Category Archives: group runs

Hello Asheville

I’m about a week away from moving to Asheville and I should be packing. Instead, I’m researching places to run, races to jump into and ways to find new running friends in Asheville. Sigh. Can’t teach an old (running) dog new tricks. My schedule for the next few years will be much less predictable than it is now, so my basic approach is to try to identify every possible race in the area, write them in my calendar then register as I know my schedule! Will this lead to top performances in every race?  Of course not. What it will accomplish, however, is a general fitness base that can hopefully parlay into a few outstanding performances a year.

Luckily for me, Asheville is a well developed running town and there are lots of group runs and races to get involved in. I joined the Asheville Track Club last night so that I can be a part of the 2017 Grand Prix (although I won’t be able to get 10 races in to be eligible for overall awards this year) and I’m considering connecting with the Asheville Running Collective which seems like an Asheville version of Olde Bones. I was also excited to find the Carolina Runner blog, which is an amazing resource of events all over the area.

When I get to Asheville next week, my first order of business after unpacking is to get an Annual Pass to the Biltmore, where there are 22+ miles of relatively flat trails to train on. Also on my list is a membership to the North Carolina Arboretum (10 miles of trails) and exploring the Bent Creek Trails.  I’m also looking forward to exploring more of the Mountains to Sea trail and to finding my daily routes from the new house!

Here’s to new adventures!

Week in Review 4.4.16 to 4.10.16

Monday: 3.25 mile recovery run with big arms and core.

Tuesday: 5.5 miles with 10 minutes at tempo pace plus 4 by 30 seconds hard uphill. Still feeling the residual of a lot of hours on the trails. Legs after.

Wednesday: 4.27 miles with striders.

Thursday: 4.4 miles.

Friday: 2 mile progressive shakeout.

Saturday: Merrimack River Trail Race, aka the “Rivah.” Finished 12th for women in 1:16:20, which was momentarily disappointing, but overcome by the realization that I a) had a ton of fun b) executed my race plan and c) smiled for almost the entire (really flipping hard) race.

Sunday: Off Day. My legs are tired from yesterday but nothing appears broken. Given that I have to turn around and race a 10K on Saturday, however, I opted for more rest so I can get a little training in this week around that.

Total Miles: 32.4

This week (well really weekend) was one of the most refreshing ones I’ve had in a while. On Friday night, I drove up to Boston and caught up with my Uncle on the drive. He’s a retired physician and has been an enormous support to me throughout this process so it was great to catch up with him. I stayed with my best friend from college and we got to giggle and catch up all weekend. Then today, I got to catch up with another dear friend on the way back to Norwalk. Medical School is BRUTAL on personal relationships and I am so grateful to have friends who stick by me and to have a few hours to just be a regular person.

The race was also an amazing experience. I’ll recap it more in my race report, but I am just overwhelmingly proud of my execution. It wasn’t my best race and I’d hoped to be faster but I did a great job of just running my race plan, putting in a solid performance without risking my race next weekend or the half in May and had a total fricken blast.

As I’ve alluded a couple of times, the 10000 meter component of the All-Terrain Runner series is coming up next Saturday. I didn’t intend to race back to back weekends but finding a 10K on the track is a bit of a feat and I can’t make the only other guaranteed date this Spring so next weekend, I’m heading up to Fitchburg State University to run in a college meet for 27 some odd laps!

All of this means that my week gets shuffled a bit. I need to recover from yesterday, sharpen for Saturday and still keep my eye on May 1st. I’ll do a glorified strider workout tomorrow even though I won’t be fully recovered, another workout on Wednesday (trying out the Greenwich Running Company workout this week) then two easy days, use Saturday as a workout/heavy tempo and long run Sunday.

 

What Runners Do In Strange Towns

As told by my actual Google searches over the past week…

-Runs in Norwalk, Connecticut

-Trails in Norwalk, Connecticut

-Bike Paths in Norwalk, Connecticut

-Google Maps Pedometer

-Running stores near Norwalk

-Bike paths ANYWHERE in Connecticut

-Running groups Connecticut

-How far is Central Park from Norwalk

-Where do I get wine in Connecticut?

