Vermont Run Fun

I’m busy packing for my road trip to Vermont tomorrow.  I sorta kinda waited until the last day, but it’s not like I’m going for a week so I don’t need that much to pack.  The most important items are my running gear!  Nothing says run fun like a brand new outfit too.  I think I could live at Dick’s and REI.  I went down to Dick’s and was only going in for a new running shirt.  Well, I’m happy to say I came out with a running shirt, a shirt and a new sports bra (much needed).  Oh and socks!  Don’t forget the socks. (again much needed)  The shirt and sports bra are from Under Armour™.  Loving both, but I just checked the forecast and it might be a little chilly ~ 54/39 at the start time on Sunday ~ so that shirt that is slit on the side and sleeveless might not happen.  I bought the leggings a few weeks earlier.

 

I warm up pretty quick when I’m running so we’ll just have to see what the final outfit will be on running day.  A full day of work tomorrow and an early morning wake up.  It’s going to be a long day.  I plan to blog while I’m on the road and you can always catch me on Instagram!  Making the second half the better half!  Happy Miles to You!!

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 17 – 23 September….I’m Only Happy When It Rains

Hello everyone and Happy Sunday!

Can we all just say it?  It’s taper time baby!!!

T – A – P – E – R…such a lovely word.  It means that the hard training for an upcoming run is through and it’s time to slow down, listen to the body and reflect about the upcoming race.  Okay, maybe that’s just a bit too Zen..but it sure sounds good.

Event status update:

I finally heard back, but to be honest all I have to go on is, yes you’re registered and more information will be coming.  Hmmmm…. I mean the organizer has been nice an all, but could this be any more laid back?  Maybe this is how they do things in the “Kingdom” as they say.  I was told that I could sign in and pick up a T-Shirt on Saturday…uh okay.  Where?  No address.  I mean ~ throw me a bone man.  Grid coordinate?  Smoke signal?  Anything.  Map?  The last words were, “if you need anything give me a holler”.  I know where the race is starting and the time and that’s about it for now.  Don’t you just love surprises?  I mean, truly this will be one for the books I’m sure!

The temps at the beginning of the week were fairly hot and dry.  Towards the end of the week I could feel Fall just trying to take hold.  I don’t know about you, but I love the changing of the seasons.  There is something to celebrate about each one.

I did a 3 and 5 mile run during the week and decided to complete my long run on Sunday.  Of course during the week it was nice and dry and today, well….it was raining.  The temperature was 60 when I got to the trail, but the rain!  It wasn’t a sprinkle either, it was squishy shoe running weather.  Do I have any rainy day runners out there?  I love running in the rain.  I could have taken it inside, but the bottom line is the weather for the half might be rainy as well and what better way to train, then real time.   Sometimes you just got to do it.

I didn’t get out to the trail until 10 am this morning and much to my delight there weren’t any runners.  I had the trail to myself, at least for a while.  A few cyclists and a couple of runners.  The big disappointment was the iPod wasn’t working!  I know there are people who never run with music.  They say it will mess with your cadence.  I know this is true!  Sometimes when a fast song comes on I speed up!  I have tried to run without music, but I find it’s just more enjoyable for me to run with music.  I was ready to go and the darn thing seems to have crapped out!  Yikes!  I was really disappointed.  Not only was I going to run the whole 10 miles in the rain, but without music too!  Crikey!  The first five miles were decent feeling miles.  No pain and a good even flow.  There is this wooden plank bridge around mile 2.5 that crosses a marshy area.  It was spooky with the rain and being alone.  I won’t lie, I was looking around making sure there weren’t any “creatures” hiding in the swamp!  Maybe alligators.  I just looked it up…they say some people have seen them here in Virginia, could be climate change.  You’re Googling right now aren’t you?  Hey, you never know.  My last five miles weren’t too bad.  A little bit of touch and go but over all decent.   My pace for this run was 11:43.  Not bad and I will do better.  Just think The Little Engine that Could!  I think I can, I think I can.  I did pick up new water belt (Nathan™) that was much lighter then my old one.  I’m not into carrying my water bottle in my hand.

