Sunday, September 18, 2011

Run #44: 3 Great Ideas

So I suck at blogging apparently. I let life get in the way super easily and have a hard time making time. But I do really want to be able to look back at this process and read about all the fun, pain, fights, and encouragement Mihkel and I went through to get through the finish line. So here I am, back to the blog to catch y'all up on where things are and how our last run went.

On Saturday Mihkel and I had three great ideas: 1) Sleep in a little. 2) Run at Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield on the amazing trails they have there. 3) Give recovery ice baths a shot. Here are the results:

1) This went off without a hitch. I love my sleep.

2) Kennesaw Mountain is amazing. The trails take you around key points in the Battle of Kennesaw. This is where the battle for Atlanta really started. It was outstanding to see the Confederate built earthworks that have been there since 1864. There were huge dirt mounds surrounding the cannons that the South built to defend against the coming onslaught of the Union.

Aside from being historical significant and beautiful, Kennesaw Mountain is also, well...a mountain. This was the first trail run we have ever done. It was tough! Very very tough! Our pace was well below what we do on the road and the attention to detail required to get through a run on the trails is a little tougher than we had thought. I think we both went through a few low points and there was a moment around mile 13 that I really didn't think we would finish. But, as you can see below, we did...

Best running partner ever!

Mentally it was a little tougher since we had to pay attention much more than usual to things like foot placement and watching for rocks and horse shit that we also ended up paying more attention to "OMG, my ankles are killing me right now!"

I think we jumped into trail running a little bit too deep for our own good. Completely my fault, of course.

Also though, it was gorgeous out. People are nice on trails. We passed a very friendly guy a couple times going the opposite way on the loops. He gave us directions once and then the next time we cheered him as he cheered us on. The third, we had a brief exchange on our distances that day (he was knocking out 20). Plus, we saw 8 deer, a raccoon, a squirrel and a few hallucinated bears/cougars/honey badgers (around mile 14).

Ewwww! But we frikken EARNED it!!
The verdict? We are definitely trail running again....but maybe a little less distance.

3) On the recommendation of some awesome and talented runners that I've been fortunate to connect with on the Runner's World marathoners forum Mihkel and I decided to give ice baths a shot. It was a little tough, but with the aid of some whiskey (for me) and some malt beverage (for Mihkel) as well as each other's company and a little Arrested Development made it tolerable and today, I feel much much better than usual. 
Mihkel approves of this technique
Dual purpose ice: Whiskey and anti-inflammatory

Aside from realizing I need to clean the grout in my bathtub, I also realized that the cold feels amaaaaazing. So I think I will definitely be doing this more often.

It has been an amazing week of running and today's off day was very much needed. Tomorrow is a little Hot Yoga and then a good week leading up to our trail 10K this weekend.

Happy Running to you all!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Run #36: 15 miles to Stone Mountain

Hey hey everyone, Mihkel here finally updating the world on our long run this past holiday weekend.
With less than 30 days till we get to move to our amazing new apartment in min-town Atlanta, and every weekend busy, Mel and I have had to do some creative switching with our long runs. We were in a cut back week, but realizing that this upcoming weekend we are going to a wedding in Chattanooga, we went ahead and switched our long runs... meaning i had one less week to mentally prepare for the longest run I have ever done.
Mel and I were both a little concerned after my bonk on our 13 miler the weekend before, but we took it as a learning experience and went on with it.
While deciding where we wanted to run, we were torn between running the relatively flat silver comet trail again, or running west and using another part of the Georgia path project running out to Stone Mountain.
After much debate, looking at elevation charts, and discussing our feeling about out-and-backs, we decided to try a lollypop around stone mountain. The run was easily broken down to 3 five mile segments: 5 miles there, 5 miles around the mountain, 5 miles back to the car.

Lets just say we rocked this out. I have learned a lot from our miles and miles of training, and I wanted to share a few:
1. I love my pre-run cocktail of water, advil, and a 5hour energy. Maybe its all placebo, caffeine doesn't do anything to me, but it works.

2. I dont need an i-pod to run. I know this is a huge debate for races and anyone working out, but hear me out. On long runs, it segments the hours you are out there into 3 minute segments that you are activley counting down. "Oh, sublime is on.... this sublime is half over... this sublime song is done, now we are onto Styx..." It just makes running seem longer. And if you get the wild hair to find that one song and skip about 20 to find something you like or feel like listening to, it makes time feel even longer. Without music our 4's and 1's feel like nothing, i am more in tune with my running and my body, and my stride finds a natural pace instead of changing every 3 minutes to whatever the tempo is at. This is just my preference from experience. But what do i know... I've only been spending a LOT of time with myself on the roads this summer.

3. Pineapple GU is amazing.

4. I can run way faster than I have mentally set my pace to. I have been conservative on pace for this entire process. I don't want to over-do it. I don't want to hurt myself. But this week, Mel and I have used a few miles to see just how fast we could run. One of these miles was the last mile of our 15 miler: at a 10:45 pace... We flew. I find there is something refreshingly juvenile about just kicking in and sprinting.

5. I couldn't do this without Mel. We have figured out how we run so well. When to chat, when to be quiet, when to speed up, when to slow down. We run in sync.

6. Did i mention how surprised i was that i killed 15 miles?

7. I'm having fun. And that's what matters.

And now, the data for you number crunchers:

Running past a fortune cookie factory: Best smelling 1/4 mile... ever!

Running around a huge chunk of granite never looked so good!

I'm smiling at mile 10!? Progress!

See you all on the road!