Sunday, June 17, 2018

Recovery Mode (WW # 150)

Wendy and I host this linkup for
the sole purpose of supporting active women.
We thank you for linking your 

I flew from Denver, Colorado -- where the marathon started on Echo Mountain at 10,507 feet -- to sea level on the beautiful, sunny Florida Panhandle.  My intention was to do nothing but lay on the beach for a week to recover.  And... that's pretty much what happened.  Plus, I consumed a lot of seafood.  Piles.

Steep downhill running definitely produces delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).  I looked quite geriatric when I moved and the family had many laughs poking fun at me.  However, it was no worse at the marathon distance than at the downhill half marathon distances I'd raced before.  For that, I was grateful.  Perhaps those wall sits helped after all?

My view for most of week one.

The first few days I barely moved from my beach chair.  Walking was I did as little as possible.  Mid week, I finally moved from my beach chair to play Frisbee.  I was surprised that it felt good to run around a little in the sand.  Besides, it was the only way I was going to catch that Frisbee in the wind.  There were a couple of after-dinner competitive Putt-Putt games too.  Hey, at least I was on my feet...

You don't have to tell me twice!

By Friday, I was definitely feeling more like myself.  So, our middle son and I went on a flat, easy two hour morning hike in Conservation Park; probably covering six or seven miles.  We did not see a gator.  We (he) found a snake, a tortoise, a bunny, and a black widow spider among other critters in addition to numerous wild flowers. 

There are many boardwalks inside the park
I was amazed by the flowers in the swamp.

By Saturday I was ready to tackle a new adventure.  The family went kayaking in Holmes Creek where the highlight of the trip is to stop at Cypress Springs.  We swam in beautiful, clear, icy cold spring about 20 minutes into our 2 hour paddling excursion.  We wished we had brought snorkeling gear.  We did see a small gator long after leaving the springs and near the end of our journey.  I paddled a wee bit faster.

Our Crew Leaving Cypress Springs

After returning home from the beach and settling back in to the normal work routine, I was finally ready to test my running legs on the Wednesday morning of recovery week two.  I kept this run nice and easy.  But on Friday's five miles, I pushed the pace just a bit. 

Five miles!  My first run since the marathon.

Pushing the pace in oppressive humidity

Speaking of testing the legs, they were put to the challenge at the lake on Saturday.  The water became very choppy while we were there, but it was a good start to the season nonetheless. 


Sunday morning's 6 mile run wrapped up my week.  I slept late (which felt luxurious) but this run was super hot and humid.  The only thing that got me though it, besides the walk breaks, was the thought of this:

And that's a wrap!

Tell me, what are you training for?  Or, are you just running for fun?

Did anyone have cool runs this week?  (If so, I'm jealous!)

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Rocky Marathon (WW #149)

Wendy and I host this linkup for
the sole purpose of supporting active women.
We thank you for linking with us!


REVEL Rockies Marathon
June 3, 2018

I always say, "You never know what you'll get on race day!". 

Wait, I'm getting ahead of myself.

We've been on a few trips to Colorado and skied at 12,000 feet of altitude.  I've also run a couple of half marathons and hiked at high elevations.  Although not on all occasions, I have experienced mild altitude sickness and knew I was gambling somewhat by choosing this marathon.  If you want the short story...I felt sick.  I hope you'll stick around and read the details. 

After a long stressful Friday of flight delays due to a lengthy shutdown of the Atlanta airport, Teresa and I arrived at the host hotel in Lakewood at 2 a.m. Saturday morning.  We laughed about going to bed at the same time we would be waking up the next day for the race.  Actually, that thought was sobering.

Ready to do this thing!

After a few hours of sleep and a delicious french toast breakfast at Le Peep, we headed to the expo.  It was the perfect size; not too big to be overwhelming.  We received a tank top (which I wore because I liked the color with my skirt), a nice cap, the usual expo fare, plus a space blanket and throwaway gloves for the cold morning start.

There were so many pretty trails in the area and we were tempted to do some hiking, but we decided to save our legs and rode the train into Denver that afternoon instead.  It was nice to take in the city sights by rail and we ate pizza al fresco while downtown. We hydrated like bosses all day but we both could feel the extra strain from the altitude.  It felt hard to climb stairs or walk up a hill.

... Rocky Mountain High, Colorado! ...

REVEL provided shuttle service directly from our hotel to the top of the mountain.  We boarded at 4:00 a.m. and watched the sky slowly lighten on the long ride.  [It takes a bus a long time to go 26 miles up a steep mountain while trying not to hit the guardrail on sharp curves.  Just saying.].   The sunrise was beautiful at 10,507 feet.

