Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in review for JD - the year of the injury!

Well, the year started off pretty rough when I found out in December of 2013/January 2014 that I had two small hib labrum tears in my left hip.  I went to see a few Dr.'s in the Northern VA area and ended up with Dr. Parker.  He looked at the MRA but didn't see any FAI (Femoroacetabular Impingement) but did see the two tears.  However, my flexibility looked good and we thought we would work on PT first before going to surgery.  So I hit PT hard for about 3-4 weeks and slowly began running again getting around 20 miles a week.  Ran the PR "Run your Heart out 5k" and came in 4th in my AG and then ran the Runners Marathon at Reston .  The race was brutal, here was my dailymile log:

Decent run, planned to live in the 10 min range and did on the back half...wanted this to be a relaxing training run. Weather was absolutely brutal....start of the race it was 20mph winds and pouring rain and around 39F to start...It only got worse from there, wind picked up and got some nasty hail by mile 20, then sleet at the end...all with even bigger, I was about a good 20 min from hypothermia...hands were swollen from being so cold....all that said, aerobically, felt good and legs felt decent, left hip aching towards around half point and end of race... - had a blast :)

The marathon consisted of cold cold rain and I got something like a 4:20:31.  Not bad for someone who was supposed to get surgery just a few months prior.
Thats me on the left...some random on the right!
Then I got injured.  I had planned to run a 50 miler (Cayuga 50) and Pittsburgh marathon but strained my upper hamstring/lower back on April 20th.  It wasn't until the end of July, early August until I got done PT and built the strength back into my hamstring.  However, on June 1st I paced Zach to his first 10k in Herndon, VA.  The hamstring was bothering me but I was just running through it which wasn't smart.

After I got back to running in September, I ran the 2014 National Capital 20-Miler, Carderock Park, MD where I ran a PR best 2:53:26 in 20 miles for a 8:43/mile pace.

It felt good to just be able to run somewhat hard again for any real distance.  After the 20 miler, I ran YUTC 50k in which I had a planned DNF and only ran 25k.  I could of probably run the whole thing but told myself I wanted only wanted to do 15+ miles that day.  After YUTC, I paced heather to her first 100k at Oil Creek 100 in Titusville, PA.

The month of November was fun.  I ran Richmond on absurd mileage (20+ miles a week) and almost PR'd my marathon time with a 3:54:48.  Actually, the best part about that race was both Zach and Nic placed in the top 5 at the Richmond 8k.

I was very proud of them running so hard and doing so well.  The Richmond Marathon took a toll on my knees but wanted to do another Marathon two weeks later to become a Marathon Maniac.  Heather was a maniac and I really wanted to do it too so I signed up for the Northern Central Trail Marathon which was on November 29th, 2014.  I ran that race and slugged my way to a 4:31:13 for a 10:21 pace/mile.   It was something I really wanted and finally became a Marathon Maniac:
MM #10300

All in all, it wasn't that bad of a year given I had been dealing with hamstring and back issues.  Currently, I am dealing with some piriformis problems in the same gluteal area.  Next year, I have a couple of 50 milers on the schedule and HOPEFULLY on 100 miler attempt.


Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 in Review and Looking Forward

Another amazing year of running!  I didn't have any personal PRs this year, but I did accomplish my big goal of the 100K.  That was my focus this year. I also had an amazing time watching the boys grow as runners. I ran 23 races for a total of ~269 miles raced of the close to 1700 miles that I will get this year.


Starting 2014 off with a family race at the Resolution 5K in Beaufort North Carolina where Zach got 3rd in his age group
Finishing Reston Runners Marathon in the snow after surviving 5+ hours of freezing rain and sleet.

ScoutStrong 5K with Zach where I placed 2nd overall female, and he won his age group
 Cherry Blossom-just because it's Cherry Blossom, and I love this race so much.  It's my run happy space.
Pittsburgh Marathon because who doesn't love Pittsburgh! Followed by Mother's Day 4 Miler with Zach who PR'd his 4 mile time.
 Herndon Festival 10K where Zach made his 10K debut and Nic got a massive 5K PR!

