Boston Marathon 2014 Race Recap

For those of you who just want to read the Boston Marathon race recap, you might want to just scroll down. Additionally, there are some fabulous pictures of the elites at the bottom of this post.

Excuses:

I’ve been pretty busy writing the first chapter of my dissertation over the past several months; I feel guilty when I do any writing other than dissertation writing. Thus, while I had the very best of intentions for this little blog of mine, I failed to chronicle any of my marathon training leading up to Boston.

Training:

Below is a link to a PDF file of the training plan I followed.  It’s a hybrid of the Intermediate and Advanced training plans in the Runner’s World Big Book of Marathon and Half-Marathon Training. For me, the biggest difference in training was going from running 5 days a week to 6 days a week as well as a major increase in peak mileage.

BOSTONTRAINING

Training leading up to the marathon was fairly uneventful, which is just how I like it– no major injuries, no failed workouts, no bonking on the long runs. I did, however, experience a minor, but nagging, pain in my hamstring.  I didn’t think much of it during training but it turned out to be a problem on race day.

Boston Leading Up to the Marathon:

My lovely parents decided to fly out all the way from Oregon to spectate the race and cheer me on. They’ve also never seen New England, so on Wednesday before the race we drove from our place just outside of DC to Plymouth, where we stayed in a little B&B for two nights. We visited Plimoth Plantation, saw the Mayflower II, visited an old cemetery, tasted at a winery and a distillery, and poked around the town.

These kids came all the way from Oregon just to see me.

These kids came all the way from Oregon just to see me.

Mike and I at Dirty Water Distillery in Plymouth.

Mike and I at Dirty Water Distillery in Plymouth.

Dad and I taking pictures of the Mayflower II

Dad and I taking pictures of the Mayflower II

B&B in Plymouth

B&B in Plymouth

From there we drove to Waltham, where we stayed through race day.  We visited Sleepy Hollow Cemetery where we saw author’s ridge, Lexington Green, and the Old Manse (Emerson’s grandfather’s house where Emerson stayed for a time as well as Hawthorne, and where many Transcendentalists of the 19th century gathered); we walked all the way around Walden Pond, saw Paul Revere’s House, went to the Old North Church for Sunday service where they served communion out of silver that King George gave to the church, saw the Ducklings on Boston Common as well as St. Gaudens relief of the 54th Massachusetts, watched the Red Sox beat the Orioles (boo!), and of course went to the Marathon Expo.

Dad being goofy with Thoreau

Dad being goofy with Thoreau

Walking the perimeter of Walden

Walking the perimeter of Walden

Dad reading a passage from Walden at Walden and reading out of his old teaching copy that I also used to study for my comprehensive exams.

Dad reading a passage from Walden at Walden and reading out of his old teaching copy that I also used to study for my comprehensive exams.

Mom may or may not have edged out the kids playing with the ducklings so she could take a picture.

Mom may or may not have edged out the kids playing with the ducklings so she could take a picture.

Fenway

Fenway

The expo!

The expo!

I forgot how electric the atmosphere in Boston is before the marathon. There were runners proudly wearing their Boston Marathon gear from the current year as well as past years.   As more and more runners flocked to the city, the T was overloaded with passengers carrying shoe bags, expo bags, tiger tails, and foam rollers. Runners chatted on the trains about whether or not this was their first Boston marathon, and I was surprised at how many runners continue to come back to this race again and again.

Of course, this year was special. The bombings of 2013 affected everyone in the running community whether they were at the marathon or not. The attack felt personal to me despite the fact that I wasn’t involved in that year’s race. The history of racing, especially the marathon, is one that chronicles what the human spirit is capable of; it showcases  our ability to persevere through pain and mental fatigue; it’s a joyful celebration of athletic talent, a celebration of doing something that seems almost superhuman. Regardless of pace, anyone who has run a marathon has taken part in that triumph, celebration, and joy. At the 2013 marathon, some one tried to shatter the spirit of this race, so it’s no wonder that the B.A.A. had to increase the field to accommodate not only those runners who didn’t get to finish last year, but also the thousands of runners who wanted to respond to the attacks by heading to Boston in 2014. I think that for many runners racing in 2014 was an act of defiance, a way to prove that we aren’t intimidated by what happened, it was a response to terror, and a statement of resilience, and I feel so fortunate to have taken part in this year’s race.

