Monday, November 13, 2017

Reaper 30K - Race Report

A few weekends ago I did the Reaper 30K at Salt Lick, KY. The course is part of Daniel Boone National Forrest. I signed up for this race last year not ready to make the leap from 25K to 50K. It was also really cheap. I liked the description of “part road and part trail”. I did all this before I decided to take on a marathon this past spring in hopes that I would have the mental stamina for a 50K. The 30K became part of my training plan for my upcoming 50K.

I decided to stay in Lexington with my sister in law at the last minute. When I went to bed I kept waking up thinking it was time to get up. When I finally fell asleep, my alarm went off. I was tired from getting ready to wake up. I meant to wake at 5am and got up at 5:50. I ate 2 hardboiled eggs and had an espresso. I made it out the door at 6:30. The GPS said I would make it to the campground at 8:07am. As a runner, I prioritized a bowel movement at home rather than uncomfortable insides for the duration of the race.  I had to go through lots of traffic lights downtown Lexington before I got to I-64. I was driving towards a spectacular sunrise. I told myself I would be running soon enough. I focused on the drive as it was part of the race journey.

When I got to the campground the runners were off. I had to stop and wait for them to pass. The last minute change in the emails said it would be a “beach start”. I made a wrong turn following signs for the “beach”. I was glad to see where they started so I could find the starting line. While I waited for them to pass, I shed my fleece and hat, which was one small thing I could do to get ready. I saw my MRTT friends Amy and Tammy run by. I also saw Bob, a friend I made during the Horse Capital marathon, run by, which is always a good sign for me.

It wasn’t a very big race so I found parking easily. I put on my compression socks and shoes. I went with my Brooks Cascadia anticipating climbs similar to the Rough Trail.  I strapped on my hydration pack and headed to the start. Since I was late, they didn’t want to give me my bib without first consulting with someone. They gave me my bib and agreed to give me my shirt afterwards. She was kind enough to put my keys in my hydration pack. Her only instruction was that I start through the chute so my time is official, even though it was 12 minutes later than everyone else. Then I was off. I started on the road that I saw all the other runners just a few minutes prior. I stopped on the side of the road to pee. After an hour and a half in the car and that espresso, I couldn’t wait until I got on the trail.

The trailhead was inconspicuous and could be missed had it not been marked with pink flags. On the trail, being late was a distant memory. I was on a mission to catch Tammy and Amy, if that was even possible. The thought of running a 30K without them was lonely. Those first few miles were up a mountain. There were many switch backs on a dirt before I caught up to the sweepers. They asked me if I was the last racer. Then asked me to go ahead of them. I ran a little while longer until I caught a set of walkers who also asked me to go ahead of them. They commented that I was actually breathing hard. I was heartened that I wouldn’t finish last.

There were many downed trees on this trail, I had to go through, over and under a lot of logs. There were signs with the reaper that read “you didn’t think this would be easy did you lol” and it wasn’t. But it was early in the race and I thought, not today man in the mask devoid of color. I pressed on until I came upon a road and found more people walking. At that point I decided since I had trained mostly on road that this road and any flat would be runnable despite my legs being in shock from that ascent/descent. I told myself if I jogged these, I could walk the steeper sections.
The road led to the first aid station. I didn’t stop since I had had a snack earlier on. It led to more trails that went along Cave Run Lake. The view was stunning. After some very intense weeks at work, I was overjoyed to be in the woods. The weather was perfect. At the 5 mile point, I paused to text my husband. He, my son and sister in law were planning to meet me at the finish. I told them I would keep him updated on my progress. It was also at that moment that I read that friends had sent me messages wishing me a good race. I sent emojis back not mentioning my tardiness. I was happy for cell service out there.

