Saturday, June 28, 2014

RACE REPORT: Battlefrog Carolinas 2014


Friday, June 13:
Finally got a chance to run again, after 4 days off, which is the biggest break I've had in a while.  Did 8.3 in 1:10:42, 8:28 ave, at the park.  No zombies, just wanted to get some miles in.  Could've pushed for another 0.75 mi lap, but I decided to save it for the weekend.

Saturday, June 14:
5.2 in 47:13, 9:05 ave.  Legs were a bit iffy, so I considered ditching the run, but I took it slow, and it was ok.  Did zombies.

Sunday, June 15:
65 min strength session.  700 crunches per side (front, left, right), 100 adductor + 150 abductor leg lifts, 15 divebombers, 2x75 single-leg squats, billy band arms, 105 unweighted lower leg extensions, 4-way elastic band hip exercises, 110 + 110 dumbell rows, 65 Russian twists, 30 tricep dips, 115 pelvic thrusts.

I had pushed it hard during that weekend, to make up for a lack of real working out the previous week.  With the battlefrog coming up the next weekend, I hoped that I hadn't pushed it too hard.

Tuesday, June 17:
Did a light run, 3.7 in 30:35, 8:16 ave.  It felt harder than it should've.  Did it on the treadmill, at 3 degrees of incline = 7:38 effort.  Had eaten dinner 45 min before, so the bathroom cut the run short, in any case, and my legs had started to complain, too.

Slept lots the rest of the week.

The Race:

Drove about 2 hrs, got there an hour early for the elite heat.  Got to park close to the festival area, checked in, used the restroom, checked out some of the obstacles near the start.  Did my usual pre-race prep with nutrition, big preparation, shoe prep.  I splurged on customized Reebok All-terrain obstacle course racing shoes, which have nice lugs and water draining functionality.  I didn't do any runs in the shoe before the race, but after trying on many different kinds of normal running shoes, even just standing around in a pair, you can kind of tell if it will work or not. I did my warm-up run... pretty minimial, since it was going to be a 15K race, and my dynamic stretches.

This is a race put on by Navy Seals, so they had demos and copters and guns, to make it exciting.  The elites were also jacked.  It was exciting being at the start.  We set off, to the sound of machine gun fire.  I went at a manageable clip, as if it was a normal 15K race.  On the first obstacle, where we had to jump over downed logs that were a few feet off the ground, I lost my race bib, which I pinned on my sports bra, as I belly-rolled over the log.  Oh well.

We got muddy pretty early.  The race goes through some streams.  One of them had very coarse sand, which got wedged behind my heel.  That made each step quite painful, as it sanded away my skin.  I tried to clear it out, but the shoe was pretty tight, so I just got used to it.  I breathe really hard, starting from early in the race.  A really nice guy wondered if I was ok.  I guess maybe it sounds like asthma or something.  It's normal for me, though.  He kept encouraging me.  He was so nice.  This was around the time when I was still adjusting to the sand and continuing to go through lots of water.  We eventually got into trails again, instead of water slogging, and I was able to get back into a normal pace.

I had to get help on the 8-foot walls (I think they were 8 feet), because there was no mini-ledge built into the wall.  Went over cargo nets, climbed laddery things, climbed the rope successfully this time since I wasn't super wet and muddy.  The course got very hilly.  Carried jerry cans.

I started off with some cans that had no green tape.  Then, a girl on her way back said that the elites had to use the taped ones, which were heavier, so I went back and switched.  Then, as I was getting back, another girl said that girls can use the non-taped ones.  Who knows which one was right, but I wish that rules were published before-hand, for the elite heats, to make everything consistent.  I know part of the challenge of OCRs is the mystery about what obstacles there will be, but general rules would help... like if there are two sides to pick from, where one has a ledge and one doesn't, who's allowed to use it?  If there are ropes with knots and ropes without, who's allowed to use each one?  Is it different for boys vs. girls?  If there are objects of different weights, maybe a certain color can be a universal sign of who's allwed to use which ones.  In which obstacles do you get multiple tries?  

The single-rope traverse was very long and difficult, and I probably only made it 1/6 of the way or something before my arms tired.  Phew, that's tough, tough, tough.  I had tried the under-the-rope approach.  Perhaps the over-the-rope approach would've been easier, although without a shirt, it would've probably given me some serious rope burn, in any case.  It was fun to try, but man, that was tough.  Crawling out of the water, though, the grass there was like patches of razor blades or something, and it cut up my hands a bit.  

We eventually got close to the festival area again.  At the monkey bars, you had to jump outwards just to reach the first bar, which I was happy just to make it to.  I made it to the 2nd-to-last bar, before slipping and hitting my tailbone on the dirt during the fall.  It was shocking, but ok.  Then, another net, and a paintball shoot.  The shoot is much easier than the spear throw. 

