The adventures of an unlikely pair. Follow us if you dare....

Friday, November 30, 2012

The One With A Squat-A-Thon

I’m hoping that everyone has forgotten about the goals I set at the beginning of this month because I really don’t care to discuss them…

I actually did pretty well as far as eating goes until Thanksgiving week and then I just lost all will power and have since kind of ignored that little goal. But tomorrow is a new day (and a new month!) and I’ll be starting fresh and eating healthy again!

And then about that finance one…well that was also a disaster thanks to a doggy ER visit the weekend after Thanksgiving…but again, tomorrow is another day.

So for December I’ve decided I won’t torture myself with goals that will more than likely fall by the way side and just try to live each day with good intentions. The only thing on my mind right now anyways is my marathon (and my legs are about 95% back to normal!! Yay!).

However (of course there’s a however) I did stumble across this awesome little challenge on Instagram last night and I thought I just had to do it. 

Who doesn’t love a good squat challenge every now and then? I knew it was meant to be the minute I saw that December 10th was a rest day, yes, yes it is a rest day for sure!

Who’s going to join me on the Squat-A-Thon this month??

*I saw this on Instagram but I copied and pasted it from Run With Jess

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The One With A Pre-Marathon Meltdown Update

I have to start off by saying thank you to everyone who commented on my post on Monday, I was having a minor meltdown and all of your comments and encouragement really made me feel better! I’m still in a little bit of meltdown mode (I may have even cried over this last night) but I am feeling a little bit better. No matter what I’ll be at that starting line on December 9th and that’s really all there is to it.

So what exactly have I done in the past few days? Well if you thought some soreness and a break from running would slow me down then you were wrong, oh so wrong! On Monday I actually spent 3 hours at the gym after work and it was exactly what I needed. I wouldn’t necessarily call the gym my ‘happy place’ but it was definitely good for my mind and soul on Monday night. I took advantage of those 3 hours and really just let myself sweat out all my angst and frustration. I spent 40 minutes on the elliptical just taking it easy but getting my blood pumping. Then I took a spin class that I really enjoyed and followed that up with BodyPump. I left the gym tired and content.

On Tuesday I went to my usual BodyPump class but I also added yoga class after that. I figured that I needed some good stretching and this seemed wise to me. I did do a mile warm-up run on the treadmill before BP because I was anxious to see how it would feel; it was painful but not horrible and I made it a whole mile, slowly that is. Yoga was great and again I left the gym feeling content.

I went home Tuesday night and spent 20 minutes icing my left hamstring because at this point this was still a minor nagging pain. After I iced I spent 40 minutes doing thorough foam rolling on my legs. My calves and inner thighs were the sorest and needed the foam rolling the most. After foam rolling I iced my hamstring for 20 more minutes.

I am still waking up most morning pretty sore and it takes me a good 20 or so minutes to get moving fully and yesterday was no exception. But I was prepared to run after work and I was anxious to get out there.  During the day I would say my legs feel around 90% better. This feeling is very odd to me because it’s not your typical muscle soreness and I definitely don’t feel injured, I just don’t feel 100%...

For my run last night I had a 4 minute tempo run set and I knew there was no way I was doing a tempo run, I wanted 4 easy miles and I would be super happy with that. I wore my compression socks in hopes that would help some. I definitely felt better on this run than I did Sunday when I tried to run and I would venture to say I felt better than I did at the Turkey Trot, but once again, I’m still not 100%. I put on DailyMile that my quads and hamstring feel 99% better, and in fact that lingering left hamstring problems seems to be fine and worked out. But oh my goodness gracious are my calves a mess! My calves were on fire most of that run, therefore my shins hurt some and I’m having this weird right ankle pain (on the outside portion). So basically if I could chop my legs off at the knees I’d be golden!

I did make it 4 whole miles in 43 minutes (better than I was hoping for and I made myself slow way down from what I wanted to run) but stopping hurt. I also know that while I managed 4 miles there is no way I could have run 26 miles with the soreness in my calves, there is just no way. I have a pretty strong will and lots of determination but I’m not an idiot.

