Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Undecided

Post trail half marathon, I've been too sore to run.  In good news, my butt has been one of those things that is sore! I hope this means that the recent butt work I have added to my routine did some good (TWSS) and that my glutes were "firing" during the trail run.  Grow, butt, grow! Sometimes that feels like the theme of my life.  I've been telling it to grow since high school.

This soreness makes me more excited about the idea of incorporating some trails into my casual runs to help balance my dominant road running muscles.  I have never, ever been one to drive to a location and then run.  I only go on runs that start out my front door, non-negotiable, I don't like losing that extra time driving.  But I may have to make an exception for this and climb a trail every other week or so.  Or move my front door to Joaquin Miller Park.

Someone asked why I decided to run a trail race, and I have yet to reply because I am sporadic about replying in the comments--I prefer to reply by email where I know my response will actually be received, but for some unknown reason only about 1/4 of the comments that I receive in my blog email inbox can be directly replied to by email.  Anyway, it was a good question so here's my answer:

I became interested in the Dirt Inspires half marathon because I saw a half-off Schwaggle for it (this is like a Groupon).  I tried to purchase it, then learned it was sold out, and couldn't get it out of my mind.  It also was timed perfectly with the Gentleman's birthday weekend, and we decided to go to Santa Cruz for the weekend to celebrate.  We went, we celebrated, and I ran Dirt Inspires.  Pretty lame reason, huh?

Memorializing our time in our totally average Santa Cruz hotel room 

I had previously run a sorta-trail race, the Tilden Tough Ten (via a complimentary bib), which was significantly more tame--wide dusty trails, exposed hills/no trees and roots, and a lot of paved road mixed in (for a comparison of the difficulty, I ran near a 7:00 average pace for that "trail race" vs. over 8:40 pace for the Dirt Inspires).  TTT was extremely fun and had a vastly different vibe than road races (it's very "team" like), which I guess also piqued my interest in running trails.

*****

Well, originally I was going to make a brief commentary on the blissful fact that the Nuun running-blog takeover came and went very gracefully.  Not a ton of build up, most of the participants laid low on the topic for the months and weeks leading up to it, restraining their urges to share how lucky they are and how excited they (rightfully) were.

Coincidence perhaps, or maybe the Nuun "teammates" gathered virtually on the Internet in their private forum and discussed how to tame the excitement so as not to annoy readers or lead to overdose backlash.  Probably a wise discussion.  I'm sure that some readers enjoy reading the overlapping play by plays from each blog, the daily countdown, love hearing about women stuffed in vans.  But on the whole, wise to not overdo it on the posts, especially since there were...36 participants? 48? That's a lot of blog posts.

This thought that I was going to write is still true; these Nuuners kept it manageable and cool, at least the half-dozen or so in my reading rotation.  It made the existence of the event tolerable and I am glad that everyone seemed to have had a great time.

However, I noticed something else, now that Hood to Coast is over.  A sadder trend.  I think every Hood to Coast Nuun recap that I read started out with an apologetic tone.  Everyone is so preemptively sensitive to reader reaction today!

(Oh dang, my iPad just autocorrected the word "Nuun".  It knows the word.  This brand grew fast.)

I can't decide if I appreciate the "apologizing" that is happening because it means bloggers listen when readers voice annoyance about certain things they read on blogs, or if the pandering to the small whiny few (I know, I am one of the whiny few) is in itself annoying and unnecessary. 

Aside from just the Nuun recaps, I notice more and more bloggers are apologizing for writing about something that they suspect could get them some flack.  I would like to try and not to do this. I will listen to feedback given to me, but I don't want to write (or not write) something based on fear of reception. No more premature apologies from me.  If/when I piss someone off, then I can decide whether an apology is warranted.

*****

I have an important decision to make.  I could use your advice.

I am signed up for CIM, a marathon taking place on December 2.  I haven't started "training" or working extra hard, which is really unwise considering I am on the hunt for a 5 minute and 9 second PR.  Truth be told, if things don't pick up for me in September, I'll probably have to re-evaluate that goal.

