Friday, June 25, 2010


Ever run naked?

Yeah, naked. You read it.

No watch. No Garmin. No emphasis on time or splits. Or distance, really. Just runnin'. Naked.

After my Dam to Dam race, my coach has been taking it easy on me. He hasn't assigned any speed workouts, nor has he increased my long runs. My longest run for the past week has been about six miles. That's it.

Am I a little worried about maintaining my fitness and endurance?

Ummm. Yeah.

While I appreciate this little 'break,' I was getting used to running un-naked. I was starting to look forward to structured workouts - and the constant urge to ralph.

I think my issue regarding 'naked' running is that I'm afraid of losing. Losing endurance. Losing speed. Losing fitness. And although my coach has been emphasizing the need for rest and recovery (cycles, really), I'm not yet completely comfortable with the idea that I should 'peak' and then rest and recover in order to peak again. While I know I shouldn't be at peak condition at all times - I feel like I've worked so hard to improve my running. Why should I relax and 'lose' what I've worked so hard to accomplish?

I guess I just need to embrace naked running. And enjoy it while I can...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Week Without Running


Okay, I'll be honest. I had a four-day 'vacation' from running after Dam to Dam. Four freakin' days. Did I survive?


Thanks to two-a-day workouts (spin class, yoga, and/or circuit training), I got through my 'recovery phase.' I'm not saying that I wasn't a major crab or anything. I tend to get really b*tchy when I don't run. Ask my family. And my dog, Otto. They'd rather deal with my obsessive running addiction than put up with stank-eye Stacy, putzing around the house, depressed and angry. I get unbearable. I can't help it. Must be some type of chemical imbalance that is out of my control...

Thank god that's over. Now I am fully recovered (okay, and somewhat refreshed) from my satisfactory performance at Dam to Dam. And I've been putting in some miles this past week. Last night I had a challenging speed workout with my esteemed coach. He rides his bike and gives me feedback while I spit bugs from my mouth and deal with my legs of lead. It's nice having a talking Garmin give me feedback and encouragement.

Again. Thank god 'recovery' is over. While I may have some hard work ahead of me (ummm, like training for a marathon - whateva), I'd rather suffer through it than be a stank-eye...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dam to Dam!

Dam rain. Dam wind. Dam soggy shoes. Dam to the Dam!

It all started late last week - one by one, little 'issues' popping up before Dam to Dam, the largest 20k race in the nation. Tapering was freaking me out. I had a little too much wine on Thursday night while watching 'Best In Show' (for the n-teenth time). And then I got a call Friday morning from my mother, informing me that she was driving herself to the emergency room due to a numb left arm and major dizziness.

Needless to say, my mind wasn't really on Dam to Dam Friday. I sat in the air-conditioned hospital with my grandparents all day. My grandpa touted the benefits of a Western diet ('fried chicken and mashed potatoes'), trying to convince my grandma and I that my mother's diet (which is much like mine, consisting of TONS of vegetables and whole foods) is the source of her sickness. Yeah. It was that kind of day, with a couple of one-minute interruptions from various doctors asking my mother what she ate for breakfast and then making her identify a photo of Abe Lincoln (seriously). While my mom is still alive and very much kicking, she has to go to the cardiologist this week to run some tests. I have a feeling that it was just gas that made her feel like crap. Hmmm. Perhaps grandpa is on to something...

Anywho, I get to sleep at 11 PM on Friday, only to wake up at 5 AM. After some oatmeal and chia seed, I put on my race-day best and then hopped on the yellow school bus at 5:45 AM. This is how they do Dam to Dam: catch a bus by 5:45 AM; the bus takes runners to the Saylorville Dam; and then the runners wait until the gun goes off at 7 AM. Well, it was cold. Raining. Windy. The bus dropped us off at 6:15. So...I popped a squat in the woods (everyone does it) and then stood in the rain with thousands of other soaked runners, just wanting to get the show on the road. Shoes soaked and soggy socks, I tried not to focus on the shivering mouths of the woman next to me. There were approximately four thoughts in my head at this time, including:

"This is the LAST time I do this."

"My bed is warm and cozy. Thus I want to get on a bus and go home."

"Let's get this DAM race going already."


Finally, we were off at 7:05 AM. Feeling good once I got a half mile into the race, I tried to focus on pace; I didn't want to go out too hard, like I always do. The first six miles went a little slow - lots of wind (I'm *that* girl who takes advantage of drafting), and a few teenage boys running while throwing cups of agua at each other after every water station. I was really trying to slow my pace to a 9-minute mile, which is on the slow side for me. I was all over the place during the first half of the race in terms of pacing. Each mile I made it my goal to slow down and really hit a 9-minute pace. I was able to slow it down around miles 7 through 9.

This is the smartest thing I've ever done.

Miles 9 through the end of the race (12.4, to be exact) went EXTREMELY well. I was hitting negative splits and ended up doing a 7:48 in the last mile. I didn't feel like I wanted to die (which is usually how I feel during the last few miles of a half). I was able to kick it into high gear and pass tons of people. Just how I like it.

My final chip time was 1:46:23. Last year I was finished the race in 1:50:45. 8:34 vs. 8:55. Sure, I'll take it.

And yes, I'll be back for this Dam race next year.*

*Sorry for the lack of info regarding the organization of the race. This is one of the most organized races I've ever experienced. Lots of water stations and volunteer support. And a very efficient packet pick-up. Oh, and they give you a dri-fit shirt. Score!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Hmmmmm. I don't know how to taper. It freaks me out. Cut down on running BEFORE a race? Weird. Scary.

So, I believe I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I have a running coach who plans my workouts and helps me stay on track (both literally and figuratively). It's been working out very well, as I've incorporated a lot of speed work and hill training. While the workouts themselves are tougher (you know, higher heart rate, tiring legs, and the urge to ralph), I feel like running itself is 'easier' because I have a clear-cut plan and am more focused.

That said, I have a 20k this Saturday (the notorious Dam to Dam - one of the country's largest 20k races). Since the Drake Half Marathon, I haven't been getting in a lot of mileage. I've been diligently following my coach's plan, but his plan hasn't been so focused on THE long run. While I was *supposed* to run only seven miles on Sunday (yes - that's it!), I kinda sneaked in a couple more miles. Why? Because I'm scared. I need confidence. Especially before a longer race like Dam to Dam. Yep. I'm a pussy.

In other words - I don't have enough confidence to taper.

Hmmmm. Maybe that's something I should work on...(!)

(So, I'll just leave it at that, since I've made this post into a therapy session.**

**At least this therapy session is free and allows me to work on my writing skillz...)