Race Schedule

2018 Races…TBD!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Go Long!

Quick pic: Eating some birthday sushi at Kamehachi...you can see soy sauce mid-drip. Mmmmm, suuuuuussshhhhhiiiiiii

Okay, now for the good stuff!

I had a kick butt kind of long run this weekend! And not a "recovery" long run, but a f'real long run. Geof posted on the CHUG forum to see if anyone would want to join us for a run at Palos this past Sunday for a good old fashioned CHUG trail run. Bam! Peeps jumped on board almost immediately and before we knew it, we had a healthy-sized group for Sunday.

We got to our usual spot, 40 Acre Woods, around 9:00 and found Sarah, Tony, Bill and Leslie there already, with Torey shortly after us.
Sarah, moi, Torey
Torey, Leslie, Bill, Tony, Sarah

After some CHUG talk and some bottle prepping (I decided to go with a single bottle of Clip2 this time) we set out clockwise on the 8-mile yellow trail so that we would catch all the hills going up (per Tony's suggestion). We quickly got into our grooves and Tony and I hogged the front. Tony had run 4.5 loops of this the day before and he wasn't sure how he was going to feel, but from what I could tell he definitely had his runnin' legs on on this morning! He was really pushing the pace and somehow I had it in me to keep up with him. The rest of the group was back a ways and I wanted to slow up so we would all be together, but for some reason I put on my speed legs and I really wanted to see what they had for me on this day. I checked my Garmin from time to time and we were sticking to 9:00 minute/mile splits, some 8:30s on the downs and flats. Holy heavenly smokes, where did that come from?! And, I even felt good! The uphills weren't bad, but Big Bertha never, ever disappoints and while Tony sped straight up it without a second thought, I was reduced to barely a brisk walk. BB is one heck of a hill, and it's long for the area!

So, we did the same thing again on the second loop. After a mile or so, Leslie, Bill and Torey turned around (they each wanted 10 for the day), so Geof, Sarah, Tony and I were left to the trail. After the typical trail run conversations about food and bodily functions, Tony started to push the pace again, and I pushed myself to keep up. After the second loop I was finally beginning to feel the speed and the distance (longest run since VT, at 16 miles!). Sarah peaced out after the second loop, and then there were three.

As soon as we set into motion on the third loop my glutes ached, hams and quads burned and my feet tingled with early signs of hot spots. It felt good! I had completely forgotten what it was like to feel tired and achy all over mid-run. I started reminiscing about all the races I've run over the past year and how this felt so much like a few of those races. So I pushed on and while we had pulled back to a more reasonable/sustainable pace, I was burned up pretty good. Oh, how I love the feel of a good, long, run! We were all pretty tired by now, and the hills became walk breaks. The conversation dwindled and we fell silent the last few miles. I ached all over! Not a spot on me didn't feel like running death, but onward we went.

All three of us were ready to be done, and the parking lot couldn't come soon enough. The weather was absolutely perfect (sunny, slight breeze, mid-60s), the trail was in pristine condition, there were lots of people out enjoying the trail and the day, and I felt like rigor mortis had set in. I was in heaven. We rounded out 24 miles as we approached the parking lot signaling the end of our run. I stepped down gingerly from the trail onto the pavement and felt the creaky knees and tight quads protest. I was literally hobbling across the lot to the car, and I was delighting every step. I haven't felt like that in so LONG! Oh, the glory!

After we changed and cleaned up a bit, the three of us headed to Chipotle for our usual post-run burrito/tacos. I brought in one of the baggies the Clip2 came in and filled it with ice and rested it on my knees while we ate. I think we got what very well may have been the last downright perfect day for a bit, so we sat outside and stuffed our faces.

How totally awesome. Great run, great friends, great food. Holy soreness! I feel like I just ran 50 miles, not 24! I guess I need to do more of those kinds of runs now; I think I'm ready :)

Big week ahead, I got my butt-kicking, gut-wrenchng exam out of the way, and next up is moving day! Friday we get a brief three hour window in which to hog the elevator and move but I think we'll get it all done. Then, Saturday is my 10 year high school reunion...wowza!! Doesn't feel like it's been 10 years since I weighed 90 pounds, ate a Snickers everyday for lunch and thought that Blink 182 had talent. My how time flies!

