Three Twos

Big news in “I’m Training for What” land.  I’m not registered and about to be training for running two half marathons in two days in two states next year.  A friend of mine lives not far from where the Sunday race is being held and was planning on doing the back to back challenge, invited me to come on down and join her, and so I am!  The training plan will be rather ambitious considering it’s been hard for me to find time on Saturdays to run a short distance, never mind double digit runs, and then do it all over again on Sunday.  Hopefully knowing I “have” to do it if I don’t want my legs to fall off after the second race will help me stick to the plan.  Stay tuned for training updates!

Hamptons Half Marathon Recap

What do you get when you run another half marathon two weeks after you last one with the temperature about 15min cooler?  A half marathon PR, that’s what.  What’s even better is that it was a 2min PR, a 4min PR for the course itself, and I ran 7min faster than my half marathon two weeks ago.

I’ve run this a few times now but this year there was a pronouncement that parking was going to be a lot more limited in the area and so you should please consider using the remote parking option.  I’ve done that anyway because it was just must easier and I didn’t have to deal with finding my way around a strange area.  But the remote parking area is really small and so I figured I had to get there early to make sure I could get parking.  There’s a ton of no parking signs on the street leading to the lot so I had no idea what their alternate plans would be if the lot filled.  That made it an early wakeup time.  I got to see the sunrise from the beach though so that was pretty cool.

Soon it was time to go and we were off.  After blowing up at the last half, I decided I was going to take it “easy” at about 5 seconds over my PR pace for the first half of the race and then cut it back by 15 seconds for the second half.  The first half is a lot more uphill and the second half, while it has hills, is mostly downhill so it would be easier, hopefully, with that as the plan.  I did a good job of keeping myself in check for the first half.  At mile 5 I was speeding up unintentionally and really had to slow myself down.

There’s a stretch from about the 6.3mi mark to 7.2 that is on dirt paved road.  At first I thought they had paved it because we were in the general area and the road was freshly paved.  That hope was short lived though because we soon hit the dirt.  Bummer.  I was still running pretty good through this stretch even with the dirt road and rolling hills.  But then it was time to turn it on and I was running a whole lot faster than I had planned to the tune of about 20sec.  I was nervous because it was way too early to be running that fast and I was sure I’d pay for it later.  Around mile 11 my legs started to get heavy and I thought oh no, here it is, but it went away as quick as it came.

Trying to do math while running is never a good thing.  I hadn’t done the math in advance but I started to worry that maybe I wouldnt be able to make up enough time with my plan.  At mile 7 I was sure there were only 5 miles left.  Ooops.  And then we passed the 8mi mark and I though oh, now there’s only 5 left.  I was trying to do a bunch of quick math like if I running this I should be able to get that but was still failing a bit – like I had 1.5mi to go but was adding a time to my watch as if I still had 2mi to go.

As it turns out though I did really well and got a 2min down to the second PR.  Awesome.  I’ll say the weather definitely helped this time because I never felt overly hot even though I was sweating.  As far as the race itself goes, it pretty much is the same old all the time.  They have gotten better about controlling cars on the course, but there are still the awful people who speed through the course and I swear one day they will hit someone.  Also randomly the first water station was completely unmanned and not set up.  There was a table on the other side of the road for the way back which wasn’t set up either.  Someone got their act together though and there was water on the way back.  These kind of things are why I ALWAYS run with my own water.  I’ve run into too many of these situations over the years.  All in all though, another good running of this race!

The day finally arrived – the day of the inaugural Suffolk County Half Marathon (along with the full marathon as well).  The race started and finished at Heckscher Park where we run every summer as part of the Summer Run Series.  This time though we were leaving the park and only ran the last mile or so within the park.  The half ran out to Oakdale where it spun around and came back.

There was a threat of rain for today all week but once again somehow it managed to stay away.  It seems like this happens a lot, but I know one day that luck isn’t going to continue.  It was mostly cloudy for the first half of the course but it was still hot and pretty humid.  Then the sun came out pretty much for good just as I was getting to the turn around point.  It was about this time that I also started to feel a blister forming on the bottom of my foot which never happened before.  Around mile 7 I stopped and leaned against a street sign to try to move my sock around and retie my shoes but that didn’t really help.

I had a great first half, and was pretty on track for my “usual” half marathon times.  But the sun, the blistering, and just general tiredness took its toll on the second half.  My finishing time average was about 30s/mile slower than what I’d call “normal”.  But really it’s more like I was on track the first half and about 1min/mile slower the second half – boo.  It’s too bad because it was a pretty flat course aside from 2 hills and a few rollers so it definitely had the potential for being a good race for me.  The best part was they gave out cold hand towels at the end along with a bottle of water.  Since it was near 80 by the time I finished, that cold towel felt great.

Overall it was a good course and was well supported except for a few downsides (there is never enough port-o-potties but this race really lacked an appropriate amount at the start, one water stop ran out of cups late in the race, and the hour of traffic to sit in to go 2 miles to get out of the park) so I’d probably do this again next year if it comes back.  There was a pretty good turnout (~3000 between the full and half) so I’d guess it would make a return.

What’s next?  Another half marathon…in two weeks….

Beer Mile

Yesterday the running crew and I did the 2nd annual beer mile.  Official rules declare that you need to drink 1 beer per every 0.25mi, not open the can in advance, and not use cups.  But we modify all those rules.  You can open the can if you want and you can use cups.  The biggest difference is that we only have to drink 1 beer per 0.5mi, although we still run 0.25mi laps.  You are also allowed to split the amount of beer you are drinking however you like between the two laps.

