Monday, November 11, 2013

Season in Review

Sorry all for being a major blog slacker, but my training and my pups have been keeping me pretty busy! Now that the season is over for me (I think) I feel like I finally have time for a recap of the season.

This year I started early on training for a road marathon and quickly found that I was absolutely bored out of my mind. I wanted to get back to trails. The shorter distance on the roads were great, exhilarating in fact, but the longer, slower runs on the road were a complete bore to me. So, I decided to change it up.  I've been working on speed since we got back from vacation and decided to work on a shorter 5k goal, one that I've been thinking about for awhile now. This would allow me to get my both my longer runs in on the trails and the fun, shorter, speedy road runs that I like too! The 5k goal became my #1 priority over all other races, and I think it did me well to focus on that goal for awhile. I reached my 5k goal at my second 5k of the year at the Ritley Run in Perry.

After reaching my 5k goal my new goal was to focus on Bills' Bad Ass 50k in November.  I set a time goal, but within two weeks reached that pace during training so I then had to re-evaluate and set a new goal. I could've just left it at that I suppose - but I wanted to work hard. What fun is setting a goal if you are certain you can meet it?!  Setting a goal that you are sure you can meet is neither fun nor exciting to me. Working towards the unknown is such a thrill.  I spent nearly every weekend on the Bills' course - at least one day anyway. The only two weekends I missed were weekends in which I raced longer races - The Green Monster Mountain Race (25k) and the Run With Scissors (marathon).


The Green Monster Mountain race is a race I scheduled, literally, at the last moment. I found out about it the week of the event, and signed up for it the last day of registration.  I debated for a bit on signing up for this one, but in the end decided to do it with the sole purpose of going to PA to check out the area in a fairly controlled setting. I'll be racing Eastern States 100 in August in the same general area, so I wanted to get a feel for what I'm in store for, wanted to get a feel for what exactly I had to train for. This race was a true mountain race with 4,000 feet of elevation gain for the 25k.  It was incredible! I wish I had that kind of terrain in my backyard! I went to the race with zero expectations, did not taper, and even did my regular hill repeats that week - but was very pleased to come out with 4th place for the women.

After Green Monster I ran another 5k. This one was a bit unexpected as well.  I had come down with a cold and wanted to wait another day (Sunday instead of Saturday) before I ran my 25 miler for the week. I was hoping it would get better somehow in one day haha. I saw there was a 5k down the road so I started to think about running it. That night (Friday night) I was feeling so bad I decided that I would not set my alarm, and if I woke up in time to make it to the race fine - and if not then that must mean I needed my sleep and to do just that. As it turned out I did wake up in time (much to my surprise) and half grumpily headed to the race.  I didn't run a great time there - but an amazing thing did happen (and probably will never happen again!) I took the race. Men's/women's, I came in first overall! This was truly shocking to me. It wasn't too shocking during the race - say for the first mile because I have a nasty little habit of starting out way to fast. ALWAYS.  But once the first mile hit and I was still in front I was shocked. I turned around to see where the closest person was and got even more shocked.  From that point on it was just adrenaline.  I finally broke the tape at a finish line!! What an unusual and great feeling!

Next up: Run With Scissors Marathon
I've always wanted to run RWS.  It looked like a fun race. This year it worked out perfect with my Bills' Bad Ass training schedule - It would be my last long run before then.  The week of the race I still had my nasty cold and was a little bummed by that. I went to the doctor, something I don't do very often, and was hoping he could do something - but knowing that he probably couldn't. Doc was honest and did not give me anything - and told me the normal "Get lots of sleep and drink lots of water".  He even told me not to take any over the counter meds, as they could make the duration of my cold longer and symptoms even more severe-which surprised me. I enjoyed that honest bit of information! I followed orders and got lots of sleep (LOTS).  I wasn't feeling 100% by Run With Scissors but I was definitely feeling MUCH better than before. I again had no expectations for this race other than trying to maintain my goal pace for BBA.  Much to my surprise I wound up finishing in first place/females for the marathon! I received a nice trophy and got to pick out new shoes (which I gave to hubby).  It was a fun race and I definitely would love to do it again next year if recovery from Eastern States and my brother's wedding ;-) go well.

Fast forward to Bills' Bad Ass 50k:
Two weeks later and it was time for BBA! The first time I ran this race I was a bit unprepared, and BBA was a bit of a shocker! This time I told myself I would be ready! Again I spent nearly every weekend on the Bills' course trying to improve the previous weeks time. I met lots of new runner friends while doing so, and got reacquainted with old ones. There were group runs and solo runs. Long runs and short runs. Bad runs and good runs. Then just as fast as training began, it was over. Time for the race! Both Chef Bill and Wild Bill put on such a fun, great event. If you're lucky, you'll get screamed at during the race from the great bullhorn. You're almost guaranteed to get screamed at going up the hill for the last mile!  Yes you're tired, but it really puts a smile on your face when you hear it. It almost makes you forget about the climb. Almost! It was great seeing so many runner friends at BBA. So many friends did so well - got PR's, ran their first 50k (congrats awesome newbies!!), ran a great race after running a double marathon 2 weeks before, and one strong lady running through cancer....hearing and seeing people's personal achievements is always so amazing! You just never know what you're capable of until you try!  As for me, I had a good day - I came smack in the middle of my original goal and my revised goal. That got me a 50k PR, first female and third overall. Getting a 50k PR and on the Bills' course made my day even more! Two days later and I'm pretty shocked at my recovery time - it's pretty much nonexistent. No sore muscles, no aches and pains (I am milking some massages from the hubby though haha shhhhhh!!!) I'm feeling good and ready to get focused on Eastern States training. Lots of Ohio and Canadian running friends are going so it should be one fantastic party in the woods, and I just can't wait!