Friday, March 24, 2017

RACE REPORT: RUGGED MANIAC SC 2017

The Week Leading Up:

Tue, Mar 14:
4.5 in 36:28, 8:06 ave, 2 degrees of incline.  After 150 burpees, where I felt like I could black out from fatigue at times.  Did another 100 burpees after the run.  The run itself went pretty well... it was progressive, although short, because my feet have been iffy.

Wed, Mar 15:
60 min bike session.  I had intended to go to a networking session that night, but some stuff came up at work and I had to stay late, but on the bright side, I went to the gym when I probably otherwise would've ended up skipping it and getting further behind on my goal for 10,000 burpees in 100 days.

Thur, Mar 16:
5.5 in 44:57, 8:10 ave.  Could've gone a bit further, but didn't want to push too hard before Rugged Maniac.

Friday, drove down to Charleston.  I had been looking forward to visiting my hometown again, even if my parents weren't going to be in town.  It would be like a mini vacation.

The Race:

Temps were perfect in a sports bra, and it was cloudy, which I like for races.  I had watched a youtube video of the obstacles earlier that week, to know what to expect and to mentally prepare.  That was helpful.  There was a unique vibe at the race.  It's interesting to compare OCR series.  What's unique about Rugged is that they're 5K long, but have a high density of obstacles.  It was nice to have different kinds of obstacles to look forward to, after doing a few years of Spartans.   The elite heat had started off at 9:45, with me longingly looking on.  At 10am, my turn came, though.  I wasn't able to get a spot in the elite heat, but hey - more incentive to push and try to catch up!




I took off, leading my heat for the first 0.7-ish miles, before a guy passed me, looking strong.  We hit obstacles like crawling under wire fencing, dirt mounds, a ring rig which was satisfying to complete...


... jumping up to hit a gong (missed this by a millimeter, it felt like), a short wall, trenches and some quad-burning sand dunes, an A-frame where a second guy passed me but stayed close the rest of the race, floating barrages, a gauntlet of swinging air bags, a wall to lift and get under, a see-saw to navigate across without falling...


The Lowcountry is pretty flat, and the trails at Boone Hall were wide and nice, so you could really push the pace in this race.  It felt good to push it, even if this was going to just be for fun.  Towards the end of the race, there was a commando crawl, a tube to crawl through, a short sandbag out-and-back, a keg pulley hoist, a wall followed by a vertical ladder, a tarzan-like pendulum to ride, an inflatable mountain...


At the end, there was a warped wall, ninja warrior-style, which led up to a huge and steep water slide.  I thought I might still have a chance at top 10, even if I wasn't in the elite heat, so I was barrelling through.  There wasn't much time to think.  I turned sideways, but man, that was a wild ride down!





Top 10 had finished by the time I arrived, but I was still happy with how I did.   The obstacles were the perfect amount of difficulty, to make it super enjoyable and satisfying to fly through.  I clocked in at around 33 minutes on my stop watch.  Turns out that time could've won, at least vs. the first heat, but I'll have to wait for a future race to compete for an official time.  


After the race, I enjoyed real craft beer post-OCR, for once.  I'm so glad they had Harpoon.  Oh, and the medal doubles as a beer bottle opener!  They had entertainment on stage, in the form of fun contests like beer stein hoisting.  There was also a mechanical bull.


Post-race, I volunteered at the check-in tent, handing out race shirts and breaking down the registration area and parts of the course.  It was a good crew.  Volunteering at OCRs is always fun.  


My first foray into the world of Rugged Maniac was awesome. I can't wait for the next one!  I've already signed up for next year's.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Second 20er, Medal Hunt, Fillmore, Green River Revival, Snow

Sun, Mar 5:
The day after the 5K, I had a 20 miler to do for Boston.  I ended up doing 6laps around the 3-mile Lake Loop.  After doing a couple laps around there during my last long run, I found that it felt softer than a more straightforward but harder and more gravelly Parkway Loop, with gentler slopes.  20.4 in 3:26:52, 10:08 average.  Felt pretty strong, good temps, didn't sweat much. 

Tuckfest Medal Hunt:
The Whitewater Center has an annual festival called Tuckfest, which has all kinds of outdoors competitions.  As a way to promote it, they're hiding a few medals in local parks, and whoever finds it wins a prize pack.  I found out about their second round.  On the first night, I searched, and searched pretty well, but didn't find it.  It had been the night before my 5K, so it maybe wasn't the wisest decision, but it was so alluring.  

