Trail runs in Maine & New Jersey

Maine

I was in Maine all week visiting family…my training schedule ended up being as follows:

Sitting in the front yard?

Sunday: off, drove for 12 hours and got exceedingly stiff. No fun. 😦 I didn’t feel too bad from the 5k Saturday though, at all.

Monday: I ran about 6.5 miles from the house we were staying in; some gravel road and some uneven paved road. I tried to take it easy and hardly looked at my watch. In fact, I turned off the tones so I wouldn’t be aware of each mile split, and I’ve been enjoying it. My splits (with rolling hills) ended up looking like this….

Oh, and the weather was nice!

Nice biking.

 

 

In the afternoon, I decided to take my Garmin on a kayaking adventure… apparently you average 22 minutes per mile when you try to kayak in whitecap waves…needless to say, it was a bit too windy to be out there, so we turned back.

Tuesday: I biked 26 miles in ~1:44. I went to Schoodic and took the road through Acadia, which was nice and smooth. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much of a view…just fog. I averaged 19-20 mph on the roads I think; I was extra careful with my tires on the dirt roads to and from the house.

Wednesday: I took off from running and biking and hiked a couple hours up some mountains in Acadia on Mt. Desert Island.

Thursday: This was the best day…I roped my uncle, aunt, and brother into a trip to Eagle Lake for a run. I ran ahead while my aunt ride her bike on the carriage trail, and my brother and uncle ran about a minute per mile slower behind me. I went into this run unsure of how I’d feel…and almost preparing for the worst. I was relieved to feel somewhat normal, just tired. See, I’ve been feeling something not right in my ITB since probably Monday, the same feeling of a knot in the surrounding quad muscles as I had before the triathlon. I think I’ve concluded that it is just bruising from breaking up scar tissue with my roller. Which leaves me with a dilemma, because now I’m not sure to roll or not to roll….Anyway, I ran 9 miles – farthest since the marathon (and injury, obviously)!

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Lobster for dinner:Image

Friday: Morning ITB PT, afternoon bike.

Saturday: Easy 3 miles on the dirt road before driving back to NJ.

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New Jersey

It was a rather productive first day back, despite feeling…well, not very well. The ITB bruising has gotten worse, and there is still a definite knot in my lateral quad. It doesn’t bother me when I’m actually running, which is really good. I just can’t decide if I should continue being a masochist for my own good or not. It’s confusing. Because the “knot,” to which the area will hereafter be referred, felt so weird in the morning, I decided to run later.

Side note: there are only 3 acceptable reasons not to do your long run in the morning on Sunday:

1.) You’re really hungover You aren’t feeling well & know you’ll be able to do the whole run and run stronger later in the day

2.) You can have company on the run if you wait

3.) A body part (ITB, calves, etc.) needs to warm up

In this case, my situation was #3. I just needed time to address the bruised-ITB-quad situation before heading out for the run. Also, morning yoga was free. Afternoon yoga was not.

I just did 9 miles Thursday so I figured I would just do that again, and my Thursday + Sunday would somehow even out to “normal” mileage? Basically, I wanted to do about 9 miles. End nonsensical pre-HTC post-injury banter. I went to yoga in the morning, then cleaned and organized my entire room, then set off for Six Mile Run around 5:00 PM.

Six Mile Run is a park worth its own post. I first ran there during cross country preseason in August 2010, and have been back in December, and today of course. I only didn’t get disoriented there once. Guess which time? The first of course. Makes no sense. I think the fourth time will be a charm though – I figured out there is no hope at the end of the red trail! I found some new trails across a road today, though, which was fun. They didn’t give me much trouble. I got a little sucked in and wanted to go farther and farther, but made myself turn around at about 5 miles just in case the disaster that was December’s run happened again. That day, I intended on running 7 miles…and did about 14. For a cautious runner like me, that’s not cool.

Today’s route….

Let’s zoom in on that one part:

Garmin’s worst nightmare?

The coolest thing about the park is that you feel like you can just…roll. There are so many little ups and downs and boardwalks and other strange bridges. Parts of the trail are like rollercoasters. This is also the reason I almost got run over my mountain bikers, but hey, there was only one occurrence! Apparently mornings are the peak time, so I’m glad I avoided that.

