Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Eat, drink, and be merry. Tomorrow we run!

I was thinking about food on my runs (I'm lucky and get to run twice on Tuesdays) this morning and I thought I would share my ideas with you.  First off, Thanksgiving is my favorite day.  Although I tell my friends and family that I cherish them often, it is a great excuse to tell them again...to take a step back and appreciate things like your health, your fitness, and mountains, among other things.  AND I LOVE GOOD FOOD!
Opt out the CREAMY dishes

Roasted Garlic Mashed Purple Potatoes Recipe
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Olive Oil
It's weird to me that people dislike the holidays and I feel sad that people shy away from them in fear of gaining weight.  Traditional Thanksgiving meals are filled with vegetables and turkey is very much a low-fat source of quality protein.  PERFECT!  This Thanksgiving I challenge you to eat until you are full and contribute quality vegetable dishes to your Thanksgiving festivities.

Buy Local.  The turkeys will be smaller, taste better, and be free of hormones!
Remember the rule darker is better?  Well I recently learned that cauliflower (white!) is jam packed with Vitamin C, K, B6, and Folate.  Have you ever heard of people steaming and blending cauliflower in with their mashed potatoes?  I also found this recipe for purple mashed potatoes!  YUM!  Purple potatoes are a little sweeter and contain compounds that can help improve memory and prevent blood sugar spikes, and disease-fighting antioxidants.

Another thing to keep in mind, in addition to choosing colorful vegetables, is to add spices to your cooking.  Some of the healthiest populations in the world are huge proponents to the use of spices.  Although I don't necessarily buy into all of the research surrounding spices, I do believe in a good sweat when I eat curry or pho.  A substance in black pepper called piperine may help block the formation of new fat cells.  Some studies have found that the use of cinnamon or ground ginger may decrease muscle soreness.  Ginger might make you feel fuller or help you burn additional calories and vanilla may help with your sweet tooth.
All I am trying to say is that you should go for it.  We don't often "let ourselves go" and if the holidays aren't that time to give ourselves a break, then when?  Fill your bellies with quality foods (everyday, really...) and your hearts with love, and your homes with those you adore.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
1 head garlic
1/4c. olive oil
10 sprigs fresh thyme
2lbs. purple potatoes, cut into 1" pieces
1/2c. low-fat milk
1/2t. salt
1/4t. freshly ground pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 400F
2.  Rub off excess papery skin from garlic head without separating the cloves.  Slive the top of the head, exposing the cloves.  Place the garlic in a small baking dish, such as a bread pan.  Drizzle with oil and lay thyme sprigs around it.  Cover with foil.  Roast until very soft, 30-45 minutes.  Uncover and let cool.
3.  About 15 minutes before the garlic is done, cook potatoes in a pot of boiling water until tender, 8-12 minutes.  Drain well.
4.  Return the potatoes to the pot.  Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins into the potatoes.  Strain the oil through a fine sieve over the potatoes, pressing on the solids (discard the thyme).  Add sour cream (lowfat?), milk, salt and pepper.  MASH!

Monday, November 11, 2013

The "Oldie, but Goodie" Trail

I was thinking Friday during my standard "oldie but goodie", what makes a run a classic?  Why am I fascinated with and continue to come back to this trail?  And so I contemplated the oldie but goodie for 10 epic miles from Popperton Park, up Dry Creek to upper BoSho, to the top of Terrace Hills and back.  My favorite.  I thought that I would delineate it for all of you.  Here are three signs that you have an "oldie but goodie" on your hands.

1.  Le Drame:  The drama, man!  You either know the people on this classic route, or your know their deal.  Running on Dry Creek, you will see the university and hospital employees out in droves around lunch and right after work.  On the first sunning day in awhile, or a serious weather warm up, the trail will be packed with mountain bikers.  This was the case last week...let the drama commence.  I love the mountain bikers, especially when I'm feeling strong!  I love passing them on the uphill and keeping up with them on the flats.  I also love when you are pushing it and really working hard they will all get off the trail for you.  It's a fun game.

Epic sunsets also help the oldie but goodie.
2.  High Frequency of Flow:  Could it be the product of the sheer number of times you run the oldie but goodie?  Could be.  I am sure there is a high frequency of terrible runs for the same reason.  BUT, I do believe that flow, runner's high, or euphoria, is more common on terrain that you are intimately familiar with.  Think about it.  Your mind can wander and let loose far more frequently on a trail that you know like the back of your hand than a technical adventure.  Flow, and other similar amazing feelings, are giving your body positive feedback and thus keep you coming back for more.

