Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Track, again

The Lanier Running Club meets at the track every tuesday night in June for some friendly competition. I have a difficult time with the competition part. The track is my newly discovered nemesis. Although when I was younger, I would use it for strength and speed, now I dread each step around the circle.

Notwithstanding the paragraph of complaint, my experience with a group of people laughing and trying to achieve a pace or PRs has been enjoyable.

The club has an event in each distance: 100, 200, 400, etc (not necessarily in that order). My goal, as a self-proclaimed distance runner, is to run all the events. So, what has resulted, is by the time the "distance" event (3000 meters) arrives, I am too tired to compete, so I run it as a quasi-cool down(if I feel better around the last lap or before, I will speed up). However, I know that this amount of running on the track must help my anaerobic threshold and will help me attack my favorite hills. Another alternative I explore while doing all the events is if I run 1 event quickly (for me), then I will try and pace the other events to remind my legs how to race in the longer races i enjoy.

I will, undoubtedly, miss the June weekly sessions...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ten miles of therapy

Always, it seems, when I begin a long run, my arms are tight, my muscles are tight, and I often develop a minor stomachache. Today, was no exception.

Brief overview of week: after a grueling week at work, my runs in the afternoon were less than ideal. Tuesday's run, for example, was supposed to be over an hour with several long arduous climbs - an unwind from the grind. The first climb was solid; my legs locked in an admirable pace, and I put my head down, and I climbed. The next miles were solid; increasing my pace, I held onto the feeling of strength. However, my last climb was cut short by exhaustion and restlessness (the irony is i come to the woods to get rid of the sitting at a desk restlessness), and I turned off from the hills' crest to another trail, which gently led me down to the car.

Today, I was able to change this week's theme of tiredness. My run today started out slow with the usual stomachache and clenched fists. It took over 6 miles and some good climbing before I was able to relax. Is this an indication of the weeks I have had recently? I surmise - affirmatively. As the work has piled on and deadlines loom, my desire to run has decreased. This is unfortunate for me, who is dependent on several long runs for a restoration of sanity.

Reflection is good - this week ends on a high note with a 10+ run with Grendel in NGA. Hopefully, it is a sign that next week will be better than the last; however, with a mandated extra, extra early start tomorrow, my luck may not hold.

Friday, June 19, 2009

More pavement

This past week, I have been adjusting to a new running schedule. We have moved south Highway 365, and I have added additional miles on pavement and have decreased the miles on the trails. It was inevitable to move: fiance needed year without commute; and isolation in a town with few people and fewer people who run.

Before moving, I enjoyed endless afternoons deep in the Chattahooche national forest with my dog, Grendel. He would run ahead (or behind at the end); I would rely on his senses to detect unwanted guests early, so, as a result, I spaced out with the chirping of the birds and the sound of the leaves rustling until his bark would wake me from my stupor. Now, I attach a leash and hold him close as we sprint (he pulls) on the sidewalk, and we become overheated easily as we pound each step without much shade.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Summer has arrived, so we went to the track

A local running club has started all comers track meets on Tuesday evenings. This was a surprisingly enjoyable evening considering...

Summer has officially begun in Georgia - last night was sweltering. A small group (mostly kids under eighteen) gathered at the track to "compete" or pace or whatever - (comradery was a factor). There were many events: from the 100 to the 3200. I tried to do all of them to maximize the detested track workout (I really avoid any type of track workout); however, last night it was enjoyable.

Because most of my running is on trails or up any type of hill, mtn, etc - this was a nice change. The distances were quick (although my times were nothing to brag about), and there were people cheering and fast children to watch and everyone was overheated and a little dizzy, but there were only smiles.

This is a weekly event and my attendance will be probably perfect.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

PS- that race is why I did not run Sat morning

Unfortunately, i signed up for the Rock2Rock race before the Xterra series was announced - I had planned to come down to Greenville on Saturday morning to run the Xterra 15k, but the race was so hard on Friday night that I could not make it down to Greenville.

Alternative - ran the 10 miler Sunset Stampede in Asheville... Pavement and relatively more mellow climbing (although it was still 4 miles up). My lungs cooperated and my legs cooperated - placed 7th for women; 3rd in my age group 30-39!

But, this week my legs are unusable; my quads have not ever felt so sore. I am hobbling around and walking up and down stairs and down hills is not enjoyable. so what i am doing to ease into running - going to an open track event. Ha! Lets see how the legs respond. It will be some slow track runs

BUT, i have put the August and November races on my calendar; those will not be missed.

Rock2Rock race in Swanannoa, NC (Northeast of Asheville)

Originally uploaded by cbfoto
This weekend I did one of the hardest runs I have ever done.

First, I train in North Georgia; although some of the mountains are steep, I really do not get over 2000 feet in altitude. I did not and usually do not consider this factor when I travel to Western North Carolina, but every time I try to run hard to the top of a mountain - over 4000 feet, my lungs explode. - this pattern repeated on Friday night.

Friday night 5pm. The first mile started climbing immediately, but it was a gentle, gentle climb - warmup - (albeit fast) . Then, another mile - manageable climbing. Then, the torture started (I use the word torture purposefully). The grade for climbing shot up vertically at an angle I was not expecting. Then, once my legs recovered from the vertical shock, my lungs had to acclimate, but they could not. My lungs, which I think are pretty good at the transferring of oxygen (not sure the correct name for hte scientific process) failed on Friday night. They could not handle the lack of pressure that comes with the increase in altitude. They could not alter their processes quickly enough. It was torture. I started profusely sweating (see picture); I started sounding as though I had not ever run in my life; I got lightheaded and put my head down to focus on the ground and not my laborious and loud attempt at breathing.

Even the downhill was too steep to gain any amount of time back.

Needless to say, my performance was not as stellar as I would have hoped. BUT, the experience was good - looking back. A reminder that to enjoy running straight up hill at altitude - need to incorporate this into training - And, the views were AMAZING!! at the top (where the picture is), which makes any run worth it - no matter the pain!