After a humid 2 days this week – we finally had some cooler weather in Connecticut this past week- Yeah!
However that also meant a very chilly Saturday morning long run where I was “ forced” to don a light long sleeve shirt and capris. Nothing too crazy as
In terms of my body – I am still working through some IT Band tightness and hamstring discomfort but making a conscious effort to get whatever treatment I can up through race day.
In terms of fun – Mark and I took our once-yearly trip to Red Lobster for All You Can Eat Shrimp. I failed to take any pictures as I was shoveling ALL THE SHRIMP into my mouth. This meal was definitely not the healthiest BUT since we only go once a year (and realize when we are done eating why we only go once a year) it’s totally worth it. AND the “crappy” run that I expected the next morning did not really happen so is the secret to a healthy GI tract copious amounts of fried shrimp…maybe.
Mark and I also participated in the 40th Annual Apple Harvest 5k with some long-time friends of ours. It was a fun “race” that I ran in my trainers (since I have no “chill”) and a great way to check another town in Connecticut I’ve run in off my list.
Other than that – I am keeping my fingers crossed that this second infusion of Entivyo will start kicking this flare out of my body. In the meantime – I am “cutting” more things from my diet in an attempt to calm everything down. This week – the majority of vegetables (except for celery and peeled/deseeded cucumbers), palm oil – in my Justin’s peanut butter :(, crystal light drops, and the flavor packets in my rice and couscous have taken the hit. My new food mantra is “if it’s not white, it’s not right (for my stomach). Stay tuned.
And now without further ado…
Marine Corps Marathon Training Log – Week Ending 10/6/19
Monday – (7 miles easy)
Tuesday – (8 miles easy) So humid outside but I got to see a gorgeous sunrise so it was not all bad.
Wednesday – (3mile WU; 15x1m @ 7:03; CD) Pretty pleased at how this workout went as I hit almost all of my paces.
Thursday – (8miles easy) After my massage last night I was sore and did not think that he really “found” all the niggles (despite my prompting). However, the run did not go so bad and I actually enjoyed the misty conditions.
Friday – (8 miles easy) -First long sleeve shirt run of the fall! Another cloudy and completely dark run. I was up at 4:30am because I had a 7am PT appointment. I was stretched, grastoned and stimulated so I am hoping that my “treatment” would do the trick.
Saturday – (3m WU; 10m Marathon pace;2m CD) – I was dreading this workout all week. BUT I put on my Big Girl pants, layered up, and headed to Sperry Park in Avon. It was 33 degrees at the start of the workout but after my warm-up I quickly shed some layers. At the 5 mile turn around I snuck a look at my watch and saw a pace of 7:50 (definitely NOT something I will be doing on race day)! WOOT! I made it back to the car, energized both from the workout and the fact that I experienced no GI distress AT ALL! Maybe running faster is tricking my GI tract to keep it together – something I will have to remember on race day – even when it gets tough.
Sunday – (5 miles easy; Apple Harvest 5k easy) – I got some early morning miles in before Mark and I headed to the Apple Harvest 5k in Southington. I ran with my friend’s daughter in her first race and had a lot of fun. She did great, and her mom texted me later that she had a great time, which made me so happy! I stretched a rolled a lot last night and dare I say my right side is feeling better?
What I’m Loving/Fascinated With This Week –
When the news brokeearlier this week about Alberto Salazar being banned for 4 years you can only imagine that I, along with many other runners, did a deep dive. I echo what track star Jenny Simpson said – he’s a cheater and cheater’s should not be allowed to compete/participate.
Here’s the article that took an in-depth look at the investigation that led to the ban.
Ummmm – I swear that the first day of fall was this past Monday but judging from the temps when I woke up (HELLO mid-60s) the weather felt more like late June. Let’s hope that mother nature gets her act together on October 27th for the Marine Corps Marathon
As I mentioned last week, I was in a bit of a funk. The mind of a runner can get to some dark places (and not only during a race) & mine did just that last weekend. It’s not just my UC not cooperating BUT I have been dealing with some right-sided running-related “niggles”.
From a tight piriformis, some off & on shin splints to IT & hamstring issues – I feel like a hot mess. Luckily this is not my first rodeo, so I made appointments with my trusty massage therapist, chiropractor, AND my orthopedist. The orthopedic appointment was just a safety measure to make sure my self-diagnosis was accurate, & give me with a referral physical therapy for some additional massage, electrical stimulation and what not (gotta love health insurance).
The massage was long overdue and well worth it. I swear I’m lucky to have Family Massage Therapy on speed dial. Richard Testa has many years of experience, and works with a lot of area runners – I definitely recommend him if you are looking for a good sports massage. He was able to work on my “hot” spots and give me some stretches to do at home.
