Friday, July 8, 2011

What lightning?

I have had quite that last few months, having officially graduated from PA school, passed my boards and now have the sole daily task of finding a job :( finalizing wedding plans and training :) As newly graduated and currently unemployed, I realize now what it would be like to have running as my full time job and it is pretty sweet. Although, it is a testament to everyone who works and runs because I have lived both and it takes a truly dedicated runner to run after a long day at work, or get up before the sun rises to get your run in. So hats off to all my employed friends!
I ran my first 5k since Club Cross a few weekends ago and it was bittersweet. David and I went into the race with a plan based on current fitness and I ran right on pace. While I was happy I ran to plan, it was hard to see my final time and realize how far I am from my 2008 year. I know that I have to start somewhere and now I know where that is. Thanks to Andy Rinne and his garmin for pacing me throughout the race, it was greatly appreciated!
Wanting to work on some speed I planned on running the Boulder Track series 800m last night. I left from the Springs and it took about 3 hours to get to Boulder due to pouring rain, flooding and rush hour traffic. I stressed the entire way up to the track and became increasing disappointed as I realized I was going miss my race. On the drive up I heard from Jay that they had postponed and were waiting till 6:45 to call the meet due to lightning strikes in the area. I had a glimmer of hope that I could still race after driving for so long. However, as I pulled up, the track officials were packing up and my heart sank. As Jay and I stood discussing the situation in the drizzle, we met a gentleman who had also driven up from the Springs who was hoping to run the 800 in preparation for the Master's World Championships next week. I told him I was considering jumping on the track anyway, I didn't see any lightning and we were here weren't we? Upon discussing my racing goal, he offered to pace me, as did Jay and his coworker. The track official then walked up and started to lock up the track and for the second time that day, I was crushed. However, our new friend talked with the official and convinced him to leave one gate open which we promised to lock up as soon as we were done. We left for a warm-up and on the way, met another rain soaked runner and invited him to our little race, he agreed and we proceeded with our warm-up.
Before toeing the line, the guys and I discussed my paces and who would be in front, next to and behind me. We started off with a plan. I haven't run an 800 competitively since high school but it was like I had never left it. The 800 is beautiful because it's tactical and fast and it brings out the competitive runner inside. We raced around the track, ran pouring down, spikes slipping on the flooded track but surrounded by 3 wonderful strangers and my fiance. This is what I run for, for these moments that seem surreal. As I hit the last backstretch, I went, and it felt so great that by the homestretch I picked it up, arms swinging, water flying, guys urging me on and came in under goal! I called David (my coach) and told him that I wanted to integrate quicker races into my schedule. I realized tonight that I was built for this, and while 5K's are fun, they are nothing like the thrill I get from the 800 and 1500. Thank you to Mike Wolfe, the Runner's Roost guy, Jay's co-worker Ryan and to Jay, who is always there for me when I need him. We'll see what future training brings, hopefully some new speed, continued health and maybe some PR's. Happy running!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Long time

I don't think many people would be super excited about running a marathon in 97 degrees. But I absolutely can't wait! In just over 7 weeks ill be toeing the line at the World Championships in South Korea for my first major race since January.
yep, January. For someone who would race every weekend if possible its been a tough year. Coming back from multiple foot surgeries hasn't been the easiest thing I have ever done. But I do think im a LOT stronger physically and mentally from the experience. I literally worked my butt off in the gym (its WAY too small right now!) in my time off and its paying off big time as I get into the full swing of marathon training. I didn't lose nearly as much fitness as I expected.
I know a lot of people don't think cross training does much but I'm a believer. I guess we will find out come August 27th.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Peachtree. wooooo!!

I spent this year’s 4th of July the same way I have the past 2 years – strolling 10k down Peachtree street through the heart of Atlanta with some of the fastest runners in the world. The Atlanta Peachtree has been my favorite event by far since graduating college and this year’s edition didn’t disappoint. I’m not sure if it’s the southern enthusiasm for the 4th or returning to the state I went to college, but I always seem to turn a corner at this race. This year’s Peachtree didn’t exactly go as well as the previous two, but I still came away satisfied with the result.

During the first half of the race, I was extremely worried it was about to turn into a disaster. Unlike 2009 and 2010, my legs just didn’t feel quite right from the start and the conditions were triggering my allergies. By 5k, I had lost considerable ground on the lead Americans and was probably around 35th place overall. The second half of the race is mostly uphill and really saved my day. The leaders were long gone but I was able to catch a decent amount of people and managed to sneak in the top 10 US finishers. Although I don’t feel as though I had a particularly great race, I was very pleased with where my strength was. I think I’m in decent half marathon shape and am now looking for a race to see if I can pr.

USA Nationals

Thank you teammates, family, friends, and Adidas for all the kind words and excitment about us racing the USA National Championship. It was a wonderful experience.

