Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

Archive for May, 2010

Published May 30th, 2010

My first 50-miler

After running 41 marathons and nine 50Ks, I finally popped my 50-mile cherry by running 50.54 miles at the Watershed Preserve 12-hour race two weeks ago (I finished in 11:23:11, deciding I didn’t need to continue on for the full 12 hours).

This race was originally going to be a training run for the Rainier to Ruston 50-mile on June 5; however, I’ve decided to try to BQ at Seattle Rock ‘n Roll at the end of June and wanted more recovery time (I’ll still be running a 50K at R2R). Besides, I figured Redmond Watershed would be easier on my body as it’s all on trails, while R2R has a lot of road. In addition, given it’s a 12-hour race, even if I didn’t reach my 50-mile goal, I’d still be able to run farther than I ever had (my longest run prior was a 50K).

I didn’t follow a specific training plan; rather, I just ran a sh!tload of marathons and 50Ks (this was my 18th race of marathon distance or longer for the year). While I’d never run more than a 50K in one day, I have run 62 miles in two days and just over 80 in three days. While I was pretty confident I had the endurance, I was still quite nervous.

I knew the key would be too start off conservatively, something I’m used to doing in my marathons. I actually mapped out a pacing strategy for each loop on a spreadsheet, with paces starting at 11 1/2 minutes/mile and increasing by 15-45 seconds every loop, ending with 15-minute miles. My plan had my total running time at just over 11 hours, which would leave almost an hour for breaks at the aid station. Of course, I knew this would all be speculation; I had no idea what race day would bring.

I also received some great tips on nutrition/hydration from one of my ultra-running friends. This race puts out quite the spread at the aid station; in addition to typical ultra-running food (boiled potatoes with salt, cookies, pretzels, fruit, potato chips, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, electrolyte drink, etc.), they also offer sandwiches and soup later in the day. Therefore, the tendency to overeat was great. My friend recommended sticking to gels for the first 20+ miles before imbibing in “real” food.


Published May 9th, 2010

A PR I thought I’d never see

I am not a good 5K runner. Or should I say, I’m not a good 5K racer. It takes me about that long just to warm up; when I try to go fast at short distances, inevitably I get injured. Besides, I figure why spend $25-$35 on a 5K race when I can run the distance for free? After all, the outside loop of Green Lake is 3.2 miles, and it’s just down the street from me.

Because of this, I figured my 5K PR of 25:49 from the 2007 Fremont 5K would remain my best. I hadn’t even bothered to run the distance again until I entered the B.A.A. 5K the day before the Boston Marathon (since I had hoped to go fast in the marathon I took the 5K easy, finishing in over 31 minutes). But I recently signed up a new client, and when I found out she’s the executive director of NARAL’s Washington office, I decided to enter their “Run for your Rights” 5k yesterday. It’s held at Green Lake, so it couldn’t have been more convenient.

I didn’t think I had a PR in me, but decided I’d try for 26 minutes. However, I ran a fairly fast 4-miler on Thursday and by Friday my right hamstring was talking to me. I took the day off from running, hoping I’d be fine for the race.

We’ve had an absolutely gorgeous few days in Seattle, so I knew Green Lake would be absolutely packed (we’d be sharing the path with hundreds). We ran over to the check-in (just over half a mile away) and milled around while they held the rally. Just after 11 a.m. they were ready to start; the runners headed out first (there were only 50-75 of us), followed by the walkers and then those with pets/strollers. While we didn’t have bib #s, someone would be at the finish to record our time.

While I didn’t start off at a sprint per se, I also didn’t hold back. The speedy group, including my darling and his brother, got off to a strong lead, but I held my own. A couple of 20-somethings — a guy and a girl — passed me in the first quarter mile, but I kept telling myself I was racing for me; I didn’t feel the need to pass anyone. Although my body felt good the entire time, this was not a comfortable run. I pushed myself the entire way, thrilled to see I ran the first two miles in 8:08 and 8:06 respectively.

I wasn’t sure if I could keep up that pace — it was getting hot and I was wearing the cotton race shirt — but I just kept going. I decided to not even look at my watch; I’d just push on and hope for the best. Just after mile 2 I passed the male 20-something (didn’t see the female, but apparently I had passed her earlier). By then I was ready to finish, but still had just over a mile to go. I kept pushing and was grateful for the slight decline just before the finish. I kicked it into high gear, crossing in 24:54 — third woman overall!