Crash, out.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Little Bit of This, Little Bit of That

CHUGs: Tony, Geof, Me, Leslie, Bill and Kelly

How many runners does it take to run one loop in the southern Kettle Moraine, with maps? Well, a lot more than we had on this run! It was another super-awesome outing with some of my favorite peeps, my CHUGs :) This time we headed a little further north, to roundabouts Eagle, Wisconsin to pitch some tents at the Pinewoods Campground of the Kettle Moraine.

Geof volunteered us to do the planning for this trip, so I immediately rallied and reserved a couple camp sites that would be pup friendly, noise friendly, and have easy access to some trails. Lucky for us, the trailhead was right behind our tents, sweet!

I guess it would have helped to know what trailhead it was, though.

While a bunch of CHUGs hung back at camp (you know, to do the important stuff like keep the beer cool, fire warm, and tents safe and sound), six of us set out on one of the most confusing 5-mile loops of lush, delicious wooded trails. The plan was to follow the outermost 'green' trail (5-mile loop). How hard is it to follow the outside loop? Really freakin' hard when you're in Wisconsin! Every intersection became a cluster of madness, and a touch of frustration each time we realized we were running in circles, just not the right circles. Which way do we go? Does anyone see a green blaze? A blue blaze?! What? there's not even a blue trail on our map, what the eff is the blue blaze for? Are we going to die out here, Blair Witch style? Who farted? I want a hotdog!

So, you get the idea. It took us about an hour fifteen to finish the loop, and a few were turned off from doing a second. But not Leslie, Geof and I! We headed out for another loop, this time trying it in reverse to see if maybe we could trick the green trail into being marked correctly or something. Nope, still a clusterf***! Although we finished it considerably faster, we still got lost several times, and I spooked myself more than a few times. It's kinda scary out in those woods in the dark, lost, confused, hungry.

But in the end, we found our way back and quickly settled in around the fire to enjoy some hotdogs, hamburgers, and ice cold beer. Another fantastic CHUG outing. I love my CHUGs :)

On Tuesday, I had one of the most difficult and decidedly uncomfortable runs of recent memory. Geof and I headed out for 10 miles after work, and while the weather was just fine, my body was not. Everything felt funky. My stomach was totally empty and I was sooo hungry, but that hunger feeling quickly turned to nausea. I felt like crap, and my form was suffering. But I kept on despite it. I don't know what was going on, but my only guess was dehydration of sorts. I could not get enough water! Once we got home, we ordered a pizza from the Italian cafe across the street, and while I showered up I noticed I was not feeling any better. Nothing sounded appetizing and I felt blech. The smell of the pizza was horrendous, but I ate a piece knowing I needed to eat something, and it just looked so good! Wow, what a weird feeling, must have lasted a couple hours post-run, too.

Anywho, I had a great birthday morning run yesterday (followed by a totally awesome birthday!) and then a really good 6-miler this morning with Geof. It felt tons better and is very promising going into the weekend. Phew. It's a good thing cuz...


It's all official-like, and Geof and I even registered the old-school way, via U.S. Mail. Ooooooooo. Geof's doing the 50M because that's just how he rolls, and it'll be his last long run before Javelina three weeks later. It'll also be my last long run before a baby taper going into the NFEC 50M in Wisconsin two weeks later. Bam! I love racing!

Did I mention I just had a birthday? Oh, yes, I did :) Yep, turned the big 2-8...huge milestone of a birthday, I know. One of my peeps, Brad, said to me, "well, at least you get to wake up tomorrow [on your birthday] and still be in your twenties." Hehehe, true story. Geof and I gorged on sushi and Sapporo, then he wonderfully sat by while I gushed over the season premier of Grey's Anatomy. That's right, I said it, I'm a Grey's fan.

