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Michelle Holland and Hilary Lorenz on the road to Chimayo

Michelle Holland and Hilary Lorenz on the road to Chimayo

Right now I am having the most fun running I have had in a long time. Despite my continued right leg burning muscle shut down on uphills that I have been dealing with for three years, training has been great! I think this is the first time that I have had a training partner my own age, my own ability, training for similar races and able to run 3+ times a week together on road, trail and track.

One thing I always wanted to see, or do, in New Mexico is the pilgrimage to Chimayo. Considered one of the top 10 Catholic (of which I am not) holiest places in the word, over 12,000 people walk to the church, the Sanctario, on Good Friday. It turned out Michelle, who has lived in Chimayo for about 15 years always wanted to run it, but never had anyone to do it with. So this year, my first full year in NM, she and I ran. People walk from over 100 miles away, some dragging enormous crosses, many with commemorative t-shirts.  And while it seems that it would be a  somber event, come on, Jesus was crucified, people were really friendly, joked, and then ate Fritto pie and roasted corn at the church. We ran 13 miles, went home and ate almond butter and banana on gluten free toast. It was delicious.

We continue to go to the Pojoaque track to do workouts. Yesterday was 6 x 3:00 at 7:00 pace with 2:00 recovery. I still find it hard. My  HR, that was at the lower end of tempo, I was 20 beats below my max, but every time I get to 7:00 pace, around 165HR, my leg goes wild and shuts down about 2:00 into it.  We cut back a bit, but it did not help starting at a 6:30 pace. It can be hard dialing that pace in on the track. We ended with 7:15 average and at 6,600 ft, I will take that in a heartbeat! Nine more weeks to the Roswell Senior Olympics!

hilary_donkey

Hilary and her new burro friends

The week is over and I am now qualified for the 200, 400, 800, 1500 and 5k races at the Senior Olympics in Roswell. I am happy the formalities are over, I feel pretty tired. I did not taper or cut any hard workouts prior to the 5k run. It was slow, but even. I just have to accept, for now, that my 5k times above 6500 ft are alway 2-2.5 minutes slower than sea level. That is a lot!

After looking at my 400 time (1:24) and my mile time (6:58 while running easy-not racing but effortful) that speed is not an issue. I would be happy to run my 5k at 7:00 pace. At sea level my 5k is about 7:05 on hilly cross country courses. But on Saturday my pace was, 7:56, 8:04, 8:00 and 7:25 for the last .1. I could not run faster. My leg was acting up as well, my quad freezing up which hurts like mad, but it was all I had. Then today, Sunday, my new friend Michelle and I ran 8 miles. I thought, “oh this will be nice” but holy cow it was HARD. It was a 4 mile out and back, with 1,000 ft of elevation gain in the first 4 miles, plus it was super soft sand. I was dying. But here is the thing. My HR was low, 145, my breathing hardly noticeable, but I still had to have several walk breaks on the way up. I was so happy once we finished, it took 1:45 to run 8 miles! So what’s up?

I consulted Heart Rate Training by Roy Benson (my former coach) and Declan Connolly and got an answer. page 35….”You go out for a run, you perceive the effort as pretty hard, you check your HR for validation expecting your HR to be high, but it is surprisingly low and your pace is slow.” Problem? Have not properly recovered from previous runs or worst, you are starting to become overtrained. Well I know my problem, not recovering properly = not eating. After racing on Saturday, then running some recovery miles I ate huevos ranchero, then never ate again that day. Running takes away my appetite and unless I plan and bring food to stuff in my mouth after a run, I may not eat for hours. This is a consistent problem that I often overlook, especially when I am trying to lower my body fat %.

So my plan. I have 10 weeks before state games.  1. Always have a good variety of food in the house. 2. Take banana or other high quality carb with me to eat post run. 3. If I am too lazy to eat, get some Endurox R4, it is great recovery drink. 4. Two race pace workouts a week, intervals and stamina runs. And lastly to just have fun! Today, post run, I had fun with my two new burro friends seen at the top.

