Race Schedule

2018 Races…TBD!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"And you PAY to do this?"

Uh, yes, that would be correct. I forked over money to run 50 miles on little more than fumes.

Recall that I had busted my butt on the Glacial Trail two weeks prior to showing up at Ottawa Lake to run the North Face Endurance Challege Midwest Regional 50 Mile race on October 24th. I knew what I was doing, but I don't know why I did it looking back. But isn't that kinda how ultrarunning usually plays out?

In the wake of the GT50k, I had some funky tightness hanging out in my calves that was playing out in the form of an annoying discomfort in both of my ankles. Imagine what it sounds/feels like to pluck two rubber bands over each other, while stretched out. Gives me the willies thinking about how it feels! Well that's what the funkiness felt like. So, after just a couple of runs (literally, one 6-miler in Iowa, and then a 9-mile night run the Tuesday before NFEC), I paid Dr. Heddles at Active Body Chiropractic a visit to get a little ART done on my calves and ankles. BAM! He works wonders. After some e-stim, some ART, and some swapping of favorite Seinfeld quotes, Dr. H decided I should try out Kinesio Taping. So he applied two strips of the stuff from my heel to the back of my knee (one black, the other hot pink :)) and sent me on my way saying I'd feel a lot better during the race.

Friday night, Geof and I spent more quality time in gridlock getting up to Brookfield to meet some of the CHUGs for dinner at Mama Mia's and to finally experience the garlic bread that floats in garlic butter that Deanna and Torey had been gushing about. I fell in love with that bread. Lucky me, Kelly and Brian got up into 'sconsin early and were able to pick up my packet and race swag (thanks Brelly!), so after dinner the four of us headed to our hotel for the evening where I set into motion my usual pre-race A.D.D./anal retentiveness...I know, that must just shock you :) After I was happy with my preparation and organization, it was time to hit the hay.

I must say, 4 a.m. came pretty early. Kelly was running the 50k (her first one!!), so she and Brian got to sleep in, and Geof and I snuck out early to get to the start line. It was balls cold, and misting a little, but the weather called for that to clear up. I dropped off my drop bag with a volunteer who didn't really seem to like runners all that much (a strange theme I'm noticing in this particular race series)...

Then, after a bathroom stop, Geof and I hung by the propane heaters with Ed, waiting for the start!

Fellow CHUG, Ed, and I, brrrrr!

There were a lot of people. We met one of Ben's friends, Mike, who was running his first 50-miler, and his fiance, Blair. Blair had planned to just hang at the start/finish area since she couldn't drive their truck, but since Geof was crewing me he offered to have her along to the aid stations so she could have a chance to see her dude more often. This turned out to work out really well for everyone!

So we started. It was cold, I was tired. Legs were...just being legs. I ran alongside Ed for a bit on the road section, but moved up once we got on the trail. It seemed like it was dark for-flipping-ever. Just as first light was showing, I noticed a dude who was leap-frogging with me quite a bit and introduced myself. He's Brad from Cherry Hill, NJ. He liked how bright my headlamp was, hence the leap-frogging. He was on a redemption run of sorts after having a performance he wasn't so happy with at the NFEC in D.C. He ended up finishing just over 10 hours; great job, Brad! Ah, light. I made it to the first aid station (6.6 miles) feeling pretty good, legs were happy finally, belly was fine. Seeing Geof sent me soaring :) I was in and outta there pretty quickly as I didn't need much more than a refill. The next crew station would be around 11 miles, and since Brad was out of there before me, I was prepping myself to go it alone. Not long after leaving the aid station, though, I noticed a runner just ahead of me who stopped to see which way the ribbons led at a fork in the trail. He looked back at me and I pointed to the right. I noted that his t-shirt was funny ("We're the fast crowd your mother warned you about") and we chatted it up from there on. Kevin was running his first 50-miler so it was fun to feel like a little bit of a veteran. It was also great to have trail company.

