Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Polar Dash Yeti Challenge (late) recap

When we picked up our packets for the Chicago Marathon we registered for the Chicago Yeti Challenge, by Team Ortho (which was to run their 10k, 5k, and 1500m in one day - there was also super yeti which was 15 miles, 5k, and 1500m...I had very nearly registered for that but decided to do the regular challenge with my husband). I have to say, I was really annoyed right from the start because online registration fees drive me insane - I kind of get it if you have a paper option to register too, because then you pay for convenience, but it feels like extortion when you have to pay to register online when it's your only option. When I saw there's a reg fee for the Yeti Challenge I figured, okay, we'll register in person.

Imagine my surprise when registering in person meant they handed you a laptop to use and you still paid the online fee.

But whatever, my husband and I registered to run this together as a couple's thing. Fast forward a few months and I wasn't actually sure I should run it anymore because of the tear in my knee, but I had registered and paid, darn it! (Although for a while there we weren't even sure we were going to be able to run, since Team Ortho was really, really late getting bibs to us - very disorganized on their part.) So when race day dawned, there I was - my knee felt okay since I'd mostly been resting for almost a month, but I'd tried to run twice the previous week and knew I was still hurt. I was a little morose because I knew this was it, after this I wcouldn't run until spring...I needed to full heal.

And let me just say, it was COLD! Really cold. We got there and picked up our sticker that marked us as part of the challenge, so we had access to the VIP warming tent (which, wasn't actually that warm since they kept it open, despite an email saying they'd learned from their mistake the previous year). It was really, really cold. I wasn't sure if that's because I wasn't adapted enough since I hadn't been able to run much, but either way, eeeeek it was cold. While there were multiple waves for the 1500m, there was only 1 10k and 1 5k, so our plan was to run the 10k, catch the 1500m in between the two, and then run the 5k. I warned my husband going into it I had no idea how my knee was going to fare.

To my happy surprise, the 10k went fine. Running at my husband's pace kept it at a completely conversational pace (and to my extreme embarrassment, and the discomfort of some of the runners around us, he decided he wanted to talk about sex, LOL)  and while it meant I was on my feet longer, I never felt challenged or worried. We finished in 1:14:47, which isn't a record but it was done. We collected our medals and went to wait in the warming tent for the 1500m. Our little post race bags of food that they handed out as we went through the finisher chute included a little bag of chips and a bottle of water...so munch chips we did.

Standing around though, I felt my knee getting stiff, which had me worried for the rest of the challenge. Walking didn't feel good the longer I stood and I wasn't sure how the other two races would go, but I was gonna try.

My plan for the 1500 was to gun it if I could, stay by my husband if I couldn't. Well, apparently I didn't do a great job communicating this because I surprised my husband when I took off! Oops. My knee felt sore and I  had a feeling it was gun it or walk it. I finished it in 9:13, with my husband 40 seconds behind. My knee was throbbing though and I told him as we waited to grab our medals that I didn't know if I could do the 5k. He encouraged me to try it and told me we'd walk if we had to.

I'm glad he was okay with that, because walking was uncomfortable but trying to run quickly became agony. I tried a couple times during the 5k and kept encouraging him to run, but he told me to shut up and held my hand. So, we walked it. I felt horrible for holding him back but he kept rolling his eyes at me and asked when I would have finished the 10k if I hadn't been running with him, but that was different. He didn't make me walk a race. And unfortunately - I am a slow walker. Slow. S. L. O. W. Slow! It took us 49 1/2 minutes to finish, but collected our 5k medal and then headed off to get our Yeti Challenge medal.

In retrospect, I should have skipped the challenge; I knew I needed to rest my knee. But I don't think it extended the time I needed to rest - it just wasn't smart. I paid for it in pain, but to be totally honest, I'd do it again. I don't get enough chances to spend a day with my husband and no littles underfoot; it was worth it!

(And the bling was nice too - 4 medals and they are nice looking ones!)

Friday, April 24, 2015

(really late) Chiller 5K Recap

So this goes way back to 12/13/14, but I "ran" the last of the 2014 Muddy Monk series, which was a 5k/10k. Due to the tear in my knee I opted for the 5k...and if I hadn't wanted the series shirt I would have skipped it, since I was still hurting so badly from the fall at the Dirty Turkey 15k the month before. If I had been smart, I probably would have skipped entirely, but I'm rarely accused of that. It was beautiful for December, felt more like fall than winter, which was nice.