Happy dog!
3.  Location, location, location:  Let's be honest, it's convenience is the reason you first started going to this trail in the first place, but the terrain can't be all that bad or you wouldn't waste your time.  You probably have easier runs closer to your home (like flat on the road), but you chose this convenient run for it's dynamic and decently easy and hard nature.  My oldie but goodie is close to home (check!), dog friendly (check!), has a 2.5 mile uphill to start, the middle is rolling and basically non-technical, I sometime descent 1 mile before I turn around so I can climb back up, rolling back, and bomber downhill to the car.

Go get yourself some oldie but goodie this week!  Happy trails, my friends.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

First Snow Run

I love being a runner who loves to run the morning of the first snow.

Sage and I bundled up after toast and tea this morning, ready to leave fresh tracks around the Avenues.  I love making fresh tracks and so does Sage.  Although we chose to bypass the dog park for epic tracking out, we left our mark almost everywhere we went.

At one point, not far from home, Sage looked up at me with fresh snowfall plastered on her eyebrows and face.  I said "You're all snowy" and she waved her tail furiously and hopped back into her run.  She loves morning snow adventures, too.

I feel invincible running through a fresh snowfall.  The world is sliding to work in their cold cars, cranky people are complaining about being cold, and Sage and I are catching snowflakes in our eyelashes.  It's a beautiful thing.

Did I mention that I love running?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy "Beer Mile" Halloween

SPOILER!!!!: I won!

...Let's go back, let's go back... Let's Tarantino this s***...

The HUMR beer mile is usually on Cinco de Mayo.  This year it wasn't, or rather it was and I made a poor showing (or never left the BBQ portion of the beer mile)... Anyway, the HUMRs decided to have a second beer mile to coincide with Halloween.  This is a great idea!  This way we aren't just a bunch of grown adults standing around in our superman costumes doing nothing...we are competing here!

So, I have always said that this is my one allotted DNF for the year.  The first year I competed, I had just raced, PR'ed, and placed ninth overall in the Ogden Marathon...I was a super light weight and not feeling very competitive.  I drank one beer, jogged 0.25 miles and sat down to ring cowbell.

Second beer mile?  See paragraph one.

This year?  I planned to DNF, but then my competitive nature kicked in and I decided to come up with a strategy.  I took a look around and saw that there were four females that would be competing and I just figured that I was bigger than every one of them.  My plan: take it slow, sip, and wait for my competition to start feeling crappy.

I was in dead last for my first lap, and slowly crept up in the field.  I wasn't really paying attention to the men's race...they are gross and guzzle and don't mind puking.  I do.  Around lap 3 I passed Curtis and by the beginning of lap 4, two females had dropped and it was between Breein and I.  I felt great, by the way.

I guzzled my last beer and left Breein in the dust and the rest is history.
It's all about the prize.  When I saw the crown, I needed the crown.

Monday, October 7, 2013

I love my Pearl Izumi M2s!

So, I feel that I need to share with the world my love of the new Pearl Izumi M2 and N2 series.  Since mid summer I have been running exclusively in the N2 Trail and M2 Road shoes.  Not only are the colors so much fun, the shock absorption rocks!  Choose the N2 for a little more trail feel and the M2 for more cushion.  I started to break in the purple and red M2's two weeks before my first 100-miler.  Unfortunately, life got in the way and I only had the chance to run in them twice.

Mile 75 of The Bear 100.
**I know... you're scared to hear what happened to my feet...**

NOTHING happened to my feet (aside from one of the smallest blisters I have ever recieved on my big toe)!!  This, let me asure you is nothing short of a miracle since I am a blister girl.  I have odd shaped feet and thought that I would have carnage for sure.  Nothing.  I just thought I would share!  Pearl Izumi's trail shoes are rocking right now!  Check them out!

That is all...carry on.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Bear 100: Oh snap!!!!

I AM SO GLAD THAT I AM NOT STARTING THIS POST WITH A "I dnf'ed"!!!!  Because, I have to tell you, that is ALL I thought about for the first 29 miles.  BUT, spoiler alert, I FINISHED my first 100 mile race and IT ROCKED!

(OK, enough caps...I just had to get that out)

It is true.  My first 29 miles of the Bear 100 were plagued with negative thoughts, break-up calls to my pacers to explain that I wouldn't be needing their services, Facebook DNF posts, and standing in front of my 60 students to tell them that I dropped out of my race.  I tried to reason that a 50K would be a good day, and perhaps I could continue to 50, and that is also a hard ultra distance.  GOSH, the negative thoughts just flowed and flowed.  I believe that this was a product of nerves, freezing cold temperatures, and hard terrain (although I didn't really feel like it was hard...it must have just been taxing on my body).

