Tuesday, October 11, 2016

So yesterday I ran 50 miles. Why?

My sister and I trained for about 6 months - all winter for this Ice Age 50 Mile race. We hit every long run, pretty much followed the schedule she found online for us to a T.. The longest weeks we ran around 70 miles. the 2 longest weeks were Tuesday 4 miles, Wednesday 12 Miles, Thursday 6 miles, Saturday 35 Miles (One of the weeks we did 35 on the road, the other week we did a 50k on trails, The Earth Day 50k) followed by a 12 mile run on Sunday. It was challenging. Knowing however that 35 was the longest run we had done at one time and we would still have 15 more miles to go all on trails on race day was disturbing.  I tried to push those thoughts out of my head though, knowing that for my first marathon I ran 20 miles and still had 6 to go, and knowing that our schedule had worked for many others. Race day was getting close, a week before the race during taper period I was feeling pretty fat and grumpy... My sister was checking the weather every day, I didn't actually know where the race was till about 2 days before race day, I kind of relied on her for all that since the race was her idea... She said that the weather said rain the whole week of the race and on race day. This was not good news, mud is not my friend, especially for 50 miles. Thankfully the weather changed. We headed out Friday around 3:30 to get our Packets at White Water Fishery. We had never been to a Fishery... It was cool. We got our shirts and were pleased that they only said 50 miles, not 50 miles/50k... Then we waited for a table at the Fishery, had a awesome Wisconsin Coffee Stout while we waited, then dined on amazing fresh Salmon, pasta and french bread. It was very good.

We headed 20 minuets to the hotel (Hampton in) checked in, got our gear ready and were asleep by 9:30 (too late I think since we had to be up at 4:15 at the latest). It was hard to fall asleep, it was like being a kid again on Christmas eve... but no presents... Finally I did fall asleep but woke up around 3:45 pretty much wide awake. I went down for coffee and some annoying guys were sitting around the breakfast table - they had been up all night drinking and were clearly annoying the desk lady for the hotel... They kept trying to talk to the racers as they walked by... it was kinda stupid, they should have gone back to their room.. A bunch of serious athletes who had been training for 5-6 months for this day and a group of drunk guys who had never gone to sleep the night before was not a good combination.

My sisters Cosine Stormy picked us up at 4:40 and we headed to the start, both my sister and I scanning our brains trying to think of something we forgot... Stormy had wanted to get to the race an hour early because they said "parking was limited". It was true, lots of people were already their, and the first lot was almost full at 5am, we got a great spot, and enjoyed having the car so close to everything, although I was pretty grumpy about having to go so early to start with, in the end it was a good call.

At the start we got our drop bags in the proper piles and milled around, getting ready... I ate a 200 calorie breakfast bar and part of a half rotten banana (complements of my sister). Anticipation was building, I studied the map a little... waited... finally it was time to line up, I had my camel back about 3/4 way full, 5 gels, wireless head phones... Run keeper was started and paused ready for me to move. They recognized the runners who had run the race 20+ years in a row (wow), sang the national anthem and we were off. The trails were beautiful. No mud, soft dirt, great temperature... perfect. The first 10ish mile look was pretty easy (compared to was was to come) We walked up the hills, and had a decent pace. We crossed the finish heading the other direction, and I tried to push the thoughts I was having about having to run 40 more miles before I got to cross this again away. The next section of trails was 10 miles out, and 10 miles back. It was rough and rocky and full of "mountains". We continued to walk up the hills and push forward. I started feeling tired at mile 15 and mentally threw rocks at the little devil in my head telling me I had 35 miles to go. He left and I continued trotting down the trail after taking 3 ibprofins. The aid stations and volunteers were awesome. I ate a lot of food. PB&J squares, chips, oreo cookies, mt. dew, coke, ginger-ale, water, sports drinks, gummy bears, boiled potatoes and salt.. stuff like that. I think I fueled pretty well, and hydrated well for the whole race. I fell twice, the first time I of course landed right on my previously fractured wrist, that kept my mind off my other aches and pains for a while, the other time I rolled, and when I stopped rolling my calf rewarded me with a major cramp... My sister fell once, It's un usual that i fall more than her... The 20 miles of trails were very technical, but also very beautiful. One section that was pretty rock and hill free was a long stretch with pine trees, the kind that only have branches near the top, providing us a canopy above, and a pine needle cushioned worn path below, it was awesome. Other parts of the trails had hills with switch backs, rough down hill stretches with many rocks to pick our way around or over. We talked to a lot of people along the way, thats always one of the fun parts of races. No ones watches were working properly, mine was about 2 miles off, so many hills and turns the GPS could not keep track of us.
The views on the top of the hills were awesome, some with lakes, barns, trees... Some of the valleys with meadows and lakes, some forest with sparkling ponds. They really were some of the most beautiful trails I have run through (Not counting mountain trails of course). At the end of the 10 miles we headed back, it seemed like we had not just run those trails, It was hard to see even a quarter of the trails we were running on because most of the time I was watching for rocks and roots, so going back the way we came was like running down a compleatly new train pretty much.