In and out of AS 2, a pat on the butt from Geof and I was off. The next crew station was 21 (I think) and a station that we would return to again at 35. I had 10 miles of no Geof ahead of me, yipes! I was feeling fine for the most part, and had plenty of trail chat going on with Kevin, but I could feel this nagging blah coming over me. Checking my vitals, I was fine. Legs felt good, great in fact. Stomach was stellar. Feet were happy. What gives? Coming into 21 I was so thrilled to see Geof there. I told him I was getting lonely feeling out there, and that I'd probably pick up my iPod at mile 28. Some more refills, and I was off! Kevin had left before me, so now I was on my own for a bit. After a non-crew AS that I more or less cruised past we were poured out onto this godawful field section. Ugh, you could see everyone in front of or behind you, you could see where you were heading and it felt like a million miles away. Come ooooonnnnnn! Worse yet, I knew we'd be coming back through it at some point. Gross. I was officially getting bored. I was tired. I just felt like stopping. Whoa, what?! Stopping? There's no stopping in ultrarunning! Well, there's no stopping when absolutely nothing is wrong :) Being a little tired or bored is no reason to stop in my book. So I kept on keeping on. A little ways before pulling into the mile 28 AS, Kevin caught back up with me and we rolled into mile 28 at the same time...

To my surprise, Jim and Torey had joined Geof at this aid station (also known as Emma Carlin for all you KM100 runners out there!), so it was a big lift to hear my name being shouted by my peeps again :) Thanks Jim and Torey for being out there! After a quick potty break, some Perpetuem refilling and snagging my iPod, I glanced down at my Garmin and noted to Geof that if I got out of there right then I could probably hit 6 hours for the 50k mark...BAM! So I kissed him goodbye and said I'd see him at mile 35, I've got a goal to achieve! I thought Kevin had already left so I cranked up the iPod and got rolling to some Coldplay. Ah, sweet ultra music.

Once back in the field section, I was pushing it harder so that I could hit my 50k goal. Kevin came striding up beside me and scared the bejesus out of me. I told him what I was doing and he pulled me along here. I kept looking down at my Garmin checking my distance, when BAM!, 5:59 = 50k!! I got my goal! Yahoo, one more thing to check off the 2009 goals list! Sweet.

So from there I pulled back as I was officially out of breath. It was rolling and the sun was acting like it might come out and play. The conversation was steady and the breeze felt good, but my ankles started aching on ascents. Feels a bit like a very subtle burning/stretching. Felt good on the descents though. I started to take it easier and my stomach was dropping out thinking about what could possibly be going on with my ankles/achilles. Should I stop? Nah, I'll try some Advil at the next AS. Finally, the mile 35 AS came into view as we rounded a corner. Kevin was meeting up with his pacer here, so I knew I was definitely on my own after this part. I suddenly felt very unmotivated to continue. I just wanted to see Geof! The stars aligned.

As I pulled into the AS I locked my eyes on Geof's legs just across the road...they were bare! He had shorts on, wait, and running shoes! Oh my gosh,"is this a joke?!" Geof was going to pace me in the last 15 miles! Oh glorious morning! The sun was out, it was warming up and now I was going to get to spend the last 15 miles with G :) Blair was going to drive Geof's truck back to the start/finish so she could catch her dude finishing, so this worked out so perfect for us. I did a quick change of socks (only one blister, on my left foot, and while it was a big one it didn't hurt, so I left it alone. The Hydropel was working a little, I guess), grabbed a Doubleshot, dropped some things in the truck, refilled bottles and then we were off. Oh, and I took some Advil for my ankles.

Achey ankles? What achey ankles?

Coming into the mile 35 AS...I was showing my number to the volunteer :)

The last 15 miles with Geof were the best. The weather really picked up and it was just gorgeous outside. My legs were tired and sore in spots, but I felt good otherwise. We pulled into the mile 40 AS and were greeted to very loud, thumping dance club music and some of the more colorful and hilarious volunteers I've ever experienced. They were great! They called themselves Aid Station Awesome; very apropos! Next up would be the Hwy. 67 AS (mile 45) where I had a drop bag that I wouldn't end up needing. Everything was holding up really well and I was very happy with how I did things throughout the day. One bottle of Perpetuem and one bottle of Clip2 (drank these up every 2 hours-ish), one S!Cap per hour and one gel or three Clif Shot Blocks per hour. I think I had one Skittle, two sips of Mountain Dew (won't do that anymore, makes my stomach get funky!), and a few potato chips at an aid station and that's it for solid food. It's nice not to have to rely on the aid stations, and it keeps me from dilly dallying at them.

I was having a great time running with Geof and he really was a race-saver for me that day. I would have finished, but I would not have been happy about it, and I'd have probably walked it in completely. My spirits were lifted, I was smiling and laughing, I was running (more or less) and I was going to finish with plenty of time left over. I knew I wasn't going to PR, but I knew I'd break 11 hours. As we were poured out onto Hwy. 67 once more and followed the route that I had began on 10 and a half hours earlier, we could hear the sound of the start/finish, and then the red arch came into view. I'm almost done!! Geof pulled off to the side and I glided across the finish line and into a gathering of CHUGs waiting there for me. Gotta love the CHUGs!! My final time was 10:35 and some change, not bad considering how the early part of my day felt and how my legs were treating me most of it. I'll take that to the bank!

