Sunday, September 28, 2014

2014 National Capital 20-Miler, Carderock Park, MD

So I have been battling injuries all summer and the time had finally come to run a decent size race where I wasn't pacing someone or doing a planned DNF (YUTC 50k).  I decided to run the National Capital 20 miler on Sunday the 28th.  I didn't pick up my bib early like I usually do b/c it was in Arlington, VA.  The last 20 miler I ran was 2 years ago on the C&O canal going from DC out to Carderock and I finished it in 2:57.  I told heather I am looking at 3:20 for this race at best.  The race was at 7am at Carderock park in Potomac, MD so I got up around 3:30am, ate my usual raison bread and peanut butter and got dressed.  Actually, this was one of the few times I did not have heather at the race nor the kids.  Zach had a double header and had to be at the game by 9am so I was rolling solo.  Headed out the door around 4:30am b/c I had no idea how long it would take me and they had no address for the place, only GPS coordinates.  So I finally get there around 5:30am and almost pissed my pants b/c I was drinking water the day before pretty much throughout the day.  I pull into this parking lot and its pitch black and I mean pitch...and foggy, the kind of foggy when you watch a horror movie.  So I got to drop the kids off and head over the porto of shitter, meanwhile I can't see shit - no pun intended.  Open up the door and with one hand, got my finger on the cell phone to give me light and the other holding me up from not falling in the nasty as I couldn't see anything...I should of just shit in the woods.  I digress.  Packet pickup was at 6:30 so I grabbed my shirt and bib number.  I stretched for about 2 seconds and was pretty nervous as I had no idea how long I could run since my longest weekly avg had been 28 miles however I did 15.1 at the YUTC 50k a few weeks ago.  This course was flat and didn't know if I could keep a solid pace the whole way.  So we all gather at mile marker 11 on the C&O canal path, exchange nervous chatter, talk about our next marathons, blah blah blah...then all of a sudden, people start running.  No nothing, just go...ok, I can dig that.  So I start out with a 8:49 pace but my heart race is around 160 for that mile...must of been nervous....I go about 5 miles in the mid-8's and then have to go piss which turns into a 9:15 mile.  About mile 6 I hit a gel and that gives me some good energy...miles 8 or so, I hit another endurolyte.  This is the point I start hating people as we begin to approach the DC key bridge...shitloads of people all walking, biking, or just running slow clogging up the small trail...I hit the 10 mile marker and tell myself, its time for little wayne to hit the scene so I throw on the ear buds and melted away for the next 4 miles or so avging a 8:45 pace.  When I hit 15 I am still feeling strong, stronger than I should for someone who has only been running for a month.  The last 5k I was actually running harder and finished off with a 8:06 last mile.  I actually finished the race in 2:53:26 and had a 3+ minute Personal Best.  This race, I actually wore a heart monitor and it was quite had me in the 150+ range most of the race.    Looking back at the 10 mile splits, I ran a negative split by about 25 seconds something I didn't expect.  All in all, I was extremely happy to run hard even though the left hip was bugging me starting around mile 3.  However, it was come and go - the right knee is a little sore the day after but am pretty happy I am somewhat back.  The more I think about it, the more I could of ran even harder but I needed to start somewhere and an unexpected PR was a great place to start.  Below is the splits for my race.

Avg Pace
Summary 2:53:26.219.908:43
18:49.9 1.00 8:50
28:42.9 1.00 8:43
38:47.1 1.00 8:47
48:51.5 1.00 8:52
59:15.3 1.00 9:15
68:34.8 1.00 8:35
78:32.3 1.00 8:32
88:35.5 1.00 8:35
98:27.7 1.00 8:28
108:48.0 1.00 8:48
118:45.5 1.00 8:45
128:41.8 1.00 8:42
138:48.7 1.00 8:49
148:46.8 1.00 8:47
158:50.9 1.00 8:51
168:37.2 1.00 8:37
178:39.2 1.00 8:39
188:47.5 1.00 8:48
198:48.4 1.00 8:48
207:15.3 0.90 8:06

A breakdown of my run can be found on strava here:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Youngstown Ultra 50k, but not really!