They drop clues as the week goes along.  Another clue came out.  It's not clear how much closer the place in the picture clue is supposed to get you.  I looked more, twice, but still no luck.  A third clue dropped, that seemed pretty specific, and I was so sure that I'd be able to find it.  It seemed to involve having a kayak available, so I threw my child-sized kayak in my car and went out.  I paddled hard, found the place that had been pictured, but no luck. 




Someone found it a couple of days later.  The picture hadn't been that close to the location of the medal, and I had gone past it, thinking it was somewhere else.  I had wanted to put my geocaching and kayaking skills to the test, but failed.  Oh well, I guess it was fun to hunt while it lasted.  At least someone will be able to enjoy the prize pack.  There was a good number of other lookers out there, too. 




Mon, Mar 6 - my right tibialis anterior near my knee is strained, maybe from the 5K plus the 20er.  Foam rolling and massage seems to help relieve it some.

Tue, Mar 7:
Deez Nutz WOD.
  • Flutter Kicks (4-count): 40 + 40 + 50 = 130
  • Sit-ups: 200
  • Squats: 100
  • Plank: 2 min
  • Burpees: 150 + 125 = 275 (as part of the 10,000 burpee club
Wed, Mar 8:
2.1 mi kayaking, as part of the Tuckfest Medal Hunt

Thur, Mar 9:
6.0 in 48:09, 8:02 ave, 2 degrees of incline.

Friday, went to the Fillmore for another concert.  This time, it was Face-to-Face, an Elton John and Billy Joel cover duo.  I played the piano growing up, so it was fun to watch them do all sorts of crazy things on the piano, stuff I could never do.  Talented guys.  The sax was really expressive, too.


 
Sat, Mar 11:
I was supposed to do a 16 miler this weekend, but my feet didn't have that much structural integrity, and I had no energy.  It's been weird.  I did the stationary bike, instead, at night, covering 17.8 mi in 60 min.  Early that day, though, I went to the Green River Revival at the Whitewater Center, where they turn the water green for St. Patty's day.  I wasn't sure how green they'd make it, since the water is a tiny bit green by default.  It got to be like Surge green, though... remember that soda from our childhood - Surge?  




They had a couple of bands play, too (2 music events in one weekend for me!).  It was relaxing watching the water, listening to the band, sitting on my cloth fold-up chair, bundled up in lots of jackets because it was chilly.  Don't know how those people braved the water.  It was nice walking around, too.  So many kayakers were out, enjoying the unique water.




Sun, Mar 12:
It ended up snowing, the day after the Green River Revival!  Crazy weather.  It snows like once per year here, I'd say.  It's exciting when it happens, but we don't have to worry about it sticking around for too long.  I had hoped to make up the 16er today, but my fractury feet still weren't feeling it.  I did manage 7.0 in 57:37, 8:14 ave, 2 degrees of incline, though.  I wore the Adidas Boston Boost for the first time in a while, and they were so cushy soft.  I may wear it for the marathon, especially because its colors match the women's colors for 2017.  I did some cleaning around the house, at least.




Saturday, March 18, 2017

RACE REPORT: CABARRAS BREWING UNITED WAY 5K 2017

The Week Leading Up:

Monday, off.  Slept 5 plus 5 hours.  Needed the sleep, because I've been feeling like my immune system has been down.

Tuesday, Feb 28:
Stationary Biked 90 minutes, for 20.7 miles.  My first time doing 90 minutes in a while. 

Wednesday, Mar 1:
6.0 in 48:05, 8:01 ave, 2 degrees of incline.  Ate more than usual pre-workout to tide me over until dinner, but no negative effects.  Could've pushed on, but wanted to save it for the race.  Didn't do burpees afterwards for the 10,000 burpee club, because 1) I felt too sweaty and gross in my t-shirt after the run, and 2) my foot has been feeling stress fractury, although that didn't stop me from running because it was my last chance before 2.5 days of taper, and I didn't want a full week without running.

The Race:

Brewery races seem to be in the evenings.  I guess that makes sense, because it would be odd to enjoy post-race beers early in the morning.  Having a race in the evening meant that I had to take it easy all day, but it was good to get rest and get to take my time getting ready.


The race was a nice out-and-back course, which I enjoy, since you get to see all of your fellow runners, those ahead that you want to chase, and those behind who make you want to press on.  The course was interesting, too.  You went by the brewery and the mall-like area around it, you got to experience a bit of gravel road, you got to do a loop tour around a truck yard with big equipment, you did a run up a nice residential street, you did a  loop around an auto-repair shop, then came back the same way.  It had nice variety, and was easily understandable.


