16 April 2012

Relaying the Fun

This weekend marked another racing first for me--the marathon relay which I probably would never have done if it hadn't been for the Hogeye Relays being a state RRCA Grand Prix event.  There were no individual points awarded but it was a great opportunity to earn some team points (can't pass up the points!).  It turned out to be a lot of fun! Four of us piled into a car--3 of the relay team members and one half marathoner and we had lots of laughs on the way up to Fayetteville.  The amazing thing is that we only had to make two bathroom pitstops on the 3.5 hour trip. Before you question two being a small amount, please remember we're on the washboard that passes for I40, we're hydrating for a race, and hey, we ARE in fact women.  While I hate to give into gender stereotypes I do have to concur that women usually have to stop more often for the bathroom.


No trip to Fayetteville is complete without a stop at the Hog Haus for one of their awesome beers that are brewed in house, yesterday I opted for the Woodstock Wheat since my favorite Java Porter wasn't available.  Their sweet potato fries are also not to be missed.  Yes, we might have had a few people staring at us because of our bursts of giggling *huge grin*.  There ended up being a bit of an issue with the room I'd booked since all of the double rooms were given out before we checked in, grrrrr.  We ended up with a handicapped suite that had one queen bed, a sleeper sofa, and an air mattress and who got what was determined by drawing out of a cap since we all were too polite to claim the bed. I got the sofa by the way (I just know everyone was dying to know that, lol).  

Ominous clouds building up

It's not an understatement to say that the weather for the Hogeye races is usually a challenge. This year was no exception but we had windy and storms looming rather than the usual windy and hot.  While I'm not fond of tornado watch conditions this was preferable to it being hot & sunny in my opinion.  What wasn't preferable was the 20-30mph winds, yuck.

Waiting at my relay exchange

I opted to take the final leg of the marathon relay since I wasn't coming off an injury or in the process of building back up my long run mileage and I was a bit nervous about how I'd do after waiting for 2.5 hours to run my portion.  The other girls kicked some major butt on the first 3 legs and I was hoping I would be able to do my part as well.  Yeah. About that hope, not so well.  I didn't realize that there was a fairly large tunnel on the final section and my claustrophobia kicked in big time just after entering it.  Panic attacks on a race where your adrenaline is already high is no bueno.  After that no matter how many walk breaks I took, I simply could not get my heart rate down to a manageable level and there were several moments when I was near tears because I couldn't get my act together enough to keep a decent running pace.  All I could do was keep moving forward in these short run/walk bursts, I'm so incredibly disappointed in myself for falling apart in this manner but a phobia is a phobia and nothing rational about it.  Deep breath.  But yes, I'm kind of still f*cking well peeved off about what happened.  

Loved his costume!

Again, deep breath. We did finish up in under 4 hours, our team was 11th overall for the female teams, and we were 4th place for the Grand Prix teams!  Most importantly, we had FUN and got our shiny medals!  I'm very proud of all my friends today, there were some great PRs (personal records) amongst the half and full marathon runners on what is a very challenging course.


Of course no race day is complete without a treat afterwards.  We ate our celebratory lunch at Common Grounds which is owned by the same people who own Hog Haus where I was able to get my falafel and coffee fix.  Seriously, these places shouldn't be missed if you're ever in the northwest part of Arkansas.


Up to speed

This week has been quite interesting running wise.......first off, I miss Patti and our Tuesday morning runs and it's only been a week since she's gone to spend time with her mother.  Booooooooooo :-(.  However I did manage to get my arse up at 0400 to run with the entirely too darn early Tuesday crew.  I'm not sure I was a welcome addition since I couldn't manage to hold a straight line and nearly took out one of the guys by going straight when the group was turning left, lol.  What can I say, it's been quite a while since I've been able to force myself up and out the door before the butt-crack of dawn but I better get accustomed quick since summer's coming on with a vengeance.

