Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Things They Don't Tell You Part 2

I think it is high time for another edition of Things They Don't Tell You about marathon training.

1. You will voluntarily wake up at 4:50 am. You will then voluntarily run nearly 11 miles before work. You will voluntarily admit that you have most definitely gone off the deep end.

2. You will start adding bread to all of your pre-long run meals. Already eating a big bowl of pasta on Friday night? Better eat half a loaf of baguette too... just in case. Or better yet, just eat the whole thing. I haven't hit the wall yet, and I'd rather not find out what that's like so bring on the carbs.

3. The words "I only have to run a half marathon this weekend" will come out of your mouth. While you are talking to a non-runner. They will look at you like you are a nut job. They will be right.

4. This one if for the ladies (look away, gentlemen). Marathon training will really screw up your cycles. It will be late, it will be early, it will be painful or it won't, it will be short, it will be long... it will basically become a guessing game. Oh, and if you are like me and always have an insatiable appetite during the week before you can look forward to being completely ravenous 24/7 for a week straight.

5. On days when you don't run, you will need to do something with your excess energy or you'll feel like you're going to bounce off the walls. I've washed my car, the siding and front porch of our house, and gone on cleaning binges inside.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Richmond Marathon Training Take 2 - Week 16

How in the heck is it September 24th?

How in the heck do I only have 8 training weeks til the marathon? (Awesome?)

How the heck am I once again late on my weekly update?

Sigh.

This looks funny but at the moment I'm too lazy to fix it. Sorry.
4 runs for 35.6 miles
1 mile swim

Running miles logged so far: 348.8

Training highlights:

  • New longest run ever on Saturday. The 19.1 miles took me 1:49:24, average pace around 9:00/mile.  When I finished back at the stadium, a lot of my teammates were laying in the grass, stretching, or inspecting blisters and various ailments. For whatever crazy reason, I felt absolutely fine. Yeah, I don't get it either. I felt like I must have done something wrong because I wasn't groaning or wincing. I did earn myself a nice big blister on my 3rd toe, which I was very proud of. However, it was kind of disappointing because after I popped it, it went away within a few hours. I am officially the weirdest person you know.
  • Accompanying my friend Danielle as she ran her first ever 5k on Wednesday night. It was so awesome to be with her for it and see her cross a finish line for the first time. Once we were finished, I said, "So, are you going to do it again?" and she said, "Yep!" with a big smile. Seeing others discover the great feeling that comes with running a race is such a gift.
  • The fabulous fall weather!!!!! After months of starting to sweat before I even start to run, being chilly before a run and then juuuuuust right during is a real treat.

Training lowlights:
  • Not really a lowlight but this week's speedwork was really tough. It was 2 x (6 x 400) with 90 second rest intervals between the laps and a 2:30 rest interval between sets. I thought it would be easy to run only 1 speed lap then rest for 90 seconds. Yeah... not so much. This was definitely the hardest speed workout thus far. It probably didn't help that it was way too easy to run too fast and Greg and I were hovering between 6:50 and 7:25 minute pace. Whoops.

Hydration Belt Status:
  • Unsullied... though there is a 99% chance that this Saturday it may be used!

Gold Star of the Week:
  • Danielle for finishing her first race ever.

It's already Tuesday, which means I've done my speed work for this week. It was much better than last week's, thank goodness.

I'm starting to think that if everything goes right, I will be able to get that 4:00:00 marathon. Based on the 19 miler, I'm on pace. My elapsed time including water stops was 3:00:00, so if I can just run 7.2 miles in one hour I just might squeak by. But of course I know that usually race day doesn't happen the way you plan.

This weekend, Husband is in an epic wedding in Philadelphia/Baltimore. We will be going up there on Friday, so I will miss Team Navy's first 20 miler on Saturday. I did some research and found the Boston Pacemakers, a group that runs long each weekend. A quick Facebook wall post later and I will be joining them for whatever they have on tap. I don't think they are doing 20, but between 17-19, which I figure is close enough. 

