Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Little About My Plan To Get to the Boston Marathon; A Trail Kind of Weekend & Something I need to tell Runner's World

It's been no secret that my big, lofty running goal is to qualify and run the Boston Marathon.  Last season, I put that thought on the back-burner while I trained to do The Rut since those two goals required such different training.
This year, I still have a trail 50K on my summer race calendar but it is a much less intimidating race and has plenty of time allowance that I know I can complete the course as long as I keep some trail work in my weekly schedule.  So this year, I'm putting the hammer down and working towards my Boston goal. 
This season, my first step is to cut some mega time off my marathon best.  Last year I finished Missoula under 5 hours, but to qualify for Boston I have to get well under 4 hours (3:45 is the required qualifying time, and most likely I need to be closer to 3:40).  My Missoula goal for 2017 is 4:40.  Then I'll be downhill training with the idea of qualifying for Boston at the Revel Rockies Marathon in June of 2018, which is an all downhill marathon with an elevation loss of about 5,000 ft. I like down hills and I'm good at them.  I can run a BQ pace comfortably, so it will be a matter of learning to keep good form over 26.2 miles so I don't trash my legs in the process.
Mitch and I drove to Lewistown to run Limekiln Trail yesterday.  Normally Saturday is long run day, but the weather had rain the forecast for Sunday in Lewistown.  We know from experience that the mountains/hillsides/trails in that area get down right nasty in the rain.
Limekiln Trail goes up to a lookout spot or you can stay on the main trail that loops back around to the start.  I did both and got just over 7 miles for the day.  The route gains 1200 feet in elevation, almost all in the first 4.5 miles.  I had to walk most of the climb.  It was mid-70's and it felt so much warmer.  Mitch rode his mountain bike.  At one point I looked down on the switchback below where he was (he let me get a head start) and asked him if was having fun.  He replied, "That ended when I took the bike out of the car."  Haha!  That climb was tough.

The extra side trail that goes to the lookout seemed like the steepest part.  The view was really nice, but there was barely any room up there and I met up with a big family.  I didn't stay long.

Don't laugh!  I've been looking for new fuel sources for extra long running days.  Gu, Hammer Gels and Honey Stingers are okay and they serve a purpose, but after about 2 of them I hate trying to choke them down.  CLIF makes a pretty good organic pouch but there is only one flavor I like and I tend to have some minor stomach issues with them.  I happened to be walking by the baby food at the store the other day and saw these.  They are organic, about 80 calories (depending on the flavor), 17 g of carbs and even a little protein.  This one tasted much better than I expected!

At this point of the day, Mitch stayed with me for the rest of my run.  It was nice of him not to run over me going down the hills.

My Papparazi was at it again.  I like this picture even though it is on the most barren part of the trail.  The best part about climbing 1200 feet is that you get to come back down.  I had so much fun running once I wasn't struggling up the mountain side.

At the end of my run, I meandered down to the creek and washed some of the salt from my face and drenched my hat.  

Mitch and I are both trying to make healthier choices, so he suggested sandwiches for lunch.  We made a stop at the grocery store in town and bought sandwiches, 3 containers of cut fruit and something to drink and enjoyed a little picnic at a park.  The gazebo is so cute!  I should have one in my back yard.

Did anyone else see that Montana had a page in Runner's World Magazine?  The article featured Glacier Park (a trail that I have been on there), Missoula Marathon and Billings.  The run they suggested in Billings is a stretch of trail along the Rims that starts by the airport and follows the rims to Zimmerman Park.  That last part of the statement is actually not entirely correct. The out and back run is about 8 miles.  I'm very disappointed that they chose this section of the trail along the rims for a number of reasons:
1.  A long stretch of the trail is close to the highway and has parking all along the rims.  Disrespectful people love to party there and throw their beer bottles off the parking area on to the trail so there is TONS of glass up there.  Years and years worth of it that is so scattered and ground in to the dirt that nobody bothers to try cleaning it up.  Today is one of the rare times I didn't have to pick up beer cans or garbage (or the occasional discarded porn magazines) off the trail and take it to the garbage (10 feet away in the parking area).

2.  I already said this, but the trail runs very close to the highway.  This close, in fact.  Not all of it, but plenty.

3.  Graffiti is a problem on the rims, especially in this area of the trail that has easy access from the parking area/highway.

4.  The article says the trail goes to Zimmerman Park (which, by the way is the trail I would have suggested for this article).  To get to the Park, you have to cross Zimmerman Trail, which is a winding road with blind corners both directions and no safe crossing area.

Yes, the view is pretty awesome but there are so many nicer areas of the trail along the rims that you can see this from.  Runner's World suggested our trashiest trail and that makes me mad.  It makes me wonder if I should ever give much consideration to a place they recommend in their magazine because clearly they didn't research it very well.

