Race Schedule

2018 Races…TBD!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Serious Case of the...Swims?

It finally happened.  I bought one of these:

It looks so...geriatric. 

But, alas, I made a promise to myself that this year I would make smarter choices with regards to my training.  Health would come first.  Gone are the days of running through injury...at least for now :) 

It ain't easy. 

I long to be out there, even for "just" a few miles because "just" a few miles is better than no miles at all.  However, I am excited to try out this water running.  It'll be nice to do it without swallowing my weight in chlorinated water.  Since I was pressed for time this morning, I didn't try it out, but I'm planning on it tomorrow morning.  I'm looking forward to it.  Somehow I think that the severe boredom that others complain about as a side-effect of pool running won't really bother me all that much.  If you can run for 29 hours and manage to never get bored, you can pool run for 30 minutes, perhaps even an hour without it sucking too much.  I'll let you know how that goes.

This past weekend I swam and biked early in the a.m.  Saturday we met up with Jim for lunch then headed over to Navy Pier to see our friend Adrian (whom we are all crewing for at Badwater this year) who was running a marathon on the treadmill for charity at the Shamrock Shuffle 8k race expo.  It was funny to watch people buying Gu packs for an 8k...  Sheesh, I'd be friggin' ecstatic if I cranked out an 8k right now.  I shouldn't poke fun at others :)  On Sunday, after Geof's run and my bike workout, we walked over to Columbus Avenue to watch the Shamrock Shuffle.  We really wanted to see the front runners, and then we were going to meet up with Brian at mile 4 to watch Kelly run by (she was racing).  As we stood on the street corner, the pace car appeared at the top of the hill coming over the river, and then suddenly the elites appeared, speeding down the hill toward us.  Whoa, those dudes were fast!  A couple minutes pass and then they appear...the other 35,000 runners!  It was a sea of bodies rushing toward us.  We were next to a huge puddle so runners split and ran on either side of us to avoid it.  It was intense!  I loved it!

So hopefully, this pool running thing will work to my benefit.  I hear really good things about it and how it can keep you strong and working those running-specific muscles so you don't miss out too much while taking time off.  I read about a guy who trained for Boston entirely in the pool because he had a stress fracture.  Dude finished Boston in under 3 hours.  Sick.  So is it going to make me a sub-3 runner?  Doubtful, as I'm not already, but it will definitely keep me in running shape and that's what I'm aiming for.  All eyes on Leadville.  When I told my PT last night that I'm pool running his eyes got big as he said "THANK YOU!" 

Wish me luck :)

Crash, out.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

That's Hot

I remember reading about Dean Karnazes in Runner's World a number of years back.  They had a big spread to go with the excessively long story about him.  He was on the cover of course.  I remember the article covering a race he was planning to run in the hottest place in the United States.  Death Valley+July+135 miles = me thinking to myself "you f*&$ing idiot, who would do that." 

Obviously, I've been drinking the Kool-Aid.

We be goin' to Badwater!!!!  Fellow CHUG Adrian Belitu is running his second Badwater 135 in July and he asked Geof and I join him as crew and pacers.  Jimmy O is of course joining him for the second time so we will be in great company.  I thought Geof was pulling my leg when he broke the good news to me. 

"Homey say what?!"

Naturally, we barely even paused to think about it; of course we want to go!  This of course meant rearranging a few things this summer as it's going to eat up 5 days o' precious vacation time.  Totally worth it. 

How hot is hot, you ask?  I think the average temperature in Death Valley in July is around 110-120 degrees.  But, there's no humidity :)

Basically, the race starts at the lowest point in North America, around 250+ feet below sea level and finishes at close to the highest point in North America.  The race originally went all the way to the summit of the highest point, Mt. Whitney, at 14,505 feet, but park permit/regulation/red tape have cut the race short and is now known as the Badwater 135, rather than the original Badwater 146 (right?).  However, you can try to get your own permits and then continue on to do the original course the rest of the way up.  Adrian is planning on doing this :)  Bam!!  What up Badwater 146!

I plan on testing out my Atayne shirts in the hottest place on our fair land.  The ultimate test of heat.  Geof and I will need to do some sauna training in order to get prepared for the heat.  I'll need to practice not staring or dropping my jaw at the sight of some of the most badass ultrarunners around.  This could be a tough one to achieve...the field is pretty stacked this year. 

Most of all, I'm really excited to be a part of such an incredible event, and such a huge milestone for Adrian.  Yea, he's run it before, he's got his belt buckle, but that doesn't diminish the second go-round in any way.  It's going to be the experience of a lifetime and I'm so freakin' honored to have been asked to share in it.

Drinking the Kool-Aid indeed.  Can I get a refill?

Crash, out.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Just Call Me Flipper

In an effort to not lose my mind by taking some time off running to repair my very angsty legs, I decided to something verrrrrry different this morning. 

Rather than wallow in self-pity and perform half-assed PT exercises while wishing I were out running instead, I decided to go and swim laps.  Of course, I still did my PT exercises.

I know, I know.  Who does that?  Voluntarily?  Well, it wasn't pretty.  I haven't done laps in a pool since high school.  No joke.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I did know I wouldn't drown.  Always a good thing. 

I'll set the stage: I put on a lap swimming-appropriate suit that I bought with good intentions over 5 years ago (it has since only ever been used for sitting in ice baths and salt soaks), grabbed the 2 year old swim cap that was still in it's original packaging (yellowing price tag intact), and the goggles I won in a raffle from a local running store last year...also never used (weird, I won swimming goggles from a running store...).  I marched my happy ass downstairs and eased my weary legs into the warm bathwater-like pool, trying not to imagine all the crud and bacteria that is likely floating around in there, dividing and multiplying at astonishing rates, waiting for a human host to leech onto.  Gross. 

