Monday, August 8, 2011

Hot to Trot 8 Hour Run

Well this day rolled around a lot quicker than I thought it would. It started out pretty optimal, overcast and a rain shower that kept everyone cool and happy (for the most part) through the first hour. Let's talk the loop, 1.18 miles of trail, with a small section of road to keep it interesting. The trail itself, well this is Sweetwater, so I love the trails; the rolling, roller coaster hills at the beginning of this loop were fun, for a while. The hill coming up from the creek on the yellow trail, has never been a favorite, but as Sarah says "it's not Jack's hill!". And it's not, but even after 4 hours, getting to the top of it proved harder and harder.

I was hoping for 30 miles, but knew that race day can either meet, exceed, or barely come close to stated goals. But I went out with every intention of hitting my goal, running as much as I could, walking the hills, pushing myself to power walk wherever possible. After the first five loops, Reann came out to join me (it gets tiring sitting there watching me go 'round and 'round), plus she was wanting to get some miles in. And boy did she! By the time Chelsea showed up, around noon, Reann had already logged about 6 or 7 miles herself, and was hoping for 15. Those two took a break while I went out for another loop, then they both came out the next time.

It started heating up after noon, but we still had the cloud cover for a couple more hours before the sun came out and really started heating things up. My mileage was dropping as the day wore on, but I was determined to keep moving. Of course, the pain in my feet was hard to ignore, but I was at least able to tuck it off to one side most of the afternoon. Running with my girls is always a treat for me, running a race with so many other runners I know is AWESOME!!!!! (that was for Aaron). I get such a kick out of seeing them all out running, pushing themselves, and being able to shout out encouragement to them, and receive it back. The running community is one I have embraced wholeheartedly!

It was great running with Babette Griffith, who went on to complete her first official ultra distance - you go girl! It was just great to be out there with so many runners of all speeds and abilities. Yes, got left in the dust by the hottest males and females, but that was quite alright! That's why they're so dang hot! Last year's "Cold Water Dude", Tom Wilson even came out and did the last 3 (or was it 4?) laps with the girls and I (as I was last year's "Ice Queen", it was quite fitting!)

But then on lap 19, just before we hit the road section, I was lucky enough to have a major ankle roll. I'd been able to catch myself in the past before it would roll too much, not this time. The momentum from coming down off that trail section rolled it almost parallel with the ground. Ooops! Well, it happens. Just had to walk, and walk, then walk some more. It didn't respond well to running, so yep, I walked some more! It's all ok, I managed one more loop after that, before my feet and my body said "you're done". 20 loops for 23.63 miles. I'll take it, it's all good experience for the next race. Well, next ultra distance anyway. I think I can manage the 12 miles I'll be doing as sweeper in October, and if I decide to do Silver Comet 1/2 again (ditched the Sizzler, am just going to focus on running for training instead of racing for the next couple of months). Let me just say this, I am REALLY looking forward to cooler temps for running again...

As for my girls, Reann knocked out 15 loops for 17.7 miles, while Chelsea managed 9 loops for just over 10.5. Are they awesome or what?!?!

A big THANK YOU goes out to GUTS and Sarah Tynes for another world class event. I know how much work goes into a race beforehand, and have volunteered at more than my share, so being able to run a GUTS event again was a really fabulous experience. THANK YOU to all of the volunteers as well, seeing you out there every time we came through the aid station was very motivating. I couldn't have continued on without you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer lovin'...

Time flies when you're Darkside has come and gone, I managed to push myself to stay out there, circling that pond for 7 hours and 35 minutes. My mileage wasn't what I had wanted to get that day, but I DID receive the experience I was after. Pushing my body to keep going, in that heat, and managing my hydration and caloric intake throughout the day. While my feet had no intention of carrying me any further, at least I felt good enough that I could have if my feet were up to it.

