So what HAD I planned for this spring? (Now most are cancelled or postponed…)
Some of my Tried and True Races:
03-29-20 – Shamrock Shuffle – it’s a fun 5 mile local race that I have run several times. Hoping for dry weather this year.
POSTPONED UNTIL 2021
04-18-20 – Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon – It will be my 2nd time running this popular downhill local race. Most of my friends will be running it.
it hasn’t officially announced but I’m sure that it will be cancelled.
05-03-20 – Tropicool 5k – I have run this one several times while on my tennis vacation in Fl. It’s a HOT one but still fun.
DATE CHANGED to when I’m not there…
05-09-20 – Summer Smith Memorial 5k – This is a race I run because it is organized by Summer’s mother – Summer died of a drug overdose after her first 5k. And it’s on my BIRTHDAY!! I have to do it, right?
05-17-20 – Steel Rail Half Marathon – This will be my 2nd time for this one – It’s my current HM PR from 2017. Can I recapture some of that old speed???
still on for now…
05-21-20 – Workforce Challenge– I will run this 3.5 mile crowded race to bond with some of my co-workers. Always a good time at least for the post-race eating and drinking.
I am scheduled to work in Buffalo that day…
05-30-20 – Freihofer Run for Women – This is my favorite 5k – I have run it EVERY year since I started running. And this year for the first time, I am an Ambassador. You shoild use AMBSS5 for $5 off when you sign up.
still on…for now…
06-14-20 – Betar Byway 5k and Moreau Mile – It’s on the way to our boat so I usually stop off and run both of them.
this conflicts with the NYC mini weekend
Some Possible New Ones:
04-03-20 – SalemApril Fool’s Day Race– This would be just for something different. Most likely the I’d run the 10k as a training run for my April half.
04-26-20 – Sasha’s Super Hero Run– My friends talked me into this 5k. It’s for a good cause.
POSTPONED to the weekend I’m in NYC for the MINI
6-13-20 – NY Mini 10k – When the NYC Half Marathon got cancelled, on an impulse I signed up for this women’s only race in Central Park.
should be on!!!!!!!!!!
So as you can see, my busy spring racing schedule is pretty bare.
My Topic today is: Taking Time Off From Running – Yes or No?
Obviously there are many reasons to take time off.
Injuries – Unfortunately they happen. Some are just niggles. And others are serious and require a good deal of time off.
just a few days here and there
5 months off
Busy Schedule (Work/Travel/Family) – Yes, there are other things in life that come before running.
I so wanted to run but then they’re my tennis friends….
Weather Conditions – Especially if you live in the NE, weather can get in the way. No one wants to run when it is sub zero or icy. And not everyone will or has access to run on a treadmill.
Loss of Running Mojo – You just do not feel like running. You may feel burned out. You dread getting out the door. So you skip or shorten runs. You may even stop running for a period of time.
Sickness – No fun running with a cold. Probably not capable of running with the flu and definitely not with any kind of stomach-related sickness.
Recovery – Too many miles on the legs such as after a long run or a big race. You need to rest so you don’t end up injured.
I rarely take time off unless I HAVE to. “Have to” means to me ice, rain, or broken bones. I don’t need a lot of sleep and knock on wood, I rarely get sick or feel rundown. I credit running… for my being healthy.
Guilty. I’ve run with injuries.
Guilty. I run when I am busy. I make time for running whereas I will be too busy for other things like strength training or yoga or stretching.
I look forward to running after work and with my friends on the weekend. It brightens up even the dreariest of days!
I had enough frequent flyer miles for a free flight.
Only 1 1/2 hour flight from JFK.
It was held on Presidents Day weekend (one less day to take off from work)
I found out that fellow bloggers Erika and Marcia were also running it. And I’ve never met Erika.
It was advertised as a scenic course with ocean views.
An all women race… who can argue with that?
I’ve never been to Bermuda.
Two races = 3 medals (BLING!)
Half Marathon Training:
If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan. I ran my last half marathon several weeks before in NYC…with foot pain. The foot pain continued and I considered downgrading to the 10k. But I am stubborn and decided to tough it out. (I mean I just ran a HILLY half in NYC in the freezing cold…)
As with all my half marathon training, I did not really care about my week day runs. They were usually 3 miles. However, I do try to do longer runs on the weekend.
So after 13.1 miles on January 19, I did manage to complete 11 mile and 9 mile training runs. I skipped the 12 miler in favor of a 4 mile race + 5 more miles after.
The goal for this half marathon was finishing!! Not to race it, not to get injured and not to make my foot pain worse!!!
Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:
Although the half marathon was scheduled for Sunday morning, Cari and I arrived (with no flight drama) late Wednesday night.
We had planned to stretch the legs and get used to the hills and humidity on Thursday morning. But instead we mostly walked the beach, the hilly railway trail and climbed to the top of a light house. Not much running but lots of steps!
The rest of the day was spent reading and relaxing at the hotel pool
and exploring Royal Naval Dockyard in the evening.
On Friday, both Cari and I got itchy to run. Finding a non-hilly route was a challenge. We tried the golf course. NOPE! And then we finally settled for looping the hotel.
Thanks to a ZOOMA Bermuda FB group, we able to communicate with many of the runners who shared their plans and ideas for their stay on the island. We decided to take a ferry after our run and spend Valentine’s Day touring Hamilton.
catching the ferry
runners on the ferry
We returned in time for the first race event – the Welcome Party (at our hotel):
Pick up your race bib plus your welcome gifts!
Attend the course talk with ZOOMA race staff
Drinks, music and appetizers courtesy of the Bermuda Tourism Authority
We met some familiar faces and lots of new ones. Sara, the ZOOMA Race Series Owner, gave us tips on running the race. She warned us about the hills and the narrow winding roads and reminded us to run with traffic on the LEFT side of the road. (Yes, this is a British island.)
We also met the pacers for the race (many of whom were on our flight.) They made sure to chat with every runner in order to help them finish at their desired pace. (My pace = ????)
blogger meet-up with Marcia
welcome gift = all the makings of a Dark n Stormy
half zip and tank + a bag
Unfortunately our beautiful Bermuda weather ended. We woke up to wind, rain and chilly temps on Saturday. But it didn’t really matter because we had the OFFICIAL GROUP EXCURSION scheduled:
Round trip transportation from hotel to Crystal Caves + Swizzle Inn
Entry to both of the Crystal Caves
Lunch reservation at Swizzle Inn
Both Crystal and Fantasy Caves were breathtaking and our lunch delish.
lots of stairs in Fantasy Cave
After our trip to the caves, we hung out in the hotel and relaxed before getting ready for the Lighthouse Run.
walking up the hill to the Lighthouse
a brief moment of sunshine…very brief
The 2 mile course got changed to 1.5 miles and the rain and wind lessened as we walked up to the Lighthouse start but then re-started with a vengeance.
The race started at Gibb’s Lighthouse and ended at Horseshoe Beach.
With a half marathon the next day, we decided to walk the race. And we got soaked.
running in the rain is better with friends
Still we had fun.
took off my poncho to sprint through the finish line…followed by Cari & Marcia (and a few others)
We ate some popcorn but didn’t stay too long at the beach (even though there were FREE drinks.)
1.5 miles. PR since I have never done this distance LOL (FYI: Barbara is from NYC and a Skirt Sports ambassador)
After the race, we took the shuttle back to the hotel from the beach, changed our clothes and had dinner in the hotel – Pizza for me, as usual. Carb loading complete!
first medal of the weekend!
I organized my usual race outfit (tank, skirt, compression calf sleeves, cap) and went to bed around 10 pm.
I brought my oatmeal and coffee from home with me and got up around 4:30 am to get ready and have breakfast in my hotel room..
It was NOT raining…hooray but still dark and a little chilly. I put on some throw aways and packed a bag for after and headed to the shuttle.
The shuttle left promptly at 6 am and we arrived in Hamilton at 6:30…still an hour to wander, take pics use port-a-potties.
foil sheet and throw away shirt did not last long.
I checked a bag with those throw aways, a down jacket and flip flops)
Before we knew it, it was time to walk UP to the start.
It was a small race (110 or so) so no corrals. The Half Marathoners lined up first so we had to say good bye to Marcia.
DIY arm warmers did not last either
As I mentioned, we had met all of the pacers at the Welcome Party. Now was the time to confirm whom we wanted to run with and line up with them.
so supportive and helpful…more like friends than pacers
I initially thought about running with the 2:15 pacers but as I told them, I was not running for pace and would most likely finish around 2:30.
I’ll do my best to recap the race below. (Warning: it’ll be long…)
My plan, as usual, was to stop and walk briefly at every water stop (so I wouldn’t get dehydrated) and to stop and walk longer to eat a GU at every other water stop. I planned to walk whenever necessary and NOT RACE it.
As always, I felt more energetic during the beginning miles. I started running with the 2:15 pacers. Unfortunately, my foot hurt from the first step to the last. I was disappointed but prepared for the pain.