Working up to this race I was having the best workouts of my life and feeling amazing. Since Stanford I focused on training with two small races that served as workouts to keep my racing mood fresh. My best workouts were 12x300 and 6xmile. The 300 workout started at 57 and worked down with the last one at 49!! That was the fastest I'd ever run a 300 at sea level so I was a bit shocked that I hit that. The mile workout was the one I posted about previously that wouldn't have been possible without Cody, David, and Adrian. The week before the race I ran a mile on the track at Boulder, which I was hoping for a really fast time but it wasn't so I had a small panic moment that I wasn't ready for Eugene. Apparently, I was fine but I turn into a head case at times.

I flew to Eugene on Wednesday and hung out with Ali and my friend Ed from Charlotte. I ate dinner with the Charlotte crew and enjoyed a peaceful night at the Super 8 (unlike Ali's night that you will have to ask about, crazy story) in Springfield (supposedly it's not the nicest side of town but no one tells you this until it's too late). Thursday, race day, was the normal routine of a shake out run (on the Prefontaine trail), sitting in the hotel catching up on crap TV, finding food, and napping.

The Race. I felt amazing before the race except for a few tears from nervousness and uncertainty. On the line I knew I was ready for a great race and to be competitive and I must have been thinking too much because the gun went off and I ended up near the back of the pack. Ahh! I about panicked at 200m since I was nearly last, but remembered that there was still 24.5 laps to go and that David told me NOT to be too fast on the first few laps. So I slowly worked to the middle of the pack by 500m. I was worried about my position again after the next lap when many of the girls I typically race with were 10m meters ahead and separating from the group I was in. I listened to my splits and decided I was ok and going to stick to the plan on 78-79s laps and let the other group go. The group I was in was stacked with good girls too and we've worked well racing together before and with so many laps I had time to adjust later. I was a bit fast at the mile at 5:10, but was perfect at 5k with 16:27. Up to this point the race seemed to be a bit physical with girls jostling of positions, bumping, stepping on the inside, trying to pass on the inside, and clipping spikes. When did the 10k become so violent? Anyway, the pace was consistent and the second pack of girls came back to us. With a mile to go a few of us broke off and tried to thin the group. At 600m to go I picked up the pace and with a lap to go all I could hear was David yelling that I had to go. I finished in a 73 (which felt like a 60) to get a personal best of 32:55!!!

I was thrilled once I could stand straight again and comprehend what just occurred. I couldn't believe I just placed 8th and broke 33 minutes. Wow. I felt like I was living a dream and couldn't stop smiling for a few days.

It was so nice to have so many friends, teammates, and previous coaches at the race cheering me on. Thank you all!

Congrats to Ali, Nicole, and Kristin for having great races too!

It was also really awesome to have Eron and the Adidas crew up in Eugene too. They provided the AdiHaus to hang out at, which was decked out with tv's, video games, a pool table, a basketball game (ask Ali about this too, she add a new competition with the McMillans - we may have to have a shooting contest), basketball court, couches, and snacks. The decor was cool since it was posters of the Adidas athletes and the new Adidas apparrel. We got to meet many of the Adidas staff and athletes. The had some fun runs as a group on Friday and Saturday. The Friday run was "Run with the Pros" for local high school runners, which they all kicked Ali and I's butts as we slowly trotted with post-race legs. Saturday was "Girls Run" with Jen Rhines leading it and it was in honor of Grete Waitz. Both runs adventured through the Pre Trail, which was very pretty and soft. Thanks Adidas for everything!

P.S. I have pictures to post from the race, Eugene, and from the AdiHaus, but I'm having computer issues so it may be in a separate post.

Monday, July 4, 2011

It's Been One Crazy Year

Well it's been quite a year, a very very long year. A lot has changed in my life over the last year personally but things seem to be settling down finally. I'm still in gunny, still coaching at Western State, and still running but those are probably the only constants in my life.

As far as my running is concerned I'm not totally over the foot injury that put me out oct-feb but I'm darn near there. I've been running since the last week of February but it's been very low mileage, around 60 per week because my foot seemed to act up whenever I went higher. However, just recently it has started to feel a lot better and I hit 92 miles last week. Still a far cry from the mileage I would prefer to be doing but it's progress. Right now I'm pretty sure I'm dealing with tendinitis in the tendon where the bone is that I had a fracture in. It seems to hurt only post-run and is always ready to go by the next morning.

As far as racing goes, I ran a couple races during the outdoor season, all pathetically slow, but that was expected after missing so much time. Now that I am able to run decent mileage I hope to get fit quickly and may do a race or two on the front range between now and the end of the summer. My main focus is just to get the foot to 100% and be able to sustain some solid mileage through the summer and fall with the big races coming next spring.

In non-running news, I'm don't think any of you know but for work outside of coaching I run a handful of websites and I am in the process of launching a new site. It's not finished yet and my Gunnison web designer (Josh Eberly - a sub 2:20 marathoner) at Run Sleep Design is still making changes to it. The site is called You Review It and I'm really excited about its potential.

On a side note, props to our girls who ran the 10k at USA's, Alisha Williams, Nicole Feest, and Cassie Slade. And Big props to Cassie who placed 8th and got the marathon Olympic trial qualifier. Oh and not to be forgotten, Tommy Neal (originally from my home state of Missouri) ran a marathon Olympic trial qualifier also.