On Good Friday, Michelle and I will run to the El Santuario de Chimayo.El Santuario receives almost 300,000 visitors per year and has been called ” the most important Catholic pilgrimage center in the United States. During holy week the road is jammed packed with pilgrims, entire families will be making the walk from far away places. We will probably run about 10 miles not the 200, 300, 400 mile walks that the deeply devoted make.  I have never been there during holy week and I am not religious, but I think it will be extraordinary.

Michelle Holland, Hilary Lorenz and JJoseph Martinez, Rio Arriba County Recreation Director

Runners Michelle Holland and Hilary Lorenz with Joseph Martinez, Rio Arriba County Recreation Director photo by Ginger Legato

March 21st and 22nd was the qualifying games for Rio Arriba County, New Mexico Senior Olympics and wow was it fun. Normally I am excited to age into a new  racing category, but I was not so fond of 50 until I joined the games. You can see  my last post on how it  transpired.

The above photo is of Michelle Holland who won the 10K at the local, state, and national games, setting a record in that placed her in the top 10 best times in the nation. Local qualifying is easy because there are few people in the 50-60 AG,  fewer runners overall and most of them are men. We ran, but there was no need to kill ourselves racing it out. Many of our distances were combined. We ran a 400 (1:24) but they also clocked us at 200 meters to get a qualify time, if we want to race it at state. We ran the mile, pretty easy pace, 7:00, and they clocked our 800. Next weekend we will run the 5k. After that we have 11 weeks to get in shape for state. With 11 weeks of training and dropping almost 4,000 feet of elevation, I plan to breeze in on a 6:00 mile or better.

Hilary Lorenz during 400m

Hilary Lorenz during 400m photo by Ginger Legato

The best part of the day was cheering for and timing the other athletes. A total of 82  participated, and most will go to state. I would guess the majority of people I met were between 75 and 87, with the oldest athlete  97, and they are kicked ass. Let’s face it, aging is scary because the majority of people don’t give a shit, are lazy and they let themselves fall apart. Most people around us, and many of our family members, do not exercise, have heart conditions, diabetes, high blood pressure, and are obese. What a terrible role model for aging, of course it looks scary, and it is completely unnecessary! Yes, some of these athletes are over weight and have heart conditions but it does not stop them. I watched an 80-year-old man kick ass, and I do mean kick ass, on the 100 meter run. He  won state previously and is going to nationals. After I congratulated him, while admiring his perfect posture and quick cadence, he puts on a big grin and says, “and I have a pacemaker.” He was not about to let his pacemaker get in the way of being super fit and compete hard. Another athlete running the 800 has a leaky mitral valve and atrial fibrillation, but so what? Is he suppose to sit on the sofa and “take it easy” until he dies? How horrible! No, he ran and then he biked 40K. People do not need to be  agile to compete, there are tons of sports to choose from. There is  an estimated pace 400 and 800. In this race, you estimate how long it will take you to walk the 400 or 800. You then walk it and whoever is closest to their estimated time without going over wins. So the woman who walked the distance a cane,and got teased for having a performance aid, may be a slower than a sure-footed walker but could win the race.

I am so proud to represent Rio Arriba County in the State Games at Roswell in June. I plan to run the 400, 800, 1500 and 5k. I am also very proud to be on the  Dashing Whippets Racing Team and of course I had to wear that shirt for inspiration, I am guessing it was the first of the Whippets runners to go in the Senior Olympics,  and my Front Runners New York sports bra underneath for that support. (no pun intended).  And as I said in my last post, my goal is to represent Rio Arriba in the Senior Olympics for the next 50 years and win several  national level races.  I have come of a new age and I am excited! Fifty is going to be all right.

track

A month ago a friend was helping fund raise to send senior athletes from Taos country to the State Senior Olympic Games in Roswell. (yes the place of all the UFOs!). I  donated artwork to help raise money for the qualified athletes get to the games. Two days later I came home to an official looking form held down by a rock at my front door. It was an entry into the Senior Olympics. Wooaaaahhhhh, Senior Olympics, you must have gotten the wrong house.

