Friday, November 16, 2018

Conquer the Castle 25K Race Report & Training Update

I'm finally getting around to my race report for the Conquer the Castle 25K, which is a trail race that takes place in North Chagrin Reservation in Willoughby. Steve and I used to run there all the time when we lived in Mentor and Concord Township and of course we did the inaugural race, which was a 100K (for him) and a DNF for me since I only completed 50K.

Since I am just rebuilding my endurance I did not want to take on the 50k or more this year. The 25K was a good distance for me to race because it pushed me a little farther than I had gone recently but not so much I would hurt myself. I had done a trail 1/2 marathon a week before and a road half marathon a few weeks before that so this 25K was my longest run since summer I think as I have had lingering tendonitis in booth feet.

This was a tough course for Northeast Ohio standards anyways and it was a very wet course! I think my feet were wet pretty much the whole race. Luckily it was cold but not freezing. Temps were around 35-40 degrees so still warm enough for a skirt and I actually overheated and lost my armwarmers and rolled up my shirt sleeves once we got warmed up.

For the first 8 or 9 miles I just tried to keep up with Amanda Debevec, she is a strong runner and I figured she was in better shape them me right now so I held on as long as I could and it was nice chatting with her for a bit about races. Once we got to the bigger hills she took off as I ran/walked the steep sections. At that point it was back to my own race. I ended up pacing about the same as a guy in front of me for the last 4-5 miles so that worked out pretty well because I mentally just tried to stick with him.

post race with my Sir runs a lot medal!
My time goal was 2:30 and I ended up with 2:25 and change so I was happy with that and came in second female. I was also pleased to hear that Steve had a decent race, finishing in around 2:13 and third male. I like the course - the beginning 1/2 of the loop is flatter and less technical than the second half I think but it's a great loop. The 50kers do it 2 x and the 100k 4x. I was glad to have been a 25Ker this time around!

After the race Steve and I got changed and went back to pavillion to say hi to race director Eddie and some of the other people we knew. We couldn't resist the post race pizza and of course we ended up stopping by Willoughby Brewing for a peanut butter cup porter on the way home!

We were originally planning to race the Made in America 1/2 marathon again the week after Conquer the Castle but to be honest my body needed a break. I have been  rebuilding my mileage to 30-40 miles week but have been struggling with GI troubles since early October and will soon be going to visit the gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy to see what the issue is (doctor thinks it is some form of IBS but won't know exactly what it is until after the testing). I've been training as much as I can and resting or going easier on days that I feel yucky.

This week has been a little better because I have been vegan/vegetarian (no meat besides eggs and no dairy) to see how I feel and it has been an improvement. Next up it's the Akron Turkey Trot 4 miler next week - hopefully my GI cooperates (fingers crossed). Then we will probably do some sort of holiday races TBD.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Run With Scissors Trail 1/2 Marathon Race Report

I love the Run With Scissors trail race! And of course the people involved with the race. A couple of years ago I did the marathon and this year since I am rebuilding after an injury I opted for the 1/2 marathon. I think a trail half is almost the perfect distance to race on the trails because you get in a great workout but you are not totally cooked for the rest of the day/week with recovery.

Because RWS is always around Halloween a lot of people like to dress up in costumes and run including me and my husband. I dressed up as a Unicorn and he went as a creepy clown so that added to the fun and challenge of the race.

As far as the race itself I wasn't sure how it would go. I had been doing Sand Run quite a bit this fall so my hill work was certainly there but I really do not feel too speedy since I have not been doing much speedwork lately. Of course trail speed and road speed are not the same and what I really like about the trails is that you have to slow down to navigate the terrain and it's very zen because you have to pay attention and be engaged the whole time. Often in road or Towpath type races I just zone out and lock into one speed. Trails force you to fartlek and stay mentally in the race.

I enjoyed most of the course except the really muddy sections (haha) but that's part of the challenge! And of course running Pine Hollow and Ledges on the way back to the finish were challenging as well. I was pleased to finish first female in 2:11 and change - was hoping for a little faster time but on the trails on any given day you never can predict what your time will be. My husband Steve finished first as well with a time of 1:54. We celebrated afterwards with a beer at Winking Lizard of course!

