Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving running

I am taking advantage of Thanksgiving to get in some miles.  Thanksgiving day, we did the Oceanside Turkey Trot; there is a 5 mile run that we did last year, 5K, and and option for the combo.  I decided that we should do the combo this year...if we are driving ~45 miles each way, we might as well do both, right?  The 5 mile race was crowded with one start and Alan and I dodged people for the first mile before settling in; I forgot my Garmin so we were running by feel and saving some for the second race.  I could tell we were running faster than normal but had no clue as to our pace; around mile 4, I decided to push the pace but leave some in the tank so I parted with Alan.  I was surprised to finish the 5 miler in 39:23 and Alan finished about 45 seconds later.  While that's much slower than my "old running paces," it was faster than I expected.

About an hour later, after a quick walk to the car and change of bibs/chips, we started the 5K.  There were thousands of people (like 5,000+!) so I was happy they did a wave start.  My goal was to run it comfortably and see what my times was.  My legs felt good and I cruised in for a 24:11 finish.

Today I did some work before we hit the trails; we wanted to go somewhere new but got a late start so we settled for Aliso and Wood Canyon; we only did one short run there before.  I was not a fan of the seemingly endless pavement from the parking area to the trail but enjoyed exploring the area; we took it very easy and "played."  We ran Aliso Creek Trail to Wood Canyon, to Cave Rock, to Dripping Canyon Trail, up Matthis, down Car Wreck Trail and back to the car.  The Car Wreck Trail was much more technical than I expected and we took it very carefully/slowly going down that way.  All in all, it was only 8 miles but it was fun to explore new trails.  I tried wearing different trail shoes as I noticed a pattern with my plantar fasciitis ongoing gets worse after every trail run when I wear Cascadias.  Tomorrow I hope it's not worse and that I discovered what has made getting it under control seemingly impossible.

Monday, November 12, 2012

CO Dreaming

The first weekend of November we traveled to the Denver area to visit my brother and explore his new hometown.  I fell in love with the area and this weekend's trail run in El Moro made me long for the beautiful trails I saw and explored there.  I was thankful to be able to run trails in El Moro yesterday but my mind kept drifting to CO....

Right out his front door is the trail that connects to the Cherry Creek ecological preserve area and I explored a couple of miles of it but PF prevented my running much of it.  We went to Red Rocks Park and, while I wanted to run and run and run, my foot was bugging me so I took it as a cool bonding time to hike with my brother and husband.  I have yet to upload the best pictures but you can see how cool it was...

We drove into the mountains to the west of Red Rocks and I was like a little kid in a candy store.  It was sooo beautiful and the views from ~13,000 were breathtaking.  We saw lakes, streams, parks and trails that made me so happy; at one point, I took off running on a path and got yelled at because they thought I might take off to run to the other side of the mountain.

We visited our friend Sam in Broomfield and I could see why he boasts about hitting a trail ~400 feet from his door.  I was sad to leave CO and cannot wait to return and explore some more!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Playing it smart

I finally am learning from my mistakes...I think.  I wanted to stick to my schedule and nail out a nice, long trail run on Saturday but work intervened and made that impossible.  I could feel the lingering effects of plantar fasciitis (PF takes forever to get back under control) on Friday night and decided I would go for a short run Saturday before going to the "office."  A half mile in, I turned around and decided my foot would be better off resting; I did some yoga and called it a day.  Sunday, I had hopes of a long run but felt a little creaking in the foot and was happy that I had plenty of work to do to keep my minds off of being on the trails; I hit the gym for weights (can't recall the last time I did that) and did some yoga.  This has to be one of the first times I had an issue that I could run through where I instead chose to give my body rest.

I am working on my running form, strengthening my foot, foam rolling the knots out of my legs consistently, and adding strength training to my workout regime.  I am incorporating a little barefoot running into my routine (keeping it under half a mile and on grass for now) as it helps me work on good running form.  I hope all this "playing it smart" quickly becomes routine because I have a history of trying to do all these things and then forgetting about them and reverting to my old habits.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Week/LB half marathon recap

The goal was to keep to my "training plan" for the week; I didn't worry about doing the runs on the scheduled days but wanted to run the miles planned. I hit my goal - even though it meant doing 7 on trails yesterday since I bailed on Friday's 7 miler. My right foot was feeling the effects of the PF (plantar fasciitis) that I felt a little more after a 10 miler earlier in the week but I did some icing, stretching, golf ball/rolling massaging and thought it would be okay. I went to bed last night in pain, not a good sign, but hoped I could make it through the Long Beach half marathon; the race was expensive and I did not want my hubby and I to bail on it.

