flip tires, bear crawl, do some boxing, and other ‘stuff’ in the park with Ted. So. Much. Fun. I could do that kind of work out a couple times a week if I had those people to go ‘play’ with

All in all, a virtual 5k, a trail race, the Hat Trick, the tire flipping, all made for an absolutely wonderful adventure. I never thought I would be able to do ALL the races. And then, when I signed up for a marathon 2 weeks before I really didn’t think I would be able to. I thought I’d end up walking the half at the least. I was shocked at what I was able to do. It just might have been the Village. I was constantly giving Lynn grief over referring to the PacNW as “the wrong coast”, but after spending 4 days with these people and near where she grew up (she’s from Philly), I get it. These aren’t fleeting friendships. I know many of these ‘Village People’ will be in my phone & life until my last breath. My guy, who was holding down the fort at home, was not even remotely surprised when I called him afterward to say I’d done them all. In fact, he was only surprised that I was surprised! I guess he thinks I’m a badass.

And now, maybe I do, too.

Cheers!

My bucket runneth over…pt 1

I could make the Runner’s World Half & Festival race weekend recap really quick by saying it was EPIC and so much more than I could ever have dreamed. Period. Done.

  
Who am I kidding…

I used Alaska Airlines miles for this trip and because of how many/few I had, I needed to make a choice between a long layover on the way TO Pennsylvania or on the way home. For me, it was simple. I wanted non-stop on the way home so I could squeeze every last moment of fun out of this adventure. I’m glad I did it this way, but it meant arriving in Atlanta around midnight and not flying out until 7:30 the next morning. Not enough time to leave, so I camped out. Almost.

The Sub 30 Club was raising money for St Luke’s, which is the official charity of RWF, by putting on a Virtual Race Series to match up with RWF race options. For me, I won’t “double dip”, meaning run a virtual at the same time as a regular race. Just my preference. I wanted that Virtual medal though, and I wanted to do my part in donating, so I signed up for the 5k. The races had to be done between Thursday and Monday…so the Atlanta Airport was my venue. The first .3 or so miles were done with my backpack on and pulling my suitcase. In my sandals. No lockers to stash my stuff, so I headed to the far end of the D Concourse, left my bags unattended (but within sight) and started my laps. I lost count (I used MapMyRun & Charity Miles to track total distance), but I think it was 37 laps between D49 & the coffee shop. I do not recommend this. Especially in those sandals.

Sub 30 Virtual 5k

There was one security guard that was doing his own laps of the area…on his Segway, that thought I was crazy but was super friendly. Once I’d finished he let me know the other end of the concourse was a little warmer (I swear it was barely 50°). I tried to nap, but honestly, there’s just too much action going on so I ended up just waiting for 6am to come around so I could get a GIANT coffee.

 That croissant was cold and dry, but the coffee was devine. My “flatties” (running friends not able to go to RWF plus the original “Flat Bart” Yasso) kept me company until I boarded. Once I did…sleep was no problem.

My girlfriend, Lynn, picked me up in Philadelphia and passed no judgement at my incoherent sentences, lack of responses to questions asked, and practically held my hand to get me to Bethlehem (1hr 23min drive) and into our hotel room. She fluffed my pillow in the split second of time before my head hit it and I was out for an hour long power nap, before waking up to meet a couple other Slumber Party girls (there were six of us total) and heading out for food. We needed sustenance – we had a race to run in two hours!

Four in the foreground, one in the background, one not there yet
The Altra 3.8 Mile Trail Race was a bit more technical than I was expecting, or it could have been the fuzzy brain I had, so I went a little slower than I had wanted to. I had gone into this weekend thinking that of all the races, this is the one I was most looking forward to, and I would go easy on the rest. Oh, those <gosh darned> hills! I run them at home, really I do! Clearly though, not enough. By the time I saw Ted Spiker,
(founder of the Sub 30 Club) at about the last mile, I was ready to be done. Nope, another big hill, but leading up to it was the last Slumber Partier, Laurie, clapping and shouting encouragement! This is new for me and took a while to process. I created the <gosh darned> hill and made the turn toward the finish, pushing as hard as I could.
About .5 miles in on the left, finish line on the right
There were dozens of “Subbers” at the finish, cheering for each other. I didn’t have a Sub 30 shirt on so I was a bit incognito, and I was ok with that. Hello, strangers! I’m okay in small groups but big groups make me want to curl up in a corner and rock back & forth. I DID manage to go up to Dara and say hi, but you would too, because she just exudes awesome (and her pink hair is like a beacon of happiness).