Priorities…

I’m setting in down here and found a lovely 8 mile route with lots of options to add on that takes me by the ocean. The sidewalks are in disrepair so I’m being particularly careful about footing as my hand STILL has gravel in it and traffic doesn’t so much yield to pedestrians but I’m making it work. Next step is to get back into a rhythm that allows me to get to bed early enough to do my first run in the morning (I’ve been up late trying to get organized for a new place, grocery shopping etc) and get a second easy run and lift in after work. The big goal this weekend? Find a place to get 14 miles in…

Sisterhood of the Traveling Running Shorts

There’s no doubt in my mind that I would not be successful at and love running like I do without the women I’ve trained with over the years. From my teammates in high school to my training partners now, I am surrounded and supported by amazing female runners who push me along.

Watching the Women’s marathon yesterday was a blast. The definition of “ain’t over Til it’s over,” the best women in the world came to play and put on a gutsy show on a rainy, technical course.

I had to laugh as Shalane and Kara finished, however, because it was reminiscent of Christine and I after VCM. Both in a bit of a fog, I crossed the line where Christine was waiting with an impatient official who wanted her to keep moving. Through my pain I heard her say, “no! I’m waiting for my friend.” Our hug was pitiful and hunched over, but the only reaction after countless training runs and a 26.2 mile test. When I saw Kara pick up Shalane today and wrap her arms around her, I knew just what they were feeling.

Shalane and Kara, we are all so proud.

20120805-205113.jpg

Ponytail Mafia

I’m extremely lucky to be part of a pack of fast girls here in Burlington, to whom I owe most of this training cycle’s success. While we had all run together individually over the last year, we finally got organized in February and started doing our long runs together on Saturday mornings and some key workouts during week. On Saturday, we gather somewhere early and head off for a couple of hours of running during which time the rules are simple: no talk about running and as much story telling as humanly possible.

You’ll hear us coming from a mile away, laughing and talking rapidly about whatever has transpired in the past week. We talk about husbands and boyfriends, about work and family and sometimes, we just fantasize about whatever food (or wine) we’re consuming later in the day. We run faster in the group than we ever train alone, pulled along by one another. Sometimes we look like we came out of the same store in matching crops, ponytails and cheap gloves for warm hands.

Running with the “girls” has changed this training cycle for me. We’ve done tons of quality miles together and on race morning, we’ll set out for the marathon like we’ve set out for so many long runs. We’ll talk less (if at all), but we’ll still be in it together. They know what to say to me when I get flustered or upset and I know where to help push them when they get tired or discouraged.

Runner’s World had an interesting article on running with a group recently, with which I didn’t entirely agree. Although we try to stay together during regular runs, when we’re doing uptempo segments, there’s no rule about staying together. On Saturday, for example, Abbey felt better at a faster pace and Christine wanted to do an extra mile of uptempo. I pulled back at 15 to cool down and had zero expectation that they would do the same. We all reconnected to stretch. Similarly, on the Sunday run, we all start and end together, but there’s no expectation that everyone has to stay together. In my opinion, you can be part of a group without being glued to one another.

Do you run with a group? What do you love or loathe about running with a group?

Old Route Relay Review

We had a blast on Sunday running across Chittenden County as Team Skirack. No one got lost (on our team), no one cried and we didn’t even have a team fight. And I worked on that whole toughness issue that I’ve struggled with before.

It was a very chilly Sunday morning (and day), but thankfully the rain held off for most of the run. We all piled into my car at CVU just after 8 am on Sunday after cheering Kyle on over the start line. After a coffee run, we drove along the first leg to cheer Kyle on as he climbed 3 miles up and over to Richmond. At the first transition point, Kyle tagged Eric and established our official team tag-off butt slap. Eric barreled towards Cochran’s and Sarah and I both prepped for our upcoming legs. We raced ahead of Sarah (she had a short first leg) to Camel’s Hump Middle School where I attempted to warm up for my leg.

I came into Sunday on dead legs, after running 20 miles on Saturday. I felt good, but knew it would be a grind to get through 13.6 on hilly terrain. Still, I somehow underestimated the hilliness of my route, despite coaching in that district on those roads. The first two miles were hilly, but manageable. It was the screaming uphill in mile 4 that I completely forgot about and where I realized just how tired I was. I was determined to be at or under marathon pace, however, and ground out a first leg at almost 10K PR pace.