Summer track season where both boys PR'd their mile and were in the 7:30s, and we won the family relay.

 Youngstown 50K where I finally raced a 50K and felt good about it.  Big confidence boost going into Oil Creek.


 Oil Creek 100K!

Absolute best racing day of the year!  Richmond Marathon and 8K!  Great day for the whole family and the kids both placed in their age group.

Nic won the Turkey Trot 1/2 mile for his grade at school, and I had a ton of fun helping.

TAPS 5K where I won my age group, Nic got a PR, and Zach got 3rd in his age group.
Massive PRs and sub 25 minute 5Ks for both of these guys at the Prince William Turkey Trot.
Last race of the year, and Zach won his age group, and I was third in my age group.

Low Points!

Instant Trail Classic in March was probably my worst race of the year.  The heat got to me, and I didn't hydrate well.

 DNF at Bull Run 50.  Again hot temperatures, and I got in my own head.

So way more highlights than low points.  Even the low points weren't all that awful.  I got a record for distance this year, and accomplished my big goal. 

Big races on the list for 2015 include:
Blue Ridge Marathon
Glacier Ridge 50K
Mohican 50 Mile
Ultra MegaTransect
and maybe Virgil Crest 50 Mile and NCR Trail Marathon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Broad Run Jingle Bell 5 Miler-Last Race of 2014 and Surprise Age Group Win

This past Saturday Zach and I ran the Broad Run Jingle Bell 5 Miler.  This is the third year that I have done this race.  It's a great local race that benefits local trails and is always fun and festive.  Zach decided that he wanted to join me this year since he has been wanting to do a trail race.  This race is mixed road/trail with about 2 miles on paved surfaces and the rest on gravel or packed dirt trails.  It's a good race for newer trail runners so it was perfect for him.  It was really cold on race morning (28 degrees), but there was no wind so it didn't feel too bad.  We got our bibs and ankle chips and our jingle bells for our shoes.  Then we stayed warm in the car until about 15 minutes before race start.
Freezing pre-race

We met up for a photo with some Moms Run This Town ladies.  Then we were off on the race.

My running friend and I have done this race three years straight

This photo has the 1,2,3 40-49 women and the 14 and under boy winner
 Zach started pretty fast, but I hurried to catch up to him because I really wanted to run the whole race with him.  I had just done 12 trail miles on Friday, but my legs were still feeling pretty good.  We did an 8:46 on the first mile which was mostly all paved.  Then we hit the trail section.  He did really well on this section with a 9:21 in the second mile, but I could tell that the trail was starting to get to him.  He was having to work harder than he normally does on the road to keep the pace.  Mile 3 was mostly on the trail, and his legs were feeling tired in this section.  He ran a 10:15.  During mile 4 we got back on the road which he was happy about, but this is also the section where almost all of the elevation gain for the course occurs.  There was close to 100' of gain on one big hill in this mile so he only managed a 10:22 pace.  He was feeling discouraged, but I let him know that he could still get his goal of a sub-50 minute finish if he pushed on the last mile.  The last mile was back on the trail and then a short uphill past the elementary school playground to the finish.  A bunch of the older cross country boys were hanging out at the playground and did a great job encouraging him to finish strong up the hill.  He got his time back down to 9:59 for the last mile and got a 48:41 finish.  We didn't bother to stay around for age group awards because I thought it was 15 and under for his age group and they only award 1st in each age group. 
Zach and I after the race.  He just wanted to drink his cocoa and eat that cookie.

Once we got home we had a results email letting us know that he had won his age group because it was 14 and under.  He had the best time in his age group. The race director was really amazing and dropped his medal off at our house the next day.  He was really happy to get that.  I ended up 3rd in the 40-49 year old women and although I didn't get an award I was happy with that because there were a lot of women in that age group, and I was running with Zach and not racing.  I could have pushed a lot harder, but it was so much fun for us to run it together.  I'm looking forward to an amazing 2015.
Happy to run with my boy

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Run with Santa 5K-Why Do I Keep Running This Same Course?