As I moved along, I met up with a couple of women that told me they were from Ohio. I told them I started late. They said they wished that were the case for them and said they were slow. I wished them luck and asked if I could pass. They moved aside politely and I pressed on. I told myself these moments in the forest were the “me” time I had been craving with work being manic. This was an active reset and I didn’t want it to end. After some gnarly turns I found my friend Bob. He told me he back tracked seeing signs on the trail that were in the opposite direction. He was afraid we were headed the wrong way given the recent course changes. We headed back until we found the ladies from Ohio. They thought the course was properly marked since they were told by volunteers that the race director was out the day before marking the course. I was not nervous about the race. In my hectic work weeks, I had not reviewed the course. I relied on volunteers, flags and ribbon leading the way. I had no doubts until that point. The three of us followed Bob up a hill and past the backwards slippery rocks sign to the 2nd aid station. I picked up an Oreo and a quarter of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I don’t normally buy Oreos and or would eat a pbj on white but those things were phenomenal. I also refilled my water bottles. I always have one water and one electrolyte beverage. They had sword at this aid station. I passed Bob at this point. I was running high on Oreo cookie. There was a downhill after the aid station and I took advantage of gravity to fly down the hill.  At some point I paused to text Angelo I had made it to the 10 mile mark. He wrote back and said it was faster than my first 5 miles. I then told him I was late to the start. This was probably nails to a chalkboard for him since he is always on time. I did not explain the choice between a BM and a late start. Since he is a runner I knew he would understand.  So I pressed on. I learned during my long runs that a consistent snacking helped me feel normal during long distances. I had honey stinger chews and a gel in addition to the waffles.

The next aid station was on the top of a mountain. There were women cheering for each runner as they made it to the station. They had potato chips and Halloween candy. I had chips and a Reese’s peanut butter cup. I met Diana, a woman who recognized me as part of MRTT. She ran the Rough Trail last year too. She was having knee pain from an injury. She was hoping for sport tape at this aid station. I ran down not wanting to linger since I was feeling fatigued.

As I ran down the hill, I recalled one of the trail running podcasts that said to change something up if it’s not working. I recalled the person being interviewed saying she ran faster as the change. I did the same hoping my legs would feel less like lead. The increased pace and decreased contact with the ground helped. I was thankful that my friend and coach Jeanette that advised me last winter that I should read race reports and listen to podcasts to build my mental stamina. This was the downfall of my first marathon. Looking back during my 25k last year in these woods, my outlook was very different. At some point I paused to text Angelo I had reached mile 15.

Diana had caught me at this point. We leap frogged on the trail sort of chatting but in our own heads and running our own races. Mile 15 was a relief knowing I was almost done. Even though I had caught up to runners and walkers, I was still in the chase mindset. I heard kids cheering for runners as they reached the aid station. I was overjoyed to find it was Tammy and Amy. Amy was telling the aid station volunteer that she didn’t care what they had that she would try it all. It looked like a pumpkin bread loaf. When she saw me she gave me a bear hug and said she was so happy to see me. She and Tammy were fearful they would not let me race because of my late arrival. Amy said Tammy had been her rock during this race and that it was harder than the trail marathon she had just completed. I told them I thought the Rough Trail was much harder, which may or may not be true. Unlike the Rough Trail, I had not gone into this race sick.

We ran on the road at this point catching each other up on all things race and pre-race. The ladies told me they missed me the night before having shared a roasted chicken for dinner. I had shrimp and grits from the Craft House, which may or may not have been the best pre-race dinner. I would certainly have it again and the BM was worth a late start. I am not sure I said these words. It was the last stretch before that mountain I knew was coming. Amy said the race was the hardest she had ever done. I thought of the signs on this trail with the reaper on it. Ending on the downhill not be easy. At one point I had to get myself over a downed tree. It was huge and I could barely lift my legs to do it. We all laughed at the accidental straddling of the giant log.

At this point Diana had caught us. I told Amy and Tammy she was one of us. They asked her when she had joined the group. At some point we took a picture of ourselves overlooking a cliff. I hadn’t seen it when I started since it was foggy. It was hard to start again after a 10 second break, even though we were headed downhill. Tammy said we were just running down the side of a mountain, which was true. My quads were sore from climbing and my right knee hurt doing downhill. I had a wrap for it in my pack but not enough energy to put it on. The 30K was actually a 33K and we all wanted to be finished.

When we got on the road to the finish, I churned my legs as my friend surged ahead of me. I saw my family waiting for me by a school bus. My friends were ahead of me and told my family I was amazing.

I felt like my quads were a couple of slabs of meat. I will them to keep beating so that I would continue to move forward. The finish was in sight. My MRTT friends waited until I caught up so we could finish together. My son who has escorted me through a marathon and Olympic tri finish, also saw me through All of it felt glorious, beautiful and definitely worth repeating.