We were dropped off at a wide spot on the side of the road near a ski resort.  After a slow porta potty line and a few pictures, we had little wait time.  A female runner sang an amazing rendition of the national anthem while standing on the back of the bag check truck.  We walked as a group down the road to the official start line.  Then, we were off.

Garmin recorded 43 degrees from the nearest station.

The First Half:

I could definitely feel the thinness of the air, but could also tell by my heart rate that I was running easy enough not to over exert myself.  I settled in at a 9:20-9:30 pace and felt good; my heart rate in the upper 150's. I ran with a throwaway bottle of Tailwind to make sure I hydrated during those early high miles.  The scenery was too beautiful to describe.  The cold mountain air felt fantastic and the winding course losing 3,000 feet just in the first half... relatively easy.

Coming up a small incline early in the race.  Tailwind and gloves still present.

I quickly shed my throwaway after a mile but kept my gloves on until I needed to open my first GU. There were occasional small hills until we reached miles 12-13.  Here, I intentionally slowed and walked on the big hills so I wouldn't tire myself out as we ran through the uphilly town of Evergreen. The sun was out and it felt warm.  I hit the half marathon mark at 2:05 with a 9:34 pace.  I was very pleased as that included those walk breaks.  My body was holding up very well with the downhill grade and I was stoked!  Maybe I could negative split?!?!

Peace!   And what happened to the shady course?

The Second Half:

And then suddenly everything went wrong.  I started feeling nauseous.  My first thought was to drink and eat but that made it worse.  I couldn't shake it.  I knew if I threw up it would be all over for me and I desperately wanted to finish this race.  My goal simply turned into:  Do Whatever It Takes Not To Puke. My watch died at 17.6 miles.  My overall pace at Garmin death had slowed to 10:05   But now, I was running blind.

Smiling for the camera...but struggling.

I tried to run.  I would get nauseated after a few minutes but found it would ease up every time I walked.  I felt so much better when I walked.  Then I'd try to run again.  Same result.  I played this game for 13 miles; the walk breaks becoming longer and longer.  I could not eat my GU or the Honey Stinger gels they offered.  I forced Powerade and water down trying not to gag.  I would have given my right arm for a Coke.  The people at the aid stations looked at me like I had snakes in my hair when I asked.  A small grape popsicle was my only fuel in the last 10 miles.  For the first time ever, I dug out my phone and stopped to take pictures.  The course...still beautiful.

One of my picture stops.

I no longer cared about my finish time.  I felt too crappy to care.  I felt too crappy to run.  My pace for the back half was 12:26; a big difference from the front half.  I was very grateful the nausea subsided when I walked.  It was the one thing that would allow me to finish.  So that's what I did.  Official time: 4:48:37; 11:00 per mile pace.  No cramping, no blisters, no chafing, no aches or pains (...until later...).

While waiting on Teresa, I hydrated and walked around the finish area.  I was disappointed to see the bakery sponsor had left.  I saw pizza being served, but by the time I felt good enough for a slice they had run out.  Even though the thought of it was awful, there was a vendor making fresh mini donuts and I ate a few cinnamon minis. I needed to put something in my stomach.  They tasted delicious!  My one negative comment about this race would be the lack of food for late arrivals.  It was if the "party" was over.

Thanks Teresa for going on this journey with me!

I was disappointed that I didn't set a PR.  It wasn't my worst finish time and I know there are other opportunities if I so choose.  It does not negate the fact I crossed another marathon finish line.  More importantly, I didn't fracture anything during training or during the race itself [can I get an Amen?].  My training also produced an unexpected shiny new PR at a recent half marathon.  I certainly can't be sad about that.  Besides, I was able to spend a wonderful weekend with a dear friend in a gorgeous location.

I could write another post on this travel nightmare of a weekend.  I joked with Teresa that my post title should be "Shuttle-Cation".  It seemed we were always riding one...or waiting for one.  But, I've gone on long enough already.  Suffice it to say...

I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. 

And that's a wrap!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Race Week (WW # 148)

Wendy and I host this linkup for
the sole purpose of supporting active women.
We thank you for linking with us!

Thank you for linking with us on the Weekly Wrap.

There isn't much to report this week.  It was my last week of taper before running the Revel Rockies Marathon.  I only ran twice; 4 miles progressive on Tuesday evening after work and 3.2 easy miles on Thursday morning.    There was no cross training and I only did a short pre-hab session -- mainly just to warm up my muscles for a good stretch session.