And then I will put on high heels and go to a wedding where there better be a buffet dinner... cause if not, I'm going to be eating Husband's food too.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

First Marathon "OMG What if..." Moment

As I finished up my run this morning, I couldn't help but revel in the perfection of the weather.

And then I thought about marathon day and how I hope that the weather is just like today (ok, maybe a shade cooler).

And THEN I thought ... oh no ... WHAT IF IT RAINS??

I really don't think I can do it if it is raining.

Please God, let it not rain.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Race Report: Divas Half Marathon - DC Wine Country

I should have known better than to sign up for a race with the word "Diva" in the title, but this one just happened to fill a need. Marcey and I wanted to go out of town for a girls' race weekend. I prefer longer distances, Marcey prefers shorter, and we wanted something within driving distance. The Divas Half Marathon - DC Wine Country met all of these parameters: it was 2 hours away in Leesburg, it had a half marathon and a 5k, and it worked with our schedules.

So we got excited and signed up for it way back in January and have been counting down ever since. We reserved a room at the official Race Hotel, the Landsdown Resort; planned coordinating outfits (not matching, just coordinating); planned a post-race afternoon of wine, cheese, and lounging in our room in pajamas with not a care in the world; made dinner reservations at one of the resort's restaurants; and picked out little black dresses to wear with our medals.

Everything about the weekend turned out just as we had hoped... except for the race itself. A better name for this event would have been the Divas Disaster Half Marathon. 

From the top...

Packet Pick Up

Packet pick up and the race expo are always my least favorite parts of a race. This one was no exception, with the one saving grace being that it was held at Landsdowne so it was convenient for those of us who were staying there.

Otherwise, it was ridiculous because they offered packet pick up for only a few hours on a Friday night in Northern Virginia. Anybody who has ever lived in the DC Metro area knows that traffic on a Friday night is a flat out nightmare. To give you an idea, when I lived in Gaithersburg, Maryland my commute to North Bethesda was 11 miles... and it took me ONE AND A HALF HOURS. Leesburg, the site for this event, is pretty far west of DC and for anyone trying to come from there, I'm sure it was difficult. Marcey and I left Richmond at 4:00 pm and barely made it ourselves, arriving just after 7:00 pm (expo closed at 8). 

Strike one for the organizers. 

Once we got to the expo, we had to stop and be surveyed by Divas staff before we were allowed to pick up our packet. This was also annoying. The questions were: Where are you staying? How many nights? Do you have spectators? I know they were gathering this information so they could show the resort hotel what a great revenue generator this event was, but it was still aggrevating for people who had just sat in hours of traffic and just wanted to get their stuff. I actually tried to bypass them but they caught me.

Just give me my damn bib and shirt, please!

Race Day Arrival

Here's where the real fun starts. On Friday evening I put the address for the Tarara Winery (the race site - in theory, very nice) into my navigation and it showed that it would take 25 minutes to get from Landsdowne to Tarara. That kind of annoyed me... the whole reason that I paid for an overpriced resort hotel room was because I figured that the official race hotel would be extremely close to the race itself. 

Guess I was wrong.

The event organizers made it very clear that the road into the Winery would be shut down at 7:15 am, meaning we all needed to be parked before that. Marcey and I decided to leave the hotel between 6:00 and 6:15 am, giving us a cushion of at least 35 minutes. I anticipated some traffic build up since we would all be converging on the same place and figured that this would be adequate. It was cold that morning, and we didn't want to arrive insanely early and stand around freezing.

We got into the car at 6:15. Things were going fine for about 15 minutes. And then we hit the start of the traffic. I got more and more anxious as I watched the minutes tick by. 6:40... 6:45... 6:50... 7:00. I was worried we were going to get turned away. But then we realized that everyone else around us was also going to the race and there was no way they could turn us all away - it seemed like ALL of the participants were sitting on that stretch of Route 15 - and as Marcey said, the last thing you want to do is piss off 5,000 women. 