Lessons Learned:

  • The girls mentioned that for some time, their conversation involved the word “fuck” a lot at the difficulty of the course.
  • All we could talk about during the last descent was drinking a cold beer. I uttered the word “fuck” upon seeing the no alcoholic beverages sign on the campground
  • Amy told me she was so happy to see me she almost cried.
  • Amy and I were signing each other’s names, saying we were both badasses. We did this despite our own discomfort at the vertical climb. I recounted this part of our journey with our mutual friend Marian and said that it was love.
  • The drive from Lexington is an hour and a half not an hour.
  • Shrimp and cream cheese grits at the Craft House on Frankfurt Ave is amazing. I would definitely recommend it.          
Some Spectacular Stuff I Missed at the Start of the Race. This was taken by Tammy. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

November Challenge

Welcome to the November Challenge Event!! For new members, every month we host a challenge to help keep us motivated to reach our goals. Many individuals have recently completed races, are preparing for races, embracing taper week(s) or are on a running hiatus due to injury. No fear! November challenge is a fun challenge that can be adapted to fit everyone’s unique goals and needs! 

This time of year, is full of family, food and Thanksgiving. Novembers Challenge is one that can be adapted to the Holiday season and your schedule. 
We are all thankful for something, right? It could be family, friends, being able to run, a whole list of things. Well, this is your time to share it as well as setting aside a minimum of 10 mins of activity or 1 mile run/walk every day. It’s your choice, you can run 3 miles, do 10 minutes of stretching or run/walk a mile just as long as you’re making a conscience effort to be active. Post your progress daily or weekly, we want to cheer you on. Also, feel free to post your “Thankful for” posts daily as well with pictures of who, where or what your thankful for. We love pictures and selfies!

Not wanting to do the 10 min or 1 mile minimum daily challenge, no worries. Join in the Thankful for challenge. Post your monthly mileage goal and report to us regularly on how it’s going. Please track your own mileage and update your miles in your post. Make the challenge work for you! The most important thing is to remember to run with JOY!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Member Spotlight - Norma C

Name: Norma C.

Hometown: Louisville


I have 5 children (3 by birth and 2 was blessed to raise) all grown. I am married (again) and my husband is mostly a keeper and even when he's not I keep him anyways!

Why do you Run? I run because it challenges me! I am a run/walker and I want to be a run/runner!

Favorite non-running workout: Yoga

Favorite Training Plan: I am all over the place and still do not have the perfect training plan.

Where is your favorite place to run and why?

Seneca Loop - I love it because it is convenient to my work and I have made so many memories on that loop, like playing in the rain with Sabine haha

What is the one thing you absolutely need to run? Water!! It's my crutch!

What’s your opinion of perfect running weather? Warm weather is better for me I do not do cold well

What is your favorite post-run indulgence? Strawberry cheesecake Greek Yogurt

Monday, September 25, 2017

Member Spotlight: Rachel P.

Hi All! LRR here. I am excited to talk to you guys as the as the Marketing/Social Media Chair.  MRTT Louisville’s ability to bring together a diverse group is a gift that we have given each other. Some of us know each other well, others not so much. I introduced myself to a woman I thought was Rachel at last year’s Great Pumpkin 10K. It wasn’t Rachel. She was kind enough to let me know her name and that she would also be at the Urban Bourbon. Since then I haven’t gone up to any strangers thinking they are part of the group. To avoid these mishaps, our Chapter Leaders have shined the spotlight so our members are more easily identifiable. It’s probably not the reason but it certainly helps!  I now know who to keep in mind when the big mile training runs are scheduled and there are donuts involved. I did finally meet Rachel at a run at Seneca park. She was warm and open. I don't see her often but social media has given us a chance to get to know each other. I now think of her as a friend. I thought she was pretty badass when we met but this post confirms all that. See for yourself!

Name: Rachel P.

Hometown: Baldwin Park, CA

Family: I am married with two children.

Why do you Run?

I started running again March 2016, after a 6 year break following a knee injury. During that time I gained some weight, suffered from depression and battled with high cholesterol. In August of 2015, my doctor told me if I didn't lose weight and lower my cholesterol I'd have to go on a lifetime of meds. So, my weight loss journey started. By March 2016, I'd lost some weight and was ready to get my life back. Initially, my goal was to be able to pass the physical fitness test at work, which included a 1.5 mile run. A co-worker introduced me to MRTT in April of 2016. So, I joined in on group runs. To my surprise in October of 2016, I ran my first half marathon, Queen Bee, in 6 years, with the support of our MRTT mommas. Since then I've completed several half marathons, 1 full marathon, an 8-hour endurance run (I ran 32 miles). My motivation for running has changed a bit. I now run with my 15 year old daughter. Running has strengthened our bond.

