What a Relief!!

My legs have been causing me no end of pain lately. The pain would start in my butt and run all the way down my legs until I felt like I couldn’t move my feet forward anymore. I thought it was my too-tight hamstrings. While that may be a part of it, it’s really a nerve issue. So I went to see my chiropractor, Kym Wilkens this week at Wilkens Sports Chiropractic (http://artflagstaff.com) and I feel sooo much better. Even after traveling down to Phoenix and back and sitting in a workshop all day, my run (although short) was great! My legs felt better than they have in months!!!! That is a physical and mental relief!

This weekend I plan on doing two back-to-back long runs. 20 and 25 miles or there about. I’ll do the 20 out and back on Woody Mtn Rd. That’s where Dara did her 20 miles when she came out. I’ll just imagine she’s there with me, and I’ll try to keep up.

As the Stagecoach is getting closer, I find myself feeling a little anxious. I keep asking myself: what am I doing? But there’s something that is driving me to get out there and do it. And it does help that I’ll have an awesome support crew. Dara, Bob, and Ben are coming out. Art and Dara are going to pace me…and maybe Bob too. Art has warned them that I tend to get a little emotional on the long runs. Who knows what I’ll end up like when I’m running while sleep deprived. Most likely a raving lunatic who will need serious medical attention by the end. 🙂

I'll just imagine I'm running with this wackadoo this weekend.

I’ll just imagine I’m running with this wackadoo this weekend.

Dara on her 20 on Woody Mtn Rd last fall.

Dara on her 20 on Woody Mtn Rd last fall.

My run this evening.

My run this evening.

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New Shoes and Wildlife

My most excellent husband just bought me the perfect pair of shoes. I’ve been running in either the Altra Olympus or the Altra Superiors, both of which I love. The Olympus is a great shoe with zero drop and lots of cushioning, but there is very little tread on the bottom. The Superior is a zero-drop, minimal shoe. I discovered that I shouldn’t wear these on long runs because they beat the living hell out of my feet. I found this out when I ran Crown King earlier this year. My feet were in seriously rough shape after that. So Art brought me a pair of Altra Lone Peak 2.5s. I LOVE them! they are the perfect combination between of the two shoes. Zero drop with just enough padding to be comfortable and great tread on the bottom. I wore them today on my 16 mile run and they’re fantastic.

So about my run today, we did 16 miles from NAU on the Urban Trail to Fisher Point and back on the Arizona Trail to the Walnut Canyon Trail. It was super hot today, and normally I don’t do well in the heat. Today, I wore my Nathan pack which has a 70 oz bladder. I drank the whole thing, but I actually felt good at the end of the run. And, my feet don’t hurt and I didn’t slip all over the trails! Success on all fronts.

On a side note, part of what I love about running in Flagstaff is that I get to see all kinds of wildlife. Yesterday, I ran a quick six on the loop trail and actually got to share the trail with a coyote for about 1/4 of a mile. It just trotted down the trail in front of me, not at all concerned about what I was doing. Every once in a while, it would peak back at me, as if checking to see if I was keeping up. How fantastic! Today we saw a humongous spider get attacked by some kind of wasp that wasn’t even close to it’s size but somehow managed to drag it all over the trail and kill it. Not overly pleasant perhaps, but definitely interesting.

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Thursday Speedwork

2015-05-18 17.40.12Ok, so my “speedwork” is nothing like Dara’s. No wonder she’s so much faster than I am! Anyway, since this is a low week for me, I was looking forward to an easy 8 miles tonight after work. As I’m heading over to Campbell, I receive my running orders from Art: 3 x 1 mile tempos. Ugh…I was not looking forward to that.

Once I got out there, I felt better. I ran an easy warm-up mile and then did my three tempos with 1/2 mile recovery in between. I’ve being trying to rely more on effort lately than my watch. That’s what I did tonight. I focused on my breathing and my cadence, and I was pretty consistent. I’ve also been working on my footwork. I have a tendency to be heavy-footed, so I’m trying to be lighter.

The Campbell Mesa trails are great for speedwork. They’re pretty flat and not real rocky which is good for me; Art has starting calling me ToeCatch since I manage to catch my toes on every rock in sight. I do have two blackened toenails that I’m hoping do not fall off.

As you can tell, my mood is better tonight. I’m still tired, not sleeping well, and stressed at work but I think tonight’s run really helped. It clears my head to get out there and have nothing to focus on by the dirt and rocks and my breathing and how far I can get down the trail before Art catches me (he started from home).

Looking Forward

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So while Desma is training for a triple digit race, I am currently training for a second attempt at a BQ. This past spring, I discovered that my training was going much better than expected and on a whim decided to go for it. Missed the qualifying time by 1:08! So close yet so far. But, this fall I will try again with a more directed training plan and hopefully no pee stops.

Along the way, there may be a 5k and a half marathon thrown in for fun as well but the primary focus is Baystate in Lowell, MA in October.

So in preparation, last night was a track workout with 4x200m with 200m rest, 4x400m with 400m rest, and 4x200m with 200m rest.

I love speed work. I may be crazy but I love the way my body feels pounding the track, the turn over of my legs, and the wind in my face. I feel like a kid playing tag. It is really such a great feeling.

