Friday, October 30, 2009

Age Groups

Yesterday,I stumbled on a blog posting about a recent road ultra. The guy basically said that there were no other fast guys in the race. I was upset by that because reading the list of finishers I saw some impressive names. Many of these runners had run much faster than this guy was currently running! (I have run faster than this guy is currently running!) We did it when we were his age and we are older and slower now. It seemed disrespectful. I wanted to post a comment telling him to do some research on some of these not-so-fast ultra runners. Instead I clicked out of there and vowed never to go back. But it got me thinking.

When I turned 40, seven years ago, I refused to acknowledge the change in my age group category in races. I believed it would encourage mediocrity. I could run slower and still win my age group, but if I wanted to place overall I had to haul ass. For several years after entering my forties I continued to run well in the open division, still winning races now and then. But over the past couple of years, injuries that have been nagging me for many years have started to take a toll on my speed. I guess this is what aging is, wear and tear on the body having an accumulative effect on one's physical abilities. I do know runners who are fast into their 50's and beyond. The ones I know, started running later in life and just have less bodily wear and tear accumulated.

I remember running speed work on an indoor track one winter with a group of speedie guys in their forties and fifties. I was about thirty at the time. They had all seen faster running days, but were still pretty competitive on the local road race scene. On one of our cool down runs the subject of age related slow down came up. They all agreed that it wasn't a gradual thing over many years, instead it was an injury or series of injuries that the body just couldn't completely recover from. At some point, they had suddenly each found themselves not as fast and flowing as they had once been. At the time I was thinking "what a bunch of pansies," because I was thirty years old. NOW I understand what they were talking about!

The last issue of Trail Runner Magazine briefly touched on the issue of becoming a "shuffler" with age. The magazine claims this can be avoided, or at least curtailed, by doing regular speed work. I believe there is a lot to that. Running fast forces us to open up our stride and run efficiently, yet powerfully. I haven't done any fast running in a long time due to spine injuries. I don't even push off anymore! I just kind of roll off the ball of my foot in a lazy half-hearted manner. I have become a shuffler!

I'm still out there and still enjoying running as much as I ever have. I can't remember the last time I won a race. Top ten is starting to sound pretty good to me! Sometimes I think I would be happier to just stop racing all together and just run on my own and with friends. But I love the social aspect of racing. Another option is to start racing for that good old age group win. But that's a hard pill for me to swallow. Maybe when I turn fifty!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Shuffle is Becoming a Stride!

What a beautiful day, with sunshine and temps in the high 40's this morning. I ran 5 miles of single track on the Ossipee River Trails. I ran the same course two days ago at 9 minute mile pace. Today I ran at the same effort but did 8:30 pace. I felt great! When I got back home, I took a breakfast break and then headed back out on the mountain bike. I rode for about two hours at a relaxed pace, just enjoying the woods.

I feel like all the wear and tear and injuries from training and racing through the Spring and Summer are healing. My shuffle is starting to feel like a stride. Soon I might even have my signature bounce back in my step! I haven't been scolded about my inefficient bouncing style of running for a long time. If that ever happens again, I'll know I am back to 100% !

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Runner's Burnout Almost Cured!

This morning I received a delivery of 3 tons of wood pellets for heating this old drafty farm house of mine through most of the winter(I'll probably need one more ton before winter is over.) Before I set to work on hauling the 40 pound bags into the far end of the barn one at a time, I decided to take a run.I knew I'd be in no condition to run after I was done lugging 3 tons of pellets! And I WANTED to run!!!

Since Oil Creek, I've been running just about every other day and only doing 5 or 6 miles most of those days. I am a person who normally runs 6 or 7 days a week and puts in some good mileage. If you've been reading this blog, you may have caught on to the fact that I was starting to get sick and tired of running. I wasn't enjoying it and I needed a break! Plus my lower spine problem had been giving me right posterior leg pain since May. It isn't a lot of fun to run with pain. All this taken into account, I still couldn't get myself to stop running completely for a few months' rest. So instead I decided to cut way back on the milelage, run every other day at the most, and run at an easy pace when I did run. I decided to enjoy my new found love of mountain biking during this time and concentrate on developing my abilities and getting more comfortable on the bike. I am happy to say that after only a few weeks of this routine, I am well on my way to being cured of the dreaded "Runner's Burnout". An additional benifit is that my right leg pain is milder than it has been in 5 months. I will stick with this routine until the end of November. By then I should be aching to get out and run longer and faster and more frequently!