Not my photo - phone camera was being weird. It also wasn't sunny today.

Not my photo – phone camera was being weird. It also wasn’t sunny today.

Park trail map. I don't think I'll forget that the red trail dead-ends anymore. Although ot also ends up back at Canal Rd. mysteriously, so...might have to get to the bottom of that someday.

Park trail map. I don’t think I’ll forget that the red trail dead-ends anymore. Although it also ends up back at Canal Rd. mysteriously, so…might have to get to the bottom of that someday.

I believe only one run stands between me and Seattle (OMG OMG OMG)! The plan is to cross train Monday and Tuesday and also do the Intervals workout Tuesday night. Wednesday will be a travel day and then I’ll be off on my Hood to Coast adventure! As for the bruising I’ve inflicted…well, I’ll just try to find a happy medium and throw some ice on that.

ALSO, I NEED GARMIN HELP!!! Maybe somebody can help me, even though every blog and manual I’ve read so far has not. I have a Garmin Forerunner 210. I got it in April, but because I haven’t been able to do tons of workouts between now and then, I’m just getting around to seriously answering this question now. What I want to do is what I do with my simple Timex: have the time running, press a button to take a split, and see the current time for that split. I know how to take a split on the watch, but I only see the total time on the screen. I can go online later and view everything, but I’d like to view it at the time. So, it seems like I’m actually having a display setting issue – the watch will do what I want it to, just not show me what I want to see. I’ve tried playing around with everything and can’t figure it out. I can program in a workout, but how often (when I’m with a group) do we actually take exactly 2 minutes of rest, or the loop is exactly 0.6 mile, or something? 

Any help would be MUCH appreciated (if you read this far…fit a lot into this one post, oops!)

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the big 2-0

Sunday, I ran my first ever twenty miler! It was awesome. As you read on, keep the following warning in mind:

Do not do anything I did to have a great twenty miler. Or run of any length, for that matter. 

Did it work out for me alright? Yes. But, I have no idea how. So, just do the opposite of what I did and you should be fine on your own twenty miler. Sound good? 

The one thing I did right? I wore my new Garmin 210! It was so cool to have feedback on pace at any given instant, and to know that i really, truly did run twenty miles on the dot!

Isn’t it pretty??? My outfit actually matched all these colors exactly, which made me feel…I don’t know, organized. I’m not sure what the 20:41 means, maybe my walking pace in the parking lot as I sipped, I mean chugged, Nuun after I stopped the watch?

Just seeing 20.00 miles is pretty awesome. So now let me talk write your ears off with an unabridged tale of what actually happened before and during those twenty miles. Well okay, I won’t make it totally unabridged….

The plan: meet Kate and others at 8:00am for 13 miles and then continue, picking others up at two intervals along the way. This plan was ideal because it also meant I wouldn’t have to carry water or Gu, I could leave it on my car windshield. I let Kate do the planning since she always maps and times everything out so perfectly. Great plan, right?

Insert plan two: I was invited (like, at midnight Friday) to the grad college formal. I wanted to go, I wasn’t going to say no because of a twenty miler in the morning. I just thought I would wear relatively comfortable shoes, hydrate…with water, and not go to sleep super late. I could do it all, no big deal. 

What not to do to prepare for twenty miles, #1: Don’t have dinner. Decide to instead spend your time after a crazy busy eight hour work shift on your feet running around buying a nice black dress to wear since you basically have broken every other black dress you own (true story). Text your date and tell him to find you some food – anything! Because “anything” is fine before running twenty miles. Even a Clif bar and half of a small bag of Doritos (wait why did I not finish the bag?). 

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Fish face. It was “Under the Sea” – themed….If you were wondering, I did actually find Nemo that night.

#2. Have a girl stab you in the foot with her high heel before 11:30pm. Seriously, no one was even on the dance floor yet, how did this happen?! I freaked out because it hurt so badly, and almost cried. I assessed the situation in the light and saw that she had indeed broken through the skin. My foot hurt when I flexed my toes, and I really thought I should get ice on it. What if everything is ruined now? I was freaking out inside. The twenty miler, the marathon, everything….After the initial shock, and maybe a couple beverages, the pain subsided, and I only felt it if I pushed on it. I was still rather concerned but remained calm and enjoyed the night. (I have a picture of this wound but again, my phone decided to die, so…photo evidence to come. In the meantime, I’ll share my fish face with you all. You’re welcome.  

