If you watched the Men’s Olympic Marathon, then you noticed the amount of talking about hats. Most athletes that ran had at least one statement commentating on their hat. The commentators of the Olympics is a post for another day, though…
On the US side, Rupp, as well as Meb, changed hats and most competitors ultimately took off their caps. Ward stayed hatless the entire race.
Why were the commentators so obsessed with the racers hats?
Thinking out loud, I decided to take an in-depth look at the hat situation and see how it affected the athletes and their placing. Because why not? If the world’s “best” marathon commentators allowed to comment on hats…why can’t I.
If you followed me on twitter, you know after five minutes of listening to #hatchat by the commentators, I jumped on board with #hatchat too.
Actual comment from the commentator:
“Galen rupp looking superb in that white hat” #Rio2016
To clarify, Salzar later said the hats were filled with ice to keep the racers cooled. Is that an unfair advantage? I don’t know.
Any runner was welcome to have multiple hats but how many runners thought of that? Are water stations going to eventually become aid stops? Will you be able to stop, check your cell phone and play Pokemon Go at a water station? Who knows how the marathon rules will progress…That being said, none of the athletes were breaking any rules by exchanging hats.
Let’s look at the three medalists: Kipchogue (gold), Lilesa (silver), and Rupp (bronze). We can see both one and three started with hats but by the end of the race, neither had their original hat. Several athletes exchanged hats during the course, however, Rupp was the only to medal.
At the beginning of the race and through about mile 10, it looks like several racers have white hats. Only one lone athlete dared to wear blue, and he made it in the lead pack until around mile 20.
Let’s look at the various types of hats athletes used:
The overall winner began his race with more of a ball cap. It had a flatter rim.
Both Rupp and Meb (possibly other athletes too), used various hats. Each of their hats was filled with ice to keep them cool.
Early Stages of Race:
Lead pack of 35ish men:
About half wearing standard hats
One blue hat
One bandana/headband combo
A few visors but it seems more like a female racing strategy (I am a visor woman myself)
So my questioning begins…Do hats make you race quicker? Does throwing your hat off mean you are about to drop the pace?The most important question, however, is: How can Hats Help the Nonelite Runner?
I’m no professional but can a hat (or 10 hats throughout a race) help a common runner like me?
Hats can keep the sun or rain out of your eyes and can keep you cooler. If you can find a hat that you like running in, there aren’t any real disadvantages.
Will I wear a hat in my next marathon? I will probably wear a visor if it’s sunny or rainy. I like the sun out of my face as well as the rain. I won’t have the luxury to exchange hats midrace but I’ll still use the one I’ve come to know and love.
Questions for you? Hats or no hats? Do you think the hat exchanges were fair?
This week went by a lot faster than last week. I haven’t done any life update posts for a while, but that’s because I’m boring.
Something I common I hear about blogging is: I don’t live an exciting life that anyone cares…
Well, we both have something in common! Believe me, I don’t have that exciting of life either! I just run work, and try and go to diners. I wish I had more free time to travel the world, but alas, you can’t do that if work. So here I am boring but updating you on life.
My husband and I decided to get each other cakes this year for Valentines Day. To be honest, it was the greatest decision ever. Flowers die, I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, and I like cake.
We celebrated with an at home meal of squid and sea bass. Squid is one of my favorite seafood. It’s easy to prepare, as you can sautee it in oil like any other fish. This is the recipe we used. It’s easy and not intimidating.
We enjoyed relaxing at home as well as our cakes. No, we did not eat it all in one sitting, but I can’t say there is much left nearly a week later either.
This week there has been a lot of excitement outside of blogging as well. Olympic Trials? Grammys? Why is my husband researching Shamwows?
Here are my two cents (Which obviously have little to no value since I’m just a spectator…)
Personally, I’m very happy all three women who made the Olympic team. Would it have been different if Kastor had been healthy? Or if the weather was a little bit cooler? Possibly but each of the women who made the team has worked hard.
I do have a question left unanswered: Why didn’t the reporters give Sara Hall the respect she deserved? For a while, she was a contender but was left out most of the time.
I wasn’t as familiar with the men’s side, so I won’t pretend to be too knowledgeable about it.