Some photos:

New water belt

 

Muddy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garmin results

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m ready for my next run on 30 September.  I am almost at my halfway point with 19.17 miles left.  I have finished 5638.33 miles in my quest with 5676.67 graciously awaiting.  I like the word quest.  It’s so, Knights of the Round Table sounding.  I hope this post finds you with Fall in your heart ~ brilliant colors of red, brown and orange dancing around and filling up your senses.  Happy Miles to You!!

Although a little dark, this song sums up today’s run nicely!  “I’m Only Happy When It Rains”

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 3 – 9 September…Kingdom Run Half Marathon Training

Happy Sunday everyone!  I took a little break from blogging and a rest week before I started training for my half marathon in Vermont at the end of September.  I feel good and am ready to move forward.  I used to not rest too much after I completed an event, but now I do try to take at least a week.  Maybe because I’m getting older!  Lol ~ who knows.

The Quantico 12K was a good race to get me ready for another half.  This will be my fourth half marathon.  It would seem like I should have a few more under my belt, but I complete a lot of miles that aren’t really attributed to events.  It’s all about the journey.  Races are fun no doubt, but it’s not just about the races.

The body is feeling pretty good.  I have a few pains and aches, but nothing like I was experiencing before.  It seems sticking with the right style of shoe was the key and the after care of my legs by foam rolling and icing.  There is always overuse issues, but the right gear is imperative.  I look forward to staying with that trend.

I’m excited for this next challenge in Vermont.  I have never been to the area and have always wanted to explore.  I have a few frustrations with the administrative handling of it though.  I found the race through active.com and from there signed up through the race website.  I signed up and paid, but never received a notice for registration.  I had to email the race promoter to confirm my registration.  I was told that as soon as they were done with the triathlon they were running emails would be sent out.  I was confirmed with the registration, but I still haven’t received any packet pick up information.  The race is on 30 September soooo…you know I would like to have everything tied up!  I’ll give them one more week.

The weather here has been a little erratic with extreme heat than storms.  I wanted to do some cycling, but had to take that indoors because of the rain.  I did get some decent mileage in with a combination of running outside and on the treadmill and some indoor cycling.  I will probably see more indoor running as tropical storm Florence makes its way to the coast.  The total of that mileage came to 19.93 for the week.  I am 48.76 to my halfway point.  It’s bittersweet to say the least.  A lot of sweat, effort and tears.  I have 5706.26 miles gratefully remaining in my journey.  Happy Miles to You!!

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
― Kahlil Gibran

Not sure if you’ve ever heard of Yebba Smith.  She’s not well-known, but I really like her sound.  Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

Race Recap ~ The Quantico 12K

Hello everyone and a very happy Sunday!

I am happy to say I completed the Quantico 12K Saturday August 25!  This was the first run I’ve done since moving to Virginia.  Overall it was a good run for me.  I have slowly started to increase my mileage in running and the 12K proved to be a good start before training for longer runs.

And this is how the story goes:

Pre run

I was a little stressed out about picking up my packet.  The packet pick-up time was the day before the race on Friday.  I was in no mood to drive in DC traffic after work to pick up the packet, 23 miles there and back, then get up at the crack of dawn to go there again.  So, what did I do????  I waited until the morning of.  The website said that packet pick-up the morning of started at 5 am.  I left for the run at 5 am and a 7:25 start time.  I found myself trying to get on I-95, ended up on the Easy Express, got off that and finally got on the correct interstate.  Arrived at Quantico around 6 am and couldn’t find my ID to get on base.  Ugh….  Had to pull over to the side and finally dug it out and continued on to the designated parking lot.  About a quarter-mile to parking, single lane traffic was backed up.  Again stress.  One thing about showing up for racing events, never ever think you are the earliest, because I guarantee there are about 500 people thinking the very same thing.  Twenty minutes later I was in a parking spot and headed towards the tent to pick up my packet.  Score!  I even had time to use the Porto Potty – twice, with 300 of my closest friends!