The kids and I did the Run With Santa 5K this past Sunday.  It's always a fun race, but I forget how much I hate this particular course for 5Ks.  It starts uphill and ends uphill, and I don't like it very much.  However, PR puts on such a good race that I keep signing up for PR Races on that course. 
It was chilly and windy on race morning, but the kids were excited to run.  We pretty much knew it wasn't going to be a race to set any records so we focused on having a good time.  We lined up near the front in the 8-9 minute mile group, but somehow even after race start people were walking within the first quarter mile.
Nic looking good at the start.

Zach being smart and taking the outside lane to get out of the mess.

Heather getting trapped in the pack like a rookie.

 I could see the kids up ahead of me and figured that I would eventually catch up to them.  I figured that I would focus on trying to negative split the race.  I came through the first mile at 8:29.  Zach ran his first mile at 8:15, and Nic was somewhere in between the two of us.  As we turned a corner to go into mile 2 which is normally the flat easy mile in this race, we got hit with a wall of wind.  I managed to keep my pace and speed up a bit to get an 8:21.  Zach slowed down a bit for an 8:26, and I caught Nic at this point.  Zach started to pull away again in the last mile, but Nic was struggling a little on the uphill so I stayed with him.  Zach ran an 8:46 in the 3rd mile.
Zach at the finish

 Once I got up the hill, Nic took off on the flat, and I started to go with him.
Nic mixing it up with a master runner again.  I think he secretly likes to torment these guys by trying to outkick them at the finish.

  Then I saw a boy off to the side crying with his shoe in his hand.  I told Nic to go ahead and stopped to help the kid put his shoe on.  He was still crying and said that he didn't want to finish so I told him that I would run it in with him.
Me with my new little friend

 I ended up doing my last mile in 9:21 due to the time that I lost with the kid in the shoe.  My final time was 27:50, Nic was 27:19, and Zach was 26:51. Decent day overall and a fun way to spend a Sunday morning.  That was the last race of 2014 for Nic.  He has improved so much since last year, and he is developing into quite a little runner.  Zach and I are going to do a 5 mile trail race on Saturday to wrap up our 2014 race season.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Northern Central Trail Marathon - Quest to be a Marathon Maniac

Northern Central Trail Marathon - Gunpowder State Park (Sparks, MD):

A few weeks ago, I ran the Richmond Marathon down in Richmond, VA and had a blast with the whole family.  I ran a surprising 3:54 with limited training even though my PR was 3:49.  However, I was just happy to make it the whole way uninjured.  After I finished that race, Heather said why don't you try to get "Maniac" and run another race within 16 days to qualify!  I said, well my knees are sore as shit and I have on avg, 25 miles a week running the past 7-8 weeks.  The competitor in me said, WTF, why not.  It would salvage a year destroyed by injuries although I was risking more injury if I did this.  I knew it wasn't smart, but I signed up anyway a few days after Richmond.  So the entire week after Richmond, I iced the knees and lightly stretched until Wednesday.  Here was my schedule the week after Richmond:
  • Monday:  Rest/Ice
  • Tuesday:  Rest/Ice
  • Wednesday:  Bike 10 minutes (yea, knees still sore)
  • Thursday:  Bike 20 minutes
  • Firday:  Bike 30 minutes (knee bothering me pretty good)
  • Saturday:  Bike 45 minutes, knee feeling better
  • Sunday:  Bike 45 minutes, probably should of taken off today.
Umm, yea, not alot of running :) So that was the week after Richmond.  I didn't have quite the training base I usually have going into race b/c of injuries so I was working with what I had.  The next week leading up to the race was the following:
  •  Monday:  Ran 3.2 miles at a 9:58 pace (wow, was that painful however I think it was breaking up the scar tissue from the previous marathon).
  • Tuesday:  Rest/Ice
  • Wednesday:  Spinning bike for 30 minutes (felt like I was coming down with a cold)
  • Thursday:  Bike for 11 minutes
  • Friday:  Drove up to Sparks, MD for the race and rested.
Yea, 3.2 miles in 2 weeks, not exactly feeling good about this race.  Plus, I felt like I was getting a fever and some sort of cough.  People at work were hacking and coughing all week, I wasn't training well, my knees hurt, I felt like I was getting sick - THIS WAS GOING TO BE A TRAIN WRECK! and this is how I felt:
What was I thinking running two marathons in two weeks?

