Sunday, July 29, 2012

My First 10 Mile Run

I was really stressing my first ten mile run all month. I decided on this trail because there are bathrooms at both ends of the trail (appr 2.6 miles apart from each other) and I figured it would be all up hill going to the bridge and downhill back to the parking area.  All I would need to do is run the full out and back twice to get my miles in and it would be all down hill the last 2.5 miles.

I figured wrong.

This trail is up and down both ways. Total elevation gain over the ten miles was 1048 feet. According to MapMyWalk, there was SIX cat 5 hills by taking the full route twice. I never ran a course with more than 2 cat 5 hills. Talk about hitting your first ten in a big way. YAY ME!!!

I stopped only for the following: Potty breaks and one quick chase after a snake that resulted in me slipping on the loose pebble gravel down a berm. My knee bled for quite a while but I still carried a lot of gravel home until I washed it really good (ouch!). Then I used a tweezer and needle to get the rest of road out of it.

I saw a lot of pretty scenery; tons of butterflies; a odd green caterpillar; creeks and falls and ponds; birds; and a very large and bizzare beetle.

My legs felt good until the 6.8 mile marker. Then I started feeling it in my legs. Also, I was sweating so much that it was dripping off the brim of my hat. Luckily, Heather C. turned me on to hammer electrolite capsules. I had a total of 4: 1 an hour before the run - 1 at mile 2.5 and 2 more at mile 5.25. Also, it helped that I had a Nathan Intensity Vest loaded with ice and water. I ate three shot blocks at mile 5.25. Those things are so yummy!

So flipping proud I made it the entire ten even though there were times I wondered why I was doing this. There was one section before mile 9 where I felt sudden hard aching on my IT band/outer upper right knee. I slowed down and corrected my posture and it stopped enough to finish. Weirdly, that pain never came back and here I am the next day without any residual knee pain. In fact, my knee hasn't felt this good since just after my first 10K in May.

My happiest moment was when I was cooling down and walking back to the parking area and I saw a little creek going under the trail. I took off my shoes and socks, hiked my shorts WAY up and dipped my legs in. AAAAAAHH!!! That was BLISS!!! Ice cold mind numbing BLISS!!!!! First it was just my feet. Then I found a deeper spot and got my legs in up to my upper thighs. I caught a guppy sized fish (that was heading towards my shorts) and released it. Don't know why. I really REALLY loved that creek!!!! Goose bumps and all. It was perfectly placed.

I will be going back and running this trail for my ten miles again.

WEATHER: Sunny and clear
TEMPS: 76 - 78 degrees
LENGTH: 10 miles
MOVING TIME: 2 hours 2 minutes and 57 minutes (potty breaks not included in time)
MOVING PACE: 12:18 minutes per mile
CADENCE:  156 ave and 166 max (shuffling)
HEART RATE: 161 ave and 178 max


  • 2 hours before run - one low fiber piece of bread with light cream cheese, two bites of banana & 1 Hammer Electrolyte capsule
  • During run - 3 Cherry Shotbloks, 2 Hammer Electrolyte capsules, water, Immodium AD 
  • Immediately after run - 8 ounces of chocolate milk and 1 soy joy

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Harvest Days 8K - Blood, Sweat and Cheers

Official pace at the race said 10:41. The website says 10:46. My Garmin says this was not 5 miles and put me at 10:55.

EITHER WAY: I was VERY happy getting under an 11:00 minute pace on this course because it had a mountain. BUT I TOOK THAT MOUNTAIN NON-STOP and am SO PROUD. I passed a LOT of people walking on that hill and I kept telling myself - "You do this all the time. You can do this" and at the water station at the top I took a full cup of water and poured it down my back and it felt GOOD.

Throughout the run I kept telling myself I was ONLY RACING MYSELF. First goal was making that hill non-stop. Second goal was to finish under 55 minutes.

I knew coming into the last mile I was having a good race and going to make both goals. I even kept pulling back to keep my heart rate under 178 as I KNOW what always happens at the finish line. I got it down to 176 as I turned the corner and again reminded myself -It is just me and the road....and Aaron (my friend) the event photographer at the end waiting for me. I kept it simple. I had this.

Then out of nowhere a woman in white passed me. NOOOOOO!!!!

Instant animal mode kicked in. Out went reason. Out went logic. Just racing myself? HA!!! WATCH THIS!!!

I kicked it hard all the way in and it felt amazingly awesome. I felt ALIVE. I felt STRONG. I could have roared. I felt that little girl in me that used to run with reckless abandon through fields. My Garmin said I was running 6:40 pace that stretch! WOOHOO!! And yeah, I took the finish before the contender.

Then, while having my chip removed off my shoes, I looked at my heart rate. YOU DOPE!! WTH?!? It was not pretty. I do not understand how something that felt that good and amazing could demand so much from my heart. Yikes. Per my Garmin, heart rate peaked at 184.