I have the opportunity to run another marathon for free before CIM, because a friend is offering me her bib.  The St. George Marathon in early October.

St. George would not be a PR race for me, because it is at elevation, and the downhills will surely make my quads fall off pretty early on.  So I wouldn't treat it like a "goal" marathon, with a 3 week taper and all that goodness.  I would probably take one or two days off beforehand and then just run it for the experience, without any goal.

My Pros:
  • A free marathon that I have never run before!
  • I love Utah, and this is very close to Zion--day trip?!
  • This could be a great training run before CIM, for endurance, for downhill running, for fueling practice, and for pacing practice!
  • Spontaneity can be very rewarding.

My Cons:
  • Travel costs--airplane and hotel room.
  • If I run it too hard, the recovery time could take me out of my training for CIM for 1-2 weeks
  • The elevation might really make me miserable
  • I wouldn't really want to go to Zion by myself (the Gentleman is in busy season for tax, so wouldn't be joining)
  • It could burn me out and make me less excited/energetic for CIM (keep in mind I usually only run 1 marathon per year, but I usually run it all out). 

No advice please if you are indifferent or your attitude about everything in life is "just go for it!!!!!"  I want some serious logic here, friends!  I'm talking Vulcan advice.

41 comments:

  1. I personally think it's pretty hard to do a race "for fun." I have had intentions to do that for two marathons now and for whatever reason I have ended up racing the marathon resulting in perhaps not ideal marathon prep. I think the potential to go too hard is very likely and also St George is a much more downhill marathon than CIM. When I ran steamtown which was over 1000ft drop I had never been as destroyed after...and that's saying a lot bc usually I am not that affected by marathons. I guess I'd only consider it If I thought it would be a fun trip...also will they do a bib transfer or will u be running under her name?

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    1. Running under her name. It COULD be really fun, one friend is running it, and another might visit...and it looks so beautiful....but yes, I don't know how well I trust myself not to "race" it

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  2. You know you will not be able to contain yourself and run this as a fun run or training run right? I've never run a downhill course but I'm pretty sure this will destroy your quads! IF you are reevaluating your goals and not having that PR in mind for CIM , I say go for it, st George is the one where it's pretty hard to get in right? I'm all for the experience but I'm not fast like you, my goals are different, good luck in whatever you decide!!!

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  3. Run CIM...you have time to train to get your highly sought after PR. It seems your PR has been a major goal for you...I think you may have tired legs after Zion bc you'd probably end up trying to go all out (your racing nature) and therefore won't be as fresh for CIM...which you've had your eyes on longer....

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  4. I was goin to say go and run it as a training run. Run it at 7:30 pace and take advantage of the crowds and hydration thy you wouldn't have for a normal run but then I read the word airplane. I am not sure if an exciting training run is worth the price of a flight. I would not run it all out if you are planning on a goal race in December. Those types of things always have a way of catching up to people in the form of injuries. You are capable of a 26.2 mile training run though....just keep it relaxed and enjoy it because your next marathon you'll be in racing agony :)

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    1. Wow, sorry for all the iphone typos...cringeful.

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  5. Oh dear, I'm more of a Klingon than a Vulcan (also, yay Star Trek. Ahem. I am not a nerd in the slightest) but I'd say it depends on whether you automatically get race fever and run all out, or whether you can adjust your pace and treat the race as a long training run - with that terrain I'd say at a comfortable pace there would be enough time to recover and you'd have some serious miles in the bank. I've always wondered about the benefit of a 'trial' marathon because I ended up with a PR (albeit nowhere near the one you're aiming for!) on the back of two marathons a fortnight apart. But if you wouldn't enjoy the race and it's a lot of hassle, that's another matter entirely. I tend to feel obliged to do things once the idea has been set in my head, and I feel like a quitter simply because there was an opportunity to race, whether it was appropriate or not. I don't know if the same thing ever happens with you but it is okay to say 'no' on the basis of logistics - it's not under the category of 'wussing out' as I call it.

    'I would like to try and not to do this. I will listen to feedback given to me, but I don't want to write (or not write) something based on fear of reception. No more premature apologies from me. If/when I piss someone off, then I can decide whether an apology is warranted.'