Wednesday's view of a run

I also had my first week with 3 (yes, THREE!) speed workouts.  Hey, I've not claimed to be bright when it's comes to this running stuff.  Monday's clinic was 2 miles at one minute slower than our last timed mile in order to get us used to pacing--something I obviously have said I needed to work on in the past.  In my case, that meant my 2x1 miles were to be at 7:56, first one was right on, the second was fast at 7:43.  Wednesday I went running with Ginny for my first ever tempo run which I will deem a success--I was to do my 30 minutes at an 8:30-8:45 pace (the first mile might have been a tad fast). I'm probably a convert to her timed method of running rather than distance, as she says it's easier to keep going by saying "just one more minute" rather than "just one more mile".  Thursday for clinic we had those blasted 30/30s again. Can't decide if I love them or hate them.  There's something to be said for 20 minutes of torture that occurs 30 seconds at a time.  I was slightly slower on this workout than the last time we did it but I'm still happy with the splits, however the tight turns on this one still kills my knees for a couple of days after.

09 April 2012

CCC 10k for the 4th time

Ah, the Capital City Classic 10k. I have a love/hate for this race.  Love the route, the distance, that it's flat, it's scenic, the weather is usually gorgeous. Hate that there's no chip timing and with a race that's grown to have nearly 800 participants and is a state RRCA Grand Prix race then it damn well should have.  In the past 4 years of running it I don't think my garmin, what I've seen on the clock, and the official results have ever matched.  Yes I'm a middle of the pack runner, not anywhere near a front runner but as one of the girls I ran with yesterday said, "seconds count".

So that grumble aside, I am happy with how I ran the race.  Brenda and I were kind of co-pacing one of her friends, a girl she coached last year in the WCR (women can run) clinic.  Well, it was more of a case that we tried to keep up with her on most of it, lol.  Normally I tend to slow down between miles 3 and 4 after jack-rabbiting the first couple in order to re-group and save up some strength to pick up speed at mile 5.  Not this time, we were pushing hard for us and with being sort of accountable to someone else I was able to keep it up much better than I expected, especially considering that I'd ran a tough 10 miler with Patti the previous morning.  Yes, I kind of over-scheduled myself but it was Patti's last day in the state before flying to stay with her mother for a bit and no way was I saying no when she asked me to run her long run with her.

But I digress, back to the race.  While we were pushing hard, we were also passing other runners in a fairly consistent manner.  There were a few that we kind of leap-frogged back and forth with but generally once we passed it was done (all except for the one young lady who found a HUGE sprint approximately .1 of a mile from the finish line).  I did make a mistake by stopping and grabbing a drink at the 2nd water stop, 2 sips and my stomach started cramping almost immediately after. I simply can't do plain water on a race. Lesson learned.

Despite the cramps I pushed on to try and keep up and they kinda, sorta eased.  At least after a few iffy moments I knew I wasn't gonna have to stop.  That's where my HTFU motto comes in handy, forget the smiling though, I was hurting too darn much, lol.  Around half a mile out Brenda yells out something like "come on ladies, let's push it and get this hurting over with!"  I'm paraphrasing slightly because I honestly was HURTING too much to remember exactly how she put it.  We did pick it up though! I just never thought we were gonna reach that freaking finish line though, ugggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Click to enlarge

So race recap, according to my garmin--which I started as soon as we started moving well before the actual start line--I ran 51:16, the exact same time that shows on last year's results.  The clock at the finish line showed 51:17 and my official results say 51:20.  The three of us were literally on each other's heels, Brenda was 1 second behind me, and Britney was right behind her but the results say 2 and 9 seconds behind me respectively while our garmins show us as one second each behind the other.   

One thing I'm very proud of on yesterday's race, we ran negative splits.  The 8:13 average pace on mile 5 is where my stomach started cramping but still faster than the first three miles (huge smile!).  I couldn't have pushed any harder on this one.  No age group awards for me this year, way too many speedy females in my age group showed up, I was 49/362 females and 7/56 in the 40-44 age group.  Huge shout-out to so many people for getting personal records yesterday!!!!!!!!!! Lots of happy runners that I'm incredibly proud of.

