Tag Archives: speed work

Not All Those Who Wander Are Rootless

10 Oct

Hello lovelies!!!

Wishing you all a fantastical weekend filled with warmth, the aromas of fall, football & some racing!

I’ve been under the weather all week but I’m gearing to go for tomorrow’s Army Ten Miler. It won’t be a PR because I won’t be putting in race effort thanks to my hip injury and general feeling of ick. Regardless of the circumstances it will feel great to get out there with my tribe of runners!

***Note- last year I maintained a 7:12 pace with an overall finish of 1:12:09. This year crossing the finish line is my only goal. 🙂 [I can’t believe I’ve just typed that…]

Anyway, after taking the week off I engaged in quick 3 mile run this morning. Man I needed it! The feeling of my lungs expanding and my legs feeling light, loose and fresh put me in a trance of euphoria. I mean one week off and I still got it… Ohhhweee!!! It felt good to get back at it.

Check out my t-shirt…I picked up this gem yesterday, Not All Those Who Wander Are Rootless. Oh how I love it! Let it remind us that we runners [insert whatever defines you here] wander to new destinations – new destinations where PRs don’t have to define our effort but instead our curiosity to seek to know more of what is around and within us. Let it help you find peace in your run and peace in your journey.

Happy running y’all!

Enjoy your Saturday!

Not All Those Who Wander Are Rootless

Not All Those Who Wander Are Rootless

Valgal

XO

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Marine Corps Marathon Ooh Rah Recap: Hot Dammmm

6 Nov

Hi friends! Here I am with MARATHON NUMERO DOS under my belt!!! Hot dammmm.

I never knew that screaming hot dammmm could be both a good and bad thing! Let me explain.

Pre-race: good thing.

Mid-race: good thing.

Last 3.2 miles: bad thing x bad thing x bad thing. It was hot dammmm! Seriously! When is this isht going to be effing over? My Garmin was flashing 26.2 miles and I was NOT done. Where was the finish line? Was that the finish line? I couldn’t see. Hot dammmm[it]!!!

Let me define hot dammmm by breaking it down.

Hot [good]: I refined my training for this marathon. I got this! Feeling good! Feeling light. Feeling flight. Wind under my legs. I got this!

Hot [bad]: My calves were on fire. My calf muscles felt like they were falling off my bones with every strike on the pavement. Ouuuuuchhhiessssss. Then there was my anxiety. My anxiety was running hot. It had a fever. A bad one because I couldn’t see. I couldn’t see because I lost my left contact at mile 9, (my left eye requires the strongest prescription) lucky me.

So there I was with a fever of anxiousness and a crowd cheering “You’re almost there!” They were relentless with their excitement to include clapping, whistling, shouting, cowbelling…I might have had a fever but the only prescription was finding the finish line, not more cowbell!!!

Dammmm [good]:I got this! I trained. Hot diggity dog, I might BQ!!! Wooohooo I’m flying.

Dammmm [bad]: It felt like I was sprinting when the reality was I shifted into granny gear!!! Talk about a Sunday joy ride. It was Sunday and I belonged in a walker at that point to carry my weight.

The Real Recap

The morning of the marathon was unlike any other. I hopped on the metro and was greeted with a swarm of runners (civilians, Marines, and other service members), volunteers, bands, and spectators. We were all crammed on the blue line heading to the Pentagon. The metro ride was a concert of songs, Ooh Rahs, and praise. The acoustics were unlike the normal route into the city. The clamor was a stark contrast from the Monday-Friday commute when most are plugged in to their phones being disconnected from the very person who’s sharing their personal space. These people were all up in each other’s personal space and they were welcome there! It was really something.

Fast Forward.

