Hobbled by Hobble Creek

I am off in Virginia this weekend! Since I’m on the road, I’m sharing some updates from my mom today! Enjoy 🙂

Unfortunately, I have to say the Hobble Creek Half  lived up to its name! After 5 miles of pounding downhills,  I pretty much walked the rest of the course, feeling pretty down and somewhat crippled. (At mile 12, I did perk up enough to take this picture of this really nice horse and the scenery to try to take my mind off my aching shins and hamstring.)

2 Generations Running

img_5334But basically, since this race, my training (even with my innovative 28-day plan) has just not been smooth.

Despite everything, I did manage the first of my 20-mile long runs this Monday, which went surprisingly well. At first I was heartened by this. Then, during a yoga class that night, I finally began to take in the long view. By the morning, wisdom and common sense had won out and I changed my Baystate Registration from the Full to the Half Marathon. Maybe the yoga relaxed me enough to quiet my ego and let the rational person in me speak up. Either way, I’ve finally made my decision and made my peace with it.

It might seem odd that having the 20-miler go well would help me make my decision to switch, but it was the fact that for the first time in a long time, that run felt almost normal.   And the idea that I was just on the edge of getting that feeling  back – and the thought that if I was pushing just a bit too hard, a bit too soon, I would lose it again –  that made me switch.

It was finally time to admit that my earlier plan of running an enjoyable marathon on a familiar course, in nice fall weather had gone out the window. Now, I could only hope to hold on and not make any lingering injury worse.

Baystate Marathon 2015(Photo from last year’s Baystate where I ran the full and Nora ran the half).

And before the race, there would be another 5 weeks of anxiety filled training runs, stressing over every stretching session, and worrying about icing and taking (or not taking)  anti-inflammatories.

Or, I could stop all this worrying, ease back into my normal runs again, and if necessary  rest as much as I wanted in these last few weeks going into the half at Baystate  (Not looking to PR at this one!). And that just seemed more sensible. I also reminded myself that  my ultimate goal is to be running in my eighties and that means I need to practice  accepting disappointment, and recognizing when I have to tell my ego to take a hike. So I’ll be going into these last few weeks trying some new physical therapy, resting and walking, and hopefully that will get me back on track.

I’m disappointed, especially since I convinced Nora to sign up for the full – but at the same time, I know I’ve made the right decision.   And so this year, after running what I hope will be a pleasurable half -marathon, I will wander around Lowell, get two really great coffees and then head back to the finish line – to wait for my running partner!  And that will be a perfect day! 🙂


Utah Pt. 2 – The Hobble Creek Half Marathon

Need to catch up on Part 1 of our adventures in Utah? Find it here.

Arches National Park | 2 Generations RunningAfter spending a few days having a blast exploring Arches and Moab, my mom and I woke up early on Friday for a quick 3-mile shakeout run. We happened to come across a paved bike trail – perfect for running in an area we didn’t know that well! Of course, that didn’t stop us from getting slightly lost.

2 Generations RunningThe run ended with iced coffee from one of the many cute cafes that line the Main Street of Moab.

Fueled by CoffeeOnce we were cleaned up and properly caffeinated, we made the drive north towards Provo where we had rented an Airbnb close to the race start. The place ended up being quite cute and the hostess was so friendly! We would definitely do Airbnb again to cut down a bit on hotel costs traveling to races.

The drive was a long one, so we spent most of Friday relaxing after we picked up our bibs. There really wasn’t an expo for this race (the race was capped at 1,000 runners, so definitely on the smaller side). The pick-up was at a running store, so they had some stuff to check out, but nothing too new or exciting. We laid out our running gear when we got back and called it an early night.

At the crack of 4 am, we were up and at ’em! 🙂 This race was a point-to-point course with a shuttle ride up the canyon road and the organizers had stressed that everyone had to catch the buses between 5:30 and 5:45. If you missed the shuttle, you weren’t running the race! Luckily, we made it there in plenty of time to spare. The ride up the canyon took a surprisingly long time and my mom jokingly asked if I was sure we hadn’t accidentally signed up for a marathon. 😉 I have to say, I got a little nervous too there for a sec!