That said, GAME ON!

Friday (November 28th, 2014)
The Running Duricks drove up to Timonium, MD and packet pickup was at Charm City Run.  Here is a snap of me with my #104 bib:

The people there were nice and because this was the 25th running of the Northern Central Rail Trail marathon, they were giving out a nice jacket.  I actually really like the jacket alot and it fits, bonus.  So we head over to Jersey Mikes which is pretty close by to the packet pickup.  Seemed to work for the Richmond Marathon so why not.  After that we checked in and Heather left me in the room to rest while she "scouted" out spectator spots along the trail.  She and the kids did one hell of a job meeting me along the course which I really appreciated.  After they got back, we chilled then headed down the road to this place called Serpico's Pizza and Pasta.  We loved it and definitely recommend it for some pasta before the race.  It's only a few miles from the Residence Inn in Timonium, MD so you can't beat the location, and the food was great.  Then, off to the hotel where I laid out my flat daddy and got ready for the race the next day.

Saturday (November 29th, 2014)

Wake up came at 5:00 am for a 8:30am race, yea, I like to get up early and get the bowels moving so that I am feeling fresh for the race.  Something I must add, I had been feeling pretty stressed all week about this race.  I had no idea how my legs would react to running a marathon two weeks before, running only 3.2 miles in two weeks, and resting the other 13 days.  I am one of these people who trains more coming into a race so that my mental state is there even if I have more miles on my legs.  So needless to say, I was more stressed than usual even though this was my 9th marathon or longer distance race.  So we head over to Sparks Elementary School around 7:00am.  Because of the parking situation, you could not park there but as we eventually found out, by the end of the race people had parked their cars in the parking lot.  So for people contemplating running the NCR Marathon, you could probably get away with not using the shuttle and parking at the school.  However, they discourage it on the website and don't want people to do this but I didn't see any cars getting towed so you would probably be ok.  While at the school, the cafeteria was bustling with people, and they had section where you could drop your bags if you needed it.  Here is a shot of me and the boys hanging out before I went outside for the marathon:

That's a fake smile you see me with!

I didn't need to drop a bag as my family was there, and they just parked up at the top of the road and walked down to the school after they dropped me off.


