Sunday, February 12, 2017

Rocky Raccoon 50K Race Report

1st Place Age Group Award Winner!

The Rocky Raccoon 50K Trail Race took place on February 11 at Huntsville State Park in Texas. After crossing the finish line with a time of 7:41, I was told that I had won my age group. I couldn't believe it. 

That's because a couple of times I felt so sick that I didn't know if I'd finish or ever be able to wear my new finisher's shirt. I think the heat was getting to me. At least that's what I told people who asked if I was okay when at mile 21 a wave of stomach queasiness hit and my head felt funny. I had to sit down on a tree stump. 

If there had been an aid station nearby, I probably would have just quit there. Instead, after a few minutes I had to get up and walk again because so many runners paused to ask me if I was okay. I felt guilty for slowing them down so I started walking. Within a mile, I was running again! That was my longest time in the pain cave, but I felt badly and needed to walk a few more times after that. 

And that's why I couldn't believe I won anything. They didn't have a presentation, but a volunteer handed me the butterfly after I finished. I was slower than I had wanted to be, but it felt great not only to finish, but to get an award, too.

My biggest fears before the race and what really happened:
  • Not the alligators who live at the park! (Didn't see any, but I saw a snake.) 
  • Getting lost like I did in a 50K at the same park in a different race. (Didn't happen!)
  • The predicted warm weather. (The temperature during this race was 70-84.)
  • Tripping on tree roots and getting my only DNF. (I stubbed my toes, but never fell. Plus, no leaning to the left like I do in long races sometimes!)

Getting There: The park is an hour's drive from my home near Houston.  I left home at 4AM because the race started at 5:45.

Course: The park has root-filled trails, hills, and is mostly shaded, plenty of race markings.

Fuel Pre-race: oatmeal with raisins and molasses, coffee; 
1 GU gel 15 min. before the start

Fuel During the Race:
They offered Tailwind Nutrition drink and VFuel gels (I like berry), which was great since I've trained with both of those so that's how I fueled. When toe cramps came, I loaded up on the offered potato chips and felt better.

Fuel Post-race: At the aid station at the finish, there were PBJ sammies, Oreos, pretzels, mashed taters, but my favorite was actually the plain old bananas. 

Note to Self: Didn't need belt, phone fits in skirt pocket.


Just the Facts (race results link):
  • Time: 7:41
  • 11:54 average min/mile pace
  • 1st of 8 in the 50-59 year old women (after they awarded the first 3 masters women, so technically I was 4th... kind of confusing)
  • 35th out of 77 women
  • 190 runners finished
Post race: dirty shoes and legs except for right leg where I wore race chip.
Fun Facts
  • I chatted with Liza Howard, winner of 100 mile trail races! She asked how I felt, I said good and then told her I was lying. She said that I was a very convincing liar. Hmm, probably not really a good thing.
  • A GottaRunNow reader said "Hi!" at the start, which helped keep the nervous butterflies away. He felt badly, too, but he finished ahead of me. Way to go, Greg!
  • The other runners, volunteers and spectators were so encouraging. I wish I could gather all of them up and give them a big group hug!
My day went from nervous butterflies before the start (which always go away as soon as I start running) to a butterfly award at the end. And in between, there were butterflies on the trail!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Being Mindful of My Time

I woke up at 4AM without an alarm today. That only happened because I went to sleep at 7:30! It felt great to finally get a good night's rest and to have time to do all that I wanted to do before my 8 mile run: pray, read my Bible (I use this Bible reading app), eat (muffins, today) and to do hip/leg exercises.

Yesterday, we found a buyer for our piano that we're selling. I'm posting a picture of it to remember two things: our piano and how I had high hopes of playing it often, which I didn't stick with.

Exactly three years ago today, I wrote on my blog, "I practiced on the piano 5 days this week. Too bad taking a child to piano lessons for years does not make you a great pianist!" Playing the piano on a regular basis for the last three years would have been great, but other fun hobbies beat out the piano. 

So I'm taking a moment to remind myself to think about how I spend my time and to choose wisely.

Exercises (1/29/17-2/4/17):
  • Sunday - rest
  • Monday - 6 mile run, back/upper body exercises and then major cleaning of our RV, which made my back ache later! 
  • Tuesday - 5 mile run  
  • Wednesday - 13 mile run (I'm tapering for the Feb. 11 Rocky 50K trail race); 15 min. arm exercises
  • Thursday - rest
  • Friday - 8 mile run with  a few hills in the woods, 20 min. hip exercises: ideas from REI's Cross-training for Backpacking   
  • Saturday (planning to do) - 6 mile run to finish up my 38 mile week of running

Saturday, January 28, 2017

2017 Goals Revised

January is nearly over and I already need to revise my 2017 goals! My husband and I are prepping for a year or two of full-time RV life and hope to begin this new adventure in 2017. Life is going to be busier. 