The second out and back was similar to the 1st, maybe a little easer, i'm not really sure. I had been looking forward to getting to mile 35 because after that it would be my farthest. After mile 30 it seemed to take hours to get to mile 35. I can't say much of what I saw after mile 35, it's kind of a blur, I ran, I walked, I ate, I drank - repeat. I almost cried a few times over I don't know what. I had some people entourage me along the way which helped a lot. One guy that I had talked to perviously caught up to me and said I was doing great, I said thanks, and he said Seriously, I mean it, I have been in your shoes before (first 50m) and this is the best part (we were 5ish miles from the finish) He broke the last 5 miles of the race down for me, said that I was not running with my legs anymore, but with my heart.... I was focussing on the Prize (the finish) and the mini prizes (the aid stations) all I had to do was run and push myself forward during the flat parts, walk up the hills, and get to that next aid station to refuel. the 3rd to last aid station was at a horse trail place, one of the guys I had been running with for a while caught up to me their, and we ran for a while together after that, he was having IT band problems, and talked me out of thinking we had a long way to go (seeing the mile marker 43.3 seemed awful, but a little over 6 miles to the end was not so bad... it was 4 miles to the next aid station, the longest 4 miles of my life. Finally I arrived, and after that station it was only .9 miles to the next. At that aid station I was all alone one guy at the station said "Only 1.5 miles left, thats no problem" I promptly sat down and said "no, that is a problem" He tried not to laugh and said that it was only 6 laps around the track... I don't know what i said but i feel like it didn't make much sense... I thanked them, and headed out again. I heard a couple people arrive at the aid station after me, which spurred me on, I didn't want anyone else to pass me on the last 1.5. One girl did pass me, but thats ok, the 2 guys behind me kept me going, they were close and no way would I walk now. I ran the last 1 mile up all the hills, people were waiting here and their to cheer us on, that helped me keep moving. When I saw the start I took off, one heavy tight leg after the other, but 2 guys close on my heals. I crossed the finish line in under 11 hours 10 hours 55 minuets or something like that - I guess if you finish in under 11 its like qualifying for Boston in the trail runners world because that means that you can enter in the Western Trails 100 mile race... so I would have had 1 hours and 5 minuets still to do that. My sister and Stormy had gone to get their protein shakes, and were walking to the finish as I stood looking around in bewilderment after getting my belt buckle. I did not feel well, running 50 miles was not agreeable to my body. The pain was not so bad, but I just felt sick. Very sick and could not eat....  I was sad I didn't even want a beer.

After about 40 minuets we headed back the hotel with every intention of staying up and swimming.. that didn't happen, I was asleep pretty much before my sister got out of the shower. We woke up a few times, I was still feeling sick, we discussed getting food around 8pm or so, but kept falling back asleep so didn't get anything till 10:30pm all that was open was Mcdonalds... everything tasted like card board, but I ate and did feel better. We slept again from 11pm - 7am..

I feel much better now. Had a great breakfast, oatmeal, seasoned potatoes, eggs, bisket and gravy... and it didn't taste like card board. Debi hurt her foot, she can barley walk, so I"m driving home because her car is stick shift...

Thats it. I made it. It was a cool race, a tough goal, but all in all a good experience.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Catalina Island Marathon Trip

This winter was a rough winter to train  for a spring marathon in CA - that's for sure. It has been the coldest winter I can remember - and we have had more snow than all but 7 winters since the weather in Illinois started being recorded (rumor has it anyway...). I made the race schedule thinking that the weather would be like previous years & had no idea what was in store for us.