Athlete’s Village:

I was lucky to have a buddy along to hang out with in Athlete’s Village. Liz is an old family friend who has become an avid and impressive runner. Girl runs a 3:13 marathon… that’s around a 7:21 average split! We car pooled to Hopkinton, where we dodged cops and narrowly missed the street closures thanks to our stealth driver, Liz’s dad, Rod. We arrived around 7:45-ish and had 2 hours to kill before they started to release our wave.

Liz and me in our Target/Thriftstore throw-away clothes before the race.

Liz and me in our Target/Thriftstore throw-away clothes before the race.

Also: SO.MANY.PEOPLE! I did NOT remember it being so crowded. Toilet paper was running out in the porta-potties despite an increased number of units. I got lucky and always found potties with TP though I did have a contingency plan of using my throwaway gloves if the need arose. Security, corral release, food, and porta-potties were all organized amazingly well. Boston had a tough race to pull off due to large numbers and increased security, but they pulled through with flying colors.

The Actual Race Recap:

Miles 1-10 were fabulous. The energy of the crowd was amazing. I chatted with other runners, high-fived every little kid I could reach, waved at people, and couldn’t stop smiling. The weather, however, was hot. I remember thinking in the first mile that I felt dry, so immediately I knew I’d have to hydrate more than I had in training.

Obviously, I was still feeling good in these photos.

Obviously, I was still feeling good in these photos.

Marathon

Marathon

The need for extra hydration led to some problems. One of my main goals for this marathon was to fuel better. I knew I needed to be taking in more calories than I had in the past, so I’d been using Bonk Breakers cut up into eight small pieces during my long runs. They pack 250 calories total, and I take two pieces at miles 6,8,12, and 14. From there, I take two GU chomps at miles 18, 20, and 22.  However, all the extra water didn’t sit well with the Bonk Breaker and I felt full and heavy for a good part of the race as a result.

Around mile 18 or 19 I got a really bad side stitch that made breathing painful, and I felt myself going to a dark, slow place.  Up through mile 17 or 18, I was holding around a 7:40 pace which had me all set for a PR and another BQ. But once again, I completely fell apart around mile 20. It wasn’t because of nutrition this time– despite the uncomfortable fulness, I definitely fueled well and should have had enough energy to finish strong. This time, the problem was pain. Running a marathon always hurts, and I’m pretty tough. But it’s hard for me to know what kind of pain is safe to push through and what kind of pain means I should pull back.

Feeling less awesome

Feeling less awesome

At mile 15 or so, my left hamstring was hurting a bit. Nothing terrible, just a little nagging pain like I’d felt during my training. Clearly, I had forgotten how unforgiving this course is because by mile 20, that pain in my hamstring had traveled to my hip flexor and then to my quad.  Any downhill running (of which there is a lot after mile 20) was especially painful. Maybe I could have run through it. I always read about embracing the pain of a marathon, about relaxing into pain, and simply accepting it as part of the experience.  However, I don’t remember hurting this bad in the past, and I was worried that I’d injure myself and not be able to finish the race.

Marathon

And with those thoughts of injury in my head, I let the pace fall dramatically. When I saw a 9:25 minute mile split on my watch, I stopped checking it. I also stopped hoping for a PR. When I crossed the finish line, I felt pretty defeated, which is not what I wanted for this race. I had worked so hard at fueling properly in training so that I could experience a strong finish. Looking back, I have some guesses as to why I had so much trouble this time around. I continued doing upper body lifting, but I neglected my lower body. I didn’t focus on flexibility training at all. I didn’t foam role. I neglected these important aspects of training mostly because of time constraints. It’s been a busy semester. Lesson learned.

Marathon

Marathon

Finish time: 3:35:17; average split: 8:13.

Despite the fact that I didn’t reach my goals for this race, I felt so lucky to get to participate in this marathon. Seeing the spirit and enthusiasm of the crowds was inspiring. Getting to be a part of the city’s healing process was unforgettable.

