Category Archives: Racing

Injury Free + Back to Training

I’m finally injury free!  While I never took any total time off, I did back down significantly from hard workouts and specific exercises.  Last week I incorporated some of the things I had been avoiding back into my routine with success.  My glute wasn’t extra sore, my gait was totally normal and everything felt good.

My transition back into real training started Monday with an OK Murph.  For those not familiar it’s a Memorial Day tradition performed in honor of Lt Michael Murphy that includes a one mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats and a final one mile run.  Wanting to save my energy for the challenging workout I failed to warm up as much as I should have.  My glute gave me some trouble through the first mile but settled in with the squats.  The second mile was an improvement.injury free

Tuesday my legs were, not surprisingly, beat up.  A few easy miles helped them freshen up and again, I had no pain with a totally normal gait after warming up properly.  Yay!  Wednesday was also a few easy miles but this time in I also had the pleasure of being pouring rained on.  My shoes were finally dry by Sunday.

Thursday it was an attempt at the long run.  The humidity Thursday morning was a doozey but I felt good about getting the run done.  I started easy then picked up the pace as the sun rose to burn it off.  With my last few miles at marathon pace, I finished with negative splits.  It was a great first long run back and I couldn’t have been happier.

Friday my legs felt like lead and I took the day off.  Saturday was mile repeats that weren’t exactly on my previous pace but solid for coming off an injury.  Sunday I was back in the gym for strength training.  All in all it was a good welcome back week.  My glute held up without any pain or strain and left my feeling positive about how the rest of my summer will go.

My next race is the Allen Stone Memorial 5k.  I’m not expecting a spectacular performance but want to run well.  I have six weeks to prepare and am looking forward to working hard again. 

Meredith

How do you celebrate being injury free?  Sign up for a race?  A long run?

2017 Elizabeth River Run 10k

Well, my first post injury race is in the can and it was definitely a learning experience.  Saturday’s Elizabeth River Run 10k far from one of my next runs but could have been worse. 

Going into race morning I was concerned about how my glute would hold up.  It’s taken me a while to get warmed up lately and I didn’t want to run for 30 minutes before I ‘raced’.  I spent several workouts last week trying to determine the best way to get going as fast as possible and planned on a 2 mile warm up with two longer pick-ups and some hard strides.

That didn’t happen.  Race morning got hot.  Fast.  Because it was so warm and I actually felt pretty good, I cut the warm-up down to 1.5 miles.  I lined up and fought through some light traffic at the start.  Around Mile 2 I noticed the temperature had gone up about 15 degrees and there wasn’t much a breeze as we circled through the city.  There was at least a decent amount of shade in sections.  I walked leisurely through the water stops and took a breather at the 5k mark to rest my glute.  It had been a long time since I ran reasonably hard for three plus miles and didn’t want to irritate it.elizabeth river run 10k

After that rest stop, my glute was doing well and the heat became more of an issue in the race’s second half.  When I was running I wasn’t too far off my warm weather 10k pace and it felt good.  Unfortunately the weather really got to me.  My heart rate was sky high and not enough water stops didn’t help me bring it down.  The stagnant air and humidity were no help either.  Coming into the last mile I wanted to pick things up a bit.

I increased my pace but had some discomfort in my right leg.  Not in the mood to re-injure myself, I slowed things back down.  I crossed the finish line in 48:12 feeling pretty good.  My biggest issue now is getting used to being uncomfortable again.  My glute seems to be 98% healed and my fear of straining it again is unreasonable.  I didn’t strain it running in the first place.  I’ve spent so much time playing it safe that I’m a bit of rut.  It’s time to get comfortable being uncomfortable again.

Meredith

Have you run the Elizabeth River Run 10k?  How do you come back from injury?

 

EquiKids 5k + Still Not There

I raced one of my favorite events of the year last weekend, the EquiKids 5k.  Not only do I love volunteering at the farm, racing through the trails each year is always fun.  The cross country 5k is preceded by a 1 Mile Run with the Hounds that Jordy was more than happy to participate in before hamming it up for the camera.equikids 5k

It’s the only cross country course I’m guaranteed to run every time it comes around and I usually don’t perform well.  Maybe it’s because I don’t train on trails very much if at all or because I get too distracted by all of the adorable kids, dogs and horses.  Any way you slice it, I was looking to turn my history of EquiKids 5k performances around this year.  I didn’t.