I wore my compression socks for the rest of the evening and I even wore them to sleep in last night. I didn’t have time to ice and foam roll last night but that is going on my plans for this evening. I woke up feeling pretty stiff still and my calves are not happy. Today is a complete rest day, I have nothing planned other than foam rolling, icing and meeting with my wedding planner. I will see what tomorrow holds.

At this point I’m more confident than I was on Sunday but I’m still confused and frustrated as to what is going on with my body. I rarely, if ever get sore so these past 2 weeks have been odd for me. And like I said, the type of soreness I’m experiencing is not like the typical muscle soreness after a hard workout, this is more fatigued muscle type stuff (but what do I really know?). I feel like I’m doing everything I know to do, foam rolling like crazy, icing, compression, resting…I have no idea what else I can or should do, so mentally I am frustrated. I told Alex last night that obviously no matter what I’m going to give it my all on marathon day but I just feel so defeated because I didn’t wake up at 4:30 on countless Saturday mornings to run 10, 15, 18 and 20 miles and I didn’t run on hot days or before Bible study every Wednesday night or when I would rather sit on the couch just to reach the point where I feel like I’m less than 100% on race day. I’m so close to my goal I can reach out and touch it but this is not how I imagined it being. I’m seriously hoping that this is some weird taper business that no one ever talks about and that I’ll just magically wake up on race morning and run like a champ, but for right now I’m just riding it out and hoping for the best.

Aside from these less than stellar 2 weeks I have really appreciated the processes and grown a lot during this marathon training cycle and I don’t regret nor would I change a single thing. I’ve gotten faster and better and I feel like I’m an overall better runner because of it and if I hadn’t been training I would have never known what I was capable of. I just hope that come race day I can perform to the abilities I have been training for.

How do you deal with soreness/injury/fatigue/unwilling muscles?
And is there something to this taper thing that people aren’t telling me?

edited last minute to add that as I was about to hit the publish button this email came for me....
AHHHHH I have a bib number and everything! December 9th I'm coming for you!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The One About The Turkey Trot {2012}

This race in many ways is quite a pain and honestly there’s nothing special about it at all; there’s no medal, the distance is weird, the course is not that great and the shirts are just plain white cotton shirts. But every year I can’t help but sign up for the madness that the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot has to offer. It truly is madness in many ways, there are about 40,000 people, many families just out to walk (or stroll in my opinion) and there are kids, strollers and dogs galore; not my idea of an ideal race situation. But I come back because this race means so much to me and each year I find myself at the starting line.

Growing up my dad always did the Turkey Trot and we would wait patiently at home wondering how he did. In college I followed suit and signed up for the 5K each year with him. It was tragic each year and I was always slow and mostly had to walk, but it was still something that we were able to do together.

Two years ago the Turkey Trot was my debut race (if you can call it that, it’s not like I’m special or anything, it just is what it is); I had trained with RunOn to be able to run the 8 mile trot, something I had never thought I could do. Each year the 8 milers (this was before they decided a mass start was a good idea…) would take off and I’d watch in amazement thinking that to be able to run 8 miles was just plain awesome. I vowed someday to do that, thought I never really ever pursued that; At least not until 2 years ago.

It took me an hour and fifty-four minutes (1:54) to go 8 miles. But I did it, I accomplished a goal and so began my journey as a runner. I can honestly say that my life was changed while training for the 8 mile turkey trot 2 years ago and I will never be the same. That’s why I come back; to pay homage to my running roots.

Each year it’s more and more hectic, yet each year my dad and I find ways to be smarter that the other 40,000+ people out there. We have our usual intersection in which we park; it makes for easy start line access and quick post race departures (I'd tell you but then I would have to kill you). We learned last year that if you get up really close to the starting line, the place where all the fast people give you the once over because they know you don’t belong there, that’s the best place to be, otherwise you’ll be trampled by strollers and dogs.

Last year I ran a 5K PR because I started fast and just held on; that was probably one of the most fun Turkey Trots my dad and I have ever had. But this year I knew I wanted to stake my claim on that 8 mile race. An hour and fifty-four minutes just wasn’t ok with me, I wanted to break 90 minutes.