We woke up at 4am in order to be on the road by 4:45; we knew traffic could be bad so we arrived early and found parking quickly. I taped my foot and wore my Skechers that have great arch support but are still iffy as to whether they are good for me since I have such a weird gait. I felt tightness/pain walking to the start and hoped it would not get worse. My hubby has not run much since May so he just hoped to finish under 2 hours.

I never wanted to run LB because a lot of the course is concrete but Alan wants the medal for the Beach Cities Challenge so I had reluctantly agreed; I predicted that the concrete would beat up our bodies and I was right. My foot hurt more during the opening miles so I focused on landing in the most comfortable spot and counted down the miles.

The course was scenic for a road race and that helped, though I got sick of the beach path around miles 7-11; my left knee (one with cyst), hip, calves hurt thanks to the concrete but my right foot did not get worse (yay). We cruised in under 2 hours and my normally freezing self stripped down to my sports bra thanks to the sun/humidity and I downed 2 bottles of water; I should have drank more water during the race:).

I am spending lots of time icing, foam rolling (love my Rumble Roller - review coming soon) and retaped my foot. While I want to keep with my training plan, I'll see what my foot needs and adjust accordingly. Today reminded me that I have lost lots of endurance and concrete sucks. A part of me wants to see if I can regain speed and endurance and try to made me realize I may not have the desire to run on roads enough to attempt a BQ ever again.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Change of plans

As a newlywed, I often get asked if anything changed once we got married; our typical response is that nothing changed.  But now I'm admitting that being married and in our 30s means we have to consider really settling down and the whole procreating thing; quite honestly, that scares the crap out of me.  Now is the time to push to make some personal and professional goals happen; my hubby is working hard at some professional goals that seem more important now that we are married.  What on earth does that have to do with running? It means that our plans for going for 48 hours at Across the Years are looking impossible; we planned on running it together but have been working too much and devoting so much spare time to pursuing professional goals that running has been on the back burner.  Story of this year....

As of last night, we are 90% certain we will scrap ATY because it's doubtful he could be ready and my school and work schedules might mean severe deviations from the training plan I devised (yes, I finally did a training plan for a race...and just spent several minutes deleting most of it).  I still plan on getting back in ultra running shape but will try to be patient in getting there, instead of ramping up quickly and seeing how my body responds.  I no longer have a deadline of next summer for checking off some ultra bucket list items as I am getting the itch to make some major life changes.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I "love" A.R.T.

I have a strong love/hate with A.R.T.  Over the past 4 years, Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) has been very effective in breaking up adhesions and getting me back to running.  Dr. Scott Neubauer is a phenomenal doctor and, though he makes me almost scream in agony as he tortures treats me, is my go-to person when I am injured or a "niggle." After last week's DNF, I immediately scheduled time to be tortured by him.  He can work magic and, best of all, is a top athlete who understands me.  I highly, highly recommend him to anyone in the OC/northern San Diego area...well worth the drive to Lake Forest, CA.

Monday he confirmed what I knew - the plantar fascia was extremely inflamed, so much that the inflammation extended below it into muscles.  Awesome.  He dug and discovered knots deep in my calf and found the ones I knew were in my hamstring.  After an hour of his digging into my muscles and I was thankful because I knew all the pain I felt during the session would bring relief in a couple of days.  He told me to ice my foot a lot because it was so swollen (yes, I am soooo relieved I DNFed last week) and gave me other instructions, all of which I have been following.  PF is flaring up in my left foot so I am babying it also.

I spent the week icing, cross training, and wearing super supportive shoes all the time (aside from when sleeping).  I went out for 2 miles on Thursday and Friday and felt "okay."  Today I did 6 slow miles in the scorching heat (temp of 96 but felt like 103 thanks to sunny skies).  I am very questionable for next weekend's ultra as I know I need to get through this latest bout of PF and get my hamstring back to "normal"  I ordered a Rumble Roller and am eager to test it out on Tuesday, the day it's scheduled to arrive; I'll post a review of that torture device as soon as I see if it's worth the hype.

Run on!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Do nothing foolish

After posting yesterday, my hamstring felt increasingly worse and the tightening in my foot (plantar fascia) got worse.  Before the concert and between acts, I used a pillar to stretch it.  The show was so awesome that I could not resist being on my feet and I bet that did not help any.  I decided to sleep with my Strassburg sock on, a device that keeps the calf and foot stretched and typically helps with plantar fasciitis.  Around 5:15am, I awoke to a shooting pain where the arch and heel join; I took of the sock and tried rubbing it but the pain did not go away.  I contemplated bailing on the race but knew Billy and another running friend, Rachel, were going to be there and I love doing races where I can see them.   I decided to make the drive and try for at least a half marathon; normally, taping my arch helps with PF so I did that routine but felt no relief.  Walking around I knew I was not 100% but I started the race hoping things would change.

