Thursday, April 24, 2014

Three Things Thursday

1. This blog still exists. I need to make an effort to make it exist more. ;)
The truth is I have avoided  blogging because my running has been very "blah" lately and there's nothing fabulous to report. That has been quite depressing for me. I've been in Physical Therapy since late Jan/early Feb. Looking back it doesn't feel like it's been that long but seriously that is a LONG time. I've been running. Less than I like, but running. What I have not been doing is racing. I love racing. It's prime racing season and my poor Kinvaras aren't being used (on the track or on race days). I think they're beginning to feel neglected. It hurts. I registered and then had to DNS my first 5k of the season. Big, fat suckfest!

2. What exactly IS up with the PT thing?
Well, I may get released today. Like released from seeing him or at least on an "as needed" basis. I've been released to run the entire time because the goal has been to keep me running but making sure it's pain free. Obviously there had been some painful runs, which is why I said running wasn't bringing me anything fabulous to report. The hip has been mostly cooperative with the occasional impingement issue here and there. My glutes are weak but we are working on that. And my back, mercy it's tight and has been receiving a lot of work. I'm hopeful. Today I am hopeful. I'm on a run 2/off 1 day schedule and easy runs only. Next week I can add back those beloved striders after my easy runs and possibly get to some hills (they seem to give my hip some issues). So, be hopeful with me!

3. Other excitement.
PT has told me that I can pick up the kettle bells again. Swing 'em, lift 'em, get stronger. That is exciting news because honestly I KNOW that this extra 15 I've packed on the last yr+ isn't going anywhere with running (or lack of) alone. I NEED to lift weights to make the muscles burn baby! So, that is good news. The issue will be working that time back into my schedule and getting use to a running plus gym routine. The best part is that we are closing in on the end of the school year and my kiddos routines will change. That means they can stay up later and getting home by 6:30-7 won't be as much of an issue w/homework. So, yay summer because summer means more gym time!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Running in the woods!

A few weeks ago we went camping as a family. We drove a couple of hours to join friends at Fall Creek Falls State Park. It's chock full of great hiking and lots of fun. We did a few little hikes that day as a family and since I hadn't done my long run for the day I decided to run in the woods when I had a chance. It got me super pumped up.

I've been dealing with this nagging injury but it felt like running in the woods on the softer surface wasn't as painful as road running sometimes seems to be. So, when I got home from that trip I immediately registered to run my first trail race.

The Knoxville Track Club has a great trail race serious - Treadin' Troddin' Trails.
I chose one of the harder trail races on the schedule as my first trail race. I.C. King of Trails. When I told my PT I was running it he asked if I had ever ran there. I told him no and he told me that it was definitely legit.  I was even more excited.

Booty shot  my hubby got as we headed to the trail.

For $10 or 2 volunteer coupons I got to run a low stress, no pressure race in the woods with friends and got a t-shirt to boot! The weather on Sunday was perfect. I chose crops, a tank and a long sleeve to wear. I opted for a hat rather than one of my beloved BICbands for fear I'd have to deal with branches in the face and at least the hat could shield my eyes a little. My hubby bought me a new pair of trail shoes a couple of weeks ago so I also got to break those in. It was muddy too since we'd recently had rain. Fun!!

This race is stagger start based on age/gender. There were 4 women in my age group and we started roughly 10-12 minutes after the first person. We started on the paved road and  headed up into the trail. The uphill start was tough but there was plenty of downhill (narrow downhill, I might add) to make up for the uphills. I stepped to the side as needed for the fast folks to pass me. I walked when I felt the need to walk and I ran fast when I could. My friend Lindsay and I piggy backed each other the whole race, talking and making sure we stayed on the very well marked course.

I'd check my Garmin once in a while just to see where we were. She'd check hers too and we would compare  notes. I noticed mine was a bit short on distance but every time I stepped to the side for someone to pass or walked my Garmin would auto pause. Starting back up it took a while for it to restart. So, the whole time Lindsay was about .60 mi ahead.