Everyone knows Meb. Everyone was distraught when Ritz was forced to drop out.
Am I surprised Rupp won? Yes and no. I don’t believe Salazar would have race his debut marathon if he didn’t think he would win. I do hope he remembered to wear sunscreen and that he does in Rio. I haven’t seen any week later photos so see if he was sunburnt….
I seem to be the only person not as familiar with Jared Ward.
I had a few elites favorite a few of my tweets talking about them, so that was neat. Twitter is nice like that…talk about someone (good/bad) and it calls back to haunt you.
I hope each athlete competing was clean, and I’m excited for the Olympics to play out and how each athlete trains in the next few months and does. Winning the Trials doesn’t mean you’ll medal. I could dedicate multiple blog posts to geeking about this sort of stuff.
How social media skewed my thoughts of running fast
I created my blog about a month after I decided to start running. My running story has been a journey filled with highs and lows, and you can read my entire running story here. When I first created LOLZ Blog it was not big nor did it have the connections and friends I do now. A few years into blogging, I wrote a similar post to this. Even in the last two years since writing the first post, social media, and running has advanced more. My thoughts on running have advanced as well.
When I first created LOLZ Blog it was not big nor did it have the connections and friends I do now. I did not know that so many amazing and talented runners from all over the world existed!
I first created LOLZ blog to reflect upon my personal journey of running. It started with a 12-minute mile and 5.5 years later I am here today. My blog also allowed me to meet people who also shared a love for running and working out. This was before there were hundreds of blogs and blogging became an advertisement platform.
When I first started running, I was in my own bubble. I watched countless races where local heroes ran 17-18 minute 5ks. The first 5k I ever ran was in a time of 30 minutes! I was in shock of how people could that fast. To me, these local athletes were my only inspiration and the people I strived to be like. I never knew elites were running 14 minutes 5ks. It’s funny because now I routinely talk to these local legends and fan girl them at races.
Five years later, running and blogging are much different. I have raced in several states and have seen and met hundreds of inspirational athletes. With race results readily available, I’m no longer in a single community with a single running inspiration. I have many running inspirations, some I have met and some I have not. When reading race recaps and reports the definition of “fast” becomes skewed. Do I consider myself fast? What exactly makes you a “fast runner”? What is the standard? Why does it even matter?
The athletes running the Olympic Trials marathon this weekend are fast.
The athlete that won a local race is also fast.
The athletes finishing their first race are fast.
My definition of “fast” will always be different from someone’s else definition.
With so many different social media platforms it makes me think: Am I selling myself short saying that I won a half marathon when I ran an X? Or once that I ran a (bad race for me) and got 3rd overall?
Before social media, I would have no problems bragging about a race…Now I don’t want to be “showy” because I know if someone else had shown up they would have won. The fact is they didn’t show up, and I won. Now with social media and website forums like letsrun.com, your results are everywhere. People with lots of credentials or even no credentials are judging performance.
Now with social media and website forums like letsrun.com, results are everywhere. Individuals with and without credentials are judging performance. With race results being judged so quickly, I can’t imagine the pressures of being a professional runner.
One of the most common questions a runner will receive after a race from a nonrunner is:
Did You Win?
Runners are afraid to say they won or placed in an age category. Instead of saying I won and my time was X, someone will mention “I won but”…Adding but just adds a backhanded compliment to yourself. Whether there are ten people are 10,000 if you won, you won. Even if you didn’t win, place or just had a bad race, you still ran.
So while local races give you a glimpse of a single group of athletes…social media connects you to thousands of athletes of every speed and ability. It’s overwhelming.
Where do this all connect?
Social media is here to stay. Runner or not, everyone is plugged in and connected. It’s important to remember everyone’s definition of progress and perception of fast is different. There is no need to compare yourself to others or even to yourself! It’s hard to keep your personal training at the forefront of the mind when it’s so easy to compare. There will always be someone better or faster. You should use them as a role model and inspiration rather than comparing.
As 2016 begins, I have started thinking about a race bucket list. In a world where I stayed injury free and my schedule allowed I would be able to do all of the races I’ve had my eyes on. Who knows, I doubt I’ll get to all of them this year, but there are a few races I’ve had my eyes on!
