Friday, January 31, 2014

Snow in Your Eye 2014

Tomorrow is the final race in the Mud in Your Eye Cross Country series, an 8k. 
I was feeling very good about my positioning going into this race, but the universe must have thought I was too arrogant and needed to knock me down a few pegs. If I want to win my age group I am going to really have to dig deep. My almost 2 minute lead might not be enough.
Last Wednesday I woke slightly sick and during a coughing fit I wrenched my back and that little sickness turned into a big lethargic fever that lasted for 3 days. The back pain, regardless of the 4 chiropractic sessions, muscle relaxers, heat, ice, electric stimulation, stretches, and anything and everything else I know to do is lingering.
Oh and if that wasn’t bad enough, did I mention the 8 inches of snow that Virginia Beach got in one fall?  Eight inches that has the kids out of school and work cancelled. That snow is going to make the course a mess. It was 33* yesterday, today it will be in the 40’s and tomorrow has the high near 60*! The course is going to muddy and therefore slippery, just what my delicate back does not need.
Snowmageddon 2014
So I am slightly undertrained, have a sore back, and the course is going to be a technical nightmare, everything epic stories or long winded rants are made of! Please wish me luck and send positive vibes my way! I’ll post the outcome as soon as I can! Hopefully, it will be a good one. 😄

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. Romans 5:3

Sunday, January 19, 2014

MIYE 2014, Race #2

Mt. Trashmore
Race number 2 is in the books. In stark contrast from last week's warm weather, it was only 39* at the start. Cold for us coastal Virginians. The course was muddy in spots and the hills were steep to say the least. The route had us looping around and up the hills of Mt. Trashmore twice. I was really not prepared for those hills and tried to make up time on the flats as best as I could.
The first part of the race was flat and I tried to settle into a quick pace as I knew I would be slowing down once I hit the first hill. After that hill, which was short and steep, I felt like I had 10# sandbags on each ankle and was in desperate need of an oxygen tank. Unfortunately for me, it was nothing in comparison to the second hill that is so steep it has steps for people to climb. I swear it is a 90% grade. Mountain goats have trouble getting up it.
I passed these two on the first lap. They are agile, but not fast.
The third hill is long and gradual with a small bump in the middle, which only served to fake me out (twice), because at the end of the 3rd hill there is a quick steep downhill that I was really looking forward to. That hiccup in the middle had me thinking my reprieve was only steps away, which only served to crush my spirit once I realized it wasn't. :/ Somehow, I managed to go on. During the second loop, the oxygen deprivation was really doing a number on me. I was so zoned out I missed the turn to head up the really steep hill with stairs again. Or maybe it was my body's way of telling me that I really didn't need to go up that fricken mountain again?!?! Anyway, I realized my mistake quickly and made it up the Mountain, but not before a teenager galloped past me like a gazelle.
After a little more running and questioning myself as to why I inflict such pain on myself, I finally made it to the very top of Mt. Trashmore and pretty much the end of the course. All that was left was to cruise down the hill and through the finish line.  There were three men in front of me, including that 15 yo (to be exact). I picked him off first. He might be able to beat me up the hills, but I was going to beat him down. I trotted down that hill with big galloping steps picking off a 37 year old next. Did I mention I am 38? Then at the start of the finishers shoot I caught up to another guy, who didn't like that I was about to pass him and we sprinted it out. I did end up beating him and could hear him giving me props (thank you, btw). I wish I could run that fast an entire race. I did the same thing last week. I am starting to think I need to find some 40 yard dashes to compete in. The pain would only last a few seconds, rather than 30 minutes. 
I ended up finishing in 30:30 for an 8:11 pace. I really thought it was slower than that, but I am very happy with my end time, even though my pacing was all over the place and I walked twice at the top of the hills.
2nd out of 11 in 35-39 age group
9th out of  50 female finishers
41st out of 159 racers overall
Team place 1st!
One more race to go! An 8k on Virginia Wesleyan's cross country course in two weeks. As of now I should be the 5th place female by 36 seconds (#4 is in a different age group). Randi (my running buddy) is 3rd overall and in my age group. I would have to make up 1:59 to tie it up with her.  Hopefully, I will sprout wings and make up almost 2 minutes over the course of the race and move into 3rd or she will place overall and leave me to take first in our age group, IF I can keep my lead of 1:48. Such a close race! I love this series! Anything can happen!
Check back in two weeks to see how it ends!
You can read about the first race here.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Mud in Your Eye 2014, Race #1

MIYE #1, 5k
Bells Mills Cross Country Course
If memory serves me correctly, the last time I ran this race it was cold, the ground was frozen, we started at the top of a hill which we ran down. Other than that it was a pretty flat course.
I know I am getting older and my memory might not be what it once was, but man, I was not expecting that course. It was hard.  It was a wet, soggy, muddy mess and I believe by the end, I was just as muddy as some of the mud runs I have done. I slipped with every step.  I swear, not only did we start the race going downhill last time; there were more muddy hills to run up this time. (I am probably making the last part up. I am sure the topography didn’t change, but the start did. True story.)
Thankfully, it was at least warm, almost 70* by race time. It was overcast and the rain had subsided. But that didn't help the fact that course conditions had me huffing and puffing, like I was sprinting. In reality, I ended up pacing an 8:33 mile, for a 26:29 finish time.
2nd out of 14 in 35-39 age group
5th out of 58 female finishers
38th out of 140 racers overall
Team place ???