Next up is Conquer the Castle 25K, also a trail race at North Chagrin Reservation this Saturday! Then we have a road 1/2 marathon the next week and will probably do the Akron Turkey Trot and maybe some kind of Christmas/New Years race to round out the year before starting the Boston Marathon training cycle!

Has fun being a Skirt Sports Unicorn this year! 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Northern Ohio 1/2 Marathon Race Report & Training Update

Last Sunday I ran the Lake Health Northern Ohio half marathon. I had originally signed up for the full but with a lack of longer runs due to a busy work schedule and injuries this summer it just wasn't in the cards. I had hoped for a decent time like 1:38-1:40 but that wasn't in the cards either. My husband (who ran the full marathon) and I both had a rough few days of GI issues leading into the race (including that morning) so I think both of us were fighting that bug off and dehydrated at the start. In addition we picked up a sweet new puppy the day before the race and he kept us up quite a bit that night. Despite my urges to stay in bed I figured I would race and see what happened.

I gave it what I had the first few miles before realizing that today would not be a good day to push myself too much. I settled in to a good aerobic pace that I would run for a marathon and resigned myself to getting in a good training run. I ended up with a 1:46 and change, still good for 2nd in the 40-44 age group (still getting used to the new AG). Frankly I was just glad it was over with and that I had dropped down to the half and managed to not have any in-race GI issues!

Steve had a rough day too and finished with a slower marathon time than he wanted but he still stuck with it and finished 3rd in his AG as well. Some days just don't go as planned and that's okay. We live to race another day! Next up we have Conquer the Castle 25K trail run at North Chagrin, which should be an ass kicker and the Made in America half marathon in Massillon and then probably the Akron Turkey Trot.

I hope to get in some solid mileage the next few weeks leading into those races but will see how it goes. I have managed to run three days in a row this week, which is moving in the right direction!

Couldn't resist the meme! 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Back to it at the Mantua Potato Stomp Race

Last Saturday was my first race since the Canal Corridor 100 debacle. I've been working through tendonitis on my outer left foot and inner right ankle all summer. Fortunately I love cycling and have spent a lot of quality time with my new bikes this season! My running has ranged from 20-40 miles a week, which is much lower than last year but needed to help rest those pesky tendons. I've also been going in for physical therapy with Dr. Tim Pavlak of Physio Performance for the last couple of months for dry needling, graston and ART. I think all of this has helped tremendously.

I wasn't sure how I would perform in a 9 mile, hilly race. I had been doing some shorter speed sessions but nothing really under a 7-min pace as I've been nervous about the feet. The first couple of miles of this race are very fast so I was sub-7 for that and then the hills really start in mile 3 so my pace fluctuated between 7:15-7:50 for most of those miles. Fortunately I did not feel any pain in my feet just the normal exersion pain from racing! I remember fading hard in this same race last year but I felt very strong for this finish and beat my time from last year by about 90 seconds, finishing in 1:07:17 (7:29/avg). My secret goal was to break 7:30 so I am very pleased on such a challenging course. I placed 4th female so won $25 and was first in the 40-49AG. This was also my first race in the new AG!

Steve also raced and had a good time almost breaking an hour so he won the 50-59AG. It was nice to see some of our running friends from NERC and beyond out there.

Now in the aftermath I am having some left foot pain again so I went in for PT Tuesday and will be cross training more this week. I hope this is just a temporary setback and that I will be healthy to race Northern Ohio on October 7. I am debating dropping down to the half but will decide closer to race day based on how my body feels. The real goal now is to be healthy for Boston 2019 since I registered this week!

Prerace trying to stay warm and dry!

Coming in for the finish - happy to get out of that rain!

Friday, August 3, 2018

Canal Corridor 100 err 50 & Training Update

After Canal Corridor 100 on July 7th I've been working through a couple muscular injuries that led to some foot pain especially in my left - but also in my right foot as well. Going into the race I was admittedly fatigued after running Charlevoix Marathon and Eagle up 50 within 4 weeks before. I didn't feel too bad at the start line or for the first hour or two but by 10-15 miles my feet were achy and I had a tight right quad so I knew I was in trouble. I took some ibuprofen at the 20 mile mark and headed back to Lock 3 from the first turn-around at St. Helena.

