Thursday, December 30, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Anyway, I'm excited about it and ready for it this year. I ran several long runs on roads lately to prepare for the 1 mile asphalt loop. Yeah, I said 1 mile asphalt loop! I've lost some weight. I've been doing hard workouts faster than I ever have as an adult. My long runs have been problem-free. It's time to set a goal. Haven't done that in a long time. 100 miles. Plenty of people run 100 miles in 24 hours. It was my goal at Rocky Raccoon 2009, but things happen. I've run 100 miles and four 24 hour races and still haven't quite got in 100 miles in 24 hours. It's not a particularly lofty goal but instead of saying, "We'll see," like I normally do, I will consider anything under 100 miles disappointing this time around. There, I said it.
I anticipate great weather, feeling good and getting in a lot of miles. Why does that seem weird. I usually expect the worst, and for the last few months, I've been visualizing brutally cold temps. 2 years ago, I understand it was something like 15 degrees with 40 mph winds! Last year was cold and wet the whole time. I usually do look forward to adversity (why?), but great weather is OK too, isn't it?? Forecast has changed a little the past couple of days but now says high of 52 and low of 36. Short sleeves & shorts! Totally not expected, but it should be good. I ran 92.26 miles in 24 hours in September when it was 95 degrees. I feel better equiped now and conditions will be much better.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
I've run 5 races over 100K (62 miles)- all in the past 18 months.
I made it 92.8 miles at the Hinson Lake 24 Hour Run. Official distance will be about 92.2 because I didn't finish the last lap in 24 hours. It got up to 95 degrees. I felt great for about 45 miles and then after that, it was very up & down. For the next 20 miles it was up for 6-8 miles, then a crash. Towards the end it would switch every 30 minutes. Never experienced such shifts. At 85 miles, I'm thinking, "I haven't felt this strong all day! I can run 8:00 miles from here on out!" ...and I WAS! Then 3 miles later, I'm walking for 20 minutes straight. After that, running strong again. Strange.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
It was held at Beatty Park, where we've been running 3 days a week all summer. Feels like I have every step memorized going clockwise. The race went counterclockwise but I still felt like I had a rhythm from knowing the course so well. Beatty Park is very rooty. My leg and elbow are healing from a fall there last week. It was almost funny running a 10K. I missed the first mile marker and looked at my watch at the 2 mile marker at 15:20. "How could that be? 7:40 miles on a trail? I'm already 1/3 done?" I almost laughed. In reality, I didn't run much faster than I do when I try to keep up with my top girls on hard days. I was a little conservative, not knowing exactly how to run this distance. Strategy was: decent pace for first 2 miles, barely slower middle 2, all out the last 2. I stuck to that. Felt very good. I don't know how to explain it, but my stride felt powerful and longer than usual. Easily flowed over the roots and rocks. The race was pretty uneventful and was over before I knew it. One person passed me early and I passed five the rest of the way. I passed one guy 1/2 mile from the finish. He seemed to be struggling a little, but not that bad. He finished 10 minutes later and they had to call an ambulance & fire truck for him.
I finished in 49:11. 16th overall out of 60? 80? I may have been able to run about 1:00-1:30 faster and risked puking and blowing up. Instead, I went hard but within my limits, finished strong and felt good. I'm happy with it.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
We were headed up to the mountains this weekend. Around Wednesday, I decided to run a marathon on the Greenway in Boone they've been having every couple of weeks. The more I thought about it, the less appealling the 90 degree forecast, asphalt, 7 out & backs, and running by the sewage treatment plant 14 times seemed. I'd been having problems with dehydration and cramping all week. Instead, I decided to go into the woods by myself and start early in the morning. As is my habit, at 10 PM on Friday, I was still figuring out where I wanted to run.
I chose to park at Devil's Garden Overlook at milepost 236 on the Blue Ridge Parkway and run down the Mountains to Sea Trail into Stone Mountain State Park and then run up the mountain and elsewhere in the park if I had time. It was 64 degrees and breezy when I got out of the car. 88 when I finished. I ran over 5 hours and had a great time. I took a hydration pack and a two bottle belt and filled up the pack at the park. Drank 160 ounces and was still dehydrated. That's what happens when you sweat upwards of 3L/hour. Yuck.
Went from 3500' up to 3700', down to 1500' and back up to 2500' on Stone Mountain and then, back down and then back up from 1500' to 3700'. That was a steep climb! Walked quite a bit those last few miles. For the first time ever, I considered just parking it on a rock and resting for a little bit. It was slow going, but I made forward progress. Going down on the way into the park hurt my feet. I didn't realize at the time, my feet busted out of my sock in two places. I've worn those socks probably 30 times and never had any problems. Where one of the holes was, I developed a blood blister, but I barely noticed it when I ran. I felt good though, and the next day, my legs feel better than they have all week.
