Monday, June 30, 2014

HTFU* and a one week challenge

What on earth have I gotten myself into?

A couple of my friends posted a challenge to facebook this weekend that basically their facebook friends would get to dictate what their running mileage would be for the week. In essence, they pledged to (in a 7 day time period) run the number of miles equivalent to the number of "likes" that they received to the post.

Thinking that I rarely have people like or comment on my posts, and thinking it would be fun, I bravely accepted the gauntlet that had been thrown down, and posted the following to my wall:

OK, my run buds Jennifer Hatcher and Edna Montoya threw down the gauntlet with their challenges. here's the thing, I need to get off my butt and get caught up to the mileage.


For every LIKE I receive to this post, I will do1 mile this week. LIKES on this post end at midnight tonight! (I had a cap on this but Jennifer told me to HTFU.) the week will start tomorrow.

I thought this could be fun. And while I was panicky at first thinking I needed to cap it at 40 miles at absolute max for the week, my friend reminded me that if I capped it at 40, then I might as well have just posted to my wall that I was going to run 40 miles for the week and not leave the option for anyone else to dictate my mileage.

I was scared, but she was right, and I needed to HTFU*. I removed the note about capping out at 40 miles, and bit my nails while watching the likes on my post rise and rise and rise. 

5 hours later, the polls closed, and I wound up with a total of 63 likes, equaling 63 miles to be completed in 7 days. Plus a dear friend informed me that hers would count for 2 likes. I figure, I'm already going to do 63 miles, why not add another?

64/7= 9.14 miles per day.

or I could break it into 2 times per day and get 4.57 miles per time out. and that seems really manageable... less than a year ago I managed 78.6 miles in 6 days, 2 months ago I managed 65.5 miles in 5 days... if I could do that, I can most certainly do this. 

But still, its a daunting task. Ok, enough jabbering, lets get this show on the road.  

This journey of 64 miles begins with one step.

*HTFU is one of my loving mantras, taught to me by my friend Jennifer on my 6 in 6 day fiasco, and it stands for Harden The F*** UP

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Beach Beast - June 14, 2014

I've been dragging my feet on writing this race recap. I really like to find the silver lining in events and give people the benefit of the doubt, but no matter how I cut it, this event was a flop.

Here's the thing, when Beach Beast did their first event out in Tampa last summer, I had some friends who participated in it and absolutely loved it. They were not big into OCRs or Mudruns, they were more Crossfit type of people. They enjoyed the run, they gave the event and the promoter rave reviews, and all was fine and dandy. So we signed up for it last year.

If you recall, last years event was not so great. I was very generous in my race recap from that event but the reality was that all of the obstacles were cramped into the very beginning of the event or the very end of the course, there was no water to be found despite being on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale in early April, the obstacles were falling apart and posed a hazard to many people as they broke down from all the foot traffic, and it was just kind of a hot mess. Trying to find a silver lining, I believed the promoter when he claimed that a number of the problems came from a concert that was about to be set up at the same location which had their equipment delivered ahead of time. I had no reason to not believe them.

That being said, I hadn't planned to run another one of their events. And I wouldn't have, except that husbeast made a charitable donation to an organization late last summer and in return we got two complementary entries to this years Miami Beach Beast Event. I knew not to expect much, but my hopes were a little higher than they should have been because we were reassured that this year's event would be in a better location meaning we would have better support.

And of course, although my hopes weren't all that high, the let down was still immense. After last year's mess up, I would have thought that they had learned some lessons and would right some of their wrongs. But wishful thinking, I guess. Afterall, eventhough last year neither mine nor my husband's timing chips worked, at least this year, we would have the ability to be timed on a course, right?

Wrong. No timing chips this year, essentially making it a 5K fun run (except it wasn't really 5K either, but I'm getting ahead of myself) But that's ok, it could have still been a gorgeous event at the beach, in an absolutely gorgeous location.

Wrong again. The new venue was the Historic Virginia Key Park, which is an absolutely gorgeous location that many runners, bikers, and triathletes adore so I had high hopes for at least that component of the event. Yet the event was held primarily in dirt parking lots and along an area of the bay which had less beach and more seaweed than anyone could ever imagine. For an event that claims to be a "beach run" It would have been nice to be on a beach area for more than maybe a 10th of a mile. This area of coastline was also about a "beach-ish" strip that was probably no more than 5 feet wide and covered with seaweed and other debris, so not much for beach. I have to say that I got far more sand on me while weaving back and forth through a dirt parking lot. Yes, you read that right... But once more for good measure:

Weaving. Back. And. Forth. Through. A. Dirt. Parking. Lot.

Seriously, you have a beautiful park that you could run the course through yet you put flags out on a dirt lot to weave back and forth through to increase the overall distance to a 5K? Well nice try, but the distance wasn't even close to a 5K. But I guess that can be overlooked, because there were obstacles right? Yeah, lets talk about that.

They used a different builder for the obstacles this year than last year, so they were slightly different. I found the obstacles last year to be far more challenging, though a few of them managed to break from the weight of people jumping on them repeatedly. There were less obstacles, and because I am not a huge fan of getting splinters in my butt, I am not about to climb a wall and slide down a large piece of plywood to get to the other side. I guess that could have been easily done by other people, but being the Klutz that I am, I just went around. So that left me with a sand crawl that was less than 15 feet long, a knee-up area which barely required me to pick my feet up off the ground, a large laddered wall that I actually liked but didn't find challenging at all (other than the fact that it was fairly tall and I feared falling), and a couple other obstacles that clearly made a lasting impression because I can't remember them to save my life.