It’s race time. Hot Dammmm [good]. There were no “real” corrals. If you think you’ll finish with a 3 hour time, 4 hour time, 5 hour time, etc., you were to go park your feet near the designated sign. Oh I hate that kind of pressure. I wanted a 3:35 time because that is a Boston Qualifier (BQ). But I hesitated because I was suffering from acute bronchitis and didn’t know whether or not I would run fast or if my breathing would be exhaustively labored. I took one look at the crowd, the 20,000+ people (talk about sharing personal space), and recalled how much effort it took to weave in and out of the crowds of runners in my last race. So I deliberately parked at the 3:35 sign until the gun went off.

Gun went off.

Welp, I was wrong. What’s new? I am wrong a lot. The 3:35 sign did me no favors. I was stuck behind crowds of runners. I was shuffling my feet.

Thank gosh I stand 5’2” tall because I darted through people and any open space given the right opportunity. It took a lot of effort but none from my legs or lungs. I had to watch the people in front of me to gauge the motion and timing of their stride and elbows. Who said you don’t use physics and math in real life? I had to strategically and deliberately plan my attack to squeeze through limbs, spit, and other runners like me trying to dart ahead, while not colliding with one another. I was gauging speed and velocity at 8am, with the intent to BQ, while maintaining steady breathing, with a focus on my stride, fuel intake, etc. Are you kidding me? This isht gets difficult. I managed not to collide with anyone other than a fellow shrimpette, who like me, was planning her breakaway and taking full advantage of her 62 inches or less. We barely touched but shared a chuckle. We exchanged an excited “Sorry!” and kept moving forward. If you know me, you know how I say this!!! [“Sa-weewww-thank you cab driver!]

Mile 3 people were stopping. I remember thinking “It’s mile 3. How are you going to line up at 3:35 and stop here!?!” I mean seriously, it’s kind of dangerous when you’ve got me and shrimpette number 2 darting around. I mean flying around. Especially dangerous because it was a decline. Declines are FREE SPEED and I was all about that high velocity. I wanted more!

The FREE SPEED lasted a while. I took full advantage of it. Hot dammmm [good]. I loved that I didn’t have to return any favors either. Each decline and incline over the course was a silent declaration of what was to come. I paid close attention to its subtle hints (how often do those get overlooked girls?) and adjusted my body to its forewarning.

I leaned into the road. I was one with the road.

I was one with the road until mile 9. I had a gnarly cough paired with its obligatory accessory-phlegm. It was radiant in shades of green. OooOoo green! My favorite color! And neon green to boot! Thanks acute bronchitis! I digress. Anyway, I had just ate a GU so everything in my mouth felt sticky. Plus my cough was deep and my phlegm was thick. That’s the time when my left contact developed a film so thick I could no longer see. I stopped to make an effort to clean it. I had no other choice. I had to. I had to because it was more uncomfortable not being able to see than hacking said lungs. I can’t see 2 feet in front of me without contacts but this was worse. So I took my contact out and planned to spit on it to clean it. (As if you haven’t before. Spare me!) But my spit was thick with Jetberry GU residue and phlegm. I couldn’t do it. Sanitary purposes. I had to draw a line.

I ended up putting my contact back in my eye. Unclean and all. And with one intentional blink to make it fall in place that sucker fell off my eye and was gone. Shit!

I glanced at my Garmin. No I didn’t. I squinted. I couldn’t see very well at all so I placed the Garmin right in front of my right eye. That’s when I realized I had lost approximately one to two minutes of precious BQ time. Hot dammmm[it] [bad].

I ran the rest of my race, 17.2 miles, with one contact. I was blind. I was uncomfortable. And I couldn’t see the spectacular air show above. I couldn’t read the funny marathon signs. It sucked. 😦

As sucky as I felt I found pleasure in how great my legs felt. I just crested the course. I relied on my other senses to elevate me. I breathed in the remarkable, and inspirational cries from the crowd. I maintained focus. I repeated the mantra, Pain Only Hurts. Flight. Glide. Fly. Easy. Light. Smooth. It worked. I was clocking 7:40 miles give or take a few seconds. I even clocked a 6 minute mile somewhere in the mix. HOT diggity DAMMMM [good]. I fell back to a mid-8 minute a few times. Even losing a contact! Insert Hot dammmm  [good] one more time! Yes!!! My potential to BQ was still real.