Went tubing with Wren & Jennifer afterwards. Good day.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
We're at Virginia Tech running camp this week. Brought 14 kids. Today's run was a difficult 6.5 mile run all uphill to Mountain Lake. Pretty steep. Some of my kids were worried about doing the whole 6.5 and considered taking the 2 or 4 mile option, but all but 2 rising 9th graders did the longest option.
I thought I ran well. Never stopped to walk. I ran the first 4 with 2 of my girls with 2 guys within yelling distance. Then Jessica & Mallary took off while I maintained my pace. The guys left too. Chelsea was up with the other guys- who knows how far ahead.
A mile from the top, Jess, Malz & Patrick were within sight and I got a little emotional... I felt great and was just so happy to be running. More than that, I was so happy 3 of my girls were beating me! ...and on a good day for me! Made me feel like I'm doing something right in coaching and made me think about how much these kids mean to me. I think our first guy was about :56- he wasn't sure. Our first girl was 1:03. 1:13 for me. The run was comfortably hard. Perfect really. Not hard enough to HAVE to walk but hard enough to WANT to after 2 minutes!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
I wanted to run 2-3 hours, but got a little bit of a late start and had Wren and Jennifer with me. I told them I'd be back in 2 hours. Started at Basin Cove Overlook at Milepost 244.7 on the Parkway, where there's a great view, including Stone Mountain. Wonderful 72 degrees when I started. Ran on some nice singletrack as well as an enjoyable fire road. I thought I'd read that it was all rolling. What I ran was not rolling. It was pretty darn hilly. Started at 3300' elevation, went up and down a bit, got down to 1400' and then went back up to 3300'.
I got a little lost and realized I'd be late. Then about 2:15 into it, I went from tired but fine to Bonk City. Felt like someone turned the power switch off and it happened instantaneously. Been years since that's happened. I figured I was only running 2 hours- didn't need to bring anything besides water. Wrong. Didn't know exactly where I was, but thought I was close to where we parked. Heard cars and just trotted across a pasture and onto the Parkway. Luckily, picked the right direction and ran a mile along the Parkway to the car. Finished in 2:50. Jennifer wasn't too freaked out I was almost an hour late. Wren had been discussing whether they would have to spend 1 or 2 nights in the parking lot waiting for me. She knew they had water, granola bars and they saw blackberries on the trail. Ha!
Didn't go perfectly, had to walk a lot post-bonk as I was going uphill, but I'm just happy to be out there running a fairly long run in the woods.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Ended up having an inch wide gall stone. They took the whole gall bladder out Saturday afternoon. I wonder how much of my "stomach problems" over the years have been more about this gall bladder. I've thrown up in more races in the past 10 years than I haven't. We'll see.
Recovery's going well, but I can't run for a week and didn't run much last week after the Black Mountain Monster, so that'll be 2 weeks off basically. Really itching to run.
Monday, June 7, 2010
My running has been horrible lately. I have gained a good (bad) deal of weight. I've had to cross off one race on my calendar after another for various reasons. Been busy with teaching, coaching & watching Wren turn into a pretty exciting (biased, I'm sure) 6 year-old soccer player. My girls track team was 2nd in the state indoor and outdoor meets this year & 4th in XC, by the way. Guys have made incredible strides too. Things on the personal running front have been on the decline, but I'm ready for a good summer. I've never had a bad summer of running except due to injury. I plan on 300 mile months, losing the weight, being able to keep up with the top girls on my team again in intervals by XC season, and really getting in shape for Hinson Lake 24 Hour Race in September. Black Mountain Monster was a step in the right direction, but was a big challenge for me.
When I say things have been bad... In the past 4 months, I don't think I've run 6 days a week once besides the trip we took to the Pacific Northwest. 4 days per week has been the usual. I ran 70 miles at the New Year's 24 Race in Morganton, then Mt. Mitchell Challenge in February, and 4 hours a couple of weeks ago. Those have been the only long runs I've done, but I have gotten in several 2 hour runs if those count as long. Admitting my shortcomings is the first step to recovery, right? I'm ready to turn things around. I used to pride myself in doing 2-3 long solo training runs a month.
Black Mountain Monster has been on my calendar for months and as it approached, a feeling of dread filled me. A month ago, I figured out how I could squeeze some 2-4 hour runs into my schedule and survive the race. Half the battle in long races is having the confidence and experience that you can do it and have done it before. I'd be OK, wouldn't I? Maybe. Yeah... Nah... I think so.