Because I knew that I would slow down, I was actually (as you can see from the photo) ahead of the pacers.
smiling (not sure why) and ahead of the 2:15 pacers
There were hills from beginning to end. No road is flat on this island. No road is straight. Curve after curve…blind curves but we ran single file and with traffic. It was a little scary at times but the drivers were very courteous and moved over for all runners.
I stopped at each water stop as planned. I drank my water quickly because I did not want to litter on this beautiful island.
From mile 2 to 3, I think, it was starting to drizzle and then the rain got harder and harder. I was thinking that it would be a repeat of the night before but I wasn’t prepared for the rain. There was NO rain in the forecast.
Luckily it stopped. I was soaked which turned out to be a blessing. The sun came out, the humidity rose and the air got warmer and heavier.
And wet socks = blisters (I got a big one that didn’t hurt and a small one that did.)
10:58, 10:17, 10:22, 11:14
The biggest hill was at mile 4. I walked/ran up all the hills (which I guess was the whole race lol). I finally ate my first one of the three gels. I followed what worked in my last half and full. Different brand of gel for each stop. (Honey stinger, e-gel, Gu)
they’re gaining on me lol
and the pacer passes me
I did smile every time I saw a photographer…even if I was running in pain.
I’m sure I’ve lost them by now
Foot pain continued but I focused on the course which was breath-taking. I lost the 2:15 pacer which was to be expected.
However, my other foot started to hurt (It has in the past = bunion!)
11:03, 11:40, 11:42, 12:19, 11:30, (.23 -11:00)
I continued the same pattern except that my hill walking got longer and longer. I started to feel the humidity and almost wished that it would rain again.
My calves started cramping. This has NEVER happened to me before. Very painful!!
I could NOT sprint across the finish line.
I crossed at 2:23:21. (2:23:16 -Garmin time)
I was immediately handed water and two big medals and luggage tag.
I grabbed a needed drink (or two).
Dark n Stormy = my new favorite drink
Then headed to get some food to go along with my drink(s). Then off to bag check to retrieve my flip flops for my poor feet. (Down jacket?? What was I thinking??)
there were also tuna & egg salad sandwiches
They gave out age group awards but only to FIRST place in 10 year groups.
8 out of 9 – no chance even if I was not hurting
I met up with Marcia and then Cari. Everyone was happy with how the race turned out. Kudos to ZOOMA (and the ONPace runners!!)
We had planned on heading right back to the hotel (on the shuttle) but they encouraged us to stay for the Gombay dancers.
Then we chatted with RD, Erika. and watched the Pacers and last runner finish.
first time meeting a blogger that I have followed for years
Of course, no race would be complete without goofy beach/medal pictures.
Additional Race Reflections:
Half Zip, Tank, Bag and map mailed to runners ahead of time.
Excellent communication about every aspect of the race before, during and after the race.
Transportation and excursions organized by ZOOMA
Easy packet pick-up at the hotel.
Welcome gifts. Luggage tags & makings for a Dark & Stormy drink, key chain.
Welcome party with appetizers and opportunity to meet the other runners and pacers.
Shuttle to and from the start
Sufficient number of port-a-potties at start/finish and along the course
Sufficient number of water/Gatorade stops (7) – 1 had Gels (I think) but I missed it.
Bag Check. Easy drop off and pick up.
Well marked course – mile markers and police directing traffic.
Free Massages at the finish.
Pacers. Great group. Personal attention given to each runner.
Planks given as awards.
Very cool medal(s) (and luggage tag).
Soup, sandwiches, popcorn, bars, fruit at the finish.
Gombay Dancers entertaining at the finish.
Lots of photographers on the course (ZOOMA and Professional)
FREE photos. Many many of each runner. In the FB group and on results page of web site.
Open bar…unlimited drinks at the finish.
Great weather. (except for the 1.5 mile run and one mile of the half/10k)
Here’s the whole story (in case you don’t read all my blog posts):
So…last November after my marathon and 15k, I experienced PAIN in my left foot after walking around NYC in tight boots. I rested/ran/rested/raced/rested and then finally went to the Doctor.
I feared a stress fracture. The Doc took an xray and felt around my foot for pain. Xray looked normal and no pain so his recommended treatment was:
No walking, standing or running until pain-free.
Take anti-inflammatory meds 2x/day for 2 weeks.
Come back in a month and we’ll take an MRI if it still hurts.
So I stopped running, walked minimally and stood (for work) only when I had to.
After 2 weeks, there was NO real improvement so I started Googling (Ok, I really started Googling from day one lol) and talked to my BRF Barbara.
