Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Winter" Marathon "Check"

TECUMSEH TRAIL MARATHON -- Bloomington, IN - Yellowwood State Forest
Saturday December 1, 2012 -- 26.2 Mile Trail Run

On our way to the start
 My winter marathon is not complete - this means I have run a spring, fall & winter marathon now & I have to say my least favorite training session was deffantally the fall one. SO hot. I much prefured the spring & winter. Running threw the fall for Tecumseh was fun - saw some good fall colors... But the spring was nice too because you start training in Feb, and I personally do not have much going on in Feb. & March. Anyway...

The race went OK. It had a LOT more hills than I thought it would - that was rough - just not knowing how hard it would be. Pretty much all hills, switch back after switch back. The forest was really pretty - it was MUCH warmer than I thought it would be. When I signed up for the marathon I did not think that I would be running in shorts and a T-Shirt. So I kind-of feel like I missed out on the winter marathon experience - maybe next year it will be more winter like because I will be back next year to try it again.I think it will be much better knowing what i'm getting myself into at the start.
Waiting at the start

We ended up starting almost an hour late so my food energy balance was a little messed up - one of the buses had broken down - so we had to wait for it to get to the start. Once we started about 4 miles of the trail was a wide path - lots of big gravel pieces that actually really started to hurt the sides of my feet. I wore my brooks trail shoes - the longest run I had done on them. No blisters or anything, i was happy with their performance. After that 4 miles of wide trails it narrowed into a single track path - and that is mostly what is was after that. I felt good for about 8 miles. Debi started falling after that I my energy left me. I struggled for a while, feeling ok, then bad again... The course had plenty of aid stations - I probably did not need my camel back. after around mile 10 the stations started having food - that was nice and helped me out - new favorite because they did not have pringles is Cheese Nips YUM. Judah was feeling great till about mile 18, he actually couldn't have gone a lot faster than I was going between mile 10 and mile 18, because I was being pathetic. I was not doing well - I gave into my hurts and tiredness and really wussed out for a while - I am annoyed about this of course now... At around mile 17 Debi had a bad fall, she fell right on her IT band sore spot - then at mile 18 Judah started getting awful muscle cramps. This made him very angry.  I would have just cried personally, and I kinda wish that's what he had done instead of being so mad.... Guys... So, we all walked for a while after this - debi was really hurting, and Judah kept on getting cramps every time we tried to run. A lot of people passed us - I started getting my energy back and started noticing that a lot of people were limping that were passing us - Debi was hurt, Judah was having issues... .but I was finally feeling good again. Ideas of continuing along alone started going through my head.

Judah and I had planned to run it together - but we had discussed one of us getting hurt and the other going on - he thought that we had decided to finish together no matter what - at the time I seemed to have forgotten this and wanted to redeem myself for the weak miles and poor performance exhibited on the road behind me. Debi and Judah continued on walking & running when Judah could - I started to run on alone with out Judah's blessing. I felt horrible - but I needed to finish strong at least since I had sucked it up so
Glad to be done
much in the middle of the race... The last 5ish miles went pretty quick and I was really happy with my performance. I ran up a lot more hills, and didn't walk much, passed a lot of tired people - it was a good feeling finally. When I finished Mike & Matt were of course waiting - long done with their race. They both did great - Matt set his PR & but mike had cramps as well and did not finish as well as he would have liked. Judah and Debi came in about 9 minutes behind me - turns out the cramps had left 4 or 5 minutes after I left them.

Sadly - even though I was happy with my last few miles - I had a VERY un happy fiance. I really did feel awful - but I was also upset because I felt like he should have been ok with me leaving... But no one agrees 100% of the time - and mis-understandings defiantly happen in life. I don't regret leaving them - they were hurt - I was not, however I did feel sad as my sister and my Fiance ran across the finish line together as I waited along the edge. I understand the disappointment of not preforming as you would have wanted to - been there done that in pretty much every race I have ever run. I suppose learning to deal with that is a process. I have learned to not get too emotionally involved in races - however I think this method is starting to hurt my race. I do know one thing -  That I will not be committing to run any race with anyone again. training is one thing - but races need to be everyone for themselves.
Everyone finished

The problem is - I have no race. I kill them - and not in a good way. I think I have committed it in my head for so long, that a race is just another run i'm almost bitter at the race - and when I feel down and tired I become defendant to the race for making me feel that way - and then it truly just becomes a run again - and not even a good run because by the time I kill the race nothing good is left and that's why I let it die. I need to learn to fight harder - not stress so much about being tired and hungry - to just get through it. I think I let myself believe that I have more race issues than other people, i'm more tired than they are, i'm more hurt, something is different about me so I deserve to slack off - and it's ok, it's just harder for me. That's not true. A marathon is just hard. next race - I suck it up and deal with it.

On a side note - the trip down took about 5 hours - we all drove together. We stayed at "A Summer House Inn" Not the greatest place, but at least they extended our check out because of the late race start. The rooms were not all that clean, the bright light was on outside all night & the bathroom looked like the perfect place for a murder.
 For our pre race dinner we went across the street to a place that ended up being much more formal than we had though - expensive too & they put us in the back room. I don't blame them, we were very under dressed - the food was good though, but not worth the price, and we kept having to ask for more bread because they hardly gave us any - that was annoying.
Another thing I liked about the race was the late start (if it had started on time) it was nice to get some more sleep.

On the way home we stopped for dinner & local beer (I had wine though) then back to illinois we went - getting home around 11pm.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


4 days till marathon #4!!! i'm ready. Today was 15 degrees in the morning - but Saturday is supposed to be 56, so thats exiting. We plan on leaving on Friday around noon. I have my list all set (just need to print) Need to wash my camel back & clean it.... What shoes to wear still concerns me. I'm afraid to use the saucany ones because they are the ones that gave me the blister - however my blister has healed leaving behind a very large callus - prehaps that will protect me from another blister saturday? Otherwise I will wear my brooks trail shoes - they have been working nicely on the shorter runs, and although I never planned on running a marathon with them, they have been feeling better than expected - so maybe I should give them a chance. We'll see - thinking that'll be a game day decision.

