Archive for CBHM

CBHM Recap: At least the fails are funny

I had a lot of extra time to let my mind wander during today’s Covered Bridges Half Marathon, and at one point I was thinking about what my contribution to the running blogosphere is. It’s not technical advice or training know-how, nor tales of superhuman ultrarunning prowess; and it’s clearly not a roadmap to consistent improvement, given that I once again set a PW (personal worst) time for the half marathon (last time was at the Runner’s World halfathon).

So if I’m not bringing any of that to the virtual table, why chronicle training and recap the races? Because if nothing else, I’ve got a sense of humor about the ways I contribute to my own running fails:

I totally misjudged the weather. We queued up at Suicide Six under bright skies and already-balmy temps, and things got started smoothly.

CBHM start

My legs felt good to go for a while, but after about 5 miles, the heat started to get to me. I thought we’d be starting in the mid-60s and ending in the 70s, but temps were in the low 70s when we started, and in the upper 80s by the time I finished. Not Death Valley hot, by any means, but way hotter than I’d been training in. Add some thick humidity to the mix, and I may as well have been running with a fresh-from-the-dryer quilt wrapped around my face.

I let the love handles fly. By the time we reached this covered bridge near the end of mile 6, I’d cried uncle to the heat and pulled up to walk, realizing that 1:50 wasn’t happening today.

What was going to happen was me stripping down to my sports bra, leaving my stylish but stifling No Meat Athlete shirt on the side of the road. Get excited, spectators – shirtless middle-aged mom who’s been slacking on her core work, COMING THROUGH. Did this improve my aerodynamics? No. Did it improve my sunburnedness? Yes.

I had THE WORST aim for spectators’ garden hoses. Through miles 6-12, I saw several runners who had collapsed (but were obviously still conscious) and were picked up by emergency services, so I realized that taking it slow was probably the prudent thing to do. That, and bee-lining for every spectator who had brought out their garden hose. However, my aim was less than stellar and I ended up mostly getting sprayed in the face (great for visibility), or on my water bottle (glad it’s feeling cool), or over my head (I’m 5’6”!).

I aided another runner who then passed me & finished before me. At one point, I stopped and essentially forced a guy who was cramping from dehydration to lie down so I could manually stretch out his recalcitrant calf in mile 12. He apologized for holding me up – and then went on to pass me and finish probably a minute or two ahead of me.

But, despite getting in my own way at nearly every turn, I did at least finish the crazy thing.

Me with Health Connections executive director Cathy Hazlett

So if you want to know how to consistently de-improve your half marathon times and find the funny in it anyway, do swing by for my next running update.

CBHM Training: Reduced Speed Ahead

Whoa, how did another month of training for the Covered Bridges Half Marathon already go by? It’s less than a week from the event, and a little surprised to be here already.

At any rate, now it’s time to take stock of the 11 weeks of training gone by, and assess whether a new HM PR is in the cards for me this weekend. The verdict?

After all the miles I’ve put in – and the hills I’ve sprinted up, and the intervals I’ve plodded through – I wish I could say that a sub-1:50 half marathon was in the bag. But the truth is that over the last 4 weeks, my threshold workouts (where I did 6-8 miles at HM pace during 8-11 milers) have been disappointing. This was the first training cycle where I ran these workouts instead of conventional tempo runs, thinking I was at a point where I needed race-pace workouts more than all-the-other-possible-pace workouts. And maybe I did, to at least show me that my actual race pace may not be at PR level this time around.

I’ve always known I’m not a naturally fast runner, nor one whose speed would dramatically improve with some more-intense work. But like any runner, I like to do better each time. So for this race, better may have to just be another state ticked off the race-in-50-states list, rather than besting 1:50.

But another thing I’ve come to know is that running can be unpredictable. Several LRs and faster-pace interval workouts went surprisingly well for me during weeks 8-11, so there’s always room for an upset. Let’s see who’s right – skeptical me or wildcard me – in just a few days from now.

I’ve met my goal to raise at least $500 for Health Connections of the Upper Valley so I can run CBHM with their team! But if you’re interested in playing overachiever, any level of contribution you could make via my donation page would be greatly appreciated!

CBHM Training: Fitting in the 5K (& checking off state 8)

There are a lot of differences between training for a half marathon and spending all your waking hours running to get ready for a full. And a key one is the room to run other races, like the Cherry Blossom 5K for ALS.

The race capped off week 7 of training for the Covered Bridges Half Marathon, and while I wasn’t gunning for anything spectacular, I was pleasantly surprised that I felt good to go on only one rest day and a few glasses of wine the night before (necessary accompaniment to a fierce game of Uno). If this had been mid-way through my training for Providence or Austin marathons, I would have been sore, dragging, and cranky about having to tack on another 12-18 miles afterward to meet my weekly LR prescription.

My timing said I ran it 19 seconds faster than my previous 5K PR, but official timing clocked me a full half minute slower. Since the start was kind of disorganized and I’m not sure I started RunKeeper exactly at the starting line, I’ll just say I ran well yesterday and leave my old PR standing for now.

And I also took first among North Reading food bloggers ticking off NY from the race-in-50-states list, bringing my total to 8.

I think it helped that the weather was stupidly perfect, and the course was a relatively flat out & back through scenic residential areas of The Greater Schenectady NY Area. But maybe some credit is also due to the novel warm-up I did, visualizing speed:

I do not fit on this.

Now it’s time to focus on the last 5 weeks of training for CBHM, so I can check the next New England state off my list.

I am well on my way toward meeting my goal to raise at least $500 for Health Connections of the Upper Valley so I can run CBHM with their team. Any level of contribution you could make via my donation page to help me reach that fundraising finish line would be greatly appreciated!

CBHM Training: Fuel as I say, not as I do

On longer workouts of one or more hours, snacking can mean the difference between finishing and being finished.” –

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read advice/warnings to that effect. True, there was a time lo those many years ago, when I trained for my first half marathon without understanding how crucial fueling for a long run could be. But I’ve since gotten a clue, and have been diligent about packing commercial gels, homemade chia goo, or even just Cheerios along for any run that will take me ~1.5 hours or more.

So did I employ all that wisdom on my Covered Bridges Half Marathon training week 5 or 6 LRs, both 12 milers? No, of course not, because then what would I blog about?

The week 5 LR started out at a disadvantage, thanks to me going on about 5 hours’ sleep and the after effects of, well, let’s say a little more wine than usual. I hadn’t been able to get to the store to buy gels, and thought, enh, how bad could it be? The answer was that my run-12-miles-to-Drew’s-house plan quickly became call-Tim-for-a-ride-after-10-miles reality. So you’d think I would have done something differently on the week 6 LR, but no, I only packed a single chia gel I found in the back of my freezer (realistically needed ~3 gels for the duration) and ended up taking a lot of walk breaks when I should have been cranking up the pace for a late-in-run progression session.

The training schedule lets me go one more weekend perpetuating this idiocy – I swapped out a LR to run the Cherry Blossom 5K for ALS over in NY instead. But when I gear up for the MLRs and LRs (all 9-14 miles) over the subsequent three weeks, my Sauconys won’t get two steps out of the house unless Gu and Honey Stingers are riding shotgun.

I am well on my way toward meeting my goal to raise at least $500 for Health Connections of the Upper Valley so I can run CBHM with their team. Any level of contribution you could make via my donation page to help me reach that fundraising finish line would be greatly appreciated!