Training Update Feb 4-Feb 10

Training Update Feb 4- Feb 10

This was a very interesting week for me to say the least. Typically I am very good at managing stress and rarely get overwhelmed by it; this past week was not the case. By Tuesday I was losing it and was in what I like to call one of my “I hate everyone” moods. When I get like this, which is rare, it lasts maybe a day or two and everything little thing people do annoys the hell out of me. This typically happens when I don’t get my Dustin time. This week this mood lasted well into Thursday when I finally snapped out of it and got back to normal.

This stress really manifested itself physically in that I was just exhausted and tired. Despite this I had an extremely successful week of training. This was my most challenging week of training thus far and I am proud to say I nailed it. It also marks 1 year since I really started regular running and training. I am going to do a separate reflection post here shortly on this past year. Stay tuned for that! Until then a training update!

Monday Feb 4

Off day for running. 1hr Yoga.

Tuesday Feb 5

1hr. 6.5 easy miles with Shawn. Altra Instincts 1.5. Bidwell Park loop with levy. This was a great easy smooth run. The stress of school and my job was really starting to overwhelm me; the run helped me de-stress a bit. Had a great conversation with Shawn about what was stressing me out; helped me gear up to face it a bit.

Wednesday Feb 6

AM: 1hr Yoga

PM: 3 miles – 40 min. + 4 miles – 35 min. Altra Instinct 1.5. Very frustrating run. I was already in an extremely foul mood for the day and the shenanigans of this run made it worse. The entire day I was looking forward to unleashing my stress on this run and it didn’t happen. A friend wanted to join Sean and I; by mile 1.5 she needed to turn around due to stomach problems. We turned around and walked back and drove her home. After this we didn’t have enough time to do a full 1.5 hour run. So we went hard for 4 miles consistently. I wasn’t upset with our friend for getting sick, just very frustrated that this run was tanked. 

Thursday Feb 7

5 miles. 50 Minutes. WREC track. Altra Instinct 1.5. This was the run where I realized my stress and physically manifested itself in the form of exhaustion. Immediately felt like I had been running all day. My legs were stiff and leaden, my technique was sloppy, and I felt out of breath immediately. I tried to focus on this is as a chance to practice running while feeling like crap. This run was miserable. Afterwards I felt a bit clearer headed though.

I followed the run with 30 minutes of stretching and yoga wall work. Felt pretty good after this.

Friday Feb 8

Off day for running. 20 min stretching. Tried to jump into a Yoga class but it was full, so I did some stretching on my own instead. Feeling great today though; I was able to kick my foul mood the night before. I got to have a good de-stress session and a chance to verbally process everything going through my head and it did the trick.

Saturday Feb 9

AM: 2hrs 4 min. 13.1 miles. Amazing run with Sean! This was the longest I had ever run at once. I started out very tight and tired, again I think this was the stress of the week physically manifesting itself. By mile 3 I felt nice and warmed up as well as good to go. Throughout the run I had some left leg numbness again and some tightness in my glutes. This tightness was new and not something I had never felt before. Otherwise a great run in the morning sunshine! Felt insanely proud at the end of this and only a little beat up. My knees and ankle were a little swollen and stiff from the pounding.

PM: I could tell I needed a walk and some stretching and rolling to loosen up. 45 min walking, stretching and rolling in preparation for tomorrows second 2hr run.

Sunday Feb 10

AM: 2hrs 20min. 13.1 Miles. Altra Superiors. Paradise flumes trail. I was able to hit my second half marathon distance two days in a row! I feel spectacularly proud of this. Sean and I were really looking forward to hitting up the Flumes again and seeing how far out we could get on them. I felt very tired right away, not so much stiff or tight but leaden. It took me until about mile 4 to feel smooth and warmed up. The trail featured lots of different terrain; mud, dirt, pine needles, metal grates and snow which was a pleasant surprise. Nice and flat for 95% of the run. Felt great at an hour out and decided to push ourselves to hit a second half marathon distance. The last 3 miles were rough, I was exhausted. But I took it as a chance to practice running under exhaustion. It was a good exhaustion too; tired and worn out versus bruised and beat up which is typical of how I feel towards the end of most long runs. Over the last week or so I had been questioning my progress, as I feel there have been many set-backs. This run renewed my confidence that I am progressing and where I should be.

