ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
Back in late January, I posted (among other things):
[After a weekend of skiing and mountain biking in mid-December, we] got home, put away our gear, showered, and sat down to dinner...and my phone rang. It was my youngest brother, telling me that my father was in the hospital, having just suffered a cerebral hemorrhage...and my mother was due to return from the nursing rehab center [where she'd been after hospitalization for a bad fall two weeks earlier] the next day! He and his family live fairly close to our parents, and they'd been helping out while Mom had been in the nursing center, but having simultaneous health crises with both parents was a bit much to cope with.

And so I flew out to Maryland on a one-way ticket the next day, after spending the morning on the phone with my brother, checking flight schedules online, and emailing my (extremely understanding) boss. Four incredibly difficult but rewarding weeks later, after getting the situation more or less stabilized, I finally came back home.

I'd intended to write more about this, but never got around to it. I guess Father's Day is an appropriate time to reflect on this experience. Musings on caring for my father. )

So it was a stressful, horrible, crazy, sleepless time. But there were good things I took away from it, and I'm grateful for the lessons I learned about family and love, even if it was not much fun to learn them.

The story, by the way, has a happy ending. Dad began to improve after he got home, sleeping a little less, eating a little more, and becoming more engaged and "present". I think this was partly due to being in a familiar environment with his wife, and partly due to having a live-in CNA to help him, along with in-home physical and occupational therapy. A month later we moved them into an assisted living facility that's actually only walking distance from my youngest brother's house. It was tough at first, and they're still not completely comfortable, but it is the right place for them right now, and Dad's continuing to get better. He was in a wheelchair when we moved him there; now it sits in the closet, and he gets around with a cane. His cognition and short-term memory are much stronger, though he still doesn't remember much about what happened last winter, and maybe that's a good thing. Last month the facility dropped him down a tier in their "levels of care" rubric, because he doesn't need the assistance he needed when he arrived. He's reading again, and using his computer again, and when I called today for Father's Day - and I just realized it's exactly six months after he had the cerebral hemorrhage - he sounded nearly like his old self again, talking about politics and science and asking questions about the things I'm doing.

Anyway, the moral of the story is, well, a bunch of platitudes about love being the strongest and most important thing, and about rising to the occasion and doing what's necessary, even when you don't think you can, and about how it doesn't feel like sacrifice when it's for someone you care about, or at least most of the time it doesn't. It sounds kind of silly, I guess. But it turns out to be true. All of it.
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
A couple of years ago, Britt and I found out about an older couple who had bought ten acres of land forty years ago, on the mesa above downtown where Fort Lewis College is; they'd built their house on a prime spot right on the rim, but were now looking to sell off most of the land to help fund their retirement. The catch was that in order to build another house, it would need to be formally subdivided and brought into compliance with city codes, and that would be expensive enough that it really only made sense if the buyer subdivided into a small development and sold lots. After much discussion we went for it, and Britt started yet another "career" as a developer, creating this small subdivision which I named Arrowhead Ridge. (Ours is Lot 1. It's not as big as it looks; everything "above" the old driveway that goes to the existing house is a steep slope down the edge of the mesa. We are not making money on the development, just offsetting the cost of our own lot a little.)

Why "Arrowhead Ridge"? And why the large area designated Open Space in the lower left corner of the development? Well, the city of Durango requested that we do an archaeological survey before digging. And oh my goodness, the things the archaeologist found! Bone needles, potsherds, and yes, arrowheads. The whole mesa-top had been a Basketmaker III/Pueblo I period site, but since nearly all of the modern development had been done without such surveys, there's little surviving evidence of the early inhabitants. We decided it was important to preserve what we found, and protect it, and to cover it in such a way that if we ever get the funds, we can uncover and stabilize the ruins we found.