Chafing is sometimes an issue with me and when it's an issue, it's severe. To prevent the chafe, I always wear a 9 year-old pair of Titan tri shorts under my regular shorts during long races now. I couldn't find the shorts easily when I was packing Friday afternoon, and just decided to spend the night at home. I was frustrated. I found them shortly after that but still stayed home. Drove the 2 hours the next morning for the 10 AM race start. The race was at the Manor House at Montreat College. I planned on cutting it fairly close and getting there at 9:20. I know the Montreat area and this place sounded like something that would be centrally located. I didn't bother looking at directions. Dumb. After a call to my mom to look at the website, I found my way to another property owned by the College. I showed up right at start time, not ready and the race director, Richard asked if I wanted them to hold up. I told him I had 24 hours to catch up and that was just 5-10 minutes I wouldn't have to run! I started 7 minutes after everyone else and caught up to some people about a mile into it.
To my knowledge, there have been 4 incarnations of this race in 4 years: 1) Run for Africa at Camp Rockmont in 2007; 2) Blue Planet 24 at Camp Rockmont in 2008; 3) Black Mountain Monster at Montreat last year, and; 4) Black Mountain Monster: The Race for Awesomeness at Montreat this year. I ran 25 miles with a relay team in 2007, 55 miles with a relay team in 2008 and didn't run last year. This year's course was different from last year's apparently. It was a good mix of rolling terrain with dirt roads, wide woodchip and dirt trails, 1/2 mile of paved greenway, and a little narrow, twisty singletrack. I liked it all, and really appreciated the variety. Wore Brooks Cascadias as usual, but you could've easily worn road shoes. A few roots but not rocks. There were mountains surrounding the course from all sides, but the town of Black Mountain is down in a valley so it wasn't particularly hilly. The course was a 3 mile loop with a common tent/aid area each loop and a self-service aid station on the other side of the loop. There was far less food than any ultra I've ever run, but I brought all of my own stuff, so it was no problem. Race volunteers were friendly. I'm supposed to be getting a technical shirt in the mail and the entry fee was modest, so no complaints about any aspect of the race.
The high Saturday was 86 and it was humid. As stated many times on here before, I fall apart in the heat. When I saw the forecast, I actually thought about showing up at 10 PM and just doing the last 12 hours as some people did. Within the first hour it was already hot. 3 hours into it, I was in trouble. Uh oh. Wasn't sweating enough, legs cramping, heat rash, dizzy... not good. I sincerely thought about quitting at mile 12 and again at 15. I took a break at 18 miles to cool off. My running, the whole race, was actually pretty good- there were just a lot of stops. I ended up taking four 30 minute breaks, spending time in aid stations and walking the hills.
I enjoyed meeting some people but ran by myself the whole time except for a few 2-5 minute sections. Met a woman who just started running in October and was on mile 33! Had never run a marathon before. Sheesh. Met two XC coaches. Talked to Anne Lundblad who was a few weeks out of back surgery, was walking 12 hours and was only a couple of laps behind me 8 hours into it! Passed some people laying in the middle of the trail. Caught someone cutting the course (a shame in a sport as non-competitive as this one, where 99% of people do it for personal fulfillment). A lot of people left early. Around 7 PM, I saw several of the 12 hour folks packing up early. If I had to guess, I'd say there were only about fifteen people doing the 24 hours, about thirty doing the 12 hour option, and about 5 relay teams. It was small.
Miles 30-50 were pretty decent for me. Cramping wasn't as often. Cooled off. But by that time, the damage was done. I'd like to think once the sun went down and it got into the 60s, I could flip a switch and click off the miles quickly. By that time, though, you've been going so long, your feet hurt, food and drink don't sound appealing... you're just ready to be done. Also at about 55 miles I started experiencing more of the dehydration symptoms again. Rather than fight it again, I told myself I'd quit at 100K- 62 (or 63, in this case) miles. Nice milestone number of 100K. As silly as it sounds, the way my day had gone, I picked it up at the end to finish strong. I passed a guy with 800m to go and told him I was done. He knew I coached XC and track and said something that bugged me.
Him: Why are you quitting?
Me: I umm... Man, I'm just done. I told you, I've been cramping up for 50 miles. I'm not sweating. It's been so slow going today, I'm not going to be near any distance that I'd consider to be a goal. I'm just going to take the 100K & call it a day. I've been hurting for a long time.
Him: Would you accept quitting from your team?
Me: I dunno. (But I wanted to say, "Yeah, if they were peeing brown, not sweating, had bad leg cramps, and had run 63 miles, I'd probably let them off the hook!" I didn't. "I dunno," was all I could muster. Bugged me.)