    And this is why I love and respect you!



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  6. ugh, just typed a whole long comment and it disappeared! In a nutshell:

    1. Trail runs are a fantastic training tool. I totally recommend doing your long runs on trails every other week or so. I swear this has made me a stronger runner, though I'm nowhere near your level.

    2. St. George: it would be good, though expensive, if you could do it as a training run, i.e. way slower than your marathon pace. But in my experience it is very difficult to run a race "for fun." Even if you can leave your ego out of it, the adrenaline and a certain amount of "hunt-em-down" instinct kick in and make you run faster than intended.

    3. Also, St. George is a net downhill race and those tend to trash the quads. You might recover slower than usual and lose valuable training time.

    That is all :)

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  7. see if a fellow blogger/reader wants to run it too! You deserve trips girl...and the nuun thing? Um..I'm behind...may have to catch up with that sh*t. BTW I love you so never filter. EVER.

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  8. Not to be a Debbie downer, but I wouldn't run that marathon. I run two marathons a year and like to focus on them and go all out, like fall on my face at the finish line. I think it would hurt your training, too. Plus, you got to pay all the travel expenses!

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  9. Now I don't have much full marathon experience, but if you really want to go for a PR at CIM then I wouldn't do St. George. I know you do a lot of 20 milers and your body seems really acclimated to long distance, but I would be concerned about the recovery even if you do SG for "fun". Plus... the cost. I would choose one or the other. I have high hopes for your PR at CIM, so I would focus on that. Is St. George a race you are dying to do?

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  10. I say dont do it. The only real reason to do it mid-training cycle, would be to learn something about your pace goals or marathon weaknesses (e.g. trying new nutrition or something). 1-2 weeks out is too much if you're not going to learn anything that will really help you PR, I reckon.

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  11. If you can force yourself to run at a training pace I'd say do it... always nice to 'practice' race day, nutrition, water stations etc. etc.

    That being said, St. George was my first and I will probably never do it again. I'd describe it more as a rolling course that ends up netting downhill. It get fucking HOT. Volunteers are incredible though.

    I am contemplating CIM. If I don't do it this year I will 100% next year. If I come lets meet and Hike up Mt Whitney

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    1. Come run CIM! Let's go hiking together!

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  12. I have been trying to get into St George for a few years now so I would say do St George. Plus Utah and esp that area is amazing to visit. Be "spontaneous" and take advantage of being able to do a sweet race. You will have plenty of time between the marathons to recover and get your PR at CIM.

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  13. Since there is a lot of time between the two, I think you could definitely do St George as a training run as long as you can actually treat it as a training run. (when it turned out to be hotter than hades for the Boston Marathon, my husband treated it as a training run and then went on to run a PR marathon at the end of May - I think you could to that for sure as well). If you have the cash and want to spend the time and money on a scenic training run, go for it. If that seems like a lot of money to run a slow marathon? Well, it sort of does. But it might be fun.

    Here is how I propose you make sure you treat it as a slower run: join twitter and taunt me with your splits. Every 5K or so, stop, get out your phone, and tweet "hey Kristen - I just ran a slow 5K at a pace that you run 800s that make you want to puke. oh, and i'm at altitude." That might be more than 140 characters...so practice shortening your words and being concise.

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    1. Don't make me join twitter! Please, no!

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  14. I'm in the camp of "don't do it" for all of the reasons stated above: cost, net downhill, and whether you'll really be able to hold back during the race. Even if you manage to do it as a training run, it's a hella expensive training run to do!! Especially since there are lots of great local trail marathons that aren't very expensive and would force you to "hold back" just by the net elevation gain.

    BTW, it's funny -- I've been telling my butt to grow since high school too! What exercises have you been doing? I need to get my glutes to fire...

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    1. Bridges/butt raises, one side at a time by raising one leg straight out; donkey kicks; squats with an exercise ball against a wall (because I can't squat with correct form....)