Just a few miles down the road you can get to the Back Nine trail system.  Now there is a place worth mentioning!
My 14 mile run today ran along most of the rim trails and out through the Back Nine to the other side where Mitch picked me up.

I met this little critter on my run (in Zimmerman Park, actually).  He wasn't as happy to see me as I was to see him so he didn't stick around long.  I tried to tell him I was going to make him famous on my blog, but he just didn't care.

Do you subscribe to Runner's World or any other running magazines?  Which ones?
How do you pick running routes when you are traveling?

Monday, May 1, 2017

My Training Plan is Hard; Minor (thankfully) Injury; & a Few Pics From the Weekend

Much has transpired in the months since my last blog post.  I ran my Run to the Pub Half Marathon and missed my goal by 18 minutes, partially thanks to being sick in the days leading up to it and partially due to a training plan I didn't trust.  As a result, I came off that race with determination to create a plan for myself that was 1. Sustainable based on my schedule, 2. Designed to meet my own personal goals and 3. Evolving as needed.  Since I wrote it, there is no shame in making changes to it if I feel it's not working.
I scheduled a 16 week plan with the ultimate goal of knocking 20 or more minutes off my last marathon time.  This progress is needed if I'm going to get to Boston Qualifying speed (more on getting to the BQ in my next post).  The basic structure is a 7 day plan (I'm still on a run streak - 163 days and counting):
Monday - HILLS (officially my least favorite and hardest workout of the week)
Tuesday - Junk Miles - not really junk but an easy run day of varying mileage
Wednesday - Rest day - Important even though I'm running every day.  One easy mile.
Thursday - Speed Work - varying drills each week
Friday - Same as Wednesday
Saturday - Long run
Sunday - Semi-long run with Mitch (usually on trails right now since the next two races he is doing with me are trail runs)
In addition to the running schedule, I have a full strength training schedule and go to the gym at least three days a week.
Since today is Monday, it's hill work day.  This is the first time I have incorporated this particular hill into my workout even though it is the entrance to my neighborhood.  It's half a mile and approx. 200 feet of gain.  It's steep and hard to walk up, let alone run.  I had to take a few breaks to catch my breath.  I did it twice in one run and let me just say, That Hurt!  

I'm on week 6 of this training plan.  Last week I had to take it easy because I've had a rough go with a nagging pain on the top of my right foot.  I tried to run through it for a couple of weeks, but clearly that wasn't going to work out for me at all.  So last week I did a majority of my running in the swimming pool at my gym.  Basically this consists of running in place in the deepest part of the pool (not very deep in this pool, so there was still a little impact).  The reduction in impact allowed my foot to heel.  It still has a little niggle, but it is so much better.  I was very thankful for my waterproof, wireless headphones to say the least!

Just to be on the safe side, I taped my foot for my weekend long run and trail run with Mitch. Never mind the mess.... we had a 7-year-old stay the night.  I have used KT Tape for IT Band issues, but this is the first time for a foot injury.  It worked great.

My long run was tough.  I lost the mental battle early on, even though my foot felt better.  My planned 12 miler ended at 8.  Sometimes running is humbling.
Sunday was great.  Our trail adventure was more than half hiking so it was easy(ish) on my body.  Mitch and I found a new trail and spent lots of time taking in the sights.  I love the first flowers of Spring.

The views from the Rims in Billings were pretty stellar on this beautiful day.  Everything is turning green so it's like looking out on Paradise.  Enjoy it now... when summer is in full swing it gets rather brown.

Someone is being camera shy because I've been talking about blogging all weekend.  He thinks he's being cute and I have to admit that he is.

I'm striking a pose for my Paparazi!  Isn't this a neat rock formation??!  Unfortunately, someone thought it would be prettier with their graffiti spray painted on it.  People suck sometimes.

Mitch is doing his best to push it over.  That or he really needed to stretch out those calves.

Mitch spotted a grouping of paw prints on the trail. The lack of extended claws leads us to believe they are feline.  I would say a pretty big feline at that!  I know there are wild cats in the area.  I'm less intimidated by them than bears.

One of our after Sunday-Runday lunch spots is the Pickle Barrel.  This place has the best subs!  Besides... what is a running blog without food pics?


It's good to be back at the blog.  With a full race schedule this season, I have so much to write about.  Coming soon I'll be writing a review of my new Orange Mud hydration vest (spoiler: Its awesome), a bit about this year's race schedule, and talking about how I'm planning to get my Boston qualifier next summer.  Come back soon and check for updates.

The race schedule for 2017:
May:  Don't Fence Me In 12K Trail Run
June:  Yellowstone Half Marathon
July:  Missoula Marathon
August:  HURL Elkhorn 50K
September:  The Rut 11K
October: The Columbia Gorge Marathon