Well my friends Senior Olympics start at age 50. Yes, 50, that scares and freaks the crap out of me. But two encounters about the games in a week from two very different people, hell, why not listen. There was a phone number on the paper, I called and talked to Carol, an extremely exuberant women (a friend of a friend of a friend) who said, “Hilary, you have to sign up immediately, the forms are due now drive it to the city office building today”, a 45 mile round trip. I did. I met he head of recreation for the county and he too was wildly enthusiastic. He said they have 2 workouts a week, the county fully supports the program. They will bus us to Roswell for the State Games and there was a meeting on Sunday about the regional qualifiers.  Okay, I signed up for the 800, 1500, and 5k. I may do the 10k.  I have the opportunity to learn and practice a bunch of other stuff; shotput, javelin, airgun, high jump, long jump. But I would probably hurt myself and not be able to run.

At Sunday’s meeting I met the other runners,  it was all men. But they told me I must contact Michelle. She is one of their stars. She is 6  or 7 years older than me but ran a 44:51 10K in the 50-54 AG at State.  My best 10k is 45:48. and that 44:51 is the state record. I feel a challenge coming on. ( it is still at a higher elevation race which will slow me down) I checked the National Records for the 5k. I have always wanted to run a fast 5k, but I have not done training specific for that. The National record is 18:55, I will never see that. But I can get to the top 10, the slowest is 21:20. National Games are not until 2017, qualify in 2016. I will also represent NM.

After slogging around the last three months trying to make my long runs, it was not happening, and I am not running Boston this year. On  Friday I got in my first track workout in over 8 months, 10 x 200 with 200 rest, Saturday 5 miles EZ, Saturday, Sunday 1.67 mile warm-up followed by 2:00 fast, 1:00 slow to very slow x 9. This was done on rolling, mostly uphill roads at 6200 ft. I woke up today, excited to do another  run. I am excited to run again. I want to run short and fast. I want to race. Friday I am running with Michelle. We will coordinate our training for state. I want to see UFOs.

Senior Olympics? Bring it on! My next chapter in life, compete for 50 freakin’ years! That is my next life goal.

That is me on the left, I took great pride in beating the two lovely ladies with the really nice bellies on the right. They too could be at the senior Olympics! I want to feel that rush of running short and hard again. And I will. And I will be back in NYC for the 5th Avenue Mile 2015, sub 6:00.

Fifth Avenue Mile

Fifth Avenue Mile

Winter fun time

Finally this week we are getting some snow! After 7 weeks of no snow for my XC ski class on the 8th class it stormed like mad. In fact we have so much snow falling that visibility was less than 200 meter in the car. I got less than 2 miles from home and turned back. The class is 50 miles aways  at Pajarito Mountain, so I was not going to risk it, plus it was another 3000 feet in elevation so the driving conditions would be even more intense.  Of  course that made for some great dog / snowshoe running in my own backyard, which really is the best thing anyway.

The  day before I got a nice trail little trail run in with such great sunshine to keep me warm I got into my shorts.

hilary and homerBeyond that I am working on a bunch of new strengthening stuff that I really like. It is easy to get done,  and there is no excuse not to do it. Kinetic Revolutions 30 day challenge is a guarantee to get those glutes firing. This is one of the few internet based exercise/strength/mobility programs for runners that I think is honestly good and not arbitrary and/or without progressions. It makes a lot of sense. I am at day 14.

That is it for now, I am working on my dream of rebuilding a vintage shasta trailer into a gallery/mobile printshop, right now it is only in my head. And looking for a Vandercook letterpress. And to hide it here as the last sentence, I am going to defer my Boston Marathon this year and dedicate my time to running out here in the southwest.

You can also check out my art printmaking blog here. Soon I will start on some sports specific prints and send them over to my Etsy store, but not before March 15.

Online Running Technique Course

I am often judgmental of the articles on how to  keep motivated during marathon training or just running in general was ridiculous. If you are not motivated, doesn’t that mean that you just don’t want to do it, and that is okay? If I want something I am going to do it. If I am not that excited for something, I am not going to do it. Pretty simple.

When I am in NYC, I will run every time someone calls me which can be twice a day.  I will run in NM every time someone calls me (thought that never happened until very recently). When I am motivated I will get up at 5am and drive 100 miles, round trip, to run with friends in SF. I will rent an apartment, even if I only live there on the weekends to run with friends, to cut down on driving time. I love to run alone too, but not every day and not 15-20 miles and not on the side of a busy two lane road or getting chased by dogs.