So far my runs have been right on schedule with a few extra miles here and there. Last week I made it to boot camp on Monday - so that workout + 1 mile.
Tuesday we did a 6 mile run some of it at a tempo pace. Wednesday I ran a mile and did a boot camp workout, Thursday was thanksgiving! The Sandwich YMCA and the Plano YMCA got together at sliver springs. We filled up the whole boat launch parking lot. Ran 8 miles there - it was a beautiful morning - wish I had gotten a picture. The trails were all raked thenks the the Midwest Misfits who had had a 5k "Gobbler Gallop" race the day before.

Friday I got a undeserved rest day - after 2 thanksgiving dinners + one more on Wednesday night I should have gotten up to run 20....

Saturday Debi, Judah, Mike, Angla and I got together at sliver springs - ran a 7 mile loop, then 3 more miles of trails. I felt ok, not my best, but not bad at all. Probably just tired from all the food I had eaten - Friday night was game night with Judah's sister and brother in law - we also went out for mexican food - my french fries were wondeful.

Sunday I got up and took Matilda on a 2 mile run, then got ready for the bears game - more drinking & eating.... By Monday I felt super fat and ready to get back to a good diet and my workout routine.  So Monday was boot camp and Tuesday was a 6 mile frozen run - 15 degrees! but felt really good and light. Tomorrow I plan to goto boot camp Run a mile - Thursday I was thinking of just doing 4 easy miles and then taking Friday totally off, or maybe going to boot camp but taking it easy. So that's it.... I'd really like to do Dick Pons Cross Country Challenge on the 2nd - but it's really hilly and i'm wondering if my muscles would just give out right on the way down a big hill - that would be awful - so I think I will not do that race. Still thinking about it though... That race is fun - and they have awesome food after and I really liked the shirt from last year....

All for now - happy running!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What are you running from?

Spartan run

mile 18ish at starved rock
 2 weeks till the last marathon of the year for me.  I'm exited about it actually. It's going to be really fun to run this race with everyone - and run Judah's first marathon with him. I can't believe how smoothly training went compared to last year & earlier this year. It's kind of crazy to me. The worst thing that happened to me, was being tired (Imagian that on a 20+ mile run) getting a big blister (I'm still mad at my Sacony trail shoes for that - they failed me) and having a nagging tight hamstring from time to time. That's pretty good for me - REALLY good actually.
After getting engaged on October 22nd (exiting :)) in Geneva Illinois, planned on a easy week of only 10 miles of course - then getting up to run 6 miles on the Lake Geneva trail - which was a LOT more fun then the 22 mile Euro burn out marathon, that's for sure, it's amazing how different I feel now. The last 3 big runs started with a 18, That was the longest run I have ever done BEFORE work. We started out on a 10 mile loop (Mike, Judah and I) circled back to Mike's house to pick up his wife Angela, we then ran a 8 mile rout on my side of town.... It went fairly smoothly, by the end I was tired, but not that bad. We saw 5 bras on the road though, that was strange. The reason we did this run on a friday was because the following day was the Super spartan.

The Super Spartan is a 8+ mile run through obstacles and mud and fun stuff like that. It was chili out when our group started at 10:30am. It was a few miles of mainly running to start with, which was nice to warm up. We of course eventually got to some crazy muddy and kind of dangerous obstacles. Such as belly crowling through slimy mud under barbed wire, climbing crazy steep hils, going down really steep hills into mud pits, jumping, or getting a boost over 8' walls, going under and over and under and over stuff. Crawling through a really long pipe line thing with holes dug here and their where you can't see them. Long set of monkey bars, balancing beams, posts in a mud pit you had to jump from one to the other (and they were not exactly too close together) I big rope thing to climb, a big tower to climb over, a 30' tall rope to climb up that you had to swim to....dragging a cement block over a bunch of steep hills.... Stuff like that. And if you failed a obstacle you had to do 30 burpys.... It was really fun, but I was pretty tired and sore after. Not as bad as last year though, it really didn't feel like I had ran 8+ miles. The bad part of the race was waiting in line for people to do the obstacles. I HATE waiting in line, and people were "butt scooting" over the beams you were supposed to walk and balance over, so it took forever and I was SOOOO cold!!! but it was fun. A good time was had by all. The next day I think we ran a few miles, I don't remember though. I got a lot of bruises out of that race.

The next week was a 20 - half of the group was out running a half marathon in Geneva, so It was Debi, Judah & I. We did a new rout I put together, from hoover, to millington, to yorkville again and back to hoover. It was actually a really good run and we all enjoyed the rout. The next day we ran 10 miles - that was tough. We saw more bras. What is the deal with bras in the road? I don't get it. Not even lonely country roads....

Just this week we went on a 22 mile adventure. Judah could not attend sadly  he had drill... So it was Mike, Debi, Matt & I. We started at starved rock, ran into Utica to the I&M canal trail, all the way to ottawa, back on the road, and the last 3 miles on the trail. With 2 miles left Debi and I were running on the top of the rocks, around Lovers Leap when a CRAZY storm hit. Thunder louder than I have ever heard and really bright crackly lightning.... Then we got hailed on and rained on all all the way back to the car. Strangely after the lightning and thunder I completely forgot about my legs hurting, so that was a positive.  I was pretty tired after that run, we had our post run beer of Shock top Pumpkin (really good beer btw) and also went to a pub in Ottawa for a drink and lunch.

The next day we ran 10 miles, it was kinda tough as expected... but knowing that after that it was pretty much down hill made it much eayser. Now - this weekend we only ran 11 miles, and for the sunday 5 mile run I decided to bike instead - I'm just kind of sick of running right now. Its weird that I am sore after a 11 mile run, but I am. I'm just tired now. I 'm fairly certain I will bounce back by the time the marathon comes around - probably sooner than that, but I can defiantly tell I am at the end of a big training block. I'm ready for this taper - I need it.