Reward for running 10 miles on Friday, breakfast courtesy of Patti and Brice at Dogtown Coffee and Cookery, yum!

08 April 2012

past due for an earworm

While skimming through my google reader I stumbled upon this uber cool version of Goyte's "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Walk Off the Earth on the Already Pretty blog.  Obsessed, I say!

Of course I can't just leave it at one video, I had to dig further..........especially to find more by the girl with the gorgeous voice, Sarah Blackwood.  Hope y'all enjoy her music as much as I am!

"Drowning" original

"Son of a Preacher Man" cover

A different sort of adventure

Somehow at the ripe old age of 43 I'd never managed to see an opera performance but I finally rectified that oversight this past Tuesday.  On the spur of the moment right after my birthday I bought tickets to see "Don Pasquale"  at Opera Memphis.  Oh my gosh, what an experience............This performance was at The Orpheum right off of Beale Street and it was so amazing to walk in and see how nicely everyone was dressed and the buzz of excitement.  So incredibly magical.

The Orpheum all lit up

During the performance I was as mesmerized by the secondary/background characters as I was the main players. I hardly knew where to look there was so much going on.  What did surprise me was the amount of repetition there is in opera (hey, I'm slightly un-cultured!).  The  subtitles on the screens above the stage and to the sides were also very appreciated since I have never learned Italian.

The subtitle screen above the curtains

My phone was so inadequate in capturing the beauty of the theater

Of course I guess I should mention what I wore since I stressed out about it so much, lol.  I don't have any cocktail type dresses and wasn't sure how most people were going to be dressed for a Tuesday night performance.  Fortunately I was squarely in the middle of the spectrum, not too casual as to look out of place.  

Navy shirt dress with my gorgeous navy and deep red boots

Tired but beaming smile after getting home very late Tuesday night. 

07 April 2012

HighRock Hop adventures part dois

Hey! More pics! Lol, as you can tell from the number of pics I've posted I wasn't "racing" the HighRock Hop.  After the beauty of the Sylamore 25k and the kicking of myself for not taking a camera along for that, I decided  that I wasn't going to pass up another opportunity to photograph some of our beautiful terrain.

Obviously, this doesn't count as the beautiful terrain part, lol

Approaching the only part that scared me (claustrophobic)

Ok, not quite as narrow as it seemed. Except for this one part to the left that's hidden. Definitely a suck in your tummy squeeze through bit.

Brenda and Maria navigating through

One of my favorite photos of the day

Gorgeous, eh?

Another squeeze 

Gratuitous trail shot

We were waaaaaay over there!

Pause and enjoy the beauty

Loving my Brooks Cascadia 7 trail shoes!

We crossed through this cold creek twice.  The 2nd time was pure heaven because it cooled us down and numbed some lower leg extremities

The trail runner's version of an ice bath

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  Look how clear that water is, absolutely fantastic

This guy was enjoying all the runner loving ;-)

We all enjoyed hot-dogs and hamburgers grilled on this outdoor pit afterwards

All in all the HighRock Hop is a must do in my opinion.........it is a smaller race but since it's on private land and they so generously opened their home to us and fed us so much afterwards I kind of hope it stays that way.  The trail was extremely well laid out, every last little stob and hole was marked with red ribbon, they even had extra water stops because of the unseasonable heat we've been having.  Truly feel lucky to have gotten to participate in this run.  Since it was a race with results posted and all, guess I should mention our times, eh?  The 3 of us girls finished in 2:37 but like I said before we weren't running this for time, just the fun and joy of getting to run on new (to us) trails.  oh, and the t-shirt of course ;-)

HighRock Hop adventures

I'm loving the trails this year......well, I always love the trails, it always seems like playtime (there have been exceptions, lol) and reminds me of some of the good parts about being a kid.  Y'know, wading in creeks, getting muddy, climbing over rocks, FUN stuff.  So when Brenda told us about the HighRock Hop up in Batesville, an organized trail race/run that was also FREE, of course I said yes (again!).  And yes, Maria came along again too, yay!!!!!  This is a much smaller run that is on privately owned land and oh am I envious of how gorgeous it is.  I am happy that they decide to share this slice of gorgeous Arkansas nature with all of us strangers--sorta strangers anyway.