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  15. I like where all this trail talk is going - you have my phone number :)

    Re: St. George/CIM... I don't think they let you do bib transfers (but I could be wrong) so if you were ever able to run a marathon "for fun/as training" the way to do it is not under your name/not wear the chip. It takes some of that pressure off. With all your miles you would probably be able to bounce back pretty quick if you took it easy and made sure to be really good about hydrating/fueling throughout it since it tends to be hot. I did an early Oct marathon before CIM once and was fine (didn't "race" it)... you still have a lot of weeks in between. Re: cost, since CIM is relatively cost and logistic free, why not spend some money on a fun race if you have it.

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  16. First off, Happy Late Birthday to the Gentleman! I'm sorry I didn't know that and let him know I wish him a belated Happy Birthday!

    While reading your pros and cons for running the race, the cons seemed stronger. So based on that, I might say not to run. But I did like your spontaneity reasoning! It's true that some of the best experiences happen when you are spontaneous.

    So basically. I offer no help whatsoever. Have a great day! ;)

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    1. You're cute. Let's meet up in Napa soon and eat something delicious. Maybe this weekend?!

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  17. Worse than overblogging about something, or preemptively apologizing?

    "Sorry I'm not sorry."

    I hate that shit.

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  18. Weird, I noticed that too about their being less Nuun HTC recaps as opposed to last year. Not sure if that is intentional or not. I would think that Nuun would encourage as many posts as possible from the bloggers about Nuun HTC, since in the end that is the point of the bloggers doing the race anyways - marketing for Nuun.

    Gotta say though, I occasionally apologize for posting too much about one topic - case in point is the London Olympics. I will end up having 14 posts about the Olympics (I will just do 1 more recap post and it will then be over). The trip was my favorite I've ever been on, and I couldn't help myself from not sharing lots of posts.

    For St George Marathon, watch the video below and see if you can resist not doing the race, lol
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWwKrjgSsrg
    There are honestly only a few marathons out there that I actually want to run (CIM, Two Cities Fresno, and St. George). St. George just seems like a gorgeous course, it is downhill, and just seems like a great experience. I'm not sure if you will set a PR, because the elevation can offset the fact that the race is downhill. Also, the downhills will be very tough to run if you don't train on downhills prior to the race. So I would say for you to go for it.

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    1. That course looks so SO beautiful! Thanks for the cheesy video ;)

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  19. I find it really hard to run a race for fun. I signed up for a half ages ago that ends up being two weeks before my full, and I am contemplating not doing it, because I know I will run all out. I've not run either race you speak of, but I've heard a lot of great and speedy things about CIM. I'm not sure the other race would be worth the travel costs and such if you know you won't be at your best for it.

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  20. I've run a half in St George - Snow Canyon - it goes through a good chunk of the St George marathon course. It's pretty damn steep, but the area is beautiful.

    Also, Zion is still a bit of a drive from SG, it would have to be a short day trip - I remember it took us a while to get there from SG (we drove out after I finished the half).

    If someone gave me a bib, I would definitely run it. Also, you won't notice the elevation (it's not that high up) however, you *will* be sore for several days after from the downhill pounding.

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  21. I say go for it!! St. Geroge is a great marathon. Beautiful course and it's really well organized. It's o

    I'm not nearly as fast as you. But, I ran St. George in 2009 then two months later I ran RNRLV it was the same day as CIM. I actually did better in Vegas than I did in St. George becuause I was too eager in the first half and I fell apart the second half. I think two months between marathons will give you enough time to recover. But, I know you like to do higher mileage and lower mileage recovery weeks aren't really an option for you.

    IMHO I think you could probably break 3 hours at St. George. You are a really great runner. Didn't I try to talk you into this race a few months ago?

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  22. I wouldn't spend the time and money but I hate both traveling alone and running downhill.

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  23. Ha, I spend half my time just hoping my butt will get bigger by sheer force of will. No luck yet, but I'll let you know if any magical breakthroughs happen on this end.

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  24. St. George is hard to get into via the lottery system, so while it will always be there it would be nice to have a no pressure, run under someone else's bib type marathon (though, you may still feel pressure. I know I feel a little bit all the time because of my blog, it's a split of keeping me accountable but also keeping me feeling bad about myself since I always feel I have to report back even if I have a shitty race) I'm leaning towards telling you not to do it. You can try to get into the lottery when the gentleman has time to travel with you and you can have more fun with it.