When I got to the tent and told them I was quitting, I asked how many people were still running. Only 5-6 solo 24 hour runners. I think I was somehow in 2nd or 3rd. How?? Dang. Could I keep going all night and end up with the most laps at the end? While I decided, I figured I'd keep moving. I probably only ran half of that 3 mile loop and walked the rest. I did not want to just trudge on through the night walking. I've done that before (Rocky Raccoon). No fun. I called it quits at 66 miles in a staggeringly slow 16:58. I've run 60 miles in 12:35 on some pretty difficult singletrack before.
ANOTHER REASON to drop out... I've always thought people were stretching the truth about hallucinating. Maybe not. For the last 8-10 miles, I could've sworn the ground looked like it had about 4" of water on it and I was actually running on the water- really more like I was running on a clear gel pad with water over it. Very ripple-y. When I rested for the last time after 54, everytime I closed my eyes, I imagined animals coming out of my chest- an anaconda, a whale, a sea turtle, a creepy little goblin-like thing. It was as if they ate me and continued on their path. I knew it wasn't real, and I wasn't asleep, but it was like a dream. Wacky.
SO. 66 Miles. I'll take it especially in those conditions. It's not my ideal performance by any means, but I think it'll be a springboard for better things to come this summer and fall! One thing to consider this summer will be do I try to avoid the heat and do long runs at night or in the mountains, or do I just get used to it in case I have to do it at Hinson Lake or other races? Last year was about the same conditions as Black Mountain but I handled it much better, largely because it was on the tail end of the summer instead of the begining. One thing is certain though... gotta turn things around and train well. I'm ready!
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
I intentionally didn't plan a running route for the day in Squamish because I knew the weather may dictate where I could and couldn't run. Quite a bit of snow at high elevations. Coming into town, there was a huge rock face- Stawamus Chief. Apparently, it's the world's 2nd largest granite monolith. I asked a woman at our hotel where would be a good, picturesque place to get a challenging 2-3 hour run in. She suggested "The Chief." Run? She must've been joking. The Chief tried to kill me.
I woke up before the sun came up and it had just risen when I looked at the park sign. "Let's see, the 3rd peak is the highest and longest trail. That should be the best one. Then, I can add on with other trails." I knew it would be difficult, but sheesh! Trail up is only 1.8K (just over a mile) but has 800m of vertical climb. Math & science whiz Mr. Jeff Wnek tells me that's 26.4% grade. It was also over some very unfriendly boulders and, after I got about half way up, over 2" of snow. I kept climbing & climbing and knew coming back down, scaling rocks in the snow was going to be impossible. I was also running out of time from when I told Jennifer to expect me. I turned around at what I imagine was about 20 minutes from the top and I heard the view from 3rd peak isn't that great anyway. It took me 20 minutes longer getting down than it did to climb up. I ran almost none of this trail. Impossible. Had a great time though!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
After a long day of sightseeing Saturday we decided to go out Discovery Park since we had a little extra time. Very pleasant surprise. Finished the run just before sunset and had a good time. What a great urban park! Big trees, beaches, meadows, hills. Felt like it was miles away from the city. Friday & Saturday were both about 44 and rainy. I'm not sure Jennifer & Wren liked their hike as much as I enjoyed the run. I only ran for 45 minutes, but they were in the car when I got back, staying dry. Today was warmer at first but we got some heavy rain in the evening.
Took a ferry over to Bainbridge Island & then over to Olympic National Park. The road to Hurricane Ridge was closed because of snow but we drove up to the Lake Mills area, up to a ridge at 4,000', looking down at the lake which was 400'. Beautiful. I had wanted to run from there to Lake Crescent but couldn't because of the snow. I ran 2 hours around Lake Crescent to Marymere Falls and up to Mt. Storm King. Native American legend states that the Storm King got angry at warring tribes and tossed a huge boulder to seperate Lake Crescent and Lake Sutherland. The Storm King must not like people running on him either. Man, that was tough! Over 2,100' of elevation gain in the 1.9 miles to the top. I stopped often to take pictures. Couldn't make it quite to the top. I turned around when I got to 2" of slushy snow. I don't know how much worse it got, but it was so steep when I turned around that I literally had to get on my hands and knees for a 30'. I didn't notice it being particularly treacherous going up, but if I had slipped, I could've dropped well over 50'. Figured all fours was the best bet. Never had to crawl through snow before! The water in the lakes and rivers in the area are amazingly clear and bright green-blue. Standing on the dock at Lake Crescent, you can easily see the bottom, maybe 20' deep. Saw Pacific Loons & 4 female Roosevelt Elk today (2 young ones in one location and 2 adult females in another). The Storm King Trail goes through an old-growth forest of Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir. Trees maybe 8' in diameter and 500+ years old. Driving through the area, we also saw a lot of unsightly clearcuts.
We've had a wonderful time so far. Hoh Rainforest run in the morning, Beach at La Push tomorrow afternoon. British Columbia the following day for the rest of the week.