The course was hillier than I anticipated.  It started in Dove Canyon and that horse trail connected to a trail in Casper Wilderness Park.  I love trails so much that I kept trying to convince myself I could do it but by mile 2, I knew I'd be lucky to do 13 miles.  Around the turnaround at mile 3.25, the pain got worse and I decided to DO NOTHING FOOLISH (DNF) since I was not wise enough to "do nothing stupid" (DNS).  The course was an out/back and the pain got worse before I completed the 6.5 mile route.  I told Billy I was dropping and that I would run errands and come back to hangout.  The walk down the hill from the start/finish killed and that intense pain got worse as I drove around taking care of errands; I realized I had to come home and start icing.

I think that too much stretching may have torn the PF more (apparently PF is microtear) so I need to stay off of my foot so that it can heal; I'm so happy I work from home instead of being on my feet.  I remember when I had PF before it was intense pain when walking but cannot recall how it felt when sitting; so, I do not know if this is better or worse than that bout with PF.  I scheduled a visit with my chiro/ART guru, Dr. Scott Neubauer, for tomorrow and I'm hoping he can help resolve this hamstring/PF issue.  It's crazy that the hamstring issue was caused by overstretching a tight hammy and today's intense pain was probably caused by overstretching my foot.  Apparently, too much of a good thing results in a bad thing.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

New trails means no taper

Before I signed up for tomorrow's trail marathon, I committed to spending today hanging out near where my husband is taking a prep class (getting ready for engineering exams).  We are attending a concert tonight and it was the only way we could avoid his leaving the class early to drive home and pick me up for the show.  I realized his class was near one entrance to Chino Hills State Park and jumped at the thought of running most the day...then I succumbed to peer pressure and signed up for a race.

Since I have zero expectations for the race, I decided to go ahead and explore trails today.  I parked at the Discovery Center entrance to the park and picked up a trail map.  I intended on running between 7 and 10 miles and figured I would do an out/back or a loop; I thought one loop would be about 7-10 miles based on a quick glance at the map.  At about mile 3.5, I realized the park is much larger than I realized.  I turned to go up to a peak and started going down a trail to make a loop; two large deer flew across the trail in front of me, initially freaking me out because I did not see that the first was a deer!  The trail was more technical than the one I took on the "out" and I decided it would be wise to turn around and just go back the way I came.  I ended up with about 8 miles and loved being out on the trails! 

I took the pace very easy but know tomorrow will be rough.  Last week I pulled my right hamstring stretching and it flared up again Thursday; I hoped two nights of deep tissue massage (love my hubby) would cure it but today proved it's not getting better. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Kick in the butt

I realized I had to give myself a kick in the butt in order to get back on track for my 2012 and 2013 race goals.  My longest run since May was a 20 mile trail run at the beginning of June.  Some days I've been too busy and some days I have been too lazy; I let my "obligations" prevent my getting out the door and then heat becomes an excuse.  So, naturally I decided I have to do something to get myself ready for the Noble Cayon 50K that is less than 3 weeks away.  One of my runner friends posted on Facebook about a small, local trail marathon taking place this weekend.  To me, that sounded like a great way to prepare.  Naturally, I signed up and then thought about what I did.

I am no way prepared for a marathon, much less a potentially hilly one.  The weather forecast keeps looking better and better (imagine my voice dripping with sarcasm); the projected high when I signed up was upper 70s and now it's upper 80s with heat index making it in the 90s.  I know I am up for a personal worst so I am planning on making the best of it.  I did a 10 miler on roads with my husband on Sunday and 13 miler (part trail/part road) on Monday; I'm going for a trail run on Saturday so the reasonable part of me will keep that one shortish.  Sunday shall be interesting...

Monday, August 13, 2012


It's been a long time since I blogged but I've allowed my life aside from running to take over full force.  The past month was a whirlwind thanks to getting married.  The wedding was fabulous (wooohooo!!!!!) but playing tour guide to my family, returning to an increased responsibility load at work, and taking a weekend to wine taste with my husband have left me with zero desire to train.  I initially had a lofty goal of attempting Javelina Jundred but that is looking even crazier than it did a few months ago. Now, I am just worried about being in shape enough to complete Nobel Canyon 50K; that course is very technical and, thanks to the shifting in seasons in socal and record heat, scaring the life out of me. 