    I've read a couple of the Nuun re-caps and haven't felt that they are apologetic over the race, it seems like the few that I've come across are apologetic for not having blogged in awhile. But I get what you're saying, people feeling like they preemptively need to say "sorry this is how I feel" rather than being straight forward. It's weird, but maybe just a way for people to get things off their chest? I saw them at the race and felt too weird to talk to any of them mainly because I still think it's odd to "know" someone via their blog, especially since they almost definitely don't know who I am. They also looked like they were doing their own thing, as my team was doing ours (though we were pretty social with some other teams).

    That being said, regarding trail running, if you ever want to meet up in Marin and do some trail runs (though they wouldn't be super fast), let me know, I'm down in the bay area often for work during the week and I feel like you're one of the cool bloggers who I could get along with in real life.

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    1. I DO want to do some trail runs in Marin! I'd love to make that happen!

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  25. IF you can truly run StG as a training run, then I'd okay it. Recover right after or you will die of leg explosion before CIM. But if you know you're going to go bananas at mile 10 and start hunting down women, then I'd steer clear. This is my own personal logic.

    And in my current personal financial situation, I'm not doing any training races because I'm trying to save money. But your house is made of dollar bills, I read it on GOMI, just pluck some of those suckers and go crazy.

    :)

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  26. Please keep writing whatever you feel like writing because that's what I (and I suspect most of your readers) enjoy reading. I hate wasting time dtiving somewhere to run, but I make an exception sometimes to go run in the woods because it's a nice change.

    ~ H

    always reading, bad at commenting.

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  27. I think I was single-handedly responsible for half of the Nuun inundation of 2011 and I haven't yet begun my recapping. That's probably why it seems so sparse. Get ready ;-)

    Don't do it. Why do it? You have a big goal race. Focus on that. St. George will still be there. I think it is inviting potential problems. Do you want to to run 3:05 again at CIM (or slower) and look back thinking "shit! If only I hadn't run St.George!" ? I didn't think so.

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  28. Started reading your blog a few weeks ago (it was linked on someone else's blog) because I saw the Water to Wine race report. I ran it too (but a lot slower!). I've stayed because I like your writing and attitude..

    Anyway, as someone who has run downhill marathons (Tucson in Dec 2011 and Ojai to Ocean in June 2012), I am going to have to vote 'skip it.' The downhill is going to trash your quads more than you expect, and even though you have a way stronger base than I do, it'll probably wreck your training for a week or two. I've heard St George is an awesome race, and it's one I want to do someday, but I wouldn't do it so close to CIM if CIM really is your goal race for the year.

    I'll be at CIM as well, but I'll be finishing 45ish minutes behind you. Good luck!

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    1. How did you like Water to WIne!? Say hi if you see me at CIM :)

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  29. did you ever think about your friend brittani and how she has "connections" in st george and would love to try to find the time off work to drive up to st george and cheer for her friend as she ran a marathon and stayed in a friend's hosue with her?? just saying...

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  30. not a hosue, but a house

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  31. I'm running St. George! And my original plans changed slightly when a friend got injured, so she won't be running it as her first marathon -- which was the reason I originally threw my name in the lottery. She's still going there for work, but because her husband is in school, he might not go because she won't be crossing a finish line for him to see. I think that means I'd have more room to share my crap-tastic, over-priced hotel room. And, for that matter, my hotel room in Vegas. Let me know if you're interested!

    As for training, you know your recovery/training best. I'm also running CIM, and I wanted to run a marathon two months earlier. I did that last year and had great success: I took a week off after the first one, put in five solid weeks of training, tapered for two weeks, and then PRed. Of course, my "solid" training is half of your mileage...

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  32. I loveee trail-running, it burns the little stabilizer muscles that aren't used as much during pavement miles.
    I say do it!!! a free marathon in an awesome location! if anything you could use it as a long run and enjoy the miles!!

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