Fall Season Training Week 5 of 10

3 09 2017

This has been an ordinary week with nothing special to report.  I took a couple of days off after Fort2Base to rest my lower body and let it recuperate from the surprising effort it mustered on Sunday.

Fall Week 5

Monday – I did the 40:00 Active Isolated Stretch DVD again, and felt like I really needed it.  My quads and hamstrings were both tight and a little sore.  The right ankle tendons were grumbling but I have since managed to silence them.

Tuesday – I had a lot of stuff to catch up on at home so I did several hours of housecleaning and then gardening outdoors in the vegetable garden, followed by cooking and freezing everything harvested.  I was on my feet a lot and ended up with 10,000 steps even without any formal exercise.

Fall Week 5 Steps

Wednesday – A 30:00 Fast Finish run was on the agenda.  The weather was quite pleasantly cool and I took it easy, running at the bottom of the heart rate range, despite the urge to really haul butt.  It had a 5:00 Zone 3 finish at the end and I was able to push it then.  A 12 hour work shift followed and I did not get 10,000 steps.

Thursday – I tried a Boot Camp DVD I had not done before and discovered it was not exactly what I expected.  Instead of the usual cardio and weights segments alternated in quick succession, this was pretty much all cardio.  For purposes of this training program, I need metabolic/circuit/interval types that employ cardio and weights because I need (1) to keep my heart rate consistently elevated even when my feet aren’t moving and (2) the added benefit of some strength training.   It was another 12 hour work day.

Friday – Another Fast Finish run, this one 45:00, with a 10 minute Zone 3 finish was this day’s training effort.  It went well and I really enjoyed it.  I did do quite a bit of stretching afterwards.

Fall Week 5 Run Stats

Saturday – What a lovely fall day it was!  With early morning temps in the 40s, I found myself wishing I could run. But it was a cross-training day so I opted instead for Cathe Friedrich’s Athletic Training DVD, which featured lots of cardio, weights, core and a nice stretch at the end.  Then I let my younger dog Abby drag me around the neighborhood, so I got some steps in too.

Overall, I feel fully prepared for the races I have coming up and at this point only need to keep readiness at its peak while simultaneously avoiding injury.  Sleep was good most of the week at around 8 hours on average, but I’m finding it hard to wake up in the dark so I pretty much have to force myself out of bed at 5:00 on work days.  Caloric intake has been fairly well in control with protein staying around 120 grams daily and carbs coming from mostly fresh fruits and vegetables.   So even my often dicey nutrition is okay at this moment.  I always drink lots of water, and that has continued.

Two weeks remain before Rock-n-Roll Philly, and I’m starting to get excited now.  I wanna run up the Rocky Steps and yell “Yo Adrian!” LOL

See ya next week!

Fall Season Training Week 4 of 10 plus a day

29 08 2017

Last week, I found myself once again battling tendon overuse trouble in the right ankle area.  I did all the running I had planned but ditched both weights days in order to do some rope stretches with the Active Isolated Stretch DVD from Phil and Jim Wharton which has rehabbed ankles, calves and Achilles troubles for me many times in the past.  Between the extra rest and flexibility that substitution bestowed and going back to wearing my Hokas, I was able to give a pretty decent effort for this past Sunday’s 11.5 mile Fort to Base race.


Fort 2 Base, which goes from Fort Sheridan – the Army base – to Great Lakes Naval Station is one that I’ve been eyeing for years but have not run yet because of the heat we usually have in August.  I was always afraid to venture “10 Nautical Miles” as they call it (which is just about 11.5 miles of running) in potentially extreme temperatures and sun.  But after having survived the full marathon in blistering 86 degree heat with full sun at high altitude last October, I decided no race is ever gonna kill me so I might as well finally do this one.  And was it ever awesome!


First of all it was a cool and overcast day, more fall-like than summer, and then even started to rain after I finished running and was heading back to the shuttles.  So the weather couldn’t have been better.  My new nutrition strategy of eating Nabisco sugar wafer cookies instead of gels and other sticky stuff worked perfectly.  (BTW, sugar wafers in a baggie hold up much better in a sports bra than all that other stuff does.  LOL)

Mile 10The scenery was gorgeous every step of the way, and seeing all soldiers and sailors gave me such a patriotic glow inside.  Pretty much everything about it infused me with energy and I ended up running faster (13:37 pace) than I have ever done in a race over 10 miles.  Around the 9 mile mark as I was getting tired, I fell in with the 13:30/mile pace group and they kept me going at a point when I would have ordinarily given myself permission to slack off.  It was a wonderful event that I would love to do again someday.

F2B Stats

Being one of the slowbees, my usual late arrival at the after party meant the pizza had all been eaten by the faster people and their families, so I can’t comment on that. But I did get a chance to eat some Mashed Potato Chocolate Cupcakes from the Wisconsin Spudmobile, and they were surprisingly tasty.  There was also a Navy band rocking out some impressive rhythm and blues as well as a big Army truck with soldiers posing for pictures with runners and children.  For an non-alcohol party, it was lots of fun.