But the pain began to set in at mile 18. Hot dammmm [bad].

The pain got so bad in my chest that I had to stop and cough for thirty seconds at least. My BQ fell further from reality. Hot dammmm [bad].

My legs were still fresh and agile. But my chest hurt. I was hacking. I dug deep. Pain Only Hurts. Pain Only Hurts. Pain Only Hurts. Pain is Temporary. Pain is Temporary. Pain is Temporary. When, OWWWWwwwweeeeee happened. The discomfort of being blind coupled with my heavy chest was one thing. But by mile 23, with 3.2 left to go, my calves felt as if they were on fire. That was the other thing; the ugly thing.

Each time my foot touched the pavement my calves ached with excruciating pain. I tried to ignore it. I tried to ignore the ugly pain by telling myself that if the whole race goes to shit in a hand basket at this very moment, and I fall back to 10 minute mile pace, I would still, at the least, PR. So that was a good thing. 🙂

But I would resent myself if I did. I knew I was a tough runner and could endure pain. I knew I could endure even more pain. So pain, I taunted with, summoning it to BRING IT ON. I double dog dared it!!!

That was the pain I had been begging for during my last marathon. Pain is the telltale sign that you’ve pushed your limits. (For me at least.) There it was staring at me at mile marker 23. I was tickled with excitement that it finally came to meet me. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It was that same feeling you get when you massage a bruise. (Right?)

I wanted nothing less than to be seduced by it. I wanted it to take all of me.

But I played hard to get. I wasn’t quite ready to give up. My effort was twinged but at I still had some.

For the last three miles pain and I danced around the course. It seduced me with water stops, orange slice stops, Gatorade, etc. I wanted to give in. The temptations were hydrating. The allure had me salivating.

However, I knew relief was only three short miles ahead. And in three miles I would be greeted with a medal and a beer!!! Mmm beer! Please! And it was only three short miles away. Three short miles away after having already covered 23.2 miles!!! Why do I do this to myself? I’m crazy!

I begged my body for merciful forgiveness as I repeated: Only Three More Miles. Only Three More Miles. You Got This. You Got This. Easy. Light. Smooth. Glide. Fly. Flight. Run For Those Who Can’t. Pain Is Temporary. Beer. Beer in Thirty Minutes or Less! Fly.

I convinced myself that not all pain is significant. I focused on the finish and not my legs.

I started to fly.

Or so I thought…

With less than a mile to go I started to focus on my will rather than my physical strength. I was running on empty and enveloped in pain. I wanted to walk so bad! I squinted at my Garmin to see how much more distance I had to cover before I would finish. I was p.o.’d. The Garmin told me I had already run the distance of a marathon. Ugh!

I recall thinking that I must be close. The trouble was I couldn’t see ahead. I saw two or three massive displays of orange balloons. One of them promised to be the finish but I could not decipher which one.

I had a fear of sprinting too early, granny sprints or not, so I maintained my pace.

When I could finally see the finish line I realized I should have started sprinting a quarter-mile before. Hot dammm [bad].

I dug deep, shifted gears, and I ran as hard as I could to the finish. Granny kicked ass! I think.

I crossed that finish line. Hot Dammmm [good].

I was in pain. I was exhausted. I couldn’t walk. Hot Dammmm [bad].

I was overwhelmed with emotion. I PR’d! Stopping to breathe, contact issues , and all! Hot Dammmm [good].

I finished in 3:39:35. An 8:22 pace per mile!!! Hot diggity Dammmm [good].

I missed Boston by 4 minutes and 35 seconds. Had I run 10 seconds faster per mile I would have BQ’d. But I accepted the circumstances. Had I been 100% healthy, I bet I could have celebrated a BQ. Regardless, I PR’d by 11 minutes. That’s something I’m proud of, sick and all!

