50 Miler – Week 20 Recap – Another Week of 80 Miles!

Hitting 80 miles the week before was exhausting and truth be told I did not want to go that high in miles again.  However, I realized with a certain half marathon (I’m going to taper for) and a weekend away visiting family and the Spartan race on the calender, it was time to step up my game and suffer just a little bit more.

Monday – REST! Seriously  I don’t think I loved my rest days as much during marathon training as I do now.

Tuesday – 11.5 Miles
For the first time in what seemed like forever but was only a month, I woke up earlier to run.  Did some mile repeats for about 5 miles at average pace of 7:28.  Felt good to sweat that early again.  However, the wake up is still a struggle.  I ran about 6.5 miles during lunch.  I thought I would struggle after the Cox Marathon but finished in under 52 minutes on incline 3 on the evil work treadmill.  It’s funny how the days you expect bad runs, the good ones pop up.

Wednesday – 16 Miles
My big day of double runs! 8 miles outside on the Charles at what I thought was a fast pace but since I had no Garmin and Runkeeper stopped working on my phone, I’m not too sure.  My evening run almost stopped after 1 mile when it started to downpour on me.  Luckily, I have my basement treadmill and I finished the last 7 in about 8 minute pace.  It felt great!

Thursday – 7 Miles
Ran on the Charles for about an hour for about 7 miles in a relaxed pace. Figured I should use some recovery miles after two days of double runs. People watched and enjoyed the sunshine!

Friday – 4.5 Miles
Planned for 6, was making great speed on incline 3 during lunch when my hamstring suddenly felt tight.  It hurt to continue running and so I immediately stopped and foam rolled like crazy.  I ain’t risking an injury over an extra mile or two! Felt pretty cranky rest of the evening and kept stretching.

Saturday – 23.7 miles!  
My favorite run!  Ran with one of my favorite trail running buddies.  We ran about 13 miles together on different trails in the fells.  After we parted, I got the brilliant idea to run the reservoir trail on my own and took a nice little stumble on mile 20 pretty much bruising up my whole right side.  Between the fall last week and the fall this week, I probably will not be wearing dresses or skirts to work for a while. Yea, if you want to lose the will to run, fall on the end of your run, that did it.  Overall I finished over 20 miles on the trail (the rest were roads) and was on my feet for 5 hours.  I think that was successful enough even with the fall.  Plus whatever issue I’m having with the tight hamstring doesn’t seem to be an issue when I run trails.  Now if only I could learn to lift my legs more so I can stumble less.

I did come across a few heat issues and more bruises than just from falling.  My arm fat chaffed a little (okay a lot) where my triceps should be, and my camelbak which never had an issue before cut into my neck.  I might start wearing bandaid or something to have an extra layer between skin and my camelbak.  Anyone have better suggestions?  Basically aside from my feet where I was well prepared, my skin was feeling pretty raw =(.

Sunday – 18 Miles
I wanted to do about 20 miles because I figured whats better than a back to back 20 miler.  However, I lasted 3 and half hours running and figured between the trails and the rain, it was good enough.  Final round out about 13 miles on trails, 3 on the road and 2 on the treadmill after I had enough for the rain and my Camelbak trying to cut my neck off.  I ran about 2 miles with Tony before he left me and about 11 with some TARC friends. While I love running on the roads alone, I really enjoy company on the trails.  I didn’t track pace too much outside the treadmill run which was about 8:10 pace for the last 2 miles. Trails varied between 11 to 13 depending on the trails and if I had to go downhill.

 Total Miles – 81

Total Feelings – Legs & body feel great, but starting to feel like I always lack time to live!

TARC Spring Classic Review

I ran the TARC Spring Classic race on April 28th 2012.

The race had several options 10K, Half Marathon (which Tony did), Marathon & 50K. I got very ambitious and signed up for the 50K. Due to recent knee pain and being completely unprepared I DNFed the race. I’ll go more into the reason why later. However, this won’t stop me from reviewing and mentioning how awesome the race was!

The four races are hosted by a group called the Trail Animal Running Club. The races were very low-key with amazing volunteers. There was a total of 300-400 runners. Because there was no chip system in place the registration fee was only $20. No race expo, no selling you crap you don’t need but want, just pure simple running.

The 10K started at 8AM and the other races at 8:15. The race was held in Weston, MA. A place I haven’t visited before but was in awe how pretty all the houses are. Tony and I got there at 7:45AM to get our bib numbers. We then hid in the car trying to stay warm as it was about 45 degrees outside.

The Hobo hat came back from my closet for a visit. You may laugh but it’s so warm!