A good race overall, a little bit of a head trip, but nothing like Pineland Farms was for me this year. Plus, I had peeps to talk to on the trail, Geof was there helping me along, CHUGs were out en force, and the weather really cooperated beyond expectations. I used Hydropel on my feet for the first time ever, and while I got that one blister on my left foot (outside of ball of my foot), that was it, so I'll give it another go in my other shoes to see if maybe the wider toebox is the answer. Loved 'doing it liquid' as Geof and Adrian would say, it makes racing easier not worrying about carrying food, or stocking it in drop bags. And, I love the race swag...lots of crap that I'll actually use (though it would have been better if the shirts were Atayne shirts)!

After changing into warm, dry, not-stinky clothes, Geof, Kelly, Brian, Tony and I headed into Eagle for some dinner (and solid food) at Coyote Junction, yum! After dinner we went next door to the gas station to buy some ice for my legs for the drive back to Chicago. That helped a lot! It was great to get home and get to sleep finally (especially knowing we could sleep in!). I dreamt about food and woke up really early absolutely starving so I made myself a big bowl of cereal, fruit, and Geof made toast with Nutella. Wow, hungry much?! I was starving like that all day Sunday...perhaps I was making up for the whole no-solid-food-while-racing thing the day before :)

A great time had by all...and congratulations to Kelly on finishing her first ultra and 50k, and to Sarah for finishing her first 50-miler! Now it's time to hunker down and give my legs a break for a while. I need these ankles/tendons to get happy again. Of course, I need to wait until after Javelina Jundred pacing this coming weekend before I can do any of that :) I'm spent after such a busy ultra season! But man has it been a great season :)

Check out Geof's post about his experience crewing for me: Here Comes The Sun

Crash, out.

Monday, October 19, 2009

1 Year, 1 Love, 1 Big Freakin' Run

Isn't it funny how much can happen in a year?

A year, in the grand scheme of things, is a hiccup in the fabric of time. It's there and then it's gone. Just like that. But when you stop and think about the preceding 365 days...the red carpet of mornings and nights that have lead you to this very spot in time, it's kind of...rockin'.

Just one year ago today I embarked on a new journey; a simple race, but a race that would forever change me and the way I saw things. Corny? Absolutely! But, true.

In case you've forgotten (or you are just now coming down with a Serious Case of the Runs), here's a little recap: Where There's a Whim There's a Way. I won't expound on how neat it is to personally look back and see how things unfolded and how one thing led to the next and how wonderfully amazing it is now, but you should give it a try. Look back on the last year and reminisce about everything that went on. The people you met, those you lost, the experiences you gained, the lessons you learned. Then see how everything just sort of weaved together. Until you really look at it, a scarf is just a scarf. But then you notice the individual threads and how each thread is intertwined with the next. Cool, huh? Such is life :)

The 2008 Stone Steps 50k was my very first ultra, and I'm very happy to have a solid year of ultrarunning under my belt, which includes three 50ks, one 60k, two 50-milers and a one-hundred miler (um, what? I forget that I did that from time to time; I never planned on running 100 miles!!)...and one more 50-miler coming up this weekend...holy smokes, where did all that come from?! A lot can happen in a year, and even all that running was just the tip of the iceberg.

I know I'm still a novice at all this ultra stuff, but getting through some of the races I got through sure makes me feel pretty good about my place in the ultra world, and I guess in the world in general. It's fun to look back at those runs, knowing what I know now, and knowing that I still have a LOT left to learn. I don't think you can ever know everything you need to know about ultrarunning; it is a perpetual learning experience that I look forward to every time I toe the line.

What's more, is that being able to share this passion and excitement with someone who 'gets it' every single day eclipses that feeling you get when you cross the finish line. Geof is that someone :) He's a pretty great dude, not gonna lie.

So all this in mind, I taper down one more time for the year and get my mind wrapped around the idea of running 50 miles once more. Since Glacial Trail two weekends ago, I find myself thinking, "how on earth do people run 50 MILES!?" Hahaha, it's funny considering what I've already done. But, I know I can do it again, and it's just as cool as the first time I did it. I hope I always keep that enthusiasm for the sport; it's just so much dang fun :)

Just some thoughts for a Monday afternoon!