Enough of that "non-running content!"

Another Chicago Trash Runners run tomorrow morning, then we're heading back out to Palos Hills for another CHUG long run on Sunday. Can't wait!

Crash, out.

Friday, September 18, 2009

One Hundred Miles of Heaven and Hell

Ah, Wasatch, Wasatch, Wasatch. Where does one begin? Here are the basics: Geof and I peaced out of work mid-afternoon on Thursday to head home and grab our luggage. I got home first so I caught up on some schoolwork, a nap, some Patagonia magazine reading, and inhaled a PB&J for lunch. Once everything was set, we walked up the street to catch the bus to hop on the train that would take us to Midway, where our adventure would begin…! Our flight was just glorious, and when we arrived in Salt Lake City, we were greeted to Gary and Jen (Gary’s lady) leaping across the hallway to us (literally, leaping. They were imitating some other people waiting for someone.).

Jen informed us that the weekend’s vehicle was named “Molly” and not “car” :) “Molly” was HUGE! I’ve never seen such a massive SUV before, but it would turn out to be a fantastic crew vehicle, moving aid station, motel, the site of a massive grasshopper attack, narrow trail negotiator, red fox attractor, dinner table and laundry rack. Oh what a weekend we were going to have!

We headed straight for Layton, UT, where our evening’s hotel was, did some last minute organization of things (of which there was very little to do because Jen was a total rock star crew chief and had thought of it all!), and then got to bed. We had a 3:00 a.m. wake-up call and it was already after 10:00, yikes! When we awoke the next morning, Gary realized that he had inadvertently packed all of his good running socks in his drop bags…it’s a good thing Geof wears the same kind of socks, so he was able to lend Gary a pair to start out in. It seems it’s always something in these kinds of races. I can’t recall what it was I forgot at Vermont, but it was something :)

Layton was a hop and a skip from the start line, so we got there in plenty of time for the 5:00 a.m. start. Wasatch is a seriously old school event (at least compared to what I’ve experienced): the start line was a piece of orange tape strung across two trees, and there was one dude sitting at a plastic table with one little bitty light checking people in. Runners began to crowd around the start area and without even a countdown, they were off (well, there may have been a countdown, but I didn’t hear it) down the dusty trail, through an iron fence and quickly disappearing in the darkness. Cool. I had chills, and not because it was cold out, because it was so neat to witness such a big deal of a race. I couldn’t wait for the rest of the day to unfold.

Standing at the starting area was none other than my favorite lady ultrarunner, Krissy Moehl. Geof and I both really enjoy her blog so we were both kind of star struck :) Geof decided we should get a picture, of which I was resistant of at first because I felt silly doing that, but then we saw a chance to say hi so we walked over. What a cool chick, totally down to earth and nice…and tall! So we got a picture:Now we were all hungry and cold, and since we had some time to kill before the first crew aid station, Geof, Jen, Gary’s parents and I decided we should head back to the hotel to get a couple hours of sleep and some food. Best nap of my life. After we grabbed breakfast from the hotel lobby, we were off! Gary got to Francis Peak (18.76) a lot quicker than we expected so we were behind in getting to him, but he decided to hang out until we got there so he could get his sunglasses. What a good sport! By now it was getting warm out.
Francis Peak AS

Gary leaving Francis Peak
There was trash alongside the road, heading down the mountain...trash run!!

Our next stop was going to be Big Mountain (39.4), where Geof would jump in to start pacing. We made sure to get there early! Since there was limited parking, we had to wait down the road a bit at the Watershed until we got word from the radio dudes that our runner was about a ½ hour away from Big Mountain, then we could head up to the station. It was a loud station! Lots of cheering and noise, runners, crews everywhere, it had lots of energy! Eventually, Gary arrived, and we got right to work on him. Changing socks, shirts, refilling bottles and packs and getting him ready for the next portion, which would put him into Lamb’s Canyon (53.13) after dark.
Geof and I at the Watershed, waiting to head up to Big Mountain AS
Gary at Big Mountain AS
Our little friend :)