Crossing the finish line

Crossing the finish line

Marathon

The first time I ran the Boston, I said I’d never go back– the course was just too hard. This time around, I have mixed feelings. The course once again put me through a meat grinder, but I also gained a new appreciation for how special this race is. So who knows? Maybe one of these years I’ll be back.  For now, however, I’m on the lookout for a fall marathon and some summer trail races.

Another medal!

Another medal!

I think it looks good on this awesome personalized medal rack Mike got me for Christmas.

I think it looks good on this awesome personalized medal rack Mike got me for Christmas.

Bonus:

Below are some pictures Mike took of the Elites.  He said that Meb was so far ahead of the other runners that no one realized he was in the race. By the time Mike realized who he was it was too late to get a decent picture. Meb for the win!

Meb!

Though he didn’t get a great picture of Meb, Mike did get several good ones of Shalane and Rita.

Shalane

IMG_2241

IMG_2238

IMG_2237

Happy Running!

 

 

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Philly Half-Marathon Race Recap

This is what the week’s training before the race looked like:

Monday: Rest!

Tuesday: 8.2 easy miles around Lake Artemesia in 1:03:11 with 7:44 splits.

Wednesday: Accidental Rest Day.  I forgot to set my alarm for 4am.

Thursday: 6ish (?) easy miles in 47:07. I forgot my Garmin so my mileage is an estimate.

Friday: 4 mile progression run at 4am.  I did 15 minutes at an 8 minute mile pace, 10 minutes at a 7:30 pace, and 6 minutes at a 6:40 pace.

Saturday: 3 super easy shake-out miles with Bryce and Mo. Saturday was also the Race Expo day, which was awesome.

Bryce driving us to the expo.

Bryce driving us to the expo.

Post-expo treats in Philly.

Post-expo treats in Philly. Mike is such a good sport to come to all these races with me and take care of the dog and hold my stuff while I’m running.

Sunday: Half-Marathon with Mo!

Philadelphia Half-Marathon

I was up by 2:30am to make sure I had time to shower, relax a bit, drink coffee, eat breakfast, let the dog out, and leave by 4am.

It’s been way too long since I ran a big race.  In fact, the Boston marathon in 2009 was probably the last big race I ran.  Baltimore has a small-town feel, so I’m not counting it.  With the bigger races, the crowds give off so much energy that the race seems almost easy, especially if I’m just running the half-marathon.

In terms of logistics, everything went smoothly.  The start was done in waves, which made for less crowded, less lateral running at the start.  There was a lot of added security this year due to the Boston bombings, which made it difficult to get to different sides of the start/finish line.  The start/finish area was a ‘secured area,’ so there was only one way in and out, which meant that if you were on one side, you had to walk a long way to get to the other other side.  Every time you tried to enter into the secured area, your bags were checked and only clear bags were allowed.  Clear bags were given out at the race expo.

Clear bag given out at the race expo.

Clear bag given out at the race expo.

Speaking of the race expo, it was huge, had lots of free food samples, and had great merchandise for sale.

Bryce and Mo headed into the race expo on Saturday.

Bryce and Mo headed into the race expo on Saturday.

Ready to Race!

Ready to Race!

Look at all the ‘free’ stuff I got!

Pamphlets, stickers, and treats!

Pamphlets, stickers, and treats!

Shirt and Bib.

Shirt and Bib.

And here’s the not-so-free stuff I got:

This shirt seemed appropriate.

This shirt seemed appropriate.

I forgot my Spi-belt, so I purchased this little guy for $10.

I forgot my Spi-belt, so I purchased this little guy for $10. If you can’t read the caption, it says, “If you see me collapse, pause my Garmin,” which also seemed appropriate.

The morning of the race was quite chilly, but I knew I’d warm up as soon as we started, so I wore my Lululemon running skirt, Oiselle Flyte Shirt, Pro-compression, and Ghosts.  Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of Mo and my pre-race outfits, so this awesome selfie will have to suffice:

Selfie time while waiting in line for the porta-potties.

Selfie time while waiting in line for the porta-potties.