I finally got up the “courage” to tell coach on Thursday -as I had a quality workout scheduled for Friday. His advice (as I knew he would) was to literally “shut it down” and let my body have a bit of rest. Honestly, I know it’s for the best – no need to have the niggle turn into a full-blown injury (as I have experienced in the past- but I hate that it’s less than one month until the Marine Corps Marathon for something like this to pop up.
So – I am freaking out a bit (as one does) about my fitness. Thankfully – Coach reassured me that I am not going to lose any fitness and at this point, it’s about making healthy decisions than getting in “all the miles.”
I also went to see my orthopedic at Orthopedic Associates of Middletown on Friday, and he confirmed my self-diagnosis. He gave me a PT referral (YES) and some topical NSAID cream as my UC makes it impossible to take anything oral without causing me problems. He also said to “shut it down for a week”, which as you can tell my reading below I did not. Running was shut down for 48 hours, but I headed out on Sunday morning for some easy miles to see how I felt.
And lastly – I had my second infusion (also on Friday – a really busy day). It was a pretty uneventful appointment, although I did feel a bit tired and achy over the weekend.
That’s not to say that I did not have some fun this weekend as Mark and I went with my co-worker and friend Meghan and her boyfriend Will to Links At the Yard. It helped confirm that I will never be on the LPGA but it was fun none the less.
So with less than 30 days to go – here’s how the workouts shook out.
Marine Corps Marathon Training Log – Week Ending 9/29/19
Monday – (7.79miles easy)
Tuesday – (7.53 easy) SO I was scheduled for hill work today but the workout was scratched as it would have definitely made my hamstring angry!
Wednesday – (8 miles easy)
Thursday – (5miles) This run (even with the cool morning temps) felt so clunky and it was then that I made the decision to let Coach know what was going on. The decision was to “shut it down” and let my body rest – no need turning a niggle into a full-blown injury. Needless to say – I turned into a very sad runner that evening (Sorry Mark :))
Friday – REST DAY aka Foam Roll Friday or Shut it Down Friday
Saturday – REST DAY but I did walk Harley for some exercise 🙂
Sunday – (5miles easy) My IT band and Hamstring were taped and it felt better than it did last week. I was not trying to push the pace – just get back out there and get some easy Sunday morning miles.
What’s I’m Loving This Week
This article in Billboard about one of my FAVORITE groups Vampire Weekend.
I have a fascination about what elite runner’s eat to fuel their training so this article in Runner’s World was right up my alley
Can we just all agree that the Yacht Rock Radio Station on Sirius XM is one of the best stations on their platform? I love jamming out to whatever song is playing.
Usually when I run I am a “hot mess” in terms of matching BUT for important races I try and look like I have my shit together. SO I have started to put my race day kit together – which will definitely include a Gymwarp, my Koala Clip for my phone and a colorful Pomchies to keep my hair out of my face.
This week training for the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon has brought me my second 20 miler of this training cycle, a couple of days of managing my running and Harley, and getting a little bit frustrated/down in the dumps about my illness.
Running wise I am handling the marathon mileage as well as can be expected. Mark and I are taking a Yoga for Runners class on Sunday evenings which has helped and I have been religious about going to the chiropractor to stay “aligned”. Some niggles have started to pop up in my right IT band and shin but I have been managing it by stretching/rolling and doing my PT exercises.
As for how training for a marathon with an active IBD has been going – it has its good days and bad days. I had hoped that the first infusion of Entivyo would be the fix that made all my problems go away but alas that has not been the case. There are good days and bad days, but at this point I need more good than bad.
I am managing it the best I can and trying to have a positive attitude but in all honesty, IT SUCKS! I trying to do what I need to do and I just want my body to cooperate. It’s frustrating. No one really understands what I am going through or honestly asks me how I am doing or how I feel about heading into this marathon if I can’t get my GI to calm down.
To be honest – mental doubt has started creeping in. Some days I wonder why I am still training and whether I can actually run the Marine Corps Marathon to the best of my ability while still dealing with this literal crap.
I have another infusion this week, and I am hopeful that I just need a couple under my belt before I start feeling better ( at least that is what I have read).
I am not throwing in the towel – so without further ado…
Monday (7miles easy) – Not sure what was going on this morning but I was not feeling this run. Maybe it was DOMS from Saturday but I felt clunky and my right shin got really tight. Luckily I was able to head to the chiropractor after work (as well as some foam rolling and stretching throughout the day to hopefully relieve the soreness).
Tuesday (Quality Session – 1x35minutes at threshold (7:39); 4min rest; 6x30sec (6:39) – Coach labeled this in the notes as a “Big Session” which always makes me nervous. On top of that I was up uber early as Mark left for his annual Golf trip – so that meant I did not even get to see the sunrise – BOO!