Boston is still 8 weeks away but I have lost interest, not motivation, but interest in completing my training, boarding the dogs and flying out to Boston. I missed two 20 mile runs already. At first I thought my 4 hours of XC skiing could cover part of that, plus I had a 2.5 hour run on the trails, but it is not the same as 20 miles on the road. I realize the real joy I get, is in training with my friends, the shared pain of hard runs, long runs, cold runs, sweating bullets runs. Don’t get me wrong, I want a PR, I want to run hard. When I can’t run hard, it is just not as fun.

I like  hours of X-C skiing on the weekend, snowshoeing, daily hikes with the dogs and yes running. But I don’t want to wake up every morning and think about what my prescribed workout is, I just want to run and explore so that I can have time for my other activities, like making art which is my profession.  I have a fall exhibition to work on now.

I met a guy a couple of years ago on a 50k run who told me he never raced, but he ran all distances and mostly ultras.  I was out for a 17 mile run and met this group on the same course, so I joined them, and completed 50k because I enjoyed being with them. I could not understand just running to run and not racing. I run to race or do I? I thought training in NM would be the best and yes it is pretty darn sweet especially in the mountains, but I am not getting fitter.  I like to blame it on the altitude, I love reaching new levels during a training cycle, but it is not happening. I honestly don’t know, maybe I lost my motivation or was that my interested?

Forest Road 100, Youngsville by Robert Frislie.

Friday’s run on Forest Road 100, Youngsville photo by Robert Frislie.

In the past I have been fanatic about my run training. I haven’t gotten lazy, but based on all my marathon times, there is minimal time between a 45 mile training week max and 70 mile training week max. In fact my 70 mile weeks yielded some of my slower times. I have been a bit casual about my training this winter, especially when I get the chance to go skiing which I do every Saturday or hiking, which I did today. Last weekend, when I did not post, I was out snow shoeing. I will do my long run, this week 16 miles, (making it a medium run in the big scheme of things) on Monday.

I planned on running 16 miles on Friday so that I could ski for 4+ hours on Saturday and hike Sunday. I drove about 30 miles to a forest road that leads up a popular mountain called the Pedernal in Youngsville NM. (That dark peak on the left of the photo is the Pedernal the red is where the road goes.) The asphalt road has been tearing up my feet and I just can’t run on it. I spend all day on dirt, so even 10 miles on the road really affects me. I parked on the side of the dirt road, it was hard packed and dry. I began my run up, and up and up. This was killing me as the incline was only up the mountain. In less than 4 miles the elevation changed from 6100 ft to 7200 ft. The dry clay road turned into mud, then 100% snow. I  felt defeated and knew I was not going to run, or crawl 16 miles and I turned around and ran back down. That down was fun. The scenery on forest road is spectacular. I did not bring my camera but I found this photo by Kevin Wolfe.31892220

I am feeling ambivalent about going to Boston. I have now for two weeks. I had so much fun last year. I ran with my NM buddy Andy for 23 miles of the marathon. I made a new friend, Ayako, at the Hostel and we planned on staying together again. I rode Amtrak from NYC to Boston with a bunch of my Front Runner Buddies and hung out with my Dashing Whippets Racing Teammates at the expo. But now I am out in NM. I love it out here and I am not so sure I want to board the dogs, make the ridiculous series of flights to get to Boston and spend the money when I can be out here running in the mountains. No matter what I will keep up the training, but I am kind of looking for an out. I don’t know, we’ll see. Maybe I will feel different after I get a few 20 milers completed at altitude. It is rather daunting. Next Sunday I will do a mountain run with my Santa Fe Strider buddies, that should shake some thoughts loose. I love to run with people, it is a great social outlet, doing this alone is a little lack luster and nerve racking. I get attacked by dogs on the rural roads, and stupid guys in pickup trucks throw beer cans at me. It is hard to stay excited when I know I will face both of those things every time I go out. But the bottom line is, I love to run. Until the next post, stay outdoors!

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