Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Worst “Trail” Run Ever

The Worst “Trail” Run Ever
by Amy Mueller, MRTT/SRTT Louisville, KY member

Weekiwachee Preserve
So, my trail marathon plan calls for 8 miles today. I scope out a few runs in Weekiwachee, Florida. We decide on Weekiwachee Preserve and make our way there.

Trail Map with "markers"
We get there and I have no idea of the mileage. I grab a map. I see markers 1 through 12. They are not mile markers. They are latitude and longitude markers. I keep the map and tell dad, "I’ll be back in about an hour and a half."

Let’s just start by saying this trail is part overgrown gravel roads, sandy paths smothered with weeds that may be snake homes, and dead trees presumably from the Florida heat. But the water view is pretty. It is 90 degrees and so humid my clothing starts to get wet as soon as I step outside the car. Dad says: “If you see an alligator, turn around”. Uh okay dad. Sure thing. NOOO Problem.

I follow the “Markers” till about 3. Then I follow the next path. It is a path about the size of a car lane and is all sand with super overgrown weeds. Also, nobody else is on it. Also, its super sketchy and the further I go, the more overgrown it gets. I follow my gut, turn around and head back. Fast. The whole time I envision an alligator chasing after me.
The trail that leads to nowhere

I reconnect with the main path and then just run and try to follow the markers, and the map, to get my “8” miles in for the day. At about mile 3.5, I get menstrual cramps in my legs. You all, I don’t get menstrual cramps in my belly, I get them in my legs. And when that happens, my legs don’t want to move. Plus its ridiculously hot and humid. Plus the trail is boring besides the nice view of the water. So, I think, “You know what, I’m just going to head back to the car, I’m over this.”

At about 5 miles, I come across this nice man “Ron” who is fishing. I ask him how to get back to the car. He’s very helpful. I say “Dad is worried about alligators or snakes getting me." Ron says, "Oh yeah, there are snakes all over the place. But if you stay on the trail you’ll be fine. And Alligators, there here too but they prob won’t get in your way. The largest I’ve seen is 7 feet and they won’t mess with you but the 10 foot ones will drag you in the water." Then he says, "You got enough water?" I say, “Yep, I think I’m good. Seems like I’m pretty close to the car.”  He says "Yeah, probably about 2.5 miles and you are there. Follow the water." I say, “I’ve been following the markers.” and I show him the map. He says, “Oh you can’t trust those, people move those all the time. Just follow the path up there to the right and stay near the water."  Okay, so that explains why I got a little lost.

At least the water view was pretty!
Now I’m paranoid that every sound is a snake or a gator, and the mosquitoes are ginormous.  I’m hot, a little dizzy, my legs hurt, I’m done. Just done. And I have like 2.5 miles left?  I’ve never been this miserable on a run before. I’m listening to music but my mind is envisioning this story where I collapse and die a half mile from the entrance and my body is found 10 days later, completely decomposed, or not found at all and just eaten by something. Okay, could I go any more morbid?

Needless to say, a bit later as I walk/run and follow Ron’s directions, I make it to the end. Chug every bit of water in dad’s car and vow to never go there again. But I got 7.4 miles, memories and the pictures and a story to share. Peace out, Weekiwachee Preserve!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

July Team Challenge is ON!

You heard it right, back by popular demand--JULY is TEAM CHALLENGE month!


MRTT/SRTT Louisville, KY Chapter Members - Are you ready for a challenge?

This challenge runs July 1-July 30th!

For this challenge, you must RSVP by June 25th, 2017
Those that RSVP “Going” will have their names placed into a pot. We will randomly draw your name and place you with a team at our kick-off meeting on June 29th at Hogan's Fountain (there is a separate FB event linked below for this). You do NOT have to be present to be placed on a team.

Teams will be assigned at random. Each team will choose a “team leader” who will be responsible for cheering the team on and tracking mileage on our spreadsheet. The main goal of the challenge is simple-- get out and walk/run/hike! Activities should be intentional. The team that has the most miles WINS the challenge. We will come back together after the challenge (Location/date TBD) to award prizes for the team with most miles as well as some other FUN awards. 

Activity converstion ratios:
Run/walk/hike: 1
Elliptical:Run is 1:1
Bike or Spin:Run is 3:1
Swim:Run is 1:3
(If you run/walk/hike/elleptical for 5 miles, you count 5 miles total. If you bike or spin 15 miles, you get to count 5 miles total. If you swim 1 mile, you get to count that as 3 miles.)

Note: Running as a team is not required, but highly recommended. If you cannot run as a group, that is okay, just make sure you are tracking everyone’s miles on the spreadsheet as a team.

Don't want to participate in the team challenge? That is okay! You can still set a monthly mileage goal for yourself and we will help keep you accountable here!