Now, it was time to wait some more. Lamb’s Canyon was close by and had the same parking restrictions, so we had to wait down at the Watershed again until the radio peeps told us when we could go. It’s a beautiful area, so it’s not like it sucked or anything. We drove down closer to the water and made some dinner and aired out some of Gary’s smelly shirts :) While I was making sandwiches for Gary’s next stop, a little dude decided he wanted to make friends! How cute! Perfectly harmless red fox, and he was clearly looking to get some of my goldfish. He hung around awhile (much to Gary’s mom’s dismay), but never got too close for comfort.

After a couple hours, we headed towards Lamb’s, checked in “Molly” and then set up shop at the trailhead, waiting for the guys to show up. It got COLD! The sun was setting and was already behind the mountains so the temperature dropped quite a bit. I wrapped myself in two blankets, but could not get warm. Jen and I both changed into our running clothes here as we weren’t sure who was going to jump in to pace next. If Gary was still lucid, Jen would jump in, but if he showed any signs of being overly tired or off, I was going to take over. I was sitting on a low boulder thinking warm thoughts, when I decided to grab something from my bag so I turned, and that’s when I…crashed! Go figure, I fall sitting down! I’m not sure how it happened, but I was no longer on the rock, and was instead on the ground, my right arm throbbing. Nicely done!

Anyhow, the guys finally show up some time later, Gary’s doing pretty good so Jen takes over pacing duties from there. Somewhere, there was some massive miscommunication and it was said that the next stretch was flat, so we had no qualms sending Jen out (this was her first trail run, I believe). Turns out, it was uphill the ENTIRE time, and not just a little uphill, but a shitton uphill! Oh boy, how did we miss that?!

From Lamb’s, we stopped at a grocery store to clean up a bit and grab some more snacks. Next up, it was Millcreek (61.68). We guesstimated it would be right about 1:00a.m. when Gary would get in there, so we decided to take a nap in the care while we waited. Bear in mind, Millcreek was over 7,000 feet up, and we hadn’t stepped out of the car yet. After a restless nap, with no legroom, I got out of the car to start getting this ready for Gary, and for my pacing duties. Holy crap, it was REALLY cold now! I was wondering what I’d gotten myself into, it was shivering, blue lips cold, and all I had were shorts. Thank goodness I brought a hat and gloves for “just in case”. I threw on two more shirts and a jacket and at 1:03, Gary and Jen appeared coming up the hill to the station, hand in hand :)

As soon as Gary sat down in the tent he began shivering massively so we covered him in blankets, fed him hot soup and then got to work again. Then, it was time to head out into the night! I was now excited to get going and see what this course had to offer. My portion was heading up to 9900 ft. (Scott’s) and as I’ve been above that I knew I wouldn’t have problems with altitude, but I was really looking forward to the views. The trail immediately headed upwards on a wonderful soft dirt trail. Gary got warmed up pretty quickly once he was moving and got in much better spirits. Going uphill kept me pretty warm and I was feeling good, keeping the conversation flowing for the most part, Gary quietly following behind. There were some silent stretches were we just charged ahead uphill, stopping here and there to let him catch his breath. It was taking some time to get to the next station, and Gary was getting edgy, but I did my best to try and keep his mind off of all the climbing, it was a lot! I had to keep reminding myself I was on fresh legs and to ease up a bit. Desolation Lake came finally, and we were able to smell the bonfire for awhile, so it was great to finally get there. I told Gary to walk around for a bit until his heart rate came down before he sat by the fire. He did, and when he sat down he had no problems with shivering again. I filled up his pack, my bottles, got him some soup and hot chocolate, then we headed out. We had just a little more uphill, to Scott’s, and then we were going to be treated to a lot of flat and downhill running into Brighton. Gary wasn’t happy about even the little remaining uphill, but considering how much he’d already done throughout the day, I couldn’t blame him! I have to blast him for this, because it was just too darn funny (don’t be mad, Gary!).

