Rebuilding Week 4 Training Recap

I am so ready to get back into regular training. No more, taking it easy. Marathon Monday started this week off on an excellent foot. The week ended with a great race but then my right knee decided that it was feeling neglected. While I think everything’s still okay, the jury is still out.

Monday, April 18, 2016
I really enjoyed this run, especially the BQ daydreams. My left leg felt pretty much normal the entire time. I felt strong throughout, although I definitely need to work on pacing. The splits were everywhere from 8:57 to 9:42. Lord willing, I will be in Boston two years from today.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
This ride did not feel as “effortless” as last week. I tried to keep up the same speed which meant that my effort felt like it was up a notch from last week. I’m still riding the post-Boston Marathon viewing high. (I didn’t watch the live stream although I did follow along on Twitter. Does that count as viewing? 😊) I am definitely ready to jump back into serious training.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016
I absolutely loved this run. I felt amazing. The intervals were tough and I loved it! I love feeling strong. Have I mentioned how much I loved this run? 😊 I’m getting excited about training. Several hours later I could feel weirdness in the left glute, the same kind of thing that I had several weeks ago. Of course, I’m a little nervous but hopefully it’s all mental.

Thursday, April 21, 2016
I am really loving strength training lately. (I know, who am I?) I was a little wary going into it because several hours after Wednesday’s amazing run I had that off sensation deep in myself glute that I had weeks ago. I’m hoping that it’s just my brain not letting go/remembering from before. It didn’t bother me at all during strength training. Plus, after watching “Strong” last night (even though it’s definitely not the best fitness program out there), I felt motivated to push as hard as I could through this entire routine.

Friday, April 22, 2016
Thankfully, the oddness I felt in the glute was all in my head. Aside from significant quad soreness from strength training Thursday, I felt strong, ready to train. After I stopped, I felt it a little in the glute so maybe it’s not entirely mental. The running aspect, though, seems to be going really well.

Saturday, April 23, 2016
The race went amazingly well. Everything performed well and didn’t give me any trouble during the race. Everything felt great through the rest of the day as well until I got up to go to bed. That’s when I noticed that I could feel a twinge of something on the upper outside of the right kneecap. I have no idea what it was/is and why it decided to extend the “mental mess” party. I hoped a good night’s sleep would take care of it.

Sunday, April 24, 2016
Unfortunately, a good night’s sleep seemed to change nothing. I can still feel something there. It’s a twinge but not serious pain or anything that seems to interfere. It’s likely something small that my brain has picked up on and is magnifying ten-fold. I stretched and foam rolled and am praying hard that God would help me stop obsessing about every little thing. I just want to get back to normal running and training again.

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Reedy River Run 10k – Race Recap

Race #106
10k #8
Reedy River Run 10k #3

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It is always so satisfying to cap a training week with a fabulous race performance. Although it wasn’t a PR by any means, I am still very satisfied with my performance and eager to continue building my base and racing along the way.

Mom and I used the walk up to the race start as our warm up. We had to park on a side street down by the Fluor Field because all the streets that we tried to use to turn and access Richardson Street Garage were blocked. After running the race, I know that many of those streets were used for the course. However, it did make parking difficult (by blocking off both the Richardson Street Garage and the parking area on top of the Greyhound station) and it’s already a bit difficult in downtown Greenville.

We made it to the start with just the right amount of time before the race start. I appreciated the specific mention of the elites running the race.

Since I wasn’t running for time I let Mom set the pace. It ended up being faster than I had planned.:) She definitely felt this later but we’ve already made a plan for her to start incorporating some things like speedwork and hill repeats into her training to help with this.

The first two miles were tough. Running through downtown Greenville means running up and down some fairly significant hills. Just as soon as we crested one and enjoyed the downhill on the other side, we headed right back up another. Mom kept plugging away and I had to push hard to keep up with her!

Reedy River 10k 2016
Ellis was perfectly positioned to catch us coming up what I affectionally call the “hill of death” owing to its significant incline and position in the course for the Greenville News Downtown 5k (right before the turn to head downhill to the finish.) Though the hill was still hard, I can tell that the regular strength training is helping me become stronger on hills and I love it!

It was some time in this portion that I decided that the crazy hills made this the perfect course on which to challenge myself to go for a PR. Yes, I am a crazy runner person.

