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Wise Running

Train smart, eat well, and enjoy the run.

Tag Archives: learning

Race Report: Atlanta Fat Ass 50K

It takes guts to run a 50K.
It takes G.U.T.S. to host the Atlanta Fat Ass 50K.

Thank you to the Georgia Ultrarunning and Trailrunning Society (G.U.T.S.) for putting on a great race.  The Atlanta Fat Ass 50K is a time for their local group to get together, have fun, do some running, and have a chili cook-off.  The race is free to members, so I was happy to pay $15 for annual dues and get to participate in the run and the chili.  🙂

Now you know why it takes G.U.T.S to host the race.  Why would it take guts to run it?

The Fat Ass 50K was:

  • my first trail race
  • my first ultra-marathon race
    (ultra = running race longer than 26.2 miles)
  • my first trail run over 13 miles
  • my first run of any kind longer than 5.5 hours

First Trail Race? 

Yep.  I have run cross country races.  All of them were mostly on grass.  Very few roots or rocks.  All of them were only five kilometers long (3.1 miles).  I have run on trails many times, but never as a regular thing.

my fat ass

Apparently, I was not as happy as the runner in front of me!

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Zen experience of a run through the woods.  It is life-affirming and relaxing.  In the end, however, I think God designed me to be a road runner.  My legs are much happier running on a nice smooth blacktop.  Most people have the opposite experience.  It’s not you; it’s me.  I’m just weird that way.

I absolutely loved the trail that G.U.T.S. selected.  It is gorgeous.  It has a nice variety of runscapes:  a few gravel roads, some very nice trails along the creek, and a good sized technical section including rocks to climb over and some steep inclines, including a long set of stairs.

Will I do trail races in the future?  Yes.  I will start adding them in this year.

First Ultra-Marathon? 

Yep.  The marathon was my main focus for several years.  I would do shorter races, but everything was planned around the marathon.  My goal was to get to the end of 26.2 miles with nothing left in the tank.  I was aimed at squeezing every ounce of speed possible.  If I felt fresh at the end, it means I was not trying.  With this mindset, I thought of ultra-marathons as a distraction from my training.  They took too much time to fully recover.  It just was not on my to-do list.

Will I do ultra races in the future?  Yes, but my next one will be a road race.

First Trail Run Over 13 Miles?

As I said earlier, I am not naturally a trail-runner.  If you are wise, you are wondering how I could prepare for this race with a long run of 13 miles.  Let me explain:  I did not prepare to race this race.  I signed up for a fun run.  Coming off a couple of Ironmans, I knew I could do the distance.  I knew it would be MUCH slower than I have ever raced on purpose.  I ran more trails in the month before, but I knew I was not prepared to “race” in any form or fashion.  I did prepare, but only enough to finish.

First Run of 5.5 Hours?

Yep.  Since I had never run longer than a marathon (26.2 miles), my slowest marathon was also the longest run I have ever completed.  I finished the Knoxville Marathon in 2010 in 5:25.  During the Fat Ass 50K, I had lots of flashbacks to that race.  In both races, I ended up doing a lot of walking.  In both races, I underestimated my fuel needs.  At Knoxville, I suffered through some very stiff winds and cold rain while I walked.  At the Fat Ass 50K, we dealt with temperature in the 20’s for the first couple of hours before it warming up just a bit.

How did I do?

It was my first 50K, so I knew that just finishing means that I would earn a PR (personal record).  That was the only goal.  I had guesstimated that I might average 12 minute miles.  That was based on averaging 11 minutes per mile while on the trail.  I expected to take about 30 minutes of breaks over the entire race.  Things went as planned until I made a fueling error on the 3rd of 6 loops.  That and a GI issue made the fourth loop quite a challenge.  By mile 21, I was in survival mode.  I was okay with walking a bit more.  My breaks got longer.  I finished with an average pace about 1 minute slower than my guesstimate of 12 minutes.  I also took a wrong turn at one point that added half a mile to my run.  If I had intended to really race this one, I would have been very upset with myself.  On this fun run, however, I was able to relax and laugh at myself.

Final Time:  6:40:20  (a personal record – Woohoo!)

Final Thought

I traveled to the race with Muna and several friends from the Rocky Top Multisport Club.  I knew Muna was out there setting her PR for her first 50K too.   I thought about her throughout the race and her presence motivated me when I needed it.

fat ass

Don’t look for me. I took the picture.

Although I did not run with the group during the race, we did have a group dinner the night before.  I knew there was group support and jocularity before and after the race.  All of this adds so much to the race experience.

Life is a team sport.  I am glad to have awesome people on my team.

Enjoy the Run!

 

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Muna’s Fitness Forum: Start Where You Are

Every BODY is different.  There, I said it.  We are all built differently.  The funny thing is that even though all of our bodies are so different, we want to look like the models or actresses on TV.  I, for example, would love to have the body of Pink.  But here’s something I know….. it is never gonna  happen! That is because my body is built differently.

As I venture further into my journey of becoming an ironwoman, I notice more and more how my body is different.  I don’t have the long, lean physique of so many fast runners.  I don’t have the small stature of so many famous cyclists.  I don’t have the long thick muscles with impeccable shoulders like many great swimmers.  I don’t have the small waist like many group fitness instructors.  But yet I have proven that I can become faster, more efficient, and stronger.  It has taken me many years to appreciate my short, stalky legs and learn to use them to my advantage.  I put heavy weights on them during squats and lunges.  I pile on my resistance during cycle class, and I put my risers up during step class. My motto is “Charge the Hills!” I gain momentum on the hills during runs and races.   I now love my legs! They make me strong and carry me for miles and miles.  They allow me to keep up with my daughter and run when she asks me to run with her (even the day after a marathon or long race).

3 pics

So today, when I got in the pool for my first of many swimming lessons, I found out that my legs were actually slowing me down in the water.  What?!?! My Powerhouse? Slowing me down?  Yes.  Oliver, my new swim coach, pointed it out immediately.  My legs are kicking, but not in the direction they needed to be kicking.  So when he tried to show me how to position my feet, they wouldn’t even go there.  No flexibility.  Then he put flippers on me.  I felt like Scuba Steve!  As I began using the kickboard and doing as he instructed, I went forward then stopped, then backwards.  That’s when he said I was doing it the wrong way again.  My legs had actually been fighting against my swim all this time.  NO WONDER IT TOOK ME 50 MINUTES TO SWIM 1500M!  I was pulling with my arms, but going the other way with my legs.  Sigh…..

I’ve been grounded.  I am not allowed to swim freestyle until he tells me.  This hurts my extremist fashion.  I know what my problem is, so I just wanna jump in the pool and fix it.  Nope.  Not allowed.  I’m only allowed to kick, using a kickboard.  Grrrrr! Coach Oliver had that look when he told me too.  He knew it would kill me.  He told me that we would nail the kick, and then we will get into the arms and rotations.

Ok, I can deal with that.

Remember This:

Every BODY is different, so we start at different levels. 

Start where you are and seek to improve.

I tell my members and clients that it’s ok not to start out being good at something, and that it’s best to learn the basic steps before jumping in to the advanced choreography.  In my step aerobics routines I give breakdowns and levels.  I see it with my steppers, they WANT to do the level 3 right away instead of mastering level 1 and 2 first.  Its instinct and we all want to do it.  This lesson has reinforced to me that level 1 and level 2 are very important!  Learn the proper form before doing any exercise! Otherwise, you are training the muscle or the body incorrectly.

Train smart, eat well, and enjoy the run!

Muna Rodriguez

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