I again skipped my long run this weekend due to running errands, watching the Olympics (I love watching and devoted my evenings that past two weeks to that), and being lazy with the hubby.  I have been getting out in the heat for short runs but 4 - 7 milers on a bike path are nothing compared to a trail ultra.  The next next few weeks are busy thanks to friends' weddings and showers; while I wish I could just run away from responsibility and hit the trails, I just need to suck it up and force myself out the door when I have the time without allowing myself to find excuses.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Time flies

As we lined up for the Ladera Ranch Fourth of July 10K, we could not believe that a year had passed since we ran the race and embarked on a year of running and racing together.  Our goal was to take it easy and use the race as a celebratory conclusion to a fun year.  The 10K consists of 2 5K loops with a long uphill and then the resulting downhill.  We took it very easy on the first loop and then picked it up for the second loop.  I started thinking about my dad and felt a burst of energy and I took off up the hill, leaving Alan behind.  I reached the top and started slowly running backwards, getting funny looks from other runners, until Alan caught up.  We then took it easy on the downhill and tried to push at the end (til my knee and Alan's lungs said no); we finished over a minuter faster than last year...not bad for taking it easy.

This 4th of July also marks the 4 year anniversary of my father's death and the 3 year anniversary of my 65 mile run in memory of him.  I cannot believe it's been that long; this year is especially rough since I am dreading walking down the aisle without him.  When the skies are overcast and the weather is cool like it was during our run, I feel like he's watching out for me; the day of his funeral, it was similar weather (very odd for Memphis during the summer).  Miss you, dad.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


This is a post I've considered writing for the past two weeks; seeing the devastation of the fires in CO, I realized what I really wanted to write and share with anyone who reads my blog. 

Sometimes I (and many runners I know) take for granted the ability to run; a couple of weeks ago, I experienced an incident that reminded me that I cannot take my health or anything else for granted.  My recent runs have been cut short and some of them a struggle; at this time, I do not know if there is an underlying health issue or if it's just stress catching up with me; I do know that I am cherishing every mile and every location where I run. 

Seeing pictures of CO Springs and talking with people there as part of my job, I have been overwhelmed and saddened; I am sad to see so many losing their homes and miles and miles of beautiful wild areas burning.  I cannot fathom what it feels like to lose a home or job due to fire and my thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected.  I know many trail runners are seeing their favorite places burn and, thanks to the wildfires in CA, I know how hard it can be to experience that. 

Most runners forget how blessed we are to be able to run and how fortunate those of us living in safe running areas are.  For the past two weeks, I have gone to bed relieved that my health was good that day; at the end of a run, I am thankful that I had the energy for whatever miles I did at whatever pace I ran.  Now, I will go bed happy that I have a place to sleep and, when I run, that I have a place to run. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

What goes up, must come down

Today's run kicked my butt (literally my glutes are aching) and left me feeling like I ran at least 50 miles...too bad it was just 20.  I met up with two members of the SocalTrailheadz for today's run; I always wanted to run in the Saddleback Mountains but have either had no time or lots of excuses.  Today I almost talked myself out of it, including during the run, but was very happy to finish in one piece.  It ended up being a warm day and much of the trail was exposed so I was very thankful we got an early start and that I had two gracious companions.

Going into the run, I knew where we were meeting and that we could go to Modjeska Peak and back down a different trail.  Silly me never researched anything about the trails; or maybe it was smart of me as I would have bailed on it.  We started in Silverado on a trail I believe is the Silverado Trail; it was the toughest climb I have encountered in a long time and I instantly felt I was in over my head.  Thankfully, my running partners held a good pace and my legs eventually warmed up.

   View on the climb up
   Still climbing
   And climbing
   More climbing awaits
   Spectacular view of the ridgeline

We eventually connected to the infamous Main Divide and I was not impressed; it was the first of many times we would encounter dirt bike riders and I did not like inhaling the dust or fumes; yet the views were phenomenal.  It seemed like forever before we reached "Four Corners" and the majority of our climbing was done, as were my legs.  The run leader then took us on the "Fifth Corner", an extremely steep (at times) and super technical trail.  I started getting dizzy and my pace climbed as I tried to gain footing; the rocks meant I had to be very careful or I would fall and the surface often was soft and I would slide backwards.  It was an absolutely beautiful trail that landed us on south Main Divide (?), which we took to the top of Modjeska Peak.

