Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Five: Pre-Race thoughts and rambles

*Updated with photos*
For some reason the internet is being mean this morning and won't let me add photos, but if you use your imagination, I'm sure you could come up with some awesome photos for this post. I'll try again later.
1. Fuel: I've pulled together all my healthy fuels including some fan favorites (Barnana, Island Boost, and Picky Bars) as well as many salt options. I still need a trip to the Quik E Mart to get the not so healthy race day essentials (chip, more chips, and full strength coke). Basically, it's game on in terms of what I eat during the race. Whatever looks tasty and I can keep down, is what I will eat.
You know you are a public health nerd when you keep Oral Rehydration Salts at home.
2. Weather: I kind of thought I earned some good race karma after volunteering in a monsoon for 4 hours the other day, but apparently Mother Nature doesn't agree. While the temps look awesome for Sunday, the threat of t-storms is not as awesome. Dodging lightening while fighting snakes? I've got this.
Hilarious Mother Nature, hilarious. Note to self: pack body glide.
3. Motivation: This article by Jenn Shelton. Go ahead, read it. I'll wait. I seriously think she is my spirit animal. I somehow missed this one when it was first published in June, but it's hilarious. For those of you who don't know much about Jenn, she is the chick from Born to Run. She is a naturally talented running, tough as nails, and always involved in some sort of odd story. I'm hoping to channel my inner Jenn Shelton on Sunday (not the impressive drinking skills part), and grit my way through the race.
Last shake out run.
4. Toes: Ok, this may seem random, but I painted my toes as part of my pre-race prep. Who knows when I will be able to bend over and reach them again.  I would like to wear flip-flops during recovery, and no one, I mean no one, should be forced to look at feet after 30+ miles of trail running. The things I do for others.

Goodbye normal looking feet with 10 nails.
5. Tracking Snakebite: If you are interested in getting a glimpse of Snakebite this weekend, the organizers (Yeti Runners) will be using Periscope throughout the day to interview the winners and runners along the course. It should be highly amusing and I expect lots of colorful language. You've been warned. I'll try my best to share them afterward, but I am very new to periscope (I honestly only joined for this event). Find me at RunningEB on periscope

What are your plans for the weekend? Do you use Periscope?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Snakebite Training Recap Week #15

First off, huge thank you to everyone for the encouraging words on last week's post. I felt really strong at the end of July and taking almost two weeks off shook my confidence a bit. I'm trying to focus on all the hard work and miles pre-bronchitis to keep myself mentally pumped up.  I'm also playing Eye of the Tiger on repeat (complete with shadow boxing). Whatever it takes, right?

First week back at consistent running. I am no longer on cold medicine, prescription strength cough syrup, antibiotics, or any of that jazz. I am still using the inhaler 'as needed' which turns out is when I am running, but that said, I'm even feeling a lot better on the run now too! There is hope, folks!
I joined another yoga challenge. Someday I'll know what I am doing.
Monday: A busy day, so busy infact I forgot to take my inhaler before heading to the gym (obviously I'm still an inhaler rookie). Turns out even though I am feeling much better, my inhaler is still pretty essential for a comfortable running experience (lots of coughing and wheezing post run), but on a positive note. I ran and it made me happy.
Planned: Rest  Actual: 4.25 miles (9:14/mile)

Tuesday: Rested and helped a friend more stuff. I guess that's actually a strength workout then.
Planned: 4 miles  Actual: Rest

Wednesday: I got more and more comfortable as this run went on. It may be because I didn't wait the full 30 minutes after taking my inhaler to start running, but either way, I was starting to get back in the grove.
Planned: 6 miles  Actual: 4.25 miles (9:12/mile)
We had a crazy amount of rain in the ATL this week, but every once in a while it's worth it.
Thursday: Short on time, so just a few miles to stretch out the legs.
Planned: 4 miles   Actual: 3.25 (9:13/mile)