Now we're 12 days out from my next 8 hour race, Hot to Trot. This one will be on the trails at Sweetwater Creek State Park, my favorite trails to run; not just because they're close to home, but for the constantly changing scenery throughout the year and the variety of trail conditions found there. This is a GUTS event too, so I'll know well over half of the participants and volunteers. I've been pushing myself to run as much as I can in the heat leading up to this, so there's not much to say except, go me! And I can't forget a big THANK YOU to both of my girls, Chelsea and Reann, as well as Jonathan. My girls hit the road or the trails with me with hardly ever any complaining, and Jonathan is always a good partner to hit the trails or group runs with since our pace is similar and we're now neighbors!

After this, I'm still in the thinking stages of signing up for the Big Peach Sizzler 10K on Labor Day, will probably do so by the end of this week, and I still haven't committed to the Silver Comet Half but also hope to do so very soon. After that, it's the Peachtree City 50K in November, really looking forward to that one. Oh, and sweeping the 12 mile course at Mystery Mountain Marathon/12 mile on October 9th. And I've already added one to next year, the Louisiana Marathon in Baton Rouge on January 15th, 2012. All in all, still a lighter race schedule than I've had previously, and that's ok. Life rolls on.

August 7, 2011 - GUTS Hot to Trot 8 Hour Race, Sweetwater Creek State Park
September 5, 2011 - Big Peach Sizzler 10K, Chamblee to Buckhead
October 9, 2011 - Mystery Mountain Marathon/12 Miler, Fort Mountain State Park (sweeping)
October 29, 2011 - Silver Comet Half Marathon, Mableton
November 4-6, 2011 - Pinhoti 100 Mile Endurance Run, Helfin to Sylacauga, AL (crewing)
November 13, 2011 - Peachtree City 50K/25K, Peachtree City
January 15, 2012 - Louisiana Marathon, Baton Rouge

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I admit it, two posts by Jonathan today shamed me to post on my own...

Here we are, less than 10 days left in June, and looming in front of me is the Darkside 8 hour run this Saturday. Well, I haven't shied away from challenges, have I? This looks to be no different. I'm doing it, no matter what. So what that we just got back from vacation a week ago, so what that I just moved this past weekend, So what that I gained weight back while on vacation. So what! As long as I manage my hydration, my sodium and my caloric intakes, this will be a good run and a good test of my body's capabilities in the Georgia heat. I'm doing this!

So come 7am Saturday morning, I will be there, at Huddleston Pond in Peachtree City, beginning the first of many loops that I will complete by 3pm. Looking forward to seeing Jonathan, Beth, and Jon, along with the other 45 runners who've taken on this challenge.

Now, just to remember to pack what I think I'll need for that day, and chairs for my cheering squad, and ice, and beer, and s-caps and....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

First Marathon (and everything leading up to it!)

March 2oth has come and gone, which means so has my first marathon. What a road traveled! Looking back on my training, it went as well as it could have considering. And my speed "test" of doing the Silver Comet 10K the week before the marathon went really well, shaving almost 5 1/2 minutes off my fastest 10K time last year. But, let's be honest, I had to start training long before March 20th. To that end, it came about rather fortuitously in running friend Tracy offering to be my marathon coach back in November. Best decision I made, as without a plan I could look at, and therefore adhere to, I would have been training with no real sense of direction or focus.

Started the training the week after the Atlanta Half Marathon on Thanksgiving. 4 running days a week, 3 short runs Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and a long run on Saturdays. With some sort of cross-training or easy run on Sundays and Mondays and Fridays my rest days. The Saturday long runs would get progressively longer, building up to a 20-22 mile run 3 weeks before the marathon.

Then, lucky me, I also won via the door prize giveaway at the GUTS EOY in December, 2 months of training from Janice! So she asked questions and I answered, and she came up with a plan for me that incorporated speed work into my marathon training. So what's a girl to do with two plans? Combine them, of course! Now my Wednesday night runs turned into my speedwork nights. Whew! Having never run track before, this was a new experience. But, onward I pressed, determined to get myself ready for the 26.2 mile trek through the wilds of Atlanta.