The past 2 years I’ve opted out of paying for chip timing (its $5 cheaper and I have my Garmin) and it works for me. However this year if you weren’t chip timed you couldn’t get as close to the start line, but you better believe we lined up right at the barriers. About 5 minutes to race time they let everyone move forward. My dad, sister, Alex and I were squished in and ready to go. I knew from experience that the first 3 miles were just brutal because there were so many people and you expend so much energy dodging the walkers and avoiding the strollers. The first 3 miles are actually pretty cool because you are running in the arts district downtown but there are too many people to really enjoy it. At mile 2 Alex told me that his shins were acting up again and he was only going to run the 5K.

I was tempted to go with him but I knew I needed to see what I could do. I wish I could tell you this course was interesting or exciting, but it’s really not, it’s actually pretty lame. Once you split from the 3 milers you run by the old court house and by the JFK memorial and around the famous reunion tower ball but then you just run across a big bridge that only seems to go uphill. Once you get off the bridge you turn around and run back. And then for added interest the last three tenths of a mile are uphill, just in case you haven’t worked hard enough. It’s a rough course.

My goal was to break 90 minutes but I was really hoping I could eek out a 1:20; however the course was much harder than I remembered and I was still feeling the effects of the Tulsa half marathon. There were so many times on this course I wanted to stop and I’m sure if I pull up my splits you can see my pace drop considerably but I didn’t stop, I wouldn’t let myself. I finished in 1:23 and I was happy with that. I definitely achieved my goal and now I have something to work towards next year.

So here’s to another year of turkey trotting! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

The One About Week 21 of Marathon Training

This week was hard for me and I’m still a bit depressed about it; to be this close to marathon day and feel tired, injured and done is not what I was hoping for. I’m not sure if my training cycle is too long at 23 weeks or if I overdid it last week while running another half marathon PR or just what but all I know is mentally I’m a mess right now. Not only do I hate missing runs but I especially hate missing them for being too sore and tired, it really makes me question my abilities and what I will be capable of come race day (which is 13 days away!!). Originally when I started this marathon plan I only had one goal and that was to make it across the finish line as a marathoner, a REAL marathoner this time. But as training progressed, as I got faster and set new PRs and saw myself improve my mind started to wonder just what I could make of December 9th. I boldly stated this past Thursday that I wanted to run my marathon in 5 hours. In my mind that’s ambitious but doable. At least it was on Thursday…

I knew after my race on Sunday that I would probably have to take it easy this week because I had not planned to PR, let alone run a 7 minute PR (by the way, my marathon time as dropped by more than 15 minutes in the last month!) but I did have the Turkey Trot planned and then I was starting my taper so I figured I would be ok.

Week 21 (Nov 19-25)
Off (BodyPump?)

BodyPump + 3.8 miles on bike

Done + 8.2 miles on bike
3 miles

8 mile Turkey Trot


12 miles

60 minute Spin class

23 miles

8 miles

On Monday night I was actually feeling pretty good so I went to BodyPump class that I don’t normally go to. 

On Tuesday I was more sore than I was on Monday but thought maybe it was from the extra BodyPump class. 

However, by Wednesday I was so sore it hurt to walk. I haven’t been sore at all during this training plan and so to be sore at the very end really threw me off. I did some miles on the bike and took Wednesday off. 

I thought Thursday’s run would help work out my legs and while it did help some I know I overdid it on Thursday.

When Friday night came around and Alex and I had spent the whole day out and on our feet I decided I would do my long run on Sunday instead. 

Still sore I decided a spin class would help loosen my muscles up; I’ve really missed spin class and I haven’t had time to take the classes because the only class I can really go to is Saturday mornings and I’m usually running, so it was nice to be able to do that class again. I felt better and wasn’t as sore, I even took an Epsom salt bath just to be sure so I thought I would be fine come Sunday morning.

After a long day and an even more stressful night that ended up being spent in the doggy ER for 3.5 hours I finally got in bed around midnight (my sweet Pippen is fine now but it made for a long night). I decided I would sleep until I woke up naturally and then head out to run. I woke up about 8:30, took my time getting ready and ate something. Finally about 9:45 I headed out the door and only made it to the end of my block; the pain and soreness was too much.