Lots of COLD runs!!!
We ran through -20 degree days for this race... Through a lot of snow, and a lot of wind for this race...Our water froze, our legs were numb & red and I got cold induced hives after finishing most of the training runs for this race.... My feet were numb for miles for this race, I sacrificed sleeping in many Saturdays and Sundays for this race... Came home early from social events for this race... I also had a great time with friends running those training miles through the cold.... saw Eagles flying high in the sky, beautiful snow clinging to the trees, had good conversations as we ran mile after mile....and really.. what else would I have done all winter? ...I though of all those things as I sat on the airplane only one hour after take off, boiling hot, sweating, and sick to my stomach I had already passed out twice (I had never passed out before in my life), and thrown up my breakfast. Every time I opened my eyes it looked as if I was seeing through a frosty windshield and when people talked they sounded far away - I could barley comprehend what they were saying. All that work and there I sat, wondering how I could possibly run the race with something so horribly wrong with me.
Before I got sick

Before things really went down hill on the plain we had already had a rough start. We had to book a hotel by the air port because a snow storm was predicted to come  in that. The hotel's electricity had gone off during the night, so we woke up cold, with no lights and no hot breakfast (I had really been looking forward to the breakfast because the internet reviews said it was really good - Cinnamon rolls! I wanted cinnamon rolls!)  I was also really looking forward to coffee that morning, and till we were on our way out the door to hop on the trolly they only had decaf and I was more interested in the assistance waking up, than a hot beverage. Of course, as we were leaving we passed a hotel employee who was bringing coffee from the dunki'n doughnuts near by - I wanted some so bad - but or course they were just one minute too late.

At the air port we had gotten through security really easily -we were chosen for  a random special line that didn't make you do as much stuff as the other lines - I did however get my hands swiped randomly of course for what ever it is they check for... Then as my bag went through the machine they saw that I had a knife and a quark screw... I did not recall having any of those items in my bag, but sure enough - they were their. My favorite pocked knife at that... it must have fallen in before I left - or perhaps my furry friend Matilda (trusty dog) had planted it there in hopes they would not allow me to travel that day....Ether way they dug through and emptied my carefully packed bag to find them... I was escorted back and power walked all the way underground to a Hilton hotel that had a UPS to mail my forbidden items back to myself - then back I went about as fast as I could walk, thinking we had limited  time. When I got to the line I was of course not randomly chosen for the easy line again - then when I finally got up to the medal detector of course that line closed and the ex ray line opened. I HATE the Ex Ray machine. And of course they found some imaginary weapon on my shoulder - so I was prodded till they found nothing - then finally reunited with my mother and sister who had repacked my bag as best they could and gotten me coffee (finally coffee!!!) We found our gate and I found a place to charge my phone that had not charted the night before because of the power outage. Of course all my rushing was for nothing because of course our flight was delayed an hour...could have been worse though!

I felt just fine as we sailed off into the sky - read my book for a while, then suddenly felt a little of what I though was motion sickness - then I was very very sleepy, and the next time I opened my eyes everyone was staring at me and some guy was saying he was a Doctor. I of course was confused, and didn't know why I was seeing frosty snow flakes all over and said "whats wrong? I just fell asleep..." my mom said, "no! you passed out! your were drooling!" Apparently my mother has not seen me sleep too recently because I am not a beautiful sleeper - my husband may not have had any idea that I had passed out if he were sitting beside me.... But my mom had, and my sister had told a flight attendant that I had passed out, the doctor had heard and then I was shaken awake....or into consciousness... or what ever that is called. The Dr said I should drink water and maybe try to take a nap when I finally started feeling better. So I drank a little water and fell asleep under the watchful eye of my sister and mother & the last thing I heard was my sister saying "just make sure she's still breathing".
I woke up an hour later feeling ok - I talked to my mom a little.... then I was sick again, passed out, and again everyone was watching me when I regained consciousness - major deja vu - the worst one ever . The Doctor came over and sat with me, Out came the blueberry muffin that in all honesty had way too many calories in it anyway.... It had originally been in a nice clear bag with flashy graphics on the packaging - now it was all mush and smelly in the paper bag that had been tucked in the seat pouch in front of me. I never though I would use one of those bags - but was happy I got it out in time. The Dr. took my blood pressure - it was 30/something. VERY low.... He said I needed water. I drank as much as I could with out feeling sick again - the total amount in about 2 hours was 2 liters and I still didn't need to use the bathroom... How I could have been so dehydrated I still do not know. Towards the end of the flight after all that water I started feeling pretty ok - The Dr. took my blood pressure again and it was back to 70/something - pretty normal he said. He said they should call the paramedics to meet us when we landed - and they came in, walked me out of the plane to a waiting wheel chair . I was wheeled away for the first time since I broke my collar bone at age 18.... They checked everything again, blood pressure, blood sugar, attached those sticky things to my chest and legs to check stuff... They though I was fine now, but recommended going to a clinic or they would take me to a hospitable. I didn't want to do that endless I REALLY needed to - so after being cautioned not to drive or do anything strenuous that day we were off to get the rental car as I continued to drink water.