So that was the highlight of my week.  I am now back to continued prehab/rehab of these old raggedy tendons which must yet propel me through two half marathons in the next 6 weeks.  And I’m sure they will, as long as I stay true to the massive amounts of stretching that needs to be done and keep my runs to three a week with strength-training and low impact cardio in between.

And that’s it for now.  See ya next week…


Fall Season Training Weeks 2 and 3 of 10

23 08 2017

OK, so I know I said I would check in weekly in order to make myself accountable to the legions of people clamoring to read my every word (insert laugh emoji here) regarding my commitment to follow a well-rounded training plan for fall running season.  Because I tend to overdo the parts I like and conveniently run out of time for the less fun stuff in any training regimen, I really do need someone looking over my shoulder and going “hey! what about that?  when ya gonna do it? huh?”  And that’s you!  Thanks for the help.

This is how things went over the last couple of weeks (workdays are shaded in grey):
Fall Weeks 2 and 3 Summary
Obviously, I failed to do all the stretching I had pledged to do.  I am fairly consistent with the 12 minute morning yoga, stretch or yoga/stretch combo videos.  I don’t really like the pre-run drills but I’m doing the dumb things about half the time.  It’s the post-workout stuff that I am struggling with.  A lot of the time I’m starving, thirsty or exhausted and the rest of the time I have something else to do right away so I postpone them until later, and then they don’t happen at all.  I will try to do better!  Especially since I’m having some twinges in my right ankle tendons and that is a direct result of inflexibility in the rest of the posterior kinetic chain.  In fact, yesterday I skipped a non-running cardio workout in favor of doing 40:00 of Active Isolated Stretching with the Phil and Jim Wharton DVD.

My favorite recent run was the 10 Mile Speed Play Run from the PEAR program that I use.  It is part of the 80/20 Running plan they have and consists of a typical 10 mile Long Run but has little quarter mile speed bursts all through it.  When it’s hot, humid and sunny out, it takes a lot out of you to do these but I felt like it made me a better runner.

August 10 miler

The PEAR Program cut out on me at 9.3 miles but Garmin captured it all.

Other than that, there is not a whole lot of noteworthy stuff to report.  My right ankle is trying to bother me but I’m pre-habbing it.  My right shoulder went wonky for about a week after I threw the ball in the back yard for the dog about a dozen times too many, but it’s coming back to normal slowly.  I’m not stretching enough, but promise once again to do better.  I’m eating too much, and will try to do better but can’t make any promises.  And life goes on.

See ya next week!

Fall Season Training Week 1 of 10

7 08 2017

Or to be Star Trekkie about it, I should be dictating:  “Athlete’s Log Star Date 2017.5996”  since today we are 219/365 into 2017.  I guess.  Honestly I don’t know how they come up with those star dates.  Gene Roddenberry had an answer for it that had to do with shifts in time, speed and warp so I don’t know how it would work on Earth.


Fall Week 1 SummaryI got through the first week of training relatively well.  Unlike the running world who put Saturday and Sunday at the end of a week, my weeks always start on Sunday.  I did Andrew Kastor’s 400 meter repeats workout from PEAR that day before I went to work. I copied my pace from GarminConnect under the description of the run below.  There was a very long warm up and cool down so the overall pace was not terribly impressive but I really pushed it during the 400s which did take me out of my comfort zone like it was supposed to.

4x400s on July 30

Monday, I did Cathe Friedrich’s Supercuts DVD which is a metabolic workout and contains cardio/weights segments in rapid succession with little rest in between.  It got my heart rate way up there in the 160s just like running intervals would but did not require any pounding on the pavement because of the swift movements with 8 lb. weights incorporating upper and lower body at the same time.  And I had quite the DOMS in my legs and butt for a couple of days.  So that was good.

Tuesday brought a 50:00 tempo run from the Matt Fitzgerald 80/20 plan on my PEAR app.  I got a very late start because I had to clean the house first, so it was already 2:00 pm and hot when I set out.  The peak portion of the run was supposed to put my heart rate in Zone 3 (preferably by speed) but I ended up going slower to keep it from climbing into Zone 4 because of the temps having boosted it quite a bit.  So it was not effective speed training but I got it done.  I used a 2:30/0:30 Run/Walk because of weather conditions as well.


And I did employ the grueling foam roll torture device afterwards. It hurt like hell which I guess means it was good for me and I need it.

Wednesday, I tried to do the Jordan Metzl Iron Strength DVD despite the comedy of errors that represents my life some days.  I got a late start because of crappy sleep thanks to my younger dog who decided to start barking at 4:30 a.m.  Then I lounged in bed longer than I should have after that trying unsuccessfully to get back to sleep.  Following that, my computer gave me fits and I wasn’t able to queue up the workout until I fooled with restarting and running diagnostics for 20 minutes.  Then the dogs got on the yoga mat with me during my morning stretch.  Then they wanted out.  Then they wanted back in.  Then I ran out of time because I had to go to work.  So I only got 20 minutes of that workout done because of two happy knuckleheads who had other plans for me.


