happy running

Tahoe Triple Training - 3 months down, 2 months to go.

2 months to go. It feels like that's still so much time, but then it's also just 8 weeks, which feels like not much time at all. But those 8 weeks contains a lot of intimidating runs.

Which is not to say we haven't already had some of those. We've now had two 18 mile runs now, one that involved Mt Bonnell and one that involved Dry Creek, Ladera, and a lot of other big hills in our neighborhood. And our Friday-Saturday-Sunday blocks are getting ever longer. This week we had our longest yet: 13 miles Friday, 18 miles Saturday (including the aforementioned big hills), 10 miles today.

Run from Hell elevation.
Run From Hell elevation. That big V is Far West/Ladera. It hurts.

It's funny.. you build up to it, so it really doesn't sound all that appalling by the time you get there. It seems logical. Last week Friday was 12 and Saturday was 16, so it makes sense they'd go up. They go up each week. But then on Saturday, when you start to run, you remember that 13 miles is no joke, you guys. Your legs definitely remember that, as you start your run. And then on Sunday.. well, really everything's just kinda numb at that point. At least you hope it is. Mostly everything's just tired.

And the weather doesn't help. I won't go on about the weather this time. I covered that last time. It hasn't gotten any better. We're now firmly in the most miserable month of Texas summer. But.. BUT.. that means that next month theoretically won't be as miserable! I mean, if we live long enough to get there.

We did have one positive and reassuring experience recently. It FINALLY rained a couple weeks ago. I had already gotten my run in that morning, but Matt was able to take advantage of it. And he said it was WONDERFUL. Matt hasn't thought running was wonderful in months. He's been suffering badly in this heat and humidity. But that rain run felt amazing, and his paces were ones he hasn't seen since the beginning of this training. So there's HOPE. We have to believe that when we get to Tahoe, because we've trained through this horrible weather, it will feel magical and we'll just be able to run faster and happier than we have this whole summer. But it's really hard to believe that. And Matt's run gave us hope again.

So now we just put our heads down, grit our teeth, and get through this hopefully-last-month of misery. We have a recovery week this week, but then we start with the 20 milers on Saturdays. And a couple sessions of Mt Bonnell repeats on Fridays. Do you know how many miles only 4 repeats of Mt Bonnell gets you? TWELVE. I didn't really believe it until I mapped it out. (That's up and over, then back up and over. That's one repeat.)

Final notes in bulletpoint form:
- By Sunday, I'm generally incurably thirsty. But so tired of drinking water.
- This isn't really fair, because I took two months completely off running last year, but I've already run more miles this year than I did all of last year.
- My previous most miles run in a month was July 2009, 193.58 miles. I just beat that with July 2016, 211.24 miles.
- I woke up at 3:45am three days in a row last week to go run. This is easier for me as a morning person than it is for poor Matt, who definitely is not.


Tahoe Triple training week 10: 10-18-8 for the weekend, and some much-needed new shoes.
My Clifton 2s had 518 miles on them, so they got to retire and be replaced by some snazzy new Clifton 3s
happy running

Tahoe Triple Training - Less than 100 days to go.

I have today off both running and work, so it seems like a good time to check in on my training. Before I go clean the rest of my house, which is evidently what I end up doing on a recovery weekend when I should be resting. House needs it, though.

So we're ~2 months into our training with 3 months to go. And we're firmly into Summer here on the surface of the sun. Every summer Matt swears he's not going to train through the middle of Texas summer, and every summer we end up doing it anyway. Surely it's not as bad as we remember, right?

Wrong. And I swear, as I probably swear every year, that this summer is worse than ones in the past. This time because of the damn HUMIDITY. Sure it's 80 degrees every morning when we run, but it's also 90+% humidity every morning, too. And as this Runner's World article points out, it's not the heat or the humidity, but the combo of the two, aka Dew Point. Most mornings our dew point is between 73 and 75, which puts us somewhere between "Expect pace to suffer greatly" and "Skip it or dramatically alter goal". If we skipped it, though, we'd never get a single run in, so instead we just suffer greatly and learn to live with some dramatically altered paces.

Because we're still getting it done! The miles are creeping ever upward, and my weekly mileage two weeks ago was higher than any of my weeks training for CIM (which I completely admit I undertrained for). So far my body is tolerating the increase just fine, aside from having to really fight to stay on top of hydration. I've even been throwing a couple days of core in a week, which usually would have been long gone by now, in a normal run training season.

