Saturday, November 2, 2013

So, yeah, I ran another race.

Today was my second attempt at the Silver Falls Trail Half Marathon ( geez, that's a mouthful). It was my third half ( technically my fourth since I bailed out of my Portland Marathon attempt at about the halfway point. Injury and stupid are not good combos).

 As I look over today's race, I could pretty much just recycle last year's report, since it reads a lot like today's results. I came out one minute faster than last year. Of course, the conditions were about 9 bazillion times worse than last year, so my one minute faster was a much stronger showing than 2012.  Plus, I'm still nursing a cranky knee (if by 'nursing' you mean still running races and not resting enough.) I was undertrained and not sufficiently prepared for today. At all. But, I learned I can bust out a not awful half marathon in horrendous weather on pretty just my base conditioning. So, I got that goin' for me. Which is nice.

I have a December 5k in the books, but after that I think I'll take a holiday break to focus on some cycling and strength training before getting back to base building for next year's races.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Running updates

Last time I wrote about running I listed a variety of races I was considering for this year. I've completed some and committed to a few more, so here's the latest:

Shamrock 8k: done. 42:15/8:30 pace
Badger Mountain Challenge 15k: done. 1:50-ish. Lots of hills and trail traffic. But mostly hills.
Vancouver USA Half Marathon: confirmed entry, training in progress. Race day is June 16.
Ragnar NW Passage team relay in July. A summer relay is pretty much a given at this point.
Sept. 12- turn 40. No avoiding it, so...
Portland Marathon. Confirmed entry, October 6. First full marathon.
Silver Falls Trail Half Marathon  will happen if I get in before it fills up.

I'm running a good bit more lately, 20-25 miles per week and building. I've also been getting more structured in my training, adding specific workouts to my week in addition to the increasing mileage. Hill days, tempo runs, long runs, and recovery runs are filling my weeks. And I dig it. My training pace is getting quicker and my endurance is building also. Hopefully it will pay off at the half in June. I have a couple of race goals, but I'm not ready to share them just yet.

'Til next time!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Oooohhhh FFFFuuuuuddge

There are times that life just reaches up and five finger death punches you right in the business. Today was one of those times. I found out today that my longshot best option for a teaching position at my current school next year had dematerialized ( a word I just made up). That really (REALLY) sucked to hear. Now, I'm not going all weepy here; I knew all along that this was a very real possibility, since I was hired on a one year contract. Some positive signs had pointed at a good chance to continue next year, but as these things go, it just didn't work out. I am hugely disappointed because, a. I work in a great building with a fantastic team of teachers and administrators. This year has been a dream assignment in that regard. and b. I love the kids. I have a great class and the other kids in the school are great (and, I might add, pretty fond of me, too).

Now, as I said, I'm bummed; but, I'm not disillusioned or 'beat.' I have worked hard this year and built my craft as a teacher with great support and guidance. I have also proven myself in many ways both to myself and to others, building (what I think to be) a pretty good reputation as a teacher and team member. I know I am meant to be a teacher and feel strongly the right opportunity will present itself in due time. In all of this I have appreciated the transparency and straightforwardness my administrators have had with me. All along I've been treated fairly, honestly, and with dignity and respect as both a professional and human person. For those who know my employment past, you know what a huge deal this is in my book. The folks at my school have been top notch people, for sure.

what does this have to do with running, you ask? Everything. One of the reasons I have been able to keep my center through a lot of uncertainty this year has been piling on the miles (more or less). Running has become a great outlet for me and a time I can really sort through my thoughts on the day. All day today, I managed a glassy calm, positive exterior while inside I was a roiling, twisted, and sad mess; I knew I'd have my chance to lose my shit and it would be on my run tonight, when I was all by myself. Surprisingly, you can still gut out a six miler while choking back intermittent tears (yes, I am man enough to admit this day has elicited tears). By the time that run was over though, I had processed  my feelings and returned to my normal pragmatic self, ready to seek out my next opportunity/challenge. It helps that I have 8 weeks of the current school year left to keep my focus and plenty of ground to cover with my kiddos to stay busy. Luckily, I also have a marathon to train for, giving me lots of running time to think and keep myself centered.

I admit this turned into a bit of a ramble, but hey, you're being entertained for free. You can't expect it to all be gold.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Oh, hello...