 I could have pushed myself but I know it wouldn’t have lasted for 12 miles and truth be told this close to marathon day I’d rather miss a run instead of make matters worse.

Am I freaking out? Oh yes, you better believe I’m freaking out! Not only am I less than 2 weeks to marathon day but I’ve missed a run and I honestly want nothing more than to go run just to calm my nerves, but I can’t even do that.I hate missing runs, hate it. And honestly right now I'm such a mess mentally that I could care less about marathon day, and that freaks me out too.

 After a few desperate tweets to my marathon expert I did relax a little bit. Erin told me that rest is the best thing and cross training is ok, she assured me I’ve done the work that needs to be done and I’m not going to ruin it by skipping a run.

But that leaves me rearranging my week this week so that I can make absolute sure I am well and rested and ready to run again. But this little intermission in training could not have come at a worse time – you see there’s also this little Holiday Booty Buster Challenge that I’m participating in and well we all know how competitive I am so it’s killing me to have to cut back miles and workouts. But I told myself last night that this marathon, MY MARATHON is more important than hurting myself over a contest. I am still participating and will keep my points and do my best but my focus is on taking care of myself and doing well on December 9th.

So here is what this week will hopefully look like:

Week 22 (Nov 26-Dec 2)
5 miles Spin + BodyPump
40 min tempo
3 miles?
Spin Class
10 miles
20 miles

Linking up with:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The One About Thankfulness

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope this day finds you warm and well and surrounded by loved ones. I always start my Thanksgiving day with the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot; this is a tradition that my dad and I always do together and I cannot imagine my turkey day without it.

This year I have so many things to be thankful for and I just wanted to list a few here for you all to read.

I am so blessed to have an amazing family and support system around me.

I have the pleasure of living with my mom and I am thankful every day that we are able to be roommates. I am actually sad that in May I will have to move out.

My sisters are probably the most special people in the world to me and I am so thankful that I am blessed with beautiful, hard-working, God-fearing sisters. They have been my rock for the past two years and my heart over-flows with love for them.

I am blessed to have my dad and stepmom who are so supportive and encouraging in everything that I do and I love that I can share my Thanksgiving morning run with my dad.

My grandparents are so special to me and I am blessed beyond words to have such amazing grandparents that I am close with.

I also have the most amazing aunts, uncles and cousins and while I won’t get to see many of them this year I look forward to Christmas when we can spend time together.

And my dogs, they are my family too and I am so very blessed with these sweet little creatures that love me every single day no matter what.

God truly blessed me in abundance when He brought you into my life. I am amazed every single day at the person that you are and I am so grateful that you love me and care about me the way that you do. God has taught me so much about His love for me through you and I just thank Him every day that your path crossed mine. I am excited to spend the rest of my life with you.

My job:
I am so very blessed to have such a wonderful job; it may not be my dream job and it has its ups and downs and good days and bad days but that doesn’t change the fact that I am truly thankful for my job. I am able to work with Alzheimer’s patients each day and I love being able to help people.

My church:
For the past 2 years my church home has been one of the biggest blessings in my life and I am so thankful for all the relationships I have made there and the things I have been able to do. My faith is important to me and I am so blessed to have found a place that I love so much, it makes worshiping the Lord each week that much sweeter.

I couldn’t leave this one out. Running has changed my life in so many ways and I am so blessed that I have the ability to run. The strength and confidence I have from running is beyond me and I am so grateful for this sport and for the people I have met because of it.

I have so many things to be thankful for but these are the most important things to me in my life right now. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and enjoys some rest, good food and fun.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The One About The Route 66 Half Marathon {2012}

I realized as I was getting ready to run the race this year that I never actually did a race recap on my blog from last year. I wanted to go back and see what I had said even though I was fairly certain I remembered just about every detail of this race. I loved this race pretty much from start until finish last year and for 11 months it held my half marathon PR at 2:33. I broke that PR in Columbus by running a 2:25 a month ago and I had every intention of letting that time sit for a while. Ok, that’s actually a lie, I went into Tulsa again this year secretly hoping for another PR, but I’m getting ahead of myself here…

Last year my sister Rachel was living in Tulsa so she and my mom were at the race that day.

