Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Chicago Marathon!

Once again, I've been remiss in updating this blog. I had a wonderful time in Chicago with the Bull City Kitties, eating, drinking, and oh yeah, running a marathon. Here's a bit about that last part.

Me in the start corral!
Sunday morning, I woke up with a stiff hip. Oh, my old friend, who are you doing this today? Going into the race, I was running once a week. Just the long run. Any more, and my hip acted up, or my left leg started to get sore. I assumed I may not be able to run the race, but figured I'd go anyway and see friends. I toed the line Sunday morning, assuming I would drop out at some point. 

Well, the race went much better than I anticipated. I ticked through the first few miles much faster than planned, around 8:40 or so on average. The spectators were amazing, as were the bands and signs along the way. 

Things went swimmingly until around mile 18 or so, when the inevitable lactic acid/fatigue combo hit. What can I expect when my longest long run was 16 miles? Oh well, I slowed a bit.

At mile 22, the hip really started screaming, and a slowed to a crawl. More accurately, I started tottering along. But at least I was still having fun. I finished in 4:13:38, pretty much my slowest finish. But, given my lackluster training due to nagging injury, I think it was a good showing. And I had fun! 
Three ladies happy to be done with the race!

I had a great day with friends, and set a PR in deep dish pizza eating! I took a bit of time off after the race, and came back slowly to running. The left leg just didn't feel right, and the right hip was a bit achey. More on that later...
Bull City Track Club at Lou Malnati's after eating our weight in pizza!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Seriously Overdue Update

So, Big Sur didn't happen. Well, the marathon happened, but I didn't go out to California to run it. My posterior tibial tendonitis didn't quite heal, and I didn't really want to get a stress fracture. So, no Big Sur Marathon in April for Kendra.

Before I decided not to run Big Sur, I entered the lottery for the Chicago Marathon (to be held October 9). A bunch of my awesome Bull City track Club friends got in Guaranteed Entry for being fast ladies, and a few of us not-so-fast (or fist timer, or whatever) ladies got in using the lottery. So a gaggle of us will be converging in Chicago in just a few weeks. Which will be nice because...

I moved back to Sacramento last month! I know, everyone already knew that. But is it really official if I haven't written about it in my blog?

In addition to moving, I also got a new haircut. Thanks Trish!

Chicago will be a big Durham reunion, with Laura coming in from New York, Brad and Erica from Virginia, Rachel from Ohio. And yours truly, from California.

In the meantime, my tendonitis had been bugging me. I missed my first 18/20 mile run during the cross-country road trip, ramped back up for two weeks to get back into the swing, then did a few 16 milers. The week before my 20 miler, I had a flare up, and my 20 turned into 3 miles. I took last week off, ran 13 on Saturday, and foam rolled and ART'd my leg a ton Sunday. So, Monday, of course my leg still hurts.

At this point, if I make an 18 or 20 miler this weekend, I'll be fine for Chicago. It won't be fast or pretty, but hopefully it will be fun.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Off the Beaten Path

Looking to try out a trail in Durham you may not have tried before? Durham Magazine asked me to write a few lines about fun trails to check out this summer. The Ellerbe Creek trails take you downtown, to the Brontosaurus, and the Museum of Life and Science. Read more in my write up below, and in the magazine.

The Ellerbe Creek Trail connects Club Boulevard north through Northgate Park, past the Brontosaurus at the Museum of Life and Science, and on to Rock Quarry Park. This is one of Durham's oldest trails. Check out the Northgate Park Dog Park along the way!

Heading the opposite direction from Club Boulevard into downtown, the South Ellerbe Creek Trail winds through neighborhoods, and passes by the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association's Pearl Mill Nature Preserve, and heads into the popular Central Park Neighborhood of downtown Durham. Rolling terrain provides a challenge, but is still accessible to all members of the family. 

Heading south, the Third Fork Creek Trail begins near Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway at Southern Boundaries Park, winds through neighborhoods along the Creek, and ends at Garrett Road. This trail is a great option for those in southern Durham who desire to try out a new trail or go to Southern Boundaries Park.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

I know this might come as a surprise...