Mile 1: 8:25
Mile 2: 8:31

Mom started to feel the pace and the hills towards the beginning of mile 3. She slowed to a walk for a few seconds to catch her breath. I slowed my jog but kept going. Then in the second half of the mile we started to head downhill and into the much easier half of the course. We headed down a wonderfully steep down hill just by Cleveland Park (I’ve lived in Greenville all my life and I have no idea what the name of the street is) and into the park. I was very thankful that we got to run down that hill and not up like I did several years ago in Run with the Stoix.

This turn into the park also brought with it shade, a breeze and a couple degrees cooler feels-like temps. The open road and lack of shade made me wish I had worn sleeveless and shorts. I definitely breathed a sigh of relief when we got into the park.

Mile 3: 8:09

Once we got into the park the course flattened out a bit. (There were still tiny hills here and there. It is Greenville after all.) I felt strong and really dialed into the pace. Mom definitely started to feel the faster pace she pushed us to earlier.

Mile 4: 8:26

I don’t actually remember much about mile 5 specifically. As we got towards the second half of the mile and into the last mile, Mom had to walk a couple times. Each time I kept jogging, but slowly. I tried to be as encouraging as I could. Each time she stopped it was just for a few seconds to catch her breath. As we approached the last half mile, Mom had to stop one last time. I wanted to stay with her but I felt so strong and really wanted to keep pushing. I hung back for a few steps but then decided to break away. I called back over my shoulder and said that I was going to keep pushing. Mom must have pushed hard in that last half mile too because she finished only 23 seconds behind me!

That last half mile had one last uphill, a turn and then a final turn onto main street and the downhill. Once I got onto Main Street I started sprinting

Reedy River 10k 2016
I’ve been working hard on my form but not hard enough apparently. There’s way too much twisting going on there in my sprint.

Reedy River 10k 2016
That’s better.

I kept sprinting as hard as I could and even passed a couple people in the final tenth. I would hope so since my pace for the last .2 was 6:30!

Mile 6: 9:00
.2 nubbin: 1:07
Final time: 52:10

That puts this 10k right smack in the center of all my 10k times at 4 of 8. I’m very pleased with that time especially since I have not been working on anything remotely approaching short distance speed for quite some time.

Mom came in at 52:33, good enough for her second fastest 10k time and 2nd in her age group! This is in a race of 1k+ runners.

Reedy River 10k 2016

Now to the review portion of the recap:

Registration and packet/bib pick up:
Palmetto Timing (formerly go-greenevents) has always had user friendly registration. Mom picked up our packets from TD Bank yesterday. She told me that parking was a challenge, but that’s downtown Greenville for you. She made a point to tell me that the volunteers directing traffic and helping with bib and shirt handout were very knowledgable and went out of their way to make sure that we were completely satisfied with everything.

Race shirt: I am absolutely thrilled that they did not use Leslie Jordan for the shirts. I think it might actually make it into my workout rotation although not for the summer since it’s black and we live in the south.:)

Pre-Race/Race Morning amenities: Parking was a bit of a challenge but other than that, everything seemed to go off without a hitch.

Course This course was crazy hard and amazing. Whoever designed it did a great job showcasing a lot of downtown Greenville from the streets to the park. I loved this course.

Course support (this includes water stops and course monitors) Unfortunately, the weather took a turn for the hot side today. This kind of weather would have been best helped with many more water stops but that’s something that no race director can predict. I do like the fact that one of the stops had tables on both sides. That’s definitely needed in a race of this size. I ran with my handheld so I didn’t actually take any of the water.

Finish line and post-race amenities I have to admit that we didn’t stay long at the finish. That being said, I did not see where we would have picked up the PR medals had either of us achieved a PR. I also saw nothing post race beyond the small water bottles handed out immediately after the finish line. We didn’t look too hard since we were heading over to Starbucks.
*Edited to add* I found out from a couple other people that the post-race amenities were all down in Falls Park where the race website stated that the awards ceremony would be held. We would have discovered this if we had stayed for the awards. Additionally, all participants who ran a sub 65 minute time for the 10k earned a poster. (I wondered why finish line volunteers were handing out business cards that stated “I ran sub 65 minutes” or something like that.) The PR medals were distributed after all age group awards had been distributed. According to a race participant who stayed because her son won the 14 and under age group, the awards ceremony lasted until 11:15, 75 minutes total. This is unfortunate. The concept of a PR medal is awesome! I loved it two years ago when both Mom and I were able to head over to the tent just beyond the finish line where they were handing out the PR medals and get one.
Reedy River 10k 2014