As we left Desolation Lake, I was walking in front of Gary, and after a few minutes, the quiet is broken by Gary’s voice, “Oh NO! No way, no way, huh uh!” I turned around thinking he saw a snake, or a bear, or a dead body. He was just standing there looking upwards, and I asked what the problem was. “I am NOT going up there, eff that. No, I’m done!” I turned to see what he was looking at and I was confused, so I asked what he was talking about. “See all those headlamps, WAY up there? No, I’m not.” I started giggling, then full on laughing when I realized he was looking at the stars, just above a ridge. “Um, Gary, those aren’t headlamps, those are stars.” I’m not sure, but I think he turned red and just smiled when he realized what it was he was seeing. I made sure to make fun of him for that a few more times. It was too funny! This stretch was much more talkative and Gary seemed more alive, responding to questions, laughing, smiling. I felt better seeing that!

When we got into Scott’s we both happily entered the warm, heated tent, drank some soup and coffee, had some Red Vines (yum!) and after a short spell headed back out. First light was beginning to show and I was getting excited about the sun. Gary was back to being quiet, except for announcing that he didn’t think he’d go on once we reached Brighton (75.61). My heart sank, but I tried not to let on that I felt sad hearing that. All I could say was, “We’ll see. Anything can happen in the next couple hours.” Gary just nodded and looked down as we headed out on the most wonderful flat section I’ve ever seen on trail. It was glorious and I wanted to just fly over it. We were up high, and had the best damn views, even in the dark. I was just about in heaven :) This next portion went slow, despite the flat and downhill trail.

As we descended from high above, Gary mentioned he felt a little dizzy and was seeing spots. I was giving him an S!Cap every hour, and decided to up it to every 45 minutes now. I also gave him my bottle of Nuun to give him a break from the Perpetuem he’d been drinking all day long. He liked that and it seemed to help a little. I also made sure he was eating a gel or Shot Bloks every hour. It was fun to this and I enjoyed keeping tabs on him :) The sun was now rising as we descended further and further down into a canyon, towards Brighton. We were chatting and he seemed to be enjoying himself a little more. I was now employing running games to get us moving in intervals. Run to short stubby tree then walk to the power line pole. Run to that gel pack in the road, walk to the next intersection (we were now off trail and on roads the rest of the way into Brighton). Eventually, the devil on his shoulder began to reign supreme and he didn’t want to move more than a walk. The negative talk was beginning to take over and I wasn’t quite sure how to approach it. Be tough, or be supportive? I tried to bridge the gap between the two, but not very successfully. As we circled the one way road towards Brighton, just about in view, Gary said one more time that he was through at the Lodge. I stopped responding to this announcement long before this point, and when he said it again as we entered the Brighton parking lot I said, “I don’t know about Jen, but there is no way Geof is going to let you stop.”

Boy, did I call it or what?!

The Lodge was so warm and cozy, and I was happy have clean clothes to change into. Geof was going to take over from here to the finish line, 25 miles away, and over the most difficult terrain the course has to offer. That’s just wrong, throwing a climb over Catherine Pass, at 10,500 feet, at the end of a 100 mile race. I told Geof what Gary had said, and immediately set about letting Gary know he was not stopping. Witnessing the scene going on was interesting. And when push came to shove, Gary and Geof were heading out the door. Not gonna lie, I felt a little emotional watching them go.

Jen and I, and Gary’s parents, set about organizing the mess we made, I changed into warm clothes, left Brighton and headed to the Homestead, where they were staying the night, and where the finish line was. We knew it would be awhile before we’d hear anything, and luckily Geof had his phone on him, so I took a nap while Jen read on the lawn. We had gotten a text from Geof saying that Gary was doing great and they were moving along, so this eased our minds about pushing him out of Brighton.

After some time, Jen and I decided we’d try to meet them at Pot Bottom (93.13). The only thing was, we didn’t know how to get there, and neither did anyone else. This turned into an exercise in futility, but Jen and I sure had a lot of laughs and interesting encounters along the way to realizing this.

