Race Schedule

2018 Races…TBD!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Finding the Boomshockalocka

Today's run was a mere three miles, but I can officially declare that I've re-found my boomshockalocka (BSL). 

It's Week 5 in JJ100 training and that means it's an official step-back week for me.  Periodization, it's a beautiful thing :)  It helps you find your BSL.

Saturday's long run was run alongside the New Leaf Ultra Runs Summer Palos 32.4M run.  I didn't sign up for the race so that I wouldn't be tempted to go over my goal mileage (20 miles).  But, Geof was running the full distance, so we ran together for what ended up being three full loops for me...24.3 miles.  It was just easier to run a full third loop (8.1) miles rather than work the math and turn back early :)  Plus, it meant more trail time with Geof.  Can't go wrong there.  So, I ended up overshooting my weekly mileage at touch, but that's better than undercutting it I suppose. 

The legs felt like bouquets of fresh daisies (only, covered in bug spray).  I was really having a great day on the trail.  And my feet were THRILLED to be in my Sporty Cats again!  I'm pretty sure my feet are now at least a 1/2 size bigger now as my tootsies were jamming it up with the toe guard much of the run.  Time to upgrade :)

Geof and I arrived just as the group headed off down the trail, so we took our time gathering our stuff from the truck and finding a spot in the start/finish shelter, catching up a bit with Kelly and baby Caleb, and then, finally getting started 15 minutes later.  We were moving at a pretty swift pace, time was flying, and everything was jiving so well.  We caught up to the front of the pack by the end of the first loop, topped off the water, ate a Honey Stinger Waffle, took an S!Cap, caught up with Brian a little, kicked around for about 10 minutes, then headed out.  After passing the lead pack, other than the two guys WAY out front, we locked into a pace that surprised me once I glanced down at my Garmin...the second lap we averaged between 7:40-7:55.  Neither of us could believe how good we felt. 

The sky was starting to darken and we knew rain was on its way, so when we pulled into the start/finish, I changed out of my damp Injinji liner socks (umm, these socks, BTW, completely rock so far.  Love them.) and into a pair of my hot weather Drymax socks (bad idea, shoulda kept on the Injinjis...never thought I'd say that!!), refilled the bottles, ate another Waffle and then we were off once more.  We locked into a more reasonable pace for this one, about 8:15s, and cruised along in what was now a torrential downpour.  It was spectacular!  We haven't run in rain like that for awhile and it turned out to be such a treat.  It made it a little hard to see at times since it was coming down so hard and bouncing off the ground, but the cooling effect was very much welcomed, as well as keeping the bugs at bay while it came down. 

We ran through the big puddles, charged up Big Bertha, walked a little bit to shake out the glutes, and generally reveled in the beauty of the rain and the surrounding forest.  What a fantastic run. 

After my last loop, Geof headed out for his fourth and final one, finishing strong in 5:12 I think (and 3rd overall I believe), for the 32.4 miles, woohoo!  Now it was time to eat a burrito and look forward to a step-back week :) 
Monday was a short run, then Tuesday was our usual T10 which ended up being a surprisingly great run.  Along the way, we caught up to a runner we see out on the path most mornings and is a staple at all the Chicago Lakefront 50/50s.  Usually, she's heading back from her run by the time we cross paths with her, but yesterday we shared a few miles with Cathy and had a great time getting to know her a little better...and worked on convincing her to give KM100 a go :) 

We are working on incorporating more varied pacing into our runs, as in easy-medium-hard, etc.  It's hard to do at first, but I feel like maybe I'm getting the hang of it.  Running the exact same pace everyday is good if you aren't trying to improve.  Geof's been whispering the idea of intervals for awhile now, so we are giving it a go, albeit informally.  Saturday's run was a medium-hard effort for me, Monday was easy, yesterday was a medium effort, today was a hard effort :)  Maybe tomorrow will be easy, Friday medium, and our long run medium/hard.  We'll see. 

I love my boomshockalocka.  I'm going to hold onto it this time :) 

Paige, out.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Glancing Back But Moving Forward

Jumping for joy...YAY for Colorado!

The road to a DNF is paved with the best of intentions...and I had had the very best of intentions going into the 2010 Leadville Trail 100. 

It's so weird to think back to where I was and who I was this very day last year.  We were wrapping up medical check-in at the gymnasium in downtown Leadville, awaiting the arrival of our fantastic crew, hanging out with Brian, Kelly and Deanna, heavy with anticipation for the coming day.  Packing and unpacking my pack several times throughout the afternoon, organizing and then reorganizing my crew duffle over and over.  Agonizing over my shoes and what shirt to start in.  Gloves and a hat?  Just gloves?  Just a hat?  Skull cap or ball cap?  SO MANY DECISIONS!  Thank goodness I didn't need to worry with drop bags.  I hate putting together drop bags, almost as much as I hate lima beans (blech, I shiver every time I think of lima beans...I'm currently covered in goosebumps of disgust...). 