Packet pick-up was quick, and it was nice getting to use the brewery restrooms.  The brewery looked like a lot of fun, with long tables and fun lighting.  I chilled in the car, until it was time to warm up.  I'm always antsy to get to warm up, but I have to wait before 15 minutes pre-race, or else I'll be too tired by the time I get to the starting line. 

This is my first non-US National Whitewater Center race in Charlotte.  I've forgotten how fun and thrilling road 5Ks can be, period, but it's even more awesome when it's hosted by a brewery.  It mixes two things I like very much - beer and running.  The possibility of winning beer-related prizes makes me run faster.  I'm in shape, from marathon training, and I hadn't signed up for pure road races in a while.  Road races, where you don't get to blame the trail terrain for your slowness and where trail conditions make one performance hard to compare to other performances, make you race against past peak versions of yourself.  I only want to road race when I'm in reasonable shape.

I started in the front row, and we went off.  I was 2nd female for most of the way out, I caught the first girl at the auto shop loop, and kept it up, pushing to the finish.  The turns in the truck yard and auto shop were tight, which slows things down, and there were a couple of rolling hills, so I could've gone a bit faster on a straighter course, and I probably could've pushed a tiny bit harder, but I'm happy with how it went.  This is only my third time winning a race.  I was 4th overall, too, just 2 seconds behind 3rd, I think. 

I got a little cash plus pottery, as my prize.  I used that cash to pay for another brewery 5K that I had been debating about signing up for, haha.  I showed a pic of the pottery to my dad, who told me that he had visited a museum that day and saw something similar to it.  I'm not particularly a pottery person, but maybe it will make my home look more adult, and less little trinkets on display everywhere. 


Participants got a free pint and a pint glass afterwards.  I had Cabarrus's Mocha Blond, which was incredible.  It's bursting with the aroma of a coffee shop, and it tastes like something that came straight from a coffee shop, but in beer form.  And interestingly, it's a blond, rather than a stout, which is typically the base for coffee or chocolate-related flavors.  So well executed. 

It was a first-annual race, and they knocked it out of the park!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Workouts like Whoa, Kayaking, and Spartans Run Crowders

One big benefit of the 10,000 burpee club is that it's gotten me to work out more than I would've otherwise.  Since I had to get in a sweat-inducing 100, anyway, and already had to take a shower, and was already at the gym, why not do a run or bike while I'm there?  So, I've been getting in record numbers of workouts.

Mon, Feb 13:
Biked 60 min, covering 13.3 mi.  The workout was more for flushing out my legs after the long run and Spartan Workout Tour from the weekend, than for cardio.  I was really sore today, especially in my hamstrings.

Tuesday, still really sore, rested from doing burpees.  Should've caught up on sleep today, but wasted the opportunity.

Wed, Feb 15:
Intended to just get in a little bit of running to get my legs moving again after a few days away from running, even if it was going to be slow.  It ended up going better than expected, though.  6.0 in 48:08, 8:02 ave, at 2 degrees of incline.

Thur, Feb 16:
Biked 1 hr.  My left Achilles was a little bit strained during the burpees, so biking was the way to go.  Did some arms afterwards.  Need to make sure I work in some pulling action, to balance out all the pushing action from the burpees.

Fri, Feb 17:
40 min Strength session, including burpee time.  More towards the Deez Nutz WOD.  After the burpees, I wanted to continue doing something, but not cardio, so strength was it.
  • Burpees: 155
  • Flutter Kicks (4-ct): 50 + 50 = 100
  • Plank: 2 min
  • Squats: 100
  • Sit-ups: 150 + 160 = 310
  • Mt Climbers: 50
Sat, Feb 18:
 I've been missing the sunlight and being in nature.  Even though there are windows at work now, and I am outside for a minute or two each day walking to the car, I've still been feeling like it's been a long time since I've seen the sun.  When a friend asked what my plans were for the weekend, that made me think of going on a kayaking adventure.  It would be perfect, because I hadn't gone on an extended one (far enough to not be able to see my townhouse anymore) since moving here.  It wasn't too hot or too cold, either, and was mostly cloudy and actually ended up sprinkling on my way back.  I was close to hitting another milestone in the Amerithon, so my goal was to get in 6 miles.  It was upstream, then downstream, I got to a railroad bridge and turned around, then back upstream, then downstream.



My kayak had a backrest, which I used for 3/4 of the way, and it was kind of nice, but my back started hurting, and it actually felt better to not use it, for the last 1/4, because it allowed for the full, recommended range of motion.  There were interesting small and big houses by the river.  It's less natural feeling than the creek/river by where I grew up, but it was still nice to be out in mostly nature.  I went fast at the end, not wanting to see what would happen if lightning started or anything like that.   6.6mi in 175 min.  Pretty long kayaking trip!


