Race Schedule

2014 Races…Still TBD :)
Bike MS 100M ride (UT - June)
Speedgoat 50k (UT - July 19)

And plenty more!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Very Engaging Weekend

What a great weekend!  I'm still reeling from it all, and super excited :)  It all started on a good foot, so to speak...

Friday evening, I arrived home eager to get started on the packing for the CHUG Deer Grove fat ass run the following morning, and sort out nutrition and what not.  Geof, however, had slightly different plans in mind... :)  I'll spare you all my mushy gushies, and say...he proposed!!  Was I shocked? um YES!  I had no idea what was coming, and completely thrilled with it all.  Wow, he really pulled one over on me...I never picked up on any clues, dropped hints, nothin', and here I was thinking I was soooo sharp ;) 

Of course, I said yes!
After making all sorts of calls to family and friends to share the amazing news, we decided it would be a good idea to have dinner and celebrate a little.  We headed over to our favorite sushi spot and basked in the glow of it all.  What a lucky gal I am!

Saturday morning, we rose early to get ready for the day's CHUG run, out at Deer Grove in Palatine.  A HUGE group showed up!  There were over 50 registered and I think most people made it which made it even more fun.  So many new faces, a bunch of veterans, all good times.  Geof and I were running together, and Palatine native (recently transplanted back here via Oregon), Maria Clementi, joined us for her two laps and we really had a great time getting to know her.  What a fun chick!

Geof, me, Maria and Jim (all in the center) awaiting the start instructions from RD Brian Gaines

It was really, really cold, and didn't warm up much through the day.  Geof and I somehow managed to really overestimate the weather for the day and showed up in shorts...it was a tad nippy for that!  After the first few miles along the 5.4 mile loop, we warmed up nicely and I could finally feel my feet and toes again.  That's always a bonus!  It was great to meet and run with Maria, filling her in on all things Chicago running, and hearing about her time in Oregon.

After two loops, Maria was done as she had other plans that day, so Geof and I continued on for a third loop.  It was cold again, and since we were pretty tired after a late evening the night before, we were reduced to walking the hills we had run the first two times around, so this made it colder.  We decided three loops (just over 16 miles) were peachy keen and called it a day after that. 

 Hanging at the 'finish' with Ian, Geof, Anastasia, Kelly and Sarah

After we were done, we changed into warm clothes and left to grab some warm food with Sarah (who is making her return to running after a brief time off from injury...welcome back Sarah!!).  After refueling, we went back to Deer Grove to hang with the Brelly and cheer on the remaining runners.  It was so COLD!  Winter is well on its way in the Midwest.
Some of the hearty souls hanging out, cheering on our fellow CHUGs

After we closed up shop at Deer Grove, we headed over to the Brelly B&B to get cleaned up.  Brelly treated us to a celebratory dinner at Cooper's Hawk in Barrington...YUM!  It was the perfect post-run dinner, and a wonderful way to share in the fun and excitement of the engagement with two of our favorite people :)

Sunday was spent relaxing, eating and planning!  We waste no time!  Needless to say, our date won't work out too well with Western States and the needed training for it, so we've opted to withdraw from the lottery for 2011.  That's fine with me...I didn't really want to get in all that badly for next year!  I'm thinking 2012 will be a better year for WS100 for this chick :)  Of course, we'll be scoping out possible mid-summer, early fall hundred milers to fill in the gap (what, you didn't think we'd opt out of a 2011 hundred miler altogether, now did you?!).  Oh, the choices!

Looking forward to some more good running this week, some fantastic food, and wonderful company for the holiday.  I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Crash, out.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fleety Feet

This morning's run was splendid!  Yes, it was "only" three miles ;) but they were three very high quality miles. 

Geof and I got a late start to our run, so we settled with our favorite loop near the Pier.  It's a perfect loop for a short tempo run, a long speed workout, a farty-lek or whathaveyou.  I certainly didn't have speed in mind for this morning as I'm "tapering" for this weekend's CHUG Deer Grove 32.4 mile Fat Ass run, but hey, when in Rome!

