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Time and the Track

Today I went to Seckman High school’s track to do speed work. For this years marathon training I decided to use my Nike plus running app coach. This is a totally free coach and since I’m pretty self motivated it works for me. So today was run 400 meters (one lap) and then walk for two and a half minutes and then repeat ten times. It gave me a projected pace of 10:37 which as usual triggered my anxiety for no reason. My pace for the running portion was 9:35.
When I first arrived I realized it’s been a long time since I was there. When I trained for my first half back in 2005 l did almost all my runs there and counted laps. So as I looked at the football field and admired the AstroTurf I thought about all the changes.

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My very first time at the track I was still smoking. So I would smoke all the way there, do my miles, and smoke all the way home. I listened to a portable CD player and headphones and was there a lot of times when the kids were out for gym.

Another four years passed before I did my next half. By this time I had quit smoking and iPods had been invented and I owned one. Nike invented a chip that went in your shoe and correlated with your iPod to keep track of distance. I would soon ditch the track because it was monotonous running in circles.

The following year I invested in an iPhone and upgraded to Nike+ running app and ditched the chip. I also no longer had to carry my phone and my iPod. I then started running on the road and convinced myself I am invisible and no one can see my running. It was the only way I survived running without having major anxiety that people were laughing at me.

I seriously cannot remember the last time I was at the track. Most likely the summer I was supposed to run a race to benefit Seckman track club and had the start time wrong and missed the race. I thought about the guy that took care of the football field grass and would mark it for football games. I wonder what he is doing now. He would always say hi to me even though I was invisible at the track as well.

Mole moral~No matter how hard one tries, it is impossible to slow down both time and the change that comes with it.

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Treadmill vs Indoor Track

As I begin to type this I want to clarify something first. The best place to run is outside. I would rather be out there any given time. However, when the heat index is over 100 or the wind chill is less than twenty then running outdoors is not a safe option. Saint Louis has been stupid cold for the past two weeks, just in time for me to start full marathon training. The holidays were also factored in so that made me stuck on the treadmill for the past week and a half but today I managed to make it to the Arnold Rec Center.

I love the rec center. I would rather do thirteen laps per mile than run on a treadmill not really moving. Everyone is like just watch TV. No matter what I put on, I am staring at how long I have been on the stupid thing just waiting for it to be over. At the indoor track I can people watch. Usually there are boys playing basketball below me, or girls practicing baton or couples playing pickle ball. Also on the track, I recognize people who I see from time to time. Although I don’t talk to any of them, I have names for them and know if they are there, then they are well. There is a couple that walk together all the time and they are fast walkers. They probably pull a thirteen minute mile. I like to follow them when I am not running but walking. Last year when I was training for the fifty mile a guy asked me what I was training for. So I told him about the race. He lives close to me and told me he saw me on the outer road all the time as well. One day in September he was driving and saw me and pulled over and asked how the race was. So I told him all about it. He was there today and stopped me because he was telling his friend about me and wanted to know how long it took me. I said 13:57. They asked me if I was going to do it again this year. I said hell no, one and done. They both started laughing.

There was a guy named Ron who use to be there all the time. I haven’t seen him in almost a year. I need to ask a couple of the regulars what happened to him. Today a gal was wearing an Oak Bridge Church shirt and I almost said to her, best church ever! She might have thought I was crazy. However running 10 miles there today was totally normal! Although ten miles on a treadmill is total insanity. I would go to the indoor track any time any day when the weather is uncooperative.

Mole Moral~ Find an exercise you enjoy and stick to it. You never know who you might meet or who you might encourage!

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Why I do races

I often get asked why I do so many races and there are two simple reasons. The first one is practical and the second one is just crazy. I have found that if I don’t have a race coming up then I find every excuse not to run and can go three weeks without running at all. However, if I have a distance race in the future I will stick to the training plan and run all of them so I am well prepared. I recently signed up for a full marathon in April so that I will keep on running. It is my me time, my God time and my keep me from killing people time.

The second and real reason I do races is for the medals. Disney by far had the best medals and I have them in a shadow box. The rest of my medals are hanging on a curtain rod in my room. Recently I was thinking that when I die my kids will have to throw them all away because seriously who wants them besides me. Today was the Santa’s North Pole Dash. This is my favorite 5K and you get a medal as well. Todays medal did not disappoint. The shirt choices were either a Santa shirt or this my favorite Christmas movie.

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I have three Santa shirts so I picked the Christmas Story shirt instead. I wasn’t even thinking that the medal might be related to the shirt so I was in for a real treat.