Today's run was 5 miles on the Ossipee River Trails. It took me 45:22 which breaks down to about 9 minute miles. No speed records there, but I felt fabulous and enjoyed every step of it! I followed the run with a full body workout, hauling pellets into the barn. Believe me, I'll sleep well tonight!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Run-Bike Routine

I've fallen into a nice routine of alternating a run day with a mountain bike day. This every other day of running is keeping the running fresh and interesting for me. The biking is just plain fun. I'm also doing 2 to 3 strength workouts a week.It's a very nice relaxed system for now.

Yesterday I ran for one hour on the local trails. I went slow and enjoyed the woods. The trees are loosing their leaves and the trails have a whole new look. I can see the river for much of the run, while before most of it was hidden by the trees. The air is cold and crisp with a hint of wood smoke from people's wood stoves and fire places. And my whole run is accompanied by the sound of my feet shuffling through the dry fallen leaves. This is a beautiful time of year here in Maine.

Today I did a few hours of mountain biking with Kevin after work. We had a lot of fun. We rode all the single track a few times, some of the snow mobile trails, and some of the school fields. We goofed around in the school parking lots, hopping up on curbs and jumping back off. (Kevin jumped, I kind of plopped down like a ton of bricks.) People who saw us probably thought we were a couple of over grown kids. I practiced some of the skills I am trying to learn like wheelies, hops, and jumps. This stuff is great fun! I fell onto the ground only once, (because the other time I would have landed on the ground,Kevin caught me). So I'm doing better with these things, or at least doing better with landing on my feet when I do have to come off the bike.

Tomorrow will be another run day and I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Biking and Lifting Yesterday

My Bike

The benched trail. We call it "The Clencher" because it scares me! If you go off trail and down that slope on the left, you will be in the Ossipee River.

This is part of the Pollywog Pond Trail to the left with the Ossipee River on the right.

I got a good strength workout and an hour of bike riding in yesterday. The strength work still has to be modified because of the right shoulder injury I sustained on the mountain bike in the beginning of September. But at least I can do some lifting with that arm. Pull ups are OK, but push ups are impossible right now.

The bike ride was great. I rode on the trails Kevin and I have been working on. Some of the things that were challenging to me a month ago are easy now. Other things are still difficult or impossible for me. I have plenty of improvement to look forward to. It is very rewarding to work at learning something and be able to see the progress along the way. If I ever master this mountain biking thing I might have to take up golf or something so I can continue to have this feeling of being motivated to improve at something. Really, I don't think anyone ever masters mountain biking. A rider can always find new challenges and continuously develop his or her skills. This is a good thing because I really have no interest in golf.

Today will be a legs and back strength workout and an hour of trail running. I'm feeling very good and very well rested right now. I'm loving this "down time." I'm still managing to stay active, but relaxed about my fitness routine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yesterday's Run with a Friend

Yesterday,Mary and I ran for about 1 hour and 40 minutes on dirt roads and trails from her house near North Conway, NH. We have run together on Tuesdays for years, but this summer we haven't seen much of each other. She's been busy with family activities and has taken a bit of a hiatus from running. Now she's back at it.

Mary has been running as long as I have. We both peaked on the road racing circuit around the same time and were good competition for each other. Despite the tough competition we gave each other, We always got along well. I can remember many occasions where we would be battling it out in a race and still take the time and energy to exchange a few pleasantries before one of us blew by the other. Over the years we became good friends.

Any run from Mary's house involves a steady climb for the first half, then a turn around and a steady downhill back. We had a lot of catching up to do, so the miles went by fast. Mary keeps me laughing. She told me that when she runs road races these days, other runners come up to her after the race and pat her on the back and say things like, "good for you, Mary. You can't run anymore, but you're still out here trying." Her new method of avoiding these comments is to run races with her young daughter so people will assume she is slowing down for the daughter. The problem with this is that her daughter is getting hard to keep up with!

After our run we had a nice lunch at Mary's house. We took some time to write up a training plan for the daughter. If she follows it, she'll be impossible for Mary to keep up with by Spring!

Monday, October 19, 2009


I've been saying all along that once Oil Creek was over I was going to take a few months of NO training,just biking, running, and hiking for fun alone!There hasn't been a lot of actual rest so far, but I am having a lot of fun and feeling pretty relaxed.

