Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dirty Dog Dash Pics

It took me a while to post these, but thanks to my mom for taking pictures at the race.  And a super big thanks for going through all the hastle to email them to me!  Love you, Mom!

Registration as we wait in line behind a team of lumber jacks in cut off denim shorts.  Hot.

The hubby and I at the starting line ready for the race to begin.  Notice that we are clean.  Also notice that our "Team Awesome" and "Team Not So Awesome" shirts are looking less and less white after subsequent mud runs.

On the run in the woods!  That's us back in there coming up on the mud pit.

Into the mud we go!  This was the largest concentration of mud that we saw during the whole race, and it was right at the end.  So sad.  But we did get to hurdle a flaming log.  Nice.

The hubby and I after the race.  Notice that we are wet but still mostly clean.  So sad.  But bonus points for the cool band they had playing at the end of the race and also for the free cup of beer.  Deduction of points for the bad pours they got from the kegs.  Foamy beer in styrofoam cups.  What?!?

Also room for improvement for next year: this was the cleanup facility.  Yes...that's a dribbly hose.  A single, dribbly hose.  But since we didn't get that dirty, no big deal right? ;)

While there was room for improvement at the first ever Dirty Dog Dash: Hell Survivors edition, it was a great trail run and a lot of fun.  Offering the Groupon for half off registration was a brilliant move.  I hope they do that again next year!  *wink hint hint wink*

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Anne Springs Close Greenway

I'm in South Carolina for two weeks for work and making the best of the extended southern summer to keep up with my marathon training.  Today I went to the Anne Springs Close Greenway, which is a large network of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails in Fort Mill just south of Charlotte.

It took me some time to find the trailhead to the section that I wanted to run, but once on the trail, I was in heaven.  So much so that I developed a theory that trail half marathons may be my calling.  I don't know if that's true, but this was a great trail. 

I made it about 2.5 or 3 miles into the Blue Star trail when I missed a marker and went the wrong way for a while.  I didn't care.  I doubled back, found the proper way again, and continued on.  I loved the woods.  I loved the suspended bridges over the creek.  I loved the hawk that took flight right in front of me with a snake in its beak.  I loved the little country landmarks like the old mill and the train trestle.

Because of my little detour, I decided to turn around before reaching the southern most terminus of the Blue Star trail.  But I plan to go back tomorrow and start at the opposite end to run the piece that I missed.  If you love trail running, this is a fantastic system.  With summer rain filtering through the trees and damp leaves brushing past my legs, I ran with a smile on my face and felt amazing.

Here is a link to the trail map.  I started at the top of the map at the Dairy Farm and Greenway Headquarters (letter G on the map) and took the Blue Star trail south to the east.  I turned around near the Webb Grist Mill (letter J).

I may have to find a trail race in Michigan after the Chicago Marathon is done.  So much fun!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tapering and the Dirty Dog Dash

I'm now officially in the taper period of training for the Chicago Marathon.  The hubby asked me how far I was going to run today.  I said, "10 miles".  He replied, "That's a short run for you now!"  I said to that, "It's a very doable run, but I still wouldn't call it short!"

Yesterday the two of us ran the Dirty Dog Dash - a 3-mile mud run much like the Warrior Dash, complete with a beer for finishing.  I love that!  The course was a hilly run through a wooded paintball play field.  It was a fun run, but there hardly any obstacles, and hardly any mud.  Even the announcer kept teasing the runners that no one was finishing very dirty.

But, it was fun and certainly not bad for the inaugural running.  If they do it again next year, I'm sure it'll improve and grow in size.

I was most impressed by the hubby during the run.  We took turns taking the lead on narrow trail sections.  When I ran ahead, I pushed the pace a little and heard the hubby keeping right up.  He has gotten in great shape this summer, lost some weight, and had a lot of fun.  I'm so proud of him!  (Photos to come...)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Everyone is out for fall rides

The hubby and I got out mountain biking for the first time in over a month last night. We rode the 8 mile trail at Cannonsburg State Game Area. It was a fantastic night! It’s getting cool out – fall seems to be coming early. And everyone else, it seems, thought it was a good night to ride, too. The parking area was full, and 20+ cars spilled over on the sides of the road nearby.

It felt good to do a hard workout that wasn’t running.

Also, it’s funny how I’ve gotten used to workouts that last for hours without stopping. Riding the trail for less than an hour felt so FAST!

I look forward to way more biking after the marathon is over. It’ll be a good fall!

By the way, the hubby and I are running the Dirty Dog Dash in Pinckney this weekend. It’s another mud run like the Warrior Dash. And it’s on my mom’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Monday, September 12, 2011

20 Mile Training Run

Well, I did it. I survived the 20 mile run. I ate adequately and drank fluids. I even tried proteins. My energy was good throughout the run, even if my pace was slower than I would have liked. My average mile pace for the run was 11:15. Man! I've gotten slow. I guess that's OK though for such a distance.

I don't care what my time is for this first marathon. Well, OK. I do care...within reason.

Though my expectations keep changing. My goal keeps getting slower. At this point, I’ll be happy to finish under 5 hours. I’m not saying that’s a bad time. It’s 26.2 freakin’ miles after all. It’s just that reality is setting in. I have trained for distance. NOT speed.

Anyway…I digress.

I tried consuming proteins starting right at the beginning of the run to try to avoid the leg pain that developed on my 18-mile run around the 16 mile point. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. I felt great right up to 16 miles, and then the pain began to develop in my feet, then my knees and hips…pretty much all over my legs. But mostly in my feet and knees this time. I also lost my appetite, and it got harder and harder to keep my legs moving.

I willed myself to keep going for the last 4 miles, but can I do that for 10 miles? TEN? How slow are those last miles going to be?

I’m concerned about this. I think I will have the will power and energy to keep running through the pain. But what if my legs just shut down? What if the signals from my brain just stop getting through and my muscles go on strike? What can I do to prevent this?

I’m going to try posting to some forums out there to see what running experts have to say. I got some good advice last time I posted about this on Cyclin’ Missy, but I need more. Any advice is welcome.

Even so, I’m excited for race day to get here. Another month seems like a long time to wait. Bring on Chicago!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Penulimate long run day

I'm having some kind of problem with my internet at work that is not letting me compose posts.  Blarg.  But it seems fine at home.  Anyway, that puts a damper on the frequency of posting for me.

Nevertheless, I had to get online and post an update today.  Today is the day of my 20 mile training run.  This will be the longest run I do before the marathon on October 9.  I've planned a route that loops back by my house so I can stock up on liquids and calories part way through.  It should be a lovely evening for a run - ranging from 75 down to 65 degrees F and sunny until the sun goes down.

Wish me luck!