January: The Carlsbad Half Marathon
I’ve heard this race is scenic and beautiful. I was born in San Diego, and I’ve been dying to go back. The half looks much flatter than the full marathon, plus San Diego weather beats the East Coast.
March: The Shamrock half marathon
2016 will (hopefully) be my fifth year running Shamrock. I love the race series, and J&A does an excellent job putting the race together. I recommend it to anyone!
It’s a flat, fast and crowd supported course and I would like to better my best Shamrock time of 1:25.14, if not just flat out PR.
The April Fools half
The April Fools half marathon is where I set my PR 1.5 years ago. The Atlantic City Race directors do an incredible job. For being in such a large city, I love how low key the race is. Plus it’s in a decent time of the year, and the only thing to worry about is how windy it is.
September: Air force half OR full
It scares me to put potentially another full marathon on the calendar. The fall is a very long time away. My training has been going well, and if I can remain injury free, I would like to run either the Air Force half or full this year. I’ve run two marathons and not enjoyed either but maybe the third time is a charm…or maybe not.
I won’t run another full marathon until I have not only Pred in my shorter distances but am satisfied with my progress. Marathons are always there, and there is no reason to sign up until I’m ready to run another one.
Those are just a few races that come to mind. I do plan to fill my schedule with plenty of 5ks, 10ks and halves, but these are a few I’ve had my eyes on!
There will be many races I’ll train and race untapered as a workout, and there are many races I’ll run after tapering and resting.
Questions for you: Do you have a race bucket list? What is your all time favorite race?
I guess there is no hiding what this post is about right?
Right now I’ve run two marathons and neither of them have been enjoyable. That is the blunt honest truth and yet I find myself pondering whether I should run a fall full marathon. Right now I plan to train shorter distance and then see where I am at the end of the summer.
Will I run another marathon at some point?
Yes I do know I will eventually…I am not satisfied with either of my marathons…
Is it my favorite distance?
Let’s rewind to a brief history of my running…
I had a very long period of staying injury free. When I evaluate myself and my training, I can see that period of injury free running stopped when I began training for marathons. Admittedly I didn’t train that well for either marathon but I did make it through.
Reflecting upon my running the last 2 years:
I made it through the entire New York City Marathon training cycle injury free. Since it was my first marathon, it took me a lot longer to recover afterwords . The marathon was in early November and I was comfortably running again in late December.
January through April of 2014 were my only “solid” months of training from the last 2 years. I PRed in a half marathon (which was shocking) but other then that there have been no other PRs or solid races. Was that half marathon a fluke? Well I haven’t come anywhere close since!
A year ago, I ran Broad Street 10 miler at roughly the same pace as my half marathon PR. and until Broad Street yesterday, 2014 was the last race I deem “successful”.
Cue in the multiple injuries:
My first issue was plantar fasciitis in June of 2014. I took two weeks off and it didn’t seem to heal. From mid June until mid July, I dealt with the dreaded PF. I was training for my second marathon: Wineglass…and the race date kept creeping closer. Finally by August 1st I was running again. I still had hope that my base might pull me through.
Then I woke up with a stress fracture in mid August and everything was shut down. I’m not sure if that stress fracture was a mental relief or not. I didn’t really want to run Wineglass full marathon but I probably would have if I didn’t have a fracture. Before my plantar fasciitis I had invested so much time that I didn’t want to waste.
From mid August to Mid October I took off from running. Running on a stress fracture is dumb. I healed well and decided I wanted to run the Phoenix full marathon in February. Little did I know it would be the perfect break to get out of the east coast during the worst winter in a while.
I actually had really good training for the race and I felt really confident at the race start. I didn’t race much from December until January but I did have quality training from November until February. I was satisfied that I would PR and be around 3:10.
But I didn’t finish around 3:10 like I had hoped because I finished the race in a lot of pain. I am not saying I would have broken 3 hours in Phoenix if I was injury free but I would have been closer to my goals. I finished the race with a lot more energy than I should have. I also finished with a lot more hip pain than I should have…
From March until now, I beebopped around with hip, butt and leg pain. Now that I’m finally running injury free again…do I start another cycle of marathon training?
No…my history right now points to steer clear of marathons.