...but I managed to injure myself, a month out from Big Sur. My left calf and arch started bugging me during the Wrightsville Half, and continued to feel really tight through the next week. I ran my 20 miler (too fast, I'll admit) last Saturday, and it felt a bit worse. Sunday, limpfest 2016 began. I went running Monday morning- or tried to. I managed 2 miles, averaging over 11 minutes per mile.

Maybe it is just soreness from the 20 miler, I thought. Maybe I just need to stretch and foam roll more, I thought. By Tuesday, I made an appointment with Dr. Jason just to be sure. I ran Wednesday and Thursday for less than my full schedule, at a very slow pace. I didn't want to be short on miles during what should be my peak training week.

Well, it turns out that this particular pain, which I thought was just tightness, is posterior shin splints. Luckily, I failed the stress fracture test (I mean, I don't have one). I didn't even know that was a possibility!!!

No running until at least mid-next week, and maybe not even then. It sounds like it should be back to normal in about 3 weeks. Good think my race was 3.5 weeks from when I was given that prediction!

Needless to say, I'm a bit panicky. What if I get to the week of the race and it is still bothering me? If it is possible to give myself a stress fracture by running on it with the shin splints, would I go ahead with the race, or have to sit it out?

I'm going to be positive, and assume that I will be able to run. I was almost to my taper anyway, so I won't lose too much fitness. I can pool run in the interim, so that is where you'll find me for the next few weeks.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Road to Chicago, coming soon?

I know I have another month until the Big Sur Marathon, but I am already thinking about my next race. Of course. My plan until recently had been to sign up for Richmond before the next price increase this Thursday, but plans have changed. 

Last night, I entered the lottery for the Chicago Marathon, which is October 9th. Another lottery?!? Though having a race entry submitted and done is nice, so is running in a big city, with all of the excitement of a major marathon.

That, and friends! Five of my friends on the Bull City Track Club have cashed in previous marathon times for a guaranteed entry spot. With this being the final year for guaranteed entry by time qualification, it seems a good time to put my name in the hat to tag along.

Will my next challenge be Chicago? The answer, coming to an inbox near me on April 21st!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Race Report: Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon

A month or two ago, I decided it would be a good idea to run the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon as a tune up for the Big Sur Marathon, which is coming up April 24th. Up until the morning of the race, I hadn't really decided how to approach it, however. Marathon pace? Try to race it? What do those even mean? Ack!

The last half I raced was in October 2012, about 8 weeks out from the California International Marathon, and 2 weeks before I broke my leg. I finished in 1:39:43 and was very pleased. Fast forward to fall 2014, when I was finally able to train for the City of Oaks Marathon, and ran the Bull City Race Fest Half as a tune up. At the time, I had the same quandary as with Wrightsville: what does race pace mean for me right now? I finished that race in 1:46:23.

Fancy new singlet! Yay!

So, back to Wrightsville. As Big Sur is a hilly marathon, and my mileage base was absent leading up to this training cycle (you guessed it, injury), I have opted to focus on quality miles and some hills over dedicating the time to track workouts. Is this a good strategy? I'm not sure. I do know that I'm unlikely to run fast at Big Sur due to the killer hills and killer views, so neglecting track is what I'm going with.

My tempo-ish runs have been in the 8:30 range, and my long runs have been pretty strong, so I was confident that I could likely hold 8:15 for the half. I know, not fast, but that is where I am. Could I do faster? Maybe. Ellen and Anna were planning on marathon pace or faster, so I decided to go out with them to see what I could do. 

Going out too fast? Yeah, kinda. But it sure felt good. It was rainy and cold, but it sure felt nice to keep a pace well under 8:00 for the first time in a while (i.e. since I was 28). I was a bit stressed about going too fast, and quickly succumbed to the (very slight) hill on the Trask Drawbridge, slowing down ever so slightly and falling behind my fast friends at the mile 3.3 Wolf Pack aid station. 
Mile 1: 7:53
Mile 2: 7:46
Mile 3: 7:46 

For the next several miles, I still managed to keep my pace under/right at 8:00. I felt fine. I had Ellen and Anna, and their lovely BCTC singlets, in my sights for some of this time. 
Mile 4: 7:48
Mile 5: 7:58
Mile 6: 8:02
Mile 7: 8:03

Up until the halfway point(ish), I really felt that I would be able to pull off an 8:00 per mile pace, which I was pretty excited about. I've doubted my fitness and ability as a runner since I began trying to come back from my broken leg in early 2013. It has been tough to build speed when I'm constantly having some recurring issues. I digress. 