One thing I have been thinking about again - the same thing I usually think of when i'm sick if running - is WHY. Why do I do this to myself. It hurts. It's hard. It's exhausting, it's a HUGE time commitment... but this whole year had really been something else. It had not been easy, those bad runs that I had, getting hurt, being tired, early nights so I can get up at the crack of dawn, or before dawn. It's not easy - it's actually REALLY REALLY hard. So why? I do it because that's what I do - but I really enjoy the benefits  too -- Being fit, strong and feeling more confidant in the other areas of my life. like "I just ran 2 marathons and 2 50k's in one year - I can get up for work, I can clean the house, I can do all the things I need to do and keep trying with all my goals, because if i'm committed to something, I can fail or I can succeed - however if I never try I can only fail. It's also the companionship of course of my runner friends, the challenge... and when I talk abut running, and people ask "what are you running from" I'm running from high blood pressure, from stress, from American Obesity... i'm running FORM all those things, but i'm also running TO health, pizza, wine & happiness. I do not want to have tones of health problems when i'm old, I do not want to look back and think of all the things I could have done to prevent any illness I develop - I want to know that I am doing everything I can do NOW to be healthy - so that in the future I do not suffer - or if I do, I know that there was nothing I could have done differently to prevent it.  I have heard the saying that working out adds time to you life - but the extra time you get - you just spend working out anyway. Well, that may be true - but I will live a heather life - I will feel better - and experience more, see more & know more people than I would If I did not run.

SO even though I get tired of running - I know I will keep running - because it is a part of my life. I just have to know when to take a break to let myself rest, and when to keep with the schedule. It's not that I think I will ALWAYS run marathons and 50ks or more than that - I maybe just start doing half marathons for a year, or only stay in shape to run 7 or 8 miles (Any less than that just sounds crazy) but I will always run because it makes me feel good - and it will make me live longer and more healthy & because if I was not running what would I be doing? Staying up late to watch movies? Staying up late to play video games? Reading books about someone elses take on life? Spending money and drinking in a bar?  I'd rather just go to bed early & go out and experience life myself.

Here we go to Marathon #4!!
mile 20ish at starved rock

Spartan run

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Marathon number 4

7 weeks left till the

Next training Block
TECUMSEH TRAIL MARATHON. Training so far has been good. we're done with one tough training block - the 16, 18, 20. This weeks is an easy week. I'm exited to have a easy week. I'm also exited that so far I have not gotten hurt - it's almost strange to have good run after good run.... No sign of bring burned out - running pretty strong. Not to say those long runs have not been hard - but my worst long run so far was like my best run in my last training session. I still have a hard time believing that i made it through some of those runs - All that trouble I had last time and yet here I am doing it again. Something is wrong with me - I know. Its sort of like drinking too much - when you says "I'll never drink again" and you always do.... Usually it's a while before you drink to much again, but still - that's why i'm doing ONE marathon and not 2 marathons and 2 50ks. We have been having good group runs - for the 16 we all met out in Lealand and did a nice country rout - the next week Judah and I did our own run - a HUGE circle rout - it was windy and by the time we were done I felt as if I had ran around the world. Last week, for the 20, we drove up to Starved Rock and ran from Utica to the I&M trail, to Ottawa, then back on the road to starved rock, through 4 miles of trails and back to the lodge for some drinks. I felt pretty good the whole time except when we got to the trails my hamstrings were really hurting and I ended up slipping and falling (AGAIN - i've been doing a lot of that lately) and we got rained on for about an hour - but it was beautiful out and a good run - average pace around a 9 minute mile.... I was pretty happy with it. I have been trying to get some speed work in this session as well - and have been fairly successful. I got a couple good hill work outs in, some good tempo runs, but have not made it to the track yet.
Starved Rock 20M run
I have been thinking about next year - what I want to do as far as races etc. I really want to get the Battered Beaten and Bloodied belt buckle for doing all of the devils lake races - that means I have to do 3 more 50ks in the next 3 years (I believe) So if that is the mission I figured Gnaw Bone would be next, that's in May, possibly followed by Hell in the fall possibly - but defiantly Gnaw bone. Also figured we might as well do a if not 2 training marathons before the 50k - then a couple of fall halfs perhaps.... Im really not THAT into racing - I don't like paying the race fees, It's also very time consuming, but I do really like those trail runs, and it is defiantly good motivation to keep running when I have a race coming up. So.... we'll see. One thing I know for sure is that i will enjoy my easy week.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dances with the Dirt Devils Lake 2012