So where do I go?
As I said my history with full marathons has not been fulfilling. Not only have I missed my potential but I also haven’t enjoyed running either marathon.
I’m ready to go back and toy around with shorter distances for a while. I don’t have a number of days, weeks, months or even years to quantify a “while” but I do want to work on shorter distances for a while (I do know it will be at least until the summer).
I plan to run a lot of 5ks in the future. If everything goes well and according to plan I will be running a 5k nearly every weekend. I enjoy the availability of small and local 5ks. I also enjoy that small and local 5ks don’t take commitment and I can sign up a few days prior. I don’t have to worry about a race being sold out (like it seems every half and full marathon these days!)’
Will every 5k be a PR?
Since I haven’t come within 40 seconds of my PR in 2 years I doubt any 5k will be a PR for a while.
Will each 5k work on speed and turnover which eventually could help in longer distances?
Yes…and that is what I’m hoping.
It will be a nice break from 15-20 miler long runs that I don’t need (or want to do) now. I do enjoy running long, easy distances but I know I will enjoy some faster and shorter races too.
This week I’ve seen much better improvements with my butt, hips, hamstring and everything else but instead of listing every muscle group I’ll just refer to my leg. Instead of being stubborn I went to get some to look at it. It turns, it was nothing that I had originally thought. While I’m not better, I do have a formal answer. I used fancy paint and filled in (yellow and blue) the parts of this diagram that are the problems. (I drew in the blue for the piriformis muscle since it was wasn’t there).
In Cliff notes: My piraformis had a few adhesions which caused my adductor muscles to become strained. Along with that my psoas muscle was extremely tight. The chiropractor said she hadn’t seen one that tight ever. (I guess that explains why I couldn’t walk). Both the psoas and the piriformis being so tight caused my hips to be knocked out of alignment.
The Longer Version:
The most important is that I have an answer to why I’m in pain. I’m glad I got it looked at because I would have continued to think it was my hamstring. Most runners who strain their adductor muscle do so by going to the track and starting speed work. I didn’t do either of these things.
I do have a sneaking suspicion that I might have strained it about 4 weeks ago when I did the Feel the Love 5k. I distinctly remember that race having a lot of turns (like a track). Since I began tapering the day after, I didn’t feel the effect as if I was running high mileage. It had began to heal but when I ran the marathon, it obviously restrained and made it much worse (enough that it was hurt when I finished). There is nothing I can do about it now but hopefully promote healing.
The next issue is my psoas muscle. The psoas muscle is tight and knotted. This is where the root of my problems stem with my hip. Someone told me that you don’t know you have a psoas muscle until it begins to hurt. I think this is 100% true and it took me from running normally to wishing I could lay down. The muscle is so deep the only way to address the tightness is through ART, trigger point or dry needling. It appears as if this has been tight for a while now. That could be from improper stretching of the hip flexors and psoas. During the marathon I pushed through a threshold and the muscle became too tight to stabilize my pelvis which is why my hips became tight.
But wait…there’s more!
Since my psoas muscle was so tight, it pulled my hip forward. My pelvis, sacrum and hips are noticeably crooked (to the chiro…I look fine In my opinion). That’s a matter of the chiro realigning them and loosening up my psoas. If my psoas is still tight, my hips will just return to be crooked. That was the easiest part and I feel a lot better (not 100% but noticeably better).
Finally (the injury gift that keeps giving):
My piriformis (butt muscle) has multiple adhesions which is causing everything to also tighten up.
Long story short, half of my butt, hip and upper leg muscles are tight causing my pelvis to tilt forward. It doesn’t sound like it was caused by the marathon but has been building for a long time. The marathon caused it all to manifest into an injury.
The problem with most of these issues is that they will not get better with just resting. There are a lot of tight muscles, knots and adhesions that have to be taken care of. Rest (as my chiro put it) will just allow my muscles to fester but not solve the problem. They won’t feel better until the problems are solved.
Since we talked on Tuesday I have gotten a few more things done as far as recovery goes:
Deep Tissue Massage (this is number 2)
Stretching my adductor muscles 2-3 times a day as well as foam rolling that targeted area.
How did this happen?