This was the first race where I finally met pain. I finally met exhaustion. I finally met the wall. They all stink, literally: Pain. Exhaustion. Wall. = PEW. Hot Dammmm [bad]. But I can’t wait to meet them again and crush them. Hot Dammmm [good] J

Thanks for stopping by!!!

Happy Running!!! Happy BQ’ing. Happy Cowbelling, he he he. Happy whatever makes you happy! Just be true to you!

XO

ValgalIMG_6030.JPG

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Du a Duathlon?

25 Jul

Hello friends!!!

Happy Friday! We made it!!! 🙂

Here’s a quick update about me and my life between the miles…

I just wrapped up my 4th class in my pursuit of my MPA. I’ve got 6 classes left to go! This feels good. Very good. But not as good as the feeling I have after a painstakingly long and exhausting run and/or bike ride. That’s right, that kind of pain in my legs and the build up of lactic acid hurts so good! Needless to say, my focus on academia this week interrupted my BQ training efforts. Interruption of my training regime never feels good…

Let me share with you something that I think will make me feel good!

I stumbled upon a sprint duathlon competition next Sunday, August 3rd and I am seduced by the idea of competing in it. I’m hesitant to register though. I keep hovering the mouse over the register here button.

You see, I have not done a run/bike/run before. I have, however, run a marathon (currently training for my next one), several half marathons (racing and training), 17ks, 12ks etc. I have also trained with 20, 30 and 40 mile bike rides with a relatively decent average for speed considering my novice status. So why couldn’t I do a duathlon that incorporates both running and riding? This duathlon is comprised of a 2 mile run, a 13 mile bike ride, followed by another 2 mile run. I think I can handle it. I think. That’s why I’m provoked and almost obsessing over this.

I have covered these distances before. I know I have the stamina for this kind of endurance but the idea of a duathlon is daunting. This is outside my normal. It’s unfamiliar. It’s unchartered waters (I know this is not a Tri) and it drowns me with instant panic and anxiety for fear of failure.

Do I have the grit? Should I du this Duathlon?

I’m thinking I need a thrill. I’m thinking I need a new kind of race to spice up my training!

I’m thinking I’ll click, register here. I’m thinking yes!

So there you have it. That’s what’s new in my life between the miles-I’ll be covering the miles in a whole new forum next week!

Wohoo!!!

Happy weekend! Happy running! Happy riding!

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

Turkey Trots & Pecan Pie

28 Nov

Happy Thanksgiving friends!

I want to extend a warm prayer filled with love and gratitude to our veterans, servicemembers, all of who are in uniform or civilian who are committed to keeping our home safe. Today, like every other day, I bid you respect and I am thankful for your continued commitment to our country.

Greater love hath no man this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  John 15:13.

On a side note I wanted to let you all know that most Thanksgivings I participate in a 10mile run to negate the guilt of gluttony that I know will become of me a few short hours later. This past month I have scoured through websites, newspapers, flyers and all other methods of communication to find a 10 mile race here in D.C. but I have had no such luck. The races are all 5k Turkey Trots.

Not to sound like a distance running snob but I am not too keen on 5ks. One reason being I’m not a sprinter. I like the long run and the mental aspect of the long run. The fortitude of your mind and body synchronized. Back to my point…Although these 5k races will be most advantageous to me here soon while I focus more on speed work, I don’t enjoy them. Why pay $40+ for something that would last me less than 23 minutes? But most importantly, a 5k the day of Thanksgiving won’t even burn the calories of a slice of pecan pie, and I plan on having at least two. Geez.

There were no 10milers anywhere near me so I traded the ambience of the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5k experience with the autumn leaves painted along the paths for the treadmill here at my apartment. I put in 11 miles because why stop at 10? 11 miles with an average of 100 calories burned per mile…I’d say I created enough of a deficit to eat some pie!

Woohoo!!!

Again, wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving. May it be a day filled with love, family, friends and blessings.

Stay warm! XO

Valerie

Runnergirl

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