Matilda had fun hiking at Devils Lake

All Done...
2 days ago I was a few hours into my 31 mile run - the Dances with the Dirt Devils Lake 50k. I can't believe it's over - it was great fun! My sister & brother in law and I drove up leaving plano around 3pm - we got to the campgrounds around 7pm. Our friends, Mike and Angela Way & their 2 daughters, ferrit, and dog Snoopy had left earlier and picked up our packets for us and made dinner (very much appreciated!!) We ate spaghetti and flat iron steaks - and my sisters monkey bread which I ate way too much of, but felt it completely justified because I was running 31 miles in the mornings....Everything was really good. After that we walked the dogs and went to bed. I slept well once everyone got settled in, the cabin had very thin walls, so if someone was up moving around everyone could hear. Mike, Angela and Debi said they had trouble sleeping, but I did not, I think I woke up once - my ear plugs helped. I didn't have a pillow the first night, because I thought the cabin provided them, but thankfully I had brought a sheet thinking i would
Corned Beef Cabbage Pizza
put it down for Matilda....Poor Matilda just got the hard floor that night. I used my towel as a pillow that first night. We were all up at 4am getting ready - it's amazing all the preparation that goes into these things - We ended up heading out a little later than we had planned, I ate my PB&J in the car and drank some water - we made it just in time to gear up & use the outhouse. Another runner from back home, had stayed right at the resort with his wife and kids- we met up with him in the morning - turns out he forgot his running watch, water bottles and belt to carry jels and stuff. We
pretty much got to the starting line and started running - Matt (the guy who forgot everything) and Mike paired up and Debi and I paired up. I started at a nice easy pace - sticking with my plan - the first leg was 4.5 miles up the ski hills and on to the bike trails. It was steep, but really not that bad -  not as bad as I had thought- we walked the steepest part up the hill and ran right past the trail entrance, thankfully a runner ahead of us noticed and we all went back before we got too far going the wrong way. The trail was pretty rough, lots of trees down and rocks - once we got out of that we went down the ski hill - I took it slow down like I had planned, trying not to destroy my quads. Before I knew it we were at the end of the 4.5 mile loop - I drank 2 cups of water and had a piece of banana - and off we went again on to the ice age trail - We had un fortunate timing, because the marathon started right when we passed the start again - we waited till the faster people went by and continued on. The frist part of the trail had a good deal of ups - we ran some, walked some, came across some cool people to talk to - just trotted along, Around mile 8 Debi was about to give up - Hert ITB was killing her - she later found a finger nail mark in her palm from how hard she was clenching her fists because of the pain - poor deb. She walked a while and I walked with her, She said to go on, but I walked for a bit longer and when I started running again - so did she. She discovered a
Look out
different gate that did not bother her ITB so much - it involved not bending her knee so much which resulted in 2 really bad falls, one was a tumble, and the other landed her other knee right on a pointy rock. NOT GOOD it bled. We got to road kill, which happened to be a busy road crossing, and the aid station was right on the trail after that. They had gue and water. I had a gue and some water and so did Debi. I was not going to make the mistake of not feeding myself this time. We headed on, and got to Stineken - I don't know if it's spelled right, and I did not know how to pronounce it - but they had good stuff their
Debs Rock imprint
- Boiled potatoes with a container of salt, Pringles (personal favorite) cookies, M&Ms, PB&J cubes, Gue, water, Gatorade... it was good, I ate chips and potatoes and a PB&J cubes and another gue.... some water... My electrolyte mix in my camel back was getting pretty gross and warm, so the cold water was wonderful and I was still really enjoying Pringles. The temperature had been pretty humid for the first 2 hours, but after that it seemed to improve, clouds were out, and it looked like rain. We headed on up - the miles flew on and I was having fun, Deb was swinging along as well. We got to see Angela on her half marathon rout, she looked to be running strong - going past the opposite direction as us. The next aid station was on the East Bluff trail with a
Aid Station on East Bluff
beautiful view of the lake. We had to check in their - More water,
At the Aid station on East Bluff
more gue. Then we went down the bluff and through the ice age trail camp site - it was nice to be in familiar territory because Debi and I had camped in that camp ground - they had an aid station set up for us in one of the picnic areas - they had oranges and grapes, I had oranges and Pringles and I think another gue.... On we went back down, down and more down to bug pit. I was thinking how going back up was going to suck, but really was not all that concerned for some reason - I was still having fun WIERD. On the way down we saw Matt - he was probably 4 miles at least ahead of us coming back up the hill he said "Ostrander Girls!" and gave us a High Five...about a half an hour later I finally realized Debi got called an Ostrander and told her "Haha, you got called an Ostrander" (she just HAD to go and get married) it was just funny at the time that I happened to think of it a half hour after it happened.... running does strange things... Once we got down through the woods to a meadow we saw Mike, probably 2 miles or so ahead of us - the next aid station was bug pit, that's where our extra shoes and clothes were - I did't touch my bag, didn't feel like I
Mile 20ish
needed anything. Turns out I should have picked it up and put it in the return box though - i'll remember that for next time. I had more Pringles and some gummys - I was sick of gue. we ran down past the aid station to the turn around, and then back to the same aid station. Debi was getting discouraged and sick of the pain. she needed to walk more because exhaustion was setting in, I knew her
Matts Ankle Right after the race
pain... but didn't have it at that time FOR ONCE. So we parted ways around mile 20. It started to rain right when i was running through a big open field, I was thankful for that. I got to the woods and started making my assent up - up and up and up. I ran up some, walked up more... After the turn around point I am happy to say no one running the 50k or 50 miler passed me. Lots of people looked really tired and were walking a lot. I finally got all the way up form the pit and was heading back towards the bluffs - it doubled back to the point i had turned on after the bluff and continued on in the same direction I had been going before - Those last 10 miles went fast - it all did actually I really dont' feel like I was on that trail for 6:55ish - but I was. I had watch troubles so I didn't exactly know what mile I was on, but I got back to Stienken - had more boiled potatoes and water - I knew it was 5.5 miles left at this point and I was happy to see the sign with a arrow pointing that said "to 50k finish" I headed back up the trail to road kill, and then down the rest of the 4.5 miles to the finish. I kept thinking it was just around the
Beer after the race
bend - I really didn't feel that bad, I wanted to run faster, but my ankles were
right after my finish.....
so week and sore that I couldn't. I had fallen twice and twisted both of the several times.... it was all I could do to stay upright down the rocky hills.... Finally I got on a black top trial and had to ask hikers if they had seen pink and orange flags - they had, so I was still on track. I got to a corner and some people sitting in chairs said "one more turn to go!"And sure enough, people, music and the finish line! I had enough left to pick up the pace and finish strong. I had hoped to see my parents at the end, but the ended up not making it. I was so happy to finally finish a distance race strong - I still can't believe it.... I had fun running for 6:55 hours.... Yeah. I really have
At the Cabins after the race
lost it. At the finish they gave me cold water and my meadle and asked me my age and I got a flash light, they said I was 3rd in my devision - turns out I was really 4th. It was exactly the finish that I had hoped for in the Skyline to the Sea run - The feeling of accomplishment, happy to be done, exited to have finished and still able to go farther.... Matt and mike were at the finish already of course - Matt had finished
After Race photo
33rd in around 5:30 and mike around 6:10 both great times - Matt had sprained his ankle really bad and around mile 24 and it was already really swollen. Debi came in around 15 minuts later looking angry and happy to be done at the same time. we had some Shandy beer (they had a trailer of beer and you could have as much as you wanted!! now thats a good race!) and the meal ticket got us brats, burgers, yummy chips, fruit and more.... My brother in law brought Matilda to the finish along with our protein drinks. So I got good food and protein right after.... the shirts were really cool too - we all had a good time. After that we made our frozen home made pizzas - took a nap and
Matts Ankle the next day
later had drinks and played uno - everyone was ready to sleep by 10:30 though
Hiking the next day
and I think I only woke up once. The next day I was sore, but NOTHING compared to CA. I guess proper after race care really makes a difference. We hiked devils lake before we left and headed home. Today is Monday - 2 days after the race. I'm sore, but not too bad. Thinking of running tomorrow..... oh wait... I guess I already committed to run tomorrow didn't I? OOOps... so much for a week off, now how did that happen?
Pizza after the race

