Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Whole New Outlook

Week 3 of no running begins. I did not run in the Sherrif’s 5k on Saturday. I made the mistake of seeing how I felt by going on a short jog around the neighborhood on Friday. My hamstring didn’t necessarily hurt during the run, it just felt really, really fatigued. It felt like a time when I had a personal trainer, and to test my fitness, he would make me lift a certain weight as many times as I could, until I absolutely couldn’t physically lift that weight another time. So, my hamstring felt like that last rep right before I crapped out and I couldn't do anymore. It felt like that throughout the whole run. I ran for about 2 miles and it was tough. My breathing was out of control and both legs felt so stiff. I felt ok at the end and decided I would show up to the race and listen to my body. If it said to slow down or walk, I would do that. I picked up my packet and saw one of my crazy fast friends there. I asked him for his advice on what I should do and he agreed that I should listen to my body.
Later that night, my body made it loud and clear that there would be no running or walking the next day at the race. My leg was now sorer than it was when I initially injured it. Before walking wasn’t painful, but now it was. I really wish I wouldn’t have run, but I was so eager to get back out there. Unfortunately, I tend to learn everything the hard way. Now I know, I need to wait until I have recovered fully to even attempt a run. I have been doing everything in my power to try and heal as quickly as possible, including ice, Epsom salt baths, a lot of rolling, I even bought a Groupon for a deep tissue massage because I heard it could help.  I have to admit, these last 2 weeks I have bumbling around the house feeling sorry for myself and giving dirty looks to runners I see around town, but no more. This year’s resolution was to be more positive. When this is over I will come back stronger than I was. This honestly helps me appreciate running more. You know what they say, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
I am going to use this time to make cross training a part of my schedule. Yesterday, I went to the gym for the first time in months and I hopped on the elliptical for 30mins, followed by the bike for 15mins, and finally the rowing machine for 10mins. Today, I’m hitting the pool. I have to admit, it is exciting, mixing things up. There was a point recently where I was dreading having to go out for a run, but I am very much looking forward to gym time and doing something different. I think this break is going to rejuvenate me and my running. I will be better for it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Haze and Hamstrings

You might be looking at this picture thinking, "huh, I didn't know it was so foggy in Reno." That, my friends, is not fog. That, is a huge damper on my running. That is the reason IronMan Lake Tahoe was cancelled last weekend. Those are not clouds it the sky. That, is smoke from the King fire. This is week two of some of the worst smoke we have ever had here. Last year we had a lot of smoke in the valley for about a month straight because of the Yosemite fire, but I don't think it was this thick. Normally, I would be throwing an adult termpertantrum, but even if I was tempted to venture outside for a run, I couldn't do it anyway.
At the Journal Jog, the Sunday before last, while warming up, I was doing my normal pre-race routine and doing some strides. Upon coming to a stop on my last stride, I felt a deep ache in my leg. I just brushed it off and ran the race. My leg was a little crampy in the beginning, but after a mile, I completely forgot about it. After the race and after I was sitting around for a while, I noticed the pain returned in full force, but I didn't want to entertain the thought that I might have actually injured myself. But, now more than a week later, realizing I can't run more than two steps without pain, I have finally decided to face reality. As they say denial isn't just a river in Egypt. I'm not sure what I did, but I have been Googling non stop and it sounds to me like I have a grade 1 hamstring strain. According to what I have read it takes about 1-2 weeks to heal, however, that is with doing R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, elevation) immediately. Since I spent the first week in denial, I didn't start any kind of treatment until Sunday. I have a race this weekend and the following weekend, and I don't think I'll be able to do either. I am super bummed, because (please excuse me while I throw myself a pity party) I turn 30 in November of this year. I don't know if this is the same everywhere, but the female overall winners seem to always come from the 30-34 age group. At this point for me, age group placements are all I have to go for, and almost every race this year I have been on the cusp of winning an AG award. I felt like this was my last chance before I enter the super competitive AG in November, and now I have a bum leg. I have been a good girl and I only attempted to run once since the Journal Jog ( I made it .25mi before I threw in the towel). I am hoping the rest helps, and if I'm still in pain on Saturday, I guess I wont be racing. Fingers crossed!!!
One more picture of the smoke, you can actually see the smoke rolling in for the day in this one:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Journal Jog Recap

On Sunday I completed the RGJ Journal Jog for the 2ndyear. Last year during this race I surprised myself with the pace I was able to maintain. Last year I averaged 8:42/mi and I was hoping to come in around 9:00/mi. This year, my goal was to average about 8:25/mi. I thought this was a pretty lofty goal, but according to my favorite running calculator, it said I could do it. This would bring me in at 41:48.Lately, most of my 5k races have been around 8:25ish, and this was an 8k.

One of my running friends was also doing this race, so I was really excited. 99% of every race I have done, I show up by myself, walk around the post-race activities by myself, and then leave by myself. So it was awesome to have someone to talk to before and after the race. Note how I didn’t say during the race. She is way too fast for me. We lined up together by the 8-9min pace area. That was a bad idea because for a small race (about 500) it took too long to cross the actual start line. She took off, and I was left to my own thoughts and pace. In the first mile of the race, I heard one of the most amusing comments, a little kid running next to his dad said “Dad, Jenny has a brown spot on her pants…and it’s on the butt part”. Love it!