Then, a slippery, warped wall.  I tried the short rope about 5 times.  Each time, I got higher, but I couldn't get a good grip on the muddy rope.  I saw some men make it.  There was a longer, knotted rope.  I wanted to try the short rope as much as I could, but eventually, I gave in, and waited in line for the long rope.  I lost about 10 min there.  The penalty for failing an obstacle is 10 8-count man-makers, which can be knocked out in a minute.  I think that puts some subjectivity into the race.  How many times is enough?  I decided to just take my time, because if I don't try the obstacles as much as I can, it might as well be a running race, and you don't get many chances to do cool obstacles like this, anyway.  The knotted long rope, even, was too hard for me.  Too slippery, not enough strength to pull myself up.  So I gave up after failing at that, knocked out the man-makers, and continued on.  Kudos to anyone who did make it!  The 15K course was a 10K stretch, followed by the 5K course, so there were lines even for the elites... that only really factored in at the slip wall, but it did make it less of a race.

 The next few obstacles were very doable... Slide down (more of a mental thing), climb up a wall (less slippery rope, and better footing), slide down a tube, then the final un-barbed wire crawl.

This was a very fun 2nd OCR.  I was less tired at the end of this one than the 4-mi Spartan.  Maybe because I only had to do about 30 man-makers, vs. 90 burpees.  And the 4-mi Spartan took me longer (2.5 hrs) than the 9-mi Battlefrog (2.2 hrs), since this was a solo run instead of a group activity.  It was a good feeling to make the rope climb this time, and to nail the paintball shoot.  I need to work on my vert jump, to enable me to get over 8-feet walls without assistance next time.

It was a great event, and only the 2nd that they've run, ever.  The volunteers were awesome, and my fellow competitors were extremely kind and encouraging.  Great event.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Argentina Pre-World Cup

Sunday, Jun 8:
Got in, walked around BA.  Saw a mini-Iguazu Falls, in the middle of the widest avenue in the world.

 And my closest encounter with the Obelisk thus far:

After that, a much-needed nap.  Then, the treadmill.

8K (5 mi) in 44:22, 8:56 ave, at 3 degrees of incline.  The first treadmill was an old but surprisingly usable one, but it stopped after 25 min, maybe due to some internal time limit.  I hopped on to a newer one, since it had freed up, and finished the run.  Did the first 7K easy, then cranked it up fofr the last 1K.  Felt a wee bit under-carbed after the nap, so I ate a few goldfish.  After the run, I did some arms, including 30x 8-count burpees with jumps, to cover the Spartan side and the Battlefrog side of my preparation. The temps were decent in the gym, because it's winter here.

Monday, dinner out with colleagues.

Tuesday, Jun 10:
Started by running, but that only lasted 3 min.  My legs felt too injury-prone that night, so I biked instead.  Level 6/10 felt hard and pushed my quads, so I only did 40 min, followed by some arms.  It was a non-recumbent bike.  I listened to a beer podcast, instead of reading a magazine.

Wednesday, too tired to work out.  Dinner out.  No strength for a strength session afterwards... still feeling full.  It was a local place, but it had fun decorations, big portions, and pretty good food.

Thursday, flew out.  Here's the Buenos Aires airport, on the night of the opening match of the World Cup.  Argentina always roots for whoever is playing against Brazil.  They have a rivalry, and it's funny to hear my Brazillian friends express their opinions.

Re-entry: Jun2-7

Back from Pton.  Too tired for a strength session by the time I got home on Sunday night.  Lots of emotions, coming back.

Monday, June 2:
The sleep on Sunday night seemed to help with my leg's recovery, which continued throughout Monday.  I craved a workout, so I tried a run at the park, sans-Zombie.  I could've gone on for an extra 0.75mi lap, but I decided to do burpees instead, to get ready for the Battlefrog obstacle course race.  Their penalty burpees are 8-counts where the jump at the end is replaced by a pushup-jack.  If If I'm doing it correctly, it feels much easier than the Spartan burpees, and I did 60 of those, followed by 20 of the Spartan ones.  4.5 in 39:25, 8:42 ave.



Tuesday, June 3:
55 min strength session.  Front shoulders were sore from yesterday's burpees.

Thursday, June 5:
7.2 in 1:01:10, 8:25 ave.  I started the second season of Zombies, Run today.  It was a big one!  In season 1, they tended to take about 43 min, on average.  This one kept going!  Blisters developed in my not-so-good New Balance 858s in the last couple of laps, and I made the last lap a mini-lap.  I was struggling.  My right back had gotten tight in one of the early chases.  My right knee was a bit off afterwards, but it was better the next day after sleeping. 