#3. Not have water like I planned. Enough said. 

#4. Still be awake at 3:30am.

I woke up at 7:10 and assessed the foot situation. It was a bit swollen. I jumped and ran around. Had ibuprofen, wrapped some KT Tape around it. Tied my shoe not as tight as normal. Wore my usual compression socks. Ate a chocolate Gu. Time to rock.

I promise I won’t do my “OMG, Garmins are so cool” thing again, since most of you have been running with Garmins for years and are over it. I am a kid with a new toy; I am not.

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Our route looks convoluted, but it was basically an eight-mile loop with Kate, Nick, Sarah, and Phil that was Pretty Brooks with a bathroom stop/nick drop-off. At around 9:10 we were back where we started. We dropped off Sara and Phil and picked up Jack (my 17-mile running buddy from two weeks ago!) and Daniel. We ran a five-mile loop and then returned, where Kate and Daniel stopped and Jack and I kept going. I hadn’t mapped a seven-miler…and maybe I should have, but we decided to run up to Herrontown Woods. After a tiny loop in the woods (visible by the tiny little circle) I decided screw it, I wanted to stay on roads to mimic what the marathon will be like. I was also mad I dropped an 8:54 mile on those trails, since we had dropped to 7:45s after dropping off people at 13 miles. At around 18 miles, things started to feel tough. If I had water, I think I would have felt fine, but I was just really thirsty (understandably so…). Thinking back, I think that was the only issue. My legs felt fine. We needed to add on some more for twenty (which is the worst, adding on at the end when you can see where you parked…), and I am so grateful I had someone there for finish up with! I would have done it, but it was much more enjoyable to have someone right next to me. I was excited to plug in the watch and look at how the run went after:

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The first loop was kind of all over the place; I didn’t know how to stop the watch at one point (I forget why I needed to), so that mile was kind of off. Mile 5 was a big hill, so that’s strange it was faster. Mile 8 was slow because it was the start of the second group’s run, most likely, and we were settling into our pace again. The next 8 miles were all around or significantly under 8:00, which is nice. If you take out the trail portion (all of mile 17), the last 12 miles of the run were at 8:08 or faster except for mile 19, which is when I struggled a bit. But hey, if my “bonk” was me running 8:14 + 8:03…I can deal with that. At the actual race I will take more water and another gel, so that eliminates the thirst I had at the end, which is mainly why I struggled. If I can call it that. It really wasn’t so bad. At any point in the run I could have easily picked up the pace to 7:30-40 if I wanted to or needed to.

 

Overall, this was such a great learning experience for me as a runner. I am much more confident that I can run this marathon and be fine. Of course, part of me is saying, if you did all those things wrong and still managed to feel great and even pick up the pace the second half…this is good. Hey, if that’s what gives me confidence….In all seriousness though, I will not be preparing the same way when I do an eighteen miler in two weeks. 

More Garmin awesomeness:

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If I told you I didn’t satisfy my runger (and make up for earlier bad choices?) the rest of the day by consuming a 10″ pineapple-spinach-jalapeno pizza from Naked Pizza, buying lots of healthy food from Trader Joe’s, and going out to dinner for some fish tacos (accompanied by three large glasses of water), I would be lying. 🙂

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Yum.

I’m in the 20 mile club, woo!!! It’s a thing, I swear.

Now, back to attempting to figure out how my weekend is going to pan out given that I have 1.) a ride to Boston, 2. A ride from Boston, and 3.) No place to sleep? Should be interesting, especially without a mobile device.

A tale of seventeen miles

It should not take me until I am about to go on my long run to write about the previous weekend’s long run. But it did. So be it. 

I promise I won’t become one of those…but Garmins are so cool.