Photos from last year

I knew Rachel had friends in Tulsa so I asked if she would like to join me for a mini road trip and some sister bonding time and of course she agreed. We left early Saturday morning and made a stop for lunch in Oklahoma City to see a couple of my college friends. I spent 2 years at Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond, OK and I have many friends that are still in the OKC area that are very dear to me. We met my friend Wendy for lunch and caught up with her and what’s going on in her life. And then we went to see my friend Lauren and her sweet 10 day old baby girl.

After our stops in OKC we headed straight to downtown Tulsa to the expo. It’s a smaller expo but I still like walking around and looking at everything they have. Packet pick-up was smooth and easy and I really like the shirts we got this year. Last year the half marathoners only got t-shirts but this year they really stepped it up with the technical shirts!

While at the expo I decided to buy “The Stick” because I always seem to find an excuse to not foam roll and I really need to do something about taking care of my muscles so I made the investment and so far seem to like it.

After the expo we headed over to Rachel’s friend’s house where we were staying the night.

Sunday morning I was up bright and early and honestly I was VERY nervous about the race. I never get nervous about races so I was really thrown off by how nervous I was. I think it was probably a combination of pressure of a previous PR and the fact that this would be the first race I didn’t have anyone with me; Rachel was just planning to drop me off and then come back at the finish line so I would be all alone.

We made it to the starting area and Rachel was able to drop me off right in front of my corral. I got there pretty early and the corral wasn’t even opened yet so I walked up and down the starting area just to keep warm. I saw some port-o-potties with no lines so I took advantage of that and went in search of a banana and some water; I found water but no banana, oh well. Last year at the start it was super cold and very windy. I remember nearly freezing to death it was that cold. This year it was cold but comfortable. I had toss away clothes on so I was ok. About 7:30 they opened the corrals and so I made one more stop in a port-o-potty (again, only 1 person in line) and then hopped in the corral. Tulsa is a smaller race and although I could never find an exact number my guess would be somewhere between 10,000-12,000 participants. There are 4 corrals and this was hands down the easiest and non-stressful starting line experience. Usually starting lines can be a pain and there are so many people and corrals are packed and lines for toilets are ridiculous…not Tulsa, it’s easy and relaxed.

Ok here’s where I tell you that even thought I was nervous and didn’t really feel up to par I still had secret hopes of a PR. I remember going into this race last year feeling really drained and tired and just saying that I wanted to have fun, then I ended up with an 8 minute PR. So on Sunday I felt much the same way I did last year, tired, drained and just wanting to have fun BUT I knew what I had done last year on those terms and I wanted to see what I could do this year. I had a number in my head that I wanted to hit (that number was 2:18) but I decided to just be conservative so I lined up smack dab in between the 2:30 pacer and the 2:20 pacer. I wasn’t entirely sure I had it in me to break 2:20 but I knew with as well as I have been running since Columbus a PR was definitely possible if I worked hard.

It didn’t take long to get to the start line but by the time I did my legs felt stiff and cold so the first mile was probably one of the most brutal miles I have ever run. I didn’t intend to go out quite as fast as I did but I was so cold and really wanted to get my legs moving. I ran the first mile in 10:47. The only hill that I remembered on this course was right at the 1 mile marker and it went up for quite a bit. I remembered quite a bit of this course but I told my mom later I didn’t actually really remember how many inclines there were in the first half of the race, I guess I blocked that out.

We are moving along and I’m in pain, serious pain. My left hamstring is screaming, my shins hurt, my right calf was tight… Those first 4 miles were hard, really hard.

Mile 2 10:51
Mile 3 10:47
Mile 4 10:35

As I was running along I tried to remember things from the previous year that would keep me moving. I remembered a weird little detour at mile 3 into a tiny cul-de-sac on a pond, I hated that area. I remembered the exact point right after that cul-de-sac where last year I had been passed by the 2:30 pacer (same lady by the way) and made the decision to try and stick with the group as long as I could. I remember the neighborhoods but I didn’t remember how many hills we climbed! I wouldn’t call this a hilly course necessarily because the second half is nearly downhill but there was just a lot of ups and downs.