Along came Thursday and another run before work.  Requisite stretching and drills complete, I did 45:00 Short Intervals —  or as I nicknamed them “Walk, Jog, Haul Ass” Intervals  —  comprised of a minute in heart rate Zone 5 (which is basically impossible for me to reach in a mere 60 seconds) followed by a two minute recovery jog during which I would walk the first minute and then jog the second.  It was a very effective workout because I really did haul ass like the Devil was chasing me until I thought my heart would burst, and that felt good.


On Friday I finally got the Jordan Metzl DVD done almost in its entirety.  By the time he got to the 3 minutes of planks at the end I was spent and gave up.  I know, I know!  I said I’d do planks.  But I didn’t.  I was too worn out from burpees, mountain climbers and all the other draconian feats he put me through.  I’ll do them next time.  I swear.

UntitledSaturday brought more dog-inspired delays and I finally set out on the week’s long run at almost 9 am when it was already 70, sunny and pretty much windless.   I managed 8.5 slow sweaty miles (carrying not one but two 16 ounce water bottles) and then called it quits.  Ideally I’d like to have done another mile but I just didn’t have it in me.

Afterwards, I should have done a 15:00 foam roll masochism fest but I didn’t have time.  Our dishwasher had died the night before and I needed to head to the Home Depot to get another one.  Then there was lunch at Chili’s with a beer (just one though), and after that a nap.  So I only rate my performance 9/10 for last week’s effort.  I really will try to do better this week.  I’ll do all the stretching and I won’t skip any planks that come up.

Really.  I mean that.





The next mission, and one forgotten detail.

31 07 2017

In my last post about June races, I mentioned the Denver/Cheyenne running weekend but forgot to talk about the 5k I ran in Cheyenne the day before the Revel Rockies half.

UntitledSo Wyoming turned out to be the 34th state I’ve raced in when I did the Cheyenne Greenway Foundation’s “Spring into Green 5k” on June 10, 2017.  The race took place at Cahill Park and coincided with the ribbon-cutting of an accessible playground for people of all ages and abilities.  I thought this was incredibly neat!  The playground has not only slides and other standard amenities for kids but also has an outdoor elliptical, pull up bar and a bench where you could hook your feet at the end and do abs.  I don’t go to parks much except to run but I’ve never seen anything like this before, and I found it quite brilliant.  The place was swarming with runners and  ribbon-cutting attendees, so I didn’t get a good picture of it but I found this one with a Google search:


Pretty cool, eh?  The elliptical and the bench are on the lower right.  The pull-up thingie is out of frame further right.  To be able to take the kids to the park, get on the elliptical and crank out some crunches at the same time  —  free of charge  —  gives nobody any excuse to be unfit. And they have a 2k running loop around the park as well.  Very nice.  I did okay in the race too.  They recorded my time at 39:03 which is faster than me and my rarely-accurate Garmin clocking and was pretty impressive for the over-5000 foot jump in altitude, if I must say so myself.  I posted my usual collage below:

Cheyenne Collage

It was a fun event on a cool morning and I appreciated the chance to squeeze in an extra state on the day before my first half-marathon of the year.  Another thing that was an unexpected bonus was that the Kiwanis club sponsored a pancake breakfast before the 5k during the ribbon-cutting for the playground and continued serving until well after the race was over.  So there was a lot of nice food there the whole time.  I don’t often worry about eating before a 5k because they’re so short, but it was a nice perk anyway and the whole event was a fun way to begin my first running trip of the year.

And speaking of running trips….

I started the next phase of training this week for my fall half-marathon season.  I have Rock’n’Roll Philadelphia on September 17 (with a 5k in New Jersey the day before) and Run Crazy Horse in South Dakota on October 8.  I ended up getting rained out of my half last week and so my every-2-week-long-mileage scheme has taken a hit.  Because I work Friday/Saturday/Sunday every other week, I can only do a really long run every 2 weeks.  Starting work at 8:00 a.m. means 5 miles or less on work days (and five is even a stretch for old slow-moving Me) since I’m not somebody who gets up before dawn to run.  5:00 is as early as I can manage it on an ordinary day, and that means running about an hour or so is the best I’ll ever do.  I mean, unless I win a big lottery or something and take up the life of a lady of leisure.  But I doubt that’s gonna happen any time soon.