Wednesday/Thursday/Friday – (7.5 miles + dog walk x2) – With Mark in PA for his golf trip, my mornings for the rest of the week were very organized (leaving little room for futzing around). Up at 4:30 am to run, which left me just enough time to get back, take Harley on his walk, and make it work on time (with a quick stop at Starbucks). Luckily the weather cooperated a bit too much with temps dipping down to the 40s – meaning a quick scramble to dig up gloves, headband and jacket. It definitely woke me up but I am so not ready to start adding layers!
Saturday (20miles easy) – So if your Garmin dies during your 20 miler does the run still count??? That was dilemma that I faced on Saturday. I charged everything I needed EXCEPT my watch – rookie mistake! Luckily I mapped out my run before I left so I know that even with a dead watch I got my 20 miles in! The run was pretty uneventful but I did have some stomach issues and that definitely upset me and caused me some concern.
I guess Central Connecticut is a bit behind on the Poke revolution that is the hot, new food trend but luckily we are catching up! By the time this post is published – Pokeworks will finally open its first Connecticut location (next to a Shake Shake no less). I had the opportunity to be one of the first to attend a private event AND my first poke bowl this week. Let me tell you I am a big fan of this fully customizable, healthy meal.
New week = New Treats in the way of Chocolate Chip Banana Bread!
Celebrating National Cheeseburger Day with a side of my homemade sweet potato fries.
What’s Entertaining Me This Week
As someone with IBD I have been limited my dairy consumption (although I do love my fro-yo and a slice of pizza now and then. As someone always looking for a cheezie alternative I have considered trying some dairy-free cheese like Daiya until I read this post from Andrew Kornfield. Really eye-opening “healthy” is not always truly healthy.
The Rich Roll Podcast with Gwen Jorgensen – This was perfect to listen to during my long run. Loved hearing that she has realized that more is not better and to look at the bigger picture. Improvement happens on a daily basis and to look at the bigger picture. I have to keep that in mind as my Marine Corps Marathon Training continues.
Koala Clip Lux Pre-Order – This might be one of my favorite running products, especially I don’t like to wear a lot of “stuff” during my runs. It’s survived every type of weather condition imaginable, AND on top of that Mark feels a bit better now that I have a phone on me. I am loving the Brillant Feathers color and might have to purchase this one so I have “options”.
We are getting down to the nitty-gritty of training for the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon – this week I saw my highest mileage EVER come across my Vdot AND my first EVER 20 miler while being coached by McKirdy Trained. I knew the key to keeping myself as loose as possible was quality rest, healthy fueling, and a lot of rolling/stretching.
The weather has been cooperating over the past week or so and I was lucky that the weather continued this week – especially on Saturday where I was able to complete my workout under cool and cloudy conditions.
Also – my health insurance finally got their SHIT together and approved my doctor’s request to undergo Intivio injections to treat my Ulcerative Colitis!!! It also comes on the heels of having some good (i.e. poop-free) runs. Things seem to be coming together at this the right time (*knocks on wood*).
I had my first infusion of Entyvio on Wednesday and I am hoping (fingers crossed) that this is what I need to start feeling more like myself.
So without further ado.
Monday – (7 miles easy) I did not want to get up this morning. A combination of yesterday’s “race” and falling back asleep right before my alarm went off at 5am made for a rough start. I got out and was rewarded with a gorgeous sunrise (which of course I forgot to capture).
Tuesday – (8 miles easy plus striders) I really felt some DOMS this morning e even with my Sunday Yoga Class and an appointment with my chiropractor yesterday. However – pace did not suck (9:02). The only downside – my streak of poopless runs (3) ended. BOO!
Wednesday – (2m WU; 8x1m @ 7:39; 1m CD) I had to chuckle as Coach’s notes for this work out was that I could do it on the track (YES) but to “not push the pace”. Also – I have done mile repeats before but 8 – that was a new one for me. But as I stated on the ol’ IG – we are getting down to the wire and each Quality Session is important. So head down and headphones on – I hit the track and came away with some confidence-boosting mileage (7:35; 7:26 (oops); 7:38; 7:31; 7:34; 7:26 (oops); 7:33; 7:40).
Thursday -(7.63 miles)
Friday – (7.77 miles) Cool weather and speedy feet for the win. I had to get up early(er) than usual to get my run in and take Harley for his morning constitutional as Mark was out of town.
Saturday (5mile WU; 8m @marathon; 1.5m jog; 4.5m @marathon; CD =20 miles) WOW. Just wow. I have been with McKirdy Trained since James started and he has never given me a 20 miler as his philosophy is more a time on feet/quality workout mentality than the general “you have to run a 20 miler in marathon training” mentality. AND even though I ran 20 miles – notice was not an “easy” run – there was definitely “work” in the workout. I headed to Sperry Park in Avon – the perfect location to lay down this workout. Fueling is getting better (up to 3 gels!). I did have some stomach issues but at least it was not during the workout portion of the run.