Race photography I could find nothing about official race photography. I asked on both the Greenville Track Club page and the page for the Reedy River Run specifically and have yet to get an answer. For a race that has over 2k participants this seems inadequate.
*Edited to add* Later in the afternoon both the GTC page and the Reedy River page responded and said that the pictures were coming. Pace Magazine took pictures at the start and finish lines and posted those pictures this afternoon. I love the fact that Pace has provided free race pictures for almost every single Greenville (and Upstate) race. That being said, I do wish that for the marquee races like Reedy and Spinx, GTC would pay for a race photography that would station photographers at a couple different points in the course. In this race, there were a couple positions where a photographer could have been stationed that would have given him the opportunity to take photographs at two different points without having to move much. This is definitely not a requirement, just something I think would make the race that much better.
*Edited to add* While I stand by my thoughts on having an official race photographer, I need to add that I discovered Sunday morning that there was an official photographer for the race that took pictures at the finish (a few at the start) and at the awards ceremony of the winners.

Social media Pre-race…this was awesome. The GTC posted frequently and shared all sorts of cool facts. Unfortunately, the last official post on both the GTC page and the Reedy River Run page was from the 21st, Thursday. I think that the next step to take to make sure that social media engagement is top notch would be to have someone take over the page for race day and make at least a few posts on the day of. Tobacco Road did this and I was very impressed.
*Edited to add* Just after I published this post I went back to the page and saw one post on the GTC page thanking participants and volunteers and promoting the results page. Later in the day they also added a few more posts including a link to pictures.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this race and can’t wait to run again next year.

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Dealing with Pushback

I am not a well-known blogger. My page gets a paltry number of daily hits. Although at one point, I did swallow the healthy living blogger kool-aid of doing whatever I could to increase sit traffic, that ill-conceived notion has long passed. I write with a two-fold purpose now: maintain a record for my own personal use – the weekly training recaps fall into this category – and provide a public resource – the race recaps fall into this category.

I want to address the public resource aspect. As the title suggests, I’ve received some pushback lately regarding some of the things I have written regarding the Greenville Track Club. Before I address the pushback aspect, I want to take a step back and explain why I write my race recaps and why I include the details that I do.

I am a planner, a researcher. I am not an impulse shopper. When it comes to pulling the trigger on large dollar itens, I pull up reviews, read the specs, research what others have had to say about the event or item before I click the “buy now” or “register” button. (Oddly enough, I didn’t do that with my car but that ended up working out brilliantly.) When it comes to races, specifically half and full marathons, I do the same sort of research. Although the calendar does play a part, I research the race before registering and then scour any blog reviews and recaps to prepare. In some cases this was supremely helpful. For example, I found out that the Rome Marathon provides actual water bottles at the water stops instead of cups. This helped me make my decision on how to plan hydration. Other times, I ran the race and encountered unexpected things that I wish I had known beforehand so that I could prepare better. In those cases, I went out of my way in my recap to give those details for those who choose to run in the future.

Now to the pushback.

As I discussed before, a slowly building mountain of little things finally tipped the scale, resulting in my decision to decline membership renewal. The hardest part about that for me came in the fact that an organization that I once wholeheartedly supported and loved had declined so far.

I freely admit that in my hurt, I spoke with words that were harsher than necessary. As I have recently learned, those words, in turn, hurt others. For that I apologize. There is a place for constructive criticism but ill-considered words nullify any constructive intent.

With that in mind, I plan to implement a standard (for me) framework for reviewing a race. That way all races that I run and recap, whether they are run by the GTC or others will be evaluated exactly the same way. This will hopefully make the reviews more objective and curb the propensity for nit-picking which is easy for me to do when I have a less than favorable opinion of something.

The framework is as follows:

Registration and packet/bib pick up
Race shirt
Pre-Race/Race Morning amenities
Course
Course support (this includes water stops and course monitors)
Finish line and post-race amenities
Race photography
Social media

Each race, depending on participant size and overall length may not have something to be evaluated on in each category. In that case I will indicate something such as “N/A.”

You may have noticed that I did not address the pushback directly. When I first thought of this post, I intended to but then I took a second look and saw how antagonistic that would be. I do not want that to become my M.O.

I know that the bridges will not be repaired overnight but that’s the direction in which I hope to move.

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Rebuilding Week 3 Training Recap

I might just be ready to start actual training again. The left leg seems to be healing nicely and I’m glad.