In spite of finishing as third overall female, it wasn’t a good race or even the race I wanted to run.  Due to some serious rain my schedule got a little screwy in the days before the race.  My final workout was hours later than it should have been.  I definitely could have been fresher at the start line but I also could have been less injured.

My glute injury is feeling much better.  It has had some unexpected side effects, however.  The different, more powerful, movement in my right leg has been leading to extra work for my right Achilles.  That has caused some definite stress on the tendon as it strengthens.  I ran a one mile warm up before toeing the starting line but failed to warm up as completely as I usually do because I was feeling fatigued.  Little did I know I’d pay for it.  About halfway through the race that right side felt like it was about to snap.  No, thanks.  I paused to rub it for five seconds then continued on.  It was a scary moment but felt fine the last 3k.

It was disappointing to realize I’m not where I thought I was in terms of bouncing back.  I understand the lumpy, muddy, ankle working course probably made things a little bit worse in that ankle.  That doesn’t make it feel any better.  The EquiKids 5k curse continues and I’m looking toward next year already.

Meredith

How often do you race on trails?  Love it or hate it?

Physical Therapy + Feeling Crummy

My training lately has been a mess.  I took downtime then dove back in only to strain my glute and get pushed right back to the sidelines.  After my DNF at the Big Blue 5k I decided to get some help.  Even though I wasn’t in a ton of pain and most of my regular activities weren’t in danger, I definitely could not run through it.  And that’s pretty much all I wanted to do.

When I knew I couldn’t run I got a little bit lost.  I wasn’t sure the best way to heal my type of muscle pull or even if it was the muscle I thought it was.  So, off I went to physical therapy.  I had no idea what to expect since my injury wasn’t very severe.  After a few hip strength tests my therapist started going through a variety of exercises designed to balance out my right and left sides.  Here I am doing my ‘homework’!  After five days of not running I eased back at the end of last week with an easy 30 minute jog.  My glute felt good physical therapyand it seems the physical therapy is paying off.

Surprisingly, I actually enjoy it.  It’s supposed to be tough, and it is, but my therapist is awesome.  We do exercises that really challenge my balance and hip stability.  It’s fun to do something totally out of my regular routine. But even though my injury is feeling much better I’m still on the sidelines.

As if an injury and a lack of miles weren’t already enough to put my training back a few weeks, I’ve come down with some kind of junk in my chest.  It’s not only giving my abs an extra workout with all the coughing but sucking my motivation away, too.  I’m getting lots of sleep and taking it easy while it works itself out.  One of my favorite races, the EquiKids Cross Country 5k, is in less than two weeks.  I never perform well at it and was really looking forward to improving this year.  Unfortunately, that might not be the case.  Either way, I”ll head into race day as healthy as I can be.

Meredith

Have you ever gone to physical therapy?  What for?

Blog Spring Break + A DNF

I took a little spring break from blogging after Run the Bluegrass but now I’m back!  Not much has been going on training wise the last week as I fought through a small injury.  I did manage to catch up on some reading and make my first batch of beer cheese mac and chicken, though (recipe coming).  Also included in my spring break were a 5k DNF and a trip to the physical therapist for a little help.

I noticed some difficulties when I started having right shin pain running.  It’s a big sign my gait is funky when my otherwise OK right side starts acting up.  Shin pain is specifically something I never have to deal with.  Knowing that the real root of my pain wasn’t my shin or ankle, I went DNFsearching.  Yes, I had blown out my glutes and quads doing a bunch of pistols but I couldn’t imagine that making that much of a difference.  I’ve run sore before.

Wrong.  My weaker right side was really suffering and that glute wasn’t firing at all.  I could run about 800M without pain.  Trying different shoes got me nowhere.  I most definitely had a strained right glue.  Not wanting to hurt myself more, I took it easy the next few days, deciding to fight through Saturday’s Big Blue 5k then re-evaluate.

Race morning dawned and I steeled myself for a crummy 5k.  There would be no racing.  I’d give it all I could but wasn’t expecting much.  The truth is race morning I could not have been less excited.  The late start, 10:30, meant it would be warm and humid, neither of which I had seen in quite some time.  I had been low on energy for a few days fighting something that never came to fruition and stressing over what my leg was going to do all morning didn’t help.

I quit at the one mile mark with pain shooting up my right ankle and shin.  Not worth hurting myself.  Yes, it was frustrating and disappointing.  I haven’t run since.  I’m letting that strained muscle heal and focusing on evening out some muscle imbalances in my hips.  There’s another race, another day and I’ll be there in tip top shape in a few weeks.