Sunday (5.75) After feeling super sore before I went to bed last night, I woke up well-rested (guess that is what 10 hours of sleep will do) and not really that sore.
When I saw my workouts and mileage for the week I knew that I needed to be fueled properly. So I whipped up not only some Mini Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (which have become my go-to mid-day snack) and some Pumpkin Blender Bread.
Upping mileage has also meant upping calories – something I am still working on. I sometimes get pulled in a couple of different directions at work, and before I know it I have missed my “snack” window. So I have been trying to “front-load” calories in the morning by making sure I a fairly substantial breakfast (right get to work) and mid-morning snack with a fair amount of carbs and fat (I never have a problem getting my protein in :)). It has been a learning curve as I have always been the person to “save” breakfast until 10am. That does not seem to be a problem now as I am pretty “hangry” as soon as I turn my computer on.
I’ve also been upping my carbs throughout every meal – it’s been super helpful and I know one of the reasons why my run went well on Saturday. I will continue this for the rest of this training cycle as I have been told “barring any weird injury” my mileage is going remain in the mid-60’s (which as I write this excites me – I have never put in a 60-mile week let alone a string of them).
I know going forward I am going to have to keep up this increased food fueling so that my body keeps doing what it needs to do to get me to the start line.
What’s I’m Reading This Week
Fast Women Newsletter – I am a big fan of the Rambling Runner PodCast and he recently had on Alison the author behind the Fast Women Newsletter. If you love running, especially Women’s Professional Running, I highly recommend subscribing to this weekly newsletter
Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way To Victory (Deena Kastor) – I am so excited to start reading this book that I just got from the local library! Deena is one of my favorite female runners, so I can’t wait to see what knowledge she drops in her autobiography.
Although I did not blog about it – the last “race” I ran was the UCONN Health Half Marathon back in June. A combination of dealing with my father’s health (and subsequent passing) as well as this damn Ulcerative Colitis Flare has made me wary of signing up for any races. To be honest I was scared of being out of my comfort zone (i.e. racing on a route where the port a potty situation might be less than ideal).
BUT that doesn’t mean that running has taken a back seat. On the contrary – I am still training for the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon and averaging between 50-55 miles per week.
Last week I had a 17 miler with some marathon miles thrown in. My pace was pretty spot on considering the terrain BUT the best part…no GI issues!!!
With that boost of confidence (I might have cried a bit in the parking lot afterwards), I set out to see if I could use this weeks Long Run/Quality session to “jump” into the race. My thoughts behind this were 1) I miss participating in organized running events (i.e . running with other people) and 2) I need to start mimicking race day to figure out what what works for me in terms of fueling before, during and after the run.
I got the OK from coach and proceeded to do something that I rarely do – pay a lot of money to get up at 4:30am and drive to Rhode Island .
The Warm Up
The night before the race went pretty smoothly – I had my standard pre-long run meal (Steamed Triple Delight – no broccoli, non spicy garlic sauce on the side, white rice, & Wonton Soup (with some crispy noodles). Bed time was 9am and before I knew it the alarm went off.
Heading out for my drive to Rhode Island I had a plain toasted bagel with spray butter and a banana. Of note – this is completely different from my standard pre-race oatmeal, and I never thought I would be that “pre-race bagel gal” but it’s been working thus far and I don’t want to jinx it.
Once I arrived and picked up my bib, I headed out for a 2 mile warm up, quickly headed back to the car for a shoe change, stood in line for the port a potties, chomped on some Honey Stinger gummies, said a prayer to the pooping gods, and headed to the start.
A slightly cool breeze, temps in the mid-50s, and just enough sun – I could not have asked for better weather this morning.
Sooooo – the workout (as written) was a 2 mile warm up (done); 7 miles at marathon pace (8:10); 1.5 mile jog; 4 miles at marathon pace; 2 mile cool down.
I started between the 1:40 and 1:50 pace group and once we were “off” I started getting concerned that people started passing me. I felt like I was going at a good clip and a quick look at my watch after mile 1 revealed a pace of 7:45 – ooops but to be honest I felt good. I figured that I would slow down but after mile 2 and 3 the paces were pretty similar to mile 1.
It was not what Coach had written but I felt good and made the decision to see if I could hold the pace. The weather was cooperating and my body was cooperating (something that has been rare this training cycle) so I plowed ahead.
I came upon mile 7 and thought I slowed down – the two times I checked my watch it said 8:20 so I held on to the pace – what I did not account for was the down hills where I sped up. This lead to an average pace of 8:10 – my marathon pace! I also checked out during my “jog” and before I knew it the 9 mile marker was upon me. CRAP!
So – I ran the remaining 5 miles as another marathon block and although I AGAIN did not run the pace at marathon pace – it was pretty close to my first 7 mile block.
Fueling also went well – it’s still a work in progress to get the adequate number Honey Stinger gels necessary down – but I still have time to work on that.