So I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and he reminded me that I have a blog. Which is to say...HOLYCRAPHAVEIREALLYNOTPOSTEDINTWOMONTHS?????

I feel I should explain myself and why I've been slacking off on my responsibilities as the owner/author America's third worst running blog. It's a really simple explanation:

I have a job.

This job takes lots of my time and lots of my already taxed brainspace. For those who forgot/don't know/accidentally landed on this blog by some twist of fate (and to you, I truly apologize. Especially if you've read the archive posts...) I'm teaching 3rd grade. This requires planning, adjusting, re-planning, and LOTS of classroom cleaning, which leaves precious little time for running, let alone blogging about my laughable running exploits.

Sadly noted, my last entry was the race report on my debut half marathon (Spoiler alert:I didn't win. I know; I'm as shocked as you are).  After that I ran consistently up until Christmas, when I got an awesome case of food poisoning (still haven't set foot inside Trader Joe's since). It took a couple weeks, literally, to feel back to normal during which time running wasn't happening. Just this last week or so  I've gotten my feet back under me and consistently been running again. Yes, it hurts, thanks for asking. I'm renewed and committed though (read: I just paid money for a race entry), and am building my mileage back up to the 20+ per week range, with a target of 35-40 miles per week by Spring. I have a running plan for the year, so here are my excuses to drone on in this very spot about mile splits and people faster than me:

3/17: Shamrock Run 8K, Portland (confirmed)
3/31 Badger Mountain Challenge 15K trail race (tentative)
6/16 Vancouver (USA) half marathon (not officially registered yet, but I'm doing it for certain)
7/19-20 RAGNAR Northwest Passage Relay (signed up months ago)
...something will pop up through here, I'm sure...
11/2 Silver Falls trail half marathon (oh, sweet revenge)
1/26-ish/2014 Orcas Island 25K (wish list race)

It's not a big list, and that big July-November gap is too large, so something will have to pop up in there...

Should be fun!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Silver Falls Trail Half Marathon Race Report

...alternate title: 'there will be walking'

I walk YOUR uphills!

TL;DR version: Undertrained, underfueled, underhydrated, but gutted out a 2:31 for my first half (on hilly trails no less!)

The preparation: My training dropped off a cliff the last 3 or so weeks leading up to this race. First I hurt myself, bruising the sole of my foot in a really painful way. It hurt to walk on it, much less run, for
a full week. I had to keep miles super low coming back from that to play it safe, so there was another week. Add in being a first-year teacher and parent-teacher conference week destroying my schedule and there you have it. Not. Enough. Miles.

Oh well.

Equipment: Tech-T, Brooks shorts (the best!), and Altra Zero Drop trail shoes (Lone Peaks, for that '70's running shoe vibe. Since I can't let go of my barefoot/minimal shoe proclivities, but require some protection the Altras fit the bill nicely. Smartwool socks.Everything worked. No chafing, a couple hot spot toes (it was WET), but no blisters. Worked a charm.
obligatory post-race muddy shoe shot

The course: I don't carry crap with me when i run, so I don't have any pretty pictures from the race. Scroll down for stock shots of the Silver Falls trails. Words nor pictures can do it justice. It is simply beautiful. I love the Pacific Northwest, and the mix of evergreens with blasts of color from the hardwoods as they enter fall is a big part of that love.
yeah. I ran behind that fall.
not me. But, it coulda been me. 'Cause I ran behind that one too.
Oh yeah. There were hills. Lots of hills. 2000+ feet of gain/loss. Again, I'm a stupid who chose the hardest race I could find for a first half. I love trails, though, so whatever. It was worth it.


The race: I didn't train enough, I didn't eat well this week, and I was underhydrated. Plus, I was so nervous with this being my first half and all. All this baked into a big cookie of stomach cramps in the first 3 miles. I have never had this happen before and it totally freaked me out. I took some electrolyte drinky stuff at the first aid stop and it seemed to help a lot. So, I kept running. 'Cause, you know, races. mile four is my mortal enemy in any run; if I haven't already, I may dedicate a full post to the topic of how mile four of any run wants to kill me and eat my soul. At least I know this, though, and know if I push through I feel much better and run well after. Mile four of this race was a big fat hill, the first of many. I ran a lot of it, walked some of it, exchanged witty banter with many fellow competitors all through it.

 miles 5-7 were uneventful, just rolling hills with amazing scenery. Pick 'em up, put 'em down, keep steppin'. 

mile 8-9. Ehr. Mah. Gawd. STAIRS. Really. Who puts stairs in the last third of a half-marathon? Sadists, that's who. My quads were roasted at this point from all the up, no recovery, down, rolling terrain. This was the icing. It was not easy. I may have conspired with another runner to trip and choke anyone who ran past us up the stairs. Fortunately this pact was not tested (there was a judgment call situation, though. He was allowed to live; stupid fast people). After the stairs it leveled out quite a bit, with some small rollers through the waterfall. Nothing beats running behind a waterfall. It is rad. no discussion will be had of this point. 

