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Posts Tagged ‘trail racing’

Two quick things before I launch into my latest soap box…Sorry in advance for subjecting you to photos, once again, of me in that striped headband and my Lithia Loop Marathon shirt. I DO have lots of other running clothes, but these are just my absolute favorites.  And, for the full meal deal on the Ridgeline Ramble, see my race report post from today as well! 

I love it when you find someone at the end of a race that you can pace with – you push each other to the end, finish together and feel like you’ve known them for years. Saturday, that person was Liz. I knew I could keep up with her because I trusted my training. (See number 9 below)

So, I haven’t raced in over a year. And, while I have signed up for the McKenzie River Trail Run 50K on September 8th, I plan on running a few trail halves, and maybe a trail marathon, before hand. The Ridgeline Ramble 20K Trail Race was first on the list. Wow. It was an amazing day. It was amazing because  I felt trained. I felt qualified. I felt like I belonged there. It’s strange, even though I’ve done many races (most longer than 20K), I can honestly say that I felt the most ready for this one. Having had to start from square one after several months off last summer due to my myriad of foot injuries, made me a new and better runner. I got an awesome do-over.

Here is a list of reasons why I’m a better runner than a year ago:

1. I got humbled by injury and time off. You don’t miss it till it’s gone. Since I’ve been back to running, I have had NO complaints. I’m thankful each day I get to run. What a gift.

2. I cross train. Something was bound to break down with just running. I am surprised I went so long. Swimming is my cross training sport of choice. I go at least 3 times a week. It stretches everything out and I love using the pull buoy and paddles to work my core and upper body.

3. I got a coach. Well, not just ANY coach. The most incredible coach: Cathie Twomey Bellamy, owner of Eugene Running Club. I’m tearing up just typing her name. Simply put – she GETS me. All of me…my running, my weaknesses, my strengths, my quirkiness, my humor, my inner dialogue, my insecurities, my dreams. I have never had anyone who was in total understanding of my love of running while at the same time such an expert at helping me achieve my goals. And what a friend.

4. I LISTEN to my coach and followed the rules. (Because it’s not enough to just have a coach.) Especially when I was in the beginning of my back-to-running program, Cathie would tell me to report in on my runs and be uber honest – “Like I’m-staring-into-the-whites-of-your-eyes honest!” It was hard to admit when something hurt after running 5 minutes then to be told to back off or not run the next day. That was harder than hard. Like impossible. But I had trust. And it worked.

5. I lost 10 pounds. I didn’t try to really, I just quit eating most things with gluten and kept up two sports with biking thrown in on the side.  I don’t do a lot of substituting with gluten-free products. I just stay away from a lot more processed foods. Miracle is, I don’t really crave them now. It doesn’t feel like a struggle. I’ve always said bagels beget bagels. You have one on Monday, you want one on Tuesday kinda thing. I’ll have a burger and a beer on Saturday now and then and then I’m good to go for a while.

6. I have built a better aerobic running base. I used to go out and run 3, 4 or 5 mile runs during the week with a sort of lame speed workout consisting of 4 miles total (either a tempo, some intervals or mile repeats) and a long one on the weekend. Now, a speed workout is no shorter than 6 miles and my mid-week runs are easier, but longer. I’m running 40 mile plus weeks and feel great. Previous times I’ve tried that things fell apart and everything hurt.

7. I’m really enjoying running with lots of different people. How does this help your running, you ask? I’m not exactly sure, but it keeps things a-changin’. Some folks I run with are a bit faster, some are a bit slower, some go early, some go late, some go long, some go short, some are long-time runners, some are newbies. While I still cherish my solo runs, all of these friends share themselves liberally with me, so I really ENJOY their company and all the gifts they give me in my life.

8. I’m not so freaking anal about my training. Even though I have a coach and a big fat training plan for the 50K, I don’t feel tied to it like some sort of life-line that, if pulled, would send me flying and sputtering like a balloon loosing air darting across a room. I hook up with friends and work in my plan. Even with my full-time mommy, house boss job and trying to build RMR, I’m more flexible. Night swimming, post-drop-off running, running with kids on bikes, half a run with one friend, the other half with another, getting up at 4:30am to get in more mileage…all of these work ok if I just stay calm and keep running. I even take an extra rest day here and there when plans fall apart. The difference though is that it doesn’t leave ME falling apart mentally; worried that I’ll get behind.What I get is rested.