Saturday, June 7th:
Zombies, again.  In season 2, they give you 3 artifacts per run, which is great.  It took a long time to build anything in season 1.  5.2 in 46:12, 8:48 ave.  Being in the sun vs. the shade makes a big difference in how much you feel the heat and humidity.  My legs felt worn out in the morning and not in the mood to run, but it eventually loosened up a bit to where I could override that feeling.  I needed the run to clear my mind today, and it did help. 

Later... off to Argentina!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

5th Reunions

Reunions are a big deal in Princeton.  It's a 3-day party, complete with alumni panels where you can continue to learn about interesting topics, gatherings with the teams/clubs you had joined, a 4-hr parade that you got to watch and walk in, fireworks, and partying the night away.  Sadly, 2 of my roommates couldn't make it back, and it wasn't the same without them, but we made the best of it.

I woke up at 4:15am for a 6:45 direct flight.  Going into Philly, though, I had to take a series of 4 trains, with 30 min (ave) layovers between each.  I arrived on campus at around noon, checked in, treked up to the off-campus dorm at a neighboring college, dropped off my stuff, and headed down to the tow path.  I loved running on the beautiful path by Carnegie lake, where I could blow off stress a couple of times per week.

I got 13.8 mi in 2:13:43, a slow 9:41/mi ave.  I got tired about halfway through the out-and-back and turned around at a pedestrian bridge that goes over Route 1.  It was odd that the run was as hard as it was.  I took it slowly, though, and just enjoyed being back.  It was tough on my legs, but I shuffled through.

 After the run, I met up with a friend, and we wandered around campus, visiting places of importance to us.  We went to the room where we used to meet for Bible Studies, we had a picnic in front of a fountain, I stopped to sample craft beer, we searched for spikes on the track, took my homegrown reunions tradition photo next to my class plaque, browsed the university gear store, and had froyo.

(My very tall friend and I had a game, where we saw how many steps it took each of us to walk across a 2-pronged bridge... it was about 175 to 135.)

The next day, I attended an interesting alumni panel about whether women can/should "do it all" (career, family, community service, etc). 

Some interesting thoughts:
- Yes, but with different things at different times, because you can't do it all without sacrificing quality somewhere.  Doing it all may involve taking a sabbatical from work, for example, or a less high-level job.
- Structural changes (as opposed to habit changes by women alone) are required in society, to change the ongoing inequality.  This means that men need to be just as involved as the women in making the necessary changes. 
- Today's women are at a crossroads of two divergent cultural traditions - Nobody believes that 100% of women should work, or 100% of women should support the family.  There will be some mixture, with women doing one, the other, or both, and the key is to make the changes to our institutions and society to give women the opportunity to pursue whatever option they want.  Think about how racism has been battled in the past.... it wasn't by bringing the oppressed group into rooms for discussions where you tell them to "lean in" more, and prove themselves.  Legislation was often required to force the right thing to happen.
- Not enough value is placed on unpaid work, whether it's supporting family or volunteering.

Went to a class lunch, where I got to talk to former classmates that I hadn't seen in a while.  Got coffee with friends, a number of whom had babies in the past year.  Lots of babies all around.  Went to the Friday Night Fellowship meeting for my campus ministry.  It was encouraging to hear the testimonies of what God had taught a couple of the graduating seniors.

- Our God is a pursuing God, who out of his fervent love for us, seeks us out and hopes that we might come to him. He doesn't give up on us, even when we reject and even betray him. 
- Many of us have stories where dear friends pursued us and drew us back, when we were tempted to withdraw, too.  As we become Pursuers and follow in Christ's example, there will be times when we may experience rejection, but we should persevere, because we know from experience how important it is to keep trying and not give up.

After FNF, I went to an arch sing by my old a cappella group.  They changed things up a bit, and after going through some new songs, they had a set of old songs where we got to join in.  That was great.  Unfortunately, the last song was after my time, so I had to poorly try to lip-synch that one, haha.  It's a great group, though.  Two of them were the two that gave senior testimonies, too, and I think two others were worship leaders at FNF!  Even though we were never at Pton at the same time, you still feel a bond with them.

The next morning, I went to two talks... one about what it was like to be a Washington Post journalist breaking one of the biggest foreign & domestic policy stories of the decade.  Another one was about books that changed the lives of an alumni panel.  I always thought Ulysses had to do with Greek Mythology, but apparently, it doesn't.  If I came away with something, I guess it would be an even stronger desire to read a Tale of Two Cities, which I had started a couple weeks ago.

After that, a PEF alumni lunch for more catching up, then the P-rade, a parade of all alumni.  It starts with 90-year-olds at the top of campus, and each year gradually folds in.  It lasts 4 hours, because there are so many alumni, sporting their beer jackets or major reunions (every 5th year) costumes.  Our theme for the 5th was OktoberFifth "oh, nein!".  So we had dirndls and lederhosen.  Lots of cheering, lots of orange and black.

