I do love the longer distances, but I’m also kind of excited to see what I can actually do at shorter ones. I think backing off the competitive long distances for awhile might be fun and a change of pace (literally!) I always feel I’m holding back, pacing for those duration – when I’d really love to be allowed to just push more and see where it leads me. I think you’re right about my stomach, too. If I could learn to tolerate food better on the shorter distances, I’m thinking that would only benefit my longer runs and races too.

I keep an obsessively detailed training log for all my runs (a written one in addition to this one here.) I spend hours and days before every race trying to look for things that will help me eliminate the stomach problems. I eat the same things usually on race day that I train with, yet increasing the pace – even a little and not allowing myself relaxing bathroom breaks seems to make things turn ugly pretty quick. I can feel a mental fog if I just try to skip some of the fuel or drink, but as soon as I take in the fuel, I get nauseous and ill. It’s a tough spot.

I appreciate all of your questions. I know you are so much more experienced at racing than I am and I really do want to figure this problem out. I think my biggest enemy on this last marathon was the heat! The weather’s been so cold lately that even though, mileage-wise and workout-wise, I was right on the money for this distance — I hadn’t trained in the heat at all since last September! It just came out of nowhere. I’ve tried training with just water in my Camelbak, while taking Shot Bloks and other fuel – but I bonk even sooner. I seem to need a lot of calories when I’m out there, but I hate the feeling of anything in my stomach. I just need an IV apparently. ha ha

I told Wayne that I felt so peppy and fine by the half point again at this race and he said he really does think I’ll have more fun racing the shorter distances for awhile.

I’ve got some nice, easy runs planned for the next two weeks: An easy run tomorrow, a “fun run” track race (I’m not planning on doing anything but relax and have fun with it) on Thursday with several friends, a mid-sized run in the mountains with a bunch of pals on Saturday (maybe 13 miles very easy) and then easy, restful runs on the Oregon Coast for my vacation the following week. I’m relieved to have some time to just kick back and enjoy my runs without any particular plans for a bit.

My next race is a 10k on June 19th. Last year I did that one (my first) in 1:02:00. (9:59 pace.) I’d love to aim for 56 or better this year and see if I can hit it. I really think I can. We’ll see how I do. I’d be incredibly pumped to get that to a 54! But, we’ll see. I haven’t trained for speed much.

In July, I have a 2 miler on July 3rd (I used to do this one when I was in college and did it in 2008 with my two older kids in a time of 28 min.) It wasn’t really a race with two young kids along.  I’m eager to test my short-distance speed and see what comes naturally at this point. I think I can do it in 17 min but we’ll see. There’s also a half marathon in July that I’d love to do. The only half I’ve done so far is Robie Creek (the 8.4 mile straight UP one.) This would be a good chance to test my abilities on a regular course. I’m thinking I could come close to 2:11 or so.

If those prove correct (which based on my training so far, I think they are pretty darn spot-on), I would love to start fine-tuning a speed program for myself and see if I can shave some time off of those events over the next several months. I’d love to PR in those distances in the fall – even if just by a bit. It would be a start. 

I’m not sure I can give up my weekend long runs. They really are the heart-and-soul of my social life! I look forward to them all week and enjoy being with my friends, running easy and enjoying the scenery.  I’ll just scale the total distance back some and see if that’s a better match. (For now.)

My super, duper, cool, ultra running cousin, Ben told me this week that I have “awesome running form.” That made me feel so good since I respect him so much. Before the race, he’d told me in an e-mail that he wasn’t sure I could handle the 50 miler in August since there’s a 12 hour cutoff at 38 miles.  I made it 50k in less than 7 a month ago — but I think he’s concerned that my stomach problems could leave me out on the course past the cutoff and then I wouldn’t be allowed to finish. So…. if I do decide to run his race in August, I’ll probably just do the 50k instead of attempting the 50 miler. I’m a little sad about that, since it’s kind of become the “cool thing to do” amongst my friends right now and I am really excited for all of them who are training for one right now (5 of my pals are training right now for their first one!!!!! – 3 of those guys will be attempting it in less than two weeks!) I’ve even thought about just volunteering to work one of the aid stations at the big race, offering support to my pals.  I guess I’ll have to see how things go over the next couple of months before I decide.

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