Monday, April 11, 2016Originally this run was going to be 55 minutes long. We decided, on a whim, to each carry a bag of clothes that we were donating to Miracle Hill since there was a drop off box only just slightly off our regular route. Never again. We had to try but it’s definitely something we’re never doing again. The run itself went pretty well. The left leg was only slightly achey and once I got into the run I really enjoyed it. I made the decision to to cut the run a little short only a few minutes after dropping the bag off. (My arm was tired! :D) By the time the end of the run came around I wanted to run more. Oh well. It ended up that we got 45 minutes instead of 40 because I still haven’t learned my lesson that my mental math while on the run lacks accuracy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016
I enjoyed this ride. It passed fairly quickly. My right knee felt a little odd at a couple points but not significantly enough to affect turnover. (I don’t know what the cycling term for “stride” is.) That slightly disconcerting fact aside, I loved the fact that I got about .4 miles farther this week than last.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
For the first speed work since the marathon,this went fairly well. It’s very clear that I’ve lost a bit of speed in the meantime. Nowhere to go but up, right? The left leg felt okay throughout, only slightly achey on occasion.

Thursday, April 14, 2016
We focused on arms and abs. I will be feeling this for sure. It was fun and I enjoyed pushing myself. I didn’t start feeling some of the soreness until late that evening. I definitely slept well.

Friday, April 15, 2016
I had planned to run just 30 minutes. However, I woke up less than excited to run. Mom then told me that she was going to sleep some more as well. (She’s been working crazy hard at work putting on a class and doing all the behind the scenes things that go along with that.) That helped me make my decision to get some more sleep.

Saturday, April 16, 2016
Each run keeps getting better and better. If that’s not a sign of healing then I don’t know what is. I felt good throughout the majority of the run. The left leg started to get achey only towards the very end, last 10 minutes or so. I’m starting to get excited about running again.

Sunday, April 17, 2016
Rest days are always very enjoyable. Typically there’s not much to recap and this day is no change. Everything felt good and I made sure to rest up.

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Rebuilding Week 2 Training Recap

Coming back from this marathon has been very different than the others I’ve run. Although, I have to say that I don’t know for sure whether the weird left leg thing has anything to do with the marathon. It sort of rolls together.

Monday, April 4, 2016
I decided not to run partially considering the fact that my “long” run was Sunday but also considering the fact that I had very little motivation. I think my streak of not running on Mondays ends this week. Things seem to be getting better and everything felt great throughout the the rest of the day.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016
I really liked this ride. Since I didn’t workout Monday, I wanted to push the pace on this one. I did just that through the entire ride and loved it. Everything felt great. I’m hopeful that that will carry over to Wednesday’s run.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016
This was the best run that I’ve had since the marathon. The left leg cooperated; I had some tightness only towards the very end of the run.

Thursday, April 7, 2016
This one was tough. We mixed it up and did two rounds of some pretty intense sets. The only one I didn’t do twice was the pull ups. I refused. 😊 My arms were noodles anyway. I definitely felt this later, especially my abs.

Friday, April 8, 2016
This run went even better than Wednesday’s. I thought the strength training exercises from Thursday might have made it a little more difficult but I didn’t notice anything. The left leg got a little sore towards the end but that’s it. I actually enjoyed this run. Afterwards, I felt great for the rest of the day.

Saturday, April 9, 2016
For the most part this was a pretty good run. During the first half of the run everything felt absolutely great and I actually started “run-dreaming” like I sometimes do (or did). At about the halfway point I started to feel the ache in my left hamstring-ish area which was not unexpected since I ran Friday as well. My stride remained unaffected. The rest of the run went fairly well although I could feel a slight ache in the left leg for most of the rest of the time. Afterwards, everything felt pretty good although when I went to put my thigh compression sleeve on, I discovered that I missed my bag when I put it back after taking it off Friday at work. It’s probably sitting on the floor next to my shred bin. I’m a little disappointed because I’m fairly certain that it has been helping me recover more quickly. I’ll just get some more stretching and foam rolling in instead.

Sunday, April 10, 2016
I definitely enjoyed sleeping in. For the most part, I felt pretty good. I had some soreness, probably lingering from the tough strength training workout Thursday but nothing extremely noticible.

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Rebuilding Week 1 Training Recap

I think that three weeks is about the limit of the marathon recovery period.:) I changed the name but there’s still a bit of recovery going on. Instead of pushing myself – even with easy runs – like I did the week before, I decided to take all pressure off myself and play it by ear, workout-wise.