And because of this, our development was nominated for and won an award for "outstanding achievement in historic preservation" from History Colorado! This short video shows the site, and some of the finds, and has interviews with Britt and the archaeologist he worked with. I'm super proud even though all I did was come up with the name. :-)

ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
I am actually working on an epic post about our amazing Thanksgiving weekend (spoiler alert: I do seem, after all, to be healing up okay!) but I wanted to post a follow-up after my meeting with the osteoporosis specialist. He thought my bone loss over the past 6 years (since the previous DEXA scan) and the bone-remodeling markers from my blood tests were worrying, and so I have just started taking alendronate sodium (Fosamax) which helps to prevent bone breakdown. He has also advised me to continue taking calcium, and to increase the vitamin D3 I take. If my bone stabilizes I should be okay; if not, there are some steroidal injections that can increase bone quality, but that are usually held in reserve because they can only be taken for a limited amount of time.

Contrary to the usual stereotype about doctors telling you not to run after a running-related injury, he said that it was a good thing I was a runner because that weight-bearing exercise probably helped keep my bone loss from being worse!
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
It's been six weeks since I posted about my slow increase of running mileage and my upcoming racing plans, and (knock wood) things are going pretty well. From 118 running and 41 cycling miles in March, I managed 157 running and 135 cycling miles in April, and if I can stay healthy, I may get to the vicinity of 200 running miles this month. My paces are still fairly slow, but improving relative to my heart rate, and last week I hit 46 (running) miles for the week with a 12-mile long run, both of these high points since last October.

I've started joining our running club for Tuesday night track workouts, which I haven't done in a few years. Usually when I do speedwork I just program a workout into my Garmin and run intervals on the rec path, but I have to admit that I work harder in a group, with other runners around me, and of course tracks are flat and have measured distances that don't depend on the vagaries of GPS. So far I've gone twice, and enjoyed myself both times (for values of 'enjoyment' that include 'finishing an interval feeling like I might throw up'). I'm about mid-pack out of the dozen or so club members who have shown up at these, as far as speed goes, so I don't feel too bad about my ability level. In only two sessions my short-distance speed has improved, which is encouraging!

I've also started doing tempo runs, which I do at half marathon pace and so are a key training run for me. These have been going well also, though I have to remember not to compare myself with my 2013-self - my expected HMP right now is slower than my marathon pace was that year, sigh. But the real test will come in (gulp) just under four weeks, when I will be running the Steamworks Half Marathon for the, hmm. Sixth time? Wow.

I also have a race on the calendar in July: The Kendall Mountain Run, which is six miles and 3200' vertical up a jeep road, and then a 300 foot scramble to the 13,066 foot summit - and then back down again. A non-running friend won a free entry in a raffle and gave it to me, and I gladly accepted. It's going to be tough, but I am hoping I can do it in under 3 hours. (The course record is just under 1:35; for a woman, a bit more than 1:55.) To train for this, I'm going to do more of my runs on trails (right now I run once or twice a week on trails) and do a lot of hills.

After that, my plan is to cut back on running slightly and ramp up the mountain biking in preparation for our mid-September Telluride-to-Moab ride. We'll probably be doing some backpacking as well, so I expect my weekly mileage will vary wildly, but as long as I can maintain fitness and get a few long uphills on the bike, I will be happy.

I have vague ideas for running another half marathon or two in the fall - maybe the Other Half, which I always enjoy, maybe something else instead or in addition. And if things are going well, I may try to schedule a marathon in the late fall or early winter. But that's so far off it's not even worth thinking about yet!

tiny update

Mar. 4th, 2017 09:23 am
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
You might be wondering if I've dropped off the face of the earth, since I haven't posted since October! The truth is that when I went on vacations I wanted to post about, I was too busy to compose posts, and running has not been worthy of being posted about because I've been sick most of the winter and am only now beginning to get out again (even though I'm still not completely well).

Vacations were a week in the BVI on a sailboat charter with friends over Thanksgiving, plus a few days of land-based tourism there and in San Juan, PR on each end; and a long weekend over Christmas in Santa Fe, eating delicious food and visiting museums.

As far as the running goes, I dithered on signing up for the Canyonlands Half in March before the price went up in February, but ultimately decided I didn't have enough base to get in the shape I wanted to be for it. Turned out to be a good decision as I came down with a respiratory thing the first week of February and am still fighting it. I did register for the Steamworks Half which is in June; hopefully I will be back on form by then!