   Climbing Main Divide
   The start of the "Fifth Corner" trail
   This was the least technical part of it
     Looking back down the "Fifth Divide"
   Continuing to climb "Fifth Divide"

After a quick break where we refueled, we went back down.  Daniel said it was all downhill from there and he was not exaggerating; thankfully, we skipped the "Fifth Corner" and ran down the less technical Main Divide.  I am not the best on rocky paths and I turned my ankle numerous times, which got increasingly frequent during the descent.  We ran down Maple Springs trail and my legs decided they were done.  I am not accustomed to almost 11 miles of nonstop climbing and 9 miles of non-stop downhill running; I struggled to keep up with them as I kept turning my ankle and tripping as my legs got tireder and tireder.

   View from Modjeska Peak

By the time we hit the pavement for the run back to where we parked near Silverado Trail, my legs and body were so sore.  In the end, we ran 20.25 miles and I was just happy that I did not give up.  It was the type of tough trail run that makes me a better runner and I know I need to hit the trails in that area more often. 

      The elevation profile

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Returning to trails and speedwork

There are two things that I have missed about running over the past few months - trail runs (hills) and faster runs.  When I focused on ramping up long runs for a flat course, I cut out trail runs and the faster runs. 

Since the race was flat and Alan does not love hills as much as I do, our long runs were very flat.  Aside from running Leona Divide, I trained on roads or hills so low that I have a hard time calling them hills.  My legs and brain really miss long hill climbs and the scenery that I love.  So, last weekend Alan and I joined the Socal Trailheadz for the monthly new member run.  It was an easy trail run with baby hills but I loved being out in nature.  I was a member a couple years ago but did not rejoin because my knee issue and schedule limited by running; now I think my schedule will allow me to join them for more runs and I am very excited to be able to run trails I have yet to explore.  I need lots of time on my feet to reach my goals and company to keep me motivated is an added bonus.

My runs were at very comfortable (slow for me) paces and my legs have lost lots of speed.  So, over the next few months I plan on incorporating some faster paces.  Yesterday, I incorporated some intervals and it was disheartening how tough it was to hold certain paces that used to be comfortable.  Granted I may still be recovering from Nanny Goat and I was running into a headwind, but it was a reminder that I need to make at least one run "count."  I feel I have enough of a mileage base to incorporate one faster run (or at least intervals) per week while still focusing on endurance.  It may cause my hip and knee to act up so I am prepared to back off if needed but I have to try; it felt great to break a sweat during the run yesterday and work hard. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

What's next?

As much as I would love to sign up for several summer races, I am keeping myself in check.  We have a very hectic summer and fall ahead of us and I have to focus on priorities.  I decided to take it easy this week and devote this week and weekend to my massive to do list.  Then, work picked up and that meant I could only sneak out for 30 minute runs during lunch. My to do list has yet to be touched and my mind is wandering to fun things, like racing.

I contemplated signing up for Javelina Jundred before the price increase but chickened out Thursday night.  I will have to bite the bullet and pay the extra $25 when/if I register.  I wanted to participate in the training run on the course but just found out we have to attend a family wedding that evening; bummed is a mild way of putting how I felt when I saw the Save the Date card (I love the couple getting married, just not the chosen date).  I'm working on devising a training plan that is worked around upcoming events and hope to see a way in which I can actually train for the distance.  I do not want to attempt Javelina unless I am prepared to go the distance.  Alan cannot go with me to crew/pace and I admit I am slightly (okay, completely) terrified and nervous about doing it without him.  I'd welcome a kick in the pants to make me be less of a wimp and just go for it.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Nanny Goat Race Report

Steve Harvey and his wife Annie put on a fabulous race.  They attract tons of volunteers who make the race experience enjoyable.  Nanny Goat takes place on Shelli's family ranch and she and her family and staff deserve a huge thank you for not only allowing a lot of insane people to take over the place, but for providing support and taking care of little things to ensure things run smoothly.  The race benefits Wounded Warrior Project and it was humbling to see Lucy carrying the American flag and so many out there for the cause.

Alan and I packed more than I felt we needed but I like to err on the side of being overly prepared versus underprepared.   We arrived Friday afternoon and set up an EZ up tent; I disagree about it being "EZ" to set up.  We snagged a perfect location right near the end of the loop route (ie. we could run straight to it, get what we need, and then run through the barn to complete the loop).  Alan wisely suggested going to buy a table so that we could have our stuff off the group.  We left to find food and a table.

Since I switched to an all organic diet, eating out is hard; sometimes I have to eat nonorganic food (at his parents') and it typically upsets my stomach and intestines.  I searched for a place that had something organic but found nothing nearby..ugh.  We settled on the restaurant closest to our hotel- Islands.  I had a bad feeling about eating a turkey burger and fries but hoped for the best.  After dinner, we retired to the hotel to relax and get to bed at a reasonable time.  A couple of beers made going to sleep easy on my part.