We finally arrived at the drop-off point, and one of the organizers hopped on the bus to warn everyone about hunters driving on the road and not to pee in the woods because rangers were watching. Ummmm, what?! Things were off to an interesting start. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any porta-potties at the drop-off, and we ended up having to walk up the road probably another 20 minutes or so before getting to the start area. My mom and I were slightly desperate by the time we got there!

0140f9f25dac5a861f1b32eace53c91af8a4521ba6(When you pretend to look happy, but are actually freezing to death.)

Hobble Creek Half Marathon Race RecapAfter a short warm-up, we arranged ourselves behind the starting line (drawn in chalk on the ground – yeah, it was that small a race!). A couple more quick announcements and we were off! My goals going into the race were pretty loose. A big part of me was hoping that I would be able to use the elevation profile to my advantage to score a new half marathon PR (my best time was 1:45 back in February at the Augusta Half). However, I also knew my training leading up to that race had been much more consistent and had included a lot more long runs at 8 min/mile pace. I figured I would start out in the mid 8’s and try to slowly bring that time down to sub 8-minute miles in the later miles of the race. If a PR happened, then awesome, but I wouldn’t be crushed if it didn’t because I hadn’t really put in the work for it.

Only a few miles into the race, I realized I was going to have to stop at one of the water stations to use a porta-potty again. Damn, that hasn’t happened to me at a race in ages! I knew that stopping would unfortunately add a couple minutes to my time that I would have to try to make up, but I also wasn’t about to run 13.1 miles feeling like I was going to pee my pants. 😉

Mile 1: 8:43, Mile 2: 8:37, Mile 3: 8:25, Mile 4: 8:55 (my porta-potty mile)

While I had been pretty cold before the race, once I was running, it really did feel perfect. It was early enough that the road was mostly shaded and we were running with Hobble Creek gurgling along next to us on the left. It was really scenic and SO nice to be running a race where I didn’t feel like I was melting into a pool of sweat.

Hobble Creek Half Marathon Race ReviewMost of the first 6 miles looked just like this.

Mile 5: 8:12, Mile 6: 8:02, Mile 7: 8:02, Mile 8: 8:03

It was around Mile 5/6 that I realized I would have to start hitting some sub 8-minute/miles if I was going to have any chance of a PR, so I started picking up the pace. Whenever I felt like I was getting in the groove of the faster speed though, it seemed like we would hit a small uphill and my pace would slow again. I felt like I was putting in the effort, but no matter how hard I tried, my GPS just kept chirping 8:00/mile – no faster.

Mile 9: 8:17, Mile 10: 8:21, Mile 11: 8:22, Mile 12: 8:40, Mile 13: 8:24

Around Mile 9, I think I accepted that a PR was clearly not going to happen for me. I still wanted to push the effort though and continued to work hard (apart from Mile 12, which I was clearly slacking on.) At this point, we were on a bike path, which was quite pretty but also sunny. It was around these miles where I was wishing they had a couple more water stations.

But finally, I was rounding the bend onto the road that wrapped around into the finish. There were actually spectators at this spot cheering, which felt awesome after such a quiet race. I saw the clock as I crossed the finish, which read 1:50. By my GPS watch, I finished just under in 1:49:54. About 4 minutes slower than my PR, but still a decent time. I was a little bummed though because I just missed out on receiving one of the special “Elite Top 100” medals they had for the first 100 male and female finishers. I still got a flower though, which I thought was kind of different and cool.

018cb4caa3a3c0093117b410a1e1fd520066748d09After chugging some water and sitting down for a few minutes, I started waiting for my mom to come across the finish. I knew she wasn’t planning on racing it hard, but I started to get more and more nervous as the time on the clock got later. Was this race going to be her turn to get transported by ambulance? I was probably being really irrational, but I really got panicked as the time ticked past 2:15. I knew she had been experiencing some hamstring issues, so my mind immediately jumped to her being injured and unable to finish the race.

I waited another 15 minutes and finally called her, remembering how she could easily answer her phone while running. Just as she answered, I actually spotted her coming into the last 1/2 mile. Hobbling slightly. She did not sound good on the phone, and we hung up quickly. Finally she crossed the finish line and filled me in on her race.