Last weekend our Friday-Saturday-Sunday (FSS) block was 8-16-7, which was tough. 16 is where things start to feel like marathon training for me, and to surround that with two longerish runs makes it even tougher. This week was a recovery week (7-10-6), but next week we march ever upward with 9-16-8 and then 9-18-8, where that 18 contains Mount Bonnell.

Meanwhile the forecast assures us that the weather will continue to be super shitty through the end of time (or at least October), so I just keep telling myself that the weather in Tahoe will feel amazing after all this, and we'll be so prepared.

I DO have enough vacation time to take a long weekend and fly somewhere just to do my FSS runs. It's incredibly tempting. Especially with that 15-22-10 looming in the future...

2 months down, 3 to go!

A run to work with my best friend.
Every Friday I do my run as a run to work, and Matt runs halfway with me, then turns around and runs home. These are the things that make it worth slogging through this horrible weather.
happy running

What's Next: Summer 2016 Edition

Now that we're back from Colorado (and so sad about going from dry and 30 degrees to warm with 98% humidity) and the legs are mostly recovered, it's time to choose what's next!

The answer is actually a little amusing, given our recent history.

In my CIM race report, somewhere after the halfway point where I fell apart a bit, I noted to Kate that I'm really not great at running marathons, at least when I'm trying for a particular time. I may have said a couple times since then that marathons are dumb.

And then (much) more recently, we discovered at Collegiate Peaks that Matt and higher elevations do not always get along.

So what's the OBVIOUS next event for us? If you said a marathon at elevation.. you're wrong!

THREE marathons at elevation!

That's right, we've signed up for the Tahoe Triple in October.

One marathon on Friday, one marathon on Saturday, then a third marathon on Sunday. At 6500-7000 ft of elevation. Which, granted, tops out lower than Collegiate Peaks even begins. So it'll be fine! Fine!

The great news for us is that Rogue has a group that goes up to Tahoe every year for the event, and a training group/schedule to train for it, so after a several year hiatus, we're back running with Rogue!

The not-as-great news is that, man, that's a LOT of early morning runs each week. After 2 weeks of easing our way back into running slowly (the easing and the running were both slow), we had our first truly representative week this week. 5 runs, 4 of which we got up between 4:30 and 4:45am for, and the last one at the late, late hour of 6am!

The main difference between this and standard marathon training is we're running every Friday-Saturday-Sunday to get used to back to back runs. This weekend we did 6 miles Friday, 13 Saturday and 6 Sunday. It actually went really well, and I was ridiculously proud of us for getting it done.

Ask me again how I'm feeling in a couple months when we peak at 13-20-10, with 11 of those miles at our goal pace.

Speaking of goal pace.. I honestly just want to finish each race still running, even if it's for a very generous definition of running. I'm hoping that my pace on day 1 isn't all that different from my pace on day 3, and if that means running day 1 incredibly conservatively, that's great.

In the meantime, we have a lot of race logistics to figure out (each marathon starts and ends at a difference place, eventually circumnavigating the whole lake), a lot of early mornings, many hills, a ton of laundry and a lot of naps in our future.

Being adorable is exhausting.
Supportive shepherds are always willing to participate in weekend naps.
happy running

Collegiate Peaks Trail Run 2016.

The original plan had me running the 25 miler, and Matt running with me, and then Matt turning around and running back to complete the 50 miler. The reality is that we got caught up in helping Kate train for her first triathlon, and training for our first triathlon in years, and maybe neglected some of our longer run/trail training.

Introducing Kate to the concept of cookie stops at her first ride event, the Autism Ride! She took to it like a natural.
Training with Kate. Plus cookies. Worth it.

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Texas State Tri 2016 race report.

Holy crap, I did a triathlon! The last triathlon I raced was Ultraman in 2014 (and the last "traditional" one-day, swim-bike-run triathlon I did was earlier that year at HITS Marble Falls). Even more impressive was Matt, whose last triathlon was Ironman Florida in November of 2013! So maybe we were sorta due for one.

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Lost Pines Trail Half Marathon 2016 race report.

Oops, it's been a while since there's been anything on my blog. I should really write even when I'm not actively racing. But hey, I've reentered the world of racing (well, "racing", anyway), so let's jump back in!