Favorite non-running workout: T25, Shift Shop, Yoga, and Body Beast workouts.

Favorite Training Plan: Hason’s Marathon Method

Where is your favorite place to run and why?

Seneca- Cherokee Park. I like the variety of hills, trails, and paved trails. I find running Cherokee has made me a better runner.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

MRTT/SRTT September BURPEE Challenge

by MRTT/SRTT Louisville, KY Chapter Leader, Allison Reid

MRTT/SRTT September Monthly Challenge - BURPEES

When you think of September, you might think of cooler weather, leaves starting to change colors or large cups of pumpkin spice lattes….well, now when you think of September you will forever think of BURPEES! You asked (I’m looking at you Jenny *wink* *wink*), and we listened. Join us this month in completing a progressive series of daily burpees to help improve your overall strength! Strengthening your muscles will help improve your running form and prevent injuries. 

If you are like me, I know what you are thinking….”BURPEES?!?!?! #$%& I can’t do burpees!!!” Well, this group excels at providing motivation, accountability and support. Do as many of the burpees as you can, track your success on the challenge page and we will celebrate your success with you. ALWAYS listen to your body. Modify the exercise, change the amount of reps or the amount of days you complete the burpees. Make the challenge work for you and your personal goals. 

For the running portion of this challenge, set a monthly mileage goal and report to us regularly on how it is going. Please track your own mileage and update miles in your posts on the challenge page. 

Happy September, everyone! We cannot wait to hear how a month of burpees impacted you!

Here is the challenge for you.  This comes straight from HeandSheEatsClean:  

This challenge was designed to be something that you do in addition to your normal workout (which is hopefully one of our workout plans!). We have 4, 6, and 12-week workout plans for all fitness levels!
If you are advanced and this is too easy for you, you can double or triple each day. If this is too difficult, cut the reps down and work your way up. This challenge is totally customizable based on your fitness level. You can do these all at one time or spread them out throughout the day. Your choice!

Have a great month!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Little Red Rising Takes on the Derby City Trifecta

What does it take to complete a Triathlon? Well, swimming, biking and running, for sure! But, have you ever thought about a coach to help reach your running or race related goals? Our member, Little Red Rising, took it upon herself to seek out help through a coach for triathlon training and the results will amaze you!

Momma finished the 10K strong with her little guy by her side!

"In training, having a coach tuned into the technical aspects of my endurance journey is a layer beyond the camaraderie of MRTT. I know the things I have done right and the things that could be improved upon, like when to fuel for an Olympic distance triathlon. At age 39, I dislike admitting my vulnerabilities but opening up to Jeannette as a coach, beyond being friends has been worth it." ~Little Red Rising

Read the full story over at her blog now.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Moms Run This Towns meets Orienteering Louisville

written by MRTT/SRTT Louisville, KY Chapter Leaders

On August 5th, 2017, the Moms Run This Town/She Runs This Town Louisville chapter hosted their August Family Fun Event. The MRTT/SRTT chapter hosted this event with the support of Orienteering Louisville (OLOU) at Brown Park in St. Matthews.  We had over 26 teams who ran either the short or long orienteering course in hopes of winning beautiful handmade medals crafted by the Dunlap family!
Our beautiful medals made for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams.

Some of you may wonder what is orienteering?  Great question and we wondered this as well prior to setting up the event, so we did a little digging on the Orienteering Louisville (OLOU) website. Here is what we found:
"Orienteering is a sport that involves navigating a set course 
using a specialized topographical map and a compass. It can be 
enjoyed by people of all ages as a competitive cross-country race 
or as a recreational walk in the woods."  

We found this description held true as we had a range of ages in our participants, from toddlers to 
grandparents!  Also, as moms we loved that this was an event that had our kids moving, connecting
them to the outdoors (and running), and using some great life skills (map reading, working in teams, etc).

Orienteering means running trails and sometimes crossing water to find the check points.