So given the confines of this life of a working woman, I have worked out a 6 day per week plan to maintain and enhance race-readiness according to the new book I referenced in the previous post “Train Smart, Run Forever” along Matt Fitzgerald’s “80-20 Running” which I’ve used before.  Like I said initially, I do more weight lifting than the typical runner’s training plan includes and I like it that way so I have adapted it accordingly.  But this new method calls for a lot more stretching than I’ve ever done and that will be the challenge.  Since neglecting flexibility work is how I’ve always been injured (I guess you’d call that “training dumb”), it makes sense to aim for 100% compliance with a plan that advertises itself as “training smart”.  And to ensure that I do, I will make myself accountable to the dozen or so people who read this blog by putting all down here and reporting on a much more regular basis than I have for the last 9 years.

Here is the basic framework.  My work schedule is a two week block that repeats itself into infinity and those days are shaded blue with work hours noted above each.  UntitledRuns during the week will flux per the Fitzgerald training plan between tempo, interval, fast finish, speedplay etc.  The Metabolic and Boot Camp type DVDs are also variable.  I have lots of those, all around 45-55 minutes and mostly by Cathe Friedrich, which are strenuous enough to count as vigorous cardio.  I’ve used the Jordan Metzl DVD before and it includes stuff I hate like burpees and mountain climbers, but it does yield results and is “runner specific”. The 10-12 minute AM yoga/stretch will also vary between runner’s yoga DVD/MP4s I’ve used over the years from Runner’s World and Greg McMillan.  Yoga Only Day will get filled with whatever full-length yoga I feel like doing that day (and I have dozens of those too).  Of course the workouts will get shifted around as things come up but I will do the best I can to stick to this outline for the next 10 weeks.  And I will check in here weekly to report my progress.  I generally work out 5-6 days a week anyway, so that’s not an issue.  Sticking to all that stretching is where I need supervision.  And the stupid burpees.  Oh and the planks too.  Ugh!  I hate that shit.  The only plank I’ve ever liked was the one Worf was walking at the start of Star Trek: Generations. 😀

But I digress…

I ran 4 miles yesterday before work (having taken a rest day the day before) and am off to do a metabolic DVD right now (Cathe Friedrich’s XTrain Supercuts).  I will finish out the week and be back to report on Sunday or so.

June 2017: lessons and competition, like summer school at Starfleet Academy

21 07 2017

June was a decent month, runningwise.  I finished the fitness regimen I had called “Spring Training,” ran some races and learned a few new tricks from friends as well as professionals.  It was kind of like summer school in a way, only more fun.

On Saturday June 3, I ran the Walter Payton Sweetness 8k.  Unlike last year when it was cool, rainy and sparsely populated, this year it was hot and crowded with 8k as well as 5k (which I don’t remember from before) runners and walkers.  In 2016, I got an age group award whereas this year I pretty much dragged myself along in the hot sunshine.  I enjoyed it but didn’t take any photos and didn’t stick around for the post-race festivities because I was pretty tired that day.  The photos below are from the race’s photographer and were downloadable without charge at her website:

Sweetness 8k

So that was fun but I didn’t win an award and in fact was slower than I wanted to be.  But my goal since recovering from the last injury was to work on endurance first and deal with increasing speed later in the season.

The following week, I headed west for the Cheyenne/Denver running trip which I described in a separate post a few weeks ago.  Jumping up from a long run of 11 miles the last part of May to the 13.1 miler in mid-June was the pinnacle of my distance push for this year.  The plan going forward is to run anywhere from 10-13.1 miles every other weekend as a “very long run”, and spend the rest of the time with tempo, speed, intervals and the like.  Since I work every other weekend, I will only have time for a 5-6 miler on the workdays and that will be my shorter “long run”. This is how I plan to maintain distance readiness for the halves coming up in July, September and October as well as to build speed for the fall 5k races which will hopefully find me a bit faster.  I don’t want to go out on a limb and say I’d like to PR, but hell, who doesn’t?

Those were the June races which represent the competition aspect of the month.  The lessons I learned as well have been valuable additions to my training.

First, I bought the new book “Train Smart, Run Forever” written by Bill Pierce and Scott Murr (who wrote my fave Run Less, Run Faster) which is geared toward older runners and features a seven-hour workout week that contains a lot of stretching and foam rolling, a small amount of strength training and quite a bit of running and cross-training.  I have adapted their plan for my tastes and am including it in my next training program.  The benefits I anticipate will be the addition of foam rolling which I don’t do at all now, increasing the stretching to include some techniques I have not done and also starting some 5-minute pre-run drills.  I will continue to strength train way more than they recommend and will substitute metabolic/boot camp DVDs for cross-training instead pf rowing and elliptical, but I’m pretty much going to follow their regimen very closely between now and November when distance running winds down for the year.


Also from my fellow blogger The Running Rebel, I learned a posture technique best described as “Pecker Out” in her post about the best running advice she’d ever received. I tried it on a 10 mile run, keeping my hips slightly forward and showing the world my imaginary pecker, and I felt like it did improve my form.

