Shout Out to my Running Mentors. Part Three: Art

Any of you who know my husband know just what an incredible athlete he is. He has the ability to push his body past limits that other people never even reach.  Take today for example.  He rode up Snowbowl on the road bike, a total of 55 miles, and then went home and ran over nine miles on some seriously tough trails.  He just does these things.  He’ll go out and run marathon distance like it’s nothing.  He’ll head out on the mountain bike and hide half a century.  Then he’ll come home and run with me or by himself.  He’s has this insane capacity to make himself hurt.  He’ll ride a century on the road bike and looks for the toughest routes possible.  He’s not happy unless he’s going uphill.  Crazy? Maybe. But also completely inspiring.

 

Art always pushes me to run further and faster, to ride better and improve my skills.  When I crash, he never babies me.  He makes me get up and get back on the bike.  He gives me tips on how to improve and hides his frustration well when I don’t always act on those tips.  He coaches me, molds me into the runner that I want to be.  When I was going through chemo, he had me on the bike and jogging between light posts on Indiantown Swamp Road in Hemingway.  He never once let me feel sorry for myself.  Most importantly, he has always believed in me even when I doubted myself.  I come up with crazy ideas and he helps me make them a reality. At the same time he keeps me grounded which means I get hurt a lot less. He knows me better than I know myself when it comes to how I can improve and how to motivate me. No one could ask for a better coach.

 

I think I have the best mentors in the world.

 

Who are your mentors?

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Adding up the Miles

Last Sunday we did our longest run in a long time: over 21 miles.  And let me tell you, 21 miles on the trails around here when it’s about 90 degrees is enough to make me throw-up.  I”m quite serious; I nearly puked twice.  I’ve been having all kinds of trouble with my stomach lately, and, whether it was due to the heat or not, my stomach was upset. I couldn’t eat or drink enough, so by the time we hit mile twelve I was right on the edge of dry heaving.  Not pleasant.  

Out of the first seven miles, about 5.5 are climbing.  Not easy when you’re dodging mountain bikers. I had to walk a few times when it got steep; I’m trying to improve my climbing. The trails are great, though.  Lots of soft sand.  Good patches of shade. Then there’s a good 4 miles of descending which was fabulous.  I’ve also been focusing on increasing my speed when descending, It’s paying off. It’s a lot more fun now. 

 When we stopped at Buffalo Park to fill up on water (about mile 15), I soaked my shirt in water and sat in the shade for a few minutes.  Let me tell you, it made all the difference.  The last six miles felt awesome.  My feet were light and I was running along singing. I’m sure everyone loved that.  But I really felt like I could’ve kept going.  All in all, it was a successful day; I didn’t puke and I finished in good form. 

 

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Last Week

Desma’s last two posts are pretty tough to beat. I’m working on putting a couple of shout outs together myself. It’s hard (I don’t express myself as well as Desma does) but they will be coming, I promise!

In the meantime, let me bring you up to speed on my training.

I’ve been trying to follow my plan as closely as possible since I failed last weekend.

Last Tuesday:

Overall: 9.65 miles with 4 miles at ten mile pace

Average Pace 8:49

Wednesday:

Easy 5 miles. Ran Tory Lane for hill work.

Average pace: 9:40

Thursday:

9 miles with middle three at Marathon Pace

Average Pace: 8:49

Friday: (Rest Day)

2.5 miles with our new dog!!

Rode my bike to and from work for just under 10 miles.

Saturday:

Almost 2 hours on the road with some of the women from my running group. They run a bit slower than I normally do but I just focused on how much time I was spending on my feet. Plus it was great to catch up with them and hear about their summer plans for future races.

Sunday:

3 hours on the road. My watch died so I have no idea how many miles I did or my average pace. I do know that it was flippin’ hot and muggy. I ran out of water right before I hit three hours so I had to call Ruth to come get me. Perfect timing too! I hit 3 hours right as I saw her pull up. I was a bit disappointed because I do know that I didn’t do as many miles as I wanted to.

Monday: Rest Day (for real this time)

Today:

10.7 miles

One mile warm up

Then 2 x 2 @ Half marathon pace.