This morning I did a short run on trails,then went out again a little later in the morning on the same trails with the mountain bike. These are local trails that Kevin and I have been working on. We just finished benching a steep slope above the river yesterday. Well,Kevin did most of the actual hard labor, but I did what I could considering my arms were still very sore and tired from lugging lumber Saturday at Bear Brook.

Running over the new bench was great. I used to have to carefully walk through this stretch while clinging to the slope with my toes. Now it is completely runnable! Biking it was a little too scary for me. The drop off to the river is very steep and I could imagine myself loosing my line, riding out onto the soft edge of the bench, and careening down into the river. So I believe I will continue to walk the bike over the stretch with the steepest drop off. At least with the new bench work, the bike can be rolled along, we used to have to carry the bikes through this stretch.

The other recently improved trail, Pollywog Pond,was great riding. I have already run on this trail a few times since we cleaned it out, but today was my first time riding on it. It has an abundance of tight curves that are a lot of fun to run through and take a lot of concentration and rhythm to ride through. There is only one curve that is just too tight to ride without putting my foot down. We might have to fix that one.

I have to admit that fooling around on the mountain bike has given me a whole new awareness of the work that goes into building and maintaining trails. As runners, we can get through almost anything. There are times that we'll say that a trail isn't runnable because it is so eroded, wet, or covered with blow downs and debris. Usually I either walk over these stretches or avoid those trails all together. On occasion, usually when asked by someone,I will participate in a trail maintenance day. But really, most of the time while running I don't give trail conditions a lot of thought.

Mountain biking makes me much more aware of the condition of the trails. Biking trails that are smooth and flowing is a lot more fun than hopping on and off the bike, lifting it over things, and slipping and sliding on loose washed out areas. The thing is, by improving the trails for mountain biking, they become so much better for running! So I am reaping the benefits of my efforts both on the bike and in my trail shoes!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bear Brook Trail Day

Yesterday I participated at the trail maintenance day at bear brook State Park in Allenstown, NH. I hate volunteering for things and then finding they really don't have much for me to do when I get there. I was assured by Kevin that this would not be the case at Bear Brook. He was right.

The project for the weekend was to replace 3 bridges on the Beaver Pond Trail. About a dozen people, (mountain bikers) were on hand for the work. My job was to haul lumber out over the trail. Construction started on the farthest bridge out, probably about 3/4 of a mile down the trail from where we could get the lumber by truck. I started out carrying fairly heavy loads, but as I fatigued I carried a little less of a load. Carrying the lumber over a rough trail was exhausting,but a good hard workout. I hadn't gotten a run in before leaving for the event, so each time I dropped my lumber, I ran back. I figure I ran about 8 miles total. It was a beautiful brisk clear morning and the trail was very nice for running.I really enjoyed (and exhausted) myself.

After about 4 1/2 hours of steady work, we stopped for the day and had pizza for lunch. Then it was time for "the ride". Great, I hadn't saved anything for a mountain bike ride. Two women, who had also spent the morning hauling lumber, said they were going to ride slow and easy,not with the rest of the group.They advised that I join them.I was more than willing. But I was assured by another(whose name I will not mention)that I could keep up with the larger, (much more experienced) group. I did my best and managed to trail the group for a little while,but started to fall back and felt like everyone was waiting for me. It didn't help that I was completely exhausted from carrying lumber all morning, add to that the fact that these people had been riding for years and I am a beginner.I started to get pretty frustrated after a while.

At one point, when the group stopped to let me catch up,Kevin asked,"are you tired?" I snapped, "that's the stupidest question anyone has ever asked me!" I meant that as a YES! I guess Kevin understood, because he told the group that we were breaking off. The two women who had set off for an easier ride came up behind us and we rode with them the rest of the way,over some very beautiful and fun trails. My mood was immediately improved when I didn't feel pressured and rushed anymore. I actually loved almost the entire time I spent riding,only feeling irritated for about 10 minutes total.