PM: 30 min Walk, Stretch, Roll. Again I knew if I didn’t keep moving I was going to stiffen up. I went to the Wrec for a walk, stretch and rolling session.

Totals:

44.7 Miles/ 5hr 25 min running

4hrs Supplemental Training

9 hrs 25min total training time

This week was a peak for me. Really proud of how much I accomplished this week and besides a bit tired I feel great! I was worried the stress of the week would impact my training, it very well may have, but none-the-less I had a great training week. I did a good job of taking care of my body between runs this week and am hoping to continue that. I feel it will allow me to continue making strides in my training. There is much more I want to talk about but I will save it for another post. Until then, Thanks for reading!

KEEP RUNNING. KEEP LEARNING.ImageImage

Training Update 1/28-2/3

This was a great week for training. School started this week and I quickly realized my current training schedule was not going to work. Mondays turned out to be my busiest day and Thursdays weren’t too bad; the way my schedule was set Monday was a decent longer run and Thursdays off. Duncan helped me reorganize my schedule. I like the looks of it and excited to see where my base running is getting to.

This week I signed up for the Bidwell Classic Half Marathon. It will be my first half marathon and my first race as an Altra Ambassador. Needless to say I am quite excited for it! Enough blabbering here is what my training looked like this week.

Monday 1/28

AM – Yoga 1 hour. Luckily I have this class Mondays and Wednesdays built into my schedule. I enjoy the good stretch and core strengthening of it. It leaves me feeling loosened up. Otherwise my Mondays are terribly busy coming off of a RA duty night (up till 1 or 2 am, it takes me awhile to fall asleep), so Duncan and I decided it needed to be an off day.

Tuesday 1/29

PM – 1hr with 5x3min hard surges.  5.5 Miles. Altra Instincts 1.5. I went out with Shawn, Daniel, and Caylan for the run.  It felt great and a nice cool evening. We went little bit slower than I would have liked; but I enjoyed the company and it was actually the perfect pace to gear up for the rest of week.

Wednesday 1/30

AM-1hr Yoga

PM – 1hr with 5x3min hard surges. 6.5 Miles. Altra Instincts 1.5. Amazing run in the afternoon sun! Chico is amazing with how early spring hits, I love it! Sean and I went out and got after this run, same workout as yesterday just faster.  By the end I felt like I had just done a solid workout and was worn out. It has been awhile since I had felt this after a run/workout; it felt incredibly rewarding.

Thursday 1/31

PM – 45min. 3+miles. Altra Superiors. Very, very easy run. After back to back days of hard surges this easy run was needed. The run was perfect time-on-feet recovery; exactly what my body needed.

Friday 2/1

Easy and Off

Saturday 2/2

AM- 2hrs. 10 miles. Altra Insticts 1.5. Gorgeous slow run on a new trail. Sean, Caylan, and I drove up to the Paradise Flumes and ran along the path; amazing and adventurous trial with gorgeous views. It was a lot of fun running on the narrow metal pathway over the flumes. At the start of the run Sean and I were unsure of how we would fare on our first 2 hr run. We completed it comfortably and it felt great; smooth easy and fluid. We are heading back to this trail next weekend and hopefully I will bring a camera and snap some pictures. This was also my first run with my new Suunto Ambit. It connected to GPS in roughly .098769 seconds; which is much better than 15-20 minutes with the Nike Plus. I am still learning all of its features and how to use it; but I am pretty stoked for it.

Sunday 2/3

Recovery Day. Slept in and had a nice walk to loosen up  and recover.

Totals:

4 hours 45 minutes running

25 miles

6 hours 45 minutes total training time

Keep Running. Keep Learning.

Caveman Logic

I try to follow a Paleo diet to the best of my ability (self-control). Yes, I cheat and that’s okay. It works for me. I would like to get to 100% Paleo someday when I can fully commit to it, but for now with working as an RA so much of my meals are out of my control I will do my best and cheat now and then. Trust me, anyone who knows I try to eat Paleo is sure to practically beat me over the head with a verbal caveman club every time I cheat.