Friday: Yay! Is it just me, or do the weeks seem to be getting longer and longer?
Planned: Rest   Actual: Rest
Someone decided to eat all the kindling when we were using the firepit. Not naming names.
Saturday: Got a late start on this one, but I was still excited to be out. Maybe too excited. My legs are a little more ready than my lungs to push the pace, and I found myself desperately trying to slow things down about 2 miles in. I tried a new fuel, Untapped Maple, and the flavor is fabulous. However it is a little thicker (not gu thick) than my usual fuel, and I spent the next 3 miles trying not to throw up. I am really sensitive to the consistency of fuel when running, and though I loved the taste on this one, it's not going to work for me while running (maybe biking though). Sad face because I LOVE maple. It ended up being a harder workout than I hoped, but I keep trying to reassure myself that I won't be going nearly as fast on the trails next weekend.
Planned: 10 miles  Actual: 9.25 miles (8:58/mile)
I may just continue to eat it for fun.
Sunday: Joined Amy at the Team Challenge (for Crohns and Colitis) water stop at the Hotlanta Half Marathon. She is a Team Challenge alum and they were looking for a few extra hands, so I was happy to join them. The stop was at mile 12 and it was great to be able to pump people up as they headed into their last mile. Unfortunately, it started monsooning (not exaggerating) shortly after the starting gun, leading to soaked runners and volunteers. Anyways, the Team Challenge crowd is a great group and huge props to all the runners who powered through (what we were calling) the longest swim of their lives!
Planned: 4 miles  Actual: Volunteering
It was far too rainy to take a picture, but here is an accurate reenactment.
How was your week? Do you experiment with new fuels?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Snakebite Training Recap Week #14

Spoiler alert: this isn't going to be the most exciting training recap you've ever read. I know, I'm really enticing you to read on with an opener like that, but I promise it's worth it (i.e. lots of pictures). Sure, there might not be any mystery or intrigue, but there were miles and they were more plentiful than last week. There is also beer and it was also more plentiful than last week. There is the Monster for the Monster super fans out there and yoga for the yogis, but best of all, there is a runner who is vastly improving from her epic bronchitis. It may have only taken 18 days but I am (almost) drug free and breathing (mildly) normally. Now to figure out how to run a 50k in less than 14 days (yikes). Serenity now. Serenity now.
All smiles before the start of the Big Ol' Group Run.
Wednesday: The Big Ol' Group Run! Yet another run that I had been excited about for several months, the Big Ol' Group Run was started as a way to get running groups from across the city together for a run, some beer, and mingling. For $5 you get a tie bib for the 3 or 6 mile run, one beer, and entry into what seemed liked an endless raffle of running prizes. I missed out on the inaugural run last year when it sold out before I could registered and this year I was determined to be apart of it. The run is held at Monday Night Brewing, a local brewery whose libations I thorough enjoy (and whose theme is tie related). I teamed up with Amy who you may remember from previous running adventures and we tackled the 3.25 miles through a side of the city I rarely run in. She was incredibly tolerant of my constant coughing during the first couple of miles (running has actually help me clear my lungs) and we kept the pace light so I could breath. I also finally ran into Frank (from Running for the second half of my life) while neither one of us was running and we could actually say hello! Overall, a great, low-key event to help me get back in the swing of things.
Actual: 3.25 miles
The entire group of over 400 runners.
The brewery slogan.
Saturday: Joined up with one of my usual weekend group for 8 miles (bonus half mile running to the start of the route just around the corner). It was a nice hilly route and my longest run in weeks! One scary moment did happen for a few members of our group as they were very nearly hit by a drunk driver while crossing an intersection (yes, at 7am on a Saturday morning). The last member of their group was just coming through the intersection on the crosswalk when an SUV came up behind him, cut through the crosswalk, and hit the building in front of him (just to the right of where the crosswalk hit the curb). Everyone was ok (the building not so much) and they stayed around to call/wait for the police and make sure the driver was ok. I found the whole thing rather unsettling as I run this area frequently and I don't find it unsafe. I am constantly vigilant on my runs, but tracking a car from behind you is difficult. Just a friendly remind to stay safe out there and remember crazy things can happen when you least expect it.
I needed a little yoga after that one. Day 1 of the #RunnersloveyogaLegs challenge: Chair pose.
The Jayhawk and I celebrated my return to the living with a visit to a very local brewery, Three Taverns. I've mentioned several of their beers before (the White Hops is a household favorite) and the brewery didn't disappoint. If you like Belgian style beers, I highly recommend it. We were even lucky enough to get a picnic table partially in the shade (it's the little things in the GA summer).
Actual: 8.5 miles
Sunday: No soreness or issues to report after Saturday's run, but took the day off to respect the process of easing back into it. The temps were really moderate for August, so I hung out with the Monster in the yard, which means I got in an impromptu upper body workout throwing sticks, playing tug-o-war, and otherwise keeping the old lady amused. Don't let that white hair fool you, her energy is endless and she very nearly caught a squirrel while we were out there. I really should ask her for speed work tips.
Interesting article this week about what happens to your body during a 100 mile effort. I've never run a hundred miler, though in all honesty, the idea has crossed my mind, and it's interesting to think of all the challenges it creates for your body.

