Race Recap: Seneca7-77.7 Mile Relay Race 4/27/14

We did it!  Our team finished off a long day of racing without dying.  This was my first long distance relay race and I’m happy to say that it went over pretty well.

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The days leading up to the race I was getting a bit nervous.  My run times were slacking due to my missed week and bronchitis recovery and I was seriously worried that I would not make it through at least one of my runs (after all, I had committed to this race while still hacking up a lung).

Post-marathon (in January), I haven’t booked nearly as many miles.  This came in part due to the craptastic weather combined with back to back sicknesses that took  me out of commission for weeks at a time.  In the 3 months post-marathon, I missed a cumulative of 3 weeks of running and hadn’t put in a run over 4.5 miles since.

This race was my get back to it race.  With 3 legs featuring steady and rolling hills I was ready for a wake up call.

My First leg wasn’t nearly as bad as I had expected and the flat portions of the run provided me enough recovery to climb the slight hills.  The nice drop off at the end also allowed for a strong finish and left me feeling determined for my next legs.

Leg#5:  3.88 miles,  42:47, 11:01 pace (was actually 10:55-10:57, but didn’t stop my clock on time)

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My next leg wasn’t as thrilling.  The thought of rolling hills seemed fairly appealing, but the climbs were back in my face just as quickly as my drops and my HR never dropped below 176 bpm.  For me that is way higher than I am comfortable holding for long distances.  I usually prefer to stay in the 165 bpm range to avoid burnout.  Despite my struggle, I was able to end strong with relief that my longest run was over with.

Leg#12: 5.19 miles, 58:55, 11:21 pace

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 Then came my last leg.  The leg that I thought would be my little slice of heaven….yeah, it wasn’t.  This piece was by far the hardest.  I was already starting to feel tight from my prior runs and being crammed in a car all day and a steady climb was the last thing I wanted to see.

This leg actually didn’t bother me in the first mile.  Mile one was flat and easy.  It wasn’t until mile two that my legs started burning.  I kept seeing the peak of a hill and figured it would level out or go downhill.  I was wrong.  It just kept climbing and the last half mile was by far the worst!  I so badly contemplated stopping and walking.

Leg #19: 2.61 miles, 30:00, 11:29 pace

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My legs hurt, my heart rate was through the roof and it felt like every stride was propelling me nowhere.  People kept passing me with their words of encouragement and all I wanted to say was “fuck you” (yeah, I’m that kind of runner who gets pissed by the sympathetic compliments).  I can’t help it, I get in the zone and don’t necessarily want that pat on the back.  For me when I’m already struggling it can feel like a condescending slap in the face.  I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but it does make me feel like an asshole.

Despite my irate attitude, I finished off as strong as I could and ended my final leg with heart pounding satisfaction.

Our last two runners ran their final legs and our team ended up finishing at 7:42pm, which put us at a 9:47 pace for the day.  We crossed the finish together and received our corresponding finishers medals along with a hot bowl of chili and cornbread.

I really enjoyed this adventure and would love to be part of a race like this again.  It was definitely a new experience and it taught me that training on hills needs to happen more often.  I can see how it will work to my benefit even though I despise them.

Have you ever competed in a long distance relay?  What races are you training for?

 

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Race Recap: Tough Turtle 5K Obstacle Race 4/19/14

Pre-race, I made sure to doll myself up because I have this problem with race photos.

I seriously almost always look like I am taking a crap or pushing out a giant baby elephant.

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Pre-race selfies

It’s not a joke, I am dead serious! You don’t believe me? Of all the race photos to be found, this by far must be the worse, but it’s also fairly representative of what I look like when I race.

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Courtesy of the Ithaca Journal

My horrible grimace is the least of the most appalling things in this photo. It’s overly unflattering and I’m okay with that.  You should try looking glamorous and svelte while sliding down a steep hill coated with animal lube (YUP….ANIMAL LUBE).

Anyhow, enough about photos, the race was a blast!  It was my first obstacle race and despite my still recovering from the week-long bout of whatever the hell I was fighting, it went pretty well. Mary and I ended up pairing off within the first 20 seconds of the start.  Someone didn’t quite get the meaning of “team run”, so I sprinted ahead to catch up with her so she wouldn’t have to brave it alone.  I may or may not have held her back some, but she was kind enough to slow her pace to do it together.

We blasted through the first bunch of obstacles until we hit the tractor tire flip.  That thing was freaking heavy!  At this point we were both happy to have the support of a team member.  It really took a lot more out of us than expected.

The rest of the course proved to be a little easier, but a surprising struggle was the progressive balance beams.  Trying to walk on narrow balance beams while getting hosed with water was not an easy task!

Up next we climbed the hill to the slip and slide of doom (I think it was called the Compost Cascade).  This is where I got pretty banged up and mud in places I may never be able to get to.  At this point my cold was starting to get to me a bit, but I kept on pushing.  We finished off the race with just a few more obstacles including carrying a log, dodging zombies,  climbing a net wall, climbing a hay bale, and lastly throwing a tire onto a pole.

We finished in style, mud on our face and in a reasonable time of 38:30.

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We then waited for Craig and Dani to catch up to us (they weren’t too far behind us).   We watched them finish their last obstacles and then joined them to run the last stretch so we could at the least finish together as a team.1492223_854738451206202_481913266110309039_o(1)It was such a fun experience and I’m eager to do it again!  I have a voucher for a Spartan race so that will probably be my next challenge.

10246783_10100462165927709_5018156578620390483_n    The race was fairly easy, the tough part was getting our mud soaked clothes cleaned.  It seriously took me 3 tub rinses to get the majority of the mud and compost out.