I was very thankful to have my mom and sister with me, and for the Doctor, helpful flight crew & passengers. I hope I never feel that way again & I hope that it was just a combination of dehydration, altitude & my RLS medicine which has a long list of side effects that I had never experanced.

We got into a  shuttle to get the car - A silver Hyundai - with very good breaks that took some getting use to. I had planned on driving and had more experience then my mom and sister with busy traffic, so we decided that since I felt ok I we would go ahead with the plan. I stayed in the right lane for a while - just in case I started feeling sick, but I did not, not yet anyway. We had lunch and headed to our Beverly hills hotel. It was  a Ramada hotel  in west holly wood & was nice enough - no free breakfast, but for a decent price on Hot Wire - and I got $25 off because I down loaded the app. We did have to pay $30 for parking but the convenience of having the car right there with us was worth it, rather than walk a half mile for a $13 parking place.

After we settled in we headed to the hollywood sign walk. It was supposed to be a easy hike.We parked in a gated lot that closed at sunset thinking we had plenty of time for a easy 3 mile

Hiking to Hollywood sign
hike. It of course turned into a very hilly rather tough 5-6 miles hike that we somehow took a wrong turn on the way back and because it was getting late ended in me running down the "mountain" to save the car from getting locked in....
Of course as I came sweating and puffing down the hill to the lot a CA Policeman was there writing us a ticket. My please of "wait! I'm right here" as I ran up were ignored and the ticket continued to be written even after I explained that I ran all the way down, we got lost, were from out of town... etc... etc.. He said since he started writing the ticket there was nothing he could do. Lucky for the guy with the scooter parked next to me that I had held up the officer with my pleas so that he had time to get his scooter out ticket free...But of course my good deed went unrecognized as the scooter guy sped away.

Day one and we had already gotten a ticket - thankfully it was a 68 dollar ticket and not a 200 dollar ticket like the last one my sister and I had gotten in CA 2 years ago.... By the time I squeezed back through the locked gate to look for my sister and mom it was very dark and the coyotes were howling. I was worried because they had called me and had not said anything I could understand, I had heard foot steps and talking in the distance, my imagination got away with me a little as I headed back down the trail, thinking someone had taken them and they had just been able to press call before the phone was knocked down out of their hands... That was not the case though - they were just a little ways down the trail and their only fear had been a coyote that had followed them. 

Our dinner
After that we headed back through the traffic to the hotel - then to trader joe's for some food & drinks... We had no utensils however so we made do with what we had - our hands and pita chips -  tore the bread apart and spread hummus on it with the pita chips. Desperate times... So that was day one. It was a little rough I must say.