Later my running club buddy Judith and I were talking about our run/walk ratios one day, and she mentioned that she had tried 2:30/0:30 which gave her more energy to resume running than the 3:00/1:00 which has been my mainstay for a couple of years. So I decided to give that a try myself.  I wasn’t sure how I’d feel walking only 30 seconds but it was great!  The only glitch is when I’m running long miles and need to eat a piece of Rice Krispie treat or something.  It takes longer than 30 seconds to scarf it down and then drink some water, but that’s okay.  It’s my new ratio now and I believe it makes me just a wee bit faster.

So that’s pretty much it for June 2017.  I learned some cool new stuff from 3 sources that is making me a better runner and I ran 3 races.  I’d call it a successful month.  If this was summer school at Starfleet Academy, I’d definitely give it a good evaluation and hope I had earned an A.

starfleet academy

July features another 10 miler and another half-marathon.  I’ll be back to talk about that as soon as it all happens.


RACE REPORT: Revel Rockies Half Marathon, Denver CO – June 11, 2017

18 06 2017

On Sunday, June 11, I ran the half marathon portion of this race which features both a 26.2 and 13.1 mile distance. According to the event’s website (www.runrevel.com):
“The REVEL Rockies Half Marathon course offers the best of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, including towering pines, beautiful canyons, mountain lakes, and a gently flowing stream.”  And that is absolutely true.  But let me backtrack to the beginning.

marathon start

I registered back in November of 2016 when cost was lowest at $79 for the half and $99 for the full, which is fairly typical for events of this size that offer parking with buses to/from the Start/Finish, bag drop, generous swag and food with beer in the post-race area.  Prices eventually went up to $109 and $129.

Email communication from the event that showed up sporadically over the following 7 months was informative and not at all spammy.

As time drew closer to Race Day, I booked a room at the Lakewood Hampton, one of the recommended properties, that featured a special event discount and offered a race day bag breakfast as well as a shuttle directly to the Start Area (neither of the latter of which I chose to use).  They have a fridge and microwave all rooms, and both are destination race amenities that I’ve come to rely upon.

Packet pickup was located at Steinhauer Field House on the campus of the School of Mines in Golden on Saturday from 10:00am to 7:00pm.  It was a well run and delightfully small affair that provided bib chip verification, shirt size swapping and the usual assortment of vendors, massagers and back-crackers but also an outfit that offered B12 shots and IV rehydration.

Race Day Parking was located at Bandimere speedway where marathoners could park to board buses from 3:15-4:15 AM to their start 10,000 feet up in the mountains, and half-marathoners could ride from 4:15-5:15 to their venue at 7500 feet above sea level on the same road.  I chose to drive to the parking lot and bus to the Start rather than use the Hampton Shuttle because I wanted to leave the post-race area at a time of my choosing.  The Hampton Shuttle was offered only once at 4:30 am for drop off and then every hour on the hour for return to the hotel.  I could picture myself finishing at one minute after the hour and then waiting for 59 minutes, and didn’t like that option.

IMG_2338The start area, a parking lot for some kind of business plaza, was a cool 58 degrees when I arrived and crowded with Mylar wrapped runners all vying for a spot in line for one of the 30 or so porta potties.  The line moved swiftly and there was plenty of toilet paper the entire time.  There was a table nearby with water and Powerade but nothing in the way of solid refreshment.  The goody bag from the Expo did have a protein bar in it which I noticed some people enjoying (but I was not one of them since I don’t like protein bars).  Music was playing, a small countdown clock was ticking down and the gear truck was waiting to transport our drop bags to the finish line in the post race venue.  Seating was extremely limited and people were clustered on stairs, perched atop decorative boulders and some also just lying on the pavement.  Hopefully they will change this for next year’s runners because I was not a fan.  Of course, that could be due to the early hour as I do tend to be grumpy when rolling out of bed at 3:30 am.

Starting horn having blared, we ran uphill to begin this overall downward-trajectory course.  Unlike the mountain half I did last year in Utah which dropped quite steeply for the first few miles, this was a rolling course with an overall drop of over 1000 feet from start to finish.  At one point as I looked up in dismay to see the road peaking for the third time, I heard someone talking about it who said “oh yes, there are three uphill climbs in the first 2-1/2 miles and then it’s mostly downhill.”  That I was glad to have eavesdropped instead of tuning out because the air still seemed pretty thin on those uphill segments even though I’d been in town a couple of days already and had run a 5k the previous morning.


Per the Revel website: “The Half Marathon begins at the intersection of Lewis Ridge Road and Evergreen Parkway in the beautiful community of Evergreen. The first three miles of the course include broad views of the valley and Elk Meadow Park as runners head off into the sunrise. The course leaves Evergreen Parkway at Douglas Park Road, eventually turning into Meadow Drive.”  And that we did.  After following a local street with honking cars and waving passengers happily greeting us, we turned into a neighborhood and eventually out into what seemed like mountain wilderness on a rolling course that turned and wound its way along as the sun rose in the sky and the morning chill succumbed to welcoming warmth.