Being sick most of February also meant that my skiing ground to a halt, but I finally got out yesterday for a glorious bluebird day which reminded me of how nice it feels to twist one's body around and work with gravity to glide across the snow. Looking forward to our next storm!

*taps mic*

Nov. 22nd, 2015 04:41 pm
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
I, um, haven't posted for two months. How did that happen?

Just a quick update on things. My back issues have continued to bother me, so a few weeks ago I got a second MRI. It showed that my herniated disk is in fact healing just fine, so my spine doc suggested another injection in a different spot, which seems to have helped a lot though not entirely banished the pain. But things are definitely improving. Next step will be a massage therapist who specializes in recovery and rehab.

I've been running a pretty solid 30-35mpw and have recently stepped it up to 40-ish. We're supposed to have an El Niño-fueled snowy winter, so I will be happy if I can maintain that throughout the winter - supplemented with skiing, of course! We have weekday passes to Purgatory, as usual, and I hope to do a lot of skiing this year. Britt's company is sponsoring a weekend at Telluride in early December, and I'm excited about that as I've never skied there before. And I hope to get the older of my two brothers, who lives in California, out here for some skiing this winter.

Britt and I will be running the local Turkey Trot on Thursday morning, which is a five-mile mixed trail and road race. It's not a competitive race in the sense that the only prizes are supermarket pumpkin pies for the top man and woman finisher, but after the race there are always incredible random draw prizes. I've won hiking socks, a pound of coffee from a local roaster, and a $50 gift certificate to a really nice restaurant in previous years.

But my next real race won't be until March. I hope to run the Canyonlands Half again, though I don't hold out hope for any great time. If I can improve over the summer I might target some fall races as goals.

After a long hiatus I have been updating my Canadian vacation reports. Four sections are done, two to go!

Speaking of vacations, Britt had a couple of meetings in California and so I flew out to Palm Springs after the first of them. We spent the weekend in Palm Springs, hiking up Mt. San Jacinto on Saturday and visiting the Living Desert museum on Sunday, and then he attended his conference at the hotel and I worked from the hotel room and wandered around the resort. It was fun! And I've booked our next major vacation, a trip to New York City timed to coincide with our (gulp) 25th anniversary. We'll be seeing Hamilton (YAY!) and Book of Mormon, doing a little museum-ing, and then flying down to visit with my aged parents in Maryland for a few days before flying back home.

So, uh, hi, Dreamwidth! Long time no see! I will try not to be a stranger! (Well, not any stranger than usual...)
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
As some of you know, after my glorious victory at the Canyonlands 5-mile I had a relapse of the lung rot that had plagued me since the first week of March. When it just seemed to be getting worse I went to the clinic and was diagnosed with bronchitis and prescribed a number of things, including an antibiotic "to take if you don't get better in a couple of days," because apparently these viruses often mask bacterial infections. I got worse and began taking the antibiotic a week ago, and things turned the corner pretty quickly after that, and today I went for a run for the first time in ten days.

It was extremely slow. I coughed every so often. But those problems, I know, are temporary. What may not be temporary is that my gluteus medius ached - not horribly, but enough to concern me. I had noticed the butt-pain starting to return last week, in fact, which dismayed me since I wasn't doing any physical activity at all.

The spine guy had said that it often takes more than one shot to fix the kind of problem I had. I hope I don't have to do it again - it's expensive (I've maxed out my deductible, but I still have a co-pay which comes out to about $500, and even though it's not a problem for me financially it freaks me out a bit - and my insurance company is beginning to get nervous, which makes ME nervous) and it's a bit of a hassle/pain.

I am going to try to work on those core exercises, keep running, and see what happens. I guess if things get worse (or don't get better) I will have to get a second cortisone shot. I hope I don't have to. I also hope I'm smart enough to see if I DO have to, and do it.

Some weight and bodyfat talk )

Boston plans )

Other running plans )

Other non-running plans )
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
So since my last post I've been steadily ramping up the running. That first week I ran 5 times, 3 miles a day with 4 as my long run on Saturday, for 16 miles. Last week I ran 24 miles, with a "long run" of 6. I'm hoping to get to 30 this week, probably hold that for another week, and then give another push.