Anywho I try not to bring up eating Paleo unless asked; as I don’t like the bragging snotty vegan and don’t want to be that way about my diet. That and the verbal berating every time I cheat. When I do talk about it the most common question I get is “Why no grains or beans? Grains and beans good. Me learn so from everywhere.” (People tend to go into caveman mode when talking about Paleo clearly) Well other Dustin gave sent me a couple of great articles about why we avoid grains, legumes (beans), and nuts; I decided to do my best to sum it up for you. Or you could just follow the links at the end of this for yourself. Oh and no other Dustin is not a multiple personality disorder of mine, he is in fact a real person.

The stripped down of it is grains and legumes contain lots of ‘anti-nutrients’ which do bad things to your intestinal track and cause immune problems (makes you vulnerable to illness and disease). So what are these ‘anti-nutrients’?

Lectins

Grains, beans and nuts are filled with these things called Lectins. They are nasty little protein buggers found in just about everything, including you. Lectins serve as little protectors of the organism. Grains, beans, nuts and seeds (especially soy – gasp) have a higher than normal concentration of Lectins. Sounds great right? Wrong! Lectins protect the organism (the plant); not you (the guy destroying its existence by eating it alive). Lectins cause intestinal distress. You know, the stuff everyone just refers to as ‘being sick’: diarrhea, nausea, bloating, vomiting, etc.  This is believed to discourage things from eating the plant. Hint. Hint. Winky face. Get it yet?

These Lectins get pulled into your blood stream where your body does a ‘WTF is that!?’ and launches an antibody attack against the Lectins killing them and removing them from your system. Easy peasy right? Wrong again! Lectins are sneaky bastards and actually look very similar to cells found in your brain and pancreas and other important parts of your body. Let’s just say your immune system isn’t smart enough to differentiate between the two so it attacks the body as well. Results? Type 1 Diabetes, Celiac Disease, Lupus, and Multiple Sclerosis.

Oh, as Lectins cross into the blood stream through the small intestines it leaves holes in the lining allowing large particles into the blood stream; AKA ‘Leaky Gut’. Suddenly the immune system is again like “WTF is a hot dog doing in here?”; okay not that drastic but you get the idea. So it launches an immune response against said food. Now whenever that food is introduced to the body in the future the immune system freaks out. This can cause migraines, eczema, weight gain, and depression.

Lectins can’t be cooked out of foods, as they are extremely heat stable. So there is no way of removing them from the food. Basically F*** Lectins.

Phytic Acid

AKA Phytate is another common ‘anti-nutrient’. This is an energy store in plants. We humans do not have the enzyme to digest it so it just passes through our digestive system and is excreted. Takes a tour and leaves basically. But this isn’t the tour guest that you want to come through your body.  As Phytate passes through it steals (binds) magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron from you and takes them with you when it leaves your system. Phytates are common in grains and legumes as well as nuts and seeds.

Researchers believe the excess of Phytates in our diet is the cause of the world-wide iron-deficiency anemia epidemic. The amount of magnesium deficient people is growing as well. This can cause muscle cramps and excessive PMS. That’s right grains are making your PMS worse. That should be convincing enough alone in my opinion. Just saying; who wants WORSE PMS? Hell I dont like dealing with it, I dont envy women. Anyway I digress. Lack of zinc inhibits both the immune and reproductive functions. Problems in the bedroom? GRAINS!! Calcium is what builds are bones, and bones are constantly being broken down and rebuilding. Broken bone? LEGUMES!! Having a brain fart? Calcium is also needed to transmit signals through your nervous system. Again. F*** Phytates.

Now here is the problem where the Paleo culture needs to consider lies. Many nuts contain high amounts of Phytate and other ‘anti-nutrients’ and nuts (almond butter) is a staple in most modern urban cavemen. Now research shows proper soaking can remove Phytates from the foods but it isn’t a process currently practiced by food manufacturers. However when we think about how often our Paleo ancestors had access to nuts and seeds we realize it was nowhere near the amount that modern Paleo diets consume. Maybe we should cut back? Now there is still an argument for the health benefits of the nuts out-weighing the negatives. It’s hard to say.

Those are just two of the many ‘anti-nutrients’ found in grains and legumes; the reason why Paleo dieters avoid them like the plague. Dear god I just realized I gave you another novel. I’m out.

http://www.paleoplan.com/2011/03-30/why-no-grains-and-legumes/

http://www.paleoplan.com/2011/04-27/phytates/

KEEP RUNNING. KEEP LEARNING.