I didn't even wear my lightening fast speedy shoes today, just my plain ol' Asics.  So I was doubly surprised when I hit stop on my watch and saw that we ran it in a new PR for this little lady.  We cranked out an average 7:56 pace... 

Big money, no whammies!!

Okay, this time it felt like we were pushing the pace, but not that much.  We were both pretty much mute the better part of the run, and my breathing was fairly laborious towards the end.  Cha-ching!  I love when that happens!  It felt a lot like the final mile of this year's Minnesota Voyageur 50 Mile when we kicked it hard to pass a woman in front of us just before the finish.

I gotta say, I'm really enjoying this running for the fun of it, and not actually training for something for once.  I have more spring in my step, more umph in my stride, and less junk in the trunk ;-) 

*Crickets*

I'm also enjoying no bugs on the lakefront due to the cold temps, but I really wish they would keep at least a couple of the bathrooms open during the winter months.  I mean seriously, it's not like we suddenly never have to pee when it's cold out.  Sure, there are fewer people on the lakefront, but still.

Lookin' forward to the run this weekend!

Crash, out.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Big Chill

It is almost officially the MIDDLE of November...and that means the cold weather is upon us.  Booya!!


That said, I wanted to give some big ups to my favorite running retailer, Wilderness Running Company.  They have been sharing their thoughts and insight into winter running apparel over the last couple o' weeks and it's pretty interesting stuff, especially if you're fairly new to seriously cold weather running.  Stacy posted THIS today.  I like :)

If you're in the market for some quality pieces that will stand the test of old man winter, WRC carries some of the best.  There may be a little sticker shock at first (at least after November 15th, as WRC is currently running a special on certain winter running apparel items, so hurry up if you want this stuff on the cheap!), but consider the lifespan of high quality running apparel made to persevere.  This stuff will last a good long while, and never underestimate the power of the drying rack...seriously.  Winter running means it's really cold (duh) and, therefore, there's a lot less sweat and nast compared to hot summer running.  So, after you finish up, turn your garment inside out (and, if need be, hand rinse first) and hang your stuff up to air out.  This means, you'll have more room in your laundry hamper for things that need to be washed after each use (i.e. socks and underwear), AND you'll extend the life of your garments even further (machine washing and drying reduces the life of our running clothes, it's like running apparel murder!).  Ta-da!

I don't know about you, but I plan on continuing my training all through the winter, I ain't afraid of no snow (but I am terrified of ice...)!  I've got some great winter items in my running wardrobe that I've had around for awhile, and well worth every penny spent on them, but there's a pair of Craft thermal tights that are currently trying to lure me.  What's in your closet?

I like to think of running in frigid temps as a sort of moving 'ice bath'...two for one deal!

:-)

Crash, out.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Runs We Live For

Sunrise on the Chicago Lakefront, at 39th Street - October, 2010
Yesterday's long run was something to behold.  It was just what I wanted it to be.

Geof and I were up and at 'em by 7:15, loving that the sun was already up.  After some solid relaxation, some tasty soy lattes (courtesy of Geof's mad coffee-making skillz) and some hemming and hawing about what to wear for the weather, we headed out the door by 9:30.  It was chilly outside (low 40s), but was set to warm into the upper 50s before long so we opted for lighter clothing in hopes the weather would stand by its word.  The sun was warm on our faces as we headed north into a pretty decent and chilly headwind. 

I had one bottle of Gatorade and a thingy of Honey Stingers (my new favorite running food...and what do ya know, I just noticed the company is in Colorado, which gives them automatic Awesome Points) that I hoped would be enough for our 20 mile route.  I also brought another serving of Gatorade, just in case, but never ended up using it.  Since it's November, all the bathrooms and water fountains are shut down along the Lakefront Path.  Only the water trough at Diversey and the inner path remains on all year, so we planned to run by it on our way back in case we needed a refill. 

Since it was sufficiently chilly, I only lightly sipped on my drink and never felt thirsty until we were about home free.