How was your week? Do you like joining in on group runs?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Snakebite Training Recap Week #12 +13

I'm still here and alive. The train went off the tracks a bit when I got an epic case of bronchitis. That's right, EB got EB. Since this didn't lead to a lot of fun running photos and no one wants to see photos of me sick in bed wearing the same PJs for days, I did a few more reenactments again this week to keep you entertained (they were popular during the week #11 recap in case you missed it).
I think they mean EB: Epic Bronchitis.
Monday: I felt great after the relay (recap still in process) and took advantage of Maine's lovely weather with another cool run.Why did I move away from this state again? I believe it's called January.
Planned: Rest  Actual: 5.25 miles
Sick in bed with lonely running shoes and a cranky Monster by my side. I promise she still has legs.
Tuesday-the following Saturday: 12 lovely days of wheezing, sneezing, tissues, and drugs. You know you are really sick when the doctor starts discussing prescriptions before they even examine you. Due to the severity of my breathing issues (I left there the proud owner of a new inhaler among other drugs), my time off from running was longer than I hoped, but I've been trying my best to be patient in recovery, but it's really stressful to be patient when you are less than a month out from your goal race.
But a few good things did happen during my bout of plague!
  • I got a killer deal on new running shoes. They were on sale, it was tax free weekend, and I had a coupon. Nothing makes a runner happier except maybe being able to go home and use said running shoes.
  • I got a new phone! It was weird to be off the grid for a week. Oddly enough the only thing I really missed was the camera. Don't worry. I'll keep adding in reenactments periodically to keep it interesting.
  • We celebrated huge holiday: our 10th anniversary. Through all the ups and downs, it's been an amazing decade and am looking forward to our next 10 years together. We haven't aged or matured since day one.
Oh, did you think I was talking about the Jayhawk?
Day 1 and 10 years later to the day with my favorite sassy bitch.
Sunday: Finally ventured out for my first run. It wasn't pretty, but it was running and I got to wear my new shoes. My congestion was more of a problem than I expected as I was audibly wheezing for most of it (the heat and humidity probably didn't help this). My legs felt ok, but it was hard to get going without oxygen. Now to just get my lungs back at it for Snakebite in 3 weeks! Yikes. This could be harder than I hoped. Expect some schedule tweaking in the next few weeks.
Planned: 8 miles  Actual: 3.1 miles (8:58/mile)
With less than a month until race day, I've started stocking up on race day essentials (which I hopefully won't eat all of them prior to race day). If you are looking for lots of great fueling options all in one place, I highly recommend checking out The Feed. Follow this link for a $5 credit (Referral link).