This run started out very uncomfortably. I was very tight from the weekend and I shuffled along for most of the first mile. I was glad it was dark because I looked like Igor until I warmed up. (Walk this way…)

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Pretty sure this is how I look at 4:45 in the morning.

I finally loosened up a bit and was able to run the next two miles smoothly at 8:28 and 8:01. After a brief rest I tackled the next two at 8:02 and 7:52. The next five were with my buddy Ruth and we went nice and easy. Didn’t break any records but it was a great way to spend some time with a friend.

Here are some images from my runs over the last week:

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At the top of Tory Lane. So beautiful in the morning.

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Found this pretty place to take Mr. B hiking. Just down the road from us too!

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Meet King Louie! Our newest addition to our family!! This is him on our first run together. He’s not too bad for a first timer.

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Since I’m such an early riser, this is what I get to see on most of my runs.

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On my bike ride to work. I also run this road and it’s part of the marathon route I just ran. It’s one of my favorite spots.

Where and when do you like to run?

~Dara

Shout Out to my Running Mentors. Part 2: Galen Humphrey

There was a point in my life when nothing was right.  My body was a disaster after chemo and the radiation was just making things worse.  I had lost so much much of who I thought I was as a person.  The world seemed like such an uncertain place.  I decided the only way to combat my troubled state was to run…and Galen helped me do that.

Now keep in mind that Galen has been a marathoner for years, so I imagine that running with me for that first while must have been a serious exercise in patience for him.  I had run half-marathons before, but chemo and all had seriously sapped much of what fitness I had.  Needless to say, I was slow and spent much of the time huffing and puffing and feeling very frustrated.  There was one day in particular that I remember very clearly.  We had gone out for a short three miles, and as soon as I hit that last mile I was done.  I walked and was nearly in tears.  I felt like a failure; having to run seemed, at that moment, to be the worst thing in the world.  Galen walked right beside me, cracking his usual corny jokes and coming up with the best puns ever until I was smiling again.  He never let me feel sorry for myself for long.

Galen and I trained for my first marathon and our first ultra together; I can think of no better running partner.  We ran and talked and laughed and picked on each other unmercifully. And there was a lot of not-so-good singing.  We discussed work and our philosophies on life.  I learned more about teaching on those long runs than I could from reading a thousand books on education.  Maybe more than anything, he taught me to love running again.  I learned to run steady and long, to look around me and notice the little things like tiny turtles that need saving or shrines to werewolves.  I learned how to eat well while running (courtesy of strategically placed coolers) and the rest of the time as well.  Those post run meals Jessica made were perfect.  It was during our time training together that I became a vegetarian, and I am healthier for it. Overall, I think those runs with such an incredible (and goofy) mentor made me stronger and wiser, both as a runner and as a person.

We are road warriors. I can’t thank you enough.

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A Shout Out to my Running Mentors. Part One: Mr. Murray

Mr. Robert Murray was the first person to truly introduce me to running.  My sisters and I call him our godfather and he was my TKD instructor for many years.  He was also the first person I knew who had ever run a marathon.  This was most impressive, as the only real running I had done (besides chasing after various run away farm animals like my goat) was in gym class.  I would love Mr. Murray’s classes in the summer.  We would all head out and run the back roads of South Glens Falls; it was the best thing ever to run next to Mr. Murray as he gave me tips.  Keep my chest open, head up, step lightly.  Running became a thing I looked forward to.  

 

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I told Mr. Murray that I was going to run a marathon.  Being the man he is, he said he would travel down to South Carolina so he could be there with me.  And he did.  Of course, race day for the Myrtle Beach marathon that year was the only day it snowed in SC in who knows how long, and the race was cancelled.  I decided to run it anyway.  Mr. Murray started out my run with me and finished it with me.  I had hit the wall a few miles before reaching the end, and he was there to run me in.  He kept me strong and talked to me the whole way.  We finished on the beach with the waves crashing, the blood pounding in my ears, and one of the most incredible people the world has seen jogging along side me.  

 

Mr. Murray is back to running himself.  He recently had his own bout with cancer and is back stronger than ever.  He still rigorously teaches and does TKD (his life’s great passion, I think),  There’s no standing around, observing and telling people what to do for him.   And he just ran  a 5K and is planning on another one soon.  He never stops.  When I think about perseverance, his is the first face I picture. 