Hiking after the race
So to sum it up - I guess I can run distance. Good thing is I loved pretty much every minute of it - I think anyway, it seems hard to believe, did some one hypnotize me or something? bad thing is that I had so much fun I really want to do it again....
Group walk after pizza

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Getting ready to dance with the dirt

The Dances with the Dirt 50k at Devils Lake Wisconsin is in 4 days. I can't believe that it's almost here. The end of my crazy running spring/summer is almost over. I just added up the miles it's 1010 for the year. I'm a little nervous about the race - but hey, at least I have a goal - beat the last one. I can handle trying to beat my 8 hour time from CA. The course looks pretty crazy - it starts out going across the street and up the bunny hill at Devils Head resort - then continue up the intermediate hill and onto mountain bike trails that may have extremely tall grass making the trail invisible at times (now how would anyone ride a bike through something like that?) then over to the trail leading to Devils Lake State Park, on the ice age trail for some time... and a variety of other trails. The end is down the double diamond ski hill at Devils head. I'm thinking about rolling down it, probably hurt about the same - just different parts. I guess I just follow pink (ribbons that is)- it looks like a pretty complicated trail map... Some of the points have names such as "Nose Bleed", "Road Kill" and "Bug Pit". They say poison ivy is plentiful - time to see if I really am immune to that I guess. Sounds like the aid stations will be nice - similar to the ones in CA. I'm trying to decide that to put in my bag that will be around the half way point. I don't really want to change shoes, I plan on wearing the saucony ones, but I suppose if we get rain and they get wet I will want something to change into. I'm thinking sox, shoes, shirt, shorts, bug spray, sun screen....
Than I plan on carrying a compass, my phone, camera, typical gummys and gue and water.... possibly might get some stingers - and I guess that's it.

Since the last ultra I have been taking it pretty easy - Kristin Wade from Midwest Misfits who has completed 2 iron mans  and many other races recommended that I focus on healing, not do any more double runs - just because I wouldn't have time to heal, build up my mileage and taper again before the race. I figured she knows more than me, and generally I don't take as much advice as I should, so this time, I would take the advice of someone with more experience. So - that's what I did. No doubles - mainly somewhat easy runs, my long runs were 8-13 miles. She did say I could do one 18 to 20 mile run just for a confidence boost, but the day I set out to do that ended up being HORRIBLE hot and humid and I just couldn't make myself do it. Last week I ran 3 HOT miles before a 3k - the Ronald Reagen run in Dixon IL, and then the 5k, so I got about 6 in - my shin was bothering me quite a bit, but I made it, it was SOOOOO hot. About 93 when we got back in the car to leave - Then Sunday finally it cooled off so Judah and I ran 7 miles of trails - it was really nice to get a run in without the heat. Then Monday was an off day, and today I ran 6.5 miles. I plan to bike tomorrow and run 4 in trails on Thursday, Friday nothing - we are driving up to the race right after work. Mike, Anglea, their 2 kids & Debi and Tim and also Matilda and Mike & Angela's dog Snoopie are all renting a cabin with a kitchen and 3 rooms. Should be a nice way to do it. We are making homemade pizzas to bring up and make right after the race. Game plan for the trip is to leave ASAP Friday, go get our packets from Devils lake, Eat dinner at the pasta buffet - then head to the cabin and get up bright and early. The race starts at 5am. My parents might come up later in the day.

My game plan for the race is to take it easy - not pass people, just trot along, conserve energy, slow and steady smooth and easy. Drink lots of water, take lots of pictures, go COMPLETELY at my own pace. Looks like i'll be on my own because Debi's IT Band is bothering her very badly.... I kind of want to do this alone anyway, even if she was not hurt, I don't want to feel pressured to go faster or do anything I shouldn't do - this 50k thing is no joke. Hopefully I will finish in under 8 hours, find some ice and ibuprofen, drink my protein shake.... and recover better and faster than the last race - I DEFIANTLY will NOT be climbing 3 miles up a mountain 2 days later, I WILL get proper ice and protein and rest - so it will be interesting to see the difference in my recovery. Next post should be my race report!!!

Oh, and a side note - this is what I have to bring signed to the race:
“I realize that the course for the (DWD) presents a number of potential dangers to me and I hereby assume the risk arising from all of them. I realize that I will be running on a variety of surfaces, some of them far less than perfect, including but not limited to roads, unimproved trails, mud, swamps, cliffs, lumpy fields covered with waist high grass and river crossings. The roads are open to motor vehicle traffic that has the right of way. I know that broken bones, reactions to poison ivy, insect bites and bruising are common occurrences in this extreme event and that I will be far into the wilderness away from medical support. I realize that the danger of injury and even death exists as well and I hereby assume all the risks that may be present on the (DWD) course.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

SkyLine to The Sea 2012

The Tattoo we were going to get
It's been a week and a day since the race. I can walk again! My C.A. Trip was quite an adventure. I will not be planning my next vacation around a 50k or Marathon - I know now that their is a reason people said that was crazy.... they were right.

Our Rental Car - I miss it
My sister and I got to the International San Francisco Airport at 3pm CA time- we got our rental car and ended up getting a nicer one because they double booked what we would have gotten - a Green Kia, instead we got a red Toyoda Camerae - 9 days for $170 from Hotwire.com plus $80 for insurance - I think it was a good deal. My car at home is old - its a 98 and not in great shape, this was a 2012 with about 1200 miles on it. The breaks were REALLY touchy compared to my car - everything was different and somehow I had to start driving down what seemed like a 50 lane interstate. It was a little rough to start with, but after a little bit I started to really like the car.