Honestly I don’t exactly know. I didn’t up my mileage quickly and I stretched, foam rolled and rested when appropriate. I think it was a combination of running the Feel the Love 5k during a high mileage week as well as running a lot of the same routes which caused me to favor my hip. I didn’t realize it was bad (because I wasn’t in pain) until I reached a threshold of no return.
I gave myself two weeks before attempting a run. I’ve run twice now and both runs have felt decent. I am still sore but I also haven’t run in two weeks. I know the deep tissue massage and chiro appointments have been working because I’m beginning to feel half way decent again. I still have quite a few knots to get worked out but I am beginning to loosen up.
All of this rambling makes my issues sound a lot more severe than they are. I can walk normally and it’s not hindering my day to day life. I slowly run but the thought of running fast right now does not sound pleasant.
I don’t know how to start this post. I ran a marathon, I PR’ed and won my age group.
I should be pleased (I am). I do know, however, my fitness was a little bit faster than this race showed. I also know that I finished this race not healthy. Not a full blown injury but I did have a major issue in my hips and hamstring that lead to a painful finish.
There are a couple of factors that played a part in the “bitter aftertaste” with this race.
My travel the Thursday night before. It left me not fueling accordingly, up for 22 hours and traveling for 14. I didn’t know traveling made you sore….but it does.
My hamstring became very aggravated around mile 21…not tired but it was in pain. My pace slowed because my stride shortened (not because I was experiencing the “bonk” like last marathon). While it’s tough to say, I lost around 5 minutes of time because my hamstring and hip were in pain.
Enough whining because despite finishing in pain, I did have a 2 minute PR. I’m truly grateful for a PR but I would have liked to have shown a slightly faster time.
Incase you don’t want to read 1000 words here are cliff notes or a screenshot of my splits:
I woke up at 4 am and made it to the bus drop off right on time. Tim drove me to the start. I chatted with people on the bus and got to the race start successfully. The Phoenix marathon had fireworks at the beginning which was unique. With the exception of long bathroom lines, there was nothing stressful before the race. Sacrifices had to be made and I delayered my pink Avalanche jacket, never to be seen again. I threw it to the side of the road and bid it farewell (I have too many jackets anyways and I paid 5 dollars for that thing…it lasted 3 years).
Before I knew it the race was off. Unlike my first marathon, my Garmin actually worked. I made the decision to start with the 3:15 pacer. My original goal was to stay with the 3:10 pacer but after everything happened, I knew it was best to start less aggressive. I did not want to have an unenjoyable second half of the race (but I still did).
During the first mile, my shoe came untied. So I stopped and tied it…Spending an extra 10 seconds tying my shoe was not the end of the world (or any world). My first mile was 7:17. I chatted with a few guys training for Boston.
During miles 2-3, were pretty boring. I enjoyed talking with the pacer and a few athletes around me. One thing I enjoy about marathons is the amount of talking people do! (6:50, 6:55).
During mile 4, I went to get water and just kind of left the pacer. I didn’t mean to but I sped up and then proceeded to go forward. Despite my finish time, I never saw the pace group again.
I took my first gel at mile 5. I didn’t feel like I needed it but the (fueling) plan called for 4 gels and I’m a follower. I ran with a few other runners and we formed a nice pack. We talked for a few miles and by the time I knew it, we were at mile 8. My legs were feeling good and as a whole my body felt good too. Each mile between 5-13 ranged from 6:50-7:00. I ran the only uphill mile of the race in 7:44. I wasn’t too upset and I actually passed a lot of people during that mile.
During miles 7-10, I found myself running with a really nice man from Colorado. He had run multiple 100 milers and wanted to run one more marathon. We had about the same goals in mind.
I took my next gel at 10.5 and started to focus on the half way point. I hit the half marathon at 1:34. This was about where I hit the half in NYCM. My goal originally was to hit around 1:35 so I was on pace with my original goal. I didn’t feel tired, my hamstring felt okay and I actually felt really good. I counted my eggs early and thought I might be able to achieve a 3:10.