How was your week? Have you ever battled the demon that is bronchitis?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Troop Trot 39k Race Recap

Troop Trot 39k, Villaricca, GA
Field: 100-200 between both races. 
Spectators: None. There were some other people out enjoying the trails that morning, but no intentional spectators.
Start/Finish: At the Group shelter in Clinton Nature Preserve
Course: Loop course. Triple loop for the 39k, 1 loop for the 10k.
Schwag: Shirt
Other: The race is put on every year by boyscout troop 39. It serves as one of their big projects and fundraisers for the year. The boys make the medals, man the course, present the flag pre-race, and hand out aid.
Handmade by the boyscouts each with your place on the back (I was 24th).
Confession: This isn’t my favorite course in the city.
Don’t get me wrong, I love so many things about this race; the people, the volunteers, the effort the boy scouts put in and what the race means to them. But outside of those things, I'm not in love with this course. Every year it’s hot and uncomfortably humid (even by Atlanta standards), and the humidity gets trapped in the thick canopy creating a suana. There is what seems like an endless number of switchbacks and turns on the course that prevent you from ever really getting your momentum going. There are tons of roots and rocks to stub your toes and trip on as you get tired. And did I mention it’s always hot?
After that glowing description I’m sure you are wondering why I would sign up for it for a third year in a row (10k in 2013, 39k in 2014). Why take most of a sunny Saturday to put myself through hot, bitchy miles when I already have more than enough bib moments on the calendar for July? Why not just run miles on my own terms on joyous, runable trails and just make a $39 donation to the boy scouts? All I have is two words for you: Mental Toolbox.  As much as I didn’t want to run this race, I needed to run this race to have the feeling, the memories, and the confidence I could do it in my mental toolbox for Snakebite in August.
Last year I ran the 39k as well at Troop Trot. It was hot, hard, and my feet bled. I experienced finger swelling for the first time, learned the true joys of coke, and never felt overly comfortable during the 5+ hour effort. When I got to Snakebite 50k, as hard, hot, and long as it was, there were several times during the race that I thought to myself, this is waayyy better than Troop Trot. So much more runable and a higher/thinner canopy to let the humidity escape. I need and want to have that feeling again this year. So less than 2 weeks before the Troop Trot I found myself logging into ultrasignup once again, and forking over $39. All to have it in my mental toolbox when Snakebite gets hard.

Needless to say when I arrived at the start line I was less than pumped about what laid before me. No I wasn’t sulking around the start being a negative Nancy, I just didn't have my usual pre-race excitement. Luckily it didn't take long to loosen up and get in the grove. Between the familiar faces, the energy of the boy scouts, and meeting several new faces, I was ready to hit the trail and get some miles in.
Nothing like some sun exposure to make you feel good on a hot day.
The forecast for the day was a high of 96 (feels like temp 100+), so it was a guarantee I would get in some solid heat training. My goal for the race was simple: complete the miles, continue to work on fueling and salts, and be patient/relaxed. The more long distances I run, the more I realize staying mentally calm and relaxed is just as important as being physically ready. Tremendous amonut of energy can be wasted stressing about mileage. With no goals other than finish without needing medical aid, it was a lot less stressful and much easier to keep the pace light.
Mile 20ish. Apparently too hot to close my mouth. #NotAnExpert
The miles went by uneventfully (in a good way). I ran the runable sections, felt fine with hiking the unrunables, took in fuel early and often, and hydrated like it was my job. I did get some finger swelling again in the late miles, so I need to up my salt consumption again, but nothing that wasn't fixed by a post-race bag of chips (Salt and Vinegar Kettle cooked, thanks for asking). Huge props to the boyscouts for having the coldest, icy-est sponges on course (they felt amazing) and more watermelon than a girl could ask for. As I rolled into the last aid station around mile 20, I heard a fellow run out, "Hey, you're the girl with the blog." Definitely a first during a race! Brooks had read my recap of last year's Troop Trot and somehow he still thought it was a good idea to run it. I forgot to get a picture (heat on the brain), but I will try to next time. I actually run by his workplace on my runcommute home! Small world.
For those of you playing along at home, yes, this is my 4th red race shirt in a row.
 Not sure what is going on with the sassy hip thing in this one. Brain may still have been melted.
Overall the race went well. I keep the pace moderate, focused on getting in some solid training, and enjoyed miles with my fellow runners. Basically, I sweated and it was good. I stayed mentally in it for about 22 or 23 miles and at that point I was close enough just to grit it out. I am very happy I got off my butt and decided to do this race because I wouldn't have gone looking for hot, annoying trail otherwise.

Have you ever run a race for mental training? Do you like running in the heat?
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