7:15 came and went. FINALLY we came to a point where there was an alternate route we could take, so I did. This alternate route was a dirt road that led into the back entrance of the winery. We parked the car in a field at 7:20, jumped out, and literally ran toward the start. I had half a bottle of water in the car and HAD to go to the bathroom. My race was supposed to start at 7:30, so as we jogged toward the starting area I was already assuming that I was going to be jumping in late. Marcey's 5k was supposed to start in waves, with the first being at 7:45. 

Note on the parking: we parked in a freshly mown field. And it was very wet. My feet were soaked by the time we got through it. This was a bad thing, as we'll see in the future.

When we arrived at the start it was obvious that we weren't starting on time. We heard people saying 30 minute delay as we headed toward the porties. Excuse me... the LINE for the porties. 

I was grateful for the delay but I knew that people who had been there and were in the start corral were pissed. I truly do feel for those who had been there in time and were standing in the cold, getting hungry and thirsty and stiff legs. They had every right to be mad. I was pissed because it was obvious that the race organizers had no idea what they were doing when they chose this winery that was accessible only by 2 dirt roads as the venue for a race with 7,000 participants. Dirt roads cannot handle that capacity. I also heard that there was an accident on Route 15 (the way they told everyone to take) that made traffic congestion even worse. 

THEN the announcer had the gall to make an allusion that the delayed start was the fault of the participants. That just sent me over the edge. NO. I left at 6:15 for what I anticipated to be a 35-40 minute drive. Based on comments I have read since on Facebook, others who had left even as early as 5:45 am did not make it to the race in time. To try to blame participants for not planning well enough was truly bad form.

At 8:25 it was announced that we were going to continue to be delayed. FINALLY, the half marathon started at 8:55 am... nearly 1 hour and 30 minutes late. It was bad for the people in the corral, it was bad for the people who got stuck in traffic. It was bad for the volunteers at water stops who had been standing out in the cold, ready to go. It was bad for everyone.

Really bad.

As for myself, I had gotten to my "corral" (more on that later) at 7:55, expecting an 8 am start. When that didn't happen, I decided to try to find Emma, of A Mom Runs This Town. I knew she was running and I figured at least we could chat for a while to kill time. It wasn't hard to find her ... there weren't that many people in the corral. She had been there since 6:30 am and was really really unhappy about the repeated delays (as she should have been). She was starving, freezing, and getting tight after having performed all of her pre-race rituals in time for a 7:30 start. We tried to make light of the situation, but by 8:45 with no start time announced, we were just done. Personally, I didn't even feel like running anymore. All I kept thinking was that if we had started on time, I would have been almost finished by now.

So. BIG FAT FAIL on Race Day Arrival.

Starting Area

1. Not enough porties. 7,000 women, 50 porties. NOT ENOUGH.

2. Tiny, dirt starting chute with graded, sides. Not cool. Accessible only from the back, so if you needed to work toward the front to your "corral", you had to weave your way through everyone else.

3. Non existent "corrals." They did a wave start for the 5k, but there was no such thing for the half. We all just kind of self-selected into waves based on estimated pace. Emma is super speedy, so she was hanging out in the 7:00-8:00/mile area. There weren't many others there, unlike the area where I should have been, which was swamped. So I did something very bad and just stayed with her and started in that "wave". I wasn't in anyone's way because there just weren't that many ladies in that area. Yes, I'm a bad racer. Sue me. But after standing around for an hour, I just didn't care anymore.

Course

I am kicking myself for my procrastination because the official course description from the Divas Half website has been taken down now. But here is the gist of it, from what I can remember (and I read it a few times because I was nervous about the course, knowing that the Leesburg area is hilly):

"Enjoy this scenic course in Virginia's wine country. You'll pass vineyards, rustic farmhouses, open fields, and country churches. The course has gently rolling hills and two more significant elevation gains of 300 feet that are minimized as they are spread out over 1/2 mile."

My interpretation of that was yes, there are 2 challenging hills but otherwise this won't be so bad.