We're here (or there)

The Race Motto

Us girls with Robert

Don't ask about my weird pose, I think I was concentrating on sucking in my tummy

The first big climb

In the pasture, watch out for cowpies!

Reminded me of Sylamore through here

Wee bit of a drop but not the steepest area we had

Love this image

oops, think I was a bit lopsided here 

These rocks HURT to run across

Runners in the distance

Brenda smiling :-)

This is getting pic intensive, will continue in another post.

03 April 2012

Learning to speed

On my last post I alluded to something different in my training.  There are actually a couple of things--for the first time ever I have the freedom to be able to run whenever and where ever I want.  I've let it be known locally that I'm almost always up for a last minute run.......note the almost, there have been a few times that Ginny has texted and I've had to say no because I'd already trashed my legs on the trainer.  Got to be somewhat ok to run with her because we get to chatting and we end up speeding up, lol.  Her slow is my fast but I do absolutely love running with her when I get the chance.

The second thing that is different is that I'm participating in the Women Run Arkansas clinic this year.  While I have no other set mileages or distances to do the rest of the week, I'm now getting some organized speed work with coaching on Monday and Thursday nights.  When I first began running I didn't know anyone else who ran so I used the Couch to 5k program to get started and devoured the interwebs for information every chance I got.  This eventually led me to creating an awesome network of friends online for support and information.  I still talk to the majority of these people every day.  It also helped lead me to my current running club--that and meeting Ms. Vic at my first ever 5k--but I've never had any formal coaching.  Brenda talked me into joining the WRA clinic, especially handy since it meets within walking distance of where I live.

I'm now into my 4th (I think) week of it and I'm absolutely seeing some major improvements.  The only "problem" is that Brenda and Vicki are the leaders of the intermediate/advanced groups and they know what I can run already so I don't get to slack off during the "work" part.  Not even a "But I ran with Ginny this morning!" was enough of an excuse for me to do anything less than my best during a session of diabolical 30/30s (run fast for 30 seconds, then slow jog for 30 seconds recovery, 20 minutes total).  That "excuse" elicited an "I don't care!" from Ms Vic, lol.

Tonight was 800s and each woman's time was determined by what she did on the timed mile.  My first and second timed miles were 7:11 and 7:08 respectively thus I was to do the 3x800s in 3:25.  First one was 3:20, 2nd was 3:15 (oops), and my final was darn near spot on at 3:24 (I forced myself to slow down just a bit).  I can't say the actual hard bit was fun but it was good to get out and feel the muscles working and lungs not quite to bursting in a non-race situation.  Getting to work with the other girls and women is also amazing and yes, very inspiring.  Love seeing how everyone reacts to doing something so difficult and succeeding when they didn't think they could push that hard.  I can see why so many who participate in the Cabot clinic continue on with running even after the graduation 5k.

As far as the rest of my training, I'm managing to rack up some respectable miles for someone who isn't "training" for anything specific.  The last 3 weeks I've ran 46, 48, and 50 miles--that doesn't include my walking or trainer mileages either.  Running total for March was 168 miles and I think I'm up to 419 for the year already.  This is what happens when it becomes fun again and I'm loving it.

On a slightly different tangent, I received a package today from @CleoPompom containing Malteasters!!!!!!!!!!  Thank you again Nadya, I'm loving the candy AND the beautiful postcard.  Such a thoughtful thing to include, it's currently on my refrigerator with my other souvenirs from the UK and my recent road trips.