Ok, so I have been dealing with right hamstring and lower right back shit since April 20th or so.  I swung a bat the wrong way and I strained my back/hamstring in the process.  Originally, I thought it wasn't a big deal but that was a dumb move.  Either way, I rehabbed and was back to running a couple of months later.  At which time, I sprained my MCL and but did not tear anything.  Either way, 2014 is looking pretty dismal however I tried to sign up for the YUTC 25k but it was sold out in April...are you kidding me, a race in September?? Whatever, signed up for the 50k and would have to DNF at the 25k mark which was 15+ miles in.  So Heather and I trek on up to New Castle, PA...hang out with Heather's mom for a couple days before we drive over to Youngstown on the 15th for the race.  Race day morning was in the upper 40's, around 47 so I was going with my tech T and arm sleeves.  It turned out to be a good choice.  So we head over to Y-town and park in almost the same spot we did last year except they tore down the house that was there this year....I didn't ask the parking guard guy why they did that.  So I hit the dumper a few times to make sure all is cleaned out and ready to go.  We met up with Katie Peterson and Cody Gilbert who we first me at Oil Creek last year.  Heather, Katie, and Cody were all running the 50k, leaving me the lone turn bailing out at the 25k mark.  However, I knew it was the right call since I hadn't run more than 13 miles in one run and that was the week before.  The course was not that bad, a little hilly but overall ok to run.  It   did have its share of roots and rocky sections but then again, I only ran 15.1 miles of it.  Here are some shot of heather and during the race:

 Below is a breakdown of my splits, nothing flattering at all but was happy to be running again:

Split Time Moving Time Elevation Gain
1 12:11.0 11:48 91
2 11:35.3 11:36 54
3 10:58.1 10:57 80
4 16:08.3 15:52 110
5 11:29.7 11:29 43
6 11:05.3 11:06 46
7 10:29.9 10:29 30
8 11:07.7 10:57 43
9 11:45.9 11:46 41
10 10:55.2 10:55 20
11 10:35.5 10:36 24
12 11:05.1 11:04 66
13 11:33.8 11:12 36
14 12:20.5 12:19 21
15 12:19.6 12:20 85
16 1:37.3 1:11 --
Summary 2:57:18.0 2:55:37.0 727

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

YUTC 50K-revisiting the scene of my first 50K!

On Saturday I ran the YUTC 50K for the second year.  Last year YUTC was my very first 50K.  I was scared and nervous going into that race and not even sure that I would finish.  This year I was calm and ready and running it as a training run for Oil Creek 100K.

JD had planned a DNF because he is coming back from injury and wanted to run the 25K, but there were no spots left so he decided to sign up for the 50K and then just drop after the first loop.  I was really excited that he was going to get to see the course because he didn't get to run it last year.

So big news is that the race went really well for me.  That means that there isn't much to say in this blog post because the race was uneventful.  I was on target with hydration and nutrition.  We had near perfect weather.
Seriously, could you have better 50K weather?

 My training was right where I wanted it to be, and I was mentally on top of it this year.  I should note that I was not tapered for this race at all and was coming into the race on 4 40+ mile weeks so pretty tired legs.
We are hoping to get sponsored by Salomon since we rock their Exo Lab line so well.

We met up with some friends before the race and spent a lot of time talking to folks that we remembered from last year.  Pretty soon the race director said that we would be starting soon, and then we were off down the road. 

General thoughts on the race:  I really enjoy this course.  It's not as hilly as I thought it was last year, but I attribute that to better experience on trails and hillwork.  It still has some challenging sections, and I'm beginning to think the last hill before the Log Cabin is way worse than the Monkey Hills section.  The aid stations were once again amazing.  This race has incredible volunteers and course support.  I also want to thank whoever did the course markings for doing an awesome job on that one tricky turn in the last section.  I missed it last year, but it was so well marked this year that there was no way to miss it.  Shirts were cute, but I wish the women's shirt would have been long sleeve like the men's.  They did give me an option to trade for a men's shirt, but they only had mediums and up which looked too big.  Overall a really nice low key well-supported ultra with some beautiful scenery. Also special thanks to Jeff Musick for the awesome race photos.