The legs were moving rapidly, especially considering the distance we planned to cover.  I was running more like I was out for a 10 miler, or shorter, not 20.  But, it felt good and relaxed and before long we were reaching the turn around.  Geof's Suunto is unfortunately fairly unreliable (for the very purpose the model is made for...GPS), so we were questioning it's mileage count and decided to run another mile just in case.  This allowed us to run through the Loyola campus, along the water and then some.  It's fun to run through that campus, it's gorgeous. 

Once we turned it around, we were very happy to find that the wind (which had changed direction a number of times) wasn't going to be much of a factor on the way back.  I ate the rest of my Honey Stingers somewhere around here and had my second and final S!Cap of the day.  I was feeling great!  I had forgotten how different things are once the temperature drops.  Nutrition and hydration change a good deal for me.

I could feel my patellar tendon on both sides beginning to protest all the pavement and I was reminded I need to keep up with the glute exercises I was given by the good doc.  I also noticed my left ankle doing something funky, so I know my form was starting to get sloppy around 15 or so miles.  Par for the course!  I had no idea what pace we were running, but it still felt pretty brisk.  I had long since peeled off my wind layer and had it tied around my waist and I was glad i decided against the gloves. 

As we neared the turnoff to get to the water trough, I was trying to decide if I needed more water, and, ultimately, going for it.  This added more onto our mileage, but was worth it.  I got thirrrrsty as soon as I saw the trough :)  Ah, the power of suggestion!  I fixed the top lacing on my left shoe so it didn't rub my ankle anymore and this felt glorious.  As we headed back out after a short walking break, my legs stiffened up.  Geez, you'd think this was my first long run ever.  I felt like such a newbie ;) 

I was pretty ready to be done with only a couple miles left.  We picked up the pace and almost seemingly out of nowhere we reached our end point.  Ahhhhhh, yes!  There's a short flight of stairs down to the tunnel to get under Lake Shore Drive, and my knees felt incredibly wobbly and out of sorts as we walked the short bit back home, but boy did it feel good to have that run under the belt now.  I felt like I put a lot out there and was pretty depleted when we finished, and that feels good.  I don't do that very often :)

We were pretty curious about our route, so I pulled up trusty MapMyRun to check our route.  It was a lovely 21.5 miles, and I didn't bother adding in the Diversey water trough section as it's pretty tedious work, mapping out the route, so it was actually more than that, but who's counting :-)  Combined with our running time, it came to a 9:11 pace.  No wonder I was spent!  I'm used to doing my 20+ mile runs at something closer to 10s or 10:30s.  BAM!  The best part was how good it felt most of the time.  How I felt reminded me a lot of the section of Rio Del Lago from miles 45 to 67, when I felt like I could run forever and ever.  These are times we need to package up and hold onto for runs to come.  They are a good reminder of how good it can be out there.

Lots of ice, water and foam rolling was in order after this one.  It was great to feel so exhausted from a solid effort.

This morning it felt like someone punched me in the feet, hips and glutes, and my calves were tight like guitar strings :)

These are the runs we live for...

On to the next!

Crash, out.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Trail Running in Chicago

I was going through my partially drafted blogs this morning to see what I had crammed into the confines of my "private" plot of cyberspace here on Blogger...exciting, huh?!  I found a few things that made me laugh (was I seriously going to write that?  Ha!), a couple that I couldn't figure out why I even began to draft them in the first place (brain fart!), and one that I just plum forgot about (oops!). 

I wrote this...article? blog post? thingy?...back in July and Stacy at Wilderness Running Company posted it to his "Life" section of the website. 

So, if you ever find yourself in the beautiful city of Chicago, and simultaneously have a hankering to hit the trails, check this out for a couple of recommendations, from yours truly:

Trail Running in Chicago

Hey, it's the weekend!  Get outside!