I had planned to take it easy and still over estimated how well I'd be moving. Due to crowding I ended up parking almost half a mile away and knew from how my knee felt walking it wasn't going to be a good run. Fortunately (haha) I also overestimated how easy the race would be - it was a 5k after all, but well, it was Muddy Monk. As he got us ready to start, the RD told us about the course being long and some difficult part of the course that made me roll my eyes. Easy 5k to end on, huh self? Noppppe.

We were off shortly after and my knee pretty much said "Nope." The first mile was okay, but the second and third miles were mostly walked (or climbed, as the case may be), so there's not a lot to say here other than - I survived, the course was beautiful, and I finished the series.

This was even steeper than it looked - I was hauling myself up by my arms at points!

Wait, actually, one more thing to say. The course was long, so why did we have a hill to literally climb up and scuttle down where the point was literally get to the bottom and turn back up? I get the need to do that to add length to get to 5k, but this was almost 3.7 by my watch!

"Running" through the finish line...in retrospect, an act of vanity, since not much running occurred. Walking would have reflected on the day more accurately. (Photo courtesy of Muddy Monk)

Anyway, I ended up finishing in 1:00:57 - my slowest 5k ever, and probably the one I least should have run ever. On a funny note, I met the RD at the finish line to get my series shirt and he asked me if I fell again - apparently from climbing the hill, I had streaks of mud on my face. Haha! Mud is sexy though, right?


And then of course, the best part of the day - smores! Which, I don't eat marshmellows, but the fire was nice and I ate graham crackers and chocolate.

Mmm, fire.

In the end, I think the Muddy Monk season pass ended up being a really great christmas gift. I am sad I hurt myself and didn't get to enjoy the end of the series as much as I'd hoped (and got knocked out of running for months, but that isn't pertinent here!) but I really enjoyed it. While I totally understand and empathize with their decision to cut down to four races in 2015, it's a huge bummer because I really looked forward to each of these races. I already missed one of the 2015 races due to my knee and 2 of them are way out in Mokena so I don't know if I'll be able to swing that this year, but at least I'll see Muddy Monk again at the Nearly Sane Half this summer...until then, so long and thanks for all the glasses, MM! You were fantastic.

Monday, April 20, 2015


Has it really been a month since I last posted? How did that happen?! I guess I got out of the blogging habit. I'd like to get back in it though because honestly, I really like it. Even if no one else reads it, it's good for me to process my thoughts.

Running has been going well. I'm not where I was before I hurt my knee, I'm slower and my base isn't where it was. But I'm fairly optimistic - I did manage to PR a 5K (by 5 seconds, so not huge, and not the sub-27 I'd been training for, but life is a continuum, right?), and my long run is back up to 7 miles. The last time I got my long run up to 7 miles I was still gallowalking, and while I still think that's a fabulous method, I love that I was able to run the whole thing without walking...even though it was like 30 degrees hotter than I was used to that day and no clouds in sight.

(And speaking of PRs, I need to recap the races I've run while I fell off the blogging wagon. Those would be the last of the Muddy Monk series last year, the Chiller 5k, the Polar Dash Yeti Challenge, and the 2015 Egg Shell Shuffle.)

It does have me thinking about goals, now that I know my knee injury - while it's still got some strengthening to do after months of being babied to let it heal - is no longer bothered by running. I know most people probably set goals in January, but I wasn't sure where I'd be then, so here I am!

  1. Marathon - I'm going after this sucker again. I want a sub 5. And I very strongly think I can do it. I'm tentatively eyeing the Prairie State Marathon in October; the Chicago Marathon was great last year, but it's expensive, and Prairie State is in my backyard. 
  2. 10k - I want a sub 60. I've gone sub 30 3 times in 5ks and was easily on pace to blow sub 30 away on a fourth course last year had it not been short - sub 60 should be doable here once I have a better mileage base.
  3. 5k - I want a sub 29. At the recent Egg Shell Shuffle, after only having been back to running for 3 weeks, I ran a 29:50. I actually think this goal may be too easy and last year after weekly speedwork I really wanted a sub 27. I don't know if that is going to be realistic or not, so I'm going to reassess this as the season progresses. 
I'm excited right now. The running world seems so full of possibility. I felt so lost without running - being able to run again has been...incredible.