First Training Update

Well I am solidly into my training for the Avenue of the Giants Marathon this May. Here is my first official training update. Great start as I feel good, solid, and ready to go. I feel a bit slow though, which to my understanding is how I should feel while Marathon training. My knees and ankles tend to feel beat up during/after my runs, but back to normal within a few hours. I am feeling like my main obstacle to overcome right now is getting my body used to the pounding it takes while running. My endurance feels great so far, so to help push my endurance a bit I decided to add some swimming in on top of my running. Thanks again to Duncan Callahan for the great coaching and great advice! It feels good to have a solid and tailored plan. I like the idea of running with a purpose, I think. You’ll see what I mean. Read on! If you are looking for a coach he is available for coaching; check out his site: http://strategicendurance.com/

Week Dec 31st – Jan 13th: Home in Denver. I had a great time running the trails around home and the surrounding areas; cold as hell though. Sticking to my training plan fell to pieces. With my schedule beyond my control with trying to spend as much time with friends and family as possible I missed some runs. Nice general build up to starting the training though.

Jan 14th – Jan 20th: First solid running week according to plan. Felt great!

Monday 14th: Travel day back to Chico. Day off.

Tuesday 15th: AM – 1mi WU run. 20 min/5000m row. 15 min Stretch. 45min/1mile Swim. PM – 1hr 6+ Miles with 4X1 min hard surges on the Vallambrosa Trail.

Wednesday 16th: 1hr/ 5+ miles. A gorgeous trail run filled with medium hills. It was great seeing so many people out and active in upper-park enjoying the sun.

Thursday 17th: Off day.

Friday 18th: 30min/3+miles on the Wrec track. I haven’t been in my Vibrams in a while so I decided to get back into them. It felt great. I could tell I needed to run in the Vibrams; my ankles had been feeling weak (rolling regularly) which happens when I don’t regularly run barefoot. I am hoping to continue the Vibram trend on my easy short runs to keep foot/ankle/calf strength up. Followed this run with 20min/5000m row.

Saturday 19th: About 7-8 miles and about 1hr 15 min run. My Nike Sports Watch GPS wasn’t working again. It didn’t want to sync. AT ALL. Really kind of made me mad, I am on my 4th one and they keep crapping out. I am about ready to look into another watch. The run was great though. However my right foot fell asleep around mile 6. It has been some time since I have experienced this problem. It is an annoying one. Here is hoping it was just a fluke on this run. (Hint Hint: It wasn’t.)

Totals: 21-22 Miles/3hr45min run time.  Total training time: About 6.5 or 7 hours.

This was a decent starting week in terms of running; still trying to solidify a good schedule for cross training.

Jan 21st – Jan 27th:  This was my second week and it felt great and was filled with lots of good runs and thought provoking runs and experiences. My RA team was back and that meant my running partners Sean, Shawn, and Caylan; along with some new ones! I was pretty stoked to have people to run with again, I really enjoy the chats and adventures we have. I was also excited to try to motivate and encourage some of my RA team to join us for our runs; which was a huge success! Read on if you aren’t tired of this novel yet. I swear my updates won’t be a novel each, just gotta get rolling and caught up first.

Monday 21st: 6-7miles. 65 min. Altra Instinct 1.5. Bidwell loop without the upper park section. Sean Brown was back and glad to have my running partner again. Sean pushes me while I hold him back and we have great shoot the shit to deep philosophical chats. Again, my right foot was asleep by around mile 5. I hate this feeling and it annoys the hell out of me. Sean and I are trying to work asphalt and road into our runs to get my joints used to the beating and be ready for the road marathons. I forgot my watch for this run, subconsciously out of frustration is my guess as to how that happened. Oh Well.

Tuesday 22nd: 3+ miles/ 30 minutes around the Wrec track. Vibrams. Felt solid and not as calf-intensive as last week. I will definitely incorporating the Vibrams more often maybe twice a week. A little higher pace today.

