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Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 21.

Holy crap. This whole time I've basically been working on a 21 week training schedule, knowing that 21 weeks would take me up to race week. 21 was the magic number. And here we are, at the end of week 21.

Not much to report this week. I ran to work twice, the minimum run I can do to work, 7 miles. My legs felt very heavy and tired both times, which I interpreted to mean I should maybe taper a little more aggressively than I originally intended. My weekend runs were 6 and 4 (trail) this weekend, and they both felt fairly good. The weather was warm and humid for Saturday, and I spent the whole time trying to send out whatever energy I could into the universe that that would NOT be the weather for Rocky. Then a cold front came through overnight and cooled things down for Sunday. I could stand Sunday's weather for Rocky.

And yes, I have already started looking at the weather. I don't have a lot of stress tied to it, other than I'd really prefer it not be super warm and humid. But since I mostly hate that weather when I'm trying to run a certain pace, and the only pace I'm trying to run at Rocky is "forward", I'm mostly just watching the weather to decide what to wear. I mean, I'll take 2 of everything, but it'd be nice to not take my puffy jacket if it's never going to be below 60 degrees, or take a sleeveless shirt if it's never going to be above 20 degrees. Neither of those scenarios look likely at this point.

I'm working 3 days this week, which will presumably seem like the longest 3 days in the history of ever. Two short runs, Tuesday and Thursday. Thursday I am taking off work to Get Stuff Done. Packing, bag creating, food preparing, etc. I could get it all done over the week and before we leave town Friday, but it's nice knowing I have an entire day devoted just to that. And sleeping in. I'm banking as much sleep as I can while I can.

Otherwise I'm just trying to stay calm and only think about the race if I can think positive thoughts. If I start to panic, I stop thinking about the race entirely. I'm trying to make sure I think of everything that needs to be packed and prepared by making about 15 different lists. I'm only sort of kidding. I literally have 6 different lists of things currently.

I have crew. I have pacers. I have a dog sitter. I have people coming out to cheer. I have people sending me wonderful messages of encouragement already. I am intensely lucky and incredibly fortunate.

And in 6 days, I will run 100 miles.
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Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 20.

Well, this was certainly a dynamic week. I moved my Tuesday run to Monday, in anticipation of Tuesday's weather being terrible. And it was, and Austin shut down and I got to stay home from work. Yay! Then I did my Thursday run on Wednesday, just to give myself an extra recovery day before my big weekend. It was 18 for my Wednesday run. The coldest run I've ever done? Possibly. But I dressed appropriately, and it was fine.

Then came the weekend. And a warm front. Ugh.

For Saturday's run, Rogue was only offering up to 16 miles, so I had to get creative. I ran 7.5 miles from home down to Rogue (starting at 4:30am!). Refilled water at Rogue and grabbed a map, then did the Rogue 16 miler. Matt met me 4 miles in, and ran out to the end and then back to where he picked me up, so I got to have company for 8 miles! Then I ran the last 4 back to Rogue by myself, where Matt picked me up. Complicated, but I got my miles, got some company, had support for most of the run, and was pretty proud of myself. Then packet pickup for 3M the next day!

Saturday was mid 50s and stupidly humid. Sunday doubled down on that with 65 degrees and even stupider humidity. Race report for 3M here, but basically I managed to sanely just treat it as a long run, my legs felt fine, the weather was terrible, and I had company for most of the race! Exactly what I needed, and ended the week with my second highest volume of running, I think?

I was originally thinking that this weekend would be the first of my taper. It didn't work out that way, but I think I really needed this week, after my week of illness. The coughing is pretty much gone, all my runs felt solid and doable, and I feel like I'm in a really good place going into taper. I'm not saying that taper won't make me crazy, but.. if I'd gone into taper right after being sick, I would feel underprepared. I feel good about where I am. And I have my schedule all written out through Rocky.

So now I just need to stick to the plan for the next 2 weeks, and be conservative. And do a lot of planning. I have a google doc shared with my crew, figuring out what I need, what to have in each drop bag, what to have at the start/finish line, what I could possibly need for each contingency. It's a lot. It's a little overwhelming. But I'm trying to be as prepared as possible, without going completely overboard. It's a fairly satisfying exercise for a list-making over-planner.