The race itself seemed to fly by.  The crowds were awesome. I got to see Mike and Billy at miles 1 and 6. The course was mildly hilly but not terribly difficult. Most importantly, I got to run my first half-marathon with Mo since we ran the Charlottesville Half in 2004.  We make really good running buddies; I talk Mo’s ear off, and she listens and nods like a champ.  At about 12.5ish miles, the half-marathon runners split off from the full marathon runners and head to the finish line.  As jealous as I was of the marathon runners, I was quite happy to be heading to the finish at this point. In even more exciting news, Mo got a PR! We finished in 1:45:56 with 8:04 average splits.  A good day all around. 

Once we finished, Mo and I changed in the Porta-Potties (gross!), and chilled out with Mike and Billy while we waited for Bryce and munched on our post-race snacks. Eventually, we made our way to the sidelines to look for Bryce.

Glad to be done!

Glad to be done!

Billy didn't really care that we had just run a marathon.  She thought it was time to play and eat dirt.

Billy didn’t really care that we had just run a half marathon. She thought it was time to play fetch and eat dirt, her favorite things.

I can't believe my stupid camera phone actually captured this good of a shot.  Go Bryce!

I can’t believe my stupid camera phone actually captured this nice of a shot. Go Bryce!

Bryce finished his first marathon like a boss in 4:16:09.

All in all, this race was great fun, and I hope someday to run the full. The best part of this race, however, was simply getting to run with  friends, something I don’t often get to do.  Racing and training can feel very solitary at times, so having company makes all the difference.

Until next time,  happy running!

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Weekly Training Reports, New Gear, and the Philly Half Marathon

I’ve decided that weekly training reports are a must for this blog.  Otherwise, I neglect my little corner of the interwebs.  So here’s how my week went down:

Weekly Training Report

Monday: Rest! (I had just run 13.1 miles with Mike riding along beside me over the weekend).

Best One-Man support team ever!

Best One-Man support team ever!

Tuesday: An attempted progression run.  My goal splits were as follows: 8:00, 8:00, 7:45, 7:30, 7:30, 7:00, 6:45, 8:00.  I was pretty close with the exception of the fourth mile split.  My actual times were: 7:48, 7:54, 7:40, 7:13 (yikes), 7:26, 7:04, 6:44, 7:47.  The stats for the whole run were 8.2 miles in 1:01:02 with 7:27 average splits.

Pink

Wednesday: I got up at 4am to run 4 miles.  I teach and hold office hours on Wednesdays so I don’t get to run until late afternoon.  I’m very much a morning runner, so getting myself out the door instead of collapsing into a heap on the couch to do some half-hearted reading/grading is nothing short of a miracle.  Thus, I decided to try something new.  As it turns out, getting up at 4am isn’t as bad as it sounds, and I definitely prefer it to running in the afternoon.

Thursday: Easy mid-distance. Ran 8.22 miles in 1:01:56 with 7:32 average splits.  My trail is seriously gorgeous right now.

The only bad thing about this trail is that there's no hills, so I don't get the kind of hill training I should.

The only bad thing about this trail is that there are no hills, so I don’t get the kind of hill training I should.

Friday: Rest!

Saturday: This run turned out to be a bit of a progression run too. Ran 10 miles in 1:10:43 with 7:03 splits. Three of the miles on this run were sub 7 minute miles, which is a big deal for me.

Sunday: Easy 5.6 miles in 44:15.

New Gear

I’ve collected some new gear recently, and I’m loving all of it.

First, my new and beautiful Brooks Ghosts 6.  I’ve run in these for over a month now and I love them.  They are bit lighter than the old Ghosts, but not enough that I notice a huge difference.  They’re still the reliable, cushiony, supportive shoes that made me love the Ghosts in the first place. The shoe laces are fabulous and don’t need to be double-knotted to stay tied.  However, if I’m being honest, I just love these because of the colors.  They’re so pretty, and neon makes me happy!  Here’s the video I linked in an earlier post.

Ghost 6

Additionally, I’ve been drooling over the clothes on the Oiselle website for about a year and a half.  Long story short: I won a bet with Mike and got two items of clothing from Oiselle.