We drove on Highway one through half Moon Bay and stopped for dinner -
Half Moon Bay - Saturday June 9th
after walking around for a while we stopped in a bar right along the main street. We decided to try the catch of the day - which happened to be salmon -
Wonder FRESH Catch of the day.

it was SOOO good. I have never had fresh salmon, this was grilled to perfection and came with rice and wonderful fresh veggies. It was also nice to have some California wine - we just choose a Cab, and it was really good, as was the wine everyplace we went on CA. After that we we headed to our "tent" 
The layout of the "tents" Ocean view to the left
Our View from across the street

Our "tent"
  at Costanoa - http://www.costanoa.com/ Costanoa is a huge area that has a lodge, cabins, RV parking, tenting area and also the "tents" that we stayed in. The beds were comfortable - the bathrooms were clean and heated - the people were friendly and the food at the restaurant was good but a little pricy - as were most things in that state... on one side of the tent we had a view of some hills, on the other side we could see the ocean from the edge of the campground - I loved waking up to the sound of waves - I slept very well in that tent. After we settled in we headed across the street (highway one) to some trails. The view was amazing - and we ended up walking a bit farther than we had planned to (this ended up being one of the accidental themes for the trip) no big deal though - we only had to run a 50k in the morning - no problem, right?

The next morning we got up around 5:30 or so - we ended up taking
It was cold, we wanted to sleep more...
a bit longer to get ready than we thought, and I was REALLY hoping the GPS was right about how long it took to get to the finish, where the bus would pick us up and bring us to the start. I decided to wear my Saucony  Peregrine ProGrid Trail Running Shoes that I had gotten about a month prior to the race on ebay new for about $35 dollars - they had never given me a blister and had worked really well so far on trails. I also brought my watch of course, IPOD with lots of music, nike shorts, and a nike running short sleeved shirt. I also brought cliff bars, gues (the kind with caffeine)  Gummys, and a little over 1.5 liters of water (3 16 oz bottles) I had the cliff bar for breakfast - that's all, because we never could find anything to make my traditional PB&J
finding a regular store seemed to be impossible on the way from the air port - but at least we had water - and Peanut butter.... but no bread or knives...
Coastal trail runners to the rescue!
 or protein drinks. Oh well.... I put some supplement in my water that I used on my last 20 mile run - my camel back still tastes like it - YUCK.  We made it to a parking lot along the beach that the GPS said was correct - we saw other runners, so we thought it was the place only to have someone drive up the road saying it was still a mile away - we hoofed it over their and parked the car in the right place - got in the bus, and off we went. I was kinda tired, and we didn't really talk too much on the bus ride - it took around 45 minutes or so so we arrived at the start around 7:15 or so - got our bibs, strapped everything on and waited to use the outhouse - not THAT was a LONG line - we barley made it.
Clean legs before the race
At the Start! Nervous!
Lining up at the start
Then off to the start. I was nervous - i'm actually nervous just thinking about it still.  Finally we got to run - it was beautiful and  it was nice to get moving - after a few false starts we were off in the line of runners running through the very tall redwoods. For a while we just paced with the group - got use to our surroundings - then we started passing people to find a group that was going our speed. We found them around mile 2 and stuck with the same people for a while after that. Debi took her first of 5 falls at around mile 2 as well. I tried to keep drinking water to stay hydrated - I knew it was supposed to be hot. If was a fun trail - it seemed like most people planned on walking up the big hills, so that was nice that we were not the only ones with that plan. we got to the first aid station, and it was wonderful. all sorts of food - little PB&Js (finally I got some of my staple pre race meal) M&M's, trail mix, nuts, chips.... water, Gatorade/sports drink. Debi and I filled up our camel backs and were off again.
Aid Stations - awesome volunteers!
The next aid station was around mile 8 - I decided to try a salt pill.... she did as well. I didn't think much of it and it may not have been the problem, but something was. I started feeling really strained, couldn't breath right and my heart rate was WAY up. I had to stop and sit down - I felt ill and I felt my air ways getting smaller - Debi had an inhalier - so I used it after doing it wrong a few times because I had never used one - it seemed to help, not sure, but at least I could breath. after I felt good enough to continue we walked for a while till I felt like I could run. It was a little scary - I didn't know if it would come back.... But we continued a little slower this time - I never felt as good as I did before the unknown attache of what ever it was - but after a few miles I did feel quite a lot better. we got to the next aid station at mile 12 or so - that was where the Marathoners and Ultra Marathoners split.
Going UP - 3ish miles of UP
after filling up on some food and more water we headed back to the trail. The girl at the aid station was not kidding when she said "it's all up hill"
Very UP
the first 3 miles of it was - and it hurt just to walk it - we finally reached the top of the hill and the view was amazing - not worth it - but still amazing.
We made it to the top!!!
after that the trail was more down hill and was rather fun - winding around trees and valleys, it was also nice to be back in the shade. at mile 19 or so we were back at the same aid station
Aid station again after the Ultra 5m hill loop
YAY - only 10ish miles to go!
and got to go towards the finish. it was exiting to go by that sign, but knowing how far we still had to go was less than exiting. After that I didn't take too many pictures - not because it was not exiting and interesting - but because I was really tired. We ran, and ran and ran some more - up hills down hills around hills.... maybe even through hills i'm not even sure anymore. I was so tired and my heart just wouldn't settle down sometimes, I took some walk breaks Debi insisted on staying with me - probably a good thing she did because we were sore enough the next day -
High Teck Bridge
I couldn't imagina being more sore actually. The last 2 miles were really pretty - right along the edge - the views were awesome - I ran the last mile with out stopping - at that point it felt like an accomplishment. I had trouble going down the big hills - normally i'd just let my body sorta fall down - it's easer that way, but I couldn't do that because my legs were so tired they wouldn't support that speed and I REALLY would have fallen. Crossing the finish line was a good feeling - even though it was not in 5.5 hours or 6.5 hours like I had thought - it was in 8 hours and about a minute....
Post race legs
I stil finished. and I guess thats why I started running it - to finish. I finished in 100th place out of 110  - nothing to boast about, but I did it and i'm still alive. Finishing was not what I had though it would be - I didn't feel triumphant, or defeated, I didn't feel like celebrating, I didn't run into the ocean because that would mean I would have to go farther - I was just plain tired and everything hurt. I was happy to be done, but it really was not as amazing as I thought it would be. I visioned a finish line right next to the water - running past it and into the water, being happy and exited, then going to the car and toasting with my sister and maybe some other runners.... But it's ok, lots of things are not the way I vision them to be.  I haven't had any more problems
 with my heart since - don't know what that was all about - but glad I didn't have a stroke or something up in those mountains - that would have really ruined my day. After the race we hung around and talked to people for a bit - got to thank Wendell from Coastal Trail runners for putting on the race - I was so tired. We got a ride back to the car and I was so thankful that we had a automatic car and only 2 steps to climb up to the "tent" turns out that was too much still.
Post Race Pizza! YUM
After we cleaned up we drove to the lodge for some amazing pizza with fresh veggies - a order of garlic parmesan  fries (REAL GARLIC ON THEM TOO :)) and a order of sweet potato fries. It was delicious. We hobbled back to the car - getting more sore as the minutes passed. We could barley drink our warm champagne - I still enjoyed opening the bottle and accidentally shooting it
Soooo Good!
at Debi though. So that was that - it was over - 8 hours of running, walking, climbing, falling, eating, drinking, taking pictures and viewing the beautiful world on my first ever Ultra Marathon - Skyline to the Sea 2012. I do believe that if it weren't for
We were supposed to do this in the car
after the race - totally forgot. Toast
to Ultra Marathoners!
Wendell taking on the race we would have had a much harder time doing it - may have ended up in the hospital after or even worse not even even finished at all. I do think that if I run another one next year I most defiantly will not plan on doing a lot of hiking and active things after the race because the next morning was pretty rough. going down steps was so painful, sometimes we just stood their and looked at them for a while before we could make ourselves go down them - we even had debi's super ibprofin pills from the doctor and they didn't do a thing for us.