My (Googled) diagnosis: Neuroma
A neuroma is a painful condition, also referred to as a “pinched nerve” or a nerve tumor. It is a benign growth of nerve tissue frequently found between the third and fourth toes. It brings on pain, a burning sensation, tingling, or numbness between the toes and in the ball of the foot. YES
Risk Factors that appear to contribute to a neuroma include:
Wearing shoes that are tight or ill fitting can place extra pressure on your toes and the ball of your foot. YES
Certain sports. Participating in high-impact athletic activities such as running may subject your feet to repetitive trauma. YES
Foot deformities. People who have bunions, hammertoes, high arches are at higher risk of developing a neuroma. YES to all
There were many home treatments suggested but my bunion and high arches made things more complicated. What seemed to work for me was toe spacers, wearing shoes with a wider toe box and RUNNING again. The turning point proved to be 3 weeks after my doctor visit:
After this run, the pain that seemed to be constant, came and went and was gone more than present when I ran. But still hurt after.
Four weeks after my first podiatrist appointment, my doc offered to give me a cortisone shot for the pain. I insisted on an MRI first just to make sure that it was a neuroma (which I had diagnosed.)
Unfortunately the MRI showed nothing. No neuroma!!!
I was not convinced.
I went back to my doctor and re-explained my symptoms.
He agreed that it was probably a neuroma but too small to show up on a MRI. So he gave me a cortisone shot and told me to contact him in 2-3 weeks if it didn’t feel better.
Well, he said to continue normal activities. That meant running, right? So I did. It felt the same.
I experimented with different shoes and went a PT consult. And I ran a half marathon.
I finished though it was painful
The next day, I went to a PT doctor recommended by a running friend who suffered from similar foot pain.
According to my symptoms, she agreed that it was some kind of nerve impingement. She said that she thought she could get rid of my pain. At this point, I was skeptical. But I went twice a week for several weeks. Treatment included, scraping, massaging, electrical ultrasound, CBD oil, home exercises for my posture and quads…
I also changed shoes several times, as well. (Thank goodness for return policies…)
from Mizunos to Altras to Brooks
I continued running as my PT doctor said that I could and should even though my foot HURT:
I got a laser treatment at PT and I also ran 4 mile race.
And then I went to Bermuda…hoping the sun and warmth would heal my foot.
It healed my spirits and had a SUPER time but ran again a race where my foot hurt every step!!!
Yes, I’m getting impatient…
Today, my PT listened to my racing woes and recommended that I see a different podiatrist (one who is a runner.)
Luckily, I just an immediate appt. Finger crossed….
As always, you are not alone with nerve foot pain. Here are some related blog posts:
This post was hard to write and you’ll see why as you read on…
You all know how much I love Lake George (at least in the summertime). Well, this race gets me up to the lake in the winter. Ex-blogger Andrea (now runner friend) and I have run this race together SEVEN times. She has done this race 13 times (in a row)!!!
I ran with her in 2014 but only she got an award
In 2015, another hat for Andrea but my first and I beat her for the first time
I surprisingly got a PR in 2017
And yes, Andrea’s cancer diagnosis rocked my world, for sure. But she is strong and I was pretty confident that she would beat it.
I started reading her blog when I started running. She inspired me from the beginning. We are the same age exactly!! But she has run longer, farther, faster…even has competed in triathlons.
We met face-to-face for the first time at a race in 2010 and since then we have completed many races together (in addition to this race 7 times). I have even stayed at her house in VT twice.
Silks & Satins 5k – 2010
Adirondack Half – 2011
Biggest Loser 5k – 2013
VCM Relay – 2015
VCM Relay – 2016
FRW – 2017
Race the Train – 2018
She has also come to my area each year to participate in a duathlon. I have always come to the race to cheer her on.
But this year, for the FIRST time, Andrea did not come to the Polar Cap race. She valiantly lost her fight with cancer and died a few weeks earlier. So I ran this race alone with a heavy heart. I ran it for Andrea…
Back to the race recap…
The thing with this race, you never know where it’s going to start and what the course will be (besides hilly.) Three years ago, they changed the course for the third time.
during the snowy 2014 race
during the cold 2015 race
getting my PR in 2017
I have not been doing any speed work at all or running on any hills. (Um …do I ever? lol) My runs on the weekend have been longish. And I have been suffering with a sore foot for it seems like forever. So as usual, I went into this race with no expectations other than to have fun and finish standing.
I bundled up in my usual running layers (2 shirts, DIY arm sleeves, vest, skirt/tights, gaiter, beanie, gloves).
I arrived around 9ish and got a great parking spot in a nearby parking lot.