I hit the 50K mark right around 5 hours and hit lock 3 around 6.5 hours but was really hurting and didn't want to go back out there. MY friend Rich that was doing timing convinced me to get back out there after a good 30 minute or so break to eat, change, go to the bathroom, etc. I knew when I started back up it would not be pretty. I made it a couple miles then started walking and at 45.5 I turned around along with Steve and headed back in. It was a slow hobble back in and we called it a day with 51 miles. I was very sore and hungry so we went to get food at the Barley House with our friends Leslie and Larry that were planning to help crew for us. Some days just don't end how you think they will.

Fastforward to four weeks later and I am still fighting off the injuries so it's safe to say I did the right thing at CC100. I have been fortunately riding my bike a lot and was able to run 20 miles including a 13 mile run last week. I went in to Dr. Tim Pavlik in Cuyahoga Falls this week for some dry-needling, graston and ART. That seems to be helping. He wants me to try to get 30 miles in this week and increase my long run to 15 miles so we'll see how that goes.

In all honesty, there's been so much going on in my life and I've been so busy that a break from running hasn't been as bad as I thought it was. Although my race didn't go well, I welcomed a beautiful baby niece Lylah Anne who I adore, rekindled my love of biking with a new roadie and got some stuff done around the house like painting our patio!

I hope to be back to racing in a month or so - if my body is ready. If not, I'll wait longer because my next A-race is Boston 2019! I need to be healthy and ready to start a heavy training cycle in mid to late December for that.

Me with Lylah :)

My new bike Penny Lane

Summer patio living!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Charlevoix Marathon Race Report & CC100 Update!

It's hard to believe that I'll be running the Canal Corridor 100 miler again this week for the second time! But first here's a quick update on my last hard training run/race, which was the Charlevoix Marathon in Charlevoix, Michigan. I had run this race back in 2015 while I was on my first BQ quest and while I had come up a little short then - I had a better time this year and another BQ!

Prerace pic
This race was a real confidence builder for me because I just felt awful most of the race since it was only two weeks after racing my first 50 miler at Eagle Up.  I went out with the 3:30 pace group but just couldn't quite keep up after mile 5 or so. Uh-oh this was going to be a long, hard morning. And it was! The rain started too after about an hour of running and pretty much continued throughout. I was a soaking wet, sore, unhappy girl but I was determined to not let myself fall apart. Even if I couldn't do 3:30 I thought I could still break 3:40. This became my mission and I just pushed through despite some pretty tight glutes and hamstrings.

I felt like I needed this hard run to prep for the Canal Corridor race in two more weeks. This was my last hard effort. I finished in 3:38 and change for my third BQ since April 29! I was excited to finish and get changed into dry clothes. It was a bonus to find out that I was 2nd in the 35-39 AG (this was my last 26.2 in this category since I am 40 in August).

Someone looks happy!
The real exiting part of the day was my husband Steve's PR of 3:12 and change! And another BQ for him as well as an NYC marathon qualifying time! I am super proud of his hard work and have no idea how he accomplished that on such tired legs! I think he will have a great marathon season after another 100 and some rest!

Of course we went out to celebrate at a little pub right by the finish and enjoyed some hard earned food and IPAs!

Glad that was done! Cheers!

Saturday we'll both be running the Canal Corridor 100 (my second time with this race and the hubby's first). I'm hoping this course is a little easier on me this time around and that I arrive at the start healthy unlike last year. I also hope Steve has an easier time than BR100. Right now I am just tapering and keeping my fingers crossed for decent weather! Send me strong, healthy vibes this week you guys!!

How cute is this?