Lastly, thanks to the various folks from Oil Creek who encouraged me and ran with me for short bits on the trail, special thanks to my awesome husband who crewed after finishing 25K and got me in and out of Log Cabin quickly everytime, and my terrific coaches, Sandi Nypaver and Sage Canady, for preparing me so well up to this point.  

Just some of the gorgeous views on the course.

Below are my splits/paces with some thoughts and notes.

Log Cabin to Covered Bridge-4 miles:  55:25 (13:45-slightly slower than last year, but I was trying to be conservative)
AS #1: 1:22 (refilled water, grabbed a potato and a few chips)
Bottom Loop #1-4 miles:  55:26 (13:51-again slower than last year but still trying to be conservative)
AS #2:  48 seconds (water refill, Mtn Dew, 2 potatoes)
Bottom Loop #2-4 miles: 59:57 (14:51 but there was at least 3 minutes for a bathroom break in here so not too far off the first time through this loop)
AS #3:  1:01 (water refill, Mtn Dew, 2 potatoes
Covered Bridge to Log Cabin-3.5 miles:  48:21 (13:48 did not get lost because course was marked much better this year!)
Coming in to Covered Bridge

(Official course mileage notes that this section is supposed to be 15.5 miles.  Official check in time for me as 3:42:40 for an average pace of 14:21. 6 minutes faster than last year while running conservative and very even pacing )

AS #4:  1:04 (JD told me that I looked great, and I felt amazing.  Watermelon, oranges, grilled cheese square, water refill)
Log Cabin to Covered Bridge:  1:08:21 (16:04-was struggling a little bit on the last mile in this section-was solidly in the 14-15 min range until the last mile when I choked up a 21 minute mile on the Monkey Hill section, but still beat last year's time)
Getting ready to refill at Log Cabin

AS #5:  1:38 (water refill, Mtn Dew, potatoes)
Covered Bridge to Log Cabin: 56:21 (16:06-still kind of bonking here but trying to pull it together-least favorite section of the course as it is really rooty and rocky and hard to pick up speed if you are on tired legs-right knee also started to really hurt a lot on the hills so I was having trouble pushing off on the uphill and picking my way downhill)
 AS #6:  1:38 (asked for KT tape, no one had any, grilled cheese square, watermelon, oranges, refill water)

(Official course mileage notes that we were now at 23.25 miles cumulative.  Check in time for me was at 5:49:48 for an average cumulative pace of 15:12.  Took me 2:07 to do that loop so I was pretty hopeful that I was going to get in under 8 hours if I stayed consistent)

Log Cabin to Covered Bridge:  1:13:23 (17:16-Monkey Hills just killed me here but I was determined not to walk any of the flats so I hiked the hills and ran the flats.  Knee was still bothering me.)
AS #7:  27 seconds (knew I was cutting it close for a sub-8 finish so really pushed it out of the aid station)
Covered Bridge to Log Cabin:  49:32 (14:09-really powered through this section)

(Official course mileage was 50K-31 miles cumulative.  Official finish time was 7:55:12 for an average cumulative pace of 15:20.  I feel really awesome about this finish! I ran the last loop at almost the same pace as the second loop and felt like I was really consistent throughout.  I also dug deep and got a really strong finish on the last section taking 7 minutes off that section the third time through and running it only 1 minute slower than my first time through.)
26 women started the 50K and 5 DNFd.  I was the 11th women who finished and 62/76 overall finishers.  88 had started the race so there was about a 14% DNF rate. I was also 5/14 in the Master's (40+) Women so I was pretty happy about that.)

Not sure if I'm happier about my time or the piece of pizza that I got as soon as I finished!
 Liking this as a possible outfit for Oil Creek...skirt is in for sure because it performed really well.  The tank has never given me any problems, but I think it didn't work well with the sports bra that I had because I have some really horrifying chafing under one arm so I'll have to go back to the other bra with this tank for one more longish training run to make sure everything is good.  No blisters or major feet issues.  Big toes are a little tender due to tripping around on some of the rocky section of trail, but nothing major.

Leesburg 5K

Way late in posting this recap because the end of summer and the start of school got busy so here's a quick mostly photo recap.  We hadn't done a family race in a while so we decided to head over to Leesburg to do the 5K.  JD and I had done the 20K 2 years ago, and we enjoyed the course so we thought the kids might like the 5K.  The 5K course isn't actually that great since you barely get to run on the W&OD, and it's mostly through random neighborhoods in Leesburg.  It was still a well organized race by PR as always, and we got lucky with some cool weather so it turned out to be a fun morning.