Crash, out.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Glacial Trail 50k: Double Shwag!

Holy hell. I think I redefined the term "wipeout" while meandering along the glorious northern Kettle Moraine trail known as the Glacial Trail. However, for once, the multitude of 'crashes' were entirely understood...there was no falling on flat ground, or over a breeze. These were bonafide stumbles-turned-ground-lickers caused by softball-sized rocks and body-length roots strewn across the trail. I had all the excuses in the world this time :)

That said, Glacial Trail 50k rocked my world!! Pun intended. This trail is no joke. It is covered in rocks, roots and trail crud, then covered in a beautiful layer of freshly fallen golden leaves. It was a "baby leap of faith every time your foot hit the ground," according to Geof. True story.

Geof and I spent a few hours in gridlock heading up to WI Friday night where the unexpected awaited us...a ridiculously awesome show at Cafe Carpe, in Fort Atkinson, WI: Brooks Williams. Cafe Carpe is the sort of intimate, deliciously quaint and cozy venue you'd expect to find hidden in the black hole of Portland, ME (pretty much heaven)...mismatched furniture, eclectic artwork on the walls, the owner pouring your beer for you, very low lighting, and absolutely perfect. I HIGHLY recommend you check out both Brooks and Cafe Carpe :) Saturday was another supreme day spent drinking multiple cups of Andrea's coffee talking about everything under the sun, relaxing in Geof's dad's loungers, grabbing a late lunch and then heading up the rest of the way to Sheboygan where our rickety hotel room awaited. After getting everything laid out for the race, we grabbed a steak and 'tater dinner up the road and then turned in.

It was a slightly restless night for me for some reason. I kept thinking about a creepo breaking into our room. And bedbugs. So, I didn't sleep a whole lot :) Around 5 a.m. we hopped in the car and headed to Greenbush, WI, about 20 minutes up the road, to check in and get ready to rock!

RD Robert Wehner is awesome, by the way. He totally loves this race and makes sure everything is just right. He even knew our names! After getting our sweet sweatshirts and numbers, Geof made the final touches and we headed out for the 50 mile 6:00 a.m. start. I watched him off until I couldn't see him anymore, disappearing into the cold, dark morning. Back inside the Greenbush Community Center (which is awesome! A large, heated building with clean bathrooms, sinks, tables and chairs...the PERFECT ultra headquarters!) I changed into my running clothes, pinned the number on, and then waited. The 50k wasn't starting until 7 a.m., so I was getting antsy, and so was everyone else around me. Juli Aistars came over and introduced herself and we chatted for a bit...it's about dang time I met Juli! We've been at most of the same races this year and never ran into each other!

I should mention it was cold as a motha! I think it was 28 degrees at the start, with a 'high' of 45 expected for the day. It was like an ice bath...in the air. All 70 of us 50k playas lined up and waited for Robert to say "go!" and then we were off, heading about a 1/2 mile up on pavement before we would hit delightful trail.

At the start line...the sun was finally up, but it was still COLD! I have on my brand new Atayne CHUG shirt underneath and boy was it a lifesaver, keeping me warm and dry!

I wasn't sure what to expect, or even hope for, in this race. I had kind of eliminated all but the long runs from my 'plan' in the last few weeks leading up to Glacial...a couple 20+ milers and a bunch of 10-milers. Was that going to be enough? Meh, I guess I would see. I was having trouble trying to prep for this one the night before...what do I eat, what do I drink? It's been since July that I've raced! I also had the feeling that I wasn't "respecting the distance." After you've run 100 miles, even if only once, you kind of develop a different approach to a lot of things, but especially running. Suddenly, it's "just" a 50k..."just" 50 miles. I was worried I wasn't preparing enough. The aid stations on this particular course were going to be spread out a lot...roughly every 7 miles...so I was going to need to be largely self-sufficient. Totally cool with me, I kind of prefer that. Geof and I both made a bag for the one drop bag AS (it is an out-and-back course for both distances), but I wasn't sure how much I was even going to use it. Nice to have it just in case, though. I prepared one bottle with Clip2 in it, and one bottle with a controlled mix of Gatorade (the blue Frost flavor...yum!), then I carried all the gels, Clif Shot Bloks and S!Caps I was going to need the entire race in my vest, as well as more Clip and Gatorade. Turns out I was more ready than I thought :) Never a bad thing.