Day 2 - Beverly Hills run, Angeles  National Forest hike & Long Beach.
Jackie and I on the hike
We got up around 7am I think and my sister and I headed out for a 4 mile run. It was nice to wear shorts!!! I liked getting used to the weather a little before the race - the bad thing was that I was sore from my hill decent the day before.... So much for resting before the race...
After that we had some more of the sandwich stuff for breakfast, went to a CVS for some stuff & headed to see my old room mate Jackie. After a tour of her house, seeing her cute dog Blueberry,
Beautiful view
 her Boyfriend who writes music, the Avocado tree in the back yard, and her home business JackMac, we headed out- up the foot hills to the mountains in Angeles National forest - about a 45 minute drive from her town -  At Water. We hiked across the creek a bunch of times, then up a big climb to some really pretty views, then
Mom & Debs hiking
back down to a water fall and more creek crossings. A very pretty hike. We headed back up the mountain and it was my moms turn to be sick. She did not look well at all, and I started to think about what we would do if she was not able to walk out of those hills... It would not have been good, however she was able to -
The Tinniest Pinecone
with a few more walk breaks and some water. Once we got to the shade and down hill she was just fine again. We had a nice lunch at a little sandwich place in At Water - they had AWESOME fries... YUM -  and said our good byes to Jackie. We fought the traffic on "the 10" so they call it. Of course our exit to Long beach was closed and we had to go past it through bumper to bumper traffic only to turn around to get the exit on the other side.... took about 45 minutes to get 5 miles - "could have ran faster" my sister and I were thinking the whole time.

The Queen Mary Boat
We got to the Holiday inn down town Long beach - it was nice
 - we got free parking because of this IHG reward card I had used, and 2 breakfast coupons. The free trolley that goes anywhere within three miles from the hotel took us to some shops and we had dinner at a Mexican place and walked along the pier. When we called for the trolley the woman who was driving that night was covering for someones lunch break, so we ended up having to wait out there for 45 minutes.... We were pretty tired when we got back and of course the pool was closed....

 Day 3 - Long Beach to Avalon. Friday. We got up and had a nice breakfast - I had an omelet with Avocados under it! potatoes, toast and coffee. We got packed up and headed out - I mentioned - while checking out of the hotel - about our long wait the 
Sunset Beach
Seal Beach

night before - and got us 3  free coffees... Of course they were all out of coffee and had to make us some fresh coffee - so we had to wait... but it was nice to get more coffee.... We headed off to find Highway One - and then to Sunset beach & seal beach. Then back to Long beach to the Catalina Express! I dropped my mom and sister off at the entrance - and headed to drop the car off. Of course google gave me the wrong address and as I drove around a busy block a couple times, I found the number for the Avis car place in Long beach, and they gave me directions to their actual address. Thankfully it was not far, but was on the top of a parking garage. I drove into the garage and started going around and around - making my way to the top all the time noticing that the clock was ticking faster than I had though it would and if I didn't get a ride back to the ferry FAST I was going to miss my boat! I got to the top and someone met me to look at the car - all was well and I told him my predicament - he replied with "well jump in then!" and off we went. He did inform me on the way to the boat that normally they didn't do drop offs - but since I was a "cute Chicago girl" he would help me out... Good thing I happened to put some make up on that morning and some short shorts! otherwise.. maybe I would have missed the boat, but I doubt it.... Running there was my plan B...

Seal Beach - ready to leave
I walked up right as the end of the line was filing onto the boat, my sister and mother were very relieved as I ran up to the dock. Since we got on so late we did not get window seats - we just left our stuff in the boat though, and headed outside to the front.  It was fun to float by the  Queen Mary boat, and head out to sea. We met a guy named Chris that was running the marathon - it was his 5th time and his favorite marathon to run. We got to see dolphins and whales on the ride to Avalon! it was really cool. I got in trouble for drinking one of my beers that I had stashed in my bag - but it was all good because I had already finished it by the time they noticed :). The 22 mile trip took about one hour and five minutes. When we arrived to Avalon someone from our hotel, Seaside Inn, was waiting in a van for us. We headed to the room - it was small but I knew it would be because when I booked it we had not though of inviting my mom - after we did and she said she would go it was too late to cancel - I suppose I could have changed the room.. but what can I say? I'm cheap. so one bed and an air mattress it was.

The "Casino"

After we settled in we headed off to find the race expo - it was a little tricky to find, but we did eventually find it.... That night we ate at Antonio's Pizzeria.  it was about a half mile from our room and right on the water. We sat outside in one of the booths that were arranged in a single line on the narrow patio next to the water. I got some sort of Fettichini Alfredo with chicken and shrimp, it was really good and came with garlic bread. It was rather pricey - but hey... it' was  vacation! Debi got a white pizza - when it arrived she found the "white"  really just meant that it did not have sauce on it - she actually happens to really like sauce on her pizza and ended up using most of my mom's sauce that she got for her calzone... They were happy with their food, but liked mine better - finally something was going good for me... I got the best food.... We helped each other finish everything and nothing was leftover. After that we walked around a little bit and headed to the room for a glass of wine and to rest up for the race.