Let us back up a tad (sorry...) to the night before.  Dang, it was cold, but after having shaking hands until 11AM on Thursday I vowed to go zen.  So, when I arrived at packet pick-up and put on two down jackets I floated (all zen-like) to grab my t-shirt and race bib.  All of the usual suspects were in attendance and some of them were complaining...I stopped listening.  I knew it was going to be cold and I was prepared.  I woke up extra early, took all of my t-shirts and shorts out of my bag and packed everything warm that I owned (NO JOKE).
So excited for the big day!
We went out for dinner and I was quiet.  Kelly Agnew must have picked up on this because he remarked," I so want to give you crap right now, but want you to do well..."  Blah, blah, blah... I wanted to kick his butt, but was too nervous to talk smack.  After dinner, Nick and I drove to the starting line and camped in the back of his pick-up.  We slept great and work up an hour before the start.  I was nervous, but collected, and that was basically my game plan for the first 20 miles.
Hanging out at the start.
The gun went off and we jogged down the street to the big first climb and I started to walk.  I hiked all the way up that first climb, hanging out with Amie Blackham and Jeremy Suwinski...they were very nice to let me hang out with them, as I didn't know what the heck I was doing.  It was so very cold and the running gloves with hand warmers weren't enough!  The views were fabulous, but I was really too cold to stop moving too long.

Enter negative thoughts.  I told myself to save my iPod until mile 20 and I was left with my head.  Oh, boy.  I saw Nick (crew chief awesomeness) at mile 20 and he asked how I was doing.  I told him that my legs didn't feel like they had any energy and that my hips were tight...also, that I was waiting to start having fun.  He told me to suck it up (nicely) and that he would see me in 9 miles.

Me, probably laughing at Forrest's jokes.
Enter negative thoughts with crappy iPod music.  Saw Nick at mile 29.  Same questions, same answers but with "this music sucks!!!"  Nick handed me my BEAR 100 Clutch Moment #1: an iPod of his music that I knew he was making for me and I huge thermos of coffee.  What I didn't know was that this iPod had phone calls from family, friends, and loved ones giving messages of love, encouragement, and inspiration (oh, and some funny jokes).  I heard from my grandma, Mom, Forrest and Pam, Colin, Chris and Cait, BJ, Scott Jaime, and Nick's grandma and mom.  Between crying and laughing, and COFFEE, I zoomed into the next aid station and THAT is how my roughest miles occurred at mile 1-29.

ADORABLE!  AND I got a hug!
BEAR 100 Clutch Moment #2:  I have the most amazing friends ever who bring adorable little girls with pompoms and are so helpful and I wanted to kiss you all, but my lips and face were full of Gu.  Thank you Curtis, Debbie, Lane, Cory, and all of the other lovely people I knew at aid stations.
Happy girl with the best crew chief in the world!
BEAR 100 Clutch Moment #3:  I picked up Ryan at mile 51.  Apparently, I was on pace for a 24 mile finish and Ryan was just barely able to make it up to the aid station in time.  Thankfully, I was running with Nick's SPOT because he could see exactly where I was and that things had changed since mile 29.  I had been looking forward to running with my friends and, of course, Ryan was pumped for me and also to see the beautiful views.  He made me stop to smell the roses and for that I am so grateful.  I think that this was the most beautiful part of the course.  The colors were practically fluorescent with white snow brushing the mountain sides.

Big hugs!
Ryan complemented me, saying that I was really moving well, but I was doubtful.  I guess this is a good time to say that my goal was to be done before lunch on Saturday (a 30-hour finish) and TO FINISH!  I mostly brushed Ryan off, reminding him that I'm just here to finish, though I was glad to be doing well.

Weather update:  Also, BEAR 100 Clutch Moment #4: I thought that it felt warmer.  I was moving just fine and only got cold at aid stations.  At mile 51, I changed my entire outfit for the second time so that I wouldn't have any sweat on me and this strategy was working well.

Food update: Also my race strategy: Also, BEAR 100 Clutch Moment #5: EAT!  I was eating Gu like a super woman!  My stomach was strong and only bothered me after eating at aid stations for about 45 minutes.

Running with Ryan was good.  I had some tired moments, but Ryan reminded me to eat while I felt good, fed me mints (like an angel), and encouraged me to drink a 5-hour energy.  As with the entire race up to this point, I ran the flats and downhills and walked uphills.  It wasn't until we started to descend into mile 75 (Beaver Lodge) that my left knee started to bother me.  We precariously tip-toed into mile 75.

