Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday Workout Update - Benchmark Run Recap!

Our running club's benchmark run was held last Saturday - this is the last, and longest, run of the training season before we start tapering down our miles in anticipation of our goal race.  The half mile group had 12 miles on tap, while the full group had 21 miles.  For many, this would be the longest distance they'd ever run.  Traditionally we try to get some of our members to help out with manning our water stations along the course - it's nice to see a friendly, encouraging face as you run on and on and on.

Our day started at 3:00 am - well, Jeff's did.  I didn't get out of bed until 3:30 am...yes, I was the slacker.  We got ready and were on the course, setting out the first batch of water and Gatorade at 4:30 am.  Right on schedule, doing fine, until the security guard from the nearby fancy building came by to see what mischief we were up to.  This is not the first time we've been visited by security guards as we set out water and I swear, I'm beginning to understand how teenagers who get harassed by "the man" feel!  This guy was a real piece of work, insisting that we needed prior approval to run around the building AND that it was on private property.  Funny, there were no signs posted, plus it's a regular street...not to mention (oh but I will) we ran around it two weeks ago on that five mile race!  I played along with his "authority" but geez, how dumb.

We managed to get the rest of the supplies dropped off without incident and met up with our runners to start the day.  After a few route announcements (including one regarding the power-happy security guard) we all took off.  It was a great run - Amy and I just trucked along, doing our 1:1 intervals and chatting away.  We reached the ::ahem:: private property where sure enough, the security guard was in his vehicle, watching us.  We ended up not running entirely around the building; instead we made a couple of loops to get our mileage in.  As it turns out, several of our earlier runners had made it a point to run around the building, including one who works in the legal arena...and I love it!  Way to stick it to "the man," runners!

While we were in that area, we came to our first water stop, manned (or I should say, WOmanned) by none other than Joni!  She was the co-organizer when I joined USAFit back in 2010 and of course, Mama to sweet Davis, who I get to babysit on occasion.  For me, it was a calming thing to see her, as it brought back good memories of my first season of training with USAFit.  We took off again and in another three miles we were at our next water stop, WOmanned by Karen (who I ran the five miler race with a few weeks ago) and Stephanie, who unfortunately was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her foot on Friday (such a hard thing to hear, especially with the goal race only three weeks away!).  These ladies cracked me up - from Karen, who stepped out in the middle of our lane and called us to her like puppies (complete with patting her thighs and saying "come on, come to mama!") to Stephanie, who immediately offered up some donut holes...yes, donut holes!  Months ago, having tasted one after a long run, I decided these would make perfect energy bites during our benchmark run - a nice change from GU.  So I included several dozen with the supplies we left at this aid station, and they were a hit!
I don't run with my phone so unfortunately I didn't get any pictures at the aid stations, but Stephanie indulged me in a dramatic reenactment afterward - don't you love the USAFit Hydrator apron she is wearing?  Amy decorated them; we had an apron for each volunteer and they all looked so cute!

We visited with the ladies for a bit before finally deciding to hit the road once again.  Things were going pretty well, but around mile 7.5 Amy noted that we must be getting tired since we'd stopped talking...yep.  My hamstring was bugging me a little, but I knew I was going to stop at mile 9, so I didn't worry about it.  We got to mile 9 and Joni was there with the water and Gatorade - that's where I stayed while Amy soldiered on for the last 3 miles.  Joni drove me back to the park, which was great - by her being at mile 9, it meant that I could run all 9 of my miles with Amy instead of having to turn around earlier.  We are social runners, what can I say?

Back at the park, I asked Stephanie to take my picture showing my 9 mile accomplishment:
Nine miles, woohoo!  My longest distance of the season!

Then Stephanie told me to flash my mileage gangsta-style:
Yeah, it's apparent I am not a gangsta.  Also, my inner gangsta cannot count to nine.

We waited around for the marathon group to finish their 21 miles - egad, I still cannot believe they did that.  Jeff drove out with some more donut holes and fed a couple of the runners along the route, plus Sadie the dog got a few...hey, she needs fuel too!  By the time they all came in and we went to Blue Baker, it was a little after 10:30 am and they were cleaned out of bagels, cinnamon twists, cinnamon buns and most of their breakfast food - it was slim pickings, which was disappointing, as I'd been up since 3:30 am, run 9 miles, and only had eaten a GU and a few donut holes.  Starving, I was.  We made do with bacon, a cranberry/walnut muffin, and coffee.  Luckily the company around the breakfast table made up for the lack of post-run feast (and the Mexican food later on helped as well).