Everything after the half point increasingly got worse (I think that means I’m doing marathons right?). Miles 14-16 were extremely windy. With NYCM, my most memorable mile (in a bad way) was mile 15. It was exhausting mile up the bridge and I felt sore and tired. For Phoenix, I was worried about this mile too. During the Phoenix marathon, miles 14, 15 and 16 were all extremely windy and boring. I had a no mans land clearing of 10 feet in front and behind. They were mentally challenging miles and once again, I think those miles were the most mentally draining. I took my next gel around mile 16. I had planned on mile 15 but I wanted to take it with water.
At mile 17, I saw Adam. I mumbled something (who knows what?) and high fived him. I grabbed water. My hamstring began to feel tight but I choked it up to…oh I’m running a marathon, things should not feel good. I didn’t think the pain would progress like it did.
By mile 18, my hamstring hurt. It hurt a lot. I almost stopped and stretched but I knew if I stopped, I would not start again. The issue was annoying from mile 18-20 but it wasn’t painful. I hit mile 20 and was overwhelmed that I still had 6.2 miles to go. Not because I was tired but because my hamstring and hip hurt.
I really thought about dropping out due to the pain escalating. Did I want to stop at mile 20? Doesn’t everyone ask that? I knew physically I had the energy to get through the last 10k but my hip/hamstring was hurting. It was quickly becoming more of a worry. I began to analyze my situation and figure out what felt the best. I realized turns made the pain worse as did a longer stride. I shortened my stride and proceeded on. I wanted to accomplish marathon number 2, PR or not.
I hit 21 and took my gel. 5 miles to go (7:59). At this point I began calculating how much time I had left to the minute. 45 minutes, 44, 42…
Despite having 5 miles to go, I began to focus on the finish. I thought to myself “no one drops out of a marathon at mile 21”. That is inaccurate but it motivated me. My hamstring and hip pain was very much there. It wasn’t altering my stride but it was a very noticeable pain. If I had felt a pop, tear or anything alter I would have stopped. A 2 month injury recovery was not worth it to me. The moment I felt I had to alter my stride I would have stopped.
When I hit mile 22, I blindly assumed just half an hour left. Somehow dividing the race into half an hour then 2X15 minutes made me feel a little bit better. My pace was slowing and my hamstring was getting progressively worse. I decided that I might end up walking the race if needed. I also knew if I stopped running I would not begin running again (8:04).
During Miles 23-25, I just focused on getting to the end. We had a brief tail wind during mile 24-25. I remember silently cheering to myself because at that point my hip and I needed all the help we could get. I stared at the people running in front of me and noticed they were not getting further away and I was not gaining on them. We were going the same pace and that made me feel better. I passed several half marathoners who were walking. I wanted to say “please walk single file and not 5 across” but decided it was too much energy.
The last mile was a blur. For mile 26 was just focused on “less than 10 minutes to go”. I repeated that to myself several times. I was so mentally checked into finishing the race I was oblivious to anything and everything around me.
Thoughts during mile 26:
Who are these people? Where is the finish line? Which way to go? So close, so close so close…OMG…no there is that .2…now so close. Here I go..they are announcing my name. Don’t cry, finish like a woman. They are taking your photo. Raise your arms, do something…why aren’t you race photo ready…you had 3 hours to think of a good finish pose…omg just cross this damn line.
I crossed the finish line in 3:14.59.
Yes it’s a PR but not a PR I’m satisfied with because I spent the last 5 miles dealing with an issue (hopefully not to turn injury). After crossing the finish line I found my friends and Tim then sat around. I do remember repeatedly saying (being very dehydrated) that I must find my checked bag so I can get my pants.
The awards ceremony was at 11 so we waited around until then. I was second in my age group and 21st woman overall. Since one of the top 3 women was in my age category, she was pulled out. Therefore I was bumped to first.
To summarize, it’s hard to complain about a PR. I’m happy that I’m over my stress fracture hump, but I think I was in better shape than a 3:15. I didn’t slow down because I was tired, I slowed down because I was in pain. So far I’ve gotten another deep tissue massage and I’m resting accordingly. I’m happy with a PR but I am leaving with a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth. I’m not entirely sure I enjoy the marathon distance yet but I’m sure I’ll try again at some point.
I’ll write a few more posts discussing final thoughts, fueling thoughts and a comparison of both marathons. As always thank you everyone for your support. The love I received race day was overwhelming.