Breein medicating.
BEAR 100 Clutch Moment #6:  Harrison: pacer #2.  That stinker looked jacked up on caffeine from the moment I saw him! I knew I was in trouble...more on that in a second.

Harrison Bootcamp.  Where's the whip?!
Beaver Lodge brought lots of friends, including Forrest and Breein who made the drive to say hi and see the finish!  FUN!  Breein helped me with my legs pains, while way too many people offered food, etc.  I don't mean this in a bad way (I feel loved), but I now know why 100-miler runners look at me with a blank look as I offer food...they are overwhelmed.  They have just been in the wilderness for far too long...

So off we go and right away Harrison starts check his watch.  Poor guy.  Basically, Harrison kept me company and milked every last ounce of desire to run out of me and did a great job motivating.  At this point my legs were aching and had some serious general fatigue.


We somehow managed to make it to mile 92, where I picked up Nick, who I love, but I will not pretend like this was the BEAR 100 Clutch Moment... Nope.  Nick's time brought tears.  We had a brutal climb out of this aid station and then a very hurtful and mean descent into the finish, with one sneak ascent (NOT NICE!).  I wasn't very nice to Nick and none of his motivating strategies worked and I lost a lot of time.  But this is not his fault.  My legs hurt and I reasoned that this could be the worst pain I have ever felt.
I did finally get to the finish where my loved ones awaited and I could lay down.  That was awesome!
Finish line party?

We pulled over so I could puke on the way home and the ever punctual Jodi and Alyssa pulled over, ran toward me, exclaiming, "We saw your car...we want a hug!"  Which I think means, "We saw you yacking, we are not sure if we want a hug anymore..."  We went out for water and I relived the story for the first time and it was awesome.

I wore my best buckle to work today and told my students all about my adventure and they think I'm cool.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ramblings of a Soon-to-be-100-miler on Taper

So, I basically ran out of Nick's truck last night (we drove back from Steamboat Springs, CO yesterday), jumped into the car with Sagey Pup, and hit the trails.  I was a little agitated.  I wondered why and this is what I came up with...

Short answer: I'm tapering. And I'm nervous.

Weird things have been happening to me during the last week... and I have two more weeks to go before the big day.  I tell myself not to get too nervous and that I am going to be just fine.

Weird thing #1:  I have done more tempo work in the last week than I have all summer.  I am sore.  I need to roll out.  I feel like I am trying to prove to myself that I am fit.  All the while knowing that speed alone will not help me finish this race, but mental toughness and grit.

Weird thing #2: I find myself imagining crossing the finish line at The Bear.  Passing bikers and runners must think I'm crazy because I am overwhelmed with pride and joy and am smiling as big as absolutely possible.  Oh well.  Eventually that feeling passes and I am nervous again.

Weird thing #3: Breathe in: I'm nervous, breathe out: I'm ok, breathe in: I'm nervous, breathe out:... UGH!!!!!!

Harrison, Sage and myself.
I realize that my work is done, the money is in the bank, and that, in the words of my pacers, I am physically ready, it's the mental part that will be difficult.  I tell myself that I WANT THIS BAD.  I am getting good sleep, taking good care of myself, avoided injury, and am ready!  But then I breathe in.
Hopefully Breein can make it to the finish, but the crew is all pictured here plus Jodi.
I am so lucky and am looking forward to sharing this experience with three of the best friends a girl could have.  Ryan and Harrison are bringing their experience to mile 45 and beyond.  They are great runners and care about my goal.  Lovely Nick will be taking me the last 8 miles into the finish.  I am sure I will be emotional by then.  My good friends Jodi and Alyssa will be coming to the finish line with Sagey Pup so I can give her (and them) big hugs!

I have the best friends and I get to share this with them.  That is really exciting.

Monday, August 12, 2013

El Vaquero Loco 50K

Course Profile
So this is the image I went into the weekend with.  My thoughts: this is a mini Speedgoat/at least it's not Softrock.  Ultrasignup.com estimated that I would finish 3rd (for females) in 7:33 (?), so I thought "why not?!"  In my head I came up with three goals: 1) Finish in 3rd at or around 7 hours, 2) Don't kill myself, 3) Smile and make sure I'm having fun.  OK.  Here goes.

BJ at the Beer Mile.  Trophy (that did not happen) inspiration
Nick and I arrived in Afton, WY just in time to eat our dinner and grab our awesome swag!  The hoodies utilized B.J.'s beer mile silhouette, so everyone instantly loved them.  In the back of my mind I started to think about a matching trophy...again with B.J.'s beer mile silhouette.  This, I thought, would only make sense and would be treasured for years to come and would serve as motivation for the second half of the race.  (In Lindsay's words) SPOILER!: No trophies were handed out.

