Three weeks and three races: a race report bundle

Three races in three weekends, that’s starting to sound like somethin’. dam to dam race 2015 flexitarian filly

I wish!

The good thing to report is that these races were good to me. They were not what I would call “good” but they were good to me. Raced hard enough to feel the workout in the race but not hard enough to break myself. I’m still running on three halfway numb toes. Don’t worry, no pain while running but no giddy-up either. I do feel some pain in my hip/butt when I really arch my back or do a cat stretch, for instance, while at rest but no pain while running. What seems to be surfacing as a root-issue is something along the lines of adrenal fatigue or dysfunction or screwed-upness. Something’s up. Perhaps it’s the thyroid? Not sure. Going to get some blood tests and find some solutions. Soon!

A race report bundle:

Three weeks ago I jumped on the start-line of one of Iowa’s greatest road races – Dam to Dam. Dam to Dam is a super-sweet half marathon. The point-to-point course is varied with a beautiful start on a pretty dam and lake. It travels through quiet country roads, rolling city streets and some quaint bike paths. It’s a perfectly organized course. It tends to be a favorite among the locals, but brings in people from all over. Like, nearly 10,000 people! It’s one of my favorites, too. Earlier in the year, I’d hoped for big things at Dam to Dam 2015. As the spring unfolded I knew I needed to settle for just enjoying the run. And so I did.


And so you can also see my trademark cotton balls in the ears if you look really closely. I have whacked-out, sensitive ears and for any running done around 45-60 deg, I’m usually sporting cotton balls. Not cold enough to need a hat but the wind makes the ears ache. A smidgen of cotton ball to buffer the wind does the trick. Something to try if you have sensitive ears.

Next up and the second of three races was a 10k in Boulder, CO.

I went out to Colorado for a week with my son and Mom for fun and mountains. It was a great escape.

mt evans highway run susie duke flexitarian filly.jpg

Great to get in some time at altitude, some nice running and just bumming around.

And to race out there, that was the cherry on top.

Boulder rez 10k warm up susie duke altra running flexitarian filly.jpgRacing at altitude when you’re really not acclimated is kind of funny. It’s a great chance to practice racing and treat it like a workout. This race was all of the above. When I knew we’d be out there in the Boulder area, I searched for possible races and stumbled upon the Boulder Rez races. This was the inagural year of the event and it was super-nice, a well-organized and pretty course. I only experienced the 10k, there were also the 5k and half marathon options. The 10k course made one nice large loop around the reservoir. It was mostly all on soft surfaces: dirt roads, grassy/dirt trails and some foot paths – all almost entirely dirt or gravel. I can barely remember any asphalt other than the last half mile or so – nice on the legs. One slightly strange element was starting the half marathon five minutes before the 10k and on the same courses. This meant that the faster 10k-ers were all running up against the back of the half marathon pack. Basically this ended up being no big deal other than it kind of messes with your mind to weave around people who are running significantly slower than you. But, again, it was a small matter and the two races broke from each other round the second mile. Great race, great course. Beautiful run in a beautiful place.

Oh yes, and I finished first, a pleasant surprise.

boulder rez 10k finish susie duke flexitarian filly.jpg

Finally, just this weekend, I hit up one more 10k, a local race this time.

Had a nice warm up around town and stretch out with my crew.

Grinnell 10k prerace warm up nerve glides flexitarianfilly

Here I’m not actually doing stretches but nerve glides. Still having some leg/hip issues and this is one thing that I do before I run. I’ll probably do this until the day I die because this injury is not something I want to return or get worse. How does a nerve glide work? So in the pic you can see I tuck my chin and flex my foot, which puts the nerve on full tension. Next, I’ll look up and point my toes. I go back and forth until it doesn’t hurt or at least feels better. Amazingly, it does feel better as I go and glide the nerve around. Sounds nasty, right?

Anyway, the race was kinda “meh”. Not the race’s fault. I just got going and expected to feel better than I did.

Grinnell games 10k start flexitarianfilly

After a very, very, very short time I could feel the lack of giddy-up.


After a week at altitude, a half marathon under my belt and some somewhat decent training, I expected more.

Graciously, the rest of the field was still behind me when I finished, and I came out on top.

Grinnell 10k prerace warm up nerve glides flexitarianfilly-2

Still, in the end, I thought my time and effort would be more indicative of my fitness level. I guess it was and that level is pretty low. My time was slow for what I expect myself to run. Then again, I go back to the strange hyper-fatigue that I’m feeling, and I know there’s more to this than just running slowly. I finished thinking “How in the heck did I run two half marathons and one full marathon last fall at paces significantly faster than this 6.2 mile run?”

I know there are answers and I’m going to find them. Recovery is key. I will recover. I will run faster.

How about you? Any good, poor or mediocre racing this spring?

Either way, faster times ahead!



8 thoughts on “Three weeks and three races: a race report bundle

  1. Oh my word, thank you for the cotton ball tip! I have super sensitive ears and often will sweat it out with a headband on a warmish but windy day because I just can’t take the ear pain. Definitely trying this next time around!

    • There’s something really bad about ear pain! It’s like a very concentrated headache. Not good! And it’s weird to wear a hat/headband when it’s relatively nice out, right?! Glad to help!

  2. Congrats on some successful races in some beautiful places. I love all your photos. I ran the Seattle Half Marathon yesterday and although I wasn’t racing it, I also felt that “meh-no-get-up-and-go” you mentioned. Still, it is amazing to be part of a race with the running community in a beautiful place. Hope you get a few days to recover! xo

    • Jesica, I bet Seattle was wonderful. I’ve been a lot of places, but never there. Love how you can still have wonderful memories from just “okay” races. The beauty of running. Enjoy your recovery too!

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