Item #1: Rogas

I got the Roga running shorts, which I really like.  They have a yoga-style waist-band (hence, ‘roga’ –> running + yoga = ‘roga’), and are tight across the butt but loose around the thighs.  They’re actually a great cross between traditional running shorts and spandex.  If spandex shorts are too intimidatingly snug, the Roga short is a perfect solution.  Additionally, they have a great little zip pocket in the back and a hidden key pocket in the front.

Item #2: Flyte Long-Sleeve Shirt

This is my new favorite piece of running apparel.  I got it in graphite.  This shirt is fantastic.  Oiselle certainly lives up to their claim of using quality material.  This shirt is soft and silky, and at the same time functional, warm, and sweat-wicking.  A few details about the shirt that don’t show up in the pictures on the web-site are that the birds on the shirt are not just a printed graphic.  They’re actually a thinner weave of the fabric on the shirt.  They’re almost see-through, but not quite.  Additionally, the fitted design of the shirt is created by a cool textured panel on the sides.  Finally, I love the fact that this shirt has thumb-holes; they make me happy.

Rogas, Flyte shirt, and Billy.

Oiselle, Brooks, Procompression, and Billy– a few of my favorite things.

Philly Half-Marathon

Finally, I’m all ready to run the Philadelphia Half-Marathon next weekend.  I’m super excited to be running with my best running buddy, Mo. However, this will be a bit of a sad run for me as it will be my last long run until January.  I have to have a minor surgery the following Friday, and due to the wound-care required after the procedure, I won’t be allowed to sweat all over it. The time after the surgery (up to three weeks!) will be my longest break from running since my college running-injury days.  I’m trying not to think about it too much because taking that much time away from running is going to be really difficult for me.  Hopefully, the wound will heal up super-fast with no complications (infections), and I’ll be back on the road and training for Boston before January.

That’s it!  Until next time, happy running!

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The Government Shutdown Is Cramping My Style

After months of training, not to mention the money we spent on gear and plane tickets, we were prevented from hiking the Grand Canyon due to a dysfunctional congress. Boo!  I’m a little bitter. Even worse, my dad, brother, sister-in-law, aunt, uncle, friends from Oregon, and friends from college were all doing the hike, and since I don’t get to see these folks very often, I’m bummed that the trip had to be cancelled.

We spent this weekend in Harrisonburg, VA for our alma mater's homecoming.  We got to hang out with these two (my sister/brother-in-law, Monica and Steve), which is the next best thing to hiking the canyon.

We spent this weekend in Harrisonburg, VA for our alma mater’s homecoming. We got to hang out with these two (my sister/brother-in-law, Monica and Steve), which is the next best thing to hiking the canyon.

Living in/near DC means that we’re pretty saturated in the politics of this place, and while I love living near our nation’s capitol, there’s a lot of frustration that goes with being constantly immersed in the rhetoric and political posturing of this city.  It’s now been 14 (ish?) days since the government shut down. Mike is tired of being furloughed. I’m tired of being anxious about the debt ceiling though I love having Mike around all day to do my chores for me. These guys need to get their act together.

I really want to have faith in congress, but right now, it seems that Mark Twain says it best.

On the bright side, the training did force Mike and I to do some long hikes in Rock Creek Park that we wouldn’t have explored otherwise.

So, what’s next?

I’m running the Philly Half-Marathon with my friend Mo in November, and her husband Bryce will be running his first full marathon (I have some serious race envy).

Bryce stretching after a 17 mile training run a few weeks ago.  Mo and I ran 14 of those miles, and Mike did about 8.

Bryce stretching after a 17 mile training run a few weeks ago. Mo and I ran 14 of those miles, and Mike did about 8.

And…

I’ll be running the Boston Marathon in April!  I got my acceptance letter a few weeks ago and am busy making plans.  My qualifying time was only 4ish minutes below the cut-off, so I didn’t get to register until the second week of registration.  I’m thrilled to be going back to Boston even though that course is hard! However, one of my major goals is to get better at fueling.  I’m convinced that the reason I fall apart at the end of every marathon I’ve ever run is due to poor fueling. So maybe Boston will the beginning of turning over a new leaf.  Maybe this time my calorie intake will be more than 500 calories during the race– a first for me.  My parents are planning on coming out to watch the race.  Seeing as how Boston has the very best spectators around, I don’t think they could have picked a better race to attend.