I started the race off easy, unlike in the Speedgoat 50K two weekends prior.  My plan was to take the first half easy and eat every 45 minutes, take 1-2 salt tabs every hours and DRINK!  I did this well.  Beyond my fueling a only remember a few things from the first half of the race.  Here goes:

 Photo courtesy of Lindsay Lauck Photography
1) BEAUTIFUL COURSE!  The glacier lakes were a tease. They were clear, light teal and refreshing looking.  We ran through a few streams that felt great on my feet.
2) Mini-Speedgoat profile didn't feel nearly as bad as Speedgoat.  Perhaps it was because I was eating.  It wasn't necessarily as cool because the sun did come out in full force.
3) High school cross country athletes need to be chaperoned on courses like this and will be hurting for at least a week.
4) I tweaked my ankle on the descent to the turnaround and thought I had significant damage.

Alpine Lake at 9500ft: Photo courtesy of Lindsay Lauck Photography
I descended into mile 16 (the turnaround) and ran right to Lane and Steve's truck.  I told them that I needed to check out my ankle and there was nothing there!  Sweet!  There goes that excuse.  As I was re-shoeing, Ryan ran into the aid station along with the 4th place female (which Lane and Steve let me know).  They said that #2 wasn't too far ahead of me and that if I hurried, I could catch her.

In my mind, I knew I didn't have any fire to spark a chase if I couldn't see her (after all, I had killed myself at Speedgoat two weeks ago), but I did want to keep #3.  I knew this girl's style from the beginning of the race and knew that I was a stronger climber.  With a longer climb in the second half, I knew that if I could put enough distance on her that she couldn't see me I could pull it off.  And so I did.

I ran with Ryan for a little bit and then played leap frog with Kendall for awhile before he left me in the dirt. Things I remember from the second half:

1) Whew!  It was hot.
2) I kind of like passing 25K runners.  Sorry.
3) I was handing out salt tabs to cramping runners left and right.
4) I briefly thought I was going to die of thirst and then the finish line appeared out of NO WHERE!
At least I was making this face...photo courtesy my mean friends
I plucked my ear buds out to make sure that it wasn't a mirage and indeed I was entering the finish area.  My friends were there to cheer and heckle me into the finish.  They even took a horrible photo...they never claimed to be good photographers.

I finished in 6:47, third female, 15th overall.  Not too bad for a day's work.  I promptly went into the lake for an ice bath and to wash the salt from my face.  A few final notes:

1) Lane and Steve are stellar people and provide A+ aid stations!  Many thanks for their care and concern.
2) I love my new Pearl Izumi N2's.  I had only run in them 1-2 times before this race and they treated my feet well!  Flashy colors too!!
3) The Salt River mountain range is AWESOME.
4) I'm tired and have been travelling a lot.  I miss my dog.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Speedgoat 50K

Well, this was my year to run the infamous Speedgoat.  I first volunteered for this race in 2010 when I first started getting into the IDEA of running ultras and thought it looked hard.  In 2012 I was ready to race, but was plagued by a healing stress fracture that would surely get worse running the ups and downs of this course.  By this time I had a good idea of what type of pain was being handed out by this race and it's director, Karl Meltzer.  This year it was my turn and while my friends thought I was crazy and constantly reminded me of the brutality, it was decidedly one of the races I would dedicate myself to.  I could handle the pain...at least it wasn't Softrock, right?

The morning of the race I wasn't nervous.  I knew it would hurt and just wanted to give it a solid effort, so off we went!
The first ascent up to Hidden Peak went really well.  I ran and hiked, keeping up with some familiar faces.  I frequently saw Nick in switchback above me, but had no idea where my other friends were.  I ended up topping out at Hidden Peak (~mile 8.5) in a little over 2 hours.  I felt strong and was informed that I was the second HUMR up the hill.  Cool!  That felt good.  I saw Jo, Karen, Jim, Alyssa, Aric, Zach, and many other beloved faces.  I was charged and, as such, I charged down the hill to the pretty part!  I was very much looking forward to racing through the flowers.

BJ and Lori were in the flowers snapping photos.  I remember commenting on BJ's epic mustache being my favorite in the whole wide world and ran off without listening to his response.  I know, I can sometimes be awkward.

Running down into Larry's Hole went fine, as did down into American Fork, oh, except for the boulder filler rock bed.  It was during this tragic and terrible technical descent that Ryan flew past me like a bowling ball going at least a million miles an hour.  Perfect.  That knocked my confidence down, but Ryan is cool...he's allowed to pass me.