There are three problems, though. The first is pain in the butt is back. And I have no idea what to do. It's not as bad as it was originally - it doesn't radiate down the leg, and I can still run, and actually, the pain goes away after about five minutes - but it hurts all the time. In fact, it hurts more when I'm not running! I've been doing some stretching and strengthening exercises, but I'm reluctant to go back to PT when it didn't do me any good before.

Second, I am soooo slooow. I'm running by heart rate, keeping my HR in the 'easy' range, and my pace is 1-2 minutes per mile slower than it used to be. I am so out of shape! It should improve as I run more, but it's just depressing.

Third, I am soooo fat. I gained ten pounds since October, and that's a lot for me. I don't fit in any of my clothes and I feel terrible. Almost terrible enough to diet. It's just so hard for me to restrict my eating. I'm eating a little less, but I haven't e.g. given up drinking wine, and I probably should, but - I hate dieting. HATE. So I rely on my eating a generally good diet and running to keep the weight off. I'm hoping that when I get back to my usual running volume all this fat will go away, because I really don't want to go on a diet!

Anyway, I feel like I am clawing my way up out of the pit. I can see the sunlight, but man, it's so far away.


Jan. 4th, 2015 11:18 am
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
With the start of the new year, there is a sense of beginning anew, of starting over, even though all we've marked is an arbitrary spot on the calendar. Even so, for me things feel like I'm starting from scratch again - actually, like I'm preparing to begin to start from scratch, because I'm not even there yet!

In the fall I was looking forward to taking a short break from running during the second half of October, then ramping up my training for the Boston marathon. Well, you know what they say about best-laid plans. At this point, not only am I not running, I'm unable to do any exercise at all. I'm fat and cranky and hurting. While I have not yet ruled out going to Boston to cheer on my friends, the marathon is out of the question.

The story thus far )

When I told Mike (my PT) that I thought it was getting worse rather than better, he suggested that I see a back specialist; he says my lower back is really tight, and he suspects the source of the problem is there, not in my glutes. This is a reasonable possibility, as I've periodically had back issues. So I made an appointment for this Thursday.

And then, on Friday, Britt and I went skiing. This was our first time up to the mountain this season, and we didn't know how his knee or my butt/hip/leg would do, so we planned a relatively short day on easier terrain.

The first couple of runs I felt great. I didn't even notice my usual low-level pain. Plus, I just got new skis this year, longer and smoother and lighter than my old ones, and so it was a real delight to be making turns on the lovely new snow we got on Thursday! Or at least it was for just short of three runs, because I was nearly down to the lift on the third run when suddenly, for no apparent reason, something went SPROING in my back. I came to a screeching halt and tried to put myself into the least painful position while I waited for Britt to realize that I was waving and screaming for a reason :-(

Fortunately, we were not far from the lift that ended at the restaurant, where we'd been planning to stop for lunch anyway at that point. Between the slow lift and the slow service, we took a two-hour break, and I had a pint and a half of muscle relaxant, so our return to the base (which requires two runs with a lift in the middle, taking the easiest path and going slow) was not as miserable as I had feared.

So there you have it. I'm even more crippled up than I was before; I'm sprawled in a recliner, downing copious amounts of Aleve and carefully doing my old McKenzie Method back exercises several times a day. But in a way this is confirmation that the trouble is in my spine, after all. So I'm hopeful that Thursday's appointment will bring some answers, or at least put me on that road.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
I'm getting nervous about the Imogene Pass Run, which will be a week from Saturday. I have not managed to get either the mileage or the long runs that I did last time I ran it, two years ago, so I am probably not going to PR, or place in my (new) age group. Oh, well. My own fault. I think I can come in under 3:45, anyway, and maybe around 3:40, five minutes off my PR.

In fact, I haven't actually done any long runs since CIM. A couple of half marathons and a couple of 13+ runs have been the max, so on Sunday I decided I'd better run on some steep trails for at least 3 hours, which I figured would be about 14 miles. In fact those 14 miles ended up taking me 3:14, with a lot of walking involved, but I know I'll be walking a lot at Imogene, so that's okay. And I got some excellent views! )

Imogene will only be the beginning. I've got big plans for the fall - for some value of 'big', anyway. First up will be a 5K the following week, on September 13th. It's a benefit for the local Alzheimer's association, as one of the local runners (and a guy I know through both running and politics) has developed this disease, and his wife has organized this race. I've signed up both me and Britt. I'm hoping to do well in this race as I have been doing coached track workouts lately - more on this later, probably in another post. I doubt I can PR since my PR is a downhill race, but if I get a "loop course PR" I will be content.