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I was thinking that after I died my kids could use this as a Christmas ornament to remember me by. Then my friend Theresa’s husband told me to put my face in the opening and that was the best idea ever. So after at least twenty minutes of finding a picture, running out of ink, and cutting it wrong twice it is all finished.

Mole Moral ~ I found the way to be immortal, live on as a Christmas ornament so everyone can remember their insane crazy mother, grandmother, great-grandmother etc.

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Mo Cowbell Marathon

The Mo Cowbell half marathon replaced the Lewis and Clark marathon back in 2011. I ran the last Lewis and Clark half marathon and then the first Cowbell marathon. Four years ago the full marathon was added as an option. That year I had plantar fascia release on my right foot and the next year on my left. The third year it was two weeks before my fifty kilometer race so it was out once again. I decided I was running it in 2017 no matter what. I had originally planned to run the fifty in April but due to the headache from Hell I had to postpone it until August. This meant I had six weeks between races.

I had decided to do the ultimate reset and took three weeks off from exercise. I had a hard time having enough energy to walk much less consider running. And the next three weeks I just kind of ran but not super hard. I have done the half marathon three times so I remembered the course well. The second half was much tougher. I thought it was an out and back on the Katy trail but it wasn’t exactly. We somehow hooked up to a connector trail or something and I ran past one of the cake locations that Allyson and I only found by seeing the bridge in the picture and driving to it. It was close to the Family Arena. I felt great until mile 15 and then not so much. The same thing happened during the fifty mile. By mile twenty I was pretty sick of running. I only got through it by reminding myself I only had six more miles instead of thirty.

Around mile sixteen I started receiving texts from Emily. She was at urgent care with a massive kidney infection. They gave her three shots, one was an antibiotic, one was anti-nausea and the other an anti-inflammatory. They also checked her for strep and felt she most likely had viral strep and put her on an oral antibiotic as well. They were considering sending her to the ER. I think I finished the marathon about the time they decided to send her home and told her to come back the next day for another antibiotic shot.

I could blame my time on texting while running but it’s really because all summer I did not train for speed at all. I trained for endurance to make it through the fifty without dropping dead. I also didn’t want to push it too hard and injure myself and not be able to run the fifty. So this winter I plan to work on running a lot more and walking a lot less. I don’t plan to be super fast or win a race but I would like to beat my very first marathon time which was 5:25:00. We shall see if I can actually not have something else happen to make me start all over with running for the fourth or fifth time.

 

Mole Moral~ The faster I run, the sooner I’m done!

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I finished the fifty mile run

20987664_1368040853314506_579149930_nI can’t believe the race is finally over and I finished it and can still walk. I was up at five in the morning as check in was at five forty-five and the race started right at six. There were around three hundred runners but it was not a chip event so everyone started at the same time. The interesting thing about ultra events is most of the people are not about sprinting and speed but finishing it. Those that come in first are super fast but the majority are just normal people like me.

The first fifteen miles went by pretty fast and I felt great and then the uphill climb started and lasted eight miles. The course was on the Mickelson trail and was an old railroad track so the grade was between 1-4%. I had run hills all summer but not one continuous uphill thing for eight straight miles. So pretty much mile fifteen until twenty-three was awful. When I finally reached the check station before the turn around Brian asked if I wanted him to come down with me and take my picture. I said yes of course.

When the aid station asked if there was anything they could do for me I said “please kill me!” They asked me how I wanted it done and I said quick and fast. At least I knew that in two miles I would be headed downhill for eight miles. I was slowing down a bit as the temperature reached a maximum of 88 degrees with full sun on most of the trail. I realized around mile thirty I would not make the twelve-hour mark I had in my head.

The next difficult section was mile forty to forty-five because it was another straight climb up. I was about ready to off myself and questioning why I ever opened my mouth and said I want to run fifty miles for my fiftieth. I also realized that the cutoff was sixteen hours because this course was tough. The original run I had planned to do back in April was pretty much flat and had a twelve-hour cutoff. I thought I was never going to reach mile forty-five and see Brian but I did and he was drinking beer with a buddy he had gotten to know over the day. His brother was running ahead of me. His new friend said its all down hill and I said again just kill me but I took off for the most mentally challenging section.

I was tired and I wanted to die. I had three huge blisters on my feet. My music died with one mile left but I dug deep. I thought about all the ridiculous things I had done to prepare for this race. Back when I was training for the 50K, I did my 26 mile training run on a cruise ship in the dining area because it was raining. I ran 28 miles at the Arnold Recreation Center because it was going to be over 100 with the heat index. I got up and ran when I didn’t want to. I had made it to twenty-four miles of long runs when I came down with the five-week headache and then picked out a new race and started the training over again. I told myself if you can do all this five miles is just from your house to Imperial main street where you get a drink and use the bathroom.