Wednesday 23rd: 6miles, 60 min. 5x3min surges. Altra Instinct 1.5. The run was a little slower than I would have liked during the last 30 minutes. However it was a great experience. Sean and Brandon joined; Brandon isn’t a big runner. The strong surges felt good but held back a bit for Brandon; but thinking about it that was probably the pace I should be at for those surges. After 30 minutes met with some of our other RA teammates (Seth, Caylan, and Miranda) who I was excited they wanted to get out and run and our pace dropped to a bouncing run or walk. I loved seeing Seth and Miranda join us! I love their company and it was run having them out. The last surges were still strong though as Sean Brandon and I ran out ahead for 3min then returned. Competitively and training wise I felt held back, and slightly frustrated; but loved seeing our team wanting to join us on a run. I really enjoyed seeing them excited to get out with us. This overpowered the competitive frustration. They ended up having a great time and I hope I can get them out there some more.

Thursday 24th: Off day for running. Took Sean to the pool at the Wrec and reversed the roles. He has some way to go still and I gave him some technique tips. Felt good to loosen up in the pool, and I am anxious to get Sean swimming some more. 30 minutes/.5m swim.

Friday 25th: About 4 miles/45min. Altra Superiors. Had the whole gang join us for this run which was awesome! Our goal was 3 miles and 30 minutes. Yzel, Seth, Brandon, Chris, Kiki, Miranda, and Sean came out for the run. Awesome to see such a turn out! Everyone met the 3 mile goal, if at their own pace; but that is what running is all about. We ended up splitting into 2 or 3 different speed level groups; Sean and I bounced between them to get some added speed and distance. The Nike Sports Watch GPS failed again. So I am giving up on it. I am moving on to a Suunto Quest which Duncan recommends so I am looking forward to a watch the does more than tell the time to the elderly and visually impaired. Seriously though, have you seen the display on the Nike Sports Watch GPS!? I can read that thing a good 30 feet away.

Saturday 26th:  5.5miles 55 min running. 1hr 25min on feet with hiking. Altra Superiors. Nice easy slow run joined by Sean and Shawn. The trails were kind of slick and Shawn had a slip. He urged Sean and I to move forward and regroup in 10-20 min back on the road that parallels trail, as he needed time to recover. Ended up losing Shawn for a while (he took the trail back a ways instead of cutting straight to the road). In searching ran hard and had a big hill for about a mile or so, good effort put into it so I feel better about run getting cut short. Due to the slip and Shawn not feeling so great (ankle and head pain) we called it early. The goal was 1hr 30minutes of nice slow running. I feel despite only an hour of solid running the good hill and a faster pace made up for the hiking in there.

Totals: 26miles/4hr45min running.

This was a great week for me and I loved all the running company. School starts this week. Excited to get to a solid consistent schedule to work in my cross training with the runs. Thanks again for reading sorry for the novel. The rest will be shorter. I swear!

KEEP RUNNING. KEEP LEARNING.

ALTRA AMBASSADOR

Hey gang! Sorry for the lack of updates. Break had me busy spending time with family and friends. I neglected my blog. I know, I am sorry. But I am back, and with big news!

I was chosen as an Altra Ambassador for the 2013 year! This is a huge privilege for me and it is an honor to be able to represent my favorite running shoes! Check them out they have some great shoes that work for anyone and everyone! Keep an eye on my blog for more Altra updates!

Check back tomorrow morning for my first training update!

KEEP RUNNING. KEEP LEARNING

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http://www.altrazerodrop.com

Training, Research, and Preferred Shoes

Happy Holidays everyone! I hope yours has been great, mine was wonderful! I apologize for the delay in posts; finals week kept me loaded down, and as soon as that settled down I was on my way to Denver to spend the holidays with the family. I finally have some down time and was anxious to get a blog post up!

A few small updates:

Training: I took the full week off after my race to allow my foot to recover. So unfortunately my training update is minimal. Good news is the ankle feels brand new! I kicked back into training Christmas day here in beautiful Littleton, CO. I can tell I have taken two weeks off that’s for sure. That or the altitude is kicking my butt. I figure it’s a mix of both. However, I really love running here in Colorado with the fresh snow and gorgeous views. Check back Sunday for a full week training update!

Research: Over finals week I was able to get a solid first draft of this semester’s research. I examined striking trends in a half marathon. While there were difficulties in the research, I found some very interesting results. Over the next month or so I am going to finalize it all and hopefully get it published in a few different areas. I will periodically have dialogue here on the blog regarding my findings and I encourage you to check those out! Who knows you may even learn some new stuff about how you run!