Here I am getting into the Boston marathon spirit with my jacket from 2009.  Really, it's just my only running jacket that's more or less water resistant.

Here I am getting into the Boston marathon spirit with my jacket from 2009. Really, it’s just my only running jacket that’s more or less water resistant.

In other news I ran a 20 miler this weekend (to make me feel better about not hiking the canyon) and wore my brand new Ghost 6es from Brooks.  Here’s a video with a description of the new model.

It rained throughout the entire 20 miles. Luckily, my new Ghosts and ProCompression socks kept me smiling with the neon colors.

It rained throughout the entire 20 miles. Luckily, my new Ghosts and ProCompression socks kept me smiling with the neon colors.

I wore the Ghosts without my Superfeet insoles and they were great.  It’s hard to beat Brooks shoes for cushioning and support.  Over the past few weeks I’ve been working up to a 20 miler, for fun more or less.  However, I’m not following any kind of training plan since I’m not really training for anything specific.  I’m still doing speedwork once a week, but my times are slower, which is a little frustrating.  I’m consistently running splits around 8:15 when I used to be able to pull splits between 7:15 and 7:45, and I’m not really sure why.  I’m busy with teaching and writing for school, so maybe that’s sapping some of my speed.

And finally, some running-related videos that have been floating around the interwebs as of late:

Best motivation video ever.  Gotta love Nike:

The Eight Stages of Running a Marathon (completely accurate):

Until next time, Happy Running!

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Rim to Rim is almost Here!

First things first: It’s been a while.

Since August, I’ve been hard at work writing my dissertation proposal, which, I’m pleased to announce is just about ready to send off to the faculty.  I just sent my advisers a revised copy, per their suggestions, and hopefully in the next couple days they’ll tell me it’s ready to be sent off.  Then, the faculty (yes, the entire English Dept. faculty) has to vote on whether the proposal is satisfactory.  If the proposal gets voted through the faculty, it goes to the School of Arts and Sciences.  At any one of these check-points, the proposal could get sent back to me with requests for further revisions.  Needless to say, it’s been a busy couple months, and I’ve been neglecting the interwebs as a result.

As far as training goes, it’s pretty much the same as usual with a lot of LONG hikes added to the normal mileage.  Speaking of long hikes, the Rim-to-Rim is less than two weeks away. Mike and I have been putting in lots of miles running and hiking in Rock Creek Park.  Sadly, Billy has had to stay at home because as much as she might think she’s game for a 17 mile hike, her little legs aren’t really up for it.

Here’s a few pictures from our latest adventures in hiking the park.  We took the Western Ridge Trail to Dumbarton Oaks Park (fabulous little park) and then took the Valley Trail back to Silver Spring where we parked our car:

Most of the trails are really well marked.  Also, this is my new fancy-pants Camelbak "hydration system." Love it.

Most of the trails are really well marked. Also, this is my new fancy-pants Camelbak “hydration system.” Love it.

Butt Shot

Butt Shot for Ros.

Muscle Mike

The scenery is gorgeous.

There's a tee-pee along the valley trail.

There’s a tee-pee along the valley trail.

I convinced Mike to run the downhills with me.

I convinced Mike to run the downhills with me.

And run ahead of me on the trails to take pictures.

And run ahead of me on the trails to take pictures.

We had to climb under this tree that had fallen across the Valley Trail path.

We had to climb under this tree that had fallen across the Valley Trail path.

Needless to say, Billy was very glad when we got back home.

Obviously, Billy was very glad when we got back home.

Mike and I have one more Saturday hike in the works, and then it’s off to Arizona.  Unless of course, the government is still shut down, which would mean that State Parks like the Grand Canyon may not be accessible.  Let’s hope Congress gets their act together before our trip.

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Blue Crab Bolt, Little Bennet 10k Race Recap

Once again, a trail race kicked my butt; they’re always harder than I think they should be.  In case anyone’s wondering, a 10k is 6 miles, and this particular 10k was more like 6.34 miles.