I keep telling myself race after race...NO SPRINTING AT THE FINISH.

Do racers EVER learn to control that careless inner demon that is highly competitive and that raises it's ugly head during the last 100 meters of an otherwise smart race?

Do we really want to? ;)

Me and Christine after the run

WEATHER: Overcast, 58 degrees and 86% humidity. NO breezes.

FOOD: Woke up afraid to eat ANY thing. Ate two bites of a banana and two swigs of Blueberry juice. Took a full immodiam AD pill. At mile 2 as I approached the steep part of the hill's peak (that is over half a mile long) I chewed on a Shot Blok then spit it out. Still having tummy issues. Didn't want food in it after all.

FLUIDS: There was a water table at mile post 2.5 and I only saw a very few others in the 8K group carrying their own fluids. Some handheld large bottles. I, and two others I noticed, wore belts with small bottles. I was embarrassed at first but I got over that quite quickly when sweat began pouring off my brow in the first mile. Did I mention 86% humidity? Or that I sweat a LOT? So I drank almost 20 ounces of diluted Gatorade throughout this run.  When I got back all my clothing was wet with sweat. No regrets or shame carrying my own fluids for such a short run. None at all.

LEGS: My calve that had been hurting all week since my 9.14 mile run ONLY reminded me it was there during the steeper parts of the hill/incline. What a pleasant surprise it didn't hurt throughout this race! Also, my right knee? You would have never known it ever has issues! The only discomfort I felt all race was my left IT band (Whhhyyyyy??) but I used a foam roller there in the gym at the course when I got back and felt better.

BLOODY SHIRT: When I got back it was pointed out to me that the sleeve of my favorite race shirt was 'bloody'. I took it off and saw this was true. It was a very large spot too, of several inches. It appears that the seam of the sleeve was catching on or rubbing against the healing/scabbed cuts on the back of my arm that I got a few days ago doing battle with chicken wire. The constant rubbing just kept the blood flow going. Luckily it rinsed out and the bleeding stopped when the race was over. 


  • #137 of 216 runners
  • #71 of 144 women
  • #8 of 20 women in my age division

CHEERS:  Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy cowbells at a race? Also, Get Bold puts on fun events. They had family runs, the 8K, the Half Marathon and RACE WALKING today. They even had cheerleaders throughout the course and a great DJ. They rocked it at the Resolution Run in January and they rocked it again today. Also, I LOVE their race shirts and was so happy to see that today's shirt is from the same manufacturer as the one I got in January. It is a shirt I wear ALL the time to run in. Now I have two. :)

NEXT: I am looking forward to Get Bold Events wine run in September

Friday, July 20, 2012

5 Miles

I didn't want to run today. I wanted to sit on the couch. I wanted to put my feet on the coffee table and just gel. 

My training plan said - GO RUN! 

Nike said - JUST DO IT!

Settling, I put on running clothes and drove to a 'flat' course. I figured if I am running today, I could at least avoid all the hill drama of my immediate area.

I get to the track that I chose as my base. It has an empty parking lot, other than one lowered Buick Regal and me. The Buick has two young men. They are cruising the otherwise empty parking lot. I leave my car. Lowered Buick Regal drives slowly past my car. I watch. I worry. They keep slowly cruising the parking lot. In circles. Past my car. I go back to my car. I leave.

I drive to a trail. It isn't as flat as what I hoped for, but it has a bathroom. Bathrooms are good. It is muggy. I put on my water belt, take a deep sigh, turn on my music and start my Garmin watch. 

I go.

Up, down and along the trails. First towards an apartment complex I used to live at. Some parts of the trail are rough and hard on the ankles. I then head east to the prettier portion of the trail and find there that parts of the path are so smooth and level it is like floating over it. 

Past the wild roses that are so thick, the air is filled with their fragrance.

Past several small cotton-tail rabbits that watch as I pass them by. Past the singing birds on tall reeds. Under a soaring red tail hawk.

Cool breeze for a moment. Wish it lasted longer. 

Past a pretty pond and countless ducks resting on it's banks. 

Coming around a secluded corner I see a scruffy man, bending over a small brick divider. He pulls up, a very very large, bright red pipe wrench. He looks to both sides as I approach. He holds it. He looks at me. I recall too many Criminal Mind shows and pick up the pace. I pass him nervously. Looking over shoulder, I race. Fast!

A hill. A long long tall hill. I hate that hill. Do I take it today? Yes. It hurt. I was slow. But, I go. I get half way and turn back. If I had been running any slower I would have been walking.

More trails. More birds. Tiger swallowtail butterflies flitting across the trail between blooming thistle. A gnat splats against my glasses.

The last mile - not easy. Does it ever end? Why am I doing this? Sweat is literally dripping off my visor. I finish the rest of my water and relax knowing I have more fluids in the car. 