As far as I can tell, this was everyone elses' interpretation as well, because let me tell you, hot topics on the course were the delayed start and the hills.

They seemed to never end. From the time we started, if we weren't running up hill, we were running down hill. "Gently rolling my a$$!" was the general consensus. Every time we turned a corner and saw yet another hill, a chorus of groans and expletives rose from my fellow Divas and myself. What was even worse is that the course doubled back on itself so you knew that once you ran over one big hill, you were going to have to do it AGAIN later. Just that thought made me want to quit so many times.

Here's the elevation chart, which doesn't look that scary. But trust me, these hills were no joke. They were small but they were fairly steep and just never ending.



The only respite that we got was a fairly flat stretch between miles 7.5 and 9.5, but by that point I think it is fair to say that most of us were already beat and our legs were shot. It was just a matter of survival. I remember looking down at my Garmin at mile 8 and saying to myself, "5 miles. You can run 5 miles. That's all you've got. 5 miles... less than an hour... just keep going...".

Oh, and the scenery. HA. Yes, there may have been "rustic" farmhouses, quaint churches, and vineyards, but we were all too miserable to enjoy any of it. There was also a fair amount of time spent running in McMansion neighborhoods (decidedly NOT scenic).

Finally, this was advertised as a road race. Sure, we were on roads... but at least 8 of these miles were completed on very uneven dirt/gravel roads. I don't care how hilly or flat something is... the minute you throw dirt or gravel on it, it becomes more challenging and it is far different than pavement. If you never run on trails, doing so for the first time is a learning experience that can sometimes be dangerous. Thankfully, I've run on all kinds of trails so it didn't throw me, but I know that a lot of people wiped out and were very angry about the running surfaces. I feel very badly for anyone who had only previously run on roads or treadmills. To experience dirt/gravel surfaces for the first time during a hilly race had to be quite jarring.

So basically, I felt pretty misled by the race organizers as to this course. Listen, I like to be challenged. But I was NOT prepared for this in any way. I like to think that I am at the top of my game right now as a runner. But after the first 6 miles of this race, I honestly just wanted to quit. They were the hardest 6 miles I have ever ever run, including the last 6 of the 18 miler last weekend.

Ok, well maybe not ever. The worst miles I ever ran were the last 4 of the Army 10 Miler a few years ago. But this was close to that misery, especially considering my level of fitness is SO much higher now. If I had KNOWN about the hills and the dirt roads, at least I would have known what to expect and could mentally prepare myself. 

Oh, and the course was 13.3 miles long. I know that they are never exact, but come on... nearly a quarter mile?

But let me say something positive about it: there were more than enough water/Gatorade stops, all manned with smiling happy volunteers. God bless them... they were just as inconvenienced by the delayed start as we were.

The Finish

Finally, at the end, there was some REAL scenery in the form of a lovely pond back on the Tarara Winery property. But honestly by that point I didn't care if I was running through a nuclear power plant... I just wanted to be DONE. At mile 13 we ran through the "Tiara and Feather Boa" station, which is a cute idea but honestly, it's kinda hard to jam a tiara on your head and putting on a cheap feather "boa" at mile 13 is not really enticing. However, I did both because dammit, I had suffered and I was going to live it up at the end. 

After crossing the line, I received my GIGANTIC medal from a very fit shirtless man. Then they tried to shove a plastic flute of "champagne" (aka sparkling cider) at me... pretty much the last thing I wanted but I took it because I didn't want to be rude. Same with the rose. All before food and water. I JUST WANT WATER AND A BAGEL OMG. Luckily I had Marcey there on the other side of the chute to dump off this stuff with so I had free hands to get my food.

The food was lackluster. Bottles of water, plain or cinnamon raisin bagel halves (which were kinda stale) and chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookes. That's it. There was no other runner support at the finish ... honestly I don't even recall seeing a medical tent. I'm sure it was there... somewhere... right? 

