Thursday, February 28, 2013

Longest run ever, until the BIG DAY

Ladies and gentlemen, let the record officially show that on Saturday, 23 February 2013, this Urban Cyclist ran 20 miles.

Read that again.

(20 miles!)
The happy group before our respective longest runs.
C and I (and M and J, but they were with us only off and on) set off in the morning with the intention of taking it relatively easy and only doing 5:1::run:walk intervals. C's knee had been bothering her during the week, so we also opted from the start to walk down any hills. On this route (at the River) there were a lot of hills and slow descents. We also stopped at all but the first/last water stop to stretch and refuel. Our total elapsed time was 4:40, but when one considers the two bathroom breaks and the absolute stand-stills at the water stops, that's not too shabby.

When one considers that our total *moving* time was only 4:10, one is much happier. Especially if I am said one. As our plan for the marathon is to never stop (except for possible nature breaks) and to at least walk through water stops, I think we'll be in very good shape.

Average pace: 12:16 (13:44) min/mi
Distance: 20.44 mi
Time: 4:10:45 (4:10:44)

Six miles in, still smiling like idiots.
P and D turned around at this point, the rest of us chugged on.
As a matter of fact, though my feet hurt at the end of the run, I felt absolutely great. C said my form was good at the end, and after a shower and short nap I felt as good as new. So good, in fact, I took the Giant out on the ride on Sunday where I had my best ride of the season (in some of the best weather of the season) and felt only a little tired in the legs.This running and training has been a lot easier than I expected. 

Thank you, Team in Training! Thank you, to all my wonderful friends!

Let the taper begin!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Last weekend - an effort in madness

I've spent every day since last Saturday reminding myself to post an update, and every day until today (Friday!) not getting around to it.

Today that changes.

It's not that Saturday's run was mind-blowingly long or fast, or that Sunday's ride was a personal record. It's that last weekend all together was crazy.

I used the gift card from the exceedingly generous (and exceedingly anonymous Shoe Fairy) to buy new kicks at Big Peach. My first run in 10 days was on Tuesday, and I wore the shoes. It was only a 4-mile jaunt, but my calves got really tight, my right arch hurt, and I thought the shoes were at fault. I ran 6 on Wednesday (still very tight) in the old shoes, and because I was still soooo tight and sore on Thursday, I didn't run at all.

That brings me to Saturday (in my old sneakers). It was a partly sunny day, which worked in our favor because it was also about 36F, which is to say chilly. I was dressed just right for the occasion, however, in knickers, a light wool base, a short sleeved top, and mitten/gloves to keep the fingers warm. I felt perfect the whole time.

C sporting her fancy new hat before the run.
These photos really emphasize how short I am.

C was still making up extra miles she missed from her injury a few weeks back, but we ran my ten together before she did another five on her own. We had a great time, as she had just won a TNT hat (which just that very morning she said she wanted) and had brainstormed an idea of having the man, the myth Will Ferrell come to the marathon in March, as he is a known runner and all-around great guy, and will happen to be in the area for Anchorman 2. It's kismet!

Anyway, we set out to average an easy pace so as not to hurt our little tootsies, and we did just that. I enjoyed her company and we both enjoyed a hot cup of soup and sandwich afterward.


Average pace: 11:12 (11:51) min/mi
Distance: 10.23 mi
Time: 1:54:35 (2:01:12)

We decided that we were going to let social media help us on our Will Ferrell quest. So, Mr. Ferrell (or his minions), if you are reading this, please consider running the Georgia Publix Marathon on 17 March. You'll be local and still coming off training for your half a few weeks ago. Even if you don't run, we would love for you to make an appearance at the Team in Training tent at the finish, where we promise not to stare or geek out too embarrassingly. Between us, we've raised over $3,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society since November -- how much more would you like us to raise in the next couple weeks for it to be worth your while?

Or, if you can be bribed, I have an original PlayStation that you can just have.


Sunday morning was cold. Very cold. I mean cold. It was so cold, it was a frigid 28F out and I only entertained the notion of riding because it was also incredibly sunny and because I knew I could bundle appropriately. Special mention goes to G-man for his turtle and gloves, because it would have been undoable without those.