The following week is the Animas Mug Run, a trail 10K-ish which I ran once, back in 2009. (I actually drank my tea out of the mug today.) I'd like to run it again, just because it's a cool race.

Then three weeks later - on October 11th and 12th - it's time for the Durango Double. For the past two years it's been a trail 25K/50K on Saturday, and road half/full marathon on Sunday, but this year there is a new race director, a new format of trail half Saturday and road half Sunday, and new (and I think better) courses. I did the trail 25K/road half combo two years ago, and enjoyed it a lot. Last year I volunteered, but this year I'll be running again.

The main reason I volunteered rather than ran last year was that The Other Half, the Moab half I run every October, was scheduled for the following Sunday, rather than two weeks later as it was in 2012, and that was my goal half (and I ran a PR, so, yay!) But this year, as last year, the races are a week apart - too close, I think, to be able to run a quality race at TOH... I'm thinking about a 50K instead. Um. I know this sounds crazy! But the Dead Horse 50K will also be in Moab, on Saturday October 19th, and as this is the opening weekend of hunting season here and Britt will be otherwise occupied, it's a good weekend for me to do a race. This is a new race, but the company that's organizing it is an established one, and they put on many ultras including the well-regarded Red Hot 55K which several of my friends have run. The course is near Dead Horse State Park on the Gemini Bridges mountain bike route and other nearby jeep roads, and the course profile looks relatively easy - for an ultra, anyway!

The thing is, it is probably easier to run an 'easy' ultra (that is, just complete the distance at a comfortable-ish pace) a week after the double than it is to race a half, and if I can't give a good effort at TOH I don't want to do it. And then I'd be out there for the weekend, anyway, and could cheer my friends on at TOH, and go out for dinner with them as usual, etc. Anyway, I haven't yet committed, but I'm strongly tempted.

I haven't even looked at November.... ;-)

race math

Jun. 4th, 2014 04:49 pm
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
I'm running the Steamworks Half Marathon on Saturday, which was actually the first half marathon I ever ran (back in 2004); since then, I've run it three more times and volunteered at it twice (when I was injured and couldn't run). The course is rolling, generally downhill but with an uphill finish (grr). My best time was 1:38:10, the last time I ran it, which was two years ago.

Key workouts and numbers )

So, that's the plan. My A goal is a PR, or sub-1:35:55. My fallback goal is to beat my 1:38:10 from two years ago. My super-stretch goal is sub-1:35, which would be a 7:15 pace and is probably out of reach on this course at this time.


Mar. 12th, 2014 08:06 pm
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
I wrote elsewhere that I only read "running" blogs that were actually not entirely about running - that were my friends' journals with stories about their lives, running and otherwise - and then I looked at my own journal and um, all about running. Which is probably why I have neglected to update in a month - it's even boring ME.

So, how about a mini-review of the Durango Independent Film Festival that was last weekend?

Mostly environmental and adventure-themed documentaries. )

Anyway, such fun, many movies, wow.

ETA review of People of a Feather, because, how could I have forgotten that? It was really good.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
My year can mostly be summed up in this image:

2013 in pictorial review

Left to right, that's my Canyonlands Half 3rd AG medal, my The Other Half female masters' trophy, and my CIM 3rd AG plaque. I didn't get an award for coming in second in the Journey of Hope 5K, and the bottle of wine I got for winning my AG in the Run for the Wine has already been consumed. :-)

It was a good year awards-wise, and also PR-wise, as I FINALLY broke my 2010 half marathon PR, and set a new personal best in the marathon which is now my best age-graded race. Mileage-wise, it was also a personal best with 2080 miles in the year - and one more run planned for tomorrow.