With the trail run behind us, the Slumber Party crew headed back for showers before meeting up with the whole group at Steel Stacks, a great bar with live music & a hockey rink. Here I got to meet one of my first “Subber friends”, Larry, who I felt like I’d already known for years. (I also met Larry’s amazing wife, Amy, and truly wish we lived closer, even after only getting to spend snippets of time together the whole weekend. “all the good feelz”). And then, in walked Sandra and my weekend was pretty much made. She’s my push-up buddy for the 20,000 push-up challenge for 2015, and we help keep each other accountable. Her posts have gotten my sorry butt out of bed at 11pm to get mine done for the day (including just now). 

Top Left at Steel Stacks, others on Sat & Sun
 
Friday wrap up – we ate dinner, we drank a beer, we unveiled the new Sub 30 flags for people to carry during races, we went back to the room and I got a great nights sleep. Win!!! 

Part 2 (aka Saturday), coming soon!

Cheers!

Going backward was not the plan…

Last weekend was the Rock’N’Roll Portland Half Marathon. I knew going into it that I was not trying to PR, and my goal time was around 2:30 because I had a tight hamstring/IT band thing happening in my left leg. No problem, my corral was with the 2:30 pace group so I was set. Until mile 7, the Hawthorne Hill, and that moment when the pace group passed me and stole my mojo along with it. I finished in 2:39 and after a bath, a shower and then a nap, headed for home and actually felt pretty decent.

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I finished my first half in 2:17, my second in 2:30. At this rate, I should be hitting the three hour mark pretty soon – and that wasn’t really my goal!

The weekend before RnRPDX I did the Run Like A Mother 5k with Red. We ran it together last year and I felt much more prepared this year. Until the route changed, several hills, a potty stop (the line was super long before we lined up and I knew there was a bathroom just past mile 1), and it was warm and sunny (60°). Finish time was about the same as last year – but still fun. And there we medals!

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So that brings me to yesterday and the Emerald City 10k & 15k and this dumbass that signed up for the 15k the weekend after the half. I finished, my knee didn’t really hurt although my hamstrings need some time with the foam roller and a yoga video or five. My hips want a recurring date with the pool to see if that will help (I can only swim breast stroke so those froggy moves should work). And it appears that my right heel pain, that I’m in constant denial over, might possibly be Achilles related. Not. Good. Crap finish time of 1:48. 8 mins slower than the Hot Chocolate 15k which had serious hills.

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I go back and forth between feeling like a complete loser because my times should be getting better not worse, and then reminding me that this only happens when you follow the training schedule and don’t run so many freaking races so close together. And my guy reminds me that ‘I DID IT’, which is still a huge accomplishment. However, I still think I’m a Dumb Ass. In fact, maybe I’ll get that put on my shirt for my next half. In two weeks. At almost 3800′ elev, with over 1000′ elev gain (Im at about 400′ above sea level most of the time). Or maybe I will just print my emergency contact info on my shirt on big letters for the paramedics. I can save the Dumb Ass idea for RnR Seattle…two weeks later. Then I’m done. I’m purposefully taking a break and getting myself all healed up. I’m still going to do a ran a month, but they will be shorter for a while, and I’m going to pick a training plan and follow it.

Then I’ll train for RnR Vegas in November when I’m going to run the strip at night with my brother and his wife. In costume. And hopefully in decent time! I’m not going backward forever.

Are you an injured runner? Ever have a plan that you don’t follow and forget you can’t blame the plan for failing? How do you motivate yourself when the going gets super, freaking tough?

I’m grabbing a bag of frozen peas…
Cheers,
Honoré