I flicked my hands around in the water and la-di-daa'd for a couple minutes before finally taking the plunge.  It's not an olympic pool, it's pretty short, so I have no idea how long a lap is.  Come to think of it, I couldn't even tell you the length of a lap in an olympic sized pool...but at least I could Google it :)  I started out doing a mishmash of different strokes I could vaguely recall learning in high school swim class.  Then I settled on switching between freestyle and the breast stroke.  Easy enough, but I'm sure my form would offend many a tri-athlete :)  Whatevs, I was moving, and not sinking, so I kept it up for 30 minutes.  My heartrate was through the roof each time I had to turn around and swim back.  I was doing the motions, but my mind was on a trail.  I was thinking how good it feels to run, and how ridiculous swimming feels. 

This is what I get for being a stubborn ultrarunner.  I have an idea what my personal hell would be like, and it would definitely include a pool.  And lima beans.

In the end, it felt great to be moving and to get the ticker ticking faster than 50 bpm.  My popliteus was happy and there wasn't even a twinge in the peroneous.  One day, I'll get to run again!  But in the meantime, I need to keep moving and not lose my mind.  Before I know it, I'll have moves in the pool like this:

Okay, not really, but that would be pretty funny.

Hopefully I can get back to running before too long, but I need to make sure things are back in working order before I ask too much of my legs.  It's frustrating but what can you do?  :)

Crash, out.

Friday, March 12, 2010

One High Maintenance Mutha

"My legs are being so high maintenance tonight, so I say 'hey, legs, you only have 40 more miles to go' lets do this!" - Not a direct quote :) from RR100, mile 60...That's Brian on the left

I'm high maintenance. You're high maintenance.  There's no denying it.

I'm assuming that if you're reading my blog you're most likely a runner of great distance, or one who aspires to great distances.  Runners are high maintenance.  And what I'm referring to here is the runner's body; not material "needs" or a certain disposition.  As distance runners, our bodies require so much from us on a daily basis, and this morning as I stood behind my desk stretching out my calves, downing a Nalgene bottle's worth of water, this thought occured to me.  Great scott, it takes a lot of upkeep!

Icing a few times a day
Elevating the legs at night
20 minutes of PT prescribed exercises every morning
Strength training a few times each week
Daily runs (except for during injury)
Treadmill speed-walking hill workouts (while injured)
Keeping up on vitamins, leafy greens and protein
Getting enough sleep each night to recover
Foam rolling out the wazoo
ART treatments
PT appointments
Recovery days
Easy runs
Long runs
Trail runs
Flat fast runs
Shoe upkeep/replacement
Epsom salt soaks
Taping the posterior tib when I want to wear non-running shoes to work!
Self-massage of those nagging muscle aches
LOTS of water

I could go on and on.  Maybe (very likely) my habits are an exception to the rule; maybe I'm just feeding the beast by doing so much to keep going, but it feels like when I drop one thing other things start to fall apart a bit.  I don't want to look back one day down the road and recall the days when I was "once a runner".  I want to look forward and be excited for all the running that is still ahead of me.  I want to be "always a runner." 

The body is a powerful yet fragile machine.  Each one of us has a different owner's manual.  Some require regular upkeep, others only need an oil change every hundred thousand miles.  Kinda like the difference between the Pinto and a Honda.  I'm a bit of a Pinto :)  So, I do what I can as often as I can to make sure my parts continue working as long as possible and as efficient as possible.  I teach myself new techniques, try out new things, learn how to tape and massage.  I read what's worked for others, try it out, modify it, try it again.  Sometimes it's a little overwhelming and I stop and think, "why am I doing this?"  Well, because I love the run, that's why.  Sometimes I wish it was easier, less maintenance required, less injury-prone, but then I think about how easy I do have it compared to some and that I really have nothing to gripe about.

So, high maintenance it is.  And now back to my self-administered ART on this peroneous (I think I'm going to petition to rename the peroneous muscle, and have it called the peroneASS cuz' it's a pain in my ass!).


Oh!  Right quick, tomorrow is the first ever running of the Palos Hills Fat Ass 50k, brought to you by our man Tony C. and the Chicago UltraRunners Group (CHUG).  I'll likely walk a lap (~8 miles) for the hill workout, but otherwise it's sidelines for me since my legs are being high maintenance and don't want to cooperate right now!

Crash, out.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

3-2-1 Contacts

Oh man, I can't believe I've let this much time pass since my last post!  Two weeks is a very long time :) 

Well there is just bunches of stuff going on right now keeping me busy, busy, busy.  BUT, I'm keeping up with the running, and on Sunday, I went outside for the first time for a run since RR100 :)  The weather was pretty cruddy, but it was warm and since I got to slip on shorts instead of tights, it was a glorious escape!

Geof and I cranked out 3 miles together, and then he dropped me back at home before he headed out for the rest of his 15 miler.  Three miles was enough for me!  Running outside and running on a treadmill are two very different animals.  It's a little tougher to hold my form outside now since I got so used to it on the ol' 'mill!  It was very exciting to break into double digits last week though.  Talk about humbling :)

I'm training for something new now...running without glasses!  I finally broke down and got contacts on Sunday after our run and it's like getting used to having a third eye or second head.  It's weird.  I never thought I'd miss my annoying, semi-crooked glasses.  There's a big learning curve with these suckers, but I think once I'm used to them and then take them out for some trail runs/night runs I'm going to be a very happy girl.  As I sat in class last night, I marveled at my ability to see the Powerpoint slides up front from my seat waaaaaay in the back of the room.  It's the little things in life :)

My back-o-the-knee pain is back a little today after a very fast 4.5 miler this morning with Geof.  Dangit.  So, lots more icing. 

At least the sun is rising before 6:00 a.m. now, I love that :)

Crash, out.

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