We're now officially on taper mode for the race - we'll decrease our long run mileage dramatically for the next two weeks.  I can't believe that this season of running club is almost over!  Of course we'll keep running together on Saturdays, but after such a long, crazy day like this one, it will be nice to not have to plan and coordinate so much.


  1. your GANG SIGN PIC on the book of the face made my day, too.


  2. I think the spiffy quite bright running shoes are what makes you look so UN-gangster like! :-) Sounds like a run run!

    1. Haha, I never considered it was the shoes that were the "off" part of that pic! ;)

  3. Great re-cap! We had so much fun that it barely seemed like 12 miles. :)

    1. Thanks - it was fun, wasn't it?! And much more ahead, wheee!

  4. Oh, you KNOW my stomach turned when I read and then saw the photo of Stephanie! Please tell her she has a runner "friend" in Connecticut who empathizes completely.

    It's great how social your group is - that definitely helps the mileage go by when you know you have that kind of support. I might have had to go somewhere else for breakfast though... your Blue Baker must be super popular.

    1. I know, poor Stephanie. She's keeping a good attitude about this, but dang, you know how upsetting it is.

      We were so shocked when BB was out of food, especially because it wasn't a home game weekend. Turns out the Aggies got their rings and all sorts of other events happened that brought the multitudes of out-of-towners to town, and worse yet, to OUR breakfast spot! ;)

  5. I can't believe it's almost done either, seems like yesterday you started training. And how much fun I had reading your reports about your Saturday runs. You have such a great running club with such great people. But hey, great people (like you) attract great people!

    About my foot pain, I can't really explain what it is. It's on and off. Yesterday evening after sitting for a while I could hardly walk on it, this morning when I got out of bed I felt it but I did go for a run which went fine: no troubles at all. During the day I sometimes have trouble walking and sometimes nothing. Very weird. I wonder if my walking shoes could be the problem. I didn't buy very expensive shoes, wanted to see first if I like doing long walks and buy new ones in a special store in December. But I'm going to buy new ones already next Friday, see if that helps. The shoes I wear now I can still use for the daily shorter walks.

    1. It DOES seem like we were just getting started! Crazy how fast it really went.

      So yes, I'd definitely try the new shoes; just hope you haven't done any real damage and your pain goes away!

  6. So much to comment on! 3:30--eek!! Now that's true dedication.

    LOL at your description of "the man." People take way too much ownership of their tiny little part of the world.

    Donut holes = LOVE!! Used to get some for everyone on my way to work sometimes. Of course I indulged in a few before we ever got there…

    NINE MILES!! Even though I saw the pic on Facebook, I had it in my mind that you had run 7.5, which I still thought was stupendous!

    So did Sadie run 21 miles??? Are there very many dogs who do that? Wow. I hope she gets a special medal!

    Boo on Blue Baker. Yay on you guys for waiting for the long runners to come in. Have you ever thought about the shorter runners starting later so you didn't have to wait as long for breakfast? LOL--I'm all about the 'not being too hungry' you can see!

    1. Sadie did indeed run 21 miles - she hardly looked tired, too. Dogs aren't allowed to run in the big race, which is too bad because she's put in the training! ;) ;) ;)

      We've tried to come up with a plan where the runners could all finish near the same time, but if we start the half group much later, we run into sun, and more cars on the there would be a disconnect from the group feeling if the smaller full group didn't get to be there for the morning announcements. If our running club was huge, like some are (Houston USAFit has well over 500 people), only the full coaches would wait for their runners to finish. But with our small group, we all end up waiting (all the coaches, that is).

  7. Don't you love when people feel puffed up with their own authority? Not.

    I feel bad for seeing that runner wearing das boot. Ugh.

    I think the skirt is not quite gangsta, but who knows! What does ' running skirt' come out as when run through gizzoogle? Hustlin' duds?

  8. I loved the gangsta picture too when I saw it on Facebook! Great job!!


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