Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I'm Back

Oops, haven't posted in ages! You know how when you forget someone's name, each time you meet them and don't ask their name it gets more and more awkward? Well, once I don't blog it feels more and more awkward after each day, so I just never posted. 

Basically, I had a horrible race at Boston and found it hard to write about. Waiting at the start, I never felt that adrenaline surge, and after the first 5-6 miles I started having bad pain in my right hip that slowed me down. By mile 10 it was clear even a BQ was out of the question. I was really upset, obviously, but did my best to enjoy the experience- gave lots of high fives and kissed a few Wellesley girls, because why not? 

Pretty soon after that disappointment I signed up for a marathon in Portland Oregon in July- I had wanted to visit Portland for ages, and this was a flat marathon so I hoped to BQ again for 2017. Training the "right" way (shorter, faster runs, and no ultras) for Boston didn't work for me, so getting ready for the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon meant going back to what had worked for me in the past. While I did a short speed workout or tempo run weekly, I also increased my mileage, and ran 3 50k races over 4 weeks going into my taper. I guess I'm weird, but ultra training equals good marathons for me- I ended up running my 2nd fastest marathon (30 seconds off my PR) and placing 3rd overall female...plus had an amazing vacation in Portland!

Over the summer I concentrated more on trail running- I paced my friend over the last 25 miles of his first 100 miler, and that reignited my love of trail running. I ran a handful of 50k trail races, leading up to The Ring in September.

The Ring is a 71 mile full loop on the Massanutten Mountain Trail in Virginia. It's very, very rocky and quite challenging! Technical trails do not come easily to me, as I'm a very slow uphill hiker, which was part of the reason I wanted to do this race. I knew the terrain and elevation gain was out of my comfort zone and I wanted a new challenge. Also, I'm a big fantasy nerd, and finishers of The Ring are said to inducted into the Fellowship of the Ring- I couldn't pass that up! Anyway, the race was tough, but I was lucky to meet up with a really nice dude named Casey, and we ended up running about 40 miles together 🙂 It worked out really well, as we were a similar pace, and both of us felt a bit uncomfortable with the idea of running alone at night. I was tired but felt pretty good all night, and managed to finish under my goal of 24 hours.

Since then, I've gone back to primarily road running- I signed up for my first 72 hour race, Icarus Florida Ultrafest, on November 17. I ran 120 miles in the 24 hour race 2 years ago, and it's a nice relatively flat loop of about 1 kilometer. I've never run longer than my 34 hours at Spartathlon, so once again I am in for a totally new challenge! I'm focusing on back-to-back long runs and increasing my mileage- hopefully peaking with my first ever 100 mile training week at the end of the month 🙂 My goal is to break 250 during the race, but I have no idea how my body will react past that first 1-1/2 days, so I'll have to just try my best and see how it goes. I'm starting a new (non-running related) adventure in January, so Icarus will likely be my last ultra for the near future- nothing like going out with a bang!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2016 Update

It's been a while...after the high of finishing Spartathlon I went through a bit of a hard time. I was physically and emotionally drained, and couldn't get back to training right away. I got a bad staph infection in my underarm that created a large abscess and prevented me from running, while the antibiotics I was on made my legs feel weak once the wound healed. I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in late October on little training and not being fully recovered from Spartathlon. Needless to say it didn't go well. I'm proud of the money I raised in support of TeamRWB, but not my race time (just under 3:45). After that I took about a month nearly completely off. I was just tired of training and very frustrated.

After Thanksgiving I decided to really dedicate myself to training for a PR at the Boston Marathon. So for the past month or so I have been concentrating on speed. Speedwork and a tempo run every week, plus a hill workout and a long run. I'm also doing one weight training workout a week, mainly in the hopes of decreasing body fat. I'm at least 10 pounds over what I would call a good "racing weight" for me, and I know I need to be lighter and fitter to go faster.

On January 1st I ran my first 5K in about a year and a half. I didn't do as well as I would have liked, at least partially due to the extra weight. But I did run fast enough to place in my age group at a competitive race, and the first mile was the fastest I've ever clocked during a race. So although I've still a ways to go in order to run a sub 3:15 at Boston, I think I'm on the right track!