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All in all, I’d do it again!  I def enjoy these races and my only worry would be getting injured, but if you’re smart and not too competitive it’s not too bad.

Because I’m Just A Little Crazy: Seneca7

Call me a mad woman, because I just got roped into something crazy! My friend Cassy was on the hunt to replace a runner for the Seneca7 race she’s participating in on the 27th. What’s the Seneca7 you ask?  Well, it’s a 77.7 mile race around Senenca Lake, the running is split between 7 runners responsible for 3 legs each.

I’m runner #5 responsible for these 3 crazy legs!  I’m a wee bit nervous for this endeavor, but it’s going to be fun!

The first leg is 3.8 miles with a steady climb.  This is where the nerves come into play. I am not the best with hills.  To be accurate, my hitting a hill during a run is much like watching a child try to go uphill on a slip and slide.  It just doesn’t end well.

Screen shot 2014-04-17 at 3.53.03 PMLeg 2 seems a bit more promising.  Seeing the term “rolling” in the description  gives me a little bit of hope.  The scary part is the 5.2 mile distance that it’s paired with.  During my marathon training, 5.2 miles seemed like a small number, a short run if you will.  As of recently though, pretty much since I crossed the finish of my first  marathon, I haven’t run anything over 4.5 miles.  Part of this was due to the bitter cold and part of it was due to my constant state of unwell.

Screen shot 2014-04-17 at 3.53.24 PMAnd lastly, my final leg, a short 2.6 miles sounds like a slice of heaven.  I’ll hold on tighter to the descriptor of “gentle” over “uphill”  as my little piece of sunshine.

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Despite my nerves and dislike for hills, I am excited. This will be my first big running race post-marathon.  It’s definitely something that will gear me up for the bigger races that I have planned for this year and next.

A Fit Family = A Happy Family

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It might sound cheesy and cliché, but for us it’s the truth.  When I was out of shape and severely over weight, I was not happy. I was a miserable mess of a person and it spilled out into our family life.  Looking back I see that I judged more, I snapped more, and I was flat-out negative about everything.

I picked apart people’s weaknesses because I didn’t want to face my own and it wasn’t healthy.  Nothing in my life was healthy at that point.  Nothing in our family life was healthy either (aside from our beautiful healthy and happy son).  Both of us would come home and melt into the couch with our bags of take out (or fast food) and sink into a Netflix coma.  We didn’t connect with one another very much, we cohabited just fine and loved each other, but we were like two passing ships fighting our own battles.  We’d drown our boredom by stuffing our faces and watching our shows until it was time for bed.

Intimacy took it’s hit too, neither of us were particularly fond of our new bodies.  I had trouble accepting my post-baby body and any loving compliment doled out by my husband was easily brushed off.  How on earth could this man think I’m beautiful when I look and feel the way I do?  My insecurities got the best of me and I could not fathom that he was being honest.  In short, there were a few months where things were rough.  I’m not one for hiding the truth and in all honesty I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a healthy relationship that didn’t face trying times.

For us, this period of being unhealthy left us both with a lot of self-reflecting.  It turns out a lot of our unhappiness was because we weren’t taking care of ourselves.  Like many new parents, we put our son’s needs ahead of our own and our focus was constantly on him.  We lost sight of ourselves and each other and it became apparent that the major problem in the equation was our inability to tend to our own needs.

Outwardly, these problems weren’t obvious and I didn’t even awaken to the problem until my husband expressed his concern about the life we were leading.  He could feel the lifestyle of laziness taking hold and didn’t like where it was going.  I was still in denial and didn’t want to accept the fact that I had lost touch with a healthy way of life.  After all, I was only exhausted all of the time because I was busy caring for our baby into the wee hours.  It clearly had nothing to do with my poor diet choices and lack of physical activity.

Fast forward to today, I’m feeling so much more confident and I can now better accept a compliment.  My husband and I do our best to make time each day to focus on ourselves and each other.  We have gym dates where we push each other to be better and work harder.  We get out more as a family and do our best to be active together by hiking, jogging, or running around the playground with our son.  Our overall moods are better, we have more energy and we’ve found a common ground once again.  We share in each others’ successes and support each others’ goals.  Hell, I even convinced my husband to buy running shoes and compete in our first race together!  Now, that’s a big deal!

RICE: The End of an Ice Age

Wow! I was just suggesting that a friend of mine be sure to ice her shins after going out on her first run in years. Maybe it’s not the best idea anymore? This is a very interesting read on the standard of using RICE for sports injuries. I don’t know about you, but that and NSAIDS were my go to fix for sore shins and tired and achy muscles. In retrospect, I haven’t been so diligent on icing this past year and haven’t faced any serious injury. Hmmmm. A lot to ponder about how we treat our bodies and how they can recover on their own.

***Athletic Medicine HAS MOVED***

Coaches have used my “RICE” guideline for decades, but now it appears that both Ice and complete Rest may delay healing, instead of helping.” – Gabe Mirkin, MD, March 2014


In 1978, Gabe Mirkin, MD coined the term RICE. Health care practitioners to laypersons are quick to recognize RICE as the ‘gold standard’ treatment option following injury. Followers of my blog know my stance against ice and now there is support from the physician who coined the term. Yes, the very same physician, Dr. Gabe Mirkin, who coined RICE, is now taking a step back. I reached out to Dr. Mirkin and asked for permission to share his story. As you will read below in Dr. Mirkin’s full post, the lack of evidence for cryotherapy is something we must listen to.

ice-for-injuriesThis is a controversial topic. My blog Why Ice and Anti-inflammatory Medication is NOT the Answer sparked a lot of debate. I had…

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