As is usual for me, I started at the back of the pack and stayed there alternating my 3:1 walk/run 14:00/mile pace.  I had hoped to go a bit faster with a downhill course but, given the 25% less oxygen for Little Old Flatlander Me, didn’t have the wind for it on the uphill portions however gradual they were.  I was also trying out a gel-free nutrition strategy by eating chunks of white chocolate and Belvita protein cookies which proved to be inadequate, as did my breakfast of cold spaghetti (and not enough of it).  Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable struggle or, as I often say of challenging terrain, a “grueling ecstasy.”

aid sta

taken from event website

Aid stations were frequent and plentiful, although I wish the ones with fruit were located closer to the end when I was hungrier.  The volunteers were all cheerful, friendly and enthusiastic.


Toward the end I kept seeing another runner (whose name I will never know) as she alternately surged ahead and fell behind me.  At one point I heard her saying “I can do this, I can do this”, so I started encouraging her every time we were apace with one another.  Both of us were tired — and slow and probably about the same age — so every time I lent support to her, I was also giving some to myself.  I don’t like “running with” someone and chattering away the entire time because it limits much of the freedom that I feel when running.  But this felt good and boosted my energy in the last few miles.

Soon we reached the town of Morrison and after rounding a couple of bends, the Finish Line was in sight.

me at finish

Upon crossing the line, we were handed gigantic medals and supposedly cool towels (which I never saw) and then passed through into the Post Race Party Zone where we were each allowed once slice of pizza, one slice of pie and a Lagunitas beer.  It was extremely crowded and there were long lines for everything.  Gear pickup and porta potties were towards the back of this area and navigating the throng was pretty much the theme of the experience.  Again, there was really no place to sit.  A tent featured instant printout of each runner’s stats which is always a nice perk, and there also various other tents and booths for vendors and runner photos.  Down a flight of stairs toward the creek was another area that was too crowded for me to investigate.  I never did see the beer vendor but that was okay.  After eating and picking up my drop bag, the next goal was to get back to the shuttle and my car so I could find a place to relax.  There was no sign or other guidance as to which way to go to find the shuttles, so I learned by asking another runner.  About a half-mile or so later, I was boarding a bus back to Bandimere Speedway to pick up my rental car and head back to the hotel.

denver race blingOverall I think, despite what I felt were underwhelming pre- and post-race venues, REVEL Rockies was a nice race and one that I would do again if I lived in the area.  The course was geographically stunning, the shirt and other swag (including gloves and a Mylar blanket which I ditched as the weather warmed up) as well as free race photos and multiple videos were quite generous, and the amenities were plentiful enough to keep us comfortable every step of the way.  Being a 50-stater, this was a one off so I won’t be back to run it or probably any other long distance race in Colorado but I do recommend it, with a moderate degree of enthusiasm, to others looking for a half (or a full) in that state.

And that’s it from me for now.  See ya next Finish Line!

Race Finish Rear


Spring training 2017: like a stroll through an asteroid belt

12 06 2017

I started this post almost two months ago and then didn’t finish it.  At the time I relayed that I was having “a totally mundane March and an unassuming early April.”  Looking back over what is now a 3 month period, I have to say it was about as boring as a walk through the Kuiper Belt.
You know how it goes when traveling through an asteroid belt:
One minute you’re sailing along at a leisurely pace of maybe Warp 2, enjoying the view and thinking everything is just grand.  Then the next minute there’s a giant chunk of frozen methane colliding with your life and covering it with rapidly thawing cow farts. Then it’s back to the nirvana of softly twinkling stars and moonbeams until the next apocalyptic impact, which is pretty much how my spring training season went.

The highlight of March was doing the Manhattan Irish Fest 5k again with my running club.  This is a favorite of mine because the race actually kicks off the Irish Fest parade, so practically the whole town is lined up drinking and reveling, decked out in their finest Irish greenery, as you run by.  Afterwards they have a big tent party with lots of Guinness and live Irish music which is always a fun time.

Irish Fest 2017 collage

Photo credits: Javier Martinez and Manhattan Irish Fest Facebook page

I didn’t do a whole lot of outdoor running for the rest of the month because, apart from a freakish 80 degree day, it tended to be in the 20s and 30s most of the time which is too cold for me to enjoy.  I did get in an 8-miler about a week after the 5k and then a 9-mile long run two weeks after before catching a bad cold that had me sidelined for about 14 days.  Enter Asteroid #1.

Meanwhile I continued working on my Winter Strength Training Project until April 8, the completion date of that 20-week endeavor,  which was conceived to use the extra calories of the winter season to grow muscle instead of fat.  And it actually worked.  I went for another DexaFit scan that showed I had gone from having 107 lbs of muscle to 108.8 pounds, which they say is pretty good for a female.  I was pleased with that result and plan to do more heavy lifting during the cold months this year too.