Monday, June 12, 2017

by MRTT member Lisa Preuett
I used to HATE running. Not one athletic bone in my body, I was always one of the last ones picked for sports teams at school. The only time I ran in school was when it was required in high school gym class. The day I had to run one mile around the track was disastrous. Thinking I was going to collapse, I eventually finished and got my passing grade. Never again, I thought.
But fast forward to early 40’s when a woman’s metabolism comes to a screeching halt and the number on the scales continues to rise. I had to get in shape. Joining a fitness club, I started working out and lifting weights. Cruising on the elliptical machine was my favorite. Then out of nowhere, I started hearing friends and family members talk about running 5K’s. Seemed like these races were popping up all around me.
Just weeks later, I heard about an upcoming 5K race in the rural county where I live. Could I do it? I was in good shape now. Maybe now I could actually run.  
Stepping onto level pavement in my neighborhood, excitement—and not dread—flowed through my veins. Starting with a slow jog, I breathed in the air with determination. My first goal was a half mile. Although slow, I found my pace—never stopping to walk. Over the next several weeks I gradually ran longer distances until I finally reached three miles. I’d found my comfortable pace, thankful my neighborhood roads were smooth. No intense hills or uneven sidewalks. Running this course repeatedly, I figured I was ready for race day.
Following directions for the race location, I parked my car in a field next to a heavily wooded area. Nervously looking for the start line, I asked someone where to go. “Oh, the cross country course starts over there and runs all through the trails.”  What did he say? Where was the paved road I’d envisioned? Runners made their way to the start line—facing the edge of the woods.  The excitement for running my first 5K turned to embarrassment. This was NOT what I signed up for! My original goal was to run the race without stopping. Now I wondered if I’d even finish. I’d come this far and couldn’t back down. My family was there to support me. I couldn’t let them down. I’ll do this and check it off my bucket list.
Just seconds into the race, I brushed past tree limbs and almost tripped over roots on the narrow trail. People passed me quickly, almost knocking me down. Looking ahead, I noticed—and felt—a steep incline. I’d never run uphill before. My slow jog fizzled out quickly.  Catching my breath, I had to walk. The path continued to twist and turn, and suddenly my feet stepped into a pile of horse manure! Why didn’t someone clean this up before the race? Stepping off the trail, I attempted to wipe my shoes off. I desperately prayed, “God, this isn’t what I signed up for; please get me through this!”
Back on the trail, I kept going. More twists, turns, uphill, downhill, tripping over roots—this was no fun. Why hadn’t I checked into this 5K more thoroughly? If I’d known this was a trail run, I never would have done it. I’d trained for a month. All that time and effort—for this?  Trudging up the final hill, I heard people cheering. The finish line must be close; I couldn’t wait to be done. My short-lived excitement for running had almost disappeared. But that’s when I heard it—the gentle voice of God whispering to my weary heart.
Lisa, this race is a lot like life. Keep on running; there’s more I want you to discover.

I finished my first 5K and it wasn’t my last. Running became a major part of my life from that day forward. With the support of a running group, I’ve run multiple 5K’s, 10K’s, half-marathons, a full marathon and (gulp!) even a Tough Mudder.
Sometimes the very things that drive fear and disappointment are the very things that bring passion and purpose. Even the things we initially say we “didn’t sign up for”.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

June's BOOM Challenge

Back by popular demand…June BOOM Challenge 2017! In addition to monthly mileage tracking, this month focuses on strength training. Join us in completing a progressive series of daily exercises to help improve overall strength. Strengthening muscles during the HOT summer months will help improve your running form and prevent injuries. 

For 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. 

Daily workouts in addition to running?!?!?! “YIKES,” you might say!!!! This group excels at providing motivation, accountability and grace when our plans do not go as we intended. Do as many of the workouts as you are able, track in your posts on the challenge page and we will celebrate your success! Feel free to modify exercises, amount of reps or the amount of days you incorporate strength training into your plan. Make the Challenge work for you and your personal goals. 💪🏼

Here is the challenge calendar-feel free to print it out!

Import the calendar to your digital calendar using this link:

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Playin’ Possum 50k - Race Recap

Our SRTT member, Harmony, gives us the low down on her first Ultra-Marathon: The Playin' Possum 50K! You can see it all over on her blog at "Mind Over Matter"

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Racing While Chasing the Light

by: Jennifer Pedicini, MRTTSRTT-Louisville, KY Member
May 24, 2017

I completed the Horse Capital marathon in Lexington this past weekend. My family and I went to Lexington on Friday afternoon. I was already in the zone. I ate mounds of pasta Thursday night so my insides could have a day to settle. Friday night dinner was grilled chicken, baked potatoes and broccoli.

I got up at 4:30am on Saturday to eat and have coffee. I had a chance to listen to music, stare at the wall and wake up. I picked up Kaitlyn at her hotel at 6:15. We got to Fasig Tipton around 6:30. We picked up our bibs and shirts, went to the bathroom and we were off at 7am.

I was obsessive about starting at the 11 min mile pace. My 1st marathon was a learning experience in strategy so I wanted start off slow and make sure I still had something left in the end.

It was a beautiful morning. It was a picture of rolling fields, textured clouds, manicured grass and hedges and well-kept fences. There were barns, homes and sinewy horses surrounding us. We even saw a group of cows.