To further digress, I was pretty starving by the time we got to dinner on Saturday. I hadn't brought enough snacks, and didn't bother to buy any before dinner. I was hungry when I woke up before the race, and still felt hungry after eating my oatmeal. Even after a Gu at mile 4 or so, I didn't feel properly fueled. At about the 8 mile mark, I started to feel nauseous. It wasn't terrible, but it certainly slowed me down.
Mile 8: 8:11
Mile 9: 8:15
Mile 10: 8:08

I kept at it, took another Gu, and hoped for the best. When we were winding out of Landfall, the 1:45 pace group swallowed me up. I'm not a big fan of pace groups. I seem to get caught up in them and can't find my way out. Needless to say, I wasn't upset when I wrenched my way free, aside from the fact that they passed me, taking with them my hope of a strong (for me) finish. I slogged out onto the main road, into the headwind, and ran a few disappointing miles to the finish. 
Mile 11: 8:26
Mile 12: 8:19
Mile 13: 8:27

I had enough left to put some gas into the finish, and was happy to be done. 1:46:59 for an official pace of 8:10/mile, or 8:04 according to my watch (which said I ran 13.27). Either way, it was just about 25 seconds shy of my fall 2014 Race Fest finish, and not too shabby for my lack of trackwork. I'm not thrilled, but I'm happy to have run a decent workout with lovely friends, and stuffed my face with good food over the weekend. 

Onward to Big Sur!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Portland, You're Allright

This morning, I crossed the river six times, over four bridges, during a seven mile run. All of these bridges have ample pedestrian (and bicycle) accommodations, which reminds me that such things are possible if the will is there.

I'm in Portland for the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference, which brings me (almost) annually to places with varying degrees of livability, multi-modal accommodations, and awesomeness, tending toward the more side of the scale. I've looked forward to this trip, both because I love beer and the west coast, but also for the opportunity to run in a city I haven't run in before.

I've been to Portland twice, but never run here until this week. As a planner, I've read about the transformation that has made the city bike-friendly, and it was pretty great to run across several bridges I've previously read about. 

The first, an old rail bridge, had a bike/pedestrian path attached to the lower (rail) deck about 15 years ago. Today, it also accommodates light rail and pedestrians on the upper (auto) deck. 

I tried out both the Morrison and Hawthorne bridges also, which have very wide and well-signed bike/pedestrian paths. 

The icing on the cake for me was Tilikum Crossing, a brand new pedestrian, bicycle, and transit bridge. Not only does it feel safe without the cars, it is sleek and beautiful. Once you get to the downtown side, green bike lanes, bike signals, and other rare (to me) accommodations await. It is amazing.

Being in Portland this week gave me an opportunity to have a few nice mid-distance runs, on my drop-down week for marathon trainings. It also showed me what is possible for multi-modal transportation if we work hard, and the will is there. I have a lot of work to do!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Road to Big Sur: Finishing 20 miles!

Couch, coffee and Kindle after my run!

I'm only finishing week 7 of my 18 week training cycle for Big Sur, but I completed my first 20 mile run yesterday. While that may be a bit early, I am relieved to know that I can get through a 20 miler, and that I have more than two months left to build on my efforts. 

Since I did a Hansons training plan for the City of Oaks Marathon in November 2014, I didn't do a training run longer than 16 miles. We all know how much that ended up biting me on race day, and for the year of hip pain that followed. I just wasn't prepared. 

Getting to 20 early on this time, and having time to drop down and build back up twice more will hopefully give me the base and the confidence I need to tackle Big Sur. I know I will need it with those hills!

And now, I am looking forward to a week of 6-7 milers, most of which will be in Portland, Oregon!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sixteen Miles of Snow!

Mid-run view from the American Tobacco Trail
Durham was the lucky recipient of a ton of snow courtesy of winter storm Jonas this past weekend. Rations were stockpiled, panic ensued, but the weekend long run still had to happen. And happen it did.