9. I’m learning to trust my training. I’ve often said that, but rarely actually felt like I could trust it. Building a base has made me stronger.

10. I’m looking inward, not outward for my rewards. I am happy with my accomplishments and like to share them, but, in general, I feel less of a need to plaster details about every single workout on Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to see people comment, laugh, offer support, lend a listening ear or be there to commiserate –and I am doing that on occasion–but right now it just feels nice to sit and treasure it.

I would love to hear what makes you a happy runner or a strong runner?

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What fun! Seriously, the 2012 Ridgeline Ramble was a hoot. There were many reasons for this day being one of the freaking best, so here they are! (Sorry, you know how I love lists.)

1. The weather was perfect (around 50, cool and cloudy with a promise of sun)

2. It started with awesome running peeps!

Carpooling with Ellen (right) was a fun treat and how can you see Piper’s awesome smile at the start and not have a fab day?!

3. Shuttle!

It smelled like sweat and we hadn’t even started running yet – love it!

4. I got to see old friends and they welcomed me with loving arms, smiles and stories of the past year!

I trained with Gary a few marathons ago. I felt like I was in high school bouncing on the school bus yapping away.

 

5. It was the first race I’ve done in over a year, so I was a bit wide-eyed and psyched up. (aka, got in the porta-potty line immediately!)

Danuta and I ramble-blabbing before the ramble run. (Sporty jacket, girlfriend)

 

6. It was a small, friendly, well-organized race (thanks to Eclectic Edge Racing!). Volunteers were great!

We are so lucky to have this trail in our own backyards! It’s nice to race at home.

7. And lucky # seven…. I felt READY to run, to race even. I placed 4th in my age group and I’m so happy about that. I felt strong and capable the entire way. This is a new feeling for me…to trust my training. I hadn’t toed-up to the line since recovering from my slew of foot problems, but I felt ready and oh so lucky to be running.

8. I trashed my quads! I know, this seems like an odd thing to be excited about. In my last podcast with Carolyn about her journey to the Western States 100 Endurance run, she talked about her current strategy of trashing her quads on the downhills. In other words, let your legs fly!

I leap-frogged with this gal, Liz, during the first half of the race and we finished really strong together. I noticed that she was a fast downhill runner, so I got inspired to trash away. It worked! The best part was that my quads weren’t really too bad off. I’ve been running lots of downhill lately, so they were surprisingly ready for me.

9. My buddies placed! Almost as much fun as running is cheering for your friends. Steph and Carley  (a new RMR Thursday group gal) both placed in their age group. Nice job, ladies!

Here’s Steph – who is one cool momma. We used to watch our now 8 YOs run around as toddlers, now they watch us run races!

10. We are so enjoying this new face and amazing woman share herself with us on our Thursday morning runs. And looky-here! She’s a winner!

She’s told us alot about herself in those wee hours, but she forget to tell us she’s fast!

 

My training plan calls for back-to-back runs now, so I ran again on Sunday, the day after the race. Of course, it was slow and short, but I was so excited to get out there….still high on Saturday’s fun!

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Deb & I warming up after 6 sweet miles

8 women, 2 dogs, 6 miles, 1 gallon coffee. That’s a recipe for a great morning…and it was! Run Momma Run’s first trail run gathering was, well, dark at first. For some reason I thought sunrise was around 6:45am, so I planned the run for 7:00. Fortunately, the first mile or so of trail 5 on Mt. Pisgah is dirt and gravel, so the one head lamp we had sufficed to get us through to sunlight. While we waited on the sun, we were treated to a hooting owl that seemed to get closer and closer as we hopped rocks and splashed through a few muddy puddles – perfect for an almost Halloween morning. Once we made it out into the grassy fields on the edge of the arboretum, the sun lit up the foggy clouds and we could see our way to the east gate. We stopped to take a picture mid-way and re-introduce ourselves since we could scarcely tell who was who when we started out. 6 miles later, we were warmed up, sipping coffee and swapping plans for runs and races. Thanks for a fantastic morning, ladies. You rock!

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