Roch Horton was down in Mary Ellen and this is when it started to drizzle.  Roch proclaimed over his kingdom of volunteers to "treat me like royalty" and I got the worst Popsicle flavor (orange) and ran off.  The ascent out of American Fork was slow and full of deceit.  I would feel like we had to be at the top and then we would have another climb.  It was during this time that I felt others were gaining momentum and I was stagnant.  One or two girls that I had been running with had left the aid station before me and a new girl I hadn't seen before left me in the duct.  Perfect.  Girls were not allowed to pass me, but I guess they didn't get the memo.  At any rate, Larry's hole the second time through was fine.  I was informed that I was running around 9th or 10th woman, but know I didn't have enough in my legs to put up a fight to the finish.

At this point I realized that I have probably been under eating and drinking.  I think the fact that aid stations were close together, but up mountain (and therefore took a long time to get to) really messed up any eating/drinking "strategy" I might have contemplated.  I realized this when my legs didn't necessarily hurt, but felt empty and devoid of energy.

Two miles to the tunnel brought be up Baldy and Amie Blackham passed me.  She obviously didn't get the memo, but she is awesome and duly forgiven ;-)  The "run" up baldy was about a step per 2 seconds.  There was no trail to speak of and I almost fell backward a couple times.  Amie (and others that passed me) hiked SO strong!  Note to self: More climbing is needed in my weekly routine!

This was my darkest hour.  I thought about quitting.  I wanted to place higher in the women's field.  I contemplated the advice my good friend, Breein, gave me the night before the race... to remember why I race; to have fun.  Was I having fun?

As I approached the summit I hear Lori and Lindsay cheering for me and was so truly happy to see them.  After the HUMR photo shoot I confided in Lindsay my devious plans and physical distress.  I forgot who said it, but one of these beautiful people said, "You can't quit, you're our girl!"  And that was that.  Good point.  So, I pulled up my big girl panties and headed down the trail.  I love this part of the course.  See epic picture with awesome weather and Aric the Sasquatch below.

At the tunnel I ran into Renee, Katherine, and Shane Martin.  Shane said something profound and inspirational (or maybe I was just thinking about him finishing Hardrock 100 not too long ago) and off I went with a Popsicle in hand.

The decent down two miles was forgettable, except for one instance that proved Scott Jaime right...re: women peeing on the trail.  The ascent up Ridge trail was difficult, but pretty awesome.  I passed a few guys and felt confident as I have hiked this trail a few times...I knew what was coming next.  100 yards (or so) before the summit I ran into beautiful Breein and "Dud to stud" Jared and they kept me company to the top where they informed me that they were waiting for someone else to run in.  Typical.

At this point I knew I could beat my goal of sub 8 hours, but I'd have to run it in.  It was too cold up at Hidden Peak and no one (Larry Adams) wanted to give this sweaty, stinky girl a hug (I was elated to see everyone).  Thanks Jim and Karen!  Off I went down the mountain.  I saw Lori one last time on the way down, but basically ran strong.  I few crazy guys passed me a crazy descents going way too fast for their own good, but I also caught another.  This is cake.  I've practically forgotten my sorrows and am dead set on a finisher's medal, cold PBR, and pizza, OH and a chair.

I finished right at 8 hours.  My watch says sub and official says 30 seconds over.  That's 8 hours in my world.  Thank you to all that supported me with cheers and love on Saturday.  You make the race and bring such job to my heart!

P.S.  I did have fun!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pagosa Springs: Act I & II

Let me set the scene:

When my good friend Kenzie informed me that her wedding was going to be in Pagosa Springs, CO, I swiftly began to Google to see if any races were going on the same weekend.  I knew it was a long shot, but lo and behold there was a trail marathon that morning.  The Turkey Track Trail Marathon. http://www.joingecko.org/info.asp?uid=313  After confirming that the wedding would be in the evening, I registered Nick and I for the race...we're making the most of this vacation.  (Aside:  I know I'm not the only person that does this, but I do believe that this is a problem... Oh well, we all have our issues.)

We drove to Moab, UT Thursday night, set up a tent, woke up with the sun and set off to Durango, CO.  After a bit of cowboy shirt and trail shoe shopping, we continued on to Pagosa.  It was a beautiful drive!!!

YEA!  The race starts at 8AM...we'll come back to this later...