Back to the E-quad for more catching up with PEFers, followed by an Ultimate Frisbee reunion dinner at a great Indian restaurant, before heading out for fireworks.  Princeton's fireworks are consistently the best I've ever seen.  They synch up all different types of fireworks to music, and it's amazing how well-timed it is, and how creative the matchings are.

Headed back Sunday, after watching the Baccalaureate speech, froyo, and immortalizing the weekend with my friend.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Charleston x 2

Tuesday, May 13:
Zombies at the park.  5.2 in 43:36, 8:22 ave.  Mouth felt dry in the last few laps.  Almost got caught in the 3rd zombie chase.

Wednesday, May 14:
Sister visited.  Before embarking on our pie-making adventure, I got in a quick run.  6.0 in 49:29, 8:13 ave, of Zombies.

Thursday – Drove to Charleston.  Didn’t make time to work out on Friday, but I had plans to run the next day.

Saturday, May 17:
Decided to take it easy, and not do zombies.  6.6 in 58:07, 8:48 ave.  Legs felt like they were going recovery speed, in the first 2.2-mi lap.  Splits> 21:12, 19:18, 17:36.

Sunday, May 18:
The wedding day, for two childhood friends!  Got in a quick run before getting dressed and heading out.  4.4 in 34:58, 7:56 ave.  Legs felt surprisingly sharp, even after a run day that was at recovery pace.  Drove back go GVL, arriving at 1am.  The wedding was a great time, where I got to reunite with HS friends and teachers.

Tuesday, May 20:
55 min body-weight strength session.  4th time of doing it with an elevation mask.  Felt like no big deal this time… maybe I’m adapting to it, or just getting used to the feeling.

Wednesday, May 21:
Would’ve biked at the gym, but it was still being renovated, after weeks.  Rather than run outside in the dark on the streets and pound my legs and/or potentially trip over stuff, I did the level 2 Jillian Michaels Hardbody DVD.  I love how diverse and new-to-me the exercises are.  You do an arrangement of sets of circuits, twice, for a total of 45 min.  In the first round, my form was sloppy, as I tried to learn the movements.  It only improved somewhat in the second round.  Lots of squatting.

Thursday, May 22:
Barely made it out the door.  I was so tired, and my legs felt used/swollen from the squats.  Wasn’t sure it was even safe to run without risking overdoing it.  Tore myself out of a 30 min nap, drove sleepily to the park.  No zombies for me – just podcast.  4.5 in 39:26, 8:46 ave.

Friday – decided to surprise my mom by visiting my parents again this weekend.

Saturday, May 24:
I was hoping for a quality workout this weekend, to help get me ready for the Battlefrog obstacle course race in June.  I waited all day for the clouds to come, to limit sun exposure.  Finally, I got my chance.  I had considered a LR, but when the sun persisted, I decided on intervals on the treadmill.  Once the sun went down, though, I decided that I would go out to the track.  It would be a waste not to take advantage of such a beautiful track, so closeby.  I love nice tracks, with the mondo surface.  It feels special, just being there.  I wanted to earn my right to be on that track, so I ventured out to do the pyramid workout, for the first time in maybe a year-and-a-half. 

The workout:
0.5 mi warmup, 4x[100] with 100 jogs after each rep, 3x[200] with 200 jogs after each rep, 2x[400] with 400 jogs after each rep, 1x[800] with 400 jog after each rep, and back down (2x4, 3x2, 4x1).  You always doubt whether you’ll finish, but as you get to the halfway mark, it’s only a bit more to get through the 400s, and once you’re through the 400s, you can push through the 300s, and then, you’re home free.

I love this workout, since you ease into it with the uphill of the pyramid, gradually extending your speed to longer and longer distances.  You get the VO2max benefits of the interval sessions where you jog.  And on the downhill part of the pyramid, your legs are tired, and you promote more muscle fiber recruitment as you call on all available resources to help you speed through the rest.  It’s a sizeable workout overall, too, so you get endurance.  5.7 in 42:37, 7:29 ave.

Sunday, May 25:
Biked 45 min at the gym, while listening to podcasts (didn’t bring my running magazines).  Then, arm strength.

Also went to a nearby beach, which supposedly had its water mysteriously turn clear blue.  Nobody was sure why.  It ended up being only slightly greener and clearer than what I remembered from the past.  It was fun to spend time with my parents, in any case.

Monday, May 26:
Drove back to Greenville.  Right bursa was inflamed again, for some reason.  The run felt physically and cardiovascularly harder than it should’ve been.  5.2 in 43:24, 8:16 average.  Might’ve rolled my right ankle without remembering, since it was tender afterwards.

Tuesday-Wednesday, resting up for a hoped-for long run on Thursday.