This was my first year getting to run since I couldn’t last year.  When we were about to start, the neighbor from across the street came out with a beer in his hand, opened up the hatch of his SUV and settled in to watch our beer mile.  HA!  The guy whose house we were at tried to get him to come run, but he said he’d rather watch.  There was also some people sitting outside on their porch down the street probably wondering what the heck was going on.  The running part was alright for me, but by the fourth time drinking, I was not feeling it at all.  There was discussion over using warm or cold beer cans and I decided to take one of each.  I drank the warm one first and it was fine to drink and go run.  But now I don’t know if the hard time I had drinking the fourth time was because it was the fourth time or it was a cold beer.  Guess we’ll have to retry this next year.

Despite being out sort of late and drinking beer, I was still up early for my last long run of this training cycle.  I am happy that I do not have to wake up before the sun rises anymore for training runs.  The only things I have to wake up early for now are the actual races.  I was so motivated this week that I actually ran the 15 miles in as much time as it took me to run 14 miles last week.  Bring on the half marathons!

Weekly Workout Recap:

Monday: I had some outdoor housework to do after work so that was the extent of my “workout” for the day

Tuesday:  1hr spin

Wednesday:  another unintentional rest day.  got out of work too late.  wasn’t interested in working out by then.

Thursday: 4mi run

Friday:  my real, usual rest day

Saturday:  1hr cross train class in the morning and beer mile at night

Sunday:  15mi last long run!!!

It’s been almost a month now since the last run of the summer run series.  This is always a bittersweet run because to me it signifies the end of the summer, even though it’s still the beginning of August.  Eight weeks go by so fast every year.

This course is a 5 mile out and back and while it always seems like a long out and back, it also seems to go so quickly.  It was a breezy day so there wasn’t all the mosquitos out that normally are.  It was also pretty warm and they had a hose out at about the halfway point which was very welcome.  The race for me was ok, no PR but an average time for me at 5 miles.

All in all though it was a much better summer series than last year which I’m happy about.  Got one distance PR and a few course PRs including one of the hilliest races which I normally don’t do so well at.  We’re going to have our group’s end-of-summer BBQ this weekend which will include our own modified version of the Beer Mile!  I didn’t get to run it last year so that will definitely be an interesting time.

Back at it

Tough Mudder has come and went.  There’s good things and bad things and other things about it and I have very complicated feelings about it.  Full recap soon, although it may need to be in two parts – one talking about the obstacles themselves and one talking about everything else.

The half marathons are quickly approaching too.  Today was the annual running of the 10k I normally do.  After last year’s fiasco where they said “we’ll look into it and get back to you” and never got back to me, I was not about to do this race again.  I was up early to run my 14 miles and thankfully got out of the neighborhood the race was in just as the 5k was coming through it.  Two ladies were sitting on the side of the road at one of the turns with a course marshal guy and they started clapping for me.  The marshal asked if I was in the race or just running and I said “just running”.  The one lady clapped again and said it doesn’t matter that I’m not in the race because anyone running deserves clapping.  Ha!

I’m not gonna go back and recap all the workouts from the last bunch of weeks because that’s just too much, but here’s this past week.

Weekly Workout Recap

Monday:  rest day

Tuesday:  1hr spin

Wednesday:  this was such a tough run.  I was hot.  My legs would not go.  So instead of running 4mi I cut out one of the loops and did 3.5 and it still sucked.

Thursday:  20min of weights + ~45min of Zumba.   We had a sub for the zumba class and it was definitely…..different and I don’t know that it was necessarily different in a good way either.

Friday:  rest day

Saturday:  1hr cross train

Sunday:  14mi long run.  Only one more long run to go!

T-6 days to Tough Mudder

It’s within a week now, so things are starting to get real.  The past few weeks have been crazy with friends and family rolling through on vacation.  It’s sort of hard to say, “sorry gotta go to the gym” when people are here for a short time.  So running has continued to be the priority since the September half marathons are the priority to me.   Weight lifting has sort of gone off the rails the past few weeks.  But I knew I was never going to get to have the upper body strength of a man, so I could only do the best I could.

The course map came out last week and, of course, there are a ton of upper body strength needed obstacles.  Of course!  I’ve had a few people tell me that a friend of their who was totally out of shape did a mudder and finished so I should not have a problem.  There’s one trapeze obstacle that I am not cool with at all because of a Very Bad Incident with a trapeze in the Bahamas a bunch of years ago.  I couldn’t bend my knees for a few days after that because the skin would open up and start bleeding.  So, yeah, trapezes aren’t my friend.

The email we got also mentioned that there is a $10 fee for bag drop.  SAY WHAT?  This is very much getting to be a nickel and dimed race and I’m not feeling that at all.  They also surprised us with saying there’s no on site parking and you have to park 30min away and get a shuttle in, after you’ve paid for that too.  Since you have to have ID with you, you are almost forced to check a bag, OR have a spectator come with you to hold your stuff.  But wait…spectators have to pay and entry fee too.  Sigh.

Since it’s been a couple of weeks since the last post, we got two weeks of workout recaps coming below…

Weekly Workout Recap:

Monday:  Summer Run Series 5k

Wednesday:  Run 4mi

Thursday:  a modified CrossFit workout of 80 squats, 60 push ups, 41 pull-ups, 40 overhead squats with a 20lb dumbbell, 30 sit ups, 20 dumbbell thrusters, 10 bicep curls/tricep presses, followed up with 1hr Zumba

Saturday:  1hr cross train

Sunday:  12mi run

Monday:  the last Summer Run Series of 5mi

Wednesday:  Run 4mi

Friday:  Run 4mi

Sunday:  Run 13mi