The Run

The run opened with the posting of the colors and an invocation.  The announcer made some small talk and then decided to point out the youngest runner was 9 and the oldest runner was a female of 69 years young.  Remember the 69-year-old later in the post….

I popped in my ear buds and started off with some Imagine Dragons, there goes the gun and off I go.  There was a 100 yard stretch of black top before the road entered what seemed to be an enchanted forest with improved gravel.  There was a very thick canopy that covered the trail for about 96% percent of the race.  The weather was cool and the canopy made for a nice run.

About a half a mile in, there were portos to the left ~ people were already stopping to go to the bathrooms.  Oh well, when you gotta go you gotta go!  The first two miles are always a bit of a warm up for me.  I don’t feel bad or good.  Just need to find a good running rhythm.  There were a lot of hills.  Just think of it like the surprise in a box of Cracker Jacks© you never truly know what you’re going to get.  A little hill there…a big hill here.  It was a cornucopia of trail running goodness.  Fun to be had by all!  Around mile 3 I started to “hang” with people in the same pace group.  It’s funny how this happens.  You pass them, they pass you, you stop at the same time for water and so on….  You even start to notice their running attire.  Hmmm I like that top…I wonder where she got that….hill!

Water points were plentiful.  Which was nice because I was really sweating this one up.  Around mile 4 I decided I needed to use the porto potty.  Yes, sigh, I know.  It’s almost like it was calling me.  “Laurel, Laurel…can’t have the full race experience without the stinky porto stop”.   I glided on over and there were a set of four lime green portos with grass surrounding them about a foot high.  One’s door was wide open…like choose me.  I did.  Now these portos looked to have been constructed when Jesus was in the Marine Corps, but I’ve been down this road so many times I looked for the Holy water..in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost ~ let’s go…literally.  Did what I came to do and noticed that there was a hand sanitizer machine on the wall.  Hmmm… should I? Heck yeah!  I used the hand sanitizer that probably was installed by George Washington…glop… a nice bit of what I think was clear goo came out and I clapped my hands together and noticed that instead of that nice alcohol dissipating gel feel there was a tacky gooey feel.  I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  I shot out of that porto hands splayed trying to dry them off and decided to wipe them on the back of my shorts.  To answer your question…yes they stuck.  I’m surprised I didn’t run the rest of the race with my hands stuck to my bottom.  Moving forward….

Ahh mile 4…the woods, the smell of nature and running BO,  the Marine smiling at the turning point before … oh damns that’s a big hill!!  Not only was it a big hill, but it was switching back and forth…a couple of times.  I’m not going to lie, there was some walking involved on this one.

Mile 5.  You remember the 69-year-old runner?  Well, at the beginning when they announced her she kind of did a little pageantry dance and started running through the crowd.  The first thing I noticed was she had her hair in a bun with an American and Canadian flag stuck in the back.  Kind of like a nation sharing placard.  You know, the kind of flag you wave at a parade.  I was slowing down a bit.  I was passed by the 69-year-old with the flags in her hair.  Sigh.  I should have said look, I would be a whole lot more impressed if you had the flags of the United Nations on your head!  Now that would be impressive!  There are two take-aways from this…1) I’m happy I was passed by a 69-year-old ~ it lets me know at that age I can still do this; 2)  I have a hell of a lot of work to do….

Around mile 6 we started to cross paths with the triathlon participants.  The trail was divided down the middle and they were running towards us.  There was a turn around point for them and then they were on the same finishing path until the end of the race.  No big deal, just a fact.

Finally, mile 7!  Wait, it’s a 12K… 7.45645 miles…

I had a half a mile to go and I won’t lie…I did slow down a bit and put my hands on my hips.  Chump move, but I did, especially so late in the race.  As soon as my hands hit my hips; I hear this barking behind me “Get your hands off your hips”!  I turn around and there’s this old guy, I don’t know maybe in his 60s or 70s, no doubt a former Marine aaannnnd doing the triathlon, telling me to get my hands off my hips and get a move on… Oh, no you didn’t!  Who did he think he was??!  I turned back around, took my hands off my hips, and got a move on…. don’t mess with a Marine and I did show him my respect.  I love it!  I love military people, as a veteran I think they are some of the best in my book.