I walked the whole event, which I hadn't planned on doing, but decided was in my best interest after we arrived to find out that there was not only no water anywhere on the course, but no water at the finish line either. Sure they had Celsius as a sponsor and they were out there giving away free energy fizzy drinks, but this is NOT a replacement for water. HELLO, this is JUNE in SOUTH FLORIDA. the temperature was hovering well over 90 degrees, and the humidity was up in the high 80s percentage wise.


You know what else isn't safe?

Doing a race in the sun and the heat of South Florida without providing water, and NOT having a medical team on site. I'm always super attuned to where medical is at events, that's just the safe practice... and not once did I see a medical tent, an ambulance or any representative from the Miami Dade Fire Rescue.

No excuse.

Not impressed. And wont be making the same mistake again. Promise. NEVER AGAIN.

The promoter Eric F. Peer has not been available for comment through the facebook event for this race. Maybe he's still hanging out with the medical team and the water?

But I did get this great picture with my friends Meredith and Khalimah, so that's a plus, right?

Monday, June 16, 2014

26th Annual Memorial Day Classic Weston- May 25, 2014

Last year, I didn't get to participate in the Memorial Day Classic 5K in Weston. I was working doing promotions for USRS that day at two different events, and that could have been the reason, but I suspect that the real reason for skipping it last year was my aversion to the 5K distance.

I know it sounds crazy with all of the ridiculous mileage that I log all the time, but for me, the 5K just feels crazy long. In a half marathon, it usually takes me about a mile to get into the swing of things, but for a 5K, I feel like I spend the majority of my time trying to convince myself that I want to be out there running, then find that I am ok with running around the time that the distance is nearly over. Doesn't seem like much reward to cost benefit to me. So I avoid 5Ks. Even in training, while I might cut short to a 5K due to pain, or being overwhelmed by heat or humidity, I rarely say to myself that I am going to do a 5K when I leave the house. It is usually more like a plan to do 4 or 5 miles (at least).

But when I came back from the Riverboat Series, I felt like a part of myself was missing. I needed to take a little break to finally recover and let that pesky foot heal, but I also needed the mental break to remind myself why I ran in the first place. And with that break, I remembered that I run for the mental alignment that it provides, for the sense of self accomplishment that translates to heightened self-esteem, for the rush of endorphins and the increase of dopamine. I ran for me, and somewhere along the line (most likely with the intensification of that foot injury) I had forgotten what it was all about. I had somewhere along the line become too goal oriented, and too focused on being better than I had been previously, on more more more.

And so, after a brief hiatus from running, and a whole lot of introspection, I decided that it might be nice to register for a couple of 5K races to end out the season.I was ready to tackle it. I'd technically been on a break from running, but had kept up my training during the week with walking on the treadmill at the gym... and having done a couple of shorter road races on the weekends in between, so when the morning of the race rolled around, I felt prepared. I wasn't necessarily prepared for how brutally hot it was out there, or how little shade there was, but I was ready to run.

I was also able to rope husbeast into joining me for support. He is the one that really motivated me on this running journey, and while he did 3 half marathons throughout 2013, he's just not that into it anymore. I'd love him to run more, and I thought that maybe coming out there just to support me might spark some jealousy and get him motivated to start running again, but the verdict is still out on that one.

The race was fairly straightforward. It was really crowded, was disgustingly hot and there was very little shade, but the race support was awesome. No electrolyte drink, but I've noticed that while running, sports drinks make me sick to my stomach, so its not like that really bothered me. It might have been nice to have some at the finishline, but that's neither here nor there. I was left feeling really impressed with the organization of the event, and the crowd was super supportive as well. I always like a race like that.

I'm not going to say it wasnt a tough race. the no shade thing was a big turnoff, but I plodded along. and when I felt like I needed the extra support, I reached into my pocket and pulled out the coin that my friend Scott gave me as he was running to honor the fallen heroes. It was memorial day afterall, so why not take some strength from Scott's coin that is designed in memory of some brave men who gave their lives serving in the US Military? that seemed to bring me the extra boost of strength that I needed to fight the heat. And I soon found myself smiling.

Actually, after the first mile,

I found myself smiling a lot. I was really enjoying myself out there, despite the crazy heat index. I knew a lot of the other runners there too, so although I was struggling from the heat and humidity, emotionally I was also really well supported. When I got to about 2.5 miles, a group who I knew from other events and who had already finished came back for me and ran me for about a quarter of a mile until I told  them that people behind me needed them more. I came into the finishing chute and saw my husband and some of my friends cheering me on from the sidelines.

I don't know if I've said this before, but I can't emphasize this enough. It is SO important to get support from your friends at the finishline. I will be writing another post about this in the very near future, but it is worth mentioning here. I've run in a lot of races in my 2.5 years of running, and when my faster paced friends wait at the finishline for me and are there to cheer me on, it feels awesome. It feels like they respect me and my finish time, regardless of how slow it happens to be. But again, not the point of this post, that will come later.

anyway, I finished the race, drank a bottle of water, then headed back out onto the course to find one of my other friends and support her in a nice strong finish too.

Gun 48:04
Chip 47:55
Pace 15:26
Cat 58/58
OA 887

Believe it or not, I am ok with that time, and being last in my category. I've accepted my place at the back of the pack, and with the heat and humidity, I could have just as easily stayed at home in the air conditioning.

What's more, I was reminded of why I do this, and where the joy in running actually is. And if it takes a 5K race to be reminded of that joy, eventhough they are "ridiculously long" in this twisted brain of mine, I'll do another one any time you invite me.