November 24, 2013

"Sometimes you just do things."

That's one of my favorite Scott Jurek quotes. He uses it throughout his book to explain why he does certain non-traditional things. I really, really enjoy reading his stuff. I feel like I can identify with a lot of his feelings and philosophies. So, to recap the past few weeks of training, I've hit a few weeks of 90 mpw, and now I'm finishing my 2nd week of 100 mpw. More on that later. First I want to give a little race report about my Run-a-Thon yesterday. The local Thanksgiving run was held out at a marina. It's a nice little race. Usually our whole running group and lots of others attend, and we have a potluck afterwards. The awards are small and simple, but it's just nice being outside at the marina together enjoying what we love. A group of the speedy guys + me and Sam decided to run 10 miles before the race. Being that I was finishing another 100 mile week, I was pretty worried about doing a 10 mile warm up  before a 10 mile race. Coach mentioned me trying to hit 7 minute pace and possibly working down to 6:45, if I felt good. That would not happen. We set out at roughly 8 minute pace, and immediately noticed that the humidity was Africa jungle high. Gotta love "winter" on the Gulf Coast... I drank my UCAN in the car on the way over, and carried a water bottle with me on the first 10. My legs felt tired. I felt tired. And then the wind picked up. Yep, windy and humid, that's how we roll on the Gulf Coast. The only saving grace was that the temps were only in the mid 60s; so that felt kind of nice.

We start the "race" portion, and Sam and I try to run with Larry, who has the idea to run 7:20s out and 6:40s back. That made sense in my head. Um, no. Larry shot off at low 7s, and I just didn't have the legs to keep up. Sam and I held bag and consistently ticked off 7:15s. Sam and I have run together long enough where silence is not uncomfortable, and we can communicate without saying much. I love my Sam. Nothing really eventful for the entire race. I just couldn't speed up. My legs wouldn't go. Fortunately, I didn't slow down, either. It's probably one of the most even "races" I've ever run besides when I paced the marathon. With 3 miles to go, I told Sam to go ahead. I could tell she was wanting to pick it up. She asked me like 3 times if I was sure, but finally she pulled ahead.

Final 10 of my 20: 7:13 pace, 3rd OA Female

After the race, the wind REALLY started to pick up. All of us got very cold. We hung around just long enough to get our awards and bailed. Keith and I went home to shower and nap before race #2. Another guy from our running group was putting on a "mustache race." Our friends Wendy and Mike had begged Keith and I to do this race. We hadn't seen them in awhile and always have fun hanging out with them, so we agreed to do it as a "fun run." The costume? Well, haters can hate, but I LOVE dressing in costume. Running, not running, school, wherever, I love costumes. Keith bought me a new tutu, bow tie, suspenders, and purple mustache for the race. Wendy wore the same outfit, but black and white. I think we were super cute. We get to the race, and I choose an appropriate place near the back. I mean, I'm in a costume and had already run 20 miles (10 at quality) that day. I was in no mode to race. And then the horn went off.

I had on no watch, and there weren't mile markers. I was literally running free as a bird. It was pretty fun, too. Once I got moving (I'd done zero warm up. Why would I? This was going to be a jog.), I felt decent. I started running faster and faster and picking people off. And then I accidentally moved into first female. The wind picked up; my suspenders came down; my tutu rode up. My stick on mustache was driving me NUTS. I tried to peel it off, but that kind of hurt and I was running so fast that I couldn't coordinate it. I knew the course was out and back, and before I could even blink, we were already at the turn around. I could see Keith ahead, but he was too far for me to catch. I just kind of ran along at my medium fast pace, wondering when a girl would catch me and how RIDICULOUS it was to be running through the road in downtown Mobile in this costume. After the turn around, it got really fun. Since it was an out-and-back, I got to see everyone that hadn't reached the turn around. They were going NUTS for me. I got all sort of weird comments, "Holy SH*$ that tutu girl is flying!" "You go, girl!" I was running near some guy named Mike and , "Dude, Mike, you're getting chicked by a tutu fairy!" LOL. I don't think anyone has ever cheered that much for me during a race. And maybe I'm an attention whore because I loved it. Haha.

1st OA Female 20:20

Onto a more serious discussion about my training and upcoming ultra(s). These are a few random thoughts in no particular order.

*Confidence. That one word is SUCH an issue for me. I truly believe that if I could ever overcome my confidence issues, I would see drastic improvements in my performances. (Not so much the tutu run, but goal races, etc.) I spent a solid year in professional counseling dealing with my confidence/trust issues, and while I don't think it "cured" me, I think it made me very aware of how I feel in regards to myself. In relation to my running...

My head tells me I don't need uber high mileage to be successful. My coach tells me this, but I DO need it. Why? Confidence. The mileage gives me confidence. I'm not really sure why, but I'm pretty sure it has to do with my most successful year as a runner was all on high mileage. And while the high mileage probably helped, I'm sure there were other factors that led to my success.