I’m not sure what time it was, but it was dangerously close to the cutoff and we received a call (or maybe it was a text) from Geoff that things weren’t going so well, and that Gary was probably done. Jen and I immediately mobilized and set about getting a plan to get them off the mountain. The communications crew at Wasatch is top notch and they were able to get us good directions up to Pot Bottom so we could retrieve our dudes. There was a lot of back and forth, and plenty of confusion, but we finally headed up, and up and up. Long story short, we intercepted the aid station crew that had closed down the aid station and had our guys in tow. They hopped in the truck with us and made the long drive down in relative silence. Gary was in good spirits and was happy to be done. It just wasn’t his day to run 100 miles, and as Geof put it, “on this day, his race was 93 miles.”

Wasatch is nothing to sniff at, that’s for darn sure! It’s a butt-kicking course, but has some of the most gorgeous terrain I’ve ever seen. It was a good old fashioned ultra run through the mountains, with good people, fantastic volunteers, and wonderful memories. After some reflection on it all, I think I might be convinced to run it myself one day :) Maybe.

Gary laid out everything he had on that course and I’m proud of him for getting as far as he did, having never gone beyond 50 miles before this, and having trained almost entirely on flat pavement! That’s amazing! I don’t think he’s done though. I think he’ll be back for more :)

Mind over matter, that’s the only advice I can offer in retrospect. There was a lot I learned in my 15 miles of “heaven and hell” with Gary, but this was the biggest of them all. Not making sense? Well, that’s okay, I won’t delve into it here, but I’m sure you’ll know what I mean should you decide to battle the 100-mile race one day :)

After we unloaded the car and Gary headed into the cottage to rest, Geof’s friend, Rob, and his dog Lucy, met us at Homestead and we headed to Park City with him for the rest of the weekend. FYI, Park City is beautiful; in fact, all of Utah is beautiful! I loved it there! And Rob and Rina were divine hosts. I will most definitely be back J

Crash, out.

Team Guidi at Francis Peak (Dean, Gerrie, Gary, Jen, Geof and I)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Quote This!

Check it out, I got quoted!

Bryon Powell solicited the Ultra List for some thoughts on ultrarunning last week, and this week he sent me a link to the article that he wrote, including a quote from one of my "thoughts" :) It's on Competitor.com, the running side. It's just a snippet, but it is still pretty cool to have been included in it.


Thanks, Bryon!

Crash, out.

Oh, and yes, my Wasatch RR (from the crew side) is coming very shortly. Still trying to figure out how to compose it...and waiting for some other pictures to include. Stay tuned!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Pace Face

Gary and I on a CHUG training run in Palos Hills in April

Remember reading about my running buddy, Gary earlier this year? Yea, the funny looking guy with the big calves ;) I only kid! Well that's Gary up there in the picture, and guess what? He's running his first 100 mile race this weekend! And what's more? He asked Geof and I to help him out and pace him through the grueling yet equally beautiful mountain range known as the Wasatch Mountains!

I remember when I first met Gary, aka Bison, back in January. He joined a running group I'm a member of and when I got the alert that we had a new member and I saw that he mentioned ultrarunning in his bio I thought, "I gotta meet this dude." A week later we were running along the lakefront path on a long run together, talking about his "crazy" idea to run a hundred miler, and that he wanted to run Wasatch Front...he was already in the lottery and all he could do was wait. Then, he got in. Whoa, whole 'nother story now! Now it was time to get serious.

A couple months later, I ambled into the bar our running group meets at twice a week to hang out (I was on injured reserve at the time) and Gary almost without hesitation said, "Paiger, will you please pace me at Wasatch?" What, no hello? I thought he was kidding. He wasn't. I accepted. Well, duh, why on earth would I pass up the opportunity to run around in the mountains with a great friend, and experience one of the toughest 100 mile races in the U.S.? Very soon after, Gary set about convincing Geof to join us as well.