The marathon and half marathon relay started at the same time which was 8:30am and the 8k started at 8:45.  I am not a big fan of relays.  I understand why they have them but just think it takes away from the overall marathoning experience.  Although the Baltimore Road Runners Club did a great job with the event, they could eliminate the relay event altogether and still have a great race.  So around 8:20, I entered the 29F temps and walked up to the top of the hill where the starting pad was.  My left knee was "not feeling it dog" and was thinking, are you kidding me, how the hell am I going to make it 26.2 miles on this shit.  So the gun went off at 8:31am and the course takes you about 1.5 miles down Belfast road onto York Road, then onto the trail.  The first 1.5 miles were downhill and I mean a good downhill.  What does the mean, it means that the last 2 miles of the race are going to be "DEATH" b/c it will be coming uphill.  So as I start, the left knee is aching and am thinking wow, can I really go this far.  I told myself, it will loosen up, it will loosen up, just get to the trail where it will be softer on your legs.  As we hit the trail, the left knee is still bugging but starting to feel about 20% better.  I first saw Heather and the boys at mile 5, and it was feeling much better by then.  The best part about my left knee was the fact that my right knee was aching a tad too b/c it took my mind off of the left knee.  As many who run with aches and pains, sometimes when you run, something will start to ache or hurt but if you run long enough, something else will take the place of that pain.  Obviously, knowing your body is important here as running through extreme pain is not a good idea but certain things you learn to run through and that's ok.  When I ran the Oil Creek 100k in October 2013, I rolled my ankle at mile 3, mile fucking 3 and said, holy shit JD how the hell are you going to run 59 more miles on a rolled ankle.  When it didn't swell and just ached I knew if I made it to mile 14, I would stop and take a look at it.  Eventually, the pain went away and was fine so certain things you can deal with, others you can't.  Back to the marathon, the trail apparently has an upward grade until the 13.1 mile marker but I couldn't tell.  It was mainly flat and fast for those who were killing the course.  Me, I was keeping a steady 9:30 ish pace.  The first 5k had me coming in at a 9:12/mile pace which I was happy with.  Given the goal here was to finish in 5 hours b/c this was my second in two weeks, my plan was to bank time until the half point, then reassess and possibly drop to 10's as long as I could, then run walk if it warranted it.  So the 10 mile mark had me coming in with a time of 1:33:52 and pace of 9:23/mile.  So so but wanted to get to the half marathon before I could semi-relax.  It was at this point that I started to fade a tad and it was getting pretty cold.  We ran by some small rivers and I could feel the temps drop.  I hit the half way mark, 13.1 at 2:04:07 with a 9:28 pace/mile.  NCR had you run past the 13.1 mark and go another .25 miles before you turned around.  Because the relayers, it was all bunched up at the half point and it would of been a mess to have marathoners turn around and relayers start there so they had you turn around further up the trail.  Good idea but again, I don't like relay races for this reason.  That said, they had oreo cookies at this point and I grabbed two and a gatorade which gave me some energy.  Here is a pic of me coming in at mile 15:
Coming in at mile 15 with Nic on my left!

The next goal I had was make it to 17 which in my mind was only 3 miles from 20.  When you are tired and hurting, you play mental games with yourself and trick your body into doing small chunks so this was me attempting to run to various points of the course.  I hit mile 17 at 2:44:24 with a 9:40 pace so I was extremely happy to still be in the 9's at this point.  Here is a shot of me heading in to mile 18:

Next goal was mile 20!  I saw Heather and the boys at 18 which gave me a pep in my step plus I was going to see them again at mile 21.5.  I reached mile 20 at 3:15:54 with a pace of 9:54 pace/mile.  At this point in the race, math wasn't really working but I knew that my 20 miler at Richmond was 2:53:02 so being 22 minutes off that with only a 10k to go, I will take it.  However, I was starting to die and die quick.  This wall was like no other - even on this pancake course, I just couldn't do it anymore.  The last 6.2 miles, I would average a 12:15 pace which was sickening but I was pretty much done at 20.  I saw Heather and the boys and 21.5 and they knew I was hurting pretty bad.  Here is a shot of me leaving 21.5 onto 22.  I was actually craving sugar real bad and could tell my fueling for cold weather races (long distances) was still not working.  Summer, I seem to have things down ok but cold weather, I have no clue.  It didn't help I was working with a limited running base too.
Heather got a shot of me leaving 21.5 - the pace fell apart and I was entering the hurt locker :)

They jogged in with me to the aid station and one of the guys asked me if I was ok and I said yea, just tired.  Don't know why he was so concerned b/c I know for a fact that if I was in very bad shape, Heather would have pulled me to the side to chill for a bit.  Anyway, it was another 5k to the road which felt like a 10k.  Walk, run, walk, run...until I hit the road.  Once on the road, that was no party either.  We hit the hills and the walk run strategy became more frequent.    The last 1.5 miles of the course was up hill and seemed never ending.  That said, I could see the finish at the top of the hill and kicked it in for a final time of 4:31:13 for a 10:21 pace/mile.  I was particularly proud of this marathon only b/c I had done it with no training at all and I am not even joking.  Below are a couple of shots of me after the race while warming up at the Sparks Elementary school

Many thanks to my support team Heather, Zach, and Nic for making what seemed like every aid station.  They must have made 8 aid stations which was absolutely crazy b/c as soon as they saw me, they had to hop in the car and get to the next one before I got there.  I really owe them for getting me through this race.  It is more comforting knowing you will have someone there when you are hurting.