Crash, out. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

There's a New Shoe in Town

But first, a totally unrelated tidbit:

I looked at the calendar today and realized it's November...wow, where does time go?!  I've been hard at work (not really, but sorta, for me anyway) revamping the ol' eating habits and working towards something more sustainable.  Geof and I are on board for a nice little overhaul and it's actually pretty exciting making changes, and being able to do it together.  We've been watching a lot of food documentaries lately and our whole outlook on the food we eat has changed dramatically.  I never thought that would happen!  (No, we're not giving up meat, that would be silly for us...chicken and sushi are staples!)  Not that we were bad eaters to begin with, but we certainly haven't been very mindful of the food we eat.  No longer!  It's fun to try new foods and actually cook stuff...but let's not get all crazy here and start spreading rumors about me wielding pots and pans and forming anything resembling "edible".  But, somehow, between Geof and I, we've managed to put together a number of very successful and delicious meals of late.  How fun!

But enough of that, what about that running problem of mine?

It's my slow season (ha! no pun intended)...ultrarunning doesn't really go out of season, but I choose to get back to basics during the colder, winter months.  Same mileage as always, but little to no racing...it's hard to reduce my already low mileage :)  Lots of strength training and core work.  Some cross-training, some shoe experimentation, some glutenous eating, some hoppy beverages, prancing around in my fleece lined running tights (doesn't every runner do that?) and lots of rosey, windburned cheeks and tingley un-gloved fingertips.

Yesterday, a handful of us CHUGgies met up at Poplar Creek (in Streamwood, IL) for a group run.  Brelly ran a loop but had family stuff afterwards, Deanna contemplated another loop but a touch of a cold kept her from joining us again, so Geof, Leslie and I headed out for a second loop.  Leslie and I had run the first loop together way up front and since neither of us are actually familiar with the trails there (even though I've run there a couple times...it's confusing, okay!) we ended up getting a little...turned around :)  Oops.  The 6.75 mile loop turned into 9.5, yippee!  We were crankin' it for a long run, and I was pleased with how everything was holding up.  It was cold as balls (read: approximately 31) and windy whenever we came out of the shelter of the woods, but we kept on keepin' on.  After 16.5 miles, Geof and I called it a day and Leslie left for one more loop.  I opted to take my newest Sporties (La Sportiva Crosslites) for their first run and was very, very happy with how it went.  I felt a little bit like I was cheating on my Sporty Cats, but since they are practically siblings there was no harm done :-)  I think I shall call them my Sporty Lites, it only makes sense.

These are THE Sporty Lites, not some stock photo :)

Here's the lowdown on the Sporty Lites...they are great.  They are technically minimalist trail shoes but still have some of the bulk I enjoy around the foot (i.e. fatty lugs and some decent cushioning).  They felt awesome!  There's a built in debris shield that covers the laces and while it makes it hard to adjust the laces, it sure does a great job of keeping the crap out.  There is some sort of rock shield on the bottom, but it's not much.  I could feel the larger gravel through the shoes, but certainly not enough that it caused any discomfort...I could just tell it was there.  These shoes fit like a glove, and that's how they're supposed to.  The forefoot is just wide enough for my foot and allows my toes to do their thing...whatever that is.  I got them a full euro size down from my Sporty Cats because they are kind of like trail racing flats, but with killer lugs, so they need to fit a tad snugger.  That said, I am a big fan of socks and the only kind that work with these shoes are the Drymax Hyper Thin Running Socks, which is great as I finally get to put these socks to good use (and not just as post-run kick-around socks).

I'm not gonna lie, I felt a little like a speed demon in these.  Actual performace may not reflect said speed demon feeling, but it was fun :)  So if you're looking for something wicked fast, and not overly built-up, I suggest giving these babies a try.  Wilderness Running Company is the only place I'd buy 'em from, but that's just my humble opinion.

Speaking of shoes, I've finally taken the next step in the Purging of Unnecessary Things Game at home: I've placed a couple pair of old running shoes in line for donation.  This was hard as they include the Cascadias I ran my first 50 miler in and a pair of road shoes that have seen some of the coolest scenery yet (Badwater, Leadville, etc.)...siiiiiigh.  But, it's time; enough is enough!  Feels good to shed some 'weight' from the ol' closet.

Tonight is raw fish night, aka sushi, with some of the Badwater crew and I'm really looking forward to it all!

Crash, out.

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