So back to that whole running the race thing... Off the pavement, and onto the blue Greenbush connector trail we went, pretty clumped together, but the trail was wide enough to allow plenty of passing and moving aside if need be. I was taking it eaaaaaasssyyyyyy here and had Juli in view, quietly hoping I would have the legs to keep up with her all day. Juli is a rockstar! Once we finally made it onto the trail of the day, we were introduced to singletrack and what should be named the location of the official natural rock museum of North America, aka Ice Age Trail. If you like to lick rocks, stub toes, and get dirt in your ear, I recommend this stretch of the IAT. It all started out friendly enough. But I quickly learned that the hills everyone lamented about were the very least of my woes. I welcomed those hills on this day! I loved every single one of them. A hill meant I could walk, and that my body temperature would rise enough to break a sweat in the bitter cold :) Here is a taste of what the majority of the day looked like (just beautiful!):

After 5 or 6 miles, I got into a great rhythm running with Dorn and Juli. We were moving great and running the hills. After a bit, we passed up Dorn and from there on Juli and I were two peas in a pod! She got to witness my first fall of the day...I landed on my right side, landing my right knee in a cushy bed of mud, phew! The second AS, mile 13.3 (Butler Lake? The one with the drop bags) I decided I needed to pee. No potties, and no good spots to go, and after I wandered around the parking lots scouting out pee spots, I decided it wasn't all that important, so I grabbed my bottles and headed out. Dang it, Juli already left. I decided then and there that the lesson of the day was, stick with Juli, she knows what she's doing! So now I was on my own, but my goal was to catch back up to Ms. Aistars somehow. At the turn around, there were two dudes sitting in plastic chairs in the middle of a little opening in the trail. They told me it was my turn around (at 3:02, woohoo!) so I pivoted around and continued back as they yelled, "it's pretty much the same thing on the way back!" To which I replied, "that's cool! Bring it!"

So the trail totally "brought it." After leaving Butler Lake I was on my own for a bit, between miles 17ish to around mile 21ish. Admiring the landscape and thinking, "man, I need to take more pictures!" because everything looked so cool up top. Coming down from there, you head into a nice field section, but you're flanked by tall prairie-like grass on either side of the single track. Crossing over some little bridges and just about making it out of a little muddy section, I looked up for a moment to see Juli and company up ahead in the distance, and then BAM! Down for the count! I laughed outloud because I fell on my left side this time, and my ear now had mud in it :) Thank goodness it was the left side because I had a can of Starbucks Doubleshot in my right jacket pocket for safe keeping! After gathering myself and getting vertical again, I really put the hurt on and decided I was going to catch back up to Juli and the gang of chicks she was leading. It was time to make up some time! Just after the open field section, I caught up and hung around for a bit with the girls as we headed back into the woods. I was tripping on rocks left and right, catching myself and almost falling on the heels of the gal in front of me more than a handful of times, sorry about that! I decided I felt pretty bad about that, but I didn't want to slow down. So that meant I needed to speed up. I moved up the line and joined Juli, and from there we separated from the pack. After hearing Juli mention to one of the other women that if they kept moving at this same pace, they would break 6 hours...hoodaddy, I like the sound of that!

My "whisper" goal, as Geof would put it, was 6 hours. Yea, well, I wasn't sure how possible that was, so at about the turn around point, I had redrafted that plan and decided that I was going to be thrilled with 6:30, which would still be a PR, by 27 minutes. Doable.

Juli and I started getting antsy for the final aid station, letting us know we would only have 7 more miles to go. Just before the station, we got to an awesome downhill section. I let my legs go and do their thing, following Juli stride for stride. Halfway down the hill, I did it again. Got my right toe caught on another rock. HO-LY crap! This one takes the cake, over all other trail crashes I've had thus far! It was violent, painful, and maximum impact. I landed on my right shoulder and hip then continued to roll down the hill, water bottles flying in opposite directions. I finally lost momentum and stopped and Juli turned to see me laying on my back. I think I was laughing from shock. Was that an unfair advantage, rolling down the hill? I had leaves in my hair, bloody, muddy palms, a welt the size of a golf ball on my right knee, scratches up my right leg and my hip felt geriatric. That was a doozy! Onward we plodded, picking up the pace a little more, and then the AS appeared. I really wanted to keep 6 1/2 hours in sight, so after a quick bottle refill and one more slice of apple with peanut butter (that's all I ate all day at any aid station), I decided to head back out. Juli was getting some soup and I was sad to move on without her, but I knew she'd be just dandy. I started to pick peeps off slowly but surely. I wanted to apologize as I did this because it is so unlike me, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't secretly enjoy it!