Finally I saw the track that I was going to finish on and I started crying. This made running impossible, not that I could run even if I tried. I just thought back to how this all started over a year ago on fourth of July weekend when I remembered I said I wanted to run fifty and my birthday was the next year. I found the training plans and wrote it out and didn’t look back. And now I can say I finished the beast in 13:57:38. There were 10 gals in my age group 50-59 and I came in third! I really thought I would be more like second to last so then I start thinking maybe I should do another one. Then I smacked myself upside the head and came back to reality.

 

Mole Moral ~ When you set a goal and achieve it, it’s the greatest feeling in the world.

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High Fall Risk Again

Last week on my Time Hop app it reminded me of the time I was texting while running and hit a chunk of concrete and fell and scrapped up my face. I remember exactly who I was texting and what we were talking about. You would have thought I would have taken that as a warning or foreshadowing but I saw it as neither.
Yesterday I was walking to church for the baptism service and texting with my sister. I stepped into this hole in our street and down I went.

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My ankle rolled and I slammed it into the concrete. I managed to hit both legs right below the knees and they are bruised. I landed on my left wrist again and aggravated the sprain and bruised it. The entire 19 weeks of training flashed before my eyes in a flash. I got up and could walk so being my true crazy self walked to church.
I started to walk home after the edge which was after the baptism when Brian texted me and asked if I needed a ride. I actually said yes and he came and picked me up. He asked if he should cancel vacation and the hotels. I told him absolutely not.
After I was home and no longer distracted I noticed my left ankle was swelling and really hurting to touch it. I then went into full freak out Freddy mode. Emily called during this time and told me to calm down. That who was I kidding, I would run it on a broken ankle. Sadly, she’s right. I’d load up on pain killers and run and deal with the aftermath later. However I’m pretty sure it isn’t broken. It hurts way more to touch my ankle (like a bad bruise) than to walk. However I think it will be wise to not do my last three training runs and just rest it.

Mole moral ~ When you are a high fall risk you should not text and walk, it’s more dangerous than texting and driving.

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Taper: A runners best friend

For anyone that has formally trained for a race, they know what taper means. Taper usually occurs a couple of weeks before the race and where the amount of miles dramatically decreases. My training for the fifty mile had three weeks of taper and it came in the nick of time, as I was about ready to throw in the towel and say forget the race.

I left for camp on a Saturday at midnight. That friday I ran 28 miles at the indoor track. It took me almost seven hours and something like 330 laps. Around mile 18 I hit the I’m going to die of boredom wall and by mile 26 I seriously wanted to off myself. The next day I was back for another 12 miles. It was so mentally challenging I am not sure how I did it. Sunday I was on the bus until six in the evening. Monday I got up and ran 12 miles, Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 4. That was 62 miles in six days with camp factored in. I saw 55 kids and was woken up at least twice in the middle of the night that week. It is no wonder I had a headache the entire way home on Friday. I blew off my second 28 mile run that saturday because I was exhausted and cut Sunday’s in half. I think I forgot I’m twice as old as twenty-five and may have over did it just a bit. The next week every run was a nightmare, I had to force myself out the door.

This week was much better. I had a six-mile and a four mile during the week and that was it. It was during this time Brian had gotten on the race website and found the course had finally been posted. I discovered that there would be stops every five miles with food, drinks and bathrooms. I had previously thought it would be every ten miles. Also every stop was accessible by vehicle with driving directions so Brian was nominated as my crew person. He seems to be taking it very seriously. I was pretty excited to think I would get to see him every five miles and not have to carry a million things with me. He can bring me drinks and food and anything else I need. Yesterday I got an email from the race with details of what to expect. Sometime in the next couple of days I will know what my bib number is. That was super exciting.

Today was the first ten-mile run I have done in I don’t know how long that I didn’t want to stay in bed. The weather was gorgeous and I didn’t even start until eight. I ran faster than I have in a long time and I’m telling you it’s because of taper. The body needs the rest so it can gear up for the big run. I actually was envisioning myself crossing the finish line and having pictures taken. I’m starting to get just a little excited for next Saturday. This weeks runs are a 4, 3, and then a 2 mile run. It is the only time the entire 20 weeks that I have had a run less than 4 miles. I won’t know what to do with only two miles. But the key is not to go running more and stick to the schedule. This will not be an issue for me! I am looking forward to my mileage being so much less, this has felt like a full-time job and everyone knows I am part-time girl.

 

Mole Moral ~ Rest, it does a body good!