Happy taper!

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3M half marathon 2018 race report.

Some time last year, Matt signed up to do the 3M half marathon in January. I looked at my macro and saw that I was supposed to do 12-13 miles that Sunday, far off in the distant future, so I went ahead and signed up, too. I was also supposed to ~24 miles on Saturday, so I figured it would definitely be just a supported long run, not a race.

Fast forward many months, and Matt is wracked by sickness and allergies, manages to eke out 8 miles with me on Saturday, but decides, especially given the weather, that 3M is a bad idea.

And the weather is just terrible. It was terrible for my 23 mile run on Saturday, and then even warmer (65) and just as humid for Sunday. Did I mention it was 18 degrees on Wednesday? 4 days earlier? Crazy.

Anyway, I was on my own, which was fine. I had no expectations other than getting in 13 miles of "running", after which my taper for the Rocky 100 would begin!

I hit the portapotty once I got to the start line, roamed around a bit, hid behind a tree from the wind, and then decided since I still had 30 minutes before the race started, to use another portapotty. Which had ridiculous lines, and I ended up finally exiting the portapotty around 7:26 (race started at 7:30). I waded into the start chute, and could only push my way up to the 2:25 pace group. Which was fine, because I didn't want to get sucked into the energy of people running fast at the beginning.

I crossed the start line and started running nice and easy, and my legs felt pretty okay! Definitely not light and fresh, but nothing particularly sore or damaged from the 23 miles the day before. I chatted with Summer as we crossed paths, and then saw familiar shapes up ahead! I had to push a little bit to get up there, but I slowly made my way up to Belle, Brenda, and Joe! I fell in with them late in the first mile, and decided they were running a great pace for my purposes, so latched on. Brenda lives in Colorado now, so we had a lot of catching up to do, and she basically carried the conversation for many, many miles. Which was fabulous!

I wasn't carrying water, so I got water at most aid stations, and then we'd regroup after the aid station, so I had a few seconds of standing and waiting at most aid stations. Then on Great Northern, Belle and Joe both needed a portapotty, so Brenda and I waited for them. It was definitely a different sort of race than my normal 3M, where I'm trying to go as fast as possible. But it was SO NICE to have company for so many miles, because even though I was trying to take it nice and conservative, the weather WAS terrible, and my legs were definitely fatigued. Having someone to talk to kept my mind off those things, mostly.

Some time later on Shoal Creek, maybe around mile 9, Belle started to fall back a bit. We slowed down to let her catch up, but eventually Brenda fell back with her, and I lost Joe, and I decided I really wanted to be DONE, so I just started running my own pace. I thanked volunteers and spectators and cursed the weather and told people that mile 10 was too early to start saying "you're almost there".

Then near the end of Duval, I passed someone and they said, "Amy Bush!" and it was Vicki! We ran together for a bit, catching up on how her race had gone the day before, and how my weekend was going, and Rocky plans. Then as we entered campus, she told me to go finish, and dropped back a bit.

I carried on, and tried to enjoy the run through campus as much as I could. I was anticipating an uphill slog to the finish line, but when we turned off MLK, I could see the finish line was actually BEFORE the hill starts! That was a nice surprise. I gave a half hearted push to the finish line, and crossed that line, so happy to be done.

Certainly not my fastest 3M ever, but not a Personal Worst either! I got out of it exactly what I needed. A conservative, fun, supported long run.

9:55, 10:12, 10:00, 10:29, 10:08, 10:24, 10:16, 13:31, 10:33, 10:19, 9:38, 9:51, 9:32

And now.. taper begins! Yikes.

23 mile run Saturday + humid, easy recovery half marathon slog on Sunday = beginning of taper for Rocky 100! Two weeks to go...
happy running

Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 19.

In our LAST last episode, I said I thought I was back to running now, after taking an entire week off to be sick. I was in a pretty bad place, mentally and emotionally. But good news! I AM back to running!