Another bonus – 4th in my AG – not bad for running the race as a “workout”.
The Cool Down
Needless to say – I was pretty stoked about not only my time but how I felt. Although my right IT band was not very happy at the end, I still felt that I had gas in the tank – a feeling that I have only recently been able to experience.
However – no sooner had I saved my workout and started to head out for my cooldown then I was reminded by Coach that although I had a solid workout – it was not the one that was written 😉 BUSTED.
As he said – “You have no chill” – which might be true 🙂 but I was happy with my effort, the fact that my pace was consistent, AND as opposed to the other 2 halves I have run this year – today I felt well fueled from start to finish.
And for me, at this moment about 1 month and 15 days or so from the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon – it’s all about these little victories which I hope will compound come October 27th!
Guys -last week was as some would say “a week” – a week where posting something on Instagram would probably not give the full picture, so I figured it was time to dust off the ol’ Blog update everyone (including myself) as to where I am in life & the pursuit of running the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon on October 27th – which I just realized is almost 60 days away. EEK!
So as many of you know – I gained automatic entry into the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon by running the MCM 17.75km race back in March (post). Although I did not have the marathon I was hoping for in 2018 at Marine Corps – I really loved the race and wanted that to be my focus for the rest of the year.
Things were going great – I ran a great Spring Half at Cheshire (recap) and a pretty good race at the Amica Iron Horse Half (recap). However, what not many people knew was that also during that time I was dealing with some life stresses with my dad’s health that probably took more of a toll on my mental well being then I realized at the time.
In June I was out for a morning run when all of a sudden (out of nowhere really) I got a familiar feeling in my stomach and gut area. Luckily, I was by a school with a port a potty and made it there in the nick of time.
At the time I did not think anything of it – I mean what runner hasn’t had a similar situation. BUT it was not an isolated incident and the signs, symptoms and problems that I dealt with last year started rearing their ugly head again.
Yup – my Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is back, and back with a vengence.
So it was back to Connecticut GI where, after several attempts to calm my UC with the medication that worked last year failed, I was put on a “short Prednisone” regimen. I had heard the horror stories about being on this medication but if it meant that the inflammation and all the other “good” things that come along with a UC flare could be calmed I was willing to try it.
Well it did not work – but I was still running and doing the workouts (to the best of my ability) all throughout it. Luckily this was happening during the summer and luckily I live near some schools and parks – so my running routes could be adjusted easily.
Quality session were relegated to the local track because I knew that it was a sure bet that I would always have to stop at some point due to cramps, nausea or something else.
I also changed my diet – a trial and error effort that I am still working on, and added a ton of vitamins. People marvel at my “self-control” but little do they know it’s not really a choice per se. I really hate it when people tell me what to “not” eat or drink – little do they know how much I have cut out.
This summer has had it’s challenges to be sure – any where I went I always had to be cognizant of what I ate, when I ate it and where the closest bathroom was. Definitely not ideal when you are visiting friends, camping, or sharing a house with 20 other people, but somehow I dealt with it.
Before I left for vacation in July I had a follow-up with my GI doctor, who after I explained that the short Prednisone dosage did not really do anything, told me to up the dose (right now I am on 40mg per day) to see if that would help my symptoms.
Well I am hear to tell you that it has not – so after expressing my frustration (yes I have their office on speed dial) – I was finally cleared for a colonoscopy (almost a year to the day I had it last).
I will spare you the details on the prep – luckily it was Sunday when I did mine but I at least got some answers. My UC is “mild to moderate”, worse then it was this time last year, BUT the biopsies came back benign. The only hiccup my doctor said was that the polyps that he saw were further up the colon then last time “opening the door” to the possibility that I might have Chrone’s – FML.
So – with all this information (and the fact that all this Prednisone I am consuming daily is not working) I will be hopefully (with Health Insurance approval) be starting a biologic within the next couple of weeks. Although until then I have to remain on my current medication regimen.
It’s definitely not where I thought I would be in my marathon training.
I have definitely been frustrated a lot this week. Mainly just mad at my body for fighting me, as I try my hardest to fight back.
I know there is a mind-body connection and I definitely think the stress of my dad’s illness and ultimate passing in July might have lead to the recurrence of my UC but ENOUGH ALREADY.
I JUST WANT SOME OF MY RUNS TO BE BORING.
I am tired of having to prepare for my run and be cognizant of where I am running and when I get that “feeling” in my gut because I know what is coming.
I have been pretty positive throughout this but this week I might have cried a bit during one of my workouts – keep showing up is great and all but I would rather just not have to show up with bathroom supplies – It’s just embarrassing.
So that’s where I am – I refuse to give up and will make it to the 2019 MCM. My body just needs to start cooperating and hopefully once the infusions start I can start feeling more like myself again.