My May mileage totaled less than April's as I tapered off during the last half of the month. If you are curious about the details of my training plan for this cycle, you can read more about it here: Will Less Be More?

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.
-- Suzy Kassem

This quote was used by the valedictorian at our youngest child's recent high school graduation.  I kept going back to it as I reflected on my training cycle and prepared for this race.  I choose to believe.  I will take on whatever the day brings and simply do the best I can. 

By the time you read this, hopefully Teresa and I will have crossed a stunning marathon finish line.  You can always check Instagram for updates.  I'm sure I'll have plenty to wrap up next week regarding the 10,000 feet of beginning altitude, the 5,000 feet of elevation drop, and the ensuing delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS {wink}. 

I'll see you at the bottom of the mountain...
I truly appreciate everyone's kind words of support! 

Friday, June 1, 2018

But First, Coffee (June)

Welcome to Coffee Talk!

June?  How can that be?

I'm joining in on the Ultimate Coffee Date and the Friday Five.  

This is an exciting weekend as I'm headed to Colorado to run the Revel Rockies Marathon. I'd probably talk your ear off if we were together in person as I've got a lot of nervous energy to spend.

But first, coffee.  Have a virtual seat, pour up a large mug, settle in and let's talk a while. 

Over Coffee...

I'd share I didn't shed a single tear at our youngest son's high school graduation, even when he presented me with a rose during the ceremony (pictured above).  The excitement I feel for him far outweighs any sadness I feel.  He was awarded with an academic scholarship and will attend college away from home.  Ask me if I'm planning to do more races in that city...of course!  As luck would have it, it's a favorite place of mine to run and now I have the perfect excuse.

Over Coffee...

I'd admit I am registered for nothing past this weekend.  Nothing.  It's like I can't think clearly until I finish this marathon.  More than likely, the hard reality is I feel I should assess the ol' body damage before committing to anything else. 

Over Coffee...

You'd hear how I've been collecting the You Are Here Starbucks mugs...and now they've gone and created a replacement series called Been There.  This is the second time they've done this to me.  The new set looks very different.  I will not start a new collection.  [Repeat Often]   My fingers are crossed that the old Colorado You Are Here mug is still available as I was not successful getting it on prior trips. And yes, I realize the old series will be all over eBay -- but what's the fun in that?

A You Are Here mug

Over Coffee...

Speaking of weather {isn't everyone?}, after running in our hot, muckity-muck humidity for well over a month, I've had to throw my marathon pacing strategy out of the window.  On top of that, it looks like it will be in the low to mid 40's at the 10,000 feet of altitude start line and 75 at the finish. I've definitely never run a race with that much temperature change.  It should makes things interesting to say the least.

Over Coffee...

I'd tell you how I have a lot of water skiing to make up for this summer.  With travel, family events and inclement weather, I haven't a free weekend to ski until just recently.  Sadly, I decided it would be a really stupid decision to go out for the first time this year mere days before a goal race.  After all, I do need to be able to move without whimpering in pain.

What would you tell me over coffee?

I'm linking with the lovely Coco and Deborah!
Be sure to stop in for coffee on Saturday and chat.

I'm also joining on the Friday Five 2.0 linkup
Stop by and see what everyone is talking about.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

It's Almost Time (WW # 147)

It's almost time.  Will I feel scared?
What if high altitude wrecks my head;
My heart and lungs, my pacing too?
It's time to find out.  Here's what I'll do
I'll slow it down until I find
The rhythm, the breathing that feels most kind
I've got to remember to take it slow
Twenty six miles is a long way to go.

To Teresa I'm grateful, it is true.
A friend as crazy as me to do
A marathon that loses 5,000 feet
By shuttling us up to a mountain peak.

How will I perform with a route so steep?
One step at a time; light steps I'll keep.
Lean forward, remember to keep short strides
Just use the gravity as my guide.

The air I hope will be blessedly dry
No humidity, no muck -- on that I'll be high
I pray my body will hold up well.
But honestly friends...only time will tell.

No matter the outcome of this day
I'll appreciate foremost the ability to play.
The stunning course, the Rockies grand
The beauty of those canyon lands.

Wendy and I host this linkup for
the sole purpose of supporting active women.

Keep the poem going.  You can play!
What's on your mind?  Please do say!
Don't be bashful, it's of no use
'Cause we all can channel some Dr. Seuss!

And that's a wrap!