I have a horrible habit of staring at my watch during races, and this race was no different. The first mile ticked off at 8:19. I usually like my first mile to be my slowest and since my goal was 8:25, I was going too fast. I usually try to pick someone ahead of me who seems to be going about my pace and stick with them until them, and then make it my goal to pass them in the end (yeah I know, it sounds presumptuous and competitive, but it really helps push me). The woman I chose was wearing a black tank top with a neon pink stripe going down the back. There were a couple times during this race I got perfectly in stride with another runner. This is always awkward. Do you say “hi”, or “hey, how about them Dodgers?” I usually try to de-stride myself from them as quickly as possible. Miles 2 and 3 where a bit of an uphill and I think I got a little too comfortable with slowing down. The next miles were 8:32 and 8:34. The woman with the black tank top was still in my sight. The great thing about miles 2 and 3 being uphill, meant miles 4 and 5 were downhill. During the Reno 10 Miler last month, I ran more by feel (I was going for a hard effort) not by what my Garmin said. I decided to adopt this attitude for the remainder of the race. I was feeling pretty good, and decided to pick up the pace a little. The woman in the black tank top did too. Mile 4 was at 8:05. For the final mile, I wanted to leave it all out on the course. As we made the final turn for the finish which was about .4 miles, I really kicked it in to high gear. It was then I realized I didn’t see the woman in the black tank top anymore. She must have really taken off in the end. When I was nearing the finish line I saw 40:50 on the clock. Wow! I then made it my goal to come in under 41 minutes. I gave it everything I had left. My legs felt wobbly and there were a few steps in there that I thought my legs were going to give out on me. Unfortunately, I was too far from the finish and I crossed the finish line at 41:04 L. I was a little bummed, but happy with my performance.

After my breathing calmed down, I went in search of my friend. I found her in the snack line and we decided to go to the nearby park and await the official results. As we were walking to the park, I passed a woman in the opposite direction and she said “Oh my gosh, good job out there. I was really trying to catch you, but you just flew by me, but it really helped me push it in the end trying to get you.” I laughed and told her she did a great job too, even though I had no clue who she was. I started to think, maybe I was the person she chose to keep close to the whole race. Then she turned and started to walk away and I saw the back of her shirt. Black tank top with a neon pink stripe going down the middle. I honestly have no idea when I passed her, but little did she know, she actually pushed me the whole time.

My friend thought she might have had a chance at placing in her age group, so we went to check the results. I was pleasantly surprised as I completely forgot about chip timing. My official chip time was 40:44, that’s 8:12/mi! I was super excited. I have to continue this running by feel thing rather than relying on my watch. I am the proud owner of a shiny new PR by almost 3 minutes!

Official Stats:
Time: 40:44
115/431 overall
30/240 in gender
5/34 in age group
Splits: 8:19 / 8:32 / 8:34 / 8:05 / 7:32 (that last .4 was in an average of 6:50/mi)


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Reno 10 Miler

Super late to the party post. I ran the Reno 10 Miler almost a month ago, but I never got around to writing a race recap. This is actually going to be a very vague race recap, because unfortunately I have already forgotten the details :( So...without further ado (I actually thought it was without further adieu, but I Google'd it, and ado means bustle, flurry, or fuss <as in "Much Ado About Nothing">, while adieu means goodbye. So all this time I have basically writing without further goodbye?!? Yikes! Well I want to give a big thanks to Grammar Girl! I will never make this mistake again.) (I guess there was further ado after all).

As I have stated in earlier posts, last year I earned the 3 letters no runner ever wants to get. The dreaded DNF (did not finish) on a race (dun, dun, duuuuuuuuuun). I was struggling with IT band issues but decided to run it anyway. I have learned that that is Not. A. Good. Idea. I think I made my injury worse and I had to spend a longer time trying to repair myself. This year, however, I have been feeling strong. My goal numero uno was to finish the race. Goal numero dos, come in under an hour and a half.

I arrived at the race early and did a short little run around to warm up. Since my goal was to finish the race and coming in under 1.5 hours was second, I lined up in the middle backish and reminded myself to take it slow the first mile. The course is actually pretty awesome. We start under the Reno Arch.
Yep, right there, only in the daytime.

The course then heads up to the University of Nevada, Reno takes a lap around the track, heads back downtown, onto the river path, and past a bunch of fancy homes I could never afford, and then to the finish. What I failed to realize was that, 75% of this was uphill. However, that didn't seem to phase my body (yay body!!!!) I felt stronger than I ever have in any race over 3.1 miles. The only real lesson learned during this race, was that I should never use any kind of energy chews. I am not the most coordinated person on the planet. So trying to chew, swallow, AND run. Yeah, not my strong suit. I had to opt for the chews though because, I forgot to purchase gels before race day, so I was stuck with what they had at the grocery store.

Splits: 9:04 / 9:28 / 9:27 / 8:27 / 8:36 / 8:54 / 9:15 / 8:45 / 8:47 / 8:37
Total Time: 1:28:03 (met goal 1 and 2)

Obligatory race pics:

P.S. sorry for all the "()"

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