Run Doodle Run

The long road to 26.2


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Perspective

It’s funny what a little change in perspective can do for you. Last summer when my long runs were getting past the 5 mile mark, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to them. They seemed incredibly daunting and well, a bit painful. This time around, although they’re not in the realm of “easy” just yet, they’re not psyching me out nearly as much. 8 miles? No biggie.

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One of the things I love about the trail that I usually run on is how quiet it is. Usually I prefer to zone out and let the run happen, but as a former railroad, I also love looking around at the abandoned buildings along the trail. Two weeks ago when I did my 7 miler, I came through the same part of the trail that I hit for part of my run today and noticed a new building that I didn’t see last time (guess I was just really excited to get the run done with at that point last time). There are a number of abandoned buildings and they all look different as the seasons change. This is one that caught my eye today. There was no sign, so I’m not sure what it was or how long it’s been in disrepair, but it seemed like a great scene for a horror film or something.

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New trail

Hubby and I went for a run on a local paved trail this morning with our dog. I’m hoping to learn to like this trail be because a) it’s significantly closer to home, and b) unlike my usual trail, it’s paved with asphalt, which will hopefully condition my legs better for the beating of the roads during races. I really wasn’t expecting the bone pain Baltimore gave me. It’s very short and not nearly as scenic as my preferred trail, but it’s hard to argue with the convenience. We walked 3/4 of a mile to the trail and did just under 2 miles (out and back – told you it’s short) before walking another 3/4 mile back home. It was pretty quiet, as it was still early, and we even had some spectators on our return trip 🙂 weather permitting, we’ll be back out there tomorrow morning.

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Rebuilding

It’s amazing how quickly you can lose fitness and strength after a setback. Cardio-wise I don’t think I lost too much while off, but I definitely lost a lot of the strength I have built up. The perfect storm of finishing HM training at the same time that I had surgery and was put on a medication that made me ravenous was just a disaster in the making. It ended up not being as bad as I expected, but I still feel like I’m starting over from scratch. I went out for my first post-op run Sunday afternoon. I only planned to run 1 mile, which sounds so awful after having completed a HM just a few weeks ago, but it was a big deal for me. My form felt awful, and my legs were definitely much weaker. But aside from the achiness my lungs tend to get in the cold, I felt fine cardiovascularly. I stopped to walk for 30 seconds after about .3 miles and then at .5, but then ran the last .5 straight through, to complete 1.02 miles in 14:11 (13:49 pace). I have three weeks to get up to 5 miles, but luckily I think I have the psychological factor on my side – I know I can do it, I just need to remind my body that I can do it.

It’s amazing how much the trail has changed since I last ran on it. I mentioned back in October before my surgery that even in the week and a half since I ran it had changed a lot, but it seems to have changed even more in the last month. With all the leaves off the trees, I noticed a number of houses (some newer, some old and abandoned) along the trail, including one just behind the parking lot I parked in all summer. It turns out these two structures were part of the hotel that used to be there, along the train tracks. The picture didn’t turn out too well, but there are two buildings, about the same size, and just to the east of them you can see a stone wall that looks like it used to line the driveway.

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You can call me Rainbow Bright

So it seems that I have finally found a pair of lightweight, soft running shoes that feel good and look good! *cue the choir of angels*

Last week a pair of the much-adored Saucony Kinvara 3s arrived at my door, and I couldn’t have been happier. Everyone everywhere seems to love these shoes, so I was sure after the toebox issues with the Saucony Ride 5s, these were my shoes.  They’re super lightweight and a little cushiony and have some seriously awesome colors. I quickly tried them on and they felt fantastic, so I laced them up Thursday morning and hit the trails. Omg. Oww. Pain. The shoes themselves are fine, even with the lower heel-to-toe drop (4mm, instead of 12mm like my Ride 4s) – but the back of the shoe comes up super high and gave me awful blisters after just one mile. I can’t even remember the last time I got blisters from athletic shoes. Seeing as I had run one mile out, I had to make it back… that was the longest mile ever. All was not lost though – other than a bit of heel skin – as I did eek out a mile PR on the outbound trip. And another trip back to the UPS Store.

So after this run, out of frustration, I stopped at Dicks Sporting Goods on my way to the gym and picked up a pair of Brooks Pure Cadences. purecadence-o-opt1These shoes are part of the Brooks Pure Project, and are lightweight, cushiony, and flexible, with just a touch of stability. And did I mention it’s like running on clouds? I (hesitantly) took these shoes out for my 6 miler on Saturday. After Thursday’s mishap, I was a bit nervous to try these out on my long run, but the squishiness and hot pinkness were just too much to resist. I did, however, put my old shoes in my husband’s car, which we parked further down the trail with some water, in case we needed it. I definitely did not need to even think about changing shoes. Aside from a little bit of stiffness in the first mile or so, these shoes are a God-send. My feet and legs have never felt so good after a run – and best of all? No blisters! But let me tell you, the neon pink shoes look superhot with my neon green calf sleeve and my neon orange shirt… at least no one should hit me while running on the road! Unless they’re blinded by my neon-ness… In love

Our run took us down the trail (downhill) about 3 miles, before we veered off the trail (gasp!) and onto the road up a hill. If you look at the Baltimore Half elevation map, you notice it’s surprisingly hilly. I grew up in Baltimore and had no idea Baltimore had such hills. So in order to not get our asses handed to us by the streets, we are adding more and more hills into our training, aside from the 2-3% incline the trail gives us.Doc1This hill wasn’t long, but boy was it tough. The worst of it’s barely half a mile, but it’s really quite steep at parts – far steeper than I ever realized driving it. It was definitely tough, and now we know we really need to work on hills, but we conquered it. And all 6 miles of our run. In 1:16:53. Aside from a 1/2 mile walk break just before the big hill, we ran almost the entire distance, which is a huge step for me.

As if 6 miles Saturday wasn’t enough, we had a 5k race on Sunday evening at our favorite local vineyard, Boordy Vineyards. photo1It was a trail/road race, with the beginning and end of the race going through the fields around the vineyards, and the bulk of the distance on the paved road in front of the vineyard. When I think trail, I think grass and dirt and some bumps here and there, but this was more like off-roading than trail. There were divots everywhere, some of which could have easily broken an ankle or 50. It seemed like a lot of people were being fairly cautious on this part of the race, with good reason. The seriously uneven nature of the ground really aggravated my leg injury, and kept me in a fair bit of pain for most all of the race. But, I did something I have never done before in a race. I sucked it up and kept photo2moving. There were lots of times where I wanted to stop and walk, but I kept telling myself it wasn’t going to hurt any less if I walked, so keep running. And I’m glad I did – I got my self a shiny new PR Open-mouthed smile 36:59. Although I’m spending much of today with icebags strapped to my legs, I’m super thrilled that I’ve made so much progress in just two months. Back in June it took me 43:35 to get through the Baltimore Women’s Classic – that means that even with the injury issues, I’ve cut over 7 1/2 minutes in just 8 weeks. If I can do that much in 8 weeks, I can’t wait to see how much more I can do in the 8 weeks leading up to the half.

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On a side note, I’ve discovered a wonderful pre-run snack – Oatnut bread with honey. Super delicious. And if you can squeeze it in, a banana is a great accompaniment (or, if it doesn’t completely gross you out like it does me, cut the banana up and put it on the bread with the honey and some peanut butter).