I like to get up and out the door before my body realizes what I am about to put it through. That is the god’s honest truth. There are times when my snooze alarm gets the best of me and I end up on a lunchtime or after work run – but they never feel as good to me as getting it done before (or during) a good sunrise.
BUT that being said – when I recently had the opportunity for a complimentary entry to the Johnson Brunetti Twilight 5K to benefit Camp Courant on a recent Friday evening I could not pass it up. A good cause and a “quick 5k” to shock my legs (coach’s words not mine) are enough to get my competitive juices flowing.
However – life stress took center stage in the days leading up to the race, so Coach said that I should just “run by feel” and not by pace. No sense in trying to put more stress on my body and possibly injuring myself.
The Warm Up
After work on Friday – I headed home for a quick change, grabbed a snack and headed to the Camp Courant for packet pick up. I googled “Camp Courant” and took me on a very nice scenic drive from my house to the camp. I am slightly ashamed to say that I had never been to the Camp and until the race did not know all the good work that Camp Courant does in the community.
Did you know that Camp Courant is a free summer day camp for Hartford children located in Farmington, CT? I had heard rumblings here and there on social media but until I showed up on Friday evening I had no idea the extent that the camp goes to in order to give underprivileged children a chance to just be kids for a week, which I can imagine is no small feat.
Having picked up my bid and a very cool race t-shirt – I headed back to my car to drop off my swag, do some warm-up minutes, chat with a good friend who I had not seen in ages and head to the start line.
Now before the actual race part of this post begins – let me preface it and say that the temperature on this Friday evening was in the 70s which might not mean much BUT consider the fact that I was running in gloves, a jacket (and maybe a hat) on Monday – so I knew that the heat was probably going to be a factor in this 5k.
After a very cute (and inspiring) Kids Fun Run – I mean don’t we all wish we could just run with no regard for pace and distance – the 5k participants lined up.
I cranked my music and headed out – not being sure what to expect on the course except to have overheard it was “pretty flat”. Now being from Connecticut, I should know that “pretty flat” means “not that flat” or “rolling hills” and that is pretty much what that course was.
I pulled an “Anne” and lined up in the back but quickly made my way up to the front – making sure my pace felt “uncomfortable” but not unbearable. What made it unbearable – running directly into the sun BUT I had on my stylish Goodr sunglasses and a visor so I was able to see in front of me.
There was a water stop but at that point I was in the “why did I sign up for a 5k headspace” and knew that a water stop would be more time on the course so I by passed it (However, thanks to the volunteers for the cheers and hi-fives).
The course looped around and then we headed back to the start – which was completely fine with me. They through in one more small loop (up a hill which I did not appreciate) and then back to the start (which was now the finish) and much appreciated water.
And then it was time for reality – what did my trusty Garmin say?
HAZAAH!!! It was not a PR BUT I have not seen that time (or pace for a 5k) in well over 5 years. It was a testament that my hard work is working and that I might possibly be getting faster.
Suffice to say that I think everyone was able to re-carb and re-energize after their race.
And then – the wait…
I love races and running fast but it seems that I am always one of the first to arrive (I love a good parking spot) and also one of the last to leave. However, I was able to use that time to catch up with some friends that I had not seen in a while.
Finally, the awards ceremony where I was presented with a very gorgeous engraved tulip glass for being 1st in my AG (40-49). Not bad for a bit of “work” after work.
So that’s that – my 2nd 5k of 2019 and a better showing than the last one I ran in March (see my recap here).
Special thanks to Bird Social Media for the complimentary race and introducing me to not only this 5k that I will be putting on my calendar for next year but Camp Courant and its mission.
The Greater Hartford Quarter Marathon is arguably one of my favorite Spring Races that is put on by The Hartford Track Club but it is arguably one of those races that has been held on days with notoriously memorable weather.
It’s the kind of race where those who have run it always have war stories to recount. From the years of torrential downpours to the year the wind almost blew you sideways to the year that runner’s faced almost every type of precipitation in the span of 6.6 miles – this race has had its share of challenging race conditions.
BUT – I Love this race so it’s always a no brainer to sign up for it.
The Warm Up
Of course I had a plan for this race :).
As this is a two loop course (with a twisty hill on the 2nd and 4th mile) – I was challenged to run this race by threshold EFFORT not threshold PACE.
One of the keys for me pre-race (at least for me) is parking at the MDC and not using the shuttle bus that is available for those runner’s who decide to sleep in a bit. The race is at 10am so that means I am in the parking lot and eating my oatmeal at 8am.
I was lucky that this year the weather was downright glorious. Some clouds hung overhead when I arrived but as soon as I warmed up and headed to the port-a-potty the sun came out. I ended up having to head back to my car to drop off my jacket, gloves and arm warmers and grab my sunglasses.
And then – WE WERE OFF.