Amazingly, we had one of the biggest groups out together from Bean Traders at 10AM on Sunday morning. Some tried to go earlier, but were waylaid by ice and snow. We started picking our way across an icy parking lot close to 10:30, some equipped with traction devices, some trail shoes, and some brave souls with just regular old running shoes.

While some folks broke off from the pack for 5 or so miles, quite a few of us went for a 10 mile roundtrip back to the cars for a water and snack break. I overdressed, had to change my soaking wet shirt and ditch the fleece jacket, and was almost left behind.

In all honestly, I really struggled through this run. I was slipping a bit, and the slushy patches really got me low (literally, because I was sinking). I kept falling behind the group after mile 7 or so, and the last six mile out and back after our break was brutal. My hip was not keen on slush running, let me tell you.

My wonderful friends turned around to make sure I was still there, and waited for me every so often. That helped my spirits a lot. Close to the finish of the 16 miles I realized that, aside from the 2 measly miles I'd done the day before, this was THE FIRST TIME I'D RUN IN SNOW! Sure, I ran while it was snowing in Michigan two years ago, but there wasn't any accumulation. So, big pat on the back for me.

After our run, the most epic Bean Traders gathering ensued at the Big Table. Sunday, plus slow late start run equals beer! I opted out (long drive home, ice, whatnot), but it was fun seeing the group of us, equipped with water, coffee, bagels, and beer, taking off shoes and socks and talking about the beast of a run we just finished.

This is why we run.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Product Review: Fuel100 Electro-Bites

Sometimes, on a long run, I've wished I could eat something that wasn't sweet. Don't get me wrong, I love gels and chews, but after one or two, another option might be nice. Luckily, such a product exists: Electro-Bites nutrition for athletes.

Fuel100 Electro-Bites: Full Product Line
Electro-Bites, like their gel and chew counter parts, are a calorie and electrolyte replacement product for endurance athletes. They have 100 calories per pack, but differ in a few major ways from the energy replacements I'm used to. Electro-Bites are small and crunchy, and easily dissolve without leaving the sticky residue often left by gels and chews. Even better, the small size and solid consistency lends itself well to eating when you want, instead of all at once.

Electro-Bites: Bite Sized Crunch
I took a bag of Salty Vanilla Electro-Bites on my 11 mile trail run this morning, and broke into them about 6 miles in. Crunchy, salty, hint of vanilla. No water needed, but the bites seemed to dissolve a bit faster if I did wash them down.

My group was strategizing our next move, so we were stopped when I started eating the Electro-Bites. I had finished about half the 100 calorie pack when my friends had finished their gels. However, I just put the bag in my pocket, and continued snacking on the bites as we started into our next mile, and was finished a short time later. For those who don't need the whole 100 calories at once (say, like a 5'2" female runner like myself), having the option to snack as you go is nice. I'm guessing the true endurance crowd, frequently out running for hours at a time, would appreciate this feature more than this casual marathon runner.

While Electro-Bites are salty, they do offer a variety of flavors with both savory and sweet flavors mixed in: Salty Vanilla, Apple Cinnamon, and Pumpkin Spice. For the all-savory crowd: Simply Salty and Salty Vinegar.

Electro-Bites Offer an Alternative to Sweet
One of the coolest things I learned when researching this new alternative fuel: not only can they replace your gels, they can also replace your electrolyte beverage! As a bonus, they are gluten and soy free, deriving calories from organic coconut oil, organic agave nectar and non-GMO potato starch.

It's nice to know that there is a savory alternative to the sweet fuels I usually use, especially one that is easy on the stomach. I'm looking forward to testing the other flavors, and adding them in to the rotation.

Disclaimer: I received Electro-Bites for free from Fuel100 as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Asheville, here I come!

I'm off to Asheville on a much-needed weekend trip with some of the fine ladies of Bull City Track Club! Sure, I'll be getting in my 14 miler while I'm there, but it will be a balmy 60 degrees and sunny! 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Baby, it's Cold Outside

For the second time this week, I went running at 6AM in sub-freezing temperatures (and in the dark!). Being a California girl, this is quite a feat for me. I haven't done any serious training in winter since moving to North Carolina, so I am pretty excited to be on a roll not turning my alarm off and staying indoors. Here's to a successful Big Sur Marathon Training Week 3, at least thus far!