The ride was followed by socialization, eating, and drinking around the campfire. It was a very fun and productive day. My body is feeling it today! Hauling lumber is something I might have to work into my daily routine. Just think of the strength I could build!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oil Creek Aftermath

Sunday,the day after dropping from Oil Creek,Kevin and I went to a pub for a late lunch and "Camo Pants," a guy I had run some early miles with on Saturday and never caught his name, limped into the pub with his family. He said he had just finished. Holy Hell, would I have been out there until this late on Sunday if I had continued?! Camo Pants didn't look like he'd be able to run again for quite a while. That course was brutal! But I'm glad he finished. He had been pretty determined from the get go. For some reason,seeing that Camo Pants had finished didn't make me wish I had continued, it made me feel relieved that I hadn't gone on!

After lunch, Kevin and I went for a 3 or 4 mile walk on bike trails to stretch out my legs. On our way back, Kevin froze in his tracks while gazing through an opening in the trees and said in a dazed sort of voice,"do you see what I see?" As if in a trance, he left the bike path and walked through the opening in the trees and across the field. I followed. Kevin has an eye for anything that can be biked.He had spotted a BMX track with a kid riding loops over the course and was drawn to it like a magnet.

We stopped and leaned up against the fence,watching. Kevin explained how to get over the "rollers" and "skips" and how to work the "Berms"(not sure how you spell that one) and how to ride the "table tops." Yes,I had a bit of a vocabulary lesson as well as a biking lesson as we stood there. After we had watched for a while I said half jokingly,"we'll have to come ride this in the morning." and Kevin answered in a serious voice, "that goes without saying."

So that's how I found myself grinning from ear to ear as I rode my bike over a dirt BMX track in Titusville,PA two days after dropping out of the hundred mile race. Every time my wheels left the ground I let out a little Yip.I'm sure that isn't a cool thing to do while riding BMX, but I couldn't help it. The funny thing about riding a bike around a course full of bumps and curves and banks, is that it is as exhausting as it is fun. It gives a whole body workout, you don't just use your legs. It was extremely fun. After we were done, I couldn't help checking out the score board and noticing there weren't any women competitors my age up on the board. Damn, too bad I don't live in Titusville, PA. If I did,I could ride BMX and win my age group! I could show them that this 47 year old woman is not above having a childishly good time! Of course,I'd have to stop letting out those little Yips if I wanted to be taken seriously.

Back home I have been out for two runs on the local single track.I feel slow, but good! Today I did about 5 miles, taking my time and clearing some blown down branches from the trail as I went. This was followed by a good strength workout focusing on shoulders and arms. I followed that with the P90X "Ab Ripper," fitting name, as I feel as if my abs have been shredded. I plan to work on strength and base fitness for the next month or two. I'll keep my runs easy and on the short side,and remember to have fun with them! I'll also get some good biking in. Before long it will be time to get the skis and snowshoes out!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oil Creek, (I'm tough, but it was tougher!)

It looks like only 6 out of the 17 women who started the Oil Creek 100, actually finished. I wasn't one of them! The overall finish rate looks to be around 55 percent, but only about 30 percent actually made it in under the official cut off time and only 3 women came in under the cut off. So it was tough on everyone. But I believe the reason so few women finished had to do with the isolation we had to face out in those damp, thick, dark, muddy woods. I went for over two hours without seeing a soul during several stretches of the race. The aid stations were all about 7 miles apart, and those seven miles were long and difficult and lonely. Crew could only meet their runners every 15 miles or more. I run alone in the woods all the time and I have even done overnight backpacking trips in remote areas all alone. I have never been afraid or uncertain out in the woods, even at night. But those woods were very dismal, I have no other word to describe it. The woods were very thick and dark and damp, even in the day light. I felt uneasy a good part of the time I was running.

The trails were tough! The race website claims the course has 17000 feet of climb. It was not mountainous like running at MMT or in the Whites, but it definitely had a lot of climb. Trails were muddy and slippery, and cut into the side of a steep slope for much of the course. The trails were very narrow single track and didn't look like they normally get much use. When a runner slipped in the mud, he was more likely to go sideways off the trail and down the slope, instead of falling onto the trail. The race website promised it would be relentless, and it was! climb, descend, climb, descend... all on that same slippery sloped trail.

On the first 31 mile loop, I started to realize that it was going to be slow going, and I wasn't going to get many miles of daylight running in. We started our first loop in the dark and I figured out that it would be dark again before I finished my second loop. The third loop would be done through the night, all in darkness. Then I would be running the last 8 mile loop Sunday morning (or afternoon?!).