Overall Grade

Sorry, Divas, but this gets one big fat F. There was really nothing enjoyable about this experience. I guess at least I got a really gigantic medal out of it and a nice techinical race shirt that actually fits.

To be fair, this was an inaugural event for this particular location. I knew there would be hiccups... there always are at the first go around. HOWEVER, this is a National race series whose organizers should have forseen many of the problems and prepared for them. To me, the misleading course description was almost worse than the traffic issues. 

But the real rotten icing on this bad cake was that the organizers seemed to blame participants for the traffic and only took responsibility for their error much later - I believe in a Facebook post/email the next day. And they NEVER acknowledged the course problems.

And that is why I am never, ever doing a Divas race again.

Ever.

Personal Performance

Other than the Army 10 Miler, I have never been happier to be finished with a race.

After the 1.5 hour delay, I really just wanted it to be over with, so I went out way too fast. I knew it was stupid and I knew I would regret it later, but I just didn't care. My legs were tight thanks to standing around, and my feet were numb with cold after getting soaked from walking through the field that we parked in. I don't think I actually felt them until mile 3 or so.

By mile 6, when we turned a corner and saw yet another incredibly steep dirt hill in front of us, I really just wanted to walk. The only thing that got me through were the Schwings on my shoes.


Whenever I looked down at my feet because looking UP at the hill in front of me was too terrifying, I saw my Schwings and said to myself, "Kathryn, you have wings on your shoes. You cannot walk. That would just be ridiculous. People with wings on their shoes don't walk."

I wish I was making this up, but I'm not. I really did tell myself that.

Near the end, when I really felt like crap, I saw others starting to walk. I thought by encouring them I could also convince myself to not cave, so I would run pass and cheer them on. "Come on come one, we've survived the worst of it. We have less than 2 miles... you can do this! Don't walk now!"

These were really just pep talks for myself.

When I hit 13.1 (before the official finish line), my watch showed 1:51:something. That's unofficially a PR for me. My official time was 1:53:16, NOT a PR but also NOT a half marathon, as my Garmin read 13.3 miles. My average pace was 8:31/mile. That also included a 60 second trip to the portie located a mile 7.

Given all of the cirumstances, I'm pretty proud of myself. I ran fast despite the hills. I did walk for about 25 yards during mile 12 before I got pissed at myself for being a quitter and started running again. I did stop at water stops and I even took the time to stretch my poor calves at mile 12. Why I thought it would help at that point was beyond me... I guess really I just wanted to stand still for 30 seconds.

I finished 85th out of 2,535 participants, so that's not too shabby I guess... but to be fair I think that at least 50% of the people walked it instead. I placed 24th out of the 454 participants in the 30-40 year age group.

I was really so exhausted by this point that I have no
idea how I look remotely presentable.

But the people that I am most proud of are Emma and Marcey.

Despite all of the things working against her and the less than ideal conditions, Emma placed fourth overall and won our age group with an amazing time of 1:31:58! That is just flat out amazing to me. I can't imagine running that fast ever, and especially not on that torturous course.

I hope some of Emma's greatness rubbed off on to me.
Just a little teeny bit.
(Photo yoinked from Emma)
Marcey PRd her 5k time too! Thankfully, she said that the 5k course was not very hilly and the participants of that race seemed more pleased over all.

Marcey is pleased.

So, there's my book on the Divas Disaster Half Marathon.

I'm really hoping that I can redeem myself at the Wilson Bridge half in 2 weeks. After the Divas course, it should be a relative breeze (I hope).

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Richmond Marathon Training Take 2 - Week 15

A bit of a mediocre week (not surprising given my mood last week).


3 runs for 26.6 miles
1 mile swim

Running miles logged so far: 313.2 (It feels like many more than that to me!)