10-13 (point one, suckaz. It's a half marathon. Represent.). Feeling surprisingly good, then, ohdeargodwhatisthis??? Who puts a big arsed hill in the last. Freaking. Mile of an already tough race. I walked up it, mostly. Whatever. I'm s confident male and can admit it. funny, though, I was only passed by one or two runners.  They were all female runners. Female runners are awesome and way stronger than me. Props. 

The finish: About a month or so ago I projected a 2:37 finish for myself. I ran it in 2:31. This means two things. One, I am good at projecting my finish times. And two, I beat my projection. Suck it Father Time! All in all I really enjoyed the race. The people were superfriendly, and the volunteers were awesome. I will definitely run this one again.

Oh, and speaking of awesome female runners, my running pal Amanda clocked in an awesome 1:49. She's the business! Way to go!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Almost... there....

Any excuse for a Star Wars reference

one week from today I will be running my first half marathon (I'd say a week from now I will have completed my first half marathon, but the jury's out on how truthful that statement is). As mentioned on every other occasion I have mentioned this race it is a decidedly tough race for a first effort. Whatever; I always tend to do things the hard way and this will be no exception. What makes this one a tough sled is the fact that I have not run nearly enough training miles to expect more than a goal of 'just finishing.'  I have an idea of how long the race will take me (about 2-1/2 hours, or twice as long as the guy who will win the race...) but all bets are off until the finish line is crossed.

I ran a solid six miler today, focused on maintaining a set pace for the whole run, which closes out my work and preparation. I'll run a couple short and speedy runs this week to keep my legs fresh and moving, but otherwise I've done all the preparing I can do. It's all down to race day now. I'll let you know how it goes (or doesn't go, as the case may be).

In other news, the school year is going well. I just finished a whirlwind week of parent conferences and feel like I'm starting to hit my stride instructionally. I still have a lot of developing and progressing to do as a teacher, but I think I'm on a good track so far. We also had a friend take some beautiful pics of the girls; here's a sample:

Sure there were more "sweet" pictures, but this was a far more accurate depiction of where they are as sisters right now!

Monday, October 1, 2012

the final countdown

I'm 4 weeks out from my first half marathon and the nerves are ratcheting up, for sure. I did 10 miles yesterday, but that only put my weekly miles to 20 and change. Not. Enough. Miles. I'm back to business this week with a full, normal running week that looks a little like this:

M rest
T 4mi
W 3mi+crosstraining
TH 3mi hills
 F 4mi*
Sa rest
Su 11mi
total 25 miles

It still isn't enough miles, but if I factor total time on my feet, I'm working my legs overtime for sure. Out of my 8 hour day I sit maybe 1 to 1.5 hours. I am constantly walking around, squatting to talk to students, then back up again. Plus, my classroom is on the second floor, so I am up and down the stairs multiple times a day.
No; none of that replaces running miles. But, it's what I've got. I don't have the willpower to get up at 5 am to get doubles in and increase my mileage (yet. I'm a total slacker about getting up early, but I am trying to change my outlook. Day one was a superfail, though), so I have to accept the reality of where I am. I built a decent base during my summer relaypalooza training, and had a decent showing in Sunday's 10-mile trail run (meaning I didn't keel over halfway through). We'll see.
You rang?
About Sunday's run; I did 10 miles with (according to my shifty Garmin) 1800+ feet of elevation change. This closely mimicked my half marathon course and I averaged a mere 12 minute mile pace. I know my trail pace is slower than my road pace, but dang, man! I was hoping for 11's or better. But, this puts my projection for the half at  2:37.  I was hoping for better, and may just kill myself trying to beat that, but we'll see what November 2 holds.

*optional day. May cut if I'm a total wuss and add second day of crosstraining instead.