October 1, 2012

A long run, an ultra, and a pantsless Roman

Training wrap-up

Sunday: rest day

Monday: rest day

Tuesday: 4 easy trail miles at Red Mountain Park, didn't time them

Wednesday: speed work -- 2x1600@6:51 (60-second rest intervals), 2x800@3:17 (60-second rest intervals). One warm-up mile and one cool-down mile. Total: 5.35 miles in 42:07.

Thursday: rest day + one hour of myofascial release at the physical therapist's office

Friday: tempo run on the track -- 1@8:35, 2@7:45, 3@7:48, 4@7:46, 5@7:57, 6@7:28, 7@8:25. Total: 7 miles in 55:48. Supposed to run miles 2-6@8:12. Should have done that because my legs were too tired on my long run the next day.

Saturday: 20 miles in 2:56, ice bath, 30 minutes of stretching and rolling



Well, recovering from last week's half marathon was tougher than I anticipated. I swear that I even felt it in this week's Saturday long run. For those of you who are counting, that's seven days later. Part of that is probably because I squeezed in my tempo run the day before the long run, but either way, almost every run (with the exception of Friday) felt really hard this week. 

So I've officially decided that at my upcoming Go Commando race, I'll be taking it easy (i.e. not racing). It's a great race to relax and run because Clarksville, TN, is so gorgeous, and fingers crossed that the leaves will be changing colors like they were last year. And you know what slower running and a gorgeous city mean, right? More sketchy cell phone pictures for the blog. I'm so happy. 

I missed my running partner on Saturday, but luckily we have the best track club on the planet with lots of cool people making it happen every Saturday. Since this is the only town in which I've ever tried distance running, I'm not sure if this happens in other cities. So I'll tell you what happens every week, and you tell me if you have a similar version in your town. For our long runs, one awesome track club volunteer plans a new route for every Saturday morning, and she plans a shorter and longer version based on upcoming races. This week's distances were 9 and 15 miles. Then she coordinates water stops every two or three miles along the route, and participating runners volunteer (usually two per water stop) to drop a cooler at the stop before the run. So we can run 15 miles and never have to carry a drop of water or worry about dehydration, and we never get bored because there is a new route every week. This week there were at least 30+ people there, so you just fall in with people who are running about the same speed and distance as you. When I discovered that they were doing this every week (thanks to a very helpful local runner who told me about it), I felt like I had just landed on a new planet of awesomeness. If only I had known about it during last summer's training slogfest. There were some ugly, ugly long run days last summer. 

So do you have a version of this in your town? 

Two more things.

1. Thanks to all of you for helping to clarify my Boston qualifying question. So the answer is, yes, from here on out, I can qualify for 2013 (if by some miracle there are still slots open in November) or 2014 Boston Marathon with a 3:40, giving me five more minutes than I thought I had. Pretty much I shared this info with every runner I looked at this week, and one person realized that she now has ten more minutes than she thought. So it's like a (fancy gold) chain of knowledge that keeps moving along the path to Boston.  

2. To celebrate those extra five minutes, I committed to racing the Cheaha 50K in February. Next on the agenda, learn how to pronounce the name of the race. Chee-ha or Chee-a-ha? Locals, your input is welcomed here. 

The elevation chart for this race looks something like this:


I'm going to just plan on dying, maybe literally, around mile 27. Or 3 or 5 or 9 or 22. But definitely 27. 

Back to my post-run Saturday.  

We stocked up on some Costco grub. Remind me never to go there again on a weekend. Too many people, which equals too much competition for the free samples. 


Then we took advantage of free tickets to the museum for Museum Day Live. If you didn't hear about it this year, mark your calendars for next year. It was super easy to get the tickets via email, and we were able to get in free to a museum that, for some insane reason (you'll find out why in a second), I had been really wanting to visit, the Vulcan. 

Read about the Vulcan history here

The Vulcan is one of my favorite spots in Birmingham. I love how the giant statue stands protectively over the city, especially when he's all lit up at night in his Roman god-iness. And he wears no underpants, just an apron to protect his vital parts from fire and forge (because that's what he's the god of). 

Turns out that the museum portion of the site is pretty informative. I had zero idea that he was first created for World's Fair. And zero idea that people baulked at the idea of making him a permanent fixture in our community because of the no underpants thing. 


Those same people, if we Back to the Future-ed them to 2012, would hate visiting our house, where these two regularly streak the halls sans pants. Pants are so 2011.


The tour also helped us figure out that our daughter is the size of the Vulcan's toe. And that's been a burning question of mine for about two seconds.


After saturating our brains with Birmingham history, we headed up to the second part of the museum package which is a trip to the top of the statue. My older kids wanted to walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, and for some reason that sounded really fun to me, until about three floors up. So stair climbing directly after running 20 miles is the worst idea ever invented. Unless you plan on taking a nap at the landing between every floor. 


Once we got there my family was scampering around, all free-like.




No one even seemed to be bothered by the fact that you could look straight down to the ground, the very-far-down-there ground. 


Except for me. 