Thoughts:

  • I don't really feel like this week had highlights or lowlights... it kind of just was. 
  • The 5 miles of speedwork on Monday, the day after the 18 miler, was not a good idea. It felt ok while we were doing it, but by Monday evening my legs were done. I felt tired for the rest of the week.
  • My "Divas" Weekend with Marcey was GREAT... except for the race part. The DC Wine Country Divas Half Marathon was a bad experience from the minute we entered the packet pick up until the minute we drove away post-race. The organizers have already been ripped a new one all over their Facebook page, but I'll add my own two cents in a race review later this week.
  • Until this week, marathon training had seemed like no big deal or change to my regular routine. This week, I was tired and starving 100% of the time. And for the first time, I didn't feel like running or cross training. I just wanted to stay in bed. No rest for the weary... the training cycle marching on to November 16...
  • That being said, after an incredibly challenging half marathon on Saturday during which I nearly PRd (and if you take away the extra .2 miles on the course, that I did PR), I feel more confident about being able to do this thing in November.
  • Why is there always an extra return in between my first bold heading and my first bullet when I use Blogger? It really annoys me and I haven't been able to figure out why I can't get rid of it. GAH!

Hydration Belt Status:
  • Unchanged. Starting to think this thing was a big fat waste of cash.

Gold Star of the Week:
  • Marcey, for being a great friend and for rocking out a PR of her own on the Divas 5k course.
We look happy, but inside we are fuming.
At least we looked good, right?

This week I've already completed Monday's speed work (it was a b*tch too, I must say) and a 1 mile swim today (which was way easier than my last one). Tomorrow evening I am going to accompany a good friend as she does her first ever 5k, so I'm really excited about that. 

Saturday is a 19 miler with Team Navy.

O_o

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Straggling Along

I've been quiet lately (not that anyone has noticed). It's because I feel like I am just straggling through life for the past week or so. Nobody wants to listen to another person whine about problems that really aren't problems, so I've just been keeping my mouth shut and my head down.

I've started 3 different entries (Dream Race, Moderation, Going Long) and have abandoned all of them after a paragraph or two. Right now I just feel like I don't have anything worth while to contribute to the the dialogue (whatever "the dialogue" may be). I'm not witty, I'm not full of wisdom or insightful, or exciting. My writing isn't eloquent or funny or thought provoking either, so I don't know why I've been torturing myself trying to put the proverbial pen to paper here at Run Eat Play RVA lately.

Maybe I'm tired of writing about running or I am feeling guilty or boring for that being the main topic of conversation around here lately. That's mainly because training is the one thing that I feel really positive about lately, though even that is starting to wear me down, especially this week. I suppose that's what happens when you run 18 miles, then 5 miles of speedwork the next day, then 8.5 tempo miles at 6:15 am in 90% humidity.

Our trip to Germany was wonderful and an opportunity that I am truly grateful for. I realize how incredibly lucky I am to have been able to go to Europe twice this year.

Being in Paris, even if only for a whirlwind 24 hours, was a dream come true. As I sat in the courtyard of the Louvre just before 9 pm, listening to the murmur of the hundreds or Parisians and tourists who were enjoying picnic dinners in the warm late-summer evening, I fixed my eyes on the Eiffel Tower, waiting for it to do its night time shimmy. Then the hour hit and it burst into its sparkle of dancing blue light and then I cried like an idiot. And then I cried on the plane the next morning as I watched the city disappear from my sight. It's pathetic, really. I love going abroad but coming back home always throws me into the depths of depression. Sometimes I wonder if it is even worth the 1-2 week high anymore.

I think there's no worse feeling in the world than feeling like you aren't where you belong, and then feeling powerless to change it.

Another part of my straggling lately is that the next 2.5 months are incredibly daunting. It's not the marathon training, but the fact that out of the next ten weekends, I have two free. And by "free" I mean I still have a long run on Saturday, of course. This crammed-calendar syndrome happens to me every few months, and every few months I swear I won't over schedule myself again, but I always do. The trouble is that a lot of it are commitments that I have no control over. They are work related, or life realted (weddings, baptisms, etc), they are races that I deferred last year due to my broken foot and therefore feel obligated to run this year. In a way, I didn't even do this to myself. Life did it to me.

