Saturday, June 16, 2012

Summer Running

This is the beginning of the fifth summer that I've been a runner. I'm 40 now, and the first summer that I ran was the summer after I turned 36. I know it's not summer yet, but it may as well be. We're past Memorial Day and the kids are out of school. Anyway...

The first three summers, I didn't run much. Heat zaps me more than anything else I can think of, even fatigue. I just have not been able to run well in the summer. Last summer was the first summer that I didn't take mostly off. Last summer, I maintained a base of about 55-60 miles with some fast, short stuff mixed in. That seemed to work well and improved my leg turnover.

This summer, I have a crazy plan. I'm planning to build my biggest base ever. I'm hoping to build up to 90-100 miles per week. I'm planning to do this with easy to moderately paced miles. I'll be running anywhere from marathon pace to 10:00 miles. I plan to double as much as possible and run at least a 20 miler every week. Then, I'll mix in some fast running closer to race season this fall. I got the idea from reading about Lydiard principles. We'll see how my body responds.

Today, I did a very hilly (no enormous hills, but the course was relentless rolling hills) 21 miler. Whew! It was brutal. I really enjoyed the hills, but I completely fell apart at 18 miles. I had absolutely nothing left and walked a lot of the last 2 miles. The road had very light traffic (that's what I was hoping for when I chose the route and time of day). I found myself wishing for a car to pass! At about 19.5 miles, I heard a car coming from behind me. I turned around and saw that it was a relatively late model mini-van. I was desperate to stop running. So, yes, I did. I stuck my thumb out. But he kept on driving by. I'm 0 for 1 in hitching a ride! It probably took me about 18 minutes to run that last mile and a half. I was done!

I just felt the need to run all of my energy out today. I succeeded.

Anyway, that's my interesting Saturday morning run story for this week.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Quick Medical Update

Since I mentioned my medical problems here earlier, I figured I should give an update. I'm no longer taking twice per day injections of Lovenox. Instead, I have switched to once per day oral pills of Coumadin. My eye has completely cleared up. We don't know if it's the blood thinner or if it just cleared up on its own. I don't know exactly how long I'll be on the blood thinner, but I won't be trail running while I'm on it. That's fine with me because I'm not a huge fan of summer trail running anyway.

This past week I've been battling chest congestion and just haven't felt like running. I took a whole week off. Today's run felt great and I'm really looking forward to getting back in the swing of things and getting a huge base for some fast fall races.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Eurocross 5k and 8k

I was on the fence for doing this race. We had a slumber party for my daughters' birthday Friday night. So, I figured I'd be very tired. But, I must say that those girls were the best behaved bunch of girls ever! I even had a ton of fun with this slumber party!

Then, I woke up at 6:00 AM or so, and a potential solution to a technical problem I've been struggling with for 3 days just popped inexplicably into my head. So, I grabbed my phone and typed up an email before I got out of bed. Then, I was feeling sick. Sore throat. Coughing up phlegm. Yuck. I thought about just not going at all. As usual, when I talk myself into running, I'm glad I did!

I rushed over to UAHuntsville to sign up for the race. I remembered how much fun this was when I did it back in 2009. I have no idea why I haven't run it for the past two years. I have this little boy inside of me who thinks silly things are funny (even bathroom humor) and who really likes mud. I love this race! After getting signed up, I jogged around a bit and saw lots of friends, some I haven't seen for a while. I knew this was going to be a good day, no matter how I ran.

The 5k
At the start line of the 5k, I was hanging with Jim Clemens and Marty Clarke. I figured both of those guys would finish ahead of me in the masters, and I was right. We had several laughs, and I wasn't quite ready to run yet. In fact, my overall pace for the 8k was faster than for the 5k. Go figure.

Now that's a game face!
At the start, I hung with Marty and Jim for most of a loop. Then, Marty put a lead on both of us. I was trying to keep them close, but I really just didn't feel it. I did really poorly on the creek crossings during the 5k. I fell at least 6 of the 10 crossings. I just struggled to find the right spot to cross. I was running 4:05 or so laps, except the last two. Again, I started to struggle at the end of the 5k. Jim stayed close to Marty. I fell behind. I just struggled. 21:06, 6th overall and 2nd (behind Jim) in the 40-44 age group.

The 8k
I only rested for about 15 minutes after the 5k. After that, I jogged around just to keep my legs loose. I did very easy jogging. Jim left after the 5k. So, that left Marty and me to battle again. I decided that I wasn't going to give up quite as easily. I still wasn't feeling great, but I was going to have fun, no matter what happened.

At the start, Marty and I ran together for most of the first loop. The young fast guys took off and I was content to let them. The first creek crossing was much shallower than I expected. I didn't even get my feet wet on this one! I made a slight move just before this crossing to lead a small pack that formed behind the fast younguns. This time, on the creek crossings, I knew what I was doing. I had my line picked out and didn't fall even once. During the last crossing on the first lap, I heard a splash right behind me. It was Rob Youngren. He passed me after exiting the water. I tried to keep him in sight, but I know that if Rob wants to beat me, Rob can beat me.

I still was watching Marty from behind. My lead seemed to be growing. Rob was also putting some distance on me. During the third lap, I had what I thought was an insurmountable lead on Marty. I passed by him as he was climbing the hill to enter the trail and I was turning toward the start/finish to begin my last lap. He said, "I'm about to start my kick, Eric!" Wiley veteran. I believed him! I ran as hard as I could early in the last lap! If he was going to kick, I was going to kick, too. When I started the last creek crossing and I noticed that Mary hadn't even entered the creek for the second crossing yet. He suckered me!

I finished 33:41, 4th overall, and first master. Yep. This was my first ever masters win. Marty told me, "That's one in a row. That's how most streaks start!"

After the race, Rob told me that he stayed behind me in the first loop to learn where to cross the creeks because he hadn't run the 5k. I got used by two veterans today! I'm going to be learning about this sport for a long time.

Overall a great, fun day.