I had a little trouble recovering from the half marathon. Overall, I felt just fine, walking around and everything, but when I went to run on Wednesday, it was the most tiring run since I had an iron deficiency. I wasn’t worried though, I just thought it meant I raced hard. Friday’s run went better, and I wore the Garmin again. I know I have the tendency to become a stat junkie, but I promise when I actually get my own Garmin I will only make note of the overall pace! I was really curious as to how well I have been estimating distance on a mixed road and trail run…for…five years? As it turns out, I have been pretty darn accurate. My splits on the 7.23-mile run were 7:35-45 on the road portions, and 8:10-20 once I was on the trail (which was rather muddy). My first observation: that’s a big difference! I guess I thought I was running more 7:50 on the road, 8:10 on the trail to average 8:00. My “dividing by 8, 8.25 on a bad day, 7.75 on a good day” method (runnerd alert) has been a very close estimation on these hybrid runs, which are most of my runs. My second observation was how much faster 7:35-45 sounds than it actually felt. Maybe 7:40 is the new 8:00? (Insert continued crazy runner thoughts about the M word….) So, that’s my little “omg, Garmins are cool” spiel (I just learned the spelling of that word now, how cool is that).  

Moving on. I have been pretty disciplined since December in terms of sleeping and hydrating the night before my long runs…but I decided to cut myself a break for once, one week post-race, to not worry too much about it, and “run whenever.” As in, not at 6:15am, which is when a small group was meeting (long story…so freaking early). To cut to the chase/skip a lot of non-running related detail, I ended up running at 10:45 with a new running buddy. I didn’t have work so the time was no big deal, and I’m actually glad I got to enjoy the best weather of the day, after extra sleep! I didn’t have the Garmin anymore (it isn’t mine, after all…), and I didn’t map a single thing. Time to have some fun. We hit up Witherspoon Woods first, then cut out to Pretty Brook via the boardwalk (tangent: when I type “Brook” I accidentally write “Brooks” first by habit and have to go back and delete the “s”…every time). Pretty Brook, as a loop, is about 7.5 miles, so adding that in the middle was sure to add distance easily. I usually run this route in the dark, so it was strange to see the huge houses…and see the hills coming.  And…a sign that said something about “recreational paths”?!?! Finding new trails is probably one of the most exciting things ever for me. We weren’t expecting much when we decided to check it out, but we were pleasantly surprised! The area was much bigger than we imagined, and we found tons of well-marked trails! There was a landmark called “Tent Rock,” which we tried to find desperately, and did, but they all kind of looked like tents at the time in their own ways….They first time on a trail is always the best, because the ground in front of you is ground you have never set foot on before. You have no idea what’s coming. I can remember every run during which I discovered trails, and they were always awesome runs – how can they not be?

Spoiler alert (scroll down for map).

I did some searching later and found that the trails actually had a name, the Woodfield Reservation. Part of me doesn’t want to do that, after discovering trails. Especially searching Google Images. I almost want to be the only one to know where the trails are, and to have snapshots in my mind only, not see any from someone else’s camera. But, it was a cool discovery regardless. 

Tent Rock…I think.

We continued on the loop after exiting the woods, and headed back toward town. My plan for this run: assess at 13 miles. I knew I would decide long before that how far I would run. Seventeen was the actual plan, but I thought if I felt awful, I would somehow push it to next week. Around mile 11, I decided I was doing it. I actually said it out loud: “I’m doing it! Seventeen!” And I did. After a quick nuun stop at the car and dropping my running buddy off at his place, I went down to the towpath. Completely overshot the additional mileage and walked about a half mile at the end, but that was nice. Afterthoughts: I definitely wanted to be done when I was done; I was pretty darn tired and I could feel my right hip starting to “click” or something in the last quarter mile (it stopped when I stopped and was fine). My next longest-run-ever is going to take a little more prior hydration, perhaps more hydration on the run, and more sleep. This will not be difficult. The sixteen miler three weeks ago was a little easier at the end, but that was because I prepared better for it, I think. 

If I can run 17 miles and then go country line dancing, I think I’ll be fine. 🙂 Seriously though, this place needs to start giving out free tap water.

All the pictures with Elana are too dark…thanks for the boots, Brennan!

I mentioned my race chafing from hell…this is what happens after:

Georgewash style. I had to, unfortunately.

Go Better Than Naked capris! They felt just like wearing shorts. (Or not?)