I didn't write down my goals for the year anywhere, but I mentioned here that I wanted to run a sub-1:36 half, which I did, and a sub-21 5K, which I did not. I also mentioned wanting to run a 50K, which I did not.

So, what's planned for this year? I've already registered for the Canyonlands half (I got a free entry along with the trophy!) and I would like to get under 1:35 - if not then, then at the Steamworks half in June. I'll be going to a conference in Chicago in April coincidentally timed just before the Lakefront 10-miler there, which will certainly be a PR if I can do it, since I've only run massively hilly 10-milers, and nothing recently. I'd like to beat my 3:35 from two years ago at the Imogene Pass Run. And I would really like to run a sub-45 10K that's not downhill (as is my PR) and break 21 minutes in the 5K.

I don't actually have any marathon plans before Boston 2015, but I'm not ruling one out. And I'm still toying with the idea of a 50K. Finally, as usual, my major goal is to remain uninjured.

I hope the rest of you had good years, too!
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
It's unsurprising that the last few weeks before a race tend to be filled with disaster and depression, and most especially the phenomenon known by runners as 'taper madness' or 'taper tantrums'. My training has come to a peak, which is very hard on the body. Everything has been working toward the point which is now less than two weeks from now - so naturally, everything is going wrong.

The biggest problem, at the moment, is that I seem to have strained my soleus (the deep calf muscle). On Monday I ran an easy 6 miles with hill sprints, felt fine, though my peroneal tendinitis was bothering me a bit more than usual. In the evening when I did my core routine I noticed my calves, especially my right calf (the one with tendinitis) were tight, so I made sure to do a little stretching (which I don't do often enough) along with my exercises. But on Tuesday morning my calves still felt tight, and when I headed out on my run, my right calf felt like a block of wood, unresponsive and stiff.

Despite the odd feeling in my calf, I had a great workout. My run was 2 miles easy, 3MP (which averaged 7:42), 3 minutes easy (which was not particularly slow, 8:15 pace), 3HMP (which averaged 7:19), and then easy home, which was another mile and a half, for a total of just under 10 miles. Except as I headed home I felt like my calf was even tighter - usually it loosens up as I run - and after I went upstairs and took my shower, I found it hurt to go down the stairs!

I didn't run yesterday (Wednesday), and I bailed on my planned Turkey Trot today. I have been self massaging and foam rolling (using the excellent resources at I don't think it's a tear, or something severe enough that I'll have to cancel the marathon - at least, I hope not. No idea how many days I'm going to need to take off; as they say, 'the hay is in the barn' and I don't need to do more workouts, but hope I can get a run or two in before the marathon.

You'd think that this would be enough for the vengeful gods to throw at me, but, no. My husband's had some sort of respiratory ick for the past two weeks - I've been sleeping in the guest room, washing my hands fifty times daily, and taking vitamin C / echinacea / zinc supplements. So far, so good, but I'm terrified I'm going to come down with it.

Of course I'm stressing about the weather, too. We're just getting into that timeframe where forecasts are possible and...they're not that great. It's looking like wind and rain, bleah.

I'm not in the best of moods, as you can imagine. So, naturally...I get my period! I'm at that stage in my life where it's so irregular as to be random, and it's also become heavier than it used to be, and lasts longer. If I was in a normal state of mind I would probably rejoice, since this means I'm unlikely to be having it during the race, but after reading horror stories of perimenopausal women with month-long periods, I'm just hoping it GOES AWAY NOW PLEASE.

Ah, well. Taper tantrums. I'm self-medicating with alcohol and chocolate, and crossing my fingers, and hoping for the best, because there is nothing else I CAN do.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
The California International Marathon (CIM) is five weeks away now, so it's time I start thinking about a marathon goal. I'm not a fan of starting out with a goal (other than a vague one like 'New PR', which coincidentally has been my vague goal from the beginning) but I like to start running some goal marathon pace (GMP) miles as the race approaches, and I want to have a pace plan heading into the race.

