Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Interview with Level Renner

For those that might be interested, I was interviewed by Level Renner after NACAC. Here is the video:

Also, visit Level Renner at http://www.levelrenner.com/ they create a FREE magazine that is well worth the read. You can view back issues at: http://www.levelrenner.com/issues/.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My NACAC Mountain Running Champs/USA Champs Survival Story

NACAC Mountain Running Championships Results: 49:56 for 13th overall (1st Canadian!) 
USA 1st, Team Canada 2nd, Mexico 3rd

I take back everything I knew...ok thought I knew...about running up mountains, and tell you- I know next to NOTHING about mountain running. Sure, I faired well, I actually placed high and I think I ran a smart race, but if the Poland course is going to be anything like Mt. Cranmore (which it is supposedly 95% the same) I've got a lot of work to do.
Going down on the first lap. Photo by Michael Scott
At 7:14a.m. on Sunday I loved running up mountains, I thought it was "fun" and "exhilarating", and then at about 7:44a.m. I wanted to fall over and die. I felt like a 5th grader running their first 5k. I was sprinting from the start and doing my best to put one foot in front of the other, while I shuffled down cliffs and barely caught my breath enough to climb back up. 

It hurt, a lot. Ironically, the down hill hurt more than the up, being that I was blessed with a killer chest cramp that gradually subsided as soon as I hit the uphill (probably because my pace slowed to basically a walk). This race was also the USA Championships so the field wen out guns a blazing, and I found myself caught midpack within the first 800m. My teammate Sarah was only a speck of red in the distance as she headed into war without me (later I would catch up but I started to get really anxious).

Hurting bad here. Photo by Michael Scott
This course was designed to be hard. Instead of an up-down like Sutton, its down-up-down-up. So, after running your butt off for the first 2 k, you then have to march full force up-hill.. sorry, up-mountain..sections that even the fittest runners can't even "run up". Instead, the majority of the field walks, putting their hands on their quads as they try to pull themselves forward. And, just when you decide to wave your white flag and surrender, you turn a corner that takes you back though the torturous adventure that you have decided you despise more than any other race, especially the marathon.  

About to finish. I am smiling because I am finishing (and passing my cheering squad - Thanks Susie and Emmett!)
Unfortunately the paparazzi was all over the course that day, so I had to keep myself from crying, puking and falling face first into a mud puddle.  I actually caught the two ladies that finished 11th and 12th on the first climb, and then within 5 minutes of the last climb, but somewhere along the way my body (and mind) gave up and I simply survived it out for the remaining 6 minutes of the race. Within these 6 minutes I dropped back nearly 50 seconds, which is something I am not proud of. I simply couldn't make my legs go. And though my male teammates stood just a few minutes before the top of the mountain and proceeded to scream their heads off at me to "RUN and LIFT up your KNEES" (in french AND english of course) I simply shuffled forward wheezing and cussing (In my head, being the paparazzi was there and all) until the finish line was in sight. Then, I smiled and picked up the pace to finish 13th, better than I expected but still, disappointed as it would have been nice to crack the top 10.

Still, I am new to this sport and the race was a great experience. I know exactly what I need to work on over the next 6 weeks before Poland, and hopefully the next time I tackle another Mountain similar to Cranmore, I will be the victor, as Sunday it was Mt. Canmore: 1, Meggan: 0.

Run Happy!
My pictures of the Sr. Jr. Men

Awards Ceremony by Scottmasonphoto.com

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Speed work

Wednesday: 22 min w/u, 2x (8x70-80 sec) hard, 60-80 easy, 4 min jog between the sets on hilliest section @ south farm (back side, gravel) 5:00-5:35 depending on if I was going up or down. Good workout, hot and 94% humidity, felt strong on the hills.

Saturday: 15 min w/u, 6.33 miles tempo on very hill route  ( 6:25 avg - Rez Run at tempo...no fast ladies showed up so it was an easy $500), jog, 3X800m @ 5:28, 5:25, 5:28 (on road w/ hills), jog, 6X30sec @ 5:18-5:00 pace, 15 min jog c/d. Felt great.

I get to taper off a little bit before NACAC and run a few speed workouts, which is nice because its hot as heck in Mississippi during the summer. I know, "It's summer everywhere." But being a Northern Transplant, I've never quite gotten used to 97% humidity and triple digit temperatures. Even with our 4:45am workouts, its still over 80 degrees and the humidity is at its highest. But, I'd rather have this then the frigid Canadian winters (sorry, its the truth)  and I've learned a few tricks from friends to make it through.

Next weekend I will travel the New Hampshire to run the NACAC Mountain Running Championships, which is also the USA Mountain Running Championships- which means I better bring my A game and expect to swallow my pride a little bit. The women's field is stacked, which makes me extremely excited as I rarely get to line up against a field of ladies like this one. I am so looking forward to a few days out of the office to run my tail off on Cranmore Hill.

Run Happy!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hill work

After Sutton I took about 5 days off to get recovered from a pretty unimpressive spring season (with the exception of the mountain race). It was everything I needed, and I came off the break fully motivated and ready for the next round of training.

These past few weeks I've been extremely busy with work and with a July 1 promotion on the horizon (yay) I've been taking full advantage of the summer months to get prepared for the craziness of the fall semester. My workouts have changed, now that I've got to get usd to running up 20% grades for extended periods of time (do you ever actualy get "comfortable" with that?) and every workout has a down/up cycle to it as Poland is a down/up course.

For someone who doesn't do hill work (I run my workouts on hilly courses) I had no idea what I was missing. Running repeats alternatve 0% and 12% inclines makes every workout more interesting and extremely challenging. Ive found that it takes two full days to recover from the hard sessions, especially now that its summer in Mississippi, so I'm back on the hard/easy/easy cycle. I'm feeling extremely strong and my longer runs and workouts paces have started improving again. I'm also keeping my weekly miles at a steady 80+-, not where I would like to be but seems to be where my body feels comfortable right now.

With the exception of a nagging achilles, my body feels pretty good. I haven't had any issues with my S.I. Joint ever since I decided to postpone my marathon goals to the fall and focus more on the mountain running. I've got some very exciting racing scheduled in the coming months: NACAC in New Hampshire, World Mountain Champs in Poland, a marathon in late October, and World XTerra Champs in Hawaii at the end of November. After that I will put up my flats for a well needed break of (hopefully) 9 months or more.