My confidence varies so much day to day. Some days I feel really proud of workouts/runs/other daily tasks, and then there are days where I literally feel worthless. Yeah, that makes no sense, because we are ALL worth SOMETHING. I also know how my feelings can spiral out of control. Some days I feel really fragile. I've purposely distanced myself from my mom a little bit the past week or so. We used to talk nearly every other day, but I noticed that every morning on the way to school when I talked to her, my day would start off on the wrong foot. My mom means so well. I know she just wants me to be the best I can be, but honest to goodness, I will NEVER be good enough for her.

*Nutrition. I'm not a weight-watcher. I haven't weighed myself in years, and that's for my own sanity. Of course, I get weighed at the doctor's office or during the yearly insurance health screening, but that's about it. With that being said, I have really been focusing on eating right- eating ENOUGH food to support my running, but also eating healthy foods. I feel pretty good about where I am with it right now. I've beefed up my breakfasts, and added a snack after dinner. After a few years of not doing dairy at all, I've reintroduced Greek yogurt to my diet. And I'm loving quinoa these days. I think I've nearly nailed down my nutrition plan for the 50K. I'll save that for my next post, maybe.

*Aches and Pains. Of course with 100 miles per week, you aren't going to spring out of bed every day. I've been pretty lucky to not feel much pain, really. I had a little Achilles flare-up when I did my track workout Wednesday, but it went away after my warm up and felt fine during the workout. I also noticed the bottom of my feet hurting during the track workout, and that shows me that it is time for my T7s to retire. I got a new pair of Pure Grits, and plan to try them out on today's 18 miler. Which leads me to my next point.

*Trails. I hit the trails last Saturday for 18 miles. There is a great 9 mile loop at the park, and I did it twice. Something AMAZING happened- I didn't fall down!!! It the first time I've ever NOT fallen during a trail run. I slipped on the wood bridge, but that's it. :) This particular trail is a good combo of VERY steep and technical mixed with easy packed dirt/gravel. It really leads to kind of an interval workout. Easy on the difficult part to work on footing, speed on the packed part. I feel like I'm getting the hang of it more and more each time I go.

And that's all for now, friends. Run Happy!


  1. ha, you are awesome! I want to see pictures of the costume! Tutu and mustache is kind of brave. I'd be scared to do either one, but both takes real guts!
    You are so right about humid and windy on the Gulf Coast. Every time I run in MS it seems like that's the weather. I did the Stennis marathon one year and it was unbelievable - gusts of heavy wind, temps in the 80's, 99% humidity. Not at all fun!
    When are you racing in NOLA next?

  2. Anonymous11/24/2013

    Wowza! Some crazy awesome running from you, girlie! I hope those great races (considering the circumstances!) give you the confidence you need.

    And YAY for not falling on a trail run. You've got to come out here and I will take you on my trails!

  3. After reading this, I downloaded Jurek's book. So far, it's an awesome and insightful read.

    The mental picture of you in a tutu, stash, and suspenders hauling-'a' is too funny for words-enjoy the spotlight, girl!!! That's where confidence is born:)

  4. You are awesome! Running a 5K at that pace after 20 with 10 @ quality shows the leg durability you have. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

    And for your achilles, my fiance is in his third year of PT. Do some eccentric calf raises. 2 x 15for two weeks and you should be good to go :)

  5. "Dude, Mike, you're getting chicked by a tutu fairy!"

    I love that you gave this guy the best response to getting beaten by his friend he's ever had.


  6. Yay!!! You should be UBER confident after such a great day of running and all that high mileage. I agree with you - my confidence goes up as my mileage does too. I am back to the upper 90's and have a few just over 100 coming up. Wish we could do some miles together! :)

  7. Haven't run that sort of milage in 15 years, but I dream of finding time to get back to the 90+ weeks.

    have run a couple of races in costumes, and years it's fun, maybe next time I should go for a Tutu!!! you say it goes well with a mustache, I have a beard, so do you think it would go?

  8. What? No pictures of the costume? Bummed.

    But damn, you are one fast lady!! Seriously, you should be SO confident! But I understand the high mileage struggle. I want SO badly to run MORE, and I swear, I break every.single.time I start running more than 50mpw. It sucks. Buuuut I went back into my training log and noticed that, in the 2months prior to my marathon PR, I ran 25-39mpw. I never even broke 40. And I PR'd by 15 min. So maybe I need to adjust my thinking...

  9. Wow WOw WOW!! Nuts! That is just nuts!! Super high mileage and 2 races on the same day, and both in the top 3? You are outstanding, R!! This must leave you feeling incredible. Pay attention to those little signals- ♥♥ And GLAD to see you enjoying some trails in the new grits!
    Happy Thanksgiving to the happy couple :) !!

  10. Gracie,
    I will be in NOLA for Rock N Roll weekend. I'm working the expo and will maybe do the half as a training run. We'll see. :)

  11. You're still AMAZING! I would have loved to see a picture of of you in the tutu.

    100 miles in one week? Girl, I ran 104 in ONE month.

    You'll be in New Orleans. I am tempted to run the half marathon.

  12. I struggle to with confidence especially after a year with health issues where I was bombing all my races. I am finally PRing again but nowhere near where my coach thinks I should be able to run. Totally underperforming and wonder if the confidence to race well will ever fully return. I love your honestly. As always, I am rooting for you. You were my first running hero :-)

    I trust that you will find your way back and through to all that you deserve.