I headed up and around the first “mini” hill and settled into my pace. It took me a while to find my groove but unlike the Hartford 5k I ran several weeks ago – I did not let my “slow” uphill pace be a detriment to my mental state.
Up, around two reservoirs, down a hill for the first 5k, through the finish line and back out to the course again.
It’s the second loop that gets me every year and this year was no exception. As soon as I headed through the “finish” and back out on the course again my breathing became labored and I could not catch my breath. Dark thoughts (“you can stop”, “just walk up the hill and then you can start again”) entered my mind BUT I pushed them out and focused on calming my breath.
I also started to feel nauseous so that Honey Stinger Gel that I had with me went uneaten but I held it in my hand to try and draw my attention to how I was feeling.
Pushing through the final mile I headed through the finish – definitely ready for some water and an orange slice.
The Cool Down
I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch, grabbed an orange, did a quick check of the results AND THEN finished the workout which included some short, but quick, 45 second reps.
I circled back and did a more detailed look at the results AND GUESS WHAT – I came in 5th Female OA and 1st in my AG! The race director was nice enough to give me my AG swag so that I could do my cool down and head out. BOGO makes a great hat (I have won several at this event) so I was tickled to add another one to my collection!
I have run this race at least 5 times over the past 5 years so I did more of a deep dive of my times over that period. Here is how it shook out –
LOOK MA – A PR!
My times over the years have been anything but linear – a variety of factors have been at play during that time – fitness, injury, and weather but each year I show up.
As Coach said – Faster as a Mater.
I definitely don’t look like that in my pictures (honestly I rarely take an “un-ugly” race picture) but I DEFINITELY look like I am working hard.
Also – what am I doing in this picture – I really have to work on my peace sign pose.
I could not have asked for anything more last week during The Greater Hartford Quarter Marathon. The Hartford Track Club sure knows how to put on a first-rate event from beginning to end. (and some other *cough* race directors in the area could learn a thing or two).
And if I can be honest – the weather although a welcome and pleasant surprise might have spoiled me for next year – not that I am complaining in the least because regardless the hills I will be back next year!
As I type this post, the weather is rainy and raw, but yesterday it actually felt like Spring was right around the corner! It as so nice to be outside with a hat, short sleeves and capri pants and not the multiple layers I had been wearing just several days prior.
Mark and I are gearing up for a busy week, but I did not want the weekend to end without recapping the race I ran last Sunday.
I had a great experience at last year’s Marine Corps Marathon (recap here) that I knew that I wanted it to be my fall marathon for 2019. However – I did not want to enter the lottery or go through the hassle of bib transfers in the Summer, so my only other option was to the 17.75km race to gain access to the marathon.
Basically I was running a race to run a longer race in the Fall, something only a runner would do!
That’s not to say I did not go through my share of stress as the registration website crashed while I was trying to register, but after 30 minutes of refreshing the page – I was in!
So all that remained was to book a hotel, head down to Virginia on Friday, and get up Saturday morning to run.
Here’s how it all shook out
The Warm Up
I will spare you the details but we did not roll into Dumfries, VA until almost 9pm. At that point we knew we had to get up at 4am, so we grabbed take out to bring to the hotel room. The take out (anyone ever had Halal Chinese food – me either) left so much to be desired but I was starving so I shoveled my steamed meat and veggies into my mouth and headed to bed.
The Marine Corps Marathon has the shuttle buses down to a science. Our hotel was across the street from the shuttle bus stop but luckily Mark agreed to drive us over. In no time we were at the start and huddled in a church along with many of the other 3,000 runners. We were all treated to a very outdated Marine Corps Marathon video but it helped pass the time.
I had brought my pre-race oatmeal from home, which I ate but pretty soon it was close to the 7am start time. So I trudged my way back outside (it was maybe in the 20s) to stand on line and comiserate with the other runners in line.
7am on the dot – with all of the pre-race pomp and circumstance out of the way we were off – just as the sun started to rise – making our way to Prince Williams Park.
So what I had read on some of the Facebook Groups and which turned out to be true is that the first 2.5 miles are on an unpaved trail. Couple that with the pouring rain we received the night before and it was a muddy and rocky slog. On top of that, the road was narrow and there was a lot of jostling for space.
Needless to say my pace definitely suffered – my first 2ish miles were an average of 9:30.
However – once we got on the paved part – the course opened up and I was able to start “picking off” runners and getting into a grove. At about 4.5 miles i had my first Honey Stinger gel – which got all over my gloves as i was trying to warm it up in my hand – and plowed on.
Again – I had read that the course was “challenging” and “hilly” and it was – but I plugged along and kept the pace pretty good as the miles ticked away. The course was beautiful (although I heard last year there was snow on the ground) and I tried to make sure I savored the experience. There was plenty of aid stations but other then that it is not really a spectator friendly course – so for me it was a good test of using my own determination and mental toughness to get me throughthe miles.