Start of the race!
That morning we got up around 4am - I wore my Brooks trail shoes that actually have WAY too many miles on them - but I did not get a chance to break in my new shoes because of my groin injury I got 3 weeks before the race. I spend most of my time biking and water running those last three weeks... SO old brooks 
running up
with 500+ miles on them it was... I figured that it was all nice soft dirt out there to run on so they would not be bad, plus they were proven marathon running shoes since I had already run 2-3 marathon with them. I got a couple bananas and granola bars that were left out for the runners in the kitchen/eating area, gulped down some coffee and we headed down to the boat for our voyage to Two Harbors. My mom saw us off and in a hour or so we made it to the start of the race. 3 buffalo were eating in a pasture by the start - we were wondering if we would see any of the 300 heard during the race, and these 3 were all we saw. 
Someone on the boat had said the year before he had had to jump over a HUGE snake - so we were kinda hoping to see a huge 
snake.... I was feeling just fine so far - not super tired, certainly not ready to faint... All was good and at 7am we got to start. 4 miles... pretty much all up. Debi and I were wondering what we had gotten ourselves into.... It was beautiful at least though... most people were walking up the biggest steepest of the hills so we followed suit - not sure how our Illinois legs would handle all the hills and not sure how our winter body's would handle all the heat, so we decided to be safe and conserve energy as much as possible. the terrain we ran on  was all on nice dirt winding trails 
- up up up - down down down.... a lot of that, from one side of the island to the other. at about mile 13 they started having food available at the aid stations - gummy bares, pretzels, m&m's.... Later a few 
stations had cookies - that was a major pick me up. I drank mostly gator aid at the stations, and kept drinking water from my pack. We had a major case of lead legs right at 
the same time for a while, the heat was beating down on us, and we were wondering if we would even finish in the 8 hour cut of the way we were feeling. We got some Advil at one aid station, and some sun screen at another, and even better - a cookie at another and were feeling MUCH better. after mile 22 I knew we had it and even though I was hurting a bit, I knew how to run the hills better and the hills were more down than up, I also knew that the 
last 3 were all down. We passed a lot of people in the last 4 miles... it was pretty cool. We had a 9 min mile, then a 8:30 mile, then a 8:00 - 
our last mile from 25-26 was a 7:28 mile... our finish time of 5:10 
was certinally not my fastest time, but my last mile was by far my fastest LAST mile of a race - so i'll take it! It was really cool finishing so strong and crossing the line together.... Our "medals" were really cool too - clay  and designed by a local on the island... Very unique. We saw more of her work in shops for sale around the island. After the race we cleaned up had a glass of wine and headed down to find my mom who had just finished a bus tour of the island. She was sad she didn't get to see us finish - but we had no idea we would finish so soon... Our last CA 50k race was 8:01 (for me anyway) but that was a really bad race... 

   We had pizza that night at the Antonios pizza (same owners as the one on the water I think, but smaller and more of a carry out place)- it was delicious. After that we went to shops, and later to Coyote Joe's for some Mexican food. I also had a Guinness - it was St. Patrick's day weekend afterall. My sister and I went out after that for a long island hoping to find some other race finishers - but really didn't have any luck, so we headed back to the hotel.

The next morning we got up to see the sun rise then had a good breakfast at the hotel - oranges, potatoes, eggs & salsa on top (not on the oranges though...) Kayaking was next, and it took a while to persuaded my mom to go - she had never kayaked before, but was glad she decided to go. Ended up being really good, however I would have had more fun if I had not started to feel sick again. I drank 2 16oz waters and felt better, but was still not 100% I was afraid I would faint again or something - and a

kayak would be a bad place for that. We did go pretty far though - we were out for 2 hours and saw lots of fish, dolphins jumping in the distance, a couple of seals pretty close up & leopard sharks swimming around in shallow water near a beach. I also managed to get my mom a free hour for her kayak because it was her birthday in a couple days - and I'm not ashamed to ask for discounts.... I like discounts...