Matt and I are signed up for the Collegiate Peaks (CP) trail run again this year, mostly as an excuse to take the dogs up to Colorado and finally let them play in snow (hopefully). We've been doing some trail runs, but we decided it would be fun to have a supported training run, so we signed up for the Lost Pines trail run out at Rocky Hill Ranch!

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California International Marathon 2015 race report.

Some time in 2014, I decided that 2015 would be the year I ran another marathon, and maybe tried again to qualify for Boston. I had vague memories that I suffered a lot the last time I ran a marathon (New Orleans in 2012), but it's been several years, so the pain had faded to where it seemed logical to do another one.

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Turkey Trot 2015 race report.

Turkey Trot! The only event I've done every year since I started this nonsense!

I never have any goals for the Turkey Trot beyond doing as well as I can, given the circumstances that year. Last year the Turkey Trot was less than a week after I ran a 50k trail run, which meant I was pleased my legs agreed to let me run at all. Some years I'm in the middle of marathon training. Some years I've done no running for months. This year, the Turkey Trot fell a week before California International Marathon, my current goal race. That meant no racing, nothing crazy, just some measured speed work.

In order to make sure we kept things easy and fun, we decided to dress up ridiculously.

Turkey Trot 2015 - Amy and Karen

Karen, Kate and I all had matching outfits, but Kate ended up in College Station for her Turkey Trot, so she had to look ridiculous on her own.

Turkey Trot 2015 - Kate

The bad news is, it was 72 degrees and intensely humid. Arm warmers and knee socks are not appropriate for that weather. But we were really cute, so we went with it.

Karen asked if I wanted to do a warmup before the run, and I told her my coach had given me a plan: 5 miles (which is how long the Turkey Trot is), with the first 2 being warmup, then progressive pace from marathon goal pace down for the last 3, ending no faster than 10k pace. (She is my coach: this was her plan.)

So Matt, Karen and I lined up together, and it started to rain as we waited, and then we all took off together when the gun went off. And were together for about 4 seconds, as Karen pulled away slowly into the distance. I tried briefly to stay with her, but with the intense humidity and immediate uphill, plus the way-too-warm outfit, I was breathing really hard immediately. And this was supposed to be 2 miles of warmup pace, so I just kept my ego in check and ran my pace, and Matt stayed with me. I was a little bummed about how slow I felt until we got to the mile 1 marker and my first mile was ~8:45. Since my marathon goal pace (MGP) is 8:30ish, I was warming up too fast.

The second mile continues to be hilly, and I continued to overheat and be pretty miserable. And run another 8:40something.

At mile 3, Matt took off to do his progressive pace finish, and I tried to do the same. And felt pretty horrible. 70-80 degrees with humidity in the 90s is my weather kryptonite. It started raining somewhat in earnest, which helped a little, but not much. I slid my arm warmers down to my wrists, then finally took them off completely and anchored them to my tutu.

The last 3 miles were just hard. I tried to run as strong as I could, but I knew I wasn't getting anywhere near half marathon or 10k pace in those last 2 miles. The last mile was that damn last mile from Run For the Water again, and I felt just as bad as I did then (fortunately with no sun in my eyes this time).

But I lived! And I think I managed to get in a decent speed workout, if not as fast as assigned. And I managed to do a "race" a week before my marathon and not injure or cripple myself in any way, aside from some pinky toe pain on my right foot, because those socks were not tech socks, and my feet were completely soaking wet for several miles. I'm sure it'll be fine.

Splits according to my watch, which didn't line up with the mile markers on the course at all most times:
8:20, 8:44, 8:19, 8:15, 8:15

42:41 (8:32/mile)

2004: 52:24 (10:29/mile)
2005: 52:45 (10:33/mile)
2006: 47:54 (9:35/mile)
2007: 44:35 (8:55/mile)
2008: 39:48 (7:58/mile) (suspect it was short)
2009: 40:59 (8:10/mile)
2010: 36:35 (8:05/mile according to official time) (definitely short)
2011: 40:29 (8:06/mile)
2012: 38:58 (7:48/mile)
2013: 39:45 (7:57/mile)
2014: 43:51 (8:46/mile)

Slowest not-after-a-50k trot for quite some time. I'm gonna claim it's because I was being smart in light of my upcoming marathon, but honestly I'm not sure I could have run those miles any faster.