The course is a “loop” so that meant – another 2.5 miles of unpaved ruddy, muddy trail on the way back out of the park and to the finish to collect my medal.
I did not hit the time that Coach had put in place for me BUT I think if I had lined up in the front (a problem I need to work on) I would have been close. I was tired when I finished but had a bit more left in the tank. I finished with an 8:21 pace overall and it makes me a bit more excited to see what I can do at the Cheshire Half Marathon on April 28th.
The Cool Down
Once I crossed the finish line (and high fived the MCM mascot) I headed over to grab my medal from a marine (which is nothing cooler), take a couple of post-race photos, grab some food and head to the shuttle bus back to the hotel to shower and relax.
We had a great day in Fredericksber, watching basketball and drinking beer but Sunday came way too soon. I love running in VA and the surrounding area but driving back and forth basically takes up the entire day, so it was Take-Out and Netflix when we returned home.
I had until Tuesday to use my “Access Granted” link to enter the race, so I made sure I did it before I went to bed. Monday afternoon – I received my “Confirmation” e-mail ensuring that I would be part of the Class of 2019.
Excited to see where my training the Summer will take me – 10 months to go!
Another Friday – Another Finish Line Friday Recap!
Last Sunday, I ran the O Hartford 5k in Hartford, which was actually the FIRST 5k I ever ran 10 years ago (thanks Facebook for the reminder).
Coach had finally noticed that I had put a lot of races on my calendar (whoops), which apparently did after running the Colchester Half Marathon in February SO I ran Sunday’s race as a workout. I knew this was bound to happen since I know racing EVERY weekend is not healthy. I do love the atmosphere that surrounds a race, especially since I am getting back into it this Spring, so I had no problem until I saw the workout.
The O Hartford 5k is put on by theHartford Marathon Foundation. They put on first-class events (even if their prices are a bit steep) and this race was the culmination of their 4 race St. Patrick’s Day Series.
I had not run this race in several years and knew that the course had recently changed. No longer running through the streets of Downtown Hartford, the race course now started and finished at the Colt Building – the perfect location for those wishing to grab a beer after at the Thomas Hooker Brewery at Colt.
Sunday was sunny and bright, but windy so I prepared to layer up (only to take off layers once I started running).
I loved the swag (as did Harley) and after a warm-up of 2 miles (and a quarter mile with Harley), I headed to the start line.
So the workout was supposed to be 2 x 3.1 (5k) at 7:34 with the second “loop” slightly faster.
From the start I just felt off – my head and heart were just not in the workout and it felt “tough”. As Coach said afterwards – emotions play a role in how you approach not just a race but a workout as well. Even though my pace was pretty good I hated each person that passed me.
Since I had never run the course I also did not know the “lay of the land” so each turn and step was a new experience for me.
The course was pretty flat although the hill about half way through was a b*itch to climb. I came through the finish at a 7:35 pace and got a 4-5 minute break before I had to run the course again. I fueled up with some Honey Stinger Gummies that I had with me and before I knew it I was off again.
Now I love running races but there is something to be said about running the course when everyone has finished, you are passing the sweep car, and the Hartford PD are starting to open up the streets again. (Side note – Thanks to the Hartford PD for radioing each other while I was still out there – I think that was one of the reasons why the streets remained closed until I passed)
I won’t lie, it was lonley. What felt hard during the first loop took all my energy and concentration to plug along for the second.
Finally pulled through the 2nd loop at around 7:40 – definately not faster as the workout was written.
The Cool Down
I found Mark and Harley and headed to grab some water. I also checked my time and was pleasantly surprised to find out that I placed 3rd in my age group. Yeah!
After picking up my “prize” I was supposed to do a 2 mile cool down but honestly, I was done with running for the day, so we headed home where I had the most delicious sandwich for dinner.
A few days later I had a conversation with Coach after my Quality session earlier that day also did not go as planned. He decided that the paces I have been trying to “hit” are a bit too fast for me right now and changed my Vdot.
I was a little disappointed but as Coach likes to remind me I am running better than I was in the Fall BUT you can’t outrun the fitness you’re currently at. So my paces were adjusted and to be honest – they are more doable at this stage in my training.
I just have to keep working and showing up so that someday in the future – that workout that I ran on Sunday will be a challenge but not so tough.
I’m a 44year redheaded runner- living and working in Central Connecticut with my long time loving husband (and sometimes running czar) Mark and our dog Harley.
I have always enjoyed sports but it wasn't until 11 years ago that I decided to "take up" running. Since then, running has allowed me to have some awesome adventures as well as meet some pretty cool people.
Along with running, I am also passionate about food and drink, considering myself a bit of an amateur food geek.
So I decided to start my blog to combine both of these passions by documenting my journey to balance the two - one step at a time.
So thanks for stopping by and as always - Keep Calm. Eat Well. Run Strong.