Neither of us have ever done a trail race before. We haven’t even taken a trail run; even though we’re two miles away from Middlesex Fells Reservation, before. Needless to say we were nervous and excited to start.

We originally planned on staying together. I was running with a gimp leg and figured running with Tony would be a smart pacing strategy vs. me trying to compete with everyone around me. However that did not work out.

The course was a 10K loop. You do 5 loops to complete a 50K. In order for the half marathoner and marathoners to get their exact distance they had a small little mini loop in the beginning of the trail. The full marathon people did this mini loop twice. So within 1 minute Tony and I said our goodbyes and went on our separate ways.

The course was a mix of fire roads (30%) and single track trails (70%).  What I thought was going to be an easy flat trail was anything but flat. While there were no switchbacks and miles upon miles of decent, the single tracks were a constant up and down experience. Lots of rocks, lots of twigs, and a few muddy creeks.

The first loop (10K) went by great! I felt strong, I felt awesome! I felt like a movie star running through the woods of a zombie scene.

All the photography was done by the creek or on the fire roads so needless to say I have real photos for the single track trail part.

I saw the clock said either 50-55 minutes when I finished the first loop. I grabbed two Gu chumps from the fuel table and ran on my way. More on how awesome the fuel/water station was later.

The second loop I think was my fastest. I knew what to expect, I knew where to go and I felt more confident about myself. Well almost. Me and the creeks… Well..

I was running in new shoes and really did not want to get them too muddy!

I hit my second loop/ 20K at about 1:50. I looked around for Tony but he was busy being a beast of his own so I grabbed two more Gu Chumps and made my way.

Somewhere in the middle of my third loop, my gimp leg/knee woke up and decided its time to stop running. I slowed my pace and did a half run half walk type of thing. I finished my 30K somewhere around 3:20 where I found Tony waiting for me.

This guy finished the half in 2:21!

Looking back, I probably should have signed up for just the half. I don’t think my body was ready for the complexity of trail running to that distance. I should not have run in Asics that are half a size too big on me. While it’s okay to wear shoes a little big for road running to prevent some toenail losses, such was not the case with trails. I have the blisters to prove it.

The course had a single aid/fuel station that you passed by each time you completed a loop. The volunteers were super cool and refilled all your water bottles for you and gave you anything you needed. Because it was a 10K trail with no water stops people were strongly encouraged to run with a water bottle. I ran the first loop without mine but grabbed it off the grass on the second loop. I’m used to running 15 miles without water so given the cold weather I wasn’t too concerned for just 6 miles. I mixed water with a nuun hydration tab and mostly relied on that for hydration.

In addition to water & Gu Brew the race provided, everyone was asked to bring one snack from one type as designated by the last letter of your last name. This created an almost trail running pot luck picnic! After I DNFed, I munched on delicious brownies, pretzels, sweet potato chips and s’mores. I wanted to make sure that for every calorie I burned, I took in 3x as much back into my body.

Could I have finished the race? Yes, I think I could have finished in between 5 to 6 hours. Although the pace would have been slow for me, it was a pace that more than half the people finished at. However, poor Tony forgot to bring his school books so I felt bad making him wait for me as I hiked/ran 20K more. I think judging by the blisters I got from my half-size too big shoes, it was a good idea to stop as well or at least to change my socks. As much as it hurt my pride, I walked away and went home. I did end up doing a small hike by my house with a friend so maybe I could mentally add that to my mileage towards the 50K.

Also how could I not forget, I got to meet two of my Daily Mile friends! I think this was one of my favorite parts of the race. Putting faces to people who support and motivate me on a daily basis. I think I seem a little dazed in my internal struggle to want to run, but I really did enjoy meeting people in real life and wish I had time to stick around more.

Aside from a bruised ego I walked away with a new love for trail running. I love the support and spirit of all the runners. Instead of a competition, I felt as I was part of a community. The cool part is that TARC often has small group runs in the Blue Hills (south of Boston) and the Fells (North of Boston by me) on weekends. I intend to try to make as many of those as possible. That way, by the time the Summer TARC classic 50K comes I’ll be ready!

Liana – An Ultra Runner or a DNF?

I’m going to insert some parts of my email regarding my trail race in 10 days. I’m super excited. I might finish with a DNF but we’ll see. I signed up for the 50K and depending on the trail, I might not be ready (I’ve never done a trail race before). B I’m just going out there to have fun and maybe make new friends! B Tony is doing the half so we’ll stick together for the first 13 miles since I’m not really racing. B Registration was under $20 so can’t complain for that either.