Beach On Highway One
Entering the Park - $10 per car
 I really don't remember what we ate that morning, all I can remember is having a awful time getting around.... We decided to go to see the elephant seals at Ano Nuevo - http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=523  It was amazing despite the pain it took to get out of the car and walk the 4 mile trail.
The Beach at  Ano Nuevo

Wonderful Wine From beauregard vineyards
After that we went for some wine tasting in the mountains - then to Santa
Cruz to hang out and see a town and have some more wine of course
The seals 

The Closest Deb got to a shark 
We were feeling pretty sore still - we were walking like 90 year old women at best and trying to cross busy city streets. Normally my sister and I would be really annoyed
Beach along highway one
at a car full of guys whistling at us - but not at that particular moment. We were just talking about how awful we must be looking when precisely that happened. I told Deb "See? We still got it" it was pretty funny. We found a place to have some wine and bought a bottle. Ended up meeting some girls and going out with them for Mexican food after. I wanted to stay out - but I was WAY too tired. We headed back to the little "tent"

The next day we packed up and went to get some supplies. Back to Santa Cruz because thats the direction someone told us to go. Turns out that someone was wrong and after a very extended shopping excursion we headed back the way we had come and on to Yosemite National Park. We drove around 5+ hours to get their, I drove the whole way - going up the mountain was quite interesting with my height hating sister. Apparently she did not trust my driving too much and was terrified the whole way - I really did try to drive slow.... We finally got to the park entrance and then drove 45 minutes or so into the park to get to Curry Village
Bear proofing our stuff

"you are now entering the Wilderness" sign
where we checked into our "tent" and got settled in. This ended up being rather tedious because we had to empty EVERYTHING out of the car so that bears would not break in - bears that we never did get a gimps of sadly. We had to make 3 trips - not fun because we were still very sore. Then we put all the food we had purchased along with anything that had a smell in the bear proof container by our "tent" After that we pretty much hung out in the village and had some food.

Cute strong blue bird - not scared of us.
so amazing to see.
The next day we headed out to see about climbing Half Dome - The shuttle service was a little annoying - we had to wait a lot went in the wrong direction a lot, and I got really anxious to get on the trail.
Yosemite Falls
We ended up learning that you needed permits to climb half dome, permits we should have already gotten. the soonest we coudl go was Friday - the day we needed to leave for San Francisco - plus we might not even get them if we tried. We ended up not going - but it's a little complicated of course. I will be back to climb that dome. We thought we would take it easy and let our legs heal - that didn't happen.  we couldn't find the trail we were looking for so somehow we ended up climbing to the top of Yosemite Falls a
Yosemite Falls
3.2 mile pretty much steright up climb with 30+ switch backs each way. It was hard, my legs were not working properly, but we made it, and it was beautiful. I sat at the top and enjoyed the sun, water and view for a while. Debi did not join me on the ledge.... The decent was much worse,
Me By the falls
my legs were shaking like levees all the way down.
Laying at the top in the sun with my
shoes offit was amazing
The Amazing view from the top of Yosemite falls
We made it though, and went back to the camp site where we drank all our wine (rather a lot) met a couple form Australia to talk to and another from England - we ended up running into both couples a few times again before we left. We got a pizza at the camp pizza place -
Going down - NOT GOOD. my legs
were shaking and hurt SOOO bad
it was delicious. I've decided that C.A. just has really good pizza. We got in
Wonderful stream water
trouble for being too loud back at the "tent" and went to sleep. The next day we went on 2 hikes, they were fun - we saw bear claw marks and bear poop "Bear Scat" as my sister would say. One cool thing on one of those hikes was when we filled up on fresh stream water - it was SOOO good. We had cheese sandwiches for
Climbing to more falls