I ran with Nicolas.  He did a great job and got another sub-30 finish (29:29).  He really killed the last hill to the finish line. Zach ran with JD and almost cracked 28 minutes, but just missed finishing with a 28:01.  No one was really out to PR so they were really happy with their times especially since the course was not very flat for a 5K.

Nic and I at the start

MRTT multi-chapter photo

Running Duricks

Also of note this summer, both of my guys PR'd the mile at summer track with Nic at 7:44 and Zach at 7:43.  We also took down the fun family relay!

Monday, September 1, 2014

First Triathlete in the Family

As of last weekend, we officially have a triathlete in the family.  Zach decided that he wanted to give it a go at the triathlon because the Cub Scouts were holding a  mini tri at our local Scout camp.  It was a 25 meter pool swim, 1 mile bike ride on dirt/packed gravel trail, and 1 mile trail run.  He was really nervous about the swim despite having practiced a bunch this summer and being fine to handle well over 25 meters in the pool.  He isn't a fast swimmer or a super strong swimmer, but he can get it done.  We got some great transition advice from my friend, Kelli, at Destination Awesome so we practiced our transitions in the driveway so that he felt OK with them.
Hanging out waiting to start

The day of the triathlon arrived, and we got him signed up and marked with his number and got his gear staged.  This was a free event and designed to promote Scouts to try something new and get active so there was a wide range of kids from more serious athlete to complete beginner with no clue about tris. This made for some amusing set ups in the staging area including Camelbaks, huge jugs of Gatorade, and full changes of clothing (all not really needed for a mini tri).
Zach's transition area
Can you tell how nervous he is?

He headed over to the pool and got wet and then lined up for the swim.  It was a mass start, and he was really nervous. 

Getting lined up for the swim
The pool swim was also a little strange because they had to swim diagonal to get out of the water at the beach type exit the organizers wanted them to use. 
Mid Swim
Pool exit

This meant that the kids who lined up on the far side of the pool actually had to swim a little further.  It wasn't a huge deal because the swim was so short, but it was weird.  Zach did fine on the swim.  He made it out with no problems, but he was near the back where we anticipated him to be.  He did great in the first transition.  I completely forgot to hit the lap button on my watch so I have no idea what his swim, T1, bike, and T2 times were.


 Most parents were helping their kids in some manner in transition (not normally allowed in sanctioned tris).  The help varied from completely putting on socks, shoes, etc to just verbal coaching.  We tried to stay back and let him do most of it, but we offered some reminders.  He got out on the bike somewhere in the middle of the pack.  He didn't have a great ride because he wasn't too used to riding on gravel, and he has a basic mountain bike with no gears. Some of the older kids with bikes with gears had an easier time. 

Out on the bike course

T2 from bike to run was a hot mess because the organizers didn't make the kids safely park their bikes and hop off before entering transition.  Kids were flying in and just tossing their bikes and helmets every which way.  It was really rather unsafe, and they are lucky no one got hurt.  We actually grabbed Zach's bike when he hit transition so he could get his helmet off and take off running.  He was near mid to back at this point, but we knew the run was his strong point.  We noticed that a lot of parents had paced their kids on both the bike and went out on the run (again not allowed in sanctioned tris), but we opted to let him handle it on his own.

He really took off on the run.  He made up a ton of spots.  He said that a lot of kids started walking about a 1/4 mile into the run so he just started powering past all of them.  We were shocked as we saw him finishing in the top 10 and out sprinting two other kids to the finish line.  We had no clue how he had done with respect to his age group (top 3 awards for each Scout rank) so we hung around for awards.  He ended up with 2nd place for Webelos which he was really excited about.
Sprint to the finish

Finish line

We are really proud of him for trying something new and doing something that was hard for him.  I timed his run at 6:45 so I'm pretty sure the run was short because even though he ran hard there was no way he ran a sub-7 mile on the trails.  Overall it was an OK event, but it could use some more structure and organization.  We'll give it another try next year.

2nd Place Webelo