ET Abductions DayWhen in mid-April I finally felt well enough to run outdoors without coughing my head off, I tried to get back on track with half-marathon training but it had been almost a month since my 9 mile long run.  I backtracked to a 7 miler as a “catch-up run” one week, did a couple of 4 milers (including a virtual race for the Moon Joggers to celebrate Extraterrestrial Abductions Day) and finally a 10 mile effort the next week.  This proved to be my undoing once again when lack of stretching triggered an attack of the old nemesis ankle/Achilles tendonitis which lasted another couple of weeks.  Hello Asteroid #2!

So back to Square One we went.  Starting on May 1, I did a full week of nothing but yoga encompassing every link in the posterior chain until I felt secure that, from back to toes, flexibility was returning.  Only then did I resume a running training plan, this time with a new (old) mantra: Flexibility First.  When the supremely important goal of 2016 was to run a full marathon uninjured, I did 15 minutes of yoga every morning prior to any other workout.  It was an integral part of training that I somehow forgot to include when I turned my attention from lifting back to running this year.  Well, it’s one I will never overlook again.

By mid-May things were back on track and I was once again starting each morning with a short morning routine from Yoga Journal as well as the standard upper body strength training split divided over 2 days and core work along with running.Untitled

Nevertheless, I was not ready for the half-marathon I had planned for May 13 and didn’t want to risk a new injury so I did a 10 mile race instead: the Lemont Quarryman Challenge which is another circuit race for my running club.

Quarryman 2017 Collage

With the very hilly Quarryman race representing a true test of physical readiness, I pronounced myself 100% recovered when no aches, pains, strains or sprains followed thereafter.

On May 27, it was time for the Soldier Field 10 Miler which is another one of my favorite events (even though I have to brave the bustle and traffic of my former sweet home Chicago).  Running down Lake Shore Drive from Soldier Field almost as far as The Museum of Science and Industry then going back along the lake front trail is such a thrill that I can’t imagine spending Memorial Day weekend any other way.

2017 collage

I tacked on an extra mile or so after that race to bring my long run mileage total up to the 11-plus range and thus blasted my way out the asteroid belt that represented spring half-marathon training in 2017.

UntitledNext up —
June races including:
Cheyenne Greenway Foundation 5k, Cheyenne WY and
Revel Rockies Half Marathon, Denver CO

February 2017: a winterfest in The Winter That Wasn’t and a side trip to summer

8 03 2017

February, like the month before it, was warmer than usual here in Northern Illinois.  Temperatures  were above average probably 90% of the time and, even though it was windy and/or rainy quite often, it was much better running weather than is usual for this time of year.  Now I must disclose there exists a version of Murphy’s law that says: “on Lianne’s days off it will be cold/snowy/windy /otherwise-ugly while on days she works the sun will shine and the breeze will practically kiss your cheeks.”  And that held true last month, as always, but I was still able to get outside a fair amount and got my Long Run distance up to 7.5 miles.

weather feb 2017

February started off with my running club’s first circuit race of 2017 which was put on by another club in Kankakee, Illinois.  The Winterfest 5k is held on streets surrounding a local park and consists of two loops around it followed by a massive pizza buffet in the park’s field house. I ended up slower than I wanted to be (41 minutes for the 3.1 miles), but I hadn’t actually focused on speed training very much yet so that was quite understandable.  January entailed mostly getting back in the rhythm of a training plan and trying not to lament that most of it was on the treadmill.  So it was still a nice outing for the time of year — sunny, snow-free and 42 degrees — and well worth the effort, regardless of my paltry pace or unimpressive age-group standing.  And I ate a ton of delicious pizza afterwards.

Winterfest Collage

I made decent progress in February with my strength training  as well, getting weights up to 8-12 repetitions at 80% of my One Rep Max by the end of the month.  For me that meant doing squats with a 90 lb. barbell, deadlifts with 73 lbs. and leg press with 64 lbs. on Leg Day along with bench pressing 50 lbs., barbell rowing 61 lbs, and bicep/tricep /shoulder work with anywhere between 10 and 15 lb. dumb bells on Upper Body days.  Even though I’m still a chunky monkey, I have gotten a lot stronger since I started the winter strength project back in November.  The quest to shed fat and reveal this newly acquired musculature has not gone as stellarly however.  The truth is that:  yes, I can work like a field hand but unfortunately I am also inclined to eat like one too. <sigh>  February’s training calendar is shown below (work days are shaded in grey – mostly 12 hour shifts):

Feb workout calendar

I closed out the month with a trip to Jamaica for an educational seminar related to my job.  It was sunny and beautiful with temperatures topping out in the upper 80s at the lovely ocean front resort where the conference was held.  It was a pleasant break from the norm in a place I’d never been and I thoroughly enjoyed the food and the ambience.  But by the third full day (and eve of my return home), I was claustrophobic from being enclosed on the resort and having nothing to do but eat, drink and enjoy the sunshine.  I know this says something terrible about my psyche but it’s true.  I felt like I was on a lockdown ward at the Rehab Clinic for Type A Personalities.  I wanted to escape and go do something, anything, besides lay around and absorb life’s carnal pleasures when I wasn’t spending that meager 4 hours a day in class.  Isn’t that twisted?!  I guess I really am a lot weirder than I thought I was.  But alas, ’tis too late to change that now. LOL


And that’s pretty much all I have to report for February 2017.  With March being upon us now, transitioning into spring is the next bright light on the horizon and that will bring more outdoor running, the start of my vegetable garden, the waning days of my strength training project and whatever else is waiting out there.