And now it's go time. I have an inkling what Gary might be thinking/feeling right now, but it's gotta be pretty intense considering the magnitude of the race he's about to participate in. I mean, Wasatch is pretty darn hardcore! I'm getting antsy sitting here waiting to get going. I'm flying out this afternoon with Geof, and we're meeting Gary, his girlfriend and his parents out there (they've been there a day already). I'm pumped!!

I can't even begin to imagine what it's going to be like, but I do know it's going to be a rockin' good time, challenging, exciting, tiring, draining, and an overall amazing experience. I'll have the pictures to prove it, too :)

Good luck to Gary, and all the other Wasatchers!!

May the trail be with you, and not on you :)

Crash, out.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Run On Weekend

It was a great weekend of running, tough but great. And getting stuff done. Saturday I slept in and then cranked out a bunch of school stuff. Felt good. Then I played beauty salon (ultra style) and made my feet pretty. This was a huge accomplishment as my footsies were finally ready to be tended to now that they're all healed and whatnot post-Vermont (well, and I got a little lazy and kept forgetting to do it). So now my feet are soft as a babies butt, I like! I digress. Geof made it back after 30 miles sometime in the early afternoon, did a little wardrobe change, dropped the bottles and we headed out for his final five miles together. Those miles felt good to me. He held up great, as usual :) Afterwards, what's better than a post-run burrito? Post-run tacos :) G got his usual burrito though. I was changing it up a bit with the tacos.

Let's see, Sunday...not so productive. Around 11a.m. we decided to head up to the Kettle Moraine for a trail run, 15 miles, so Geof called his dad to see if they wanted to meet for dinner when we were done, on our way back to Chicago. Perfecto! Somehow, the day really got away from us. I guess we weren't really all that motivated to get out on the trail :) I realized in packing for the run that I barely had any Gu's or Bloks left and would need to stop at REI sometime before leaving for Wasatch, so we decided what the hey, lets swing by REI on the way out of town :) Bam, am I glad we did! Filled up on gummi bears, Gu's, Bloks, Nuun and then found a NF running jacket for under $30 that I'd had my eye on since last year (when it was $80). I love finding a good deal. After killing some time wandering around the store, we decided to check out the Patagonia store. Hey, we were already way behind on the day, what's another hour?

Finally, around 2:00 we were on the road to Wisconsin. We decided to play on the Nordic Trail, the staging area for the KM100 in June. The blue loop is 9.4 miles, and we'd planned on running that once, and then a couple of the shorter ones to get our 15 in. It was 4:30 already, and suddenly, I got grumpy. I was getting eaten alive by the bugs standing in the parking lot getting ready while trying to text Geof's dad to let him know when we'd get into town, prep my bottles, tie my shoes, all while doing the pee pee dance! And, on top of that, I was suddenly hungry beyond my wildest expectations. Oy vey. At least I snapped a couple pictures before we headed out...

On the trail, I almost immediately felt like crap. My legs were like cinder blocks, it was really humid so I was breathing really heavy, and I couldn't find my rhythm. It was nowhere in sight! I tried following behind Geof, watching his feet, hoping to zone out, but couldn't. The blue Nordic Trail is wide and pretty well groomed. Very, very rolling with some sudden, steep ups and downs; something I've become quickly unfamiliar with since July. Just when I thought I dialed it in, I snapped out of it. Then came the hole. I stepped right in it, almost squarely, and rolled my left ankle massively. I shouted and shook it off, only to do it again a few yards up. What is up with that?! As if I weren't already uncomfortable enough, my stomach was really sloshy. I haven't had it that bad before. After about an hour, it eased up, only to turn into stomach pain. Oh boy! And I was hungry, sooooo hungry. By the time we finally reached the trailhead we had compromised on 10 miles, mostly because it was going to put us in Janesville far too late if we continued. So we hopped on the brown loop for our final mile and called it a day. I felt like I'd just gotten punched in the face, and my stomach, and my quads, and my butt... Ugh, guess that's what you get when you're away from the trails too long, pounding pavement instead!