“WHAT TO BRING:

Adhering to “FatAss” ultra running traditions, we provide H2O, GU Brew, PB&J, boiled potatoes and turkey sandwiches and you guys provide the rest – so we ask that everyone bring something with them for the aid station bkind of like a pot-luck feast! Just bring one item b no need to go to Costco! All leftovers go to needy folks at local food banks (and chubby RDs 😉. Please follow the table below for what to bring:

Last Name
Begins With: Item to Bring
A b J Sweet (cookies, brownies, candy, trail mix, granola bars, etc.)
K b L Fruit (bananas, oranges, watermelon (pre-cubed), etc.
M b S Salty (pretzels, Cheez-its, Doritos, potato chips, saltines, etc.)
T b Z 2 Liter bottle of soda – NO CANS PLEASE (Coke or Mountain Dew)

THE COURSE:
The course is 70% single track trail and 30% fire road and runs through beautiful thick woods. The terrain is mostly smooth with some btoe catchersb -roots and rocks b and a couple of small streams to hop/cross. There are a few modest hills but this is a fast course as trail runs go. The course layout is a10K loop which starts and finishes in the same place.

TIMING and RESULTS: In order to keep the registration fees low we do not use a chip timing system. Therefore, we will be manually recording your finish times only and will do our best to get the results posted on Ultrasignup.com as quickly as possible. Thus, if you are running multiple loops and want to keep track of your split times, plan on wearing one of those fancy watches with a split counterb&..we know you all have them! )I don’t =( B hope there’s cell signal. )
AFTERWARDS
Since we are holding four races at different distances on a 10k loop course, it affords the opportunity for those runners that finish early to see and cheer on the rest of the pack as they pass through the start/finish aid station. Trail runners are a close knit community and one of our endearing characteristics is we believe in supporting each other b regardless of our stature or speed bbecause itbs all about the personal challenge. So plan bringing a change of cloth and a folding chair and come hang out at the finish afterwards to cheer on the runners and meet some of your fellow Trail Animals b donbt worry,only our mascot bites 😉

SOME FUN:
In Trail Animal tradition, we start every race TARC hoot/holler/howl, so donbt ignore this aspect of your training! Our beloved mascot may even make an appearance.

I’m so excited I can squeal (or start howling now)! B This is the part about running & nature that I love!

I took Tuesday & Wednesday as rest days. B The heat played a number on my body and I’ve been feeling sluggish all week. B Ran a slow 7 milers on the treadmill on Thursday in 65 minutes at 3 incline. B It was sweaty, it was hot and I wanted to quit. B I stayed because next time I’m running a race and its 90 degrees, I will be ready.

Frogs Legs and Trail Racing

A couple of days ago, I asked Tony how’d he feel about driving me 2 hours south to Rhode Island so I can do another marathon two days before Boston. B He responded absolutely not. B Puppy dog teary eye didn’t work on him so I gave up. B Luckily, that didn’t deter me too much. B Instead I looked up other events in the area. B I signed up for a half May 12th that we’ll run together. B However, something loomed in the back of my mind.

Eureka! B I suddenly remembered that a dailymiler friend of mine was doing a marathon at the end of April. B I initially looked at it and decided not to do it because I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to recover from Boston (before I became the crazy addict I currently am just a few weeks later). B This race is the TARC Spring Classic.

Much to my disappointment the race was sold out (with only a $20 registration fee who can blame them); however, there was a waitlist. B Its also only 20 minutes out of Boston! B I signed up for that, and somehow signed up for the 50K instead of the marathon. B Whats a few more miles right? B I can crawl them! B Besides it was just a waitlist, I didn’t really expect space to open up.

Today, I got an email saying I’m off the waitlist and to confirm that I’m still interested. B Of course! B Who doesn’t view a 50K as the best way you can spend a Saturday morning.

So now, a month after running my first marathon, I’m doing my first Ultra as well as my first trail race. B My Daily Mile friend said the course is fairly flat and not that trail intense. B I’m putting my trust in her and hoping I don’t lose a limb on this excursion.

My work cafeteria gets creative sometimes and decided to serve something new:

Yup, frog butts in cream sauce. B It was french cuisine and that was what was in the hot station. B I guess they ran out of chicken?

Some more running motivation borrowed from Runner’s World. B I’m slowly catching up on my long list of magazines to read.

If this guy can do it at 81, me and my 25 year old bag of bones have no excuse!

I’m still amazed that until 1972 females were not allowed to run the Boston Marathon. B Nina and other runners like her are an inspiration to us all!

Have you ever ran a trail race? B Whats the biggest difference? B How should I prepare? B I know I’ll have to carry my own fuel belt and I might get some less slipper sneakers. B Any tips?