I finished the race in 1:26 with a 11:26 pace.  This is the longest I’ve run since I’ve been here and I am pleased with my progress.  I have a lot of work to do, because I’m not satisfied with my result.  After the race we got a nice little swag bag of eats and some hot dogs.  I should have took two of those!  I did have this after at IHOP:

The Nikes© are officially retired.

Total miles completed in my journey = 5588.81.  Miles gratefully remaining 5726.19.  I have 68.69 miles left till my halfway mark.  Kingdom Half Marathon ~ here I come!!  I hope this post finds you at peace, grateful and with much joy in your heart.  Happy Miles to you!!

You know I had to play this!

 

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 6 – 12 Aug…Manassas, VA

Happy Sunday Everyone!  I’m excited as the approach of the Quantico 12K is right around the corner.  Two weeks to be exact! I had a good training week, slowly increasing my mileage and keeping an eye on recovery and strength training.  I always wonder if the mind overcomes the weakness of the body.  If you’re determined enough, you just make it happen.  Something to ponder.

I ran three times this week combining track, street and trail(improved) running.  On Monday I went to the track after work and ran 3.5 miles.  2.5 miles were steady running and the last mile was speed work.  On Thursday I ran the hood and on Saturday my long run was out on the Mt. Vernon trail.   Each day was hot and humid with a slight breeze every now and again, but for the most part humid.  The temperature was moderate but the humidity was off the chart.  I have stuck to the Asics© and Nikes© and I’m happy to say I feel much better.  Still a bit sore, but definitely feeling much better.

My long run on Saturday started off around 9 am.  A little later than I wanted, but there you have it!  The temperature was 78 when I started and the humidity made it feel a lot hotter.  My first three miles were pain-free.  I had a bit of pain on the fourth mile, and would slow down when I felt the pinch.  I did have a wardrobe malfunction with my socks!  Around mile three they decided to scooch!  That’s a word right?  Left me with two nice blisters on the back of my ankles.  It’s always something.  I’m happy with my performance.  I felt strong and ready to move forward.

Blister

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scooching socks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the things I love about this area is the history.  I decided to spend my day visiting the Bull Run Winery and visiting a couple of battlefield sites.  First, the Bull Run Winery is a must if you are in the Manassas area.  It’s a beautiful place and you can participate in tours and tasting.  They have food for purchase but you can bring in your own if you wish.  How can you go wrong with wine and live music!?  The wine was fantastic and I ended up buying a bottle of Norton.  Norton grapes are indigenous to the area.  The wine can be a little acidic at times, but this one was really very good.

A few shots:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the winery we headed on down to Manassas National Battlefield Park.  In 1861, Union and Confederate forces faced off in the first major land battle of the Civil War.  A couple of pics:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s miles came to a total of 11.11.  I am 96.19 miles from the halfway mark with 5753.69 miles gratefully remaining.  I hope this post finds you in good spirits and at ease.  Happy Miles to You!!

I am a rock…in a good way.

 

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ “I’ve Got Your Six”

Happy Sunday everyone!  Another week down and 20 days to go before the Quantico 12K.  Feeling okay this week.  The ankles are still a bit sore, but I was able to soldier on as they say.  I kept my running to treadmill and a flat track surface.  I enjoy running on the track.  It is a good break from running on the road at times.