Funny how life reaches out and slaps you just for kicks to remind you that it doesn't always stick to the plan you have. Such was the case when I developed strep throat in February and lost close to 2 weeks of training. But, even recovering from strep didn't keep me from running, it just kept me from the distances I was shooting for. I swept the SweetH2O Half Marathon on 2/13/11, or attempted to. That was slow going and only managed 9 miles that day. Ah well, I tried not to let it throw me off too much. Finally made it to week 15 and my longest run of the training programs, 20-22 miles. Came close to the 22, hit it at 21.8 and was happy with it.

Race day rolled around rather quickly after the SC 10K. I slept fitfully after about 1am until I just got up around 5:15 and jumped in the shower. Kim F. called just before 6am and said she was downtown and wanted to meet before the start so I finished getting ready and headed downstairs to meet up with her. I managed to eat half of a plain bagel with pb and about 2/3 of a banana, then we both hit the restrooms and headed outside to find our respective corrals.

That helped, having her to shoot the breeze with, took my mind off what was coming. But then it was time for me to find my corral after we found hers. And off I went, and went, and went. Corral O, as in Oh good grief, will they send up a flare to let us know the race starts? Anyway, waited, and waited, and waited, then our group finally started moving forwards little by little. We didn't actually cross the starting line until 13+ minutes after the clock started, what fun! But away I went, and managed to keep my pace to a slower one instead of charging full tilt. Made it to the first water stop feeling good, and grabbed 2 half full cups of water, something I made myself do at every hydration stop along the way. An hour in I was coming up on another station, so pulled out my bag and grabbed an s-cap and 2 gels and took them both with the water. That was something else I made myself adhere to.

The miles were getting crossed off, but it got a little lonelier once the half marathoners split off just after mile 7. Now it was just those of us lucky devils who had 19 miles to go, not 6. I stayed feeling good and a pretty decent pace all the way to mile 16. After that, well, let's just say that miles 16 through 20 were killer, almost one continuous hill it felt like. It was hard to push myself to run after that. Luckily Sarah put in her 2nd appearance just before mile 20 and tempted me onward to where her car was parked with the promise of beer. Beer you say? During a marathon, and your first at that? Why not! It wasn't a lot, a few mouthfuls, and a decent amount of nutter butters. I know, I know, what a combination! But the running Gods were smiling upon me that day and I had NO stomach issues at all!

After mile 20 we made our way over to Piedmont Park, where Kim P. was set up to cheer everyone on. Had to run past her to do the out and back, and I actually started feeling better once I made the turn to come back out. Stopped by Kim and grabbed a carrot with some dip, and then they kicked me on down the road. Off I went, out of the park and back up yet another hill. Sarah was "illegally" bike pacing me with her friend Melissa, so by the time we passed the 23 mile mark, she knew what to say to get me moving. Out of nowhere she says "Kirsten, start running" "Why?" "There's someone you need to pass" "Sarah, I'm not here to pass anyone, I just want to finish!" "Kirsten, just start running", and so I did, and I passed the couple that most likely started before me, and were walking. Then just before mile 24 I passed the guy I'd been playing "tag" with starting back around mile 15, and never saw him again! I think I managed to pass a few more people after that, Sarah says I smelled the barn. Which is probably true. I knew I was going to finish, later than I though, but given the hills on the course, I was just going to be damn happy to finish.

Everything was hurting after mile 25 though, and it was hard to keep going, but I wasn't about to stop. Finally when the 1/4 mile to the finish sign came in view, I started running, and ran it all the way in, past Craig taking my picture and past my girls with their fabulous sign, all cheering for me as I crossed that finish line. I wanted to cry, I wanted to sit down, but I kept moving, getting my medal, the mylar blanket, some water, then food, then my picture taken, then I was back inside the park and there was Sarah and Melissa, and Craig and the girls.