Until next time…

January 2017: annual plan, a Trekkie race, and back to training.

4 02 2017

It’s hard to believe January is over already.  It seems like just yesterday I was cheering the departure of Christmas TV commercials, congratulating myself for not getting drunk on New Year’s Eve, and wondering how the hell I was going to make it to spring without going as crazy as Reginald Barclay.


photo: Syfy Channel, caption: me

You remember Barclay, right?  The socially awkward Starfleet officer (affectionately known as “Broccoli” by his shipmates) who was afraid of the transporter, could barely get through a sentence and was a raging hypochondriac as well?  Sometimes I’m just one extra blizzard away from being quite as odd but in different ways.  And each January begs the question: will this be the year?

But none of that has happened yet.  We had a relatively dry month, annoying Christmas commercials are still gone and I haven’t found myself drunk or bonkers yet.  So far, so good.

I actually did run one race this past month — the annual virtual race for the Moon Joggers — this one being the U.S.S. Enterprise 5k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2.  I signed up for the 10k and ran that around my neighborhood on January 31 for this awesomely cool medal, and a chance to help their chosen charity with my $17.00 entry fee.


I sketched out a plan for the year as far as distance racing goes as well.  Thus far I have signed up for the following 10-plus milers:
May – Starved Rock Country 1/2 Marathon here in Illinois
June – Revel Rockies 1/2 Marathon in Denver
July – Waterfall Glen Extreme 10 Mile (a local heat and hills hell-fest)
August – Fort to Base 10 Nautical Miles (from an army base to a naval station in Illinois)
September – Rock-n-Roll Philadelphia 1/2 Marathon (and a 5k in NJ the same weekend)
October – Run Crazy Horse 1/2 Marathon in South Dakota.

Those six will keep my distance addiction satisfied and tally four more states on my quest for a race in all 50.  Since I only ran four states last year and need five annually to stay on the original timetable of all 50 by my birthday in December 2020, I am hoping to get six destination races run this year.  If I can squeeze in one more weekend trip with back-to-back Saturday/Sunday races in neighboring states (or do a pair with the Mainly Marathons bunch), I’ll stay on target.  We’ll see how it goes, money and time-wise.  This 50-state racing is not a cheap hobby.  But I don’t really spend much on anything else.  I drive a 2009 Hyundai, wear scrubs to work and dress like a gym rat the rest of the time, so what else is there?  I’m too old to spend it on booze, drugs and nightclubbing so I might as well do this.

Since my first half-marathon is in mid-May, I started a 16-week training program for that race a couple of weeks ago. After the full marathon last October, I really did get a bit sedentary by comparison.  I don’t think I ran more than 4 miles at once, and didn’t run at all after the snowfalls began and temperatures went sub-freezing.  This year, I’ve gone back to an old favorite called “Run Less Run Faster” by the Furman Institute.  I like the fact that it only has you running 3 days a week, and that you really do get faster.  Of course, I adapt it (translation: scale back some of the gruelingness) to suit my advanced age, slower speed and heavier body but it still gives me good results. Due to my tendency for overuse injuries, I follow my own schedule for an every-other-week long run which I started with a 5 miler and am advancing by 10-12% per outing until I get to a total of 12 miles a couple weeks before the half.

Cross-training-wise, I am slightly more than halfway through a 20-week muscle building program I started in November.  I didn’t do any heavy lifting during marathon training last year so I wanted to get back some of the strength I probably lost.  I’m enjoying it quite a bit, and if I wasn’t so chunky I know I’d have some nice muscle definition visible.  Along with the lifting and running, I also do a short HiiT or Tabata DVD a couple times a week too.  If I could win a big Lotto prize, I would quit my job and have enough time for yoga and stretching as well.  But that hasn’t happened yet, so I continue to neglect those more than I should.  Honestly if you did all the stuff they tell you in Runner’s World and on fitness websites, you’d need a household staff and a trust fund.  Because us ordinary schmoes with regular jobs and housework just don’t have the time to cover all the supposedly necessary bases.

So that’s about it for now.  My running club has its first circuit race tomorrow at 1:00 pm, The Winterfest 5k.  It’s supposed to be 40 degrees out and I hope that is true because I will not otherwise be feeling very festive.  But I’ll be there regardless.

‘Til next time…..Live Long and Prosper.