I missed Black Canyon because I was so sick. I missed Lake Sonoma because I have high hamstring tendonitis. I was fortunate to catch it before it was too bad and I could keep running, but it had to be slow and zero climbing. No yoga, no lower body weights and definitely no plyo.
So, my plans for the year have to shit. The FKT’s I had planned probably aren’t going to happen. I was hoping to focus on Missoula Marathon at the end of June. I wanted to plan on another marathon in the fall to attempt to run an Olympic Trials qualifying time. But since I have had to drop speed work from my running I’m not sure how that is going to work.
After the list of qualifying times for Desert Solstice came out I was worried about the race filling up so I decided to make a go at a qualifying time at Hotfoot Hamster. I decided that it was better to run over night. The temps will be much better. Hot, but better. May in the dessert is like the middle of the summer everywhere else.
I was a little nervous about the race. I wasn’t sure how my hamstring would hold up to 50 miles. I hadn’t run over 15 miles in a really long time. Some weeks I felt great, but recently I had a really rough week and the hamstring was unhappy. I was back to running every other day and running slow. I went into Hotfoot Hamster thinking that the race would destroy my hamstring and I would be on rest with no running for an undetermined amount of time. But Charlie and I had discussed it and a qualifier for Desert Solstice was really important to me.
Hotfoot Hamster is run at Nardini Manor. It’s a 500 meter course. Some parts are wider than others. The course has been improved by the new owner and the path is super smooth. It’s a tough place to try to run a competitive pace because how tight the course can be in places, but also a fun place to run. I really enjoy running here.
Things didn't start off well. Despite being charged earlier in the day, my ipod was dead. So I am trying to run fast and tell Norm how to charge my ipod. To get his attention I had to scream across the whole place, which then had other people yelling at him to get his attention. Thank you to those people! Norm has lost hearing in one ear and doesn't hear well. Later he decided to stand next to the speaker playing music. The music out of the speaker was so loud that I couldn't hear my headphones when I ran past. I finally had to tell him to move because he couldn't hear me. I waited too long to get food and started to feel myself fading. I think because it was so hot food just sounded terrible. When I finally stopped for some PB&J it was hard on the outside and I turn to throw to Norm, but he didn't hear me say “this is hard, I can't get this down” so he is caught off guard and I hit him right in the nose with the sandwich.
At 30 miles I ask Norm how fast I need to run to qualify and he tells me 8:40 pace for the rest of the race. I managed to keep the pace under 8 minutes and when I start to feel terrible at mile 37 I feel okay about it because I know I can really slow down and still run a qualifier. When I ask Norm what pace I need to run he tells me 8:20 pace. “Are you kidding me?” I yell at him. When I come back around I stop and tell him that he previously told me 8:40 pace, how could it be 8:20 pace now? He says he will do the math again. While he is doing that I am not getting any water and I am getting really frustrated. Finally he tells me that I do need to run 8:20 pace. He starts following me and trying to encourage me. He tells me to just run 8:20 pace for two more hours. That just breaks me mentally. I finally tell him to stop talking to me, which pisses him off. I hear him say the F word as he stops running behind me.
It’s really hot and I have been working really hard. I know I didn't manage my nutrition well and I am feeling a bit tired. I also know that things might improve, I know that I should keep going. I don't necessarily feel welcomed by everyone on the course. I just break. I cry for the rest of the lap and when I make it back to Norm I say I can't do it, let’s just go home. I also say, “you ruined this for me. Why were just clapping every time I came around and not telling me I was off pace.” We didn't really speak to each other again until Monday afternoon.
If you were at the race and you ever felt like I was annoying to you, I am really sorry. I tried to apologize any time I felt like I caused a problem. I know it only means something to me, but this was probably my only chance to run a qualifier for Desert Solstice. All the moving to Colorado and back and being under employed has left us in a big hole financially. But after all that stress, my hamstring feels better than it did before the race.
It wasn’t until Tuesday that my data from my watch uploaded and we were able to see that I only needed to run about a 9min/mile pace to get my DS qualifier. So I should have kept running. Insert big sigh here.
So I have been doing a lot of long slow running with very little fast running and what has been fast hasn't really been fast. Charlie wants me to run a few miles a few times a week. I have been running about 70 miles a week. I don't really have the money for plane tickets to Missoula for the marathon, but I really want to go. I decided today to give some actual speed a try. I was happy with how it went. I ran a 3 mile warm up with 3 miles fast, 1 mile off, 2 miles, fast. 1 mile off, 1 mile fast. The plan originally was to string all those miles together, but I got a late start because I had insomnia again last night. It was already 76 degrees when I left here. I was able to hold 6:40 pace so I am pretty happy about that.
After the workout today I decided Missoula is a go. I only have to come up with the money for airfare because the race is covering everything else. I might be buying tickets at the last minute, but oh well. I am working this summer at the Desert Botanical Garden as a summer camp instructor so we aren't going to be totally destitute. But if you have any airline miles you don't know what to do with, I am happy to help you out with that.
As I was typing this blog I got an email from the San Francisco Marathon letting me know that they are giving me elite entry to the marathon. So maybe we can get this OTQ mission back on track. I wish that my hamstring was healing a bit faster than it is, but I am happy to have a reason to be back to training.