At mile 4 we were going by a private school that I really liked from last year. I was still hurting but trying to slow down hurt even more and I told myself that I needed to hang on as long as I could otherwise I’d have to walk and that would hurt more.

Mile 5 was one of my favorite miles last year because we went through a nice park area and that’s where I saw my mom and Rachel last year along the course. So this year as I hit mile 5 I got a bit of a mental boost and started to feel a little bit better.

Mile 5 10:43
Mile 6 10:31
Mile 7 10:12

I got a second wind at the end of mile 5 and mile 6 I was starting to feel better and I wasn’t hurting as badly, or maybe I was just used to it, either way I started feeling better and when I hit the half way point I was relieved. At mile 6.5 I actually passed the 4:45 marathon pacer and I remember being really proud of that. Right at the beginning of mile 7 I started talking to a guy from Wisconsin and a girl from Oklahoma City; they were asking questions about the course and I was telling them what I had known from the previous year. The girl was running her first marathon and the guy was her friend and was there to support her and run with her. I was super proud of myself for being able to carry on a conversation with them for nearly a mile, it meant that I wasn’t winded and that I was actually capable of running those miles as fast as I was.

A little after mile 7 we run on Main Street for a bit and I remember really liking that portion of the race last year. Last year at this point I was just so thrilled that I was still hanging with the 2:30 pacer that I didn’t care what was going on; this year I tried to channel those same feelings of being so proud of myself.

Right at mile 8 there was a water stop and I didn’t grab water but I did grab a GU packet as we headed back out to the river. You run one mile down and then at mile 10 make a U-turn and head back up along the river until mile 13.

Mile 8 10:21
Mile 9 10:29
Mile 10 10:26

Mile 9 was almost as bad as the first 4 miles; I was running out of steam and really wanted to quit but I just couldn’t let myself stop. We were going into a headwind pretty much this whole mile and I was actually dreading the turnaround at mile 10 because I knew last year that this was the worst part for me. I took my GU packet at mile 9 and just hung on for dear life. I passed the 2:20 pacer at 9.5 and my goal at this point was to not let him pass me.

Mile 10 we hit the turn around and the wind stopped! Thank the good Lord the wind had stopped. Last year from miles 10-13 we had a head wind and coming off the river beds it was the most brutal cold I could ever remember, I was miserable. Last year I stayed with the pacer until mile 11 and then I crashed and burned so I told myself I would not let that happen this time. I could slow down but I was not going to crash and burn. However, I knew the 2:20 pacer was still behind me and there was no way I wanted him to pass me, no way!

At mile 11 my GU was starting to work and I think I was so relieved that I was almost done and there wasn’t a brutally cold headwind coming at me. I told myself I only had about 22 more minutes of running and that was nothing. Lately putting things into minutes rather than miles has helped me and encouraged me, I’m not really sure but it helps.

Mile 11 10:28
Mile 12 10:24
Mile 13 10:06
Last .20 8:54

Mile 12 and 13 were pretty much the same as 11, just running along the river looking for that cutoff. I knew that the cutoff was literally right at mile 13 so once I spotted it in the distance I just kept pushing. I knew I was about to crush my PR but I was curious just how close I could come to that number I had visualized at the starting line. I was getting closer to it but it seemed feasible.

As soon as we turned toward the park with the finish line I tried to surge to the finish but I didn’t have much of a sprint in me. My Garmin shows otherwise but I felt like I had pushed myself every mile and there wasn’t much left. But I did look down last minute and saw a 2:17 on my watch and pushed so I could make my 2:18.

I crossed the finish line, stopped my watch and looked down in complete and utter shock that I had in fact actually ran a 2:18 half. Me! I did! The girl who ran a 2:59 half for her very first half marathon, the one who struggled to hit 2:30 has just broken another PR by 7 whole minutes! I’m still kind of emotional about it.

I’m pretty sure I looked like a zombie as I grabbed my metal, a space blanket and some water and Gatorade (once again I had run through all the water stops on the course) because I was in such shock. I grab a banana and a half a bagel and ate those while I went to look for my sister. I actually couldn’t find her after walking up and down the finish area so I borrowed some nice lady’s phone and called her.