When I finished my first loop and saw Kevin for the first time (crew access for the first time wasn't until runners had completed 31 miles)the first words out of my mouth were, "this is going to take a while." It soon became evident that it was going to take even longer than I originally thought. The second loop was much worse than the first. The trails had seen 300 plus runners come through and had deteriorated quite a bit. This second loop is when things got very lonely for me. I don't mind working hard and I don't mind being alone, but for some reason the slow progress and the loneliness of the woods started to get to me. When I finally came to aid station #1 on my second time through, I didn't want to leave. But I moved on eventually. When I finally came to the crew station about 14 miles into the second loop, I wanted to ask Kevin to drive me back to the hotel. But I kept running. I had plenty of energy and nothing hurt. I was actually doing pretty well, compared to the other runners in the event. I really didn't have any excuse to stop. I was still moving well when I came into aid station 3. I had some soup, chatted with the volunteers, and moved on.

About two miles later, it became very dark and very cold. Progress slowed to a crawl. I was half way over a slippery wooden bridge when I noticed an older runner picking his way over slippery rocks on all fours. This was a fifty mile runner still trying to finish that event! Suddenly I just stopped in my tracks on that bridge and said out loud, I don't want to do this. I could not fathom running through a pitch dark damp night with temperatures in the low thirties on those dank lonely trails. I just didn't want to do it.

Instead of continuing on for 5 miles back to the end of the loop, I ran the two miles back to the aid station and told them I wasn't having any fun and I was done. They didn't question my decision. They called for a ride and gave me a seat by the fire and sat and talked with me for a few hours until my ride arrived to take me back to the main aid station. They were wonderful people, not runners, but volunteers from some kind of mountain rescue organization. I got a ride back over a slippery muddy dirt road and surprised Kevin by coming up behind him. He was standing on the street corner before the main aid station with some other runners' families. They were all peering off into the dark saying things like, "he should have been here by now."

When they noticed me there, I said, "I'm tired, I'm cold, I'm not having any fun, I'm done!" Kevin admitted that he was relieved that I wasn't going to continue. The other people on the corner pointed out that I had a big smile on my face. I guess I was happy for the first time all day! I have not had any regrets about dropping out. This is my third DNF in a hundred miler, I've had seven finishes. This is the first DNF where I have not felt any remorse about dropping out, although it is the first DNF where I could have continued and finished. Go figure.

Recovery has been fast and I feel great. I only completed about 56 miles or so, and it didn't seem to wear on me physically. Like I said, I was feeling well and moving well when I dropped. Would I do Oil Creek again? Only if crew were allowed out on the course in more places and pacers were allowed to join their runners earlier in the event. Over all, it was a good experience. I ran hard and got over some tough trails. Maybe I should have toughed it out to the finish, but I feel good about my decision to drop.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

On My Way to Oil Creek!!!

I'll be leaving for PA in a few minutes, probably stopping to spend tonight somewhere in NY before finishing the drive tomorrow. This morning's email from race director, Tom Jennings warns of lots of bees, below freezing temps Saturday night, ice on the numerous wooden foot bridges, and lots of blown down trees on the trail from a big windy storm yesterday. Sounds like great conditions to me, trail running is supposed to be tough!

I'm very happy there is no rain in the forecast. I can run in the cold and I can run in the rain, but put me in a cold rain and there is a very good chance I will end up being treated for hypothermia somwhere in the middle of the race. It's happened a few times before.

This is a first time event and I have no previous year's times to look at to set any time goal for myself. I'm just going to go as easy as I can for the first 50K loop, and then go by how I feel after that. I figure I have had 3 training runs of over 60 miles since May, 90+ miles at MMT, Vermont 100, and Green Lakes 100K. I shouldn't have any problem finishing as long as I don't do anything stupid. My running and fitness is feeling good. I actually feel rested for the first time since MMT. So we'll see how it goes. Look for my race report early next week!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Taper Mode

This week is going to be a week of short easy runs, with the exception being a short tempo pace interval thrown into the middle of tomorrow's run. This taper for Oil Creek 100 is not stressing me out at all because I am READY to wind down and rest up. Oil Creek will be my last ultra event for a while. I need to rest, both mentally and physically after this event.