We met a runner named Bob (which was a good sign) running the half marathon. He was a good story teller. I was too far inside my head so I was happy to listen. He told us he was a diabetic. Running kept his numbers in check. He also said his mother was worried about him running. He said before she passed, he was able to run a marathon and have her see him finish. He also told us that Dale, our 4:55 pacer and his co-worker, was formerly 600 pounds. Dale lost the weight through diet and exercise. He was on the Today show and the Biggest Loser. Kaitlyn and I were sad when we separated from him at the 10 mile mark. 

At 15 miles, I was queasy. I stopped running and took one of my salt tablets. I felt better. I always suffer at this point, even in training. Kaitlyn talked me through it. I thought of my friend Amy who said she felt powerful at mile 18 during her first trail marathon. That’s where I wanted to be, even though the heat turned my insides. I asked Kaitlyn to tell me about the winters in Minnesota, where she was from. She told me they plugged their batteries during the night to make sure their cars started in the morning. We talked about the grey skies during the winters in MN and upstate NY, unlike the bright blue sky upon us.

I marked the moment at mile 19 because I was happy to be there. During my first marathon, I was demoralized seeing how far around the lake I had to go. This time I felt no knee pain, no gut pain and no wanting to be elsewhere.   

I saw Kaitlyn starting to suffer. I told her she was amazing. What else do you call someone who doesn’t have a history of running that has a bad first marathon and does another one a month later? She wanted me to leave her. I didn’t. I told her stories about my son telling some other boy at school in a haughty manner that what he colored was a leopard and not a cheetah. The boy told my son he could do whatever he wanted in the manner 5 year olds do.

Those last miles were a combination of walking and jogging. The Lexington farms were bathed in sunlight but the road was like the dessert. The temperature was in the high 80s and there was no shade. We took turns holding my water bottle, drinking from it, spraying each other and ourselves.

Towards the end, Kaitlyn said we had been running for 25 miles. It didn’t matter how we were doing it as long as we moved forward. I always thought of running as a solitary sport but in those moments, our pain and elation was shared.  At the finish, they boys and my sisters in law and Bob were waiting for us. Everyone was so proud of us.

It wasn’t the time I had hoped but my goal had been to finish mentally intact.  As a person with so many hang ups, I didn’t want one more. I didn’t want to cry. It was a long run and not something that defined me. There was no larger meaning in the numbers (you can see the things I had cried about during the first race) other than it being the result of the time I poured into it. My MRTT friends, who were texting me before and after, all knew this but it was something I would have to come to on my own.

I am a runner with depressive tendencies. The most important thing I came away with from this run was that I could be in pain and not let my mind go into dark places. I could decide that negative self-talk did not have their voice even when my mind was fatigued. I prepared for mental fatigue by overplaying a song by Rihanna.  When I was not able to talk to myself through running, the song would remind me that we were chasing the light and also making a choice to be happy.  

Runner's notes: I chose the Hal Higdon Novice 2 training plan. I had 17, 18 and 20 mile runs before this race. I was supposed to have a 19 mile run, which ended up being 11 miles because I injured my back that morning. I took it easy for about two weeks and saw a chiropractor until my back felt normal again. There was no speed work in the plan but I incorporated my own speed work in the end. I have been training with Kaitlyn, Ulises and the women of MRTT on road and trail since the winter. Running in the heat had its repercussions post-race. I needed a lot off food and fluid to recover. On the trails, I usually run with a hydration pack but I chose not to for this race thinking my torso would get hot.

The day before the race I used a foam roller and yoga to loosen my shoulders and my glutes. Those areas suffer from me sitting at a desk from my job. 

My nutrition during training was Tailwind and Honey Stinger waffles and chews. The waffles made me feel sick during the race. I was better off drinking Sword and eating pretzel bites and salt tablets at the aid stations.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Run Happy Challenge

April showers bring May flowers! With flowers, also come holidays and gearing up for summer. Many of us are transitioning from spring race training to a lower intensity in the frequency or total mileage we are running. 

The goal of May’s challenge is to help keep you accountable (no matter what your running goals are or where you are in your training) and help you RUN HAPPY!

For this challenge, we want you to set a monthly mileage goal (we are a running club after all) and report into us regularly on how it is going. Please track your own mileage and update miles in your posts on the challenge page. Additionally, there will be a weekly challenge for you! You should take a photo of yourself completing the challenge and place it in the challenge page showing us how you are running happy. At the end of the month we will draw a winner from those of you who complete each challenge for a cool prize!

Week 1 (May 1-6)- Attend Tour de Ville and/or wear a Derby hat/Fascinator on your run this week.

Week 2 (May 7-13) - Run for a Mother! Dedicate a run this week to your mom/an important woman in your life to honor her. Feel free to post a photo of her in the challenge page (we won’t reshare outside of the group) and tell us why she makes you happy!

Week 3 (May 14-May 20) - Post a photo with May flowers!

Week 4 (May 21-May 31) – Memorial Day run – Dedicate a run this week to honor armed services members who have fallen during service to our country; wear red/white/blue on your run; post a photo of a family member or friend you honor on Memorial Day. This week we will run happy for and proud of the men and women who have served our country!

In order to participate, you should be a member. Join our closed Facebook group anytime in May to get started.  We hope to see you at a group run soon!