Here's Mike carb loading in Baltimore the night before the race and our pal Alison who came along just for fun.

Here’s Mike carb loading in Baltimore the night before the race and our pal Alison who came along just for fun.  They weren’t super excited about having their picture taken.

A few things about the race:

  • Mike ran it with me!
Here's us pre-race.

Here’s us, pre-race.

  • It included not one, but TWO creek crossings, a first for Mike who is very particular about his feet getting wet.
  • It wasn’t the most difficult trail race I’ve ever done, but it was pretty tough nonetheless.
  • It was a fairly technical course.  The first water crossing was hardly a water crossing– easy to keep the feet dry.  The second, however, was deep enough, in Mike’s words, to “cause some shrinkage.”  Additionally, there were plenty of sections where I was afraid to blink because the footing was so difficult due to tree roots or loose rocks.
  • The race was organized by EX2 Adventures, and I was impressed by the trail marking, ease of registration, pre-race instructions, food spread, and general organization.  My only complaint was the photography.  It’s been over a week since the race and the only pictures posted are in the meadow portions of the run; there are no pictures in the woods or at the creek crossings.
Registration & Packet Pick-Up

Registration & Packet Pick-Up

Race Recap:

Despite the fact that my Montrail Fluidflex Trail Runners gave me blisters on a Wednesday, I decided to just suck it up and run in them anyway on Saturday.

Blisters just three days before the race.

Blisters just three days before the race.

4mm foot to toe offset.  Trail treads. Super light weight.  Let's hope they make me fast.

4mm foot to toe offset. Trail treads. Super light weight.

My heels are still looking a little rough, but I was very happy with the Montrails’ performance.  They have a great grip on the rough terrain; they’re extremely light weight, and best of all, they quickly drain water after a creek crossing.  No squishy water-logged shoes here!

And here's what I've been doing since the race.  Feels like I'm back in college cross-country where I had to tape up for every run due to my oddly formed heels.

And here’s what I’ve been doing since the race. Feels like I’m back in college cross-country where I had to tape up for every run due to my oddly formed heels.

All taped up.

All taped up.

So much trouble for such small battle scars.  See what I mean by weirdly formed heels?

So much trouble for such small battle scars. See what I mean by weirdly formed heels?

From the minute the race began, I had to pee… of course.  There’s a lot of jostling in any race, but there’s even more jostling around in a trail race what with the jumping over roots and dodging puddles.  This didn’t help the pee situation.

I’m pretty laid back about passing folks in trail races, especially when I’m running on a skinny trail with little room for passing, so for the first mile or so, I hung back.  Mike passed me in the first mile, but I passed him back around mile two.  From that point on, I steadily passed other runners. After mile 3, I didn’t see another female runner, which meant I was either in first place, or I was a good ways behind any other women runners.

At the second creek crossing, I slowed way down due to the crotch deep swimming hole they had us run through, and some kid yelled at me to speed up because I was the second female.  No need to tell me twice.  I yelled back asking if he could see any one behind me; he couldn’t, so I picked up the pace and continued on.

That second creek crossing was about a mile away from the finish line, and soon I started hearing the music from the finishing corral.  I never did catch up to the first place female.  When I checked the times online, she was several minutes ahead of me, so I wouldn’t have caught her even if I had sped up significantly.

In the end, I finished in 52:25.  I was the 2nd place female finisher (overall), and I won 1st place in my age group.  I got a t-shirt for my troubles and TWO pint glasses, one with 1st place printed on it, and the other with 2nd place.  My calves and ankles began to seize up almost immediately after the race.  All that uneven terrain does a number on those tiny, stabilizing muscle groups.  This soreness did not go away for at least four days after the race.

First place female in age group 25-29.

First place female in age group 25-29.

SO... the third place finisher STOLE MY spot on the podium.  I tried to act cool like I didn't care.  But just between you and me, I'm not that good of a sport.

SO… the third place finisher STOLE MY 2ND PLACE SPOT on the podium for the overall female finishers. I tried to act cool like I didn’t care. But just between you and me, I’m not that good of a sport.