It was a tough week. I was able to do all my runs, though I did a shorter Tuesday run than originally planned, as a nod to my week off and my continued crappy feeling. Mostly just the coughing. So much coughing. Especially after runs. (Not during runs, though. A couple times I've debated just running nonstop until Rocky, so I won't cough anymore.)

But other than the coughing, I feel .. okay. I managed to do 21 miles on Saturday, and then 11 miles on Sunday, and I feel more sore after that than I anticipated, but my body was willing, and I think it was harder mentally than it was physically. I may be getting a little burnt out on running long every weekend.

But good news! Only one more weekend of running long before I start to taper. Originally I was thinking of shortening my runs for this coming weekend, to taper a little more aggressively, but with the loss of last weekend's long runs, I think I need this one last block, mentally if not physically. Plus.. 3M! The day after a 20+ miler! Kind of expecting a PW (personal worst), though actually I think my first 3M was slow enough that it might not end up being a PW..

So I'm ending this week in a much better place than I ended up last weekend. The weather this week looks like it might make for some interesting logistics, but I'm hoping I can still get all my runs in without resorting to a treadmill or sliding down the street on my ass. Fingers crossed.

happy running

Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 18.

In our last episode, I said:

"I think I feel good. Other than I might have contracted Matt's cold or whatever illness is plaguing him. It's a lot to ask your body to run 50 miles in two days, and it's even more to ask it to prop up its immune system to fight off an illness that lives in the same house. We'll see. Play it by ear."

Haha. Yeah. So about that. I contracted Matt's cold or whatever illness was plaguing him. I'm really, really, really glad that I had that solid 66 mile week with great 20 and 30 mile runs back to back, because I then did not run a single step for a week.

It could be argued that my body benefited from a lot of uninterrupted recovery. It could be argued that I have a lot of solid training under my belt. It could be argued that I have plenty of time left to get healthy and still get in some distance before I start to taper. All of that is totally true. Very logical. And completely impossible to accept when you're FOUR WEEKS OUT FROM THE HARDEST EVENT YOU'VE EVER ATTEMPTED, AND YOU CAN'T RUN AT ALL.

I was actually really proud of myself in the first few days, when I didn't even feel the urge to run. I just embraced my downtime and rested and was very sane. Turns out, it's easy to be sane when you have a fever and can barely pull yourself out of bed. It's once the fever fades and the reality of the situation hits you that things get hard. That's when you really depend on your husband and your friends to remind you of exactly what you know, in your rational mind. If you start again too soon, you'll just prolong the illness.

So I didn't run for a week. Today Matt and I felt .. decent. Comparatively. We're down to just coughing and congestion, but a lot less of both of those things than we had a few days ago. So we hit the gym, figuring a treadmill is temperature controlled and can be abandoned at any time, if necessary. I managed to make it 3 miles before my utter hatred of the treadmill sent us out onto the path around the lake outside, where we did 3 more miles.

And then we coughed. A lot.

But I think that I'm maybe back to running now. I'm hoping that I'm back to running now. I'm still not filling in my schedule for the next week. I will do what I can, when I can. I will optimistically assume that I will be able to do 20+ this Saturday and next Saturday, and then I will taper. And then I will run 100 miles. And it will be hard, but it won't be any harder for me having not run for a week. ... is what I keep telling myself.

happy running

2017 in review.

When I first started pondering this annual post, I thought, "I'm not sure what I'm going to write about; nothing really happened this year." Then I started looking through my pictures, and I became overwhelmed by the number of things that had happened this year, all of which I evidently forgot about. So I'll try to mostly tell the tale through photos, and keep the words to a minimum. "Try," I said.

Details..Collapse )
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Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 17.

Well, this was the big week. Weekend, anyway. The one I requested to add to my schedule early on, when I realized I'd need the confidence boost, not necessarily of a 50 miler, but of a longer back to back weekend than was on my schedule.