This was hard, but I did it. In hindsight had I known how BAD those hills would kick my butt, I would have trained better. But it's lesson learned and I've a brief respite before the next race.

Coming up:

Talladega Half Marathon - 4/3/11
Peachtree Road Race - 7/4/11
Make it by Midnight Marathon in Macon - 7/16/11 YES! Another marathon. :)
Silver Comet Half Marathon - 10/29/11
Soldier's Half Marathon - 11/12/11
Peachtree City 50K - 11/13/11 A 50K?!?! Really? That's the plan!

Crazy? You bet!

I've got to thank Tracy and Janice again, their help and encouragement was instrumental in getting me to train for the marathon. Also a big thank you to Kim F. for being there that morning, a big thank you to Sarah for being there (with beer and nutter butters!) those last 6.5 miles or so, a big thank you to Kim P. for hanging out probably long after anyone else she'd known had been through and a big thank you to Kate for the hug at the finish line!

Of course, I have to give an extra big thank you to Craig, Chelsea and Reann for being so supportive during this entire process and for being my "finish line posse"! A girl couldn't ask for better family.

And a final, though no less enthusiastic and appreciative, THANK YOU! to all who encouraged me throughout this and were just as thrilled as I was that I finished. Rogues, GUTS, friends and family, you all are awesome!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Saying goodbye to 2010 and Helloooooo 2011!

Happy New Year everyone! Guess I can close the books on the last few races of 2010 and look forward to what I have planned for 2011.

Race recap:

Locomotive Half Marathon 9/19/2010 - This was a fun, albeit challenging one. Wasn't prepared for the hills, but overall Reann and I did well! My time was 2:57:06

10th Annual Silver Comet Half Marathon 10/30/10 - Another good day overall, felt good and surprised myself by shaving 4 minutes off last year's time! 2:42:34

4th Annual Peachtree City 25K/50K - I ran the 25K with Jonathan and we managed pretty well, but I think we both thought we were stronger than we ended up being. Although I did do one extra loop, making it over 20 miles for that day! 25K time was 3:47:25

2010 Atlanta Half Marathon Thanksgiving Day - The day started warmer than I thought it would be. The hills did me in on this one too, just did not prepare well for it, plus had no idea there would be that many throughout. Reann and I definitely earned our turkey dinner anyway! 3:08:39

Now on to 2011. With only one race registered for at this point, it's my main focus. Working with fellow runner Tracy who modified a marathon training plan for me, am now in week 5 and managed a 12 mile run earlier today, in the rain no less! Working on increasing my distance and endurance leading up to the marathon in March. Going to get back into a good cross-training plan as well starting tomorrow, I really need the strength training, mostly for core and legs.

My volunteer duties were pretty well met in 2010, and 2011 is shaping up to be just as good, if not better, than last year.

Here's to 2011!

Races (registered for):
Publix Marathon 3/20/11

Races (hoping to get on the calendar):
Warrior Dash - May
Peachtree Road Race 10K - July
Grandfather Mountain Marathon - July
Mystery Mountain Marathon (or Half) - October
Silver Comet Half Marathon - October
Peachtree City 50K - November

Volunteering duties:
Atlanta Fat Ass 50K - 1/9/11
Red Top Rumble - 2/6/11
SweetH2O Sweetheart Half Marathon - 2/13/11
GRR 100/50/50K - 3/5-3/6/11
SweetH2O 50K -4/16/11
And I'm sure a host of others as the year progresses...

Lastly, I want to give a big THANK YOU to all the members of the running community I got to know better this year, as well as those I met this year. You are all a huge inspiration to me, because of your successes and challenges, I am able to reach farther for my own successes and challenges. Here's to a healthy 2011 for us all!

And one last "ATTA GIRL" for two fabulous friends of mine - Marci and Jen. These two ladies started running and both decided to do their first half marathon in 2010 and both finished with fabulous results. You ladies rock!