Don't get me wrong! I am feeling good about my upcoming hundred miler. I feel ready and I'm looking forward to it. I have to sit down tonight and plan the logisitcs... think about what to pack, wear, and have on hand during the race, and make travel plans. I know, the race is in 4 days and I should have all this done, but I don't like to over-prepare and over-plan. I find it makes me nervous, rather than excited. Plus, I've done enough of these things to have the whole preparation process pretty simplified.

Friday, October 2, 2009

My Current Favorite Running Route

This morning's run was 1 hour easy on the trails near the river. This is currently my favorite place for my every day runs. A while ago, Kevin and I cleaned out some overgrown and unused single track so we could use it for mountain biking. There was already some clear runnable double track back there. Using both, I have come up with a 5+ mile course that I am loving for my morning runs. I can easily add on extra for more miles when I want to.

About a week ago, I was surprised to find that virtually every single rock, root, and stump on the double track had been marked with fluorescent orange paint. Someone has been out there re-marking and putting up tape and flags ever since. I am guessing that Sacoppee Valley H.S. has a cross country team again and they are using those trails for their race course. Cross Country was cut from the budget over a decade ago, so it's great if it is, in fact, back! But I can't understand the over-marking of the trail. It takes away greatly from the aesthetics of the woods, and it is WAY over-done. I think they had to really look hard to find some of the hazards that they marked, things you couldn't trip over if you tried.

I keep hoping I'll run into who ever is out there marking up the trail so I can talk to him or her and figure out what the heck they are thinking! If it is the cross country coach himself, I will try the tactic of telling him that he is ruining his home team advantage by marking every trip hazard. Instead, he should have his team practice on the course and learn all the hazards ahead of time. Then let the other teams have to pick their way slowly during the race while his runners fly over the hazards! Really, I don't care that much about the home team advantage, I just hate to see all that paint in the trail. Funny that things like this disturb me.

Anyway, paint aside, the trails are great for running. I start from home on about a half mile of road, do a short steep downhill into the woods, then hit the single track. The single track is flat, narrow, and winding, with nice views of the river and the changing leaves. (Mr Fluorescent Paint has not discovered these trails yet). These take me out to the double track, which has a few steep short bumps, then a nice long climb up to the school fields. Near the schools, the trail is flat again, followed by a really steep down on rough grass followed immediately by a really steep and rough uphill. I do this section fast because it's fun to fly down the hill and let my momentum carry me back up the steep uphill. I pretend I'm on the mountain bike while I do this, even holding onto the imaginary handlebars at times. Probably all the kids are looking out the school windows at me while I do this, saying "look, here's the lady with the imaginary bike again!" Then I go back into the woods and finish up by repeating the nice single track section, climbing back out of the woods, and running the half mile of pavement back to the house. Whoo-hoo, I love this course!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Yesterday and Today

Let me give you an update on my chiropractic visit. As you recall, Dr. D. crunched and cracked and snapped my shoulder and neck on Tuesday and I was feeling better when I posted about my visit. Well, that night those shooting pains returned, only now BOTH arms were involved instead of just the right. Plus my neck was killing me. I toyed with the idea of going to the emergency room and envisioned myself in a full body brace for the remainder of the year. I got through a sleepless night and decided to try to work, despite the pain and my growing concerns that Dr. D. may have fractured a vertebrae or something. As the day wore on, the pain subsided. By the end of the day it was pretty much gone. I slept like a baby last night. Today there is just a dull ache in both deltoids. I'm still not sure I will be able to carry a handheld water bottle at Oil Creek, I'll have to wait and see about that.

This morning I ran for an hour on fairly flat single and double track beside the river. After 15 minutes of slow jogging, I picked up the pace to a heart rate around 160 to 165 and held it for 30 minutes. This was fun because I was on the winding single track we use for mountain biking. It takes a little courage to keep the running pace up while making tight curves and hopping over logs. I ran off the trail a few times when I over-shot a curve. It's important for me to keep my running fun and interesting, whatever it takes to shake things up a little... new trails, challenging hills, speed games, even a new pair of running shoes can do it for me. I followed this faster paced running with another 15 minutes of easy jogging.

The rest of the week will be fairly easy running for me. I will do an hour and a half medium long run over the weekend, and the rest of my runs will be less than an hour at an easy pace. Oil Creek is in 9 days. I plan to start as conservatively as possible and hold steady through the entire distance. My goal is a strong run and a finish, it doesn't really matter how long it takes me as long as I have fun and feel good. I really want to finish off this season on a good note.