Bear Tram at Yosemite
dinner that night and a bag of chips - for our breakfasts we had bagels bananas and peanut butter... Our last day we hiked up Mist trail - got an early start and made it up to one of the falls - probably a 8ish mile hike. I was finally not sore - except my calves which were just sore from all the climbing the
days before at Yosemite. That means it took 4 full days before I could walk normal. Now thats just crazy. I really appreciate that I can walk and move normal again.
After the hike we headed back to the car, had lunch in the park and got locked out of the showers - we hadn't showered since Monday morning - yuck. oh well -
One of my favorites. 
off to Fransisco we went. I booked us a last minute deal on hotwire - a $350 four star hotel for $125. It was
Lots of little markets with fresh fruit

the Hilton in the financial district right next to China town. Getting to the hotel with the GPS was an ordeal - it lost signal because of all the buildings, then we were on our own. We did find it though and for $45  a  night were able to park at the Hilton garage. We got all our stuff in one trip and were quite a sad sight coming into that nice hotel. Turns out they were completely full - we must have gotten one of the last rooms - Our room was amazing - clean, fresh, a view of the city and the ocean. I took a wonderful shower and was clean at last. We headed to fisherman's Warf for dinner - all we had to do was
I'm Forest Gump 
walk about 6 block down Washington street to the street by the water - then a bus of sorts (it was on rail road type tracks - took us down the road to the warf. It was only $2 and you could get back on with a ticket that the driver gave us - they were pretty full busses though and the stops were pretty rough - but that's aright - it was nice to get a ride. We ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp for dinner - got a bottle of Cali Merlot and had Shrimp for an appetizer - Debi had never tried shrimp - sadly they were not the best shrimp I had ever had - and I really don't like having to take the shell off myself. After that we just went back to the hotel to bed - it was kind late and we were tired from out hike and travels. It was actually a rather cold night - we had jeans and jackets and I was still cold - San Francisco has a very icy breeze that feels great when the suns out, but not so great when its not.

The next day I woke up frantic to run - I felt gross - lazy - awful. Too many french fries, chips and pizza. I hurried Debi out the door and we headed out to the water - I over heard some runners talking about running the Chicago Marathon, so I jumped in to discuss - we ended up running with them for a while - my plan was to run across the Golden gate bridge, turns out that that would have been a ten mile run at LEAST - I didn't really feel like a 10 mile run - so we headed back - Debi's knee started hurting un fortiantly - it had been hurting since climbing down the falls the first day at Yosemite and a bruise had appeared on it - We figured she must have hit it on one of her five falls on the run.

After 6 mile city run, we thought we would take it easy and just sigh see.
Wonderful Fruit
We headed down Washington street and ended up finding a really cool market place - we shopped around and got some cool stuff - it was fun - Then across the street was the most amazing Farmers Market I had ever been at or seen. Everything was so fresh, and I heard that the city regulates it pretty tightly to make sure the quality and standards are up to par. We sampled fresh peaches, Blood Oranges, regular oranges, Peas, Peanut Brittle & more. We bought a apricot and it was the best thing I think I have ever tasted - if we had those here in Illinois I don't think I would ever eat candy. And that was all I had to eat al day till about 7pm....  We had every intention to do
Farmers Market
something leaser - maybe start drinking wine by noon - "How about rent bikes?" we thought. drive over the golden gate bridge, see San Francisco from a bike... Great Idea.
I had been wanting to see this for a long time
5 or 6 hours later we finally made it back to the other side of the bridge for our ferry ride back across. I'm not sure how it happened - possibly because the lady explaining the trails made them seem really easy and not too far, i'm not sure. but somehow we ended up on some crazy mountain bike trail lost. More hills - just want we wanted (NOT) some of them were so steep that if we braked too hard our bikes would easily skid out and send us tumbling down. We actually did run across a guy who had fallen and was quite scraped up - his shower later that day must have really hurt.
Sooo Pretty - but so hot and tired.
 All we wanted to do was see the red woods....  We did see a squeaking snake though - it was very mysterious till we discovered that it had a mouse and it was really the mouse that was squeaking....  We also came across some nice people to help us - and we finally made it to the city across the bridge. Once we got on the ferry I thought we deserved some wine - after one glass I felt like I had drank a bottle and both of us started feeling a little ill - oh yeah... all we ate was fruit all day...
Really long one lane tunnel we biked through.
We made it back - returned the bikes and
went to a pizza place - it was SOOOO good. I think it was my favorite one - it was next to Bubba Gumps on the second level of the warf.
The crust was really garlicky and I was SOOO hungry.
More wonderful pizza in San Fran
We polished off the whole pizza no problem and got pop corn at some hawiian pop corn place too. We saw the sunset and headed back to the hotel with every intention of going out again - but
San Francisco From the boat
we didn't. We fell asleep. The next day we thought we would get more sight seeing in - it didn't go well. We ended up looking for Freemont street - the really steep street everyone goes to in San Francisco - we stopped looking because the hill we had to go up just LOOKING for freemont street was so steep we didn't want to
Cable Car?
drive on a steeper one. Then I got a ticket and the police officer was so mean he made me cry because I was already shooken up from the
Hillie Streets
crazy traffic (some festival was in town - yay) then I had to use the bathroom BAD - so we finally made it to Golden gate bridge state park - it was pretty miserable but I made it.  Then we had to throw away our cooler and our other left over stuff and high tail it to the air port - somehow we found it with out too much more disaster and after that it all went smoothly. We were very happy to see our boys coming to pick
Alcatraz from the boat
us up - it was hot and humid and I missed that icy fresh air but I was glad to

be home.

So to recap - here is what went good - the car and hotel with price line. The "tents" and other stuff of course...
Here is what went wrong: 1)Planning a vacation with Day one "Run a 50k through 5000ft of elevation change when you live in Illinois and dont' have hills like that"
2) Not drinking enough wine
3)Taking the Yosemite shuttle too much - it's slow and annoying. New phrase if someone is taking a long time is "Your slower than a Yosemite bus"
4)not booking Half done
5)not camping in Little Yosemite Valley and then going up to Half done the next day (requires more permits)
But number one would have taken care of number 4 and 5 kinda - because honestly - if I had had the permits, i'm not completely sure I could have made it on my faulty legs.
6)should have Booked a whale trip in San Fransisco
7)Drink more wine in San Fransisco
8)Relax MORE
It was a great trip though - live and learn - that's what life is all about. Sometimes you can't learn to do things the right way till you do it wrong first - sadly that is the way I usually learn. I thought I would be more tired when I came home, but I actually was not. I feel pretty good. - I do still itch from all the bug bites and it's been about a week.... guess they grow them strong in Yosemite National Park.