Running Philosophy: Saturday I will follow up the second half of my running philosophy that I touched on a while ago, so keep an eye open for that!

I wanted to talk today about my preferred running shoes, and how I started running (the two go hand in hand). I first got started running and interested in natural running when I picked up a pair of Vibram FiveFingers. I was never able to run before that. I would throw on a pair of ‘running shoes’ with the big cushioned ankle and all sorts of arch support and motion control and I would go out for 15 minutes and come back in pain. I couldn’t run without getting shin splints after about 15 minutes. What didn’t make sense to me was that I could walk around the pool deck barefoot for 12 hours a day then go play ultimate frisbee for hours barefoot and be able to repeat it all the next day. No pain, no problems. So I figured there may be something to the being barefoot thing for me, so I picked up some FiveFinger Sprints and went out for a 20 minute run. I felt great, no problems. Same thing the next day. I ran in my FiveFingers alone for a long time, until my mileage started to increase. My feet started feeling bruised after my long runs. The FiveFingers just don’t have enough padding. I will talk more about why this is in Saturday’s post. I started a long, painful and mostly unsuccessful search for a shoe that mimicked a minimalist shoe while still providing padding. After numerous failed attempts with different shoes I found the Newton MV2. Newton is a growing company out of Boulder, CO with a mission to make a shoe that promotes natural running form while still protecting the foot. They succeeded. I loved running in my MV2s. However they still weren’t the perfect fit for me, but I didn’t know it at the time. I have wide feet and the Newton line is unfortunately made narrow; the inside edge of the shoe (next to the ball of my foot-metatarsal heads) blew out on both shoes. I also often experienced my feet falling asleep consistently around mile 3. By the time I needed to retire my MV2s I had become interested in Altra’s line. They are another up-and-coming shoe company focused on providing shoes that accommodate and promote natural running form. Altra makes their shoes with wide toe-boxes that allow the foot to splay naturally, they also have a nice zero-drop sole with neutral support (means the inside of the shoe bed is flat).  I gave the Instincts 1.5 a try and haven’t looked back. My feet are comfortable, I can tell they are moving naturally, and my feet no longer fall asleep. The wide toe box that is actually foot shaped makes a world of different and sets the Altra’s apart. I recently picked up their new trail shoe ‘The Superior’ and have loved it just as much as the Instinct. Personally while Newton’s are great, I think Altra makes a shoe that is ideal for anyone and everyone. I rotate between my current FiveFinger Komodos, the Altra Instinct 1.5, and the Altra Superiors. I don’t have any problems and love running in each of the shoes. Saturday’s post will talk more on why I think these kinds of shoes are the best for runners of all kinds.  That’s it for now! Thanks for reading!

Keep Running. Keep Learning. 

Jack Frost 10k

Yesterday was my first official 10k. It was a blast! The first time I ever ran a straight 10k was last spring at the Wrec. I was still running without a plan and just felt good that night; so I kept going. I hit the 10k mark on that little track in just about an hour. I was outstandingly proud and it was a hell of an accomplishment for me. This fall I began training for the Jack Frost 10k specifically; scheduled and orchestrated long runs, speed work, and rest. My goal was to break the 45 min mark; so I trained to run at a 7:25 or better pace. Training was going better than I expected. I was running longer and more efficiently than ever. A year ago I may have laughed at you if you told me I would be running over 10 miles effortlessly while holding a conversation; yet alone loving it! Training was smooth and effective, but I was in for a challenge.

Last Saturday I tweaked my ankle on my North Rim run in Upper Bidwell. It started hurting towards the end of the run and that day and the next I could barely put weight on it. The doctors said take a full week off; don’t run the race. The race I had been training for all fall. I followed the doc’s orders, no running. By Wednesday it was feeling pretty good, definitely still some weight bearing pain though. Thursday even better, some pain only when I was looking for it. Friday I jumped on the bike for a 30 minute spin at the Wrec with Caylan; no pain. So I decided to test it walking and running.  I walked a lap on the track and it felt great, ran two laps and felt amazing! I felt like the ankle was finally better. I repeated with another lap of walking and another two running; felt more wheeze than I should have for the effort. The week off couldn’t have hit me that hard could it? Walked a couple more and ended with a good stretch optimistic about my ankle, albeit a little concerned about the week of nothing. I had some pains again Saturday and decided I needed to do a longer test than a broken half mile at an easy pace. I tested the ankle out with a mile and a half around the Wrec track with 4x70yd strides at the end. Ankle felt just fine, the race was on!