A little under two years ago, I ran the Houston Marathon in 3:29:13 on about 49mpw. Six weeks before, I ran the Winter Sun 10K in 43:06, which sounds really fast except that it's a downhill course, with 58ft gain and 375ft elevation loss. Converting to a flat course (using the Runworks calculator) suggests that without the downhill advantage, I would have run about 44:02. (The Winter Sun is also at a lower elevation than here - and at a higher elevation than Houston, which is at sea level, but I'm discounting altitude effects because both this race and my recent half marathon, which I'm using as a tune-up, were in Moab at roughly the same altitude; and CIM is only a few hundred feet above sea level.)

Runworks will calculate a predicted marathon finish time based on a shorter race, but I don't like most online calculators for this as they tend to be quite optimistic. (When I was a newer runner, I matched these calculators pretty well, but I think that has changed now that I've become better at running faster - and running shorter races. Just by way of example, plugging 44:02 back into the calculator suggests I should have run Houston at 3:23. Which - I might have been capable of a slightly faster finish than I ran, but not that much faster!)

I prefer the calculator spreadsheet made by Greg Maclin (who incidentally is the guy I ran most of Houston with) that can be downloaded from his website at This has a tweakable setting for 'aggressiveness', and by putting in the 44:02 and selecting the 'Moderate' setting, I get a 3:29:47 prediction - just a tad slower than what I actually ran. (If I don't tweak for the downhill and just put in my time directly, my time comes in about 80% of the way to 'Fairly Conservative'. But I believe that the downhill-corrected time more accurately represents my ability at that distance, at the time.)

So, that was not quite two years ago. Now I'm running about 60mpw, and I ran a half marathon at 1:35:55. Plugging that into Maclin's calculator, on the 'Moderate' setting, I get just under 3:25. On the 'Fairly Aggressive' setting, I get just under 3:22. If my endurance has improved (and it should have, with the additional mileage) maybe I can split the difference here and make 3:23.

But wait, there's more! The Other Half was kinda hilly, right? In fact it climbed about 350 feet and descended about 450 feet. Runworks tells me I would have run a 1:35:07 on a flat course, which, maybe. When I plug that in to Maclin's calculator, I get 3:20:15 to 3:23:15 depending on setting.

My 'BQ Babes' - the virtual running partners I've had since I first signed up on the Runner's World Online forum back in 2008, who I now mostly interact with on Facebook, tell me I should go for sub-3:20. I...don't think so. It would be awesome, but I think it would be a stretch. But I do think 3:23 is a reasonable goal. (At least I think so until I do the math and realize that's 7:45 pace! Yikes!)

Today's workout was a bit of a test of that goal: 12 miles with 7 miles at GMP. And it wasn't bad, despite the rather hilly route (I don't have much of a choice on this unless I want to do short laps on the river rec path) and the gusty wind: my first 5 GMP miles averaged 7:43 pace, and even with two more slower miles (due to hills and wind, not due to me being tired, I think) my overall average was 7:46, perfectly acceptable as a test. My HR was pretty stable, around where it belonged. So a 3:23-ish is feasible.

So. A goal is sub-3:23, B goal is sub-3:25, C goal is a PR (sub-3:29:13). Now I just have to get to the start line uninjured and in the best running shape I can be.

hello Moab

Oct. 18th, 2013 03:13 pm
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
I'm kind of afraid to write this post, because the last two races I wrote up my goals and plans for turned out much different (and for 'different', read SLOWER) than I'd expected. But I'd never run those races before, and my expectations were a bit different than reality. And I've run The Other Half four times now - my default profile photo is from that race - and I have a pretty good idea of what I'm getting myself into.

So, what am I getting myself into? Analysis, plan, goals, and other nattering, ahoy! )

No matter how the race shakes out, I am looking forward to it. I enjoy the solo drive out to Moab, listening to audiobooks and NPR; I enjoy meeting my running friends from other cities, who I only ever see at races, for Mexican food and margaritas the night before; I enjoy the after-race party, with many pints of Moab Brewery beer. I will enjoy these things even more, of course, if I'm also celebrating a PR and an AG win, so cross your fingers for me!
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
Three years ago I ran the Boston Marathon. This morning I watched the elite women's race on livestream, watched one of my friends who started with the elite cross the finish line in 33rd place overall, amazingly caught by the finish camera despite being almost half an hour behind the winner and checked on the tracking for my many friends running this year. While I was cheering with other friends on Facebook, one of the people I know through an internet running forum - who was there cheering in person - posted, "Holy shit -- explosions. What is happening?" I went to Google news, and to Twitter, and watched the horror unfold real-time.