 

He taught me to apply everything I learned in TKD and about running to life; that is a never-ending gift.  Thank you for making me a better person.

Minimal vs. Traditional Shoes

If you read any sort of running magazine, blog, post on FB, etc. you know that there is a hot debate about minimalist running shoes vs. traditional shoes. I’m not here to debate that issue. I’m just here to tell you what I wear.

As you can tell from Desma’s recent posts, she is an avid minimalist when it comes to her shoes. Her husband is as well and they love that style. I, on the other hand, would LOVE to wear those shoes but it doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me. At least, not yet. Maybe one day as I strengthen my feet, ankles, and legs. Pretty much my entire lower half.

I wear two different shoes. One pair for road running and a pair for trail running. I’m the kind of person who once I discover something works for me, I will buy it over and over and over and OVER. So I think I’m on my fourth pair of New Balance 860v3 as my road shoe.

New Balance 860v3

New Balance 860v3

“The 860v3 is the go-to shoe for overpronators. With the contoured fit of a NuFoam saddle, a larger ABZORB crash pad, and a T-BEAM TPU shank offering enhanced torsional stability, it’s designed to provide a light, smooth and stable run.” New Balance

Sounds like the description for an army tank and they kind of look that way too but that may caused by the large size of my feet. However, I’ve been using them since I was diagnosed with “Runner’s knee” (aka PFPS) a year ago and they seem to be doing the trick. Haven’t had that issue since. I have developed tibialis posterior tendonitis since I was training for my marathon. Basically, my arch is falling in my right foot and it’s yanking on the tendons surrounding my ankle bone. It’s been swollen for months. That hasn’t gone away but it has been helped by using a “SuperFeet” insert and taping and strengthening the muscles in my feet. The only way to fix it is to stop running and that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. (Hey, you know you do it, too!)

My new trail shoes are Asics Gel Scouts. I’ve never worn Asics before so I went into them without any sort of idea of how they would be.

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“This new addition to the ASICS® trail shoe family provides full ground contact and utilizes full outsole coverage in order to provide great protection and ground feel. Aggressive lugs ensure optimal traction on the trail. The upper features a supportive cage structure around a soft mesh lining, ensuring comfort, durability, and a secure fit.” Asics

How do I feel about them now? I’ve only tested them twice and compared to my New Balance they are waaaay better on the trails, obviously! They are made for overpronators, like me, and provide decent cushioning. They have a rock plate in the bottom to avoid bruising of my tootsies which I am grateful for but they still feel pretty bulky. They don’t exactly look sleek either but I can pass on good looks if you make me feel good.  😉 (Sorry guys, I had to.)

The drop in the Asics is less than the drop in my New Balance. I’m unable to find on their respective sites just how much different but it’s not noticeable. The only difference I’ve really seen is in the stiffness in the sole and the Asics are slightly more form fitting on my foot so I’m not slipping around inside my shoe constantly. That’s not a problem while road running but when running over roots and rocks, if my foot shifts unexpectedly inside my shoe, I end up rolling my ankle. I do that enough on my own. Let’s not make it happen even more frequently.

So now you know what I wear. What kind of shoes do you wear? Are you a minimalist or a traditionalist?

 

Less Pain; More Gain

My new INOV-8s are awesome!!  I’m posting pics of them below.  Then I’m posting what the bottom of the Minimus looks like.  Don’t get me wrong, the Minimus is a fantastic minimal shoe; it just doesn’t do so well on the crazy rocks we have around here. The INOV-8s are perfect for much of the terrain I’m running on.  Still minimal with only a 3mm drop but with added protection.  Check them out.

 

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So tonight Art had me do a tempo run.  We did a mile warm-up, then four miles at tempo, then about a mile and a half cool down back home.  I was huffing and puffing.  This was my first time doing a tempo run in a long time, and I had a little trouble finding a good pace.  The shoes were great, though; I feel much more confident descending in them.  Tomorrow I’ll do eight at the most with a longer run on Wednesday.  Right now I’m trying to set up a baseline so I can figure out exactly where I am for training.  

 

That’s it for tonight. I’m beat but happy.