Once we were reunited she snapped a photo to send to my family and Alex and then we headed to the results tent because I wanted a print out of those results, just in case my watch was wrong, but it wasn’t. My official finish time was 2:18:30. Tulsa, you are good to me.

Needless to say this race is still in fact my favorite race; it was my favorite race last year and I wondered if it was only my favorite because of my PR but now that it has given me two PR’s I can most definitely call this is my favorite race. There’s just something about this race that I am able to run really well, the weather is perfect, the crowds are good, the excitement of the day is great, it’s relaxed and overall it’s my perfect race.

Would I recommend this race? Yes, most definitely! Tulsa does a wonderful job of putting this race on and I’ve enjoyed it for 2 years.

Will I run this race again? Now that’s the real question right there and the answer is, “I’m not sure”. There is a part of me that doesn’t want to mess with the beauty of 2 beautiful race experiences, just let them be and be happy. IF, and that’s a BIG IF, I run this race again I will more than likely run the full marathon. They have a great race experience for full marathon runners as well as a “Center of the Universe Detour” on the course that you get a special token for doing so. Who knows what next year holds but as for right now I’m completely happy with the race that I ran on Sunday, I couldn’t have asked any more of myself.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The One About The Knobstone Trail 10K

I know I owe you guys a race recap from Tulsa but I’m slightly behind with all of my updates and I still need to talk about the time we spent in Indiana and I wanted to make sure I got the trail race recapped before I talked about Tulsa, so today you get Knobstone, hopefully tomorrow you get Tulsa…

I still plan on talking about our time in Indiana, but as a refresher… Alex and I spent 12 days of vacation last month spending time with his family, part of it in Ohio (read here and here) and then the rest of it in Indianapolis. While in Indianapolis we decided we wanted to try our hand at a trail race we had heard about that was in Martinsville, Indiana. Alex had actually hiked some of these trails with his buddy before, and both times they hiked them they had less than stellar experiences. So when Alex originally asked me if I wanted to try my hand at a trail race he left out the part about these being THE trails he had hiked before…so of course since I wasn’t aware of that tidbit of helpful information I jumped at the chance.

Here’s a funny back story on this race: it’s a small race, like maybe 150 people, I’m not even sure how Alex found it, I think he was thinking of us hiking these trails and stumbled upon the race information on the state park website, either way it’s small. And because it’s such a small race the website doesn’t have a lot of information and being a trail virgin I was skeptical. Mind you Alex and I started talking about this race in June and I spent at least 2 days searching for any information that I could on this race but without much luck. Well about 3 days after searching for this race Alex and I were in the Houston, Texas airport on a layover to Indianapolis for his best friend’s wedding and lo and behold there is a guy sitting at our gate wearing a Knobstone Trail Mini Marathon t-shirt from the past year. It was fate! I politely interrupted his reading and proceeded to ask about 800 questions about the race. He was extremely helpful and I knew after talking to him that this would be a fun race to run.

Ok, now that you have the back story as to how we came to this race let’s talk about all the training that I did to prepare myself for this first time trail race….


Yea, can you believe I put in all that work? Ha! Marathon training really took over my life and schedule and before I even realized it I was packing my brand new, still to be worn trail shoes and hoping on a plane totally freaking out about that little, yet not so little trail race I had in a little over a week.

In the meantime I’m dealing with all of this pain that may or may not be a stress fracture in my right shin and I’m just hoping the Columbus Half is a good day, forget about trails. After Columbus I was still in some pain but definitely nothing more than I had already been in and I still logged all my weekly miles that week.
Friday night came and to say I wasn’t nervous would be the lie of the century, I was terrified. Did I pack the right clothes? Would I look like a totally road racing douche out there on the trails? Would people know I was a first timer? Would I be able to make it or would I hurt myself or ruin all my hard marathon training? Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep and when my alarm went off I thought long and hard about just bailing and sleeping in on a Saturday morning for once. But seriously, who am I kidding, I don’t do that!