The week started off iffy, with a short 6 miler with Matt in Concan on Christmas day, then a terrible 10 miler on Wednesday, where my legs felt horrible for the first 3 miles, then I fell at mile 4. Road falls are the worst. But even though I felt dizzy and nauseous immediately after the fall, I brushed myself off and finished that stupid 10 miler.

Then after two days off running, I tackled my 20/30 weekend. 20 miles on the road with Karen on Saturday, 30 miles on the Greenbelt on Sunday.

The 20 miler went well. The weather wasn't ideal for what I prefer, but we kept it nice and conservative, in light of the scary run looming the next day. Karen gifted me last week with Christmas cryo, so I went and froze myself after the run, then did very little for the rest of the day. Sunday I woke up feeling pretty darn okay, other than my left knee feeling really tight from my fall on Wednesday. I was nervous but optimistic.

I wanted to end my vacation and 2017 with a bang, so I did my longest/hardest training weekend. 20 road miles on Saturday, then 30 miles on the Greenbelt on Sunday. Thank you so much to everyone who ran with me, supported me, or generally wished me well.

And it went really, really well. I did the same out and back from the 360 access to Barton Springs that Matt and I have been doing, so I felt very comfortable with it. 4 loops. The first was with Alisa and Karen, then Karen and Matt for the second, alone for the third, and with Matt for the fourth. I won't pretend it wasn't tough. I nearly called it after three. But I knew that would be a mental failure, and it was mental practice that I really needed (in addition to getting my body used to running longer miles). So I was proud when I started, and finished, the fourth loop. And I felt good finishing. I could have kept going. I'm glad I didn't have to, though.

I wanted to end my vacation and 2017 with a bang, so I did my longest/hardest training weekend. 20 road miles on Saturday, then 30 miles on the Greenbelt on Sunday. Thank you so much to everyone who ran with me, supported me, or generally wished me well.

Then I drank a recovery drink and took an ice bath. I can't even tell you how unappealing an ice bath is after 6.75 hours in 38 degree weather. Not appealing. I may only have lasted ~3 minutes. But hopefully it had SOME benefit.

Then I tried and failed to nap before we headed over to Karen and Ryan's for NYE, where Karen strapped me into her Normatec boots, fed me wine and queso, and we all agreed that actual midnight is overrated and headed home around 11:50 to finally really sleep.

Puffin pajamas, squeezy boots, and a glass of red wine while waiting for queso. Thankful for friends who understand us and how we prefer to celebrate the new year.

66 miles for the week. My highest volume week so far, the highest volume week I'll have, and the last day of what I suspect is the highest volume month I've ever had (uncomfirmed): 241.88 miles.

I think I feel good. Other than I might have contracted Matt's cold or whatever illness is plaguing him. It's a lot to ask your body to run 50 miles in two days, and it's even more to ask it to prop up its immune system to fight off an illness that lives in the same house. We'll see. Play it by ear.

I was tentatively writing up some of my schedule for the next few weeks and it only just really hit home how few weeks are between now and race day.


happy running

Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 16.

Backdating this one, because I'm posting it Tuesday. We just rolled back into town after spending a long weekend in Concan, TX for our annual family Christmas in Concan. Much fun was had by all, but that's fodder for this week, and this post is about LAST week.

I had to shift my runs around a little this week, to accommodate our trip and the holidays. Instead of my usual Tuesday/Thursday runs to work, I did a longer run to work on Tuesday, then a shorter neighborhood run on Wednesday. To demonstrate why I prefer to run to work on any run 7 miles or longer, I woke up at the same time to run 12 miles to work on Tuesday as I did to run 6 in the neighborhood on Wednesday. Running to work is SO much more time-efficient for me.

Both of those runs were fine. Slow. Nothing notable. The reason I did Tuesday/Wednesday instead of Tuesday/Thursday was so that I could run Friday and Saturday, and not have to do a longlong run while I was out of town. Too hard to coordinate with the family, and not really great roads for doing longer runs out there. So I planned to run 8ish trail miles on Friday, then 20 miles with Rogue on Saturday.