I lacked the prerace nerves I typically feel.  We awoke at 4:15 in order to get dressed (body gliding alone takes about 20 minutes) and get to the race early; we got a great parking spot and proceeded to lug our gear to our tent.  Then, we hungout with friends, met new running buddies, and did last minute prep.  Seeing Steve walking around with a singing goat and a bullhorn made me realize running in loops is sane, compared to a grown man playing with a singing goat.

We set off with a couple hundred people and I quickly remembered how much I HATE loop courses.  While it was cool seeing horses and chickens and friends and family of other runners, the flat path was boring.  I did get a kick out of one lady (wife of a runner) who gave me the nickname "Legs."  I ran by and she told me I had the best legs she'd ever seen and that she could tell even with all the coverings on my legs; next lap, she pointed it out to her was a little embarrassing but then it began to look forward to seeing her and getting a laugh. 

I know some people love mile loop courses but I have a limit on how long I can enjoy them.  There was a road section that I realized was a slight (miniscule) downhill/uphill and that section beat up my legs.  Running on pavement in Cascadias (trail shoes) has never agreed with me and the race was no exception.  I longed for my Hokas and envied all the people wearing theirs; I really need to sell my too small ones and buy a proper fitting pair.  I tried to run as slowly as I could to start and, being Garminless and not even using my Timex for miles splits, I used other people as my "pacers." I didn't want any miles under 10 min and I was good about accomplishing that.

Very early in the race, I felt stomach/intestinal pain and I regretted dinner.  When I tried to choke down my first Gu, I almost threw up and felt my insides twisting in pain.  That would continue for the remainder of the race; I was unable to stomach much and alternated between intestinal cramping and feelings of nausea.  I separated from Alan, though we obviously saw each other frequently.  I typically do not drink much water but I was soooo thirsty that I frequently had to fill my bottle and eat ice chips; I was so thirsty that I would get ice from the chest less than half a mile from our own ice chest...and I did that even after seeing a kid get ice, rub it on his chest and dump it back in.  Gross!! I think the massive amount of dust I was inhaling contributed to a never ending feeling of thirst to the point where common sense went out the window.

I hit the 50K mark in under 6 hours; my shoes were bothering me but I made myself wait until mile 40 to change them.  My right achilles was tight from the flat surface and I hoped a different pair of shoes would help.  Changing my shoes and socks, I saw a massive blister on my big toe but I decided to leave it alone and hope my road shoes would make it bearable.  After another lap, I decided I had to take another long stop and pop the blister and bandage the area.  I was feeling weak from a lack of calories and having a blister issue didn't help.  I slowed down and made myself run the road section and the section from the road into the timing area.  Miles 40 to 50 were never ending; I was dry heaving at times and thankful to run with Jean for parts of loops as she would run and I would be motivated to do the same.

I saw Alan several times and he complained of foot pain; he tried changing shoes but it did not help.  At one point, he said he wanted me to walk at night with him because he was getting worried about making the cutoff (86 miles in 24 hours) and he wanted me to keep him on pace.  Seeing him hurting really demotivated me; I spent several miles contemplating what to do.  I realized I had to gauge his pain and see if pushing for the cutoff was a reasonable thing to do.  I reached 50 miles in under 11 hours and was right on schedule for where I wanted to be at that time.  When I finished mile 50, he was hurting more so I stopped and chilled at our tent.  He stopped and told me he was having an issue with the other ankle; his description of his pain reminded me of when I had that issue and I realized his going another 54 miles within the time frame would not be wise or possible.  He was at mile 46 and said he really wanted to hit 50 miles since 100 was not going to happen; since we had plenty of time left, I told him to relax and that we would do those 4 miles together when he was ready.  After about 40 minutes, we ventured out to get him to 50 miles.

I felt great upon restarting and contemplated helping him reach 50 miles and then continuing on for 100 miles.  But the feeling of nausea and dry heaving set in and I saw him in pain with every step.  I made the tough decision to stop when we reached his goal; it would be 55 miles for me and I did not want him to have to sit there in the cold overnight while I finished.  I knew I would have to force myself to throw up and then get down calories in order to get myself back on track and it was not worth it.  I was beyond bored with the loop and mentally had no motivation to continue.  While he said he would wait for me, we went there saying we would do it together.