So alex and I made the 90 minute drive south and after a few wrong turns we eventually found the right place for the race with plenty of time. We got out and got our packets with t-shirts (love them!) and race numbers, oh and we decided game day decision to only run the 10K. You see we had signed up for the 10 mile race, per our airport friend’s recommendations but after much thought and no training we decided a 10K would be a perfect feat for us to accomplish.

Let me reiterate again just how small this race was, it was small! Apparently, unbeknownst to me trail racing, much like road racing is like a small cult and everyone knows everyone and everyone eats granola and sings Kumbaya around the campfire before the race…. I’m kidding! Sort of (I don’t mean to offend anyone but it’s true, trail runners are a different breed, a very nice and welcoming breed, but different)

My point is this really was like a small bonfire and everyone was visiting, having coffee, eating donuts and bananas and talking about what trails they ran last weekend, I was so out of my element! But everything was beautiful and the weather was great and I was ready for the challenge. After using the port-o-potty and making sure my shoes were tied we were off, everyone at once.

The first miles I remember thinking, well this is really cool, I love the sound of the leaves crunching and I’m keeping a good pace. My footing is definitely different from road running but this isn’t bad. We ran the first mile in 11:12 and I was thinking hey, I’m pretty good at this trail running thing. And then I ate my words!
Mile 2, well let’s just say I’m still trying to block out mile two from memory; it was bad. Early on in mile 2 we started slowly descending down the ravine on switchbacks. There was a line of people going slowly because it was slippery and steep. Well obviously whatever goes down has to come back up at some point right? Right. About half way through mile 2 I start wondering why in the world I let Alex talk me into this. I was gasping for breath, my legs were on fire and I was thanking the good Lord I had only signed up for 6.2 miles and not 10, in fact, I was considering bailing out at mile 3! Mile 2 was a 15:38.

Finally we started to level out some and we had reached the point where if you were doing the half or the 10K you went right and the 5K and 10K went left, thankfully we went left. I remember at this point talking with a couple of ladies asking about Garmins…I had mine on and so did another lady but someone behind us wanted to know how far along we were and started asking questions about them. She did the 10 miles so we eventually had to split.

Right after the split we were on a very open trail portion that almost seemed more like a road but it was still quite rugged. The other lady passed us at this point. As she did she told me my shoes weren’t good shoes and that I should get better shoes like hers because mine were too slippery… Uh, what? I remember as she passed asking Alex if she really did say what I think she just said. He confirmed that he heard her tell me my shoes were bad.

Dear lady on the trail – I am new at this and telling me my shoes are bad IN THE MIDDLE OF A RACE does me no good. Besides all that, my shoes are just fine thank you very much. They are Brooks Pure Grits made just for the trails and I loved them. So please, leave my shoes alone.

At mile 3 we crossed over the road so that the 5K runners could head back and the 10K runners when ahead to a new portion of the trail. Alex and I took a break at the water stop, drank some Gatorade and headed onward before I decided the 5K was good enough.

The second half of the race was much, much better, in my opinion. It was a much more level portion of trails but sometimes more narrow. It was still hard and I had to watch my footing all the time which is something I’m totally not used to at all. Sometimes I would walk because I was just tired of my eyes darting back and forth making sure I wasn’t going to trip!

About mile 4.5 we were passed by the half marathon leader, hot dang he was fast! Mile 5 the next one came whizzing by. We took our time and took a few pictures. I wasn’t in too much pain but I was definitely feeling muscles I hadn’t felt before.
Finally we made our way out onto the road and had a tenth of a mile to run before we crossed the finish line. I was so glad to be done! We finished in 1:22. I was even more ecstatic that my finish time was better than my worst 10K time of 1:23!
So we were no longer trail running virgins, we had complete, successfully I might add our first trail race. Afterwards we enjoyed some hot soup and probably the best apple cider I have ever had. It was like a small picnic and everyone was chit-chatting and having a great time.

A few thoughts on trail running:

I really did like it, it was different and that was nice. However, I’m not really sure I’m ready to forgo all my road racing just yet, that’s my element and I love it. But I would definitely do a trail race again.

The community is great, very nice and friendly and helpful along the course.

Trail racing is so much slower than road racing and I was having a hard time wrapping my head around slower times when I’ve been working hard to run faster!

Over all we had a good race and I’m glad we did it!