I make it. I take my time walking it out. Taking off all my gear at the car, I realized my clothes are soaked. Yet, all those endless miles, now feel as if they were but a 15 minute jaunt.  I feel strong. Really really strong. I take my time stretching. I feel relaxed. I feel refreshed. 

That wasn't so bad.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

9 Miles, a sore calf and immediate relief

Coach had us jump up from long runs of 7 miles to one of 9 miles this week. I think he forgot how to count as SURELY there should have been an 8 mile long run in there first. Right?

Either way, I took myself and my sloppy weak (but getting stronger!) form off to a 9.14 mile run around town last night over hill and dale.

For my first time ever, I developed a very tight and painful left calve muscle. It just didn't feel fun. I ran through it gently and assumed it was tight from the hills. You can't run far in MY town without HILLS. My right knee and IT band got pretty darned angry at me as well, but that was expected.

When I got home, I stretched gently. Then I poured a very cold bath, sat down in it and soaked my legs with a towel wrapped around my head and upper body, while shivering the entire time. After, I applied ice packs. Even in bed I rested the sore calve on an ice pack.

This morning it still felt tight (though my angry knee was calming down). It worried me. What if I tore something? Is this from too few electrolytes? Crappy form? Hills? Bad shoes? All the above? Then I remembered a thread in a Facebook page from the Portland Running Chicks about Compression Socks and Sleeves.

Off I went to the Fit Right NW store here in Vancouver. As a note, my calve even bugged me while driving.

The nice sales person nodded in understanding when I explained my issues and agreed, a sleeve might help. He measured my calve at the widest width and then asked me, "White, green, pink or black?". I replied, "Black".

He pulled one out of the box and let me try it on. IMMEDIATELY my muscle seemed to stop spasmming. I can't even begin to explain how or why that happened. Support? Massage? I told the sales man, "Can I keep this on and just pay for it?". I wore it home. And guess discomfort in the drive. None when I got home. Also, it felt even better walking with the sleeve on. Was it cutting off the circulation, thus numbing the pain? LOL Doubtful. I took the sleeve off after several hours and wallah! No more discomfort. It is now 8 hours after I took it off. It is as if my calve never hurt.

Coincidental timing that once he put the sleeve on my leg would feel better? Science? I don't know. But I am very happy with my purchase and plan to use them for after all my long runs. I might even try wearing them ON a run to keep my calves supported during all that impact and fatigue.

Thank you FIT RIGHT!  I am going back to buy a pink pair for my Half Marathon run in October.

(btw: I can't wait to try their cool arm sleeves, and their shorts!)


Distance: 9.14 miles
Total time running: 1 hour 48 minutes and 15 seconds*
Running/Moving Pace: 11:51
Time out: 7:18 PM - 9:27 PM
Temps at start:  77.6*/ 60% humid - direct sunlight first 3.75 miles
Temps at end:  70*/ 78% humid - Twilight ending when I got home.
Climb Data:  194 foot gain - and the last three miles were all uphill.

*I stopped the Garmin at every single stop light and for potty breaks. There was otherwise NO WALKING on this run.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Just a quick one that made me happy

I did my measurements today.

Since I started running last August, I went from 38% of body fat to 32%.

But even more thighs today, are smaller now than they were when I was ten pounds lighter back in 1999.

Dieting is okay. But exercise really changes your body.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

It's Getting Hot Out There

I started running last August....indoors.....3 feet in front of a window cooler.

This is my first summer running in the Pacific Northwest muggy heat. And I am a wimp. Next weekend I am going to weigh myself before I get dressed, measure my fluids-to-go and then compare the weights/measurements when I get back. I suspect I am losing more than an average amount of sweat when I run. Today my hat and all my clothing were drenched at the half way mark of 3 miles. I drank over a liter of fluids in my 6 mile run and drank another liter after. It was very challenging for me and I really wasn't pleased with how slow I was going trying to keep my heart rate down.

The trail I ran is BEAUTIFUL. Literally, one of the prettiest trails around! But, it has always felt the muggiest to me as we run down the ravine along ponds and a large creek. Today, bugs were splatting against my face and sticking to it. It really isn't my favorite as it doesn't seem to get the airflow I get on the others.

So why run it?

Easy answer: It is the only trail I know of with bathroom facilities every 3 miles!!!!

If they ever reopen the Renascence Trails' bathrooms, it will be the ONLY place I run my long runs. But, the city isn't going to be doing that any time soon. Such a shame.

Coach says I have to run 9 miles next Saturday. He hasn't assigned more than 7 yet. I guess we are going to just skip 8 miles? IN THIS SUMMER MUGGINESS???

My confidence level is at an all time low. I have my half marathon in 13 weeks. Eight of those weeks will be summer months. I need to figure out how to replenish electrolytes while running without creating runner's trots.

Here we go.

Weight: 160.8
Distance: 6.0 miles
Running time (not including bathroom breaks): 1 hour 10 minutes 20 seconds.
Temps: 75 degrees and 63 % humidity (I swear it was higher in the ravine along the water)