Mon, Feb 20:
Almost didn't make it out to the gym, because I was craving salt after work and almost went home to eat turkey bacon.  If I had, I probably wouldn't have made it back out after dinner.  During the run, I was tired, too, not the falling asleep while running kind that I get a few times a year, but a blacking out while running kind that I don't remember feeling before.   6.0 in 48:50, 8:09 ave, 2 degrees of incline.  So low on energy, but the run itself was better than expected, performance-wise.

Tue, Feb 21:
Biked 60 min.  It was a break during a 8:30am->midnight workday.  The only break.

Wed, Feb 22:
Not feeling great today, again.  Low on energy.  Run went better than expected, in spite of that.  4.0 in 32:11, 8:03 ave, 2 degrees of incline.

Fri, Feb 24:
I was initially wavering about whether or not to go to the gym at all.  Gym or rest?  I physically walked back and forth a bit, deciding to go for the gym.  Not only that, I decided to go for an interval session for just the second time this year.  Maybe it's been the beta alanine that I've been taking, but my body has been wanting more intensity.  The session ended up being pretty good.  I got in a nice session to help with Boston, and it was also prep for a 5K the following weekend.
  • 1 mi warm-up in 8:04
  • 4 x [0.5 mi @ 9mph (3:20), 0.25mi @ 7.5mph (2:00)]
  • 0.5mi progressive cool-y-down-y in 3:40. 
Sat, Feb 25:
A 16 miler was scheduled, and I got it in.  16.2 in 2:55:22, 10:50 ave.  I did have a bathroom and water break after 6 mi and felt guilty about it, but I guess I used to have similar breaks at mile 9 in past marathon cycles, too.  1170 ft of elevation gain.  My right foot developed a blister at mile 13 again, so it wasn't the socks.  It's either the shoe or the insole.

Sun, Feb 26:
Southern Spartans is a facebook group.  It's fun to see people get psyched about races and encourage each other and share tips and info.  There have been some group events, too, and this was my first time making it out to one.  About 14 of us met up at the visitor center of Crowder's Mountain, laid out the plan for running up to the summit and waiting for the rest of the group to come in and get a picture, took a pre-run pic, and headed out.


I had already had 2 substantial workout days in a row, and had even debated coming out at all vs. resting, but it's hard to not try hard, when training with others, haha.  It was only 2 mi one-way, too, so even if you went hard, the suffering wouldn't last too long.  Might've been the first one up, just barely.  Some of the steepness is no joke!  But it's good training for Asheville.


At the top, while waiting around, the host pointed out that we could get good cell signal.  I decided to get in my 100 burpees while up there, especially since it was so fitting to be among other Spartans.  A couple of them joined me, which made me really happy.  We took a photo, enjoyed the views, and started back down.  My plantars seized up after the hills and the burpees, so once they un-seized, I started down, taking my time.  I caught up to some others along the way and enjoyed blazing down the trail with them.  Aroo!


After the 3.9 mi run, I almost started going home, but I figured that I had driven all the way out there, that I might as well take advantage of being there to do some more stuff.  I had brought my ruck, in case my legs hadn't been up for running, so I took it out on a hike.  I got to try some trails that I hadn't explored before, which was fun.  There's a lake there!  I went back up to the summit, to appreciate the view some more.




I was ready to be done, by the time I got back.  Downhill is harder than uphill, when carrying weight.  5.5 mi ruck in 2:11:24, 23:53 ave.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

First 20er for Boston '17, the Fillmore, and Spartan Workout Tour CLT

Back in Charlotte, and time to recover and get back to a normal schedule...

Thursday, Feb 2:
Had an evening meeting, so didn't get to start my run at the gym at work until 8pm.  Got in 7 miles, before my shoes got tight and I was afraid that someone may kick me out of the gym.  Was a good run, though.  Splits> 8:29, 8:22, 8:18, 8:10, 23:35 for 3 (7:52 ave).

Friday, Feb 3:
Got in my first bike session in the new gym.  Not as many miles as I can get within an hour in my subdivision's fitness center, but that's ok.  Still getting in some Amerithon miles.  14.2 mi, rather than the usual 16+.


Saturday, Feb 4:

I had done a bike session the previous day, hoping for a long run today, but I ended up spending the morning cleaning up the townhouse for a friend's weekend visit.