I will survive like I always do and will likely even enjoy most of these commitments. This meltdown will pass, like all of the others. I'm just not much fun to be around when I'm feeling overwhelmed by my problems-that-aren't-really-problems.

But, on a positive note, if I just remind myself that at this time last year I was 2 weeks into my stint on crutches, I feel much better.

/end whine

Monday, September 9, 2013

Richmond Marathon Training Take 2 - Weeks 13 & 14 Omnibus

I'm a little bit behind.

Week 13


3 runs for 19 miles
One mile swim

Week 14


2 runs for 24 miles

Running miles logged so far: 286.6

Training highlights:

  • Distance PR with Sunday's 18 miler. I am especially proud of this as it was only 2 days after arriving back from Germany and with a busted big toe.
  • Logging 13 miles in the crisp, clear air of the Palatinate Forest in Germany.

Training lowlights:

  • All of the pre-run anxiety I experienced on the Saturday before the 18 miler
  • I'm really missing my teammates - due to various conflicts, I haven't run with Navy for 3 weeks and will again miss this coming Saturday.
  • Being off from my mileage goals due to vacation and the complete lack of cross training while in Germany.
  • First try of Gu at the 16 mile SAG stop which did not turn out so well. It made my throat feel thick and gross for the rest of the run. No Gu for me; I'm sticking with Mike & Ikes and pretzels.

Hydration belt status:

  • Pure as the driven snow

Gold star of the week:

  • Teresa, a fellow Team Navy member who ran on Sunday with me. We make pretty awesome running partners and she definitely got me through this 18. I'm not sure I could have done it without her.

Today I was determined to get back on track with my usual Monday, Wednesday, Saturday running routine so I did something pretty insane by meeting Greg at the track for my speed work this morning... a mere 24 hours after the 18 miler. It went pretty well and didn't seem to be that big a deal immediately afterwards, but this evening my thighs feel like jelly and going down stairs is not a pleasant activity. Tomorrow is a definite rest day.

This Saturday is the long-awaited Divas Half Marathon in Virginia Wine Country. Marcey and I will be attending together - she is doing the 5k - and we are going to enjoy a weekend of girl time at the Landsdown Resort. Aside from the race, there will be fluffy robes, wine, little black dresses, and a fancy dinner. I'm really looking forward to it (especially the wine part).

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Running in Germany

When we went to Italy, I had every intention of running. Of course that didn't happen, but this time I had to put in some miles considering I'm pretty near the apex of marathon training.

Luckily for me, Germans are all about exercise and the great outdoors. In fact, one of the first things I saw in the pedestrian zone in Kaiserslautern was a running store!




Hiking trails abound and our hotel is situated with easy access to two trail systems. Don't ask me what they are, but here's a sign:




I decided to take my first run last Friday, the day after we arrived. I figured that it would be a good idea to get some miles in before we spent the weekend playing tourist.

The weather has been a nice change from the horrible heat and humidity of central Virginia. It was actually a bit brisk on Friday morning; I believe it was about 50 degrees when I left the hotel. In other words, perfect running weather.

I had wanted to run 10 miles, but my body was still on EST and thought that it was 2 am, so I did an easy 6.5 instead. The trails were relatively flat, wide, shaded, and for the most part, deserted. I saw 3 other runners and 2 bikers.










The past 3 days have been run-free, but there was plenty of walking as we visited Rothenberg ob der Tauber, went on a Rhine cruise, and explored Heidelberg and its schloss (castle).

It took a lot of self prodding to drag myself out of bed this morning and coax my tourist legs to hit the trail again. Once again, the weather was to die for - crisp, sunny, and low humidity. This time I split off on one of the side trails, which turned into a steep climb with no end in sight.




I only lasted half a mile before I wussed out and headed back to the flatter trails, where I finished up a 10k, which seemed appropriate in this land of kilometers.

Now I am dreading going back to steamy Richmond to attempt an 18 miler this coming weekend. I'd rather stay here, where fall mornings have already arrived!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Ludwigshafener Straße,Eselsfürth,Germany