Maniac qualification pic:

Race Stats:
Miles:  26.2
Finish time:  4:31:13 / 10:21 pace/mile
Place:  223/344 (sucks but don't care)
13.1 half time:  2:04:07 9:28 pace/mile
20 mile time:   3:15:54 9:54 pace/mile
Location:  Sparks, MD (Gunpowder State Park)

And finally, I am a MANIAC:
Marathon Maniac:  #10300

As for what's next, don't know yet.  I am going to go for a mile walk to stretch the legs out then start back later this week with quad/hip strengthening.  Might work on my speed/hill work in the next month or so.  I am contemplating the Mohican 100 in June,  but I just don't know yet and need many more miles if I am going to succeed at that.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Turkey Trot 5K

Since JD was tapering for his second marathon in 14 days, the boys and I decided to run the Prince William Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day.  This was a new race for us and was sponsored by The Running Store and Fun Run Racing.  It was really well done, easy logistics, and super fun.  The race was at the Freedom Center so the parking was easy, and we could wait inside to stay warm and use the bathrooms before the race.  We will definitely be making this an annual tradition if we are in town for Thanksgiving. 

We knew the course was going to be pretty flat so we thought we would race it.  Zach had a goal to stay sub-8 for the whole race, and Nic was going to try to PR.  I had been planning to run with Nic.

At the start line, both of the boys took off.   I couldn't stay with them at the start, but usually Nic fades back to me after the first quarter mile or so.  Not on Thanksgiving!

Zach right out with the lead pack
 I could see him right up ahead hanging onto the back of Zach.  I pushed as hard as I could on the first mile, but I still couldn't catch him.  My Garmin recorded a 7:35 for the first mile.  Zach easily had to be sub-7 because he hit that mark way ahead of me, and I'm thinking that Nic was right in the low-7s.  That was just crazy because this summer at track they had both PR'd their mile with 7:3xs.

Zach in the hurt locker!
 At this point I figured I would try to race it for myself since the kids had left me, and I had a strong first mile.  I was really hurting from that hard first mile though, and my legs were feeling heavy.  I haven't run fast in quite a while so it was really a different feeling.  I hit the second mile at 8:16 so a pretty big drop off from the first mile, but I still hadn't caught the kids even though they had slowed.  Right around this point, I noticed that Nic had caught up to Zach, and that they were running together.  I saw them on an out and back and yelled encouragement.  Surprisingly, Nic looked really good, at ease, relaxed, and strong.  Zach looked like he was hurting pretty badly at that point.  I suspect that his hard first mile had really hit him.  His Garmin had lost satellite right as the gun went off so he didn't know his splits and was worried about that as well.  I just blew up in the last mile and ran an 8:43 in the last mile so I basically did everything wrong in running a 5K.  My time wasn't awful (25:46), but it was way off my PR (almost 45 seconds slower) which was on the same course.  I was pretty irritated with myself because I probably could have age grouped if I had PRd. As it stood, I ended up 6/65.  Nicolas ended up beating Zach at the end of the race and having a massive PR with a 24:39 finish (7:56 pace) and 6/31 in his age group.  Zach also had a huge PR despite a bad last mile 24:49 (8:00 pace) and 7/31 in his age group.  We were super proud of both of the boys for their hard effort. 
Zach's finish!

Best series of finish line photos ever as this guy kills himself because a little kid is not beating him.
Me completely unthrilled with this whole running fast thing

While we are talking about being super proud, Nic was the second grade boy winner for his elementary school 1/2 mile Turkey Trot!!!  He ran a great race and paced right off of the lead boy until he ran him down at the end.  Zach ended up 3rd for the 4th grade boys for his mile race.  He tried to pace himself a little too much and couldn't catch the leader at the end.  Too bad it wasn't a longer race, or he would have had them because they were fading. 
2nd grade Turkey Trot champ