Post Race

Post Race

Mike really did enjoy himself... promise.

Mike really did enjoy himself… promise.

Mike didn't get the memo about wearing flip flops for post-race footwear.

Mike didn’t get the memo about wearing flip flops for post-race footwear.

T-Shirt!

T-Shirt!

My two new pint glasses.

My two new pint glasses.

I’m a little sad I didn’t get to do more than one trail race this summer, but I’m really glad I did an EX2 race.  I’ll definitely be using their website for finding future races.

What’s next?  The Rim-to-Rim in October, and I’m still pondering a fall marathon.

Until next time, happy running!

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Happy Trails

I love trail running and hiking, so lucky for me, there’s a large network of trails very close to my house.  There are actually two different kinds of trails in the DC Metro area.  There’s the network of trails that runs through Rock Creek Park as well as the paved trail systems like Paint Branch Trail that runs near the University of Maryland.

Mike and I use the Rock Creek Park trails for Rim to Rim training.  There are great hills and the terrain is just a bit rougher since many of the trails are not paved. So far, our favorite hikes are along the Western Ridge Trail and the Valley Trail. The closest access to the trailhead is in Silver Spring, so I don’t usually run on these trails because of the distance and also because they’re a bit more isolated, so I, personally, wouldn’t run them by myself.  We also recently completed a 19+ mile hike.  It took aaaaall day.  There were points where I was like, seriously, it would be easier to just run this.  More on that later.

Mike and Billy on the Western Ridge Trail.  Billy hiked the whole way all by herself mostly because she'd whine and wiggle every time we tried to carry her.

Mike and Billy on the Western Ridge Trail. This particular hike was just a 4 or 5 miler, so Billy got to come along.  Billy hiked the whole way all by herself mostly because she’d whine and wiggle every time we tried to carry her.

There's a Civil War Fort!

There’s a Civil War Fort!

And weird bugs.

And weird bugs.

Billy wasn't cooperating.

Billy wasn’t cooperating.

Good dog.

Good dog.

IMG_20130728_091109_022

How Billy spent the evening after the hike.

How Billy spent the evening after the hike.

One of my favorite trails for running, however, is near the University of Maryland and goes around Lake Artemesia.  Thus far, I’ve seen the following wildlife:  Deer, terrapins (pretty orange and black turtles), snapping turtles, beavers, blue herons, snakes, bunnies, and a variety of birds.

I did most of my long marathon training runs on this trail network.  In the summer it’s so beautiful, and I consider myself very lucky indeed to get to run on it.  The only downside, if you can call it that, is that the trail is completely flat, so I have to look elsewhere for hill training.

This is one of my favorite parts of this trail.  The trees create an archway that reminds me of gothic cathedral arches.

This is one of my favorite parts of this trail. The trees create an archway that reminds me of gothic cathedral arches.

Trail Selfie!  I made sure no one else was on the trail before I took this.

Trail Selfie! I made sure no one else was on the trail before I took this.

Here are some snapshots I took as I made my way around Lake Artemesia.

Lake Artemesia

Lake Atemesia 2

Lake Artemesia 3

Lake Artemesia 4

Lake Artemesia 5

Lake Artemesia 6

See how pretty?  Like I said, I’m very lucky, especially since I feel very safe on these runs as there are usually lots of other runners, walkers, and bikers on the trail.

Speaking of trails… I’m running a race this Saturday and MIKE IS JOINING ME! Go team Kniss!  We’re doing the Blue Crab Bolt 10k in Little Bennet Regional Park in Clarksburg, MD.  This is my only trail race of the summer, which makes me a little sad since summer is usually when I try to run a bunch of trail races, but I’ll take what I can get.  I’ll also be running in my new Montrail Trail Racers, so Race Recap and Shoe Review to follow.

Montrails

4mm foot to toe offset.  Trail treads. Super light weight.  Let's hope they make me fast.

4mm foot to toe offset. Trail treads. Super light weight. Let’s hope they make me fast.

Finally, Bart Yasso, the creator of Yasso 800s followed me on Twitter.  Excuse me while I geek-out for the rest of my life the week and pretend that I’m famous.

Until next time, Happy Running!

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