There was a water stop at the half way point. Our buddies were working the stop so we took a break to chat with them for a minute or two before heading out to finish up the race. I had carried my own water but they had a sports drink and I opted to take a small sip of that.

The first half of this race is on the expert trails and we knew the last half would be easier. We were thankful for that. It seemed like we were able to run much faster and walk less on the last half. It went by much faster than the first half. The funniest part was when I hit a root, caught myself and hit another root. Thankfully I caught myself again!

We kept wondering based on the difference in our Garmins when we would hit the end. Then we saw vehicles and heard cheering. We'd reached the end!

6.93 miles

This race was so much fun. It felt so good to not worry about time or pace. It was fun to talk to a friend and just enjoy our surroundings without the normal race day pressure. I'm already planning my next trail race! I was amazed at how well I felt afterwards. I was sore but it was such a different sore compared to how I feel after road racing.

Have you ever ran a trail race? Do you prefer that over road racing?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon - Relay Recap

It all began this year with helping tag and label 8200 bibs on a Wednesday evening a couple of weeks ago with my friends. This is a little "event" that I have happily helped with for the last few years. I love it.

Volunteering for this event never stops there though. I missed goody bag stuffing this year because we were out of town camping, however I was happy to volunteer at the expo the day before the race. I was helping with checking in our wonderful volunteers. My little 4 hour shift turned into a  much longer (all day!) affair. I arrived around 8am and left just shortly after 6pm. Volunteering is one of my favorite parts of this event.

Race day -
Knoxville Endurance Ladies 4 person relay team before the race.

I was so excited when my friends and training buddies invited me to join them for the relay this year. 
I was given the last leg. It was the shortest at just around 6 miles (or less). I got my "race plan" earlier in the week. I was familiar with this leg of the course because it's also part of another race in town we run. The hardest part I thought would be waiting around for a couple or hours or so for my friends to finish their legs. 

Waiting on relay runner 3 to hand off to me.

I waited at the first exchange with my friends while my hubby ran his leg of his relay. Then he dropped me by Panera for a bagel and coffee. Hey! My 5am breakfast was gone by this point. 
We then headed over to my exchange. I warmed up a little and used the porta potty. Within a few minutes it was time for me to begin my run. My friend handed the slap bracelet off to me and down the hill I went.

I felt really good for the start of my run. Except I looked at my Garmin as I was coming down the hill into my first mile and was going way too fast. I hit my first mile 45 seconds faster than my goal. Given my current issues with a long time injury I have had I paid for this in my middle miles and the one hill I had to deal with.

It was great seeing my friends running the marathon and cheering them on as I passed them on their way out. I didn't take water or need to gel but did grab water at one stop since it had already began to warm up quite a bit. My only goal once I realized I was off pace was to run as fast as possible and finish the race with my friends. My leg was roughly 6 miles. I gave it absolutely all I had. I was excited once the stadium was within view and amped up my pace a bit despite that gross hill going into the stadium (hills are not my friend, yet). 

I could hear lots of cheering and looked up to see my friends! We all ran into the stadium together. We were stoked. We weren't sure exactly where we placed in the female relay division but we knew we had placed. We hung around a bit after the race to chat with friends and wait for a few others to finish before heading out and over to the Beer Market. One of our friends showed up later with these....

We finished as a group in 3:36:40 for the full 26.2 miles.
We were stoked to have placed and find out we got 2nd. Receiving an award was a bonus.

The best news is that we found out on Monday that we actually came in FIRST place in the female division. We'll be trading our lovely 2nd place plaques for first place plaques. YAY!

Posing w/our plaques and proud coach!

It was a fabulous day. I am so glad to call these ladies my friends and teammates. 
And I love this race every year. I have done a different part of the race each year for the last 4 years. I loved doing the 4 person relay this year so much that I am convinced it is my favorite way to run the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.