Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Belmar Chase 5k, August 22, Belmar NJ.

photo by Mark Nyhan (thank you Mark!)
I have not raced in a long time because my back has been bothering me a lot, mostly when running, and I did not want to waist the money.  There was a marathon I wanted to run on Aug 25 as a glorified LR. Before I made the trip out there, I needed to test out how my back felt in a race.   

Back Pain: The pain is odd.  It takes about 10-20 minutes of running and then my back gets tight, starting subtly on my lower left side and radiating all the way up my left side to just below my shoulder blade.  The muscles get so tight that I cannot inhale or move.  I feel frozen in place as soon as I stop running when the pain gets worse before it gets better.  Once I stop running, I have to slowly coax my spine into allowing me to roll forward.  When I get my head all the way forward, the muscle spasm stops, and the pain resolves.  I can start running again.  It may happen all over again, several times in a row, or not.  Usually I have more trouble with shorter easier running?  Faster running hurts less.  Long Runs will happen as long as I stop to stretch it out in the early miles, because the pain come mostly during the first 9-10 miles and then it seems to get better for the second half.  Hill work is ok, even though much our warm up is slow and it usually does not hurt during slower running. Sometimes the same pace I am run on Fridays for a shorter run will hurt a lot, but not on a Sunday, when the distance is 2x as far?  I find that Friday and Saturdays tend to be my worst days, which makes me wonder if the chairs I sit in at work are part of the problem since I tend to sit longer on Thursdays and Fridays. The longer I sit the day before the worse I suspect my back will feel.  I tried many adjustments.  I use a foot stool.  I saw a chiropractor.  I also feel my drivers seat is not helping my back. I have not found a comfortable setting. And then every once in while I might wake up at night in pain, but this is rare. So right now I am just training when I can and resting when I need to.  This has been going on since May. 

Belmar 5k and Meb.  OMG, he is going to be at the race! 
I like Belmar.  Kim and I train there regularly.  It is a wonderful location for a Long Run.  

Because I registered last minute and then read the entire pre-race email quickly the night before apparently in a daze.  Maybe I read every other word because I was pretty sure that Meb was going to be talking at 7:30 after the kids races.  I told Kim that parking would like be crazy and I wanted to get there by 7 am.  If Meb was talking I wanted to be there! I was sure parking was going to be a train wreck.  Kim and I have trouble finding parking on the weekends just for long runs.  With a big race happening it had to be bad.  We parked almost a mile a way, at the location where the post-race party was supposed to take place.  We used our run/walk from the car to the starting area as our warm up.  I was so confused to not see some huge crowd of runners gathering at the finish area at 7:30.  And then we learned that I cannot read.  Meb was there "virtually"…  the night before … at 7:30 pm after the kid's races… not this morning.  LOL!   

Racing is more than just about running for me.  I realized that by not racing, I have been missing seeing a lot of people.  It was good to spend some time in person with people I talk with often through technology.   It felt nice to not be in a rush to get work done and to be able to make time to just hang out after the race. 

Rich,  Kim, Elizabeth, me, and Anthony
The Race.
I must admit I was very anxious about Belmar.  How far would I get before my back quit on me?  

As I lined up to start,  I noticed the flags. We would have a tail wind on the way out and head wind on the way back.  I decided to take advantage of the wind assisted start and get out fast.  This way maybe I could be closer to finishing if my back quit on me.  M1 6:19

Ok, that was faster than I thought I could run. I was surprised that I felt so good.  Much better than I have ever felt at this pace.  This could turn out to be a great race!  I settled down a little, hoping to save something for the final mile into the wind. M2: 6:26

As we turn into the final mile, I realize I am in trouble.  I am starting to get tired and I can't find another gear. Oh boy, there is just nothing!  At 2.4 miles, I start to feel the dull ache start in my lower back.  I can feel the wind the we are running into working against me. I am not well as well trained as I was at this time last year. I have not used a final gear in a long time. My back feels tired but it is really not holding me back.  I simply just ran out of steam and faded in to the finish. M3 6:54 with 48 seconds for the last .12.  

This was not my best performance, but I was really there to test my back out and it felt a millions times better than I thought it would! So despite the final mile not going as well as I had hoped it would, I am very happy with this race. 

Time: 20:28
OA: 161/1147
Gender:  26?
Age: 2/59

Sunday, August 23, 2015

July and August Update

It has been a while since I last posted a race report.  It bothers me to not write race reports after each race. This is the first time since I started racing again in 2006, that I haven't written reports afterwards.

In July I raced 3 times. First there was the Woodbridge Run for Pizza where I was 3rd OA Female on a hot humid mid-July night.  It was about one million percent humidity, give or take.  Mark H. raced with me.  We purposely tried to use this race as an exercise in pacing evenly.  LOL! We decided to target 27:00 and hoped to break it.  Unfortunately, we did not reach our goal.  It was simply too hot/humid.  But we did well and both won awards so that made it fun! I finished in 27:44. 

In mid-July, I also ran one of my most favorite races in NJ, Running with the Devil 6 hour.  However this was by far my worst showing at this event.  Running with the Devil starts inside a ski lodge and then we run 5k loops up and down a ski slope.  It is the hardest race I run.  With the exception of meeting John and running with him for many miles and enjoying our chat, I would have said that this race experience was heartbreaking for me.  But I had a good excuse for logging only 12 miles during this 6 hour mountain event before going home early.  I had no idea what place I was in when I left.  But what I do know is just prior to starting Rick asked me if I wanted to go after the CR.  I said something like..."Sure, if I feel good I might be able to try... but I need to finish the first lap in under 45 minutes to have a chance."  Just before  I left, I ask Rick if he had any idea when I discovered the CR was out of reach?  He guessed "The end of lap 1?"  I said "Oh no" and I pointed to the first incline we could see from the lodge.  "Right there, Rick… Right there"  That first incline let me know that I was out of my mind for thinking I had a shot at it. I love this race, but I will never be fast there.

In mid-July, I also started something I had wanted to do for a really long time, return to Graduate School to get a Master of Science degree in Kinesiology (the study of human movement) with a concentration in Sports Psychology. I started with a research class and the work takes a lot of time.  I am so genuinely interested in the subject that often I would rather do nothing else than pull research and learn as much as I can while I have the chance.  I should have never attended Running with the Devil, but I don't think I have ever missed one.  I had a paper to write and not enough time to do it.  Running for 6 hours was not going to help me get my work done, so I left the race early.

A few days later I ran the Westfield Pizza Run.  Clearly I have a thing for Pizza.  Really, I love pizza.  I had low expectations for this event. 12 miles at Running with the Devil took a lot out of me.  This race was Wednesday night.  But once I saw Jim O. my spirits lifted.  I really enjoy racing with Jim.  His love of the sport is amazing and I appreciate how he pays equal attention to the leaders of both the men's and women's races.  If I see Jim en route, he is sure to give he helpful information about my placement and my competition. Jim and I have spent many miles racing each other and I always enjoy running with him.  I did much better than I expected at Westfield.   I was 9th female at this very large race of over 2100 runners in 20:32 (6:39 pace). 

So that is the quick and dirty on why I have not been posting and what I have done.  Basically every weekend, I now scramble to complete training plans and research assignments before Sunday night. It is always a close race.

Now that I am caught up here with and with my school work, I will take some time to draft an appropriate Race Report for the Belmar Chase 5k. Stay tuned ;)