After some delicious mexican with the Dunmores, we headed home. It was late and we were both wasted tired. As we pulled up to the light at Ohio and Michigan (or roundabouts that area), this is what pulled up alongside us, obviously I couldn't resist...

Thank you, Poop 911, you made my night! We both had a good laugh at that one :)

Monday's run wasn't much better than Sunday's. I actually wasn't even planning on running as my legs were pretty shot, but as late afternoon was beginning to roll into early evening, Geof started suiting up for a run and I decided to join him. Another 10 miles in the sticky, disgusting humidity of the day. I was actually questioning why the hell I do this. I hurt, especially that dang peroneous tendon on my left leg. I was tired. I was hungry, again. Thirsty. Two character building runs in a row! The end couldn't come soon enough.

Why do I do this? Because I love it :)

This was only my second back-to-back ever, even if it was "only" ten miles a piece. In retrospect, I feel pretty good about it and I'm glad I went out for those runs. Gotta get through the crappy runs to get to the good runs sometimes. And, on a more positive note, I really nailed the downhills up at Kettle! I was actually impressed with how I handled the downs (dare I say I looked forward to the downhill sections??). Relatively speaking, I was tearing down those hills! My footing was spot on, I didn't trip up or misstep (and it was rocky in some areas!), I just relaxed the gams and let them do their thing. Yippee!!

Next up, I'm leeeeeavinnnng on a jet plaaaaaaane...tomorrow!!! Heading out to the wild wild west of Utah, with my pace face on. Wasatch, ready or not, here we come!

It's gonna be great :)

Crash, out.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Itch

I'm getting that old familiar itch back. The itch to race. October 24th is my next race...that is so FAR away! Until then, my only brush with the ultra world will be at Wasatch next weekend, when Geof and I head out to Utah to pace our friend Gary through his first 100 mile race. Yesterday, I was on the phone with Gary going over some last minute things for the race, and I could feel myself switching into race mode. I think that if anyone was listening to my end of the conversation they would have a) been totally lost because ultra jargon is generally viewed as another language, or b) thought I was having a very serious conversation about something that sounded very life-changing and exciting but wouldn't be able to figure out what exactly I was talking about since it was all in ultra jargon :) I love talking about running.

We went over everything...what to bring, what to leave, what to where, when to do this and that, pace, driving, terrain, these shoes not those, etc. It was fun! When I got off the phone with Gary I decided it would be helpful to create a pace chart for the crew to have as a reference. I went onto the Wasatch 100 website and checked out the most recent (2006) split times and pulled various splits starting at a 27-hour finish through a 36-hour finish and put them into a spreadsheet. Gary said he was thinking a 32-hour finish, but really none of us have any clue what to expect since this is his first 100 and it's mountainous. So I gave us a buffer. Now we'll be able to predict his finish time based on when he enteres specific aid stations and have a very vague idea of when we need to be at each crew-accessible aid station. It was fun for me to put that together, and super easy.

So now Wasatch has me itching for a race; I just need to be patient until October :) Last nights CHUG social sure didn't help things at all. In a weird out-of-body moment, I told Brian that if he signed up for Leadville 2010 I would sign up. What?! Then Geof said, "I'm in!" Oh boy. Now that I think about it, I'm pretty darn sure I meant it :) Geof was smiling big, and Brian had that look in his eye like he wanted to hold me to my word. Like I said, oh boy.

In other news, I ran my first double this week! I can't believe that was the first time I've done that. It felt good and I really enjoyed it. Six miles in the early a.m. and then six miles after work. Not bad, starting out my week with a 12-mile day :) Geof and I also ran the evening six more than three minutes faster than the morning six. Can ya dig it? That put me up high enough in the week, early on, that I've had to reign in my running since so that I can still have a long-ish run this week without going over my planned mileage (gotta build a base, remember!).

Now I'm reallllly looking forward to the long weekend! Get some good solid running in (maybe on a trail?), submit four exams for a class (yikes! Does anyone want to do that for me?), read, relax, maybe look up some new races :)

Anyone got any fun races this weekend?

Crash, out.

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