Meredith

Have you ever had a DNF?  How did you deal with it?

Run the Bluegrass + April Plans

March was a great running month and April kicked off in a similar fashion.  I tackled state number 24, Kentucky, with Run the Bluegrass on 1 April.  I hadn’t been doing much training for it after One City on 11 March but headed to the Start with plans to just have fun.

After a shorter than usual warm-up, I was ready to tackle the very hilly course.  My legs were fresh but I could tell I wasn’t in peak performance shape.  My goal was to run around a 1:48, taking things easy and enjoying the scenery.  Things started with an almost immediate climb and I knew I was in for a tough workout.  The hills kept on coming, up-down-up-down, without any flat stretches in sight.  I stuck with the 1:45 pacers until walking leisurely through a water stop around Mile 5.

After falling back from the 1:45 pacers, I decided to take things easy.  I actually looked around at the beautiful scenery and enjoyed the beat down I was getting.  It’s clear I don’t live somewhere that can adequately prepare you for big, hilly courses.  By Mile 8 my hamstrings and glutes were grumpy which was great since Mile 9 is the course’s toughest.  I took a walk breaks at all second half water stops and slowed down to check to out a few overlooks. 

I powered up and down more hills in the last 5k.  Aside from a little moaning and groaning from my glutes and hamstrings my body felt great as I run the bluegrasscollected my big medal.  It was by far my inconsistent half marathon ever but I had a great time and felt good crossing the finish in 1:47.11, 12 in my age group.  I was really happy with my performance on out of race shape legs on a very challenging course.

The rest of April is full of training.  I have one more race, the ODU Big Blue 5k, on the 15th but otherwise I’ll just be grinding away.  With lots of time before my next goal race, Smuttynose Half, I’m looking forward to a few weeks of 30-35 miles with loads of play time.

Meredith

Is Run the Bluegrass on your list?  What’s on tap for April?

Shamrock 8k PR + Down Time

Saturday I ran my first 8k in three years.  Five days post marathon the Shamrock 8k might not have been the best idea I ever had but I hit a new PR and had some fun.  For the second week in shamrock 8ka row the ugly weather forecast held off.  Predicted rain didn’t hit until after the race and I was lucky enough to stay dry the entire day.

Weather aside, the Shamrock 8k is a simple, flat and fast course that presents a great opportunity push yourself.  This year it was home to the USATF Master’s 8k Championship.  I started in Corral 1 surrounded by masters athletes and speedy high school runners.  The first half mile was a little traffic filled and I definitely got swept up in the pace.

My legs felt OK heading into the race but after about 2k they let me know it was too soon.  My pace decreased in spite of the tailwind and I was OK with that.  I was well on my way to crushing my old 8k best even if slowed down a bit.  I crossed the finish line in 35:48, beating my old PR by over 90 seconds.  Five days post marathon I was more than happy with it.  I collected my medal, a new kooize, a banana and a few snacks before heading into the always wonderful Shamrock Party Tent.shamrock 8k

Now it’s time for a little R&R.  I say a little because I have Run the Bluegrass coming up in a few short days.  The race will check Kentucky off my 50 states list and be loads of fun but beyond that I have no expectations.  There are roughly 1,000 feet of elevation gain over the 13.1 mile course and it will be my first run over 6 miles since the marathon.

Meredith

Did you run the Shamrock 8k?  Do you like the 8k distance?

One City Marathon + What’s Next

The 2017 One City Marathon is in the books.  I had a solid run and was happy with the results in an official finish time of 3:29.19.

I came out of the gate fresh and ready to go.  Too fast.  I settled in around a 7:45 pace and kept telling myself to slow down.  I couldn’t.  A lovely runner named Jim had settled in right one city marathonalong with me and we chatted our way through the first 14.

After hitting the half in 1:41, I knew I had to slow down or I would be in big trouble.  Of course, I also had it in my head that it was race day, I had tapered well and didn’t actually know what I was capable of.  I walked through a water stop at 14 very easily in an attempt to bring slow my body down.  As you can see from the splits, it worked a little bit.

I still felt good downing an extra GU at 18.5.  The fast half was starting to catch up with me and caffeine was just what I needed.  Of course, I also needed water.  Unfortunately the water stop at 20 was all the way on the other side of the road.  Across four lanes on the outside of a turn.  Hitting it would have added even more to my already extra long marathon.  I skipped it feeling confident I could make it to the stop at 22.