We hiked Crowder's Mountain's Backside and Tower trails, with a 20lb ruck, played Pickleball and Bocce, split a kombucha beer, went to a vegan restaurant, watched airplanes take off at an airport overlook, and played board games.  It was awesome.





Sunday, Feb 5:
After church, my friend left.  I was supposed to do an 18 miler this weekend, but I only got in 11.7 before the sun set.  It's not as bad as it sounds, because it was 11.7 on trails, but at least I got some time of my feet.  I had a late start, because it had taken me a while to muster up the energy to head out.  11.7 in 2:25:00, 12:24 ave.

Monday, Feb 6:
Did a strength session at the gym, after foam rolling.  I was sore from yesterday and had some small strains to work out.  My body craved some exertion and the kind of body re-set that strength sessions could provide, though, and the repetitive motion of cardio wasn't that appealing.  Did some more to chip away at the Deez Nutz WOD.
  • Sit-ups: 200 + 135 = 335
  • Plank: 2.5 + 2 = 4.5
  • Flutter Kicks (4-count): 45 + 65 = 110
  • Jumping Jacks: 100
  • Squats: 125
  • Push-ups: 20
  • Burpees: 105, as part of the 10,000 burpee challenge
Tuesday, Feb 7:
My legs felt good enough to run on today, so I did 7.0 in 56:20, 8:03, at 2 degrees of incline.  I had to stop mid-run to re-tie my laces, which had gotten completely undone.  Good run, though.

Wednesday, finally put away Christmas decorations.  It took so long, since I was away most of January and hadn't gotten a chance to do it then.  I've been busy.  Did post-beer burpees on this day.. it does make the burpees a bit harder.

Thursday, Feb 9: 
6.0 in 47:06, 7:51 ave, 2 degrees of incline.  I've been trying to figure out whether it's better to do the 100 burpees before my workouts or after my workouts.  I've determined that before workouts is better, to minimize injury risk, since burpees are more intensive than the core workout for me.

Friday, I took a day completely off from burpees for the first time, to play it safe and recover from potential strains.  I had my first 20 miler for this Boston cycle scheduled for the following day, too, and needed to be 100% to be able to hit that target.

Saturday, Feb 11:
I had considered doing my 20ers at a flat park with some grassy parts to run on, but the US National Whitewater Center is closeby, familiar, and has easy access to clean bathrooms.  I chose a less rugged trail that's not as scenic, since it's along the main driveway of the park, but it's flatter, and less technical.  A 5K was happening that same morning, so watching people start and finish on a couple of my loops provided some entertainment, and motivation to continue on.  After surpassing 3 hours, and having my legs start deteriorating after 18 miles, though, I called it after 19.1 miles in 3:14:15, 10:10 average.  Not a bad pace, given the gravelly terrain and 1,686 ft elevation gain.  I'm satisfied with counting that as a 20 miler equivalent.

When I found out that I might be moving to Charlotte, one thing that I looked forward to was having more opportunities to go out and do things.  However, after actually moving there, and finding out what an effort it can be to go out with the traffic and parking and being too tired to do anything, the only time I had gone uptown was once to volunteer at the Charlotte Half Marathon and another time while going on a walk with my dad at a park.  I finally got to fulfill my vision, though, when I got a free ticket to see English and a Journey cover band at the Fillmore.  It was fun.  I was right up front and should've thought to bring ear plugs, but it was a good time.  It was packed in there!  I didn't stay too late, though, because I'm not that young anymore, haha.


 



Sunday, Feb 12:
I love Spartan Workout Tours!  It rolled back around to Charlotte, in preparation for the Charlotte Sprint.  They had a new shirt design this year, which is always fun and fresh.  The workouts are never exactly the same, and they're always challenging, no matter what your level of fitness is, so it's great.
  • Warm-up: Jogging, high knees, butt kicks, jumping jacks, arm circles and body crossing, deep hip flexor stretch.
  • Warm-up Part 2: High-plank, transition to mountain climbers and grasshoppers - challenging!
  • 5 Basics: 1) Squats, 2) Backward and walking lunges, 3) Push-ups, 4) Simulated Pull-ups, 5) Burpees
  • WOD 1: 1:30s ea, then 45s ea, then 30s ea, of isometric squats, lunges, push-ups, pullups, then normal burpees.
  • WOD 2: 6 min AMRAP of 30 high knees, 10push-ups, 10 pull-up sims, 30 high knees, 10 squats, 10 lunges, 30 high knees, 10 burpees.  I did 2 rounds.
  • WOD 3: 5 triangle push-ups, 10 lunges, 15 spiderman push-ups, burpees, 20 jump squats, 25 raise the roof, and go back down.