I didn’t beat my time from 3 years ago.  I guess that is ok. :/ The course conditions were way different. Mud = slow. I am about 40 seconds behind my friend for first place in our age group and the woman behind me is only 25 seconds back.

Tomorrow is race #2, a 6k at Mt. Trashmore. It is truly a hilly course. I just hope that it isn’t muddy. Right now it’s suppose to be 36* but clear at race time.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Mud In Your Eye is coming up!!!

This weekend is the first of 3 races in the Mud in Your Eye Cross Country Series. I ran it for the first and only time in 2011. I was a novice runner and to didn't have many races under my belt.  Long story short, going into race 3 I was in third place for my age group, which I was ecstatic about! I couldn't believe it. I knew what I had to do to keep 3rd. The first and second place runners were minutes ahead of me so there was no catching them and the 4th place runner was minutes behind me. I felt safe, confident and happy that I would take home 3rd. To my surprise at the end of race three, while we were waiting for the awards, I took a quick look at the result sheet and I was in first. I was confused and thought it was a misprint or I was reading it wrong! Nope. #1 didn't show for race three and I think #2 rolled her ankle on a pine cone, because I ended up beating her by a considerable amount of time, pushing me to first and her to like 3rd or 4th. I felt bad for her, but as you can imagine, very happy for me and a first place finish.

This year I am looking to not only to improve my times on these courses by a good 2 to 4 minutes per race, I am looking to get a fair and square place, hopefully first place. I'm proud of my performance 3 years ago, but I am a much more experienced and fit runner than I was back then, so I am anxious and excited to see how I do.

Race #1 is a 5k at Bells Mill Park. Race #2 is a 6k up and down the hills of Mt. Trashmore (no that isn't a typo, it is landfill turned park). And race #3 is an 8k on the cross country course of VA Wesleyan College. I am looking forward to seeing how I have changed and improved in these past three years.

So much has changed in my life since then and I have so many races under my belt and miles on my legs. I do speed work and tempo runs now. My  running wardrobe has for sure improved! I now own tech clothes. I think I  wore wind pants, a long sleeve cotton t-shirt with a cotton t-shirt over that last time, maybe a hoodie? I didn't own a sweaty band or a Garmin and Lululemon might not have existed? At least not to me! It's funny how things change. Well, please wish me luck!

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we can not see. Hebrews 11:1

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Pretty Organized!

  I am determined to organize my running life! In the past I either wrote my training plans in my calendar. (You know, back when people used paper and pencil calendars. I really miss those!) Now that I use my iPhone's calendar to keep track of my appointments, kids games, etc...I have been printing monthly calendars from Outlook and using those to track my training. As you can see it's pretty messy and disorganized. Not something that this self professed neat freak enjoys looking at.
So when Run Pretty Far put out their 2014 Calendar and I saw how pretty it was, I knew that I couldn't go into the new year, with new running shoes, new goals, and new training plans, without it!
I uploaded the free pdf to Office Max. Ten dollars and a day later I came home with this little number.
Cute, right?
It has great motivational quotes, area's for your goals, mileage and recap area. Plus it's so colorful, who wouldn't want to use it?
Plus it's free! To get yours click here!
Thanks RPF!
How do you record your training plans and track your mileage? I'm not too much for online spreadsheets and programs, but I like organization. This keeps me organized and I get to write and doodle all I want. Reminds me of the good ol' days.
The Lord will work out his plans for my life. Psalm 138:8

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

It is going to be a great 2014. I can feel it! Looking back at 2013 I have so much to be thankful for. I have an amazing family that I love very much. I have been blessed with great friends that I consider family. I have made new friends that I can tell will be lifelong. I have a fulfilling career. I have been fortunate to be able to run (a lot) and share my love of fitness with you all. I was able to coach my son’s soccer team, what an amazing experience that was! And I have been able to strengthen my faith and see the positive effects of that faith in my life.
I’ve tidied up my blog a bit too. My race calendar and my about me sections were updated along with my buttons. One of my goals last year was to focus more on my family and not let tedious to do lists and time wasters interfere with enjoying life as it’s lived, I hope to continue that into the new year and beyond. I also want to try and live more JOYfully, putting God and others before myself. I have always struggled with this and hope I can reflect back at the end of 2014 knowing I did a better job.
As for my running goals, I have decided to cut back on distance races and focus on shorter races, like 5 and 8k’s. I have always enjoyed racing those distances and I think it will help improve my speed. I’d also like to complete 800 miles this year. I signed up for the 14 in 14 Challenge, but I’m not going to go after 14 races like I did 13.  I do have two long races scheduled, The Cherry Blossom 10 miler and The Diva Half Marathon and of course I am looking for a sub 1:50 half time! To do that, I really will have to focus on my training for one race and not try to fit in multiple races on top of that training. If I can do that, I might start my long term plan to,….tackle a full marathon in the next 2-3 years. Phew I said it, well I wrote it.
I wish you all the best in 2014!