For lunch we had coffee and ice cream at Dessert Island - they had coffee for 50 cents - and it was good coffee too - the ice cream was reasonable too - it was less than $10 for the three of us to all have coffee and a good sized ice cream cone...

Later we went on a submarine boat ride - it was expensive, but cool. They had fish torpedoes you could buy, when you pressed the button the food came out and the fish swarmed around to eat it. Pretty expensive fish food, but not as expensive as my dinner that night.

After that we went into the ocean, and by we, I mean I went into the ocean. My mom sat on a bench and Debi went in about knee high and looked for rocks and shells... It was awfully cold, but I was determined to go in, and after counting to 10 about 10 times I finally told Debi to count to three and down I sunk to my shoulders. It was actually very refreshing.... Glad I went in. I found some shells and rocks too after that and we got out to show them to our mom, realizing we probably had not done that since we were 7 or 8 years old...

For dinner we went to The Lobster Trap - I really wanted some fish! Of course it was pricey as I expected.. but a great experience. My sister got chicken, and my mom got a steak... I got mahi mahi - it was wonderful. It was pan breaded with some sort of really good breading - and topped with a mango salsa. You pick what fish you want then pick how you want it prepared - I asked the server what his favorite was, and was not disappointed. Some of the other preparations were blackened, grilled and several more... I got extra crispy french fries and steamed veggies with it and my sister and I split a bottle of wine. It was a small bottle however... and after dinner we headed to the store for a bigger bottle because our box was sadly gone. We went to Von's Express - I heard that it was really expensive there - but it was not - I just asked what I needed to do for a member's card and the guy at the register said: "well, you could fill our an application, or I could just give you one... " So we got one... a double bottle of wine for $8.99 - at home it's $10.99... so get that... Works for me though. My mom got ice cream bars (she does not like wine YET) and after grabbing our laundry we had drying at the laundry mat, we headed to the hotel again to hang out in the little court yard and drink wine, eat ice cream and talk. It was a beautiful night.

The next day was our last. We saw the sun rise again because that's what my mom likes to do on vacation. Walking down the hill from the hotel was still very painful ... marathon legs :(. We had breakfast, the same as the day before minus the oranges then  we checked out of our room and left our luggage in the office.  We headed down for about a 2 mile walk to pebbly beach. It was not much for a beach, but pretty and we met a guy that had run the first Catalina marathon. He had a cute dog.

After that we toured the Casino - the wriggles had built it when they had purchased the island - it was a really cool old building with a lot of history. I wish we had watched a movie in the theater and if I ever return to Avalon, I will. It was not a gambling casino - it was a social gathering place - that's what casino used to mean before gambling took them over.
After the tour It was about time to get on the boat, so we got our stuff, got a ride to the boat back to Long beach. Our plan was to get a cab from there to the hotel, but we ended up running into a guy that had a shuttle van, and took us for a better price (yay, more discounts!) We got to the hotel, and were so happy to have 2 beds and so much more space! We all showered and cleaned up then Debi and I headed down to the bar for a couple glasses of wine in the hotels bar (it was happy hour and Illinois does not have happy hours). After that we all headed to subway for dinner - it was fast and easy.... The next morning we headed to the air port and had no trouble except my mom got in trouble for trying to take our left over jar of peanut butter in her bag... That's a no - no.. We flew United, and I got to watch the new movie Frozen which was not even for sale at Walmart till the next day - that was fun. Before I knew it we were back - and I didn't even pass out.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

100 Miles in 10 days

  Since Madison marathon I wanted some new challenges. We were all thinking about doing the Tecumseh Trails marathon again - but decided not to - long drive etc. I decided to plan a last long run of the year instead - free and fun and just because. It was scheduled for the 7th of December - same day as the trail marathon was supposed to be. The weather ended up being cold - VERY cold - 12 decrees cold, and at the time I though that was very cold. We had quite a few people say they would come on the FB event I made - but ended up with 5 of our regular runners - and 3 runners from the Midwest Misfits who were going to run the trail marathon - however it was canceled because of a big storm. So not a bad group for the weather. It ended up being a very nice 22 mile run starting at starved rock Visitor center, going down to the I&M canal trail, through Ottawa where we picked up another runner, and back through the trails to the start. After that we changed in the nice visitor center bathrooms - I forgot an extra coat :( and then we went out to eat at a place in Utica. Overall a really fun way to spend a Saturday - Yeah, I know, i'm a strange one....