That last loop was awesome as we walked arm in arm and crossed the finish line together.  While we did not hit any of our mileage/time goals, we hit the true goal - completing the race together as we prepare to get married.  In marriage we will encounter ups and downs and I truly believe that all of our running and racing together has made us better prepared for that.  I'm so freakin' proud of him; he went from saying a half marathon was long to completing 50 miles in a race less than 5 months later.  As for me...well I spent the drive back looking for my next race. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Nanny Goat goals

Yikes.  In about 36 hours, I will begin the Nanny Goat race.  The race has several options: 12 hour race (beginning at either 8am or 8pm), 24 hour race, or 100 mile race.  If a person logs at least 86 miles by the 24 hour mark, the person can continue on for 100 miles with the cutoff being the 28 hour mark.  Thankfully, the weather is looking as perfect as one can imagine for the event; it takes place in Riverside, CA, which typically hits upper 90s during the day this time of year.  Current forecast is for sunny and 71 degrees on Saturday; I'm hoping and praying that forecast is accurate.

My goals for the race are complicated.  My fiance is running the race and wants to earn a buckle (ie. 100 mile finish).  I obviously want him to earn a buckle and I hope I can do the same.  My knee and hip are the big unknowns.

My personal goals:
A - 100 miles under 24 hours
B - 100 miles under 28 hours
C- wog as many miles as possible in 24 hours

"Our goals":
A - Both earn buckles.
B - One of us earns a buckle.
C - We both wog for 24 hours.

I honestly want to finish as fast as I can and then continue on with Alan so that we can receive our buckles at the same time (though that makes my catching his finish on video a little trickier).  I have the advantage of more miles on my legs, am insanely stubborn and have an abnormally high pain tolerance; however, anything can happen and I'm prepared for the fact that he may log miles faster than I do (if so, I hope he can wait for me to  We have bought all the gear we need and are finishing packing it tonight.  Tomorrow we hope to set up camp/tent at the race site and be ready to go for Saturday morning.  No matter what happens, we will be surrounded by awesome, talented, craaaazy people and have a blast!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

In one week.....

In exactly one week...I hope to be holding my second buckle and either celebrating with Alan or doing whatever I can to help him finish; I'm writing this around 10:45am and we will have until 12pm to complete the distance (if we get to 86 miles by 8am).  I know that 100 miles is a looooong distance and I am not kidding myself about my chance of finishing; my body is not ready for the distance and I was more prepared when I completed SD 100; despite the injuries before the race, I had a very solid long distance base.  Now, my knee and hip are a source of constant irritation and I hope they allow me to cover the distance.  So my body is not ready...but my mind is and I am prepared to battle all the negative thoughts and pain that I will feel during the race.  I keep telling Alan to prepare for reality - pain, legs hurting and aching, a strong desire to quit, feet hurting, feeling like crap, possible sleep walking. 

One reason why the buckle means so much is because we have to battle ourselves and be mentally tough in order to make it happen.  Barring unforseen physical issues that can knock out the toughest and most prepared runner, an ultra is about pushing oneself beyond what they body says it can do.  I love ultras because they force me to look inside and dig deep; I emerge a strong individual and face daily challenges with more confidence.  This week I will be packing my drop bag with anything I could potentially imagine our needing and letting my legs continue resting.  Today's run showed that my legs are eager to get out of tape mode.  Now, time to figure out my gear and clothing/shoes....

Run on!

Friday, May 18, 2012

OC Half Marathon/Taper Time

My legs were dead after Leona Divide weekend runs.  So, I took it easy and Alan and I decided to run the OC half as an easy, recovery run.  I was not a fan of the expo; we attended in the midst of the children's 5K festivities. While I love that they encourage young runners and could already picture our taking a child to that event years down the road, I hated getting through the crowds at the fairgrounds to pick up the bib. 

Traffic was horrendous so we made sure to leave our house early Sunday and park so that we would have our choice of shuttle times.  We boarded the next to the last round of half marathon shuttles and arrived at the start with barely enough time for a porta potty stop; the lines were long and we had to run to the front so that we could start in corral A. 

The race started with a little gradual uphill and then a long downhill; the course bids itself as a net downhill and that downhill was the only significant one the entire race.  We started out faster than planned but our legs reminded us that we were supposed to be taking it easy; I ran 8 miles the day prior to the race and I started to feel all the recent miles around mile 6 of the race.  My knee started locking up and I began cursing pavement and wishing I had worn my compression tights as they seem to help my knee.  Around mile 11, I realized that the course had more uphills than advertised; while I normally love hills, I just wanted a downhill as the flat and uphills were killing my knee.  Our goal prior to the race was to finish in under 2 hours and we finished in 1:58; only a few months ago Alan struggled to run sub 2 hours for the half distance so finishing in that time the week after an ultra made us super happy.