Last night went well. The weather was perfect and I was running with my training partner and her husband. The kids go with us and everyone was well behaved allowing for few distractions. My body responded well and there were few nagging pains! Always a win for a runner.

Send positive thoughts to Desma as she works through some grueling mileage! And think of me smiling and enjoying myself on the track.

Tired, Tired, Tired

That about describes how I feel. I’ve had a couple of big weeks of running and it’s wearing on me. Thank goodness for a low week. I did 38 miles on Sunday with two pretty big climbs. One up Schultz Creek Trail and the other on the Arizona Trail up Snowbowl. But, I must say, the running down was much worse. Art says I’m catching myself too much which is putting a strain on my knees. If it wasn’t for all the rocks and roots, I’d just try to slide down it like we did at Whiteface.

I’m just a bit worn out, and I have to force myself to think about a piece of advice Art once got from his cycling coach: If you start yelling at the dog for no reason, you need a rest week. Well, I already yell at the dogs (I’m a Caputo/Goosney=we yell), but I do notice that I’m finding it hard to focus and my sleep is not at all restful. And probably suffering bouts of road rage is not a good sign. So tonight, instead of running, I went out for an early girls’ night and damn do I feel guilty and super panicked that now I won’t be ready for the Stagecoach because I didn’t run. It never seems like enough. I keep thinking that I should have done two more miles on Sunday for an even 40…surely that would have been better. Shouldn’t I be running every day? Shouldn’t I be doing brick workouts? Should I be doing consecutive longs days? What about my speed work? Cross-training? Do other people panic like this? Why can’t we all be like Scott Jurek? How do you get to be like Scott Jurek? Is that even a good idea? This all leads to the big question (which Art hates): What am I doing with my life?

So build weeks are hard because you’re tired and working your ass off. Low weeks are hard because you feel so guilty about not working your ass off. Where’s the middle ground? Does it exist?

This has been my whine session for the week….I’m pretty sure Dara’s crying me a river right now while she plays the world’s tiniest violin and each some really expensive cheese.

 

 

Back on Track

It has been a long time since either Dara or I wrote. Sometimes life gets crazy and things get swept to the side. But we’re back now. I think a lot about how I lives have changed even over the past year. One thing that hasn’t changed is the role that running plays in both our lives. I think it helps us stay positive even when life hangs on us like a like a one-ton weight. We may not know exactly which way to go in or what decision to make, but we can always rely on the fact that lacing up our shoes and putting one foot in front of the other sure does make things seem a hell of a lot better. And being together magnifies that 100 times…even if the we’re running in a torrential downpour and spending more time on your ass in the mud than on your feet.

Back in June, Dara and I ran the Whiteface Sky Marathon…well, part of it anyway. It was cold, windy, pouring rain and involved a lot of tumbling down the mountain. At one point, all I could see of Dara were arms, legs and hiking poles flailing through the air. What a beautiful sight!!  Anyone who know us knows just how graceful we are under the best conditions; let me tell you, we were a mess. It took us almost three hours to complete about seven miles. (Normally we can each do about 20 miles in that time.) In total honesty, those were three of the most fun, laughter-filled hours of my life. There is no one else I’d rather tumble, slide, skid down a mountain with…or get a fresh mountain-water mud spa treatment with. Here are a few pics to commemorate the moment.

Sometimes it rains on us and the only thing to do is lace up and make the best damn time of it that we possibly can.

Dara, I love you…let’s do it again next year. 🙂

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If you can’t say anything nice…

Hi all! It’s been a VERY long time

I’d apologize but I think I was actually doing everyone a favor! Mama said ” If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I’ve been abiding by that rule here on the blog.

Running has NOT been going well. I made a decision several weeks ago not to run the 50 mile race in September. I was out for a four hour training run one Saturday and realized that I needed to run three hours on Sunday too. That’s all fine and dandy but that’s seven hours. Seven hours I should be spending with my son and my husband who leaves for work as soon as I get back from a run. That’s almost as long as a work day! And it wasn’t just the time running. It was feeling so run down after that I couldn’t really have quality time with my son, my husband, or even the dog. I was too tired/sore to go any further than the backyard with Louie and even then I was petrified that he’d pull me off my feet because my body hurt so much I couldn’t keep control of him.

So I decided to do the 50k version of the race. Not much more than marathon training. Wouldn’t be bad. I had a six hour timed race set up for mid August and some great friends going with me. It would be a blast and based on how I did there I would decide about completing the 50k in September.

Well, the Sweltering Summer Six Hour came and I gave up after I hit 26.2 miles. I was done. Spent. I ran on a 0.335 mile loop for 4.5 hours and I was done. I begged asked Ruth to hang with me for the last hour and a half (or so) because I just needed someone to take my mind off of the mindless tedium and the pain. Pain in my knee, my feet, my whole body, etc.

I made up my mind that day. Ultra running is (sadly) not for me. I love running, I really do. But my heart isn’t into running for hours on end. It’s just not. I have decided to stay marathon ready from now on. I’ve run two half marathons and PR’d at both of them. I LOVE that distance. I can run a race pretty hard and still walk around the rest of the day.

It’s just so much better for me. Mentally and physically. And I’m happy…