Anyway, I don't mean to blabber on and on about the past, but I like to reflect on major events that, when I really think about it, have really made me who I am.  An event that caused a shift in paradigm.  An event that moved me so much that I am eternally a different person because of it.

That sounds so hokey and lame.  But it's true.

Leadville took the wind out of my sails.  It was my first DNF.  It is an experience that I now look back on fondly (convenient amnesia?).  I don't have a bad taste in my mouth from it, and I certainly don't feel bitter or like I need to avenge myself there.  Quite the opposite.  I feel good about the lessons I learned there and the person I became as a result of my breakdown on Hope Pass.  I know that one day I will return, but it's fairly low on my list right now...I will require myself to spend time doing speedwork at altitude before I spend that kind of money to do it again :-) 

The experience, ALL of it, was fantastic.  But I especially loved the warm community we were a part of for just 5 short days, shuffling around the Leadville Hostel, sharing meals with complete strangers, hearing stories of grand adventures, the failures and triumphs of the runners, the collective buzz of excitement, anxiety, and taper crazies.  Pre-race water bottles replaced by empty beer cans stacked up on the big porch as folks kicked up their sore feet, regaling others with their version of the experience...signs of recovery, sorrow, victory.  I really enjoyed that place.

And, now, here I am a whole 'nother person.  I lived, I learned, I moved on.  I continue to work towards another finishline, continue to work on my mind, on my legs, on my desire.  Nothing really comes for free in life; it always costs you something at some point.  My mind decided to invoice me that day as I stood a mile up the trail on the backside of Hope Pass, agonizing over whether or not I push on, only to be pulled up top.  I owed a debt, and I paid.  I lumbered down that mountain, angry, resentful, deeply saddened.

But I paid my debt.  And now I'm free and clear...for now :)

Whereas I questioned, "How Did I Get Here?" during my time on that trail, I no longer wonder; I now know.  I can see exactly the road...and trail...I've followed to get me where I am now.  The curves, and steps, undulations, weather. 

And I love where I am, and the path I created to get here.  Onward!

I so look forward to the next 100 mile adventure :)

Paige, out.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Turning Corners

It's official, week three of JJ100 training is so far my very, very favorite, and all because of one ridiculously awesome long run on Sunday.

All week, runs got a bit better each day, but I still felt a little out of whack, which was humongously annoying.  I was also humongously annoyed with the blister battle my feet have decided to wage against me.  WTF feet?  Since when do you decide you can change your chemistry and get all 'sensitive' on me?  I have training runs to do!

Friday, I only had three miles planned, but with a single glance I was convinced to run six miles with Geof instead.  A nice, brisk six later, I was feeling slightly optimistic for our long run coming up on Sunday.  Generally, we like to knock out the long run on Saturday so that we can sleep in on Sunday and bask in our shared victory, but we were driving out to Iowa City early Saturday morning and thus committed ourselves to zero sleeping in and a long run Sunday morning from Running Wild in Coralville, IA. 

I threw both pairs of my road shoes in my bag (my should-be-retired Ghost 3s, and my new-but-ass-sucking Ghost 4s) as I was unsure which pair to run in.  I only needed to get 15 miles in since I was way over my miles for the week already, but we decided jointly that 20 miles would be more fun :)  Plus, we were planning to run the old 20 mile route Geof led when he worked for Running Wild back in his college days. 

We woke up nice n' early Sunday morning, greeted mightily by cicadas and crickets still burning the midnight oil outside our window (P.S. I absolutely love sleeping with the windows open, a soft breeze blowing in and the sound of crickets dancing on the windowsill.  A/C is for the birds ;)).  Arriving at Running Wild with a couple minutes to spare before the group set off for the run, we just took our time and headed inside to meet the owner/Geof's old boss, Joe.  Joe was supremely surprised to see Geof walk through the door and greeted him with a big hug.  I walked around enjoying all the pictures of Geof all over the stockroom from his days there, and ogled the wall of running shoes.  Nothing like the smell of running shoes early in the morning!  It was fun to finally see the store, meet Joe and put visuals to all the great stories he's told from his time working there. 

The group had long since left by the time we stepped outside to start the run.  Fine by us.  We were looking forward to the run together through town :)  One last hop-skip to make sure my shoes were okay (I decided to go with my retiree Ghost 3s afterall...oldies but goodies).  After a quick loop around the block, we followed the original 'south route' down Second Street, eventually hooking up with the wonderfully shaded Iowa River Corridor Trail, which follows the river through town, winds through a park, beside some aging academic buildings, past a fire station, over some railroad tracks, down a densely wooded and shady section along the river, through Napoleon Park, and out onto a rolling country road.  Then, we turned around and headed back the way we came.  The running store placed water coolers at a few different spots along the way, so we had plenty to drink, but thankfully the early morning weather was downright perfect in the upper 60s/low 70s, sunny and barely any humidity. 

I was feeling like a million bucks.  I love Iowa