The plan was for Nick to run with Sage so that I didn't have to worry about poop scooping, etc... and I could race it.  The race was all single-track through pines, meadows, and aspen trees, but with no scenery climax (...like a mountain overlook..).  This was fine, though.  Single track within the first 6 miles of a race can be challenging, but we all settled in eventually.  I was following a female without any water or handhelds, so I thought for sure she would be done after one lap, but when we hit mile 13 and flipped around I could see she was heading back out, too.  This was a cool way to see where the field was and how spread out everyone was.  I was in fourth place (female) about 0.5 miles behind 3rd female with 5th and 6th within 0.7 of me.  But as most marathons go, mile 13 re energized me and the count down began!  

Mile 13-19 was strong and fun!  I didn't pass anyone, but there was no way anyone was going to catch me, either.  Mile 19 brought an AS with the most adorable older adults with cold, wet towels.  After the milking that towel for all it was worth, I was ready to finish strong (...so I thought).  I did just fine until mile 22.  At this point I was closing in on noon and it was HOT!  These trees offered spotty shade, as in no real shade. I did my best to drink as much as possible, but I feel like I probably could have used much more COLD water and more salt.  The last four miles were pitiful and I am not proud, but I ended up finishing strong and placing 3rd overall female, 1st in age group (one of the top girls got lost).  Basically until mile 22 I was on point to finish in a 3:50, but ended up at 4:07.  Oh well.  
Nick finished within 20 minutes with one tired pup and we gorged ourselves on popsicles and ice water... There was beer and burgers, but it was a little difficult to eat in that heat!  PLUS, we had to get to a wedding!
Wash dog in hotel tub.  Filthy!!!  Wash self in shower.  Filthy!!! But, clean up nicely, huh?
Photo: Such a beautiful wedding, but not too serious...
PhotoThe wedding ceremony was lovely.  It was on Kenzie's Family's property with a river and lake, complete with EPIC rope swing for drunk wedding goers and bonfire pit.  We last until 10PM...basically right after we ate dinner and hopped on the shuttle to head back to the hotel.  CRASH.

The End.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pacing (literally) Bryce 100

As it usually does, pacing this past weekend went great.  Harrison did, in fact, run me into the ground, but I was able to keep up and literally paced his race from mile 66 on. I saw Harrison at mile 25.5 (Blubber Creek AS) and he and Jon were looking strong.  By the next time I saw them (Mile 50) both boys looked a little worked and I had the sense that Harrison had a rough patch sometime between 25.5 and 50, as often happens during these distances.  

PhotoPhotoPhoto: Blubber Creek (25.5).

Around 9PM (plus or minus), Harrison's mom received a text from Kathleen in Pennsylvania relaying the message that Harrison was feeling good, was 2 miles out, and not to go easy on him.  "OK!"  I readied my hydration pack and started mentally preparing for a long night (AKA downed 16oz of coffee/hot cocoa).  The boys did look good and headed out.  We were to see Harrison's parents at mile 90.

Harrison and Jon were a pleasure (ish) to pace.  They are like Tom and Jerry chit chatting back and forth (not as much as usual).  I felt a little left out (mostly because I was listening to music in one ear...a tactic to lessen the blow of the sound of vomiting), but realized I probably didn't want to know what they were talking about anyway.  Harrison did exactly as he said he would; latch right on to my pace and Jon did the same to Harrison.  I fell in the dust once (the boys did not) and I got us lost once (the boys found us).  GREAT job, right?  To be fair, we didn't get too far off course and it WAS marked poorly at a sharp left turn.

Proctor Canyon was mile 80 (ish) and by this time Harrison was feeling a little sick and didn't want to wait around the AS very long.  He was now running on broth, Mountain Dew, and Lifesaver mints.  We left Jon caring for his battered feet and off we went!  I will say that Harrison and I RAN all flats and downhills.  I can honestly say that.  We hiked some seriously sneaky uphills.

After a serious climb we descended into King's Campground where Sami woke from a nap by the fire and Harrison's dad met us.  A few quiet words were spoken between them and off we went.  This next section was HARD.  There was about 5 miles uphill, followed by what was supposed to be a 5 mile descent into the finish.  Poor Harrison...  I counted down the miles for him and when the finish line didn't come in any sort of timely fashion after my "1 mile left!" proclamation WE were ticked.  At this point we had no idea how much further we had to go, so Harrison tucked behind me and we ran.

All in all, Harrison was a rock star and I will give myself some credit for a job well done pacing.  We passed some serious people and they never passed us back!  Harrison ended up finishing in 9th place with a 24:34.  His goal was a sub-24, but, by my watch, the course was 4 miles long.  Matt Gunn claims 2, but I'm sticking with 4...maybe it was the little bit we were lost that put us over.  In my mind, Harrison accomplished greatness!