Beautiful area!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Eagle Up Ultra 50 Mile Race Report

Last Saturday I ran my first 50 miler. I had no idea going into it how it would feel since the only other time I ran 50 miles was in my 100 miler last summer. Since I am once again running the Canal Corridor 100 miler on July 7 I thought that running the Eagle Up 50 miler would be an ideal training run for me. I hope that it will better prepare me for this year's 100. My expectations for Eagle Up were low key and I did not put a lot of pressure on myself. That is one of the things I like most about ultras and ultrarunners - generally the races and people are easy going with these longer distances. It makes sense because a lot can happen with your body in 50 or 100+ miles plus some days you feel better than others so you just go into it with a flexible mindset.

race start I'm the pink skirt left side :)
I lined up Saturday with a goal of trying to maintain 9-10 minute miles for as much of the race as possible. Most of my miles were between 9:15-10 minutes so right on target. Of course stopping at the aid station added a little time to each loop. The course was setup in a 5 mile loop consisting of about 2.5 on the Towpath and 2.5 on another trail just like the towpath. I actually really liked this setup. The loops went very fast for me mentally.

After the first loop I ate a Honeystinger waffle and just dropped off my water bottle. After the second loop I also ate a Honeystinger waffle and picked up my water bottle again. By the end of the third loop I had to stop and use the porta potty and I also hit up the aid station for some pbj and watermelon. After the 4th loop (20 miles) and 5th loop I also hit the aid station for similar fare. During my 6th loop I felt like crap having some cramps and just decided to walk for a while to see if it would pass. I debated dropping down to 50k but figured I could at minimum walk a lap and see if it passed. I walked the first half of the loop (2.5 miles) and decided to run again following the aid station. I felt much better! From there on out I walked about 1/2 mile after each 5 mile loop to give my body a little break. This worked well because by mile 40 (start of 9th loop) I could grab a slice of cheese pizza and walk while I ate it.

All smiles for most of the race anyways!
I felt really good the last couple of loops and was super excited near the end when the guy who was winning the 100 miler told me that I was likely first female in the 50 miler! It had not dawned on me that I could finish first because there are people running 50k, the relay, 50 miles, 100k, 100 miles so it was hard to know where I was in the race. That gave me a little boost and I pushed on to finish the race in 8:44:44 (10:28 avg). I think if my 6th loop was better I may have finished closer to 8:30 but I was pretty excited to finish and also to learn from the timers that I was indeed first female in the 50 mile race! :) P.S. The Skirt Sports Lioness Skirt in Holiday print was a big success as probably at least 20 people said "Love that skirt" to me!

My friend and fellow Skirt Sports ambassador Mary had came to cheer and drop off some goodies she picked up from me at the Skirt Sports store in Colorado so it was nice to see her there at the finish as well as my hubby who also ran the 50 miler and was technically first in the 50 miler too so that was awesome! We ate some food and had a couple of beers/ciders before heading home for a much needed shower!

Weather wise it ended up being a pretty mild, cloudy day for the first 4-5 hours with some off and on rain the back few hours but it was manageable. The race vibe was fabulous - so many people cheering and great volunteers and also made some new running friends from all around while running and chatting. The race swag included a nice women's fit tech tee and goodie bag along with a 50 mile medal. I would highly recommend this race! It would be a great first ultra or great for a PR at any distance. I am thinking I will run this again next year although not sure what distance - perhaps the 50 again or the 100K. I guess I have time to think it over.

My recovery this week is on schedule. I took a few days off of running and got in 4 miles yesterday morning, which went fine. I've been walking a lot of miles and doing some cycling. Next up is the Charlevoix Marathon next Saturday in Michigan. It's a great small-town marathon. Another marathon PR right now may be too lofty of a goal but I'll see how I feel that day and run accordingly. I will get in a good training run and have some fun to say the least!

Finally two weeks later is the Canal Corridor 100 again (eek)! I hope to start healthier this year and take some hours off of my time as well as have some fun! This year my husband is running it also so it will be fun to see him out there on the course! After the 100 I am taking a summer break to rest and cross train more and will start ramping up for fall races when I'm ready. I have some ideas about what I'd like to do but plan to allow myself more recovery time this year.

Post race with my speedy husband!

Post race with my Skirt Sister Mary!

Hard earned adult beverage. MMM!