Best laid plans.. the trail Matt and I planned to run was closed on Friday because it was raining. And I really didn't want to do ANOTHER muddy trail run, especially since I was planning on taking my trail shoes with me for our Christmas Eve hike, and I didn't want to drag along muddy shoes.

So I did 9 miles on the road on Friday instead, then 20 miles with Karen and Rogue on Saturday. The Friday run was sluggish and slow, but the 20 on Saturday was actually a really solid run. Faster than I've done 20 in quite some time. Which is even nicer in light of it being a second-day run.

Of course, then I jumped in a car for 3 hours, which didn't feel great. And then I ate all the cookies in the world for the next 3 days. Solid recovery plan.

This next week will be another weird one, as far as when I'm running, and will end in my hardest weekend of this training cycle. I'm a lot scared and a lot excited. And I'm looking forward to the first day of the new year, when most people are starting their new training programs, and I'm sleeping in late, the sleep of someone who has worn themselves out with a lot of good, solid running.

happy running

Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 15.

My runs the last few weeks have been getting slower and slower, to the point where I finally just accepted that this amount of training was hard on my body and my paces were just going to be slower until I dropped my volume and started cross training more again. Evidently all I needed to do was just accept that and move on, because this week my paces for my Tuesday and Thursday runs were back to where they normally are. Was it the massage? Was it my body finally starting to acclimate to the higher volume? Was it completely random? Who knows!

I'm sure the weather helped. The weather was great for all four of my runs this week, and that makes such a difference.

I also finally made my dramatic return to swimming this week! I had decided that Masters was not helping my sore shoulder, and trying to go to Pure before work just meant another stupidly early morning, which I don't really need right now. So I re-upped my Rec Sports membership at UT, and went to swim at lunch on Wednesday. I still remember how to swim, evidently, and while my shoulder didn't feel GREAT, I think it'll be okay to do some really easy swimming to keep that muscle memory intact, at least. And it did feel good to be back in the water and using those muscles again.

Saturday was my first 20 miler since Ironman Texas. Y'know, other than that 50k, I guess. This basically begins a really long period of 20-milers-every-weekend, and while my body didn't feel AMAZING by the end of the run, it wasn't crippling, and my body actually felt pretty okay for my 10 mile Sunday trail run.

Which was another first! Matt and I did a trail run with Karen! She wants to do some of my training with me now that her marathon is over, and wants to check out trail running, so we all went out to WilCo Park and did a very muddy run out there. It was a lot of fun and we had no idea where we were, but we just explored and slid in the mud and pet horses and generally enjoyed being outside.

A really solid and confidence-building week. This next week will be a little strange, with Christmas and going out of town, but I think I can still get all my runs in. I do love a logistic challenge.

happy running

Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 14.

I feel like this was a tough week, but honestly that's probably mostly colored by my runs this weekend. I don't really remember my mid-week runs, other than the weather was good. I have a lot of long sleeved shirts in this week's laundry. That's a good thing.

But this weekend is really the part of the week I remember. A challenging race with a DNF on Saturday, and a 10 mile road run on Sunday that I really, really, really didn't want to do. I just couldn't drag myself out the door this morning. I did eventually get out there, and it was slow and tedious, but I was glad I did it, as I knew I would be. Then I celebrated with an insanely painful but intensely needed massage. Then Matt went and did the grocery shopping so I could do some chores and then rest a bit. I really couldn't do this training without his support.

I feel like I have the weeks of Christmas and New Years pretty meticulously planned out (at least the weekends), but I just realized I haven't even thought about this week that begins tomorrow. I guess I should sit down and plan that guy out tonight.

Oh, and unrelated to anything in particular, but relevant to my overall Rocky training, after my attempt to use Cliff Blocks at Wild Hare, and failure, I decided to try Honey Stinger blocks. A little smaller, a lot softer, but fewer calories per block. I shoved 6 of them into one of our tiny ziplocs and put that in with my Gus in my pack, and at The Circus I gave it a try. And it was a success! Much easier to eat then Cliff Blocks. It's 6 blocks instead of 3, but I can eat each one much, much faster, so overall I think it's faster. This will be my gummy food, I believe.

14 weeks down!