I was having such a good time, and I wasn't letting myself slow for anything. I was running the hills, picking up more speed on the downhills, NOT crashing! I was feeling really freakin' good, and I was so excited to see Geof! I glanced down at my Garmin and saw that I had 3 more miles to go, oh my gosh, it was still possible! I was trying to reel in this dude ahead of me and I tried my hardest but he always kept just out of reach, glancing back at me every few yards. He did NOT want to get chicked :)

Finally, I reach the most glorious scenery of the day...the road home! That meant only a 1/2 mile left to the finish. I passed one more dude walking, turned the corner and there it was. Robert in all his blonde glory standing at the finish line. I knew I had passed 6 hours, but I didn't care, I was done! I crossed the line in 6:12:03, greeted by a handshake from Robert, and, after checking his clipboard, he handed me a handmade mug for coming in 5th female overall, and a finisher medal. I didn't really think about the whole 5th female thing at first. Turns out I was 5th out of 20 chicks, whoa, where did that come from?! After I caught my breath I announced that I just got myself a 45 minute PR to which Robert said, "on MY course? You got a PR? Congratulations!"
About to round the corner to the finish line (Photo from a crew member on the course)

Joy of joys, a PR, on a ridiculously tough course! And a cute mug :) After a quick change into about 12 layers of dry clothes, and still shivering, I hung out in the race HQ with Juli while I waited for Geof to come in. Before too long, I was ready to head outside to try and catch him crossing the finish line, when I turned around and there he was! Nice! Geof got himself a cute little mug too, 7th male (7th overall in the 50M), and a 50M PR in 9:03. That's how it's done! I guess we woke up with our running legs on afterall :) It was a PR kind of day. We sat around a little while Geof got some warm food and we rehashed our races for each other. John came over to introduce himself and let me know he's a fan of my blog...AND that he'd just finished his very first ultramarathon! Way to go John!!

What a GREAT race, no joke. I can't believe how good I felt the entire time; my nutrition was right on, and I really pushed myself more than I normally would have. It felt good! I had a fantastic time getting to know Juli, meeting Mary Gorski in the hallway after the race, even crashing on the trail had its own virtues :) What a fun day, and even better to share it with Geof, even if we were in different distances :) One thing is for sure, we will be back again for this one!
Geof and I with our double race shwag :)

Crash, out.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

When it Rains, It Pours...Literally

Busy = the last week. I sure got a lot done, though! And guess what? Geof and I had a brilliantly awesome 20-mile run along the lakefront on Saturday!

We spent all night Friday moving, then all morning Saturday organizing and cleaning up a touch. Somewhere around 2:30ish we decided it was high time for a long run. So we suited up and headed downstairs...where we were greeted to a downpour. Not once, but twice we got laughed at by two separate couples walking along the sidewalk..."You're not going to run still, are you?" We stood underneath the overhang for a minute or two trying to decide what to do. After heading back upstairs to grab our rain shells, we set out once more, this time with thoughts of only doing 10 miles.

The rain had slowed to a mere trickle by the time we got back outside, but it's a good thing we grabbed our jackets because it was off and on rain the entire run. It was chilly and gloomy out but the lighting was really cool, giving the lake a turquoise-ish hue, in stark contrast to the heavy gray clouds overhead. It was pretty! We ran north along the water until the totem pole, then we ducked onto the bird sanctuary path near Belmont for a short little taste of trail...delish. This brought us out onto the gravel portion of the path along the water up to Montrose where we witnessed part of the prairie restoration project: an explosion of wildflowers. It was downright gorgeous! We meandered further north, I was feeling great and really, really enjoying this run! We wound through the Loyola University campus, which I'd never been through before, got back onto Sheridan then turned around at the 10 mile mark. Bam! Guess we're doing 20 afterall!

It was a fantastic run, and it went by quickly. Once we got home, we went downstairs to the old apartment to clean up and grab the last of the stuff, then we got all pretty to head out to my 10-year high school reunion. That was a beast in and of itself, but still a good time...I guess :)

Now it's time for one more long-ish run (in the rain, once again), and then I'll keep it simple until Sunday, where Geof and I will be running in the Glacial Trail 50s up north, in 'sconsin...I'll be playing in the 50k and Geof will be hammering the 50M. I can hardly wait, the pearls have been down for too long!

Crash, out.

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