The 90 minutes between my legs passed quickly; I rehydrated and fueled as we wound out of Jericho into Essex and like others in the car, felt pretty darn stiff as I warmed up at Catamount for the second leg. The first mile was a breeze; downhill and flat with the wind at my back. I caught a person dressed as a fox. And then things got worse. With the climb over 89 and the long, grinding hill afterward, I was a cranking teammate. I distinctly remember saying to someone “I’m not really having fun anymore.” Somewhere around mile 4 of my second leg, however, I decided that I was going to work on using the mantra I plan to use both for the MCAT on Saturday and during VCM: I am grateful to be here. 

I reminded myself that I was grateful to be running with friends, that I was grateful for healthy legs and lungs and for the opportunity to explore backroads near my home. Whether it was the mantra or the downhill, the last few miles flew by. My only major tactical error was at 7 miles, where I turned into Lake Iroquois, the transition zone. With the downhill and the finish in reach, I dropped the hammer down and started to push. Only to hear my watch beep for 7 miles and realize that I had half a mile left. Instead of backing off, I decided to push through instead and somehow held on for another unexpected half mile. I managed to better my pace on this leg, finishing firmly under marathon pace.

In the end, we finished 2nd overall (and to an all male high school team, SO unfair) and had a blast. It was refreshing to run in a new place so close to home and to compete as a team in an unconventional way. It was also good for me to practice pulling myself together even when my legs felt horrible. I highly recommend this race for first-timers and experienced relay teams alike.

Whirsh is a Jerk

Yesterday, Christine and I hit Spear Street for an easy dozen. It was nice to get out of town and even though the wind threatened to push us off the road at times, the rolling hills and new sights were much needed break. We even found/rediscovered the perfect downhill to practice downhill running on, since both of us resemble a weeble when we try to run downhill.

The views weren’t bad when we started…

I got to try out my new shades! (Tifosi Tyrant)

The only bad part of the run was the jerkface who felt the need to stop and yell at us because “he had almost been hit head-on by another car” who had given us room to run. Sorry the other car gave some runner girls space, brah? So if your husband (or you) drives a purple Nissan 350Z convertible with the Vermont license plate “Whirsh,” you’re married to/are a jerk.

Oh Yeah, I’m Doing This Race Next Weekend

Totally forgot that I agreed to be part of an Old Route Relay team next weekend, running 50 miles on a team of 5 through rural Chittenden County. Since I’m running 20 miles on Saturday, I’ll use Sunday as the perfect time to practice marathon pace on tired legs. The breaks in between each leg will give me time to refuel and the legs are just long enough to be tired!

The best part about relay races, however, are the picture and the inevitable hysteria that results from being in the car with three other teammates for an entire day. I’m looking forward to quality time with friends, music blasting from the speakers and the excuse to eat poptarts for most of a Sunday. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the perfect way to kick off MCAT week.

Pulling It Back Together

I’m finally on Spring Break this week. Unlike Spring Break in college which usually involved a beach, a beer bong and a week of hungover running, I’m using this break to get caught up on sleep, running, life and school. Much less exciting, but much needed. While I’m getting my head out from under water, here are some links to keep you entertained that I meant to write on weeks ago and a new funny runner girl blog to read:

A Family Affair

Physics I can actually dig.

The Runs on My Run.

I’m so grateful for a free week to get caught up and the timing is perfect for New Bedford. I’m hopeful that another strong week of training with plenty of time to rest will result in a great performance next weekend.

Know When to Fold Em

Being a coach does not necessarily mean you coach yourself well, an issue I’ve been struggling with for a few months. I know what workouts I should do and what paces I should hit, but it doesn’t mean that I execute well or that I’m objective when I evaluate my performance. As such, I’m really excited to take a new approach this spring and work with a coach. GMAA* is offering coaching this year with Kasie Enman, a female runner about my age with lots of running success. She’s a great fit for me both because we share a training philosophy and because she’s an easy person to be around. History illustrates that I do not thrive with a coach who favors yelling or punishment. After seeing Kasie’s training plan, I feel confident that with another person shepherding my progress, my goals are in reach.

The other benefit to working with Kasie is that I have a guaranteed Tuesday night workout date with Kasie and other runners working towards the same races. Just like long runs are best when you can share the misery, group workouts encourage accountability and cooperation. For example, tonight has 2 to 4 1.5 mile repeats at 10-mile pace (about 6:35 for me). Alone, that workout would be miserable. With company, however, it’s survivable.

Have you worked with a coach before? What were the benefits?

*Coaching with Kasie is open to any GMAA member who plans to run one or more of the USATF races this year. See www.gmaa.net for more information.