She told me how her hamstring started acting up after the first few miles of downhill running, and how by Mile 6, she was so in so much pain she had to walk. She had been mostly walking since then, not wanting to risk any further damage to the muscle. Hobble Creek Half Marathon was unfortunately a bit too aptly named for her.

So not one of the best for either of us, but we made the most of the day, hanging out at the finish for a bit before heading out to a nearby cafe for a bigger breakfast. We had plenty of time to discuss and analyze the race and came to a couple of conclusions.

  1. It was probably the drastic downhills that set off her hamstring, which was already bothering my mom a bit. She had thought it had been feeling better in the days before, but 13 miles of hard downhill running, was probably a bit too much.
  2. When you’re trying to run at least 50 marathons/half marathons, you’re going to have some bad races. Period. Life happens, training isn’t always perfect, and it is what it is.
  3. That said, my mom and I race pretty frequently. We did the RW Classic Half back in July, a bunch of 5ks before that, and then of course, there was the Delaware Marathon in May. If we want to run better quality races, it would probably be wise for both of us to back off a bit and pick only a few races to really target. This is what the elites do, and while I’m not looking to run a 2:40 marathon just yet, I do think it makes a lot of sense. Of course, I’m now signed up to run Baystate in October, but I promise I won’t do any races before then!!

Hobble Creek Half marathon Race Review

So overall thoughts: The Hobble Creek Half is a good, small race. I probably wouldn’t run it again, and I know there are some more popular half marathons in Utah with more bells and whistles, but it’s worth checking out if you are local to the Mapleton/Springville/Provo area. Also, I think it’s worth noting that they ran into issues with their timing equipment and ended up only being able to provide gun times for the racers, no chip times. Not a huge deal for us since we didn’t hit those PRs, but I’m guessing this was pretty frustrating for some other runners. But all in all, it was a really fun way to cap off our Utah vacation and to cross off State #12. Only 38 to go! 😉


Cross-Training or Mileage?

Hello again!

So guess who got snowed on again this weekend?

This Guy Meme. | 2 Generations RunningI woke up on Saturday all ready to take advantage of the weekend by going for a run, but nope. It was really coming down and forecasted to snow all day. To be fair, I guess I could have run – my mom did. But she came home looking like this

Running with the Mind of Meditation Book ReviewSo I don’t feel too bad about my decision to stay indoors (in the warmth) and do a tough 35 minute lower-body Fitnessblender workout. 🙂

2 Generations RunningOn Sunday, it was thankfully back in the 40’s (how sad is it that I’m relatively happy about 40’s on March 29th?!), and sunny. Our club had its monthly brunch run, so my mom and I got in a nice, hilly 5 miles at a pretty good clip (9:04/mile). There was a big turn-out and all the friendly conversation made the miles fly by.

In other news… My mom and I also started discussing the possibility of another half marathon this weekend!  Pretty soon we will have crossed off all the nearby New England states, but we still have one that isn’t too far of a drive away – Rhode Island. The half marathon that we’re considering is the first weekend in May, so that would give us just about 4 weeks to train for it. Not a lot of time, by any means, but we have been running pretty consistently, so we wouldn’t be starting from scratch. Would it be a PR race? Probably not, but it would be an easy way to check off another state.

I have some questions/doubts though. I found a 4-week plan that looks like it would work, although I would have to juggle it around quite a bit, as there’s no feasible way for me to get any runs in Tuesday-Thursday (and I’m not saying that because I’m afraid of working out in the morning, but I’m already getting up at 5:30, and any earlier just seems insane.) The plan that I’m looking at calls for moderate cross-training one day a week (45-60 minutes). I’m wondering if it would make more sense for me to get my mileage in on the 4 days that I have, or if I would be better off keeping one day of cross-training in the plan? Any advice on this dilemma would be much appreciated!

Tonight I have my 4th yoga class, and I’m still loving it! The relaxed vibe of the class has been perfect for me as a beginner, and the instructor is so friendly and welcoming. When my mom and I leave, we’re always quite relaxed, so it’s been a wonderful way to start each week.

I hope you had a great weekend! What do you think – is it better to keep one day of full cross-training or should I use the opportunity to get in the mileage?