Other stuff:

  • Dust was everywhere!  Sage was Pigpen from Charlie Brown and got a bath in the lake prior to leaving
  • My shins hurt from sunburn
  • I am still catching up on sleep
  • That is all.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Thoughts of a Pacer

First and foremost, being a pacer is a privilege.  
  • If you are CHOSEN to pace, that means that:
    • You are either:
      • motivating
      • funny
      • a good friend, or
      • not too annoying to spend exorbitant amounts of time with in the middle of the night
    • You are fast enough to either:
      • keep up, or
      • push the pace
  • Expectations:
    • Stay up all night long and still be enthusiastic
    • Have tricks up your sleeve
    • Bring yummy snacks
Above all, in this sport, pacing is a training run, group get-together, all-night party, and YET ANOTHER character building activity (...as if we haven't attained enough of those!!).  With Bryce 100 right around the corner, I am starting to pull together buckets of rubbing alcohol, sponges, glow-in-the-dark bracelets, cow bells, bear-shaped cookies, and camping gear.  I am worried that I won't have enough to talk about, won't be the best cheerleader I can be, and won't be able to keep up (...all of which I know are unfounded...).  

Does anyone else get as nervous about pacing as I do?  This is a lot of pressure!!  I hope Harrison likes mints.

(p.s. I will be pacing Harrison the last 33 miles late Friday night through Saturday morning and I am so excited!!!!  He will do great and I will try my best not to blow too many snot rockets.)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Timp Trail Marathon Weekend

Timp Trail Marathon was the weekend after Ogden Marathon last year.  Last year I P.R.ed at Ogden and ran a 3:11, was on the leader board, and then set a 45 minute course record at Timp the following weekend.  I was on one.  Then I was off!  Most of your know that those two races resulted in a stress fracture in my foot that put me on the sidelines and immortalized me as the best crew person in the world (or atleast I like to think so...).                       

Needless to say, I was a little gun shy entering Timp this year.  My plan was to take it easy and run with friends, but Nick sprinted off without me.  Left to my own devices I would have to deal with my competitiveness and run my own race.  

I should probably mention that it was 50 degrees and raining at the start (not super motivating) and I was too nervous to eat.  At any rate, off we went and I had a pretty solid 13 mile in 2 hours.  Around mile 11 I did think that I was going to freeze to death until I took off my soaked arm warmers and gloves.  My Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Jacket dries much faster in between downpours than the "warmers" underneath it could.  At this point I thought that I was in 3rd place for females and I was okay with this (remember, my goal was to take it easy and not get a stress fracture).  I tried to stay solid through the canyon, which was absolutely beautiful, walking steep parts and jogging flats.  Last year 2-3 males caught me through the middle section, so I was a little paranoid.  

In my mind, it wasn't until mile 15(ish) or the waterfall crossing that the mud situation began...  And it was  MUD SITUATION!  If you weren't running through puddles, you were weighing your shoes down with 10 pounds of clay mud.  If your shoes weren't cakes in mud while running, they were caked in mud while you were attempting to climb hills and clawing at the brush to help you along.  If anyone asks, mud added at least 20 minutes to my race time and I'm sticking to it!!

Through the freezing rain and mud I actually felt pretty solid the last 6-10 miles!  The mud, though difficult, probably conserved some energy and I was brimming with it at the end.  I ended up finishing 10 minutes (ish) behind the first place woman, and Amie Blackham was 5 minutes (ish) behind me.  I know you are all wondering about my record: still stands!  The first place woman was about 15 minutes off and in the words of Seth Hales, my record is "stout".  I do love this race.  I think to do well you need leg speed for the first have and that you achieve your place before the big ascent at mile 12.  If you stay solid during the rest, you will maintain your place!

At the blog title suggests, this is a story of the weekend...
Harrison had invited me to join him for his last long run before racing Bryce 100 in two weeks, so I drove up to Ogden the next morning, tired but feeling basically fine.  I had a great time chasing down Jon and Harrison with BJ pushing from behind!  We ended up with a pretty solid 16 miler from 22nd St. to Beus, up the canyon, and back.  Jon led the group up Beus where our muscles were strained (more uphill?!?!?!), leg were slashed (literally; bloody scratches today), and our skirts (ok, just mine) were frayed (LOTS of scrub oak!!).  

I went home, got in the hot tub, ate, and took a nap.  My legs were dead!

Lessons learned this weekend:
  1. Mud bogs beat dust bowls.  Mud is fun!
  2. Jim is a great friend to drive all the way down to Provo to see a finish in the rain!
  3. A good friend is someone that runs you into the ground even if you don't deserve it.  Thanks to Harrison, Jon, and BJ.