Monday, March 28, 2016
I woke up ready to run 45 minutes easy. Mom told me that she was going to sleep in. That sounded good so I did the same. I didn’t get to hit the snooze button Saturday or Sunday thanks to the race Saturday and Easter services Sunday so I enjoyed it far more than I would have enjoyed the run. I don’t have anything to train for right now so there was no reason to push myself. The left leg felt fine, a little bit creaky at some points but nothing significant. Maybe another couple days off (Monday and Tuesday) will help sort everything out.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Everything felt great. The left leg felt completely normal, thankfully. I loved the ride and felt strong throughout. It also felt great to push hard. My mileage reflected that. I’m hopeful for good results when I run again Wednesday. My left glute/leg felt the most normal that it has for a week or so throughout the entire day.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
The time off Monday definitely helped. The left leg didn’t feel perfect but it felt much better. I could still feel an ache-like sensation on the outside of my hip but other than that everything was great.

Thursday, March 31, 2016
This workout has become a lot of fun especially when we push really hard. We added assisted pull ups this time. I could barely get four. I can do strength training if it’s like this. As to the left leg, I could feel it when I first got started on a couple of the exercises but nothing much after that. (When I say feel, I generally mean an odd sensation that’s not pain but rather something that I can’t really describe well.)

Friday, April 1, 2016
The run went fairly well. The gym was crazy hot so that was fun. Maybe the heat got to me and that’s why I felt more tired than I expected to be. The left leg was only slightly cranky/achey. I concentrated on good form. Not my favorite run but it’s done. Work was crazy which resulted in my back getting really tight by the time that I got to go to lunch. I think part of that was the additional soreness from the strength training workout Thursday. My upper arms and shoulders definitely felt the work and I love it! (I didn’t love the tight back muscles of course but that was definitely stress induced and went away after I was able to relax at lunch.)

Saturday, April 2, 2016
I woke up with absolutely no motivation to run. All I wanted to do was continue to hit the snooze button. When I did get up I spent a little while trying to convince myself to just start running. I couldn’t even decide on how long I wanted to run, a danger of not having a plan besides taking it easy and rebuilding my base. Mom had other obligations so we couldn’t run together but when I texted her, she suggested that we run Sunday and go to the evening service. A plan! Of course, after I was awake for a little while that motivation started to return but too late to squeeze it into Saturday’s schedule so Sunday it is.

Sunday, April 3, 2016
For the most part I felt fine on this run. I really do enjoy running in the daylight. The left leg cooperated completely for the first half hour or so. After that I could feel it but it was just something between an ache and some tightness. I focused on form and for the most part felt okay. I would just love for whatever the “off-ness” is about the leg to work itself out so I could get back to training regularly.

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Marathon Recovery Week 2 Training Recap

So, the recovery might take a little longer than I thought but I am insane and signed up to run a half marathon 13 days after a marathon.

Monday, March 21, 2016
The glute did not bother me on this run. The hamstring was a bit tight though. I’ll be stretching and wearing the compression sleeve for sure. Other than that I felt pretty good. Fitness-wise, I think that my legs still need a little more recovery time so it’s good that I have it. 😊

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
I felt pretty good on the ride albeit a bit bored. I found it a little difficult to concentrate on the magazine I brought to read but other than that, the ride went really well.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
The ache/soreness was almost unnoticeable this time. I felt pretty good through the entire run. (This is why I try to log the runs right away. I wrote this less than half an hour later and still had trouble remembering details. 😊) After sitting in the chair at work for a little while I felt an odd pain off and on throughout the day but when standing, walking around or sitting in a chair, it felt completely normal. This is a little odd.

Thursday, March 24, 2016
Strength training is finally becoming fun. I like that. For the most part, I forgot about the weird glute thing. Occasionally I remembered it but didn’t really notice it and none of the exercises caused any flare ups. I just wish I knew what was going on with it. Other than that, we avoided leg exercises for the day since we have a half marathon on Saturday. (Yes, I am crazy.) We tried some new machines and pushed hard. I really enjoyed it.

Friday, March 25, 2016
The run went alright. The glute really wasn’t an issue though I was aware of it at first. Gradually that seemed to transition into some tightness in my left hamstring. I’m not sure what it is but it doesn’t seem to interfere physically. I’m still concentrating on maintaining good form. Overall, despite the ridiculous humidity and the weird left leg stuff, this run was pretty good.

Saturday, March 26, 2016
I really wish that I could figure out what’s up with my left leg. It just feels “off.” Maybe I’m out of alignment or something? Anyway, I’ll let the recap tell the rest of the story.

Sunday, March 27, 2016
With various Easter activities, I stayed on the move the entire day. Not once did my left leg bother me, at least how it bothered me yesterday. The front inside felt a bit tight in the morning when I would get up after sitting for a while but nothing significant. I felt pretty good and hoped that the leg was just being cranky not starting the journey to injury.

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