In the past I’ve had about two pairs of running shoes.  The older pair normally would end up on garden duty!  I have three at the moment that I rotate on a regular basis.  I know, most runners are saying ~ is that all!  For the most part I have had a moderate support shoe, usually favoring Brooks©, Asics© or Saucony©.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the rotating between the shoes I have now, Nike©, Asics© and Hoka© were not the same in rise category and therefore, hurting my ankles.  Different rises cause you to use different muscles.  There is a difference in foot strike between the Hoka shoe I have which causes me to strike mid-foot and the other two which is more of a heel strike, causing me to run differently and causing the pain.  So, it’s bye bye Hoka for now.  There are different Hokas of course, but I think I’m going to stick with what has worked for me in the past ~ the Asics and the Brooks.  Maybe throw in a pair of Saucony from time to time.  All seemed to be comparable to my running style ~ and hopefully will mean less pain.   I talked it over with someone at the local running store and the theory seems to hold some value.

This weeks running plan continued on a road of recovery and training for my race.  I ran on Tuesday, did speed work on Thursday and Saturday was my longer run.  I kept to my plan and stayed at three miles for the long run with a respectable 10:37 pace.  I got a little bit of a late start and paid the price for that in humidity and heat.  I was good for the first two miles but that heat started to set in at mile three.  With no breeze it was a little trying.  It wasn’t too boring because I got to see the high school track team stretching and then they played frisbee in the center field.  It was fun to watch.

I run on the farthest lane or the number “6”.  For some reason every time I would pass the number 6 on the track I would think of the saying “I’ve got your 6”.  The quote is a military saying that originated out of WWI.

“In the military, “got your six” means “I’ve got your back.” The saying originated with World War I fighter pilots referencing the rear of an airplane as the six o’clock position. If you picture yourself at the center of a clock face, the area directly in front of you is twelve o’clock”.  ~ https://www.gotyour6.org/about/faqs/

The track definitely had my “6” as it was a bit friendlier on the old ankles!!  The final count for July miles came to 22.68.  This week I finished with 9.95 miles.  I’m looking to keep kicking up that long run distance.  I have gratefully completed 5550.20 miles in my journey with 5764.80 remaining.  I have 107.30 miles until the halfway mark.  I hope this post finds you well ~ and I hope someone has your “6”!  Happy Miles to You!!

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 23 – 29 July…Back In the Saddle Again!

Happy Sunday everyone!  I left you last week with a whopping 0.0 in miles due to some soreness in my Achilles tendons…on both ankles.  I have been aggressive in my recovery efforts and I’m happy to say I am feeling much better.  Icing, stretching, foam rolling, targeting areas for strength training and the use of the KT Tape© have made a big difference in my recovery.  I’m not out of the woods, but I have had less pain than when I started and no pain just walking.  That’s a big one!

I have used KT Tape before and it can be a little tricky applying it properly.  I’ve never applied it on the Achilles and my first application on my left foot was a little wonky, but effective.  The application on the right foot was much more eloquent.  The desired result was great.  I really felt support while running using the tape.  There seemed to be a certain tightness and that alleviated much of the pain.  Granted, I only ran for two miles with it, but it held up nicely.  I went out and bought more today and will continue to use it during my recovery process.

I started out with a run/walk at the beginning of the week.  You know the feeling when you haven’t been outside in a while and you finally get to go out and everything is exhilarating?  I had that feeling. It was so good to be running again.  A few pangs, but when I started to hurt I slowed down and ensured I walked a bit.  I’m one of those people who just like to push through.  I hate interrupting the flow.  My second run was two miles on the treadmill.  As monotonous as the treadmill is at times, it reduces impact and is part of my recovery and training program.

There is a high school down the road with a very nice track.  I figured this weekend I would give it a go.  When I was in Belleville, Il I would use the track on Scott AFB all the time.  I like running on the road, but sometimes it’s just nice to be off the road and have a flatter surface.  And it’s a track, which means lower impact and it’s good for speed training too.  I walked a mile to the track (great warm up) and ran two miles and walked back for a total of 4.30 miles for the long run this week.  No doubt I will be ready for the Quantico 12K in August.

 

Hawks track in the background.

I logged 9.23 miles this week.  I know..:/, but at least it’s 9.23 more than last week.  I remain eternally grateful for my steadfast journey.  I have 5774.75 miles remaining!  I hope this post finds you back….back in the saddle again.  Happy Miles to You!!