After that - the next thing planned was 100 miles in 10 days - it started on the 10th of course. That was a Tuesday, I figured that would give us enough time to heal from the 22m fun run. We had a few people that originally said they would do it with us - but the weather did not make it easy for anyone. We ended up with 4 in our group, my sister and 2 neighbors Mike & Angela. And my sisters cousin did it remotely - he lives an hour and a half away - so he ran them all alone. Well, like I said, the weather did not work with us - the rules were - 10 miles ever day for 10 days - the miles could be split up through out the day, but no roll overs were allowed. On Tuesday it was -8 degrees - we though that was really cold and almost decided to do it inside. But we did not - we got our butts out on that road at 4:30am starting at my house - for a 10.3 mile loop - Surprisingly it was not that bad however my legs were super numb and cold after and a little wind burned - I added a layer of shorts over my 2 tights after that day.  The next day was 18 degrees, but was basically a blizzard
(seemed like it anyway) Huge beautiful snow flakes that all seemed to be aiming for my eyes. The snow blows were not out yet at 4:30 and it had been snowing for about an hour - so the roads were covered. I think that was the hardest run - deep snow, some wind, and I HATE snow in my eyes. But we made it...It was funny that we though our 12 degree run was cold, because on day 3 we ran in -20 degree including the  wind chill - now that was really cold. We made it though.... Day 4 was three degrees - not bad actually...
Day five we got snowed on AGAIN -  yuck. It was Saturday morning and we met at 5:30am so my sister could make it to work in time... This time I tried running with my motocross goggles - they were great for a while till I was blinded by frost.... after that I just had to deal with the snow in my eyes again - they did get me through the head wind part of the rout. We did see daylight that day, so that was nice. running on snowy roads is so much harder than clear roads. We were all getting a little sore because of this. Day six was ten degrees and windy. It was Sunday and we met at 7am at silver springs for a hilly rout... That was a cold run - the wind just bit into us, not too fun... Most of us were under dressed for some reason - maybe because Saturday was actually pretty warm - Angela did not have her face covered and I can not imagian how much that must have hurt because mine was mostly covered and hurt...She's a tough one.  Day seven was 10 degrees - it was nice out - one of our better runs - Day 8 was alright - Angela's knee was really bothering her - She though she would have to drop out, but she didn't...  day 9 was ok for my sister and I - the mood looked amazing - really bright with cool ripply clouds around it...  Mike got sick though - he and Angela were going to try to go later in the day - Mike could not and Angela went alone - sore knee and all... Today - the last day the 3 of us (mike still sick) headed out on our last and warmest run. it was 21 degrees and not windy. We finished pretty strong and got back with time for me to actually make lunch. Clear snow free roads are awesome. I'm happy with all of us for getting through it. Mike with 80 miles... he looked pretty miserable in this mornings pic. Bad timing to be sick - that's for sure. I think the hardest part was getting up so early. My legs stopped being sore for the most part by the end - kinda strange. I'm really looking forward to sleeping in for a few days. Another strange thing is that I did not lose a pound. I was so hungry i'm sure I ate more than usual, but not a ton though I don't think... I'm wondering what the deal is with that - hoping a few pounds will come off now that I get to rest and maybe my body will stop retaining water if that's what it is doing.... It was a fun experience though believe it or not. I would do it again next year. Something abut making a commitment and sticking with it no matter what (just about) - Something about that makes me happy.We also got called "crazy" and "Idiots" by a friendly motorist on Saturday, some drivers did not get over very well for us, but for the most part, the weather was our greatest trial.  SO that's it for now.... Next up is probably the Polar dash... Then Debi and I signed up to run Catilina Island Marathon on March 15th... That will be amazing - really looking forward to that - I don't even mind that that means I don't really get a break before training starts the first week of Jan... 10 miles is not that long - put 2 together and that's our longest training run... piece of cake...