Can you tell I'm smiling? There's terror in those eyes.
Despite the high number of positive RSVPs to the group, I didn't anticipate a lot of people actually at the ride, and I was right. Only the lovely B joined me, also swaddled in her southern winter finest. I would have asked for a bystander to get a picture of the two of us, but there were no bystanders in that weather, and certainly none without gloves on to work the phone's camera.

I'll point out here that none of the Tough Guys showed up. B and I felt pretty smug on that point.

As it was just the two of us, and B deigned to ride out to the rock and back with me (we both wisely skipped doing any loops), and suffered together through the cold and very windy day. We almost had our bikes blown out from under us, and the wind was more temperamental than usual, changing direction at the drop of a hat. We suffered through it, however, and were rewarded with a balmy 36F and calm brunch back at LPM. Sitting in the sun was amazing: it was like sitting in a hug. It was so warm and beautiful, and I can't believe we'd considered sitting indoors (the only reason we didn't was because LPM was hop hop hopping).


Maximum speed: 34.0 mph
Average speed: 14.0 mph
Distance: 27.89 mi
Time: 1:59:18

I had a fantastic time riding with B -- it hadn't happened in a looooong time, and I think that riding with her is part of the reason I turned in so fast a time (that and the wind, though I swear it was never at our backs). We got to catch up and just talk, and I had a wonderful time "pulling" her, though when she took over, it was no work at all for her to pass me and get in front.

She's so kind to let me pretend.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Last week and this week: An uneventful twofer

Last week I ran my longest mileage ever. EVER. I ran 16 miles with J, whom I first mentioned all the way back in December when P and I did 5 (6?) together from the church. She hadn't been back to a GTS since then because of bronchitis. Ugh. I'm glad she was there last weekend, though, because I wouldn't have had anyone to run with at my pace, and she was great company and very funny.

My left foot had started to bother me the Tuesday before (4 days) the long run, but I didn't think much of it and did my TR runs as planned. It made it easier for J and I to shuffle along.

**Note: I have been saying all season that I've been running these distances. In reality, I am quickly jogging and/or shuffling on these routes. The real runners drop my ass immediately, and I'm OK with that.**

Anyway, J and I headed out, chatting most of the time and sometimes I was quiet and she put on her music. It was a gorgeous day. A bit of a nip in the air (I wore full tights), but sunny and perfect to finish. My foot felt OK to start, but not great, and progressively started to hurt more throughout the run. I still did the whole thing, even the little hill at the end (and an extra out-and-back in the park to get the full mileage), so that gets chalked up as a win. I think we paced each other really well.


Average pace: 10:56 (11:04) min/mi
Distance: 16.09 mi
Time: 2.55.51 (2.58.19).

16 miles never looked so good.

I think I'm going to be all right for the marathon. My foot was really sore and a bit swollen when I got home, so I RICEd it that day and the next. Riding the bike didn't bother it (the snug and stiff-soled shoes helped), so I maintained my usual KSR leadership the next morning. I took the whole of this past week off from running to let my foot rest and heal, and instead rode my bike to school on T and back on W (bad weather on Thursday kept me from doing anything outside besides walk to and from the MARTA stop). The rain boots on Thursday hurt my foot because of pressure on the sore point, but since then it's felt closer and closer to 100%.

Yesterday the TEAM was scheduled to run 18 miles, but I knew that would be too much on a foot that wasn't perfect yet. I had originally planned to do 10 with C, and then 4 on my own, and then, in a fit of good thinking, didn't run at all and instead joined the cycle team for their first GTR of the summer season. I rode 16 easy miles and had no pain whatsoever in my foot during the ride or the rest of the day. My usual KSR this morning also felt good (though with very tired quads), and again, was mostly painless. There is some tenderness, but for the most part I think I'm good to go.

An anonymous Shoe Fairy gifted me a card to Big Peach, so I'm going to consult with the lovely staff there and get new sneaks to run the long days in for the remainder of the season, and I plan to start back with run training again on Tuesday, with whatever the scheduled distance is.

The marathon is SO CLOSE. I can DO THIS.

I'm very excited.