Packet pick-up was again at the parish hall of the church in Lake George. This newer location was warm and had restrooms which is always a plus.
Instead of a shirt this year, they gave you a hat.
Eventually runners did arrive and I chatted with some whom I knew. It was strange not to be waiting for Andrea to drive in from VT. Definitely made me feel said…
Hi Don Yeaton (credit)
For the first time since startled running this race, it was not frigid…so I decided leave the vest behind.
We all waited until the last minute to go out into the cold. We had to walk quite a ways as the race started in town by the lake. (Since the race repeated its course, I will re-post some of my pics from previous years in addition to this year’s pics.)
There was no real starting line and the race was not chip timed. Even though I’ve run this course in previous years, I never really remember what the course was like so here is a map that I found online.
I am directionally challenged anyway so it wouldn’t have meant much to me even if I looked at the map before the race.
waiting to begin (pic from D. Olden)
Before the they started the race, they had a moment of silence for Andrea and then announced that this year’s race would be dedicated to her. I got pretty emotional but luckily, the race started quickly after and I concentrated on running.
My foot, in my mind, had gotten less painful but I realized that during this race, it really HAD NOT. It hurt with EVERY step. It made me very mad and frustrated but then I thought about Andrea and all the pain she had gone through this past year. And I just ran through the pain. It was just a race…and I would finish it no matter how long it took.
A lot of the course was a blur, as usual, but here’s what I remember. Rather than taking pictures during this race again, I’m posting a previous year’s as they did not change the course.
pic from FB – cute markers at each mile
The first mile started with a slight uphill and then it flattened out. I concentrated on the scenery and surprisingly, the ground was not as slippery as I feared. Still, I needed to pay attention.
Mile two started where the race used to start and than meant a steepish hill. I told myself to be smart since I had another half marathon in TWO weeks and I never train on hills. However this time, I pushed myself to run slowly and not walk. It was practically a crawl and I did it. At this point, I actually felt warm and took off my gloves. I was happy that I did not wear that vest.
The longest and biggest was at mile 3 and although it was only 1/2 mile, it seemed to go on forever. This time I walked/ran it. Afterward we were rewarded with a nice downhill. I am always hesitant to go all out on the downhills especially with the black ice. One particular runner (in my age group) had been behind me (and always finishes after me) breezed by me. As she did, she yelled “This downhill runner got you this time.” The competitive part of me wanted to speed up and overtake her. But my foot was killing me and I decided to just let her beat me.
Finally for mile 4, we ran along the lake and back into town. At this point, I wanted to be done and picked up the pace. Luckily the hills were finally over. I didn’t care about a PR but I secretly want to win an AG award. But I had no idea where the other runners in my AG were in at this time in the course (besides the one who passed me by on the downhill).
Finally, I saw that the clock ahead and it read 37:xx. I sprinted as fast as I could (as not to finish over 38:XX) and crossed around 37:55.
The runner who beat me was there gloating… “I’m so happy to have finally beat you,” she said.
It was too cold to wait around for others so I walked back to the church.
There was chicken noodle soup, bread, bagels, chocolate milk, fruit and baked goods – I am a sucker for home-made stuff and ate quite a few cookies and brownies (and chocolate-covered pretzels). I also had the soup and of course, the chocolate milk!
I chatted with some running friends while waiting for the age group awards.
next year Jill & Sue will no longer be in my AG.
And I did indeed win one…2nd and my friend Sue won 3rd.
we’re old but going strong
With a 12 mile long run on my schedule for the day, I had been debating about skipping this race. Once I found out that Andrea had died, I knew that I could not skip this race. It was one of her favorites. I had to do it.
I debated about running more. My foot hurt…a lot but I had a half marathon to run in TWO weeks. So changed my shoes, put my vest back on and I ran around the church area and then into town to the Winter Carnival.
This was the first day of the event which is held every weekend in February.
I ran around town some more… for about 5 more miles. I didn’t get my 12 miles in but 9 was sufficient in my book.
cooling off… ha ha
As usual, I loved doing the race (even with the hills and sore foot). Small local races are the best.
The whole time I was running, I felt like I was going sooo slow. I couldn’t really push off my sore foot and I felt like my form was suffering as well. I also thought that my 4 mile PR was like 35:XX. I was shocked when I sat down to write this… and discovered that my PR was 37:21 and that my finish time was faster than the last two years 38:28, 38:47 (when I was healthy).
Happy Running! Have you raced yet this year? How do you feel about winter races? Anyone remember Andrea? Her blog was Age Groups Rock and on IG, she was andyja. Are you absent-minded about your PR times?