This is not a staged picture. This place was really making me a nervous wreck. Every time someone moved I wanted to staple gun them to the rail. In my mind, I screamed at everyone who made a sudden, or non-sudden, move. How could people be so comfortable frolicking along that see-through walkway a billion miles from solid ground? So I guess this takes the high wire off my list of possible career paths. 


But while I was clinging to the wall for my dear life, I did get a closer look at the Vulcan's hind parts. 



So if you aren't afraid of heights and wimpy like me, you'd probably love skipping around at the top of the Vulcan like the rest of my family. But I feel super happy checking out his rear from the solid ground.

What's your favorite museum ever and/or in your town?

Do heights scare you? If not, what else does? 

Have you ever run an ultra? No! Cheaha 50K will be my first one.

26 comments:

  1. Whooo way to rock those 20 miles, well really the whole week after a half. The Cheaha looks insane. I love how you finish going uphill, really the cherry on top of the race I think. I am thinking you will need a recovery marathon in April in Illinois http://illinoismarathon.com/ after that. I say let's do it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was just talking my husband into it that April race last nigh! I'll keep you posted.

      Delete
  2. Maybe your best blog ever. Thanks, Yo. May I call you "Yo"? "Chee-ha", just 2 syllables. I saw a pic from that race a coupla years ago. People chest-deep in a fast-moving river, trying to cross with the help of a rope. Do you know the temp of a fast-moving mountain river in February, even in Alabama?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you catch the shout out to you? Thanks for introducing me to the BTC long run group.

      Delete
  3. That's a cool running club that you belong to. There's a couple in my city but I'm not sure if they do anything that elaborate....I've never gone as they never jive with my schedule. Yikes, good luck with that ultra. That hill looks tough! Museum day looks like it was fun. We have a couple of crummy little museums in my city, buy my fav is the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) in Toronto. It rocks!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nice 20 miler girl...especially on tired legs! So excited for your 50k...that course looks INSANE though...what an awesome challenge! I've been to a few museums in NYC but try to avoid going into the city bc I hate traffic and crowds. It's great that you had an educational and fun family day out rather than plopping your kids in front of a television all day. My 50 miler is Saturday...I can't believe it, lol...getting uber excited and nervous. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have fun on Saturday! You will of course completely rock it!

      Delete
  5. Well, the upcoming Go Commando half in Clarksville you can ask the Clarksville Running Club what they do for group runs and anything else :) at the Commando's expo.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am not a fan of see-through walkways either. Yikes! Sounds like a fun place:) great job on your mileage!

    ReplyDelete
  7. You had an awesome week! I don't know that I could pull off a decent 20-miler the day after tempo. Speaking of your 20--mine on Sat. took me exactly that amount of time, too!

    I have an amazing running club here in town. Every Sat. we have the "bagel run," which allows for runs anywhere between 6 and 20 miles with three water stops. We get around 100 people every week. LOVE it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok, that sounds like an idea I can get behind. Yum!

      Delete
  8. I absolutely love reading your blog! You're such an inspiration as I am getting back into running after being away from it for quite some time! Way to go and keep up the great writing!

    Your Costco shop looks exactly like mine! I try to avoid the weekends there whenever possible as it's total mayhem. Unless I have nothing better to do, which of course doesn't happen to be the case. There's always running!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for reading! And I hope you are enjoying your journey back into running.

      Delete
  9. Wow! So excited for your ultra! Take some pics at mile 27;)
    Your picture at the top reminded me of when we went to the Seattle space needle. I loved it until I realized my husband was MIA....he was avoiding the view by hiding nonchalantly by the elevator. I was more scared at the Grand Canyon when the kids were little. So scared they'd slip off the edge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seriously, the grand canyon just screams danger!

      Delete
  10. It's "Chee-ha" :) And Great job on the 20!

    And though I'm not afraid of heights, the open floor at the Vulcan observatory freaks me out a bit. And it seems like every time I've been up there I've been in heels of some sort(parties, events, etc) which adds to the scary!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was a girl getting wedding pics made at the top when we were there. Her heels were not helping!

      Delete
  11. I never knew I had a fear of heights 'til I had children. Turns out I'm afraid of heights FOR them. Drives The Husband nuts. "He's going near the railing! Grab him! Grab him!?!" I shriek, annoyingly...

    ReplyDelete
  12. I see his rump, but what about his sugar lumps?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well I immediately had to watch this! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ozSSseCh3U

      Delete
  13. very jealous of the bham track club organization! the only runs i get like that are with team in training-but it’s the same courses over, and over again. perhaps i should tell the atl track club. and, i think it’s chee-a-ha if i remember correctly :) and yes, somewhat scared of heights-depends on the situation-that looks scary to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The BTC has changed a lot over the last year. They've added tons of great new programs (like a free race entry if you volunteer three times), and I really feel like I'm getting a lot for my money!

      Delete
  14. Wow...nice long run!!! And nice bottom on the Vulcan. Not Spocklike at all!

    I'm not that scared of heights but I'm terrified of spiders and pretty scared of tunnel slides too, with or without water!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tunnel slides -- now I will be thinking about that on the rare occasion I make it into one. :)

      Delete
  15. I've always wanted to see The Vulcan up close so I may have to get Allan to take me there after reading this. Good luck at Go Commando!

    ReplyDelete

Yo Momma loves comments.