I planned on running a long run the last weekend but work and school deadlines sidelined that.  So, I have been in taper mode for the past couple of weeks.  It's definitely a longer taper than I wanted but I got in some stronger runs and some soul-searching runs that will come in handy during next weekend's adventure.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Leona Divide 50K Race Report

Without a doubt, this was my favorite 50K.  After a less than stellar training run the week prior, I scoured for an upcoming trail race so that I could get in a solid weekend of running.  When I spotted Leona Divide on the calendar for April 28th, I mentioned it to my fiance and told him how awesome the t-shirt was; he has been eyeing Ink N Burn gear for weeks and I thought that might be the bait he would take for completing a trail ultra.  Obviously, it worked and I happily signed up at the last hour for us to do the race I had wanted to do for years but never had the chance to attempt.

I briefly glanced at the elevation profile and noted that it was easier than other trail 50Ks, which reassured Alan that it was a good idea to do it as his first ultra.  Considering his longest race had been a half marathon, I wanted him to feel confident in being able to complete the race; he has been training hard and completed several runs of 24+ miles on flat surfaces so the climbs were the only questionable part of the race.

We decided to drive up the day prior and got dinner at Sharky's, one of our favorite places because they serve primarily organic food at reasonable prices.  We enjoyed eating with one of our friends before retiring to the Holiday Inn in Palmdale; the parking lot was full of cars with "100" stickers and I gawked at one with a Badwater sticker and briefly went to lalala dream land over the thought of completing Badwater.  The entire week leading up to the week I battled insomnia and that night was no exception.  When the alarm went off, all I could think about was running and being able to sleep.  When we arrived at Lake Hughes, we realized how chilly and windy the start would be.  We checked in and admired the schwag; Keira puts on a phenomenal race and the goodie bag was just the beginning.

I decided to use the run as a test of gear.  I went with my CW-X Pro 3/4 tights and settled on wearing Skins compression stirups (ones I've worn for years) in hopes of preventing the swelling caused by the tights the previous week.  It took me several attempts of putting on the stirups to finally get them comfy and in a way that covered my socks since we forgot our gaiters.  Right before the start, we ran into my running buddy Lori and I was happy to start the race with her; I ran my first trail run/race with her and Billy in 2008 and I loved having the chance to catch up since our crazy lives have prevented running together/hanging out in a couple of years.

We started off comfortably because I did not want Alan to go out too fast; however, later I realized a comfortable, conversational pace for Lori and me may have been a little fast for Alan as it meant running more uphill than Alan is trained to do.  We cruised along enjoying the sights and rocking the rolling hills.  Very early I could tell that Keira, the RD, did an excellent job with course markings and had fabulous volunteers helping out at aid stations (and check in/finish line).

The first several miles were on fireroad and I loved when we hit the single track of the PCT; I had forgotten how narrow the single track was and many times I caught myself nearly sliding off the edge.  I thought ahead to when we would see the return runners (out/back section) and wondered there would be enough room to let them by...Alan slowed up a little on the section leading into mile 16 so we parted ways with Lori.  That was probably a good thing since I noted that we were on pace for a 6:30 finishing time, a little faster than Alan desired.

The climb from mile 18 to about 22 was long but not steep; however, it was enough to cause us to slow down.  Alan started struggling during and after the climb but knew he would finish.  There was another climb around mile 25 and Alan started to cramp; I told him to take a couple of salt pills (it was getting warm) and thankfully they resolved the cramping.  We slowed even more, which was hard for me because my legs felt fresh and I wanted to run since running made my knee feel better.  Yet, I reminded myself that the point was to finish with Alan and for him to feel good at the end.  Miles 28 to the end were a gentle downhill combined with flat sections and I worked on pushing Alan to get to the finish; I tried to remember how I felt during the last few miles of my first ultra and realized how awesome of a job he was doing.

There is nothing quite like hearing "I love you" at mile 29!  We held hands and crossed the finish line beaming with pride; finishing time was 7:35 (awesome time for Alan's first, especially since he never runs trails!).  Alan was so happy to be an ultrarunner and I was so proud of him; he went from being a half marathoner to an ultramarathoner in only a few months and was able to walk easily after the race (big plus).  We loved the medals and post-race food spread; Alan is already talking about wanting to do all of Keira's races.

The following day I tested out my legs by going for a 13 mile easy trail run.  Alan did the smart thing and rested his legs but reported that he felt good enough to run.  There is nothing quite as cool as sharing your passion with your (soon-to-be) spouse and seeing him walk around for days beaming with pride over completing an ultra!