Not sure I’ll ever beat this PR, but that’s okay. It’s actually not the fastest I’ve ever run; when I ran Hood-to-Coast in 2008 I ran my first leg — 4.5 miles — at a 7:52 pace. But I’m now happy to have a 5K time I’m proud of.

My current PRs:

5K: 24:54, NARAL Run for your Rights, May 2010
10K: 50:12, Arlington Walk and Roll, April 2008
Half marathon: 1:53:35, Kirkland, May 2008
Marathon: 3:54:34, Light at the End of the Tunnel, August 2008
50K: 5:42:58, Pigtails Flat Ass 50K, December 2009

Published May 8th, 2010

Playing catch-up

Oh my — has it REALLY been more than two months since I’ve blogged? So much for my vow to document my “13-in-12” journey (not that I have anyone left reading.) Suffice it to say I’m now a 7-star Maniac who managed to complete the stunt injury-free. I’ve included more info below, but wanted to summarize the highlights from the past two months.

The biggest news? We’re going back to Boston in 2011!!! Unfortunately I don’t have an invite to the party (yet), but my darling — after two years and several attempts — ran a BQ race this past Sunday at the Tacoma City Marathon, finishing in 3:18:28 (he needed 3:20). This was a surprise to us both as he’s run even more races this year that I have. But his Achilles heel (so to speak) has been the long run; he starts off strong but fades toward the end. By getting in so many long runs he built up his endurance and it’s paid off. Now I need to get my butt in gear.

Tacoma was not only the capper to my 13-in-12 streak, it also was my 50th race of marathon distance or longer (I even got to wear bib #50). It also was my fastest marathon since Portland.

The Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge was fantastically fun, albeit not particularly challenging given I had already been running a marathon a week. Going in to Boston I toyed with trying to beat last year’s time (4:15:48), but my darling encouraged me to try for a more challenging goal: a BQ. I figured it would be an incredible long-shot, but I also thought I would know when to dial it back once it became clear I wouldn’t reach that goal. Fortunately that happened with the first 5K. In order to make 4 hours I’d have to run each 5K in under 29 minutes; when I hit the first in 29:30, I decided I’d run the rest of the race for fun. I finished in 4:25:19 feeling great.

The next week we headed to Monterey for the Big Sur Marathon where I met up with a woman from the Runner’s World online forum. She’s a speedy runner (she BQ’d at Boston), but this would be her first back-to-back race. Therefore, we decided to run together. It’s an absolutely stunning course, and fortunately we didn’t get as much wind as in other years (in fact, the little wind we had helped cool me down). We ran up ALL the hills — including the 2-mile Hurricane Point — and celebrated our accomplishment with a snort of Laphroaig 10-year single malt scotch at the grand piano just after the Bixbey Bridge (it was surprisingly tasty!)

The other big news? We’re parents again! We welcomed Jasper and Luna into our hearts and home this past Sunday (we rushed home from the marathon to shower and then head north to pick them up). They’re from the same litter and they not only keep themselves entertained, they fill us with happiness and joy. We still miss our sweet Xanthe terribly, but are so thrilled to have the pitter-patter of little paws running around.



As for future plans, now that the pressure is on for me to BQ again I’ve made some adjustments to my schedule. I was signed up to run the Rainier to Ruston 50-mile (my first) on June 5, but now that I want to try to BQ at Seattle Rock ‘n Roll on June 26 I’d like to get in some more recovery time. So I’ve switched to the 50K for R2R and will attempt to run 50 miles during the Redmond Watershed 12-hour next Saturday, May 15. This takes some weight off my shoulders as my darling wouldn’t have been available to crew me on the 5th (although one of our running friends offered to do it). And since the Watershed race is a 12-hour, there’s no DNF — I’ll simply run as many miles as I can.

Should I not BQ at Seattle Rock ‘n Roll I may try again at Missoula on July 11, however, it’s only three weeks later and the race can get pretty hot. My last-ditch back-up plan will be Skagit Flats in September, however, that too can get quite hot. Given how quickly Boston filled up last year I doubt it will still be open for an October race (but if it is, perhaps I can try again during the Nike Women’s Marathon). If all else fails then I’ll simply go to Boston as a spectator and will perhaps take over the Hopkinton Hop.