Sunday was cold, rainy, and downright perfect! The coolness and rain made for awesome racing conditions if you ask me! Caylan, Shawn, and I got to the park too late for a proper warm up so I made due with some strides. Race game plan? Take the first two miles at and 8:30 pace and see from there; one way or another I was finishing the thing. I enjoyed running into numerous friends and acquaintances at the starting line; class mates, co-workers, and research volunteers. It got me pumped up and ready to go!

Mile 1: Always my least favorite: running the crowd. I focused on weaving in and out of the slower runners and not getting in the way of the faster, I really strive to be a courteous racer. Race mentality got me and I was holding a solid 8:15, so I focused on scaling back and hitting my goal splits. 8:25/mi.

Mile 2: My ankle did everything it could to let me know that it was attached to me and not going anywhere. I did my best to ignore the attention hog that was my ankle, while it did its best to radiate pain with each step just to annoy me. We got into Upper Park and I realized we were about to head down a nice hill to turn around and run back up it. Discouraging thoughts started to sink into my head between the approaching hill and my ankle. 8:22/mi.

Mile 3: I turned it up a bit on the down-hill convinced to take advantage of it. My race turned around here. The top runners were returning just a bit into mile 3 and they looked like they were hurting. So I threw ‘em a cheering clap and egged them onwards. I got a huge thankful and yet slightly surprised smile paired with a thumbs up from the guy in second and it made me feel like I just made a difference in his race. New race goal: Cheer on everyone I pass on this out and back section. I threw on my best ridiculously photogenic guy smile and started giving thumbs up, high fives, ‘Good work’, ‘Nice Job’, and other encouraging things to everyone I saw. I was having a blast! I thanked the volunteers at the turn around and my smile was effortless. I got cheers back, weird looks, ‘thank you’s , death glares, dead stares, high fives, smiles, thumbs up and all sorts of responses back from every person. I forgot about the hill I was running, hell I forgot I was running at all. I was having fun and enjoying the camaraderie. 8:04/mi.

Mile 4: I began noticing I was catching and passing those in front of me; quickly and repeatedly. I stole a glance at my watch: 6:47mi. Holy crap! I felt great, but I reminded myself I was barely half way and tuned it back a bit into a comfortably fast pace for me. My ankle pain was gone. I felt smooth, fast, efficient, and like I could run forever. Kept smiling. Kept thanking volunteers. Kept cheering. 7:21/mi.

Mile 5: Did I mention I took an entire week off? My body decided after my last two miles of speedy bliss it needed to remind me of this. I was back on the out and back section after a detour and I found myself feeling sluggish. I began searching and waiting for the 5 mile marker. Telling myself ‘you’re almost there’, ‘Less than two miles!’, ‘Don’t stop now’. My stomach was feeling nauseous, so I focused on keeping my breathing deep, slow, and controlled. I pushed on. Kept smiling, and kept thanking the volunteers. It gave me renewed strength every time. 7:46/mi.

Mile 6.2: Uggh. This mile or so felt miserable. I was focusing on keeping the stomach down. My ankle was screaming. The rain had picked up, yet I felt overheated. I was waiting to see the finish line around every twist and turn of the path; but it was never there. I was trying not to let the guy behind me close the gap. But… I was running, I was having fun, I was pushing forward. I focused on this and I kept smiling, I kept going, and I finished strong. Image

I finished and was overwhelmed with pride. After a week off and an injury I had not achieved my original goal, but I wasn’t far off. I had just run a great race! I grabbed some water and returned to the finished line to cheer on the rest of the field as the crossed and look for Shawn and Caylan. My cheering team showed up a bit later, after going to the wrong park. Seth had made a hilarious sign and it was great having Sarah and him there either way. I walked away very happy with this race. I gave it my all and pushed myself through it. I had fun and hope I made a difference for at least a few other racers! 49:03