Friday, November 16, 2012

Skippo 2012 race recap

At the start getting some good luck from the baby
Skippo. What is there to say about Skippo.  I have been wanting to do this race for awhile, I was bummed I couldn't do it last year due to the pregnancy so I was pumped to sign-up this year. 

Skippo is a trail race held at Castlewood State Park.  The route is the same every year but you now have your choice of distance. It's a 10k loop, so you can do 10k, 20k, or 30k.    The loop doesn't appear to be too hard, there aren't as many hills as there could be.  However, it's still a tough course.  There is a set of 200 stairs and a hill called Cardiac Hill.  

Not too far into the first loop (I'm in purple)
I signed up and ran the 30k  race.  This means I ran/walked those stairs and the hills 3 times.  This was my toughest race so far. Not just physically but mentally. 

I have never ran 30k before. Not in a race, not in training.  30k is 18.6 miles.  Not only have I never ran that distance, I certainly haven't attempted to run that distance while also going up 200 stairs (3 times!) and tackling major hills.  I was ready for the challenge!

The day arrived and instead of having cooler temps, as is normal in November in St. Louis, we had unseasonable warm temps.  High in the 70's that day.  This was a major concern of mine because I don't run well in the heat with the current health issues.  You might be thinking that high 70's is awesome weather, and it is, but not when you are running and certainly not when you are running 30k.

Out along the course
I had plans to run with another girl, we had the same goals as far as pace was concerned and how to run the race.  We wanted to average a 10 min/mile and walk the stairs and major hills.  We managed to do this the first loop but on the 2nd loop I lost her on the major hill.  I then had to walk several times along the course.  The heat was getting to me bad.  My stomach was upset the entire time and I was dizzy.   I kept grabbing water at the water stations but it wasn't enough.  I tried eating gu but after a bad experience the second loop I stopped.

I am super lucky that there were a handful of us running the race that all knew each other and another friend who knew us all came out to support.  He knew I was struggling and ran the third and final loop with me.  I had to stop and walk A LOT.  At the creek crossing, thanks to his suggestion, I stopped and splashed my body with water to try and cool down. 

I wanted to stop and quit so many times.  There were times I had to stop and just stand there or squat before I could keep going.  My legs hurt, my body felt horrible, I felt horrible. I kept thinking "I can't do this. Why did I think I could do this?"  But I kept going.  I wanted to finish the course.  It was hard to run past the finish line each time, at the 10k and 20k loops.  I wanted to just run in and cut my race short. I wanted to call it a day and forget it every happened.

For some reason I just like this photo
I stuck with it though.  I pushed my body and staggered on through the finish to do the entire 30k.  Physically it was super hard, the hardest race I have ever done. Mentally it was so hard to keep going and pushing myself forward when all I wanted to do was stop.   I did NOT want to quit. I wanted to prove I could do this.

My goal for this race was to do an average 10 min/mile and to place in the top 10 female for the 30k.  I didn't hit that.  I averaged 11:35 min/mile and I placed 12th out of 19.   I did manage to come in 2nd out of 6 for my age group though. That was a surprise. I got a sweat pint glass for that.   I also received a belt buckle for finishing the 30k.  Trust me when I say it's pretty darn awesome.  My official resorts are on Bazu. I also admit they got pictures of me frolicking in the water and they are super embarrassing and funny.

I am so happy I did this race and I am already looking forward to tackling it next year.  This race was a PR for me since I've never done the distance before. So even though I didn't hit the goal I wanted, I have a PR.  It also means that I have something to train for and work towards beating next year.  This was a horrible race for me yet at the same time I'm happy with the outcome. I'm disappointed but also feel I showed strength I didn't even know I had.  It's hard to be too upset with that.

I'm FINALLY finished
Huge thanks to not only my friend who came out to cheer us on and ran the last loop with me (his family was rewarded with homemade ((from scratch!)) red velvet cupcakes) but also my other friends who waited around for me to finish.  Not only that, huge thanks to my Mom who came to the race with me and watched my daughter so that I could run this one.  I know she was worried about me out on the course and I'm glad she drove me home as I wouldn't have been able to do it myself.  I also need to say thanks to a friend who didn't realize the race would still be going on and came to the park to run and found my Mom.  It was awesome to be starting my 3rd loop and see my friend and her daughter cheering me on. What a wonderful surprise. 
The group of us who finished the 30k, proudly displaying our belt buckles

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cherry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

You can thank Pinterest and a crappy mood for this one.   I have a board on Pinterest for dessert recipes I want to try and have had this one on there for a bit. I was in a bad mood the other day and sometimes baking helps, so I went looking and decided on this one.

I have to say that this was very easy to make and it tastes wonderful.  I brought in a piece to a co-worker and he wants to send me home with lots of tupperware to be returned filled with this cake. 

I do have to admit that while I love almond extract, I did find it a bit over-powering in this coffee cake. I would use maybe 1/4 teaspoon, maybe 1/2.  When, not if, I make this again I won't use a full teaspoon.  My co-worker didn't have a problem with the amount of almond taste though, so maybe it's just me. 

This recipe was found on Amanda's Cookin', I copied the photo's from there as well. However I will say that mine looks very similar to hers.

Cherry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
adapted from Taste of Home
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling
1/2 cup slivered almonds (I didn’t use these)
In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Reserve 3/4 cup crumb mixture. Add the baking powder, baking soda and salt to remaining crumb mixture. Stir in the egg, sour cream and almond extract until blended. Press onto the bottom and 1 in. up the sides of an ungreased 9-in. springform pan with removable bottom.
For filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar for 1 minute. Add egg; beat just until combined. Spread over crust. Carefully top with pie filling. Sprinkle with almonds and reserved crumb mixture.
Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until center is set. Cool on a wire rack. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; remove sides of pan. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Taper time

I have no race recap for you this week and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.  I'm sure Husband would say that's a good thing.

I am still in training, I have a 30k (18.6) mile race coming up on the 10th.  This has made training rather difficult.  Well, not that I have a 30k coming up but that I'm coming off of 3 races.  The 30k will be the longest distance I have ever ran before, not just for a race but period.  The longest distance race I have done is a half marathon, 13.1 miles.  The longest distance I ran was in training and I did 17 super slow miles.   I'm pretty certain I can run 18.6 miles, but not sure how well I can race that distance. I should also mention this is a trail race and not a road race.   This course is a 10k loop, the loop consists of 1 set of stairs, 200 stairs in all and at least one major hill, named cardiac hill.  I'm doing the loop  3 times.  Yes, that means 600 stairs.

Why do I mention this?  Well, since I recently did 3 races three weeks in a row. I've been in taper and recovery mode for a month now.  It makes training for something like this very difficult.   I have to take it easy because my legs need to recover from the races.  Yet I need to train on stairs and hills and with distance to make sure I can do the race coming up.I've also battled two colds in this time frame, which means I've taken more rest days per week than is normal. 

I've never done this before. I've never done hard races back-to-back like this. It makes me mentally unprepared for my race. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm kinda flying by the seat of my pants at this point. I'm doing what I think I need to do to recover from the last several weeks yet keep my body in good condition for whats to come.

It doesn't help that my legs feel like crap on almost every run that I do.  I also haven't done any cross-training because of having to take it easy and taking more rest days but making sure the runs are still happening.  Although, to be honest, today and tomorrow are swimming and biking days this week. 

So that's kinda where I am.  Trying to just survive and figure out how to taper and recover and train for my races all at the same time.