The first thing to do was make sure all the people we knew (we being the collective internet running forum banded together on FB) were okay. As it turned out, everyone I know personally has checked in, but one of the women (who I first met at Boston when I was there) finished shortly before the explosions, and said she was only 200 yards away - freaked her out! Another friend hadn't finished and was diverted away - couldn't get to her warm clothes for hours.
So far there are two confirmed deaths (one an 8-year-old, apparently) and upwards of 100 people in hospitals. At least four leg amputations and a dozen critical injuries.

I haven't managed to get much work done today. I mean, I knew I wasn't going to work much this morning, tracking my runner friends, but I have been glued to various liveblogs and news outlets and Facebook all day. It's depressing, rage-inducing, and frightening. It reminds me of 9/11, when Britt and I were at some friends' house in Denver, getting ready to fly back to our sailboat in Grenada, watching CNN and realizing we weren't going anywhere.

Nobody's claimed responsibility, and despite what various quasi-news places are saying, there's no suspect in custody according to the Boston PD. The timing on tax day, and near the Oklahoma City bombing date, makes me suspect domestic terrorism. But nobody knows yet.

I have been thinking about running Boston again; I mean, I would have to qualify, but I almost certainly will at my next marathon (hopefully this fall), so it would be a decision of if I wanted to go or not. I'm leaning toward it, now. Maybe it's a gesture of defiance.
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
I haven't been posting much here this winter; I've been running, as usual, and skiing on Fridays, and doing stuff in local politics blah blah blah. Typical winter. But things are going to ramp up this spring!

There's the Canyonlands Half in Moab a week from Saturday; Britt's running the 5-miler, and we decided to bring our bikes and make a weekend of it. Not that I'm going to be full of energy after a half marathon, but. We have to get in mountain-bike shape as we were invited on a White Rim trip in mid-April! Britt and I have done it twice before, but that was back in the 1990s, so it's high time we go again.

We also need to get our rowing arms in gear as we have been invited on two raft trips this spring. One, on the Salt River in Arizona, may or may not happen depending on how much run-off there is this year; we haven't had much snow so things are looking grim. The other is on the San Juan in Utah, one of my very favorite rivers! So we're going to have to get the little boaty-boats ready, and do a few Animas River runs soonish.

Finally, in late May we are flying to Edinburgh, where we'll spend a few days with a net-friend before joining a Sierra Club trip on the Coast-to-Coast walk. Yep, we are going to walk across England! And in style, too. We've never done a group trip like this but hey, we get to stay in B&Bs and have our luggage hauled while we dayhike every day for two weeks, sounds good.

I fell down on the job as far as vacation reporting goes last fall, but we didn't take very many pictures on the Grand Canyon (it was COLD in November!). I promise to do better this spring!
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
If you're wondering why I haven't posted in a while, it's because I've been off at my parents' for Thanksgiving and a bit of touristing around the DC area with my husband, followed by several days of catching up with work and stuff, followed by being incredibly sick with a stomach virus that has been going around town, apparently. (Britt went out with some friends on Friday night to our monthly local open gallery night - the downtown stores stay open late and have wine and snacks - and as usual, ran into lots of people we know, and everyone asked him where I was, and when he said I was sick they all told him in excruciating detail how miserable they were when they had it, too, or how miserable their husband/wife/children/co-workers were, etc etc.)

Anyway, I'm beginning to feel better, but I'm not running (hell, it takes all my energy to walk across the room), I'm not skiing (not that there's any snow yet; Purgatory is touting 10" of man-made base on a single run, which, no thanks), I'm not doing anything other than reading, sleeping, and drinking broth and ginger tea. I don't have the energy to sort through Grand Canyon pictures yet, and anyway, we didn't take many and the other people on the trip haven't yet shared theirs.

So, basically, tl;dr to tell you I have nothing to say! But when I do, I'll be back.


ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)

April 2019

14 151617181920

My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

You can reach me by email at heyheyilana @



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