I made it to 22 and grabbed a cup of water as I walked by.  More attention would have been a good idea at that moment because that cup was barely full.  I got maybe 2 ounces of water before continuing on.  Not more than five minutes later I started to pay for it as my calves locked up.  I gave them a stretch and tried to slow my run down to a jog.  My pace inevitably crept back up and my calves responded with hostility.  I skipped the next water stop at 24 knowing if I walked I would struggle to run again.  Powering through the last two miles was one city marathontough but I did it, crossing the finish line with a smile on my face.

I had run 26.39 miles in 3:29.19.  While not exactly the race I wanted to run, I learned a lot and will be much better prepared for my next 26.2.  If there is one.

Next up is the Shamrock 8k.  Only five days after this marathon I’m not sure what to expect but it’s been a long time since I’ve run an 8k and would love to see a PR.  I’ll also have to decide if I really want to run the Boston Marathon.  There are 51 weeks a year I’m not that into the idea but when marathon weekend kicks off, I always wish I was there.  I’ll have more on that later because right now my focus is rocking 5 miles this Saturday.

Meredith

Did you run the One City Marathon?  Have you ever qualified for Boston?

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Big Wish 5k Win + Marathon Week

It’s Marathon Week!  I’m ready to run and have had some solid workouts through my two week taper, including a great Big Wish 5k.  Currently the One City weather is looking less than ideal with temperatures in the high 30s, 20 mph winds and an 80% chance of 1-3 inches of snow.  Ugh.  I’m really hoping that changes as the forecast so often does around Hampton Roads and I’ll stay dry.  If not, oh well, there’s nothing I can do anyway.

My training is behind me.  It went extremely well and I feel 100% ready for race day after two weeks of taper.  I wrapped Taper Week 2 with a easy eight mile long run Friday then stepped the intensity up with the Big Wish 5k Saturday morning.  It was a brisk and breezy but sunnyBig Wish 5k morning.  My plan was to to keep my legs firing without taking too much off the table for this weekend’s marathon.  During my two mile warm-up I felt really good.  We went off right on time as I focused on not getting swept up with the fast starters.

I expected to run comfortably around half marathon pace (7:15/mile) but settled in faster.  The first mile ran by in 6:58.  Slow down, I told myself.  My legs and lungs both felt great as I made the u-turn at halfway.  Mile 2 registered as a 6:56.  Since I was feeling so good and picked it up a hair for Mile 3 in 6:45.  I crossed the finish line in 21:19 as first female.

I was bummed I hadn’t looked at the time on my watch after my warm up.  If I had, I would have known coming through those last few hundred meters I was only 5 seconds away from a new 5k PR.  A faster 5k is definitely in my near future and I look forward to seeing what I can do.

The rest of Marathon Week includes yesterday’s 12 x 400M, another short workout Wednesday and a 20 minute shake out Saturday.

Meredith

What does your Marathon Week look like?

Last Long Run, Race + Ready

My last long run before next week’s One City Marathon is in the can.  It was 8 miles of fun with 10k at marathon pace.  It felt short for a long run but refreshing at the same time.  I like to do my last one eight to ten days out from race day and opted for this morning for a few reasons.  One was that I didn’t want to push it to Sunday.  The second was that I didn’t want to tack it on to another workout. 

The third is that In my infinite wisdom I also opted run a 5k this weekend.  I’ll be ‘racing’ the Big Wish 5k Saturday morning with no goal other than something to keep the intensity up heading into marathon week.  It definitely won’t be a PR but that’s fine with me.  I’ve saving it for next weekend.  Plus, with all this tapering, it’ll be nice to get out there with some other runners for a little laughter.

I do have a a little worry sneaking in that with three pure rest days and one shake out day I might go a stir crazy next week.  Recently I’ve used my Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook to fill some last long runof my non-running hours with great success.  These Superhero Muffins are delicious!  I guess my next move is to put some extra reading time and maybe a nap or two on the schedule.

So other than worrying about going taper bonkers, I’m feeling ready.  My legs are itching for a longer workout and my brain is ready for some discomfort.  This has been a successful training cycle no matter what and I can’t complain.  I learned a lot, pushed myself to more miles than ever before and stayed injury free.  All I can ask for now is some really nice weather on race day.

Meredith

How long is your last long run before a marathon or half?  Does it ever change?