Reading two books a week and running high mileage when we're traveling may be impossible some weeks. I just want to take a little unnecessary pressure off of myself. Besides, these goals still look great to me - with just the right amount of challenge. 

My Mostly Revised 2017 Goals 

1. Run 1700 Miles in 2017. I've averaged 50 miles a week so far, but now my goal will be 33 miles a week (instead of 39/week for 2,017 miles). You can find me on Strava.
2. Finish 52 books. My new goal is to read or listen to 1 book a week. I finished 9 books so far this year. 
3. Take a picture a day. I've posted a photo a day on Instagram so far and I think I can keep this up.
4. Sell nearly everything and move into an RV. This is a new goal - lots of planning and time needed for this one, but it'll be worth it!  

Here's how I exercised this week.
  • Sunday - 6 mile run
  • Monday - 9 mile run, strength-training 
  • Tuesday - 6 mile run  
  • Wednesday - biked, strength-training 
  • Thursday - 18 mile run - I'm training for the Feb. 11 Rocky 50K trail race! This run went better than my recent long runs and took 3 hours 5 minutes.
  • Friday - 11 mile run wraps up my 50 mile week, strength-training 
  • Saturday - biked

With four weeks into the year, have you found that you have set your goals too low or too high? Or maybe you want to keep trying to achieve your goals even though January didn't go as planned. February 1 would be a great day to begin again!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Coming Up: RV Living and a 50K


There are big changes coming up for me - if all goes as I hope it will! After our 4 month RV adventure last year, my husband and I would like to become full-time RV'ers! 

We hope to buy a bigger RV and to sell nearly everything we own - here's a link to our sale page. Have any tips for finding new homes for your belongings? That's one of the hardest parts of this adventure. So far, I've sold items online and donated to Goodwill. 

My training continues for the Rocky 50K that's on February 11. I ran 48 miles this week and continued my strength training, but I took a break from riding my bike because one of my hip flexors was uncomfortable and if I have to skip something - biking goes first

I wanted to run 10 miles the day after my long run of 16 miles, but because of stormy weather I switched the days. Tailwind (naked flavor is a nice change from sweet drinks) and Clif Blok shots kept me going on my long run. I've noticed my long runs of the last three weeks have gotten slower. I tell myself, "Come on body, only 3 weeks until the race and then you can rest!"

Zoe, our Weimaraner, is always ready for a walk at the park when I finish running. She was my running buddy when she was younger, but now we're walking buds. Here's how I exercised this week.

  • Sunday - 7 mile run
  • Monday - 9 mile run, strength-training 
  • Tuesday - 6 mile run  
  • Wednesday - strength-training 
  • Thursday - 10 mile run 
  • Friday - 16 mile run, strength-training 
  • Saturday - rest

Have a great week!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Rocky 50K Trail Race in 4 Weeks!

People have been asking me if I'm racing in the Houston Marathon tomorrow since I live close to Houston. I've done Houston and it's fun, but instead of the marathon I signed up for the Rocky 50K trail race! It's held at Huntsville State Park and only about an hour away from home. This will be my 4th 50K race. Here's how I'm getting ready to race.

Train in All Kinds of Weather 

Training in all kinds of weather is great preparation for race day. Last Saturday, it took forever to get ready to run because layering clothes for a 21 degrees run takes time. Then on Thursday, I wore shorts because it was 75 degrees F. when I did my long run.

Fuel for the Long Run

My long run was a 16 miler. For breakfast, I had white rice with a scrambled egg mixed into it, a banana and coffee. During my run, I had a GU gel nearly every 30 minutes starting 30 minutes after I started for a total of 4 gels and a few pretzels, too. That may sound like a lot of gels for a training run, but I want my stomach to get used to taking in plenty of food. That might help me during races.

Tips for Finishing a Long Run

After 3 warm-up miles, I kept running 2 miles hard and 1 mile at an easy pace until I was done. Doing that made the run seem like it went faster. The run took me about 3 hours and I ran at an average of about 11 minute miles. I ran in the woods on a long hill during most of the easy paced miles for a change of scenery from the park loops I normally did. I really wanted to quit in the last 1.5 miles. I think it was the heat. It gets to me after awhile. Listening to music instead of my audio book helped.

How I Exercised this Week

I ran 50 miles and continued my strength training and riding. After most runs/rides, I went on a walk with my dog, too. 

  • Sunday - 7 mile run
  • Monday - 10 mile run, strength-training 
  • Tuesday - 7 mile run with negative splits 
  • Wednesday - 1 hour bike ride, strength-training 
  • Thursday - 16 mile run (I like my Garmin Forerunner 35 & Mizuno Wave Kazan shoes)
  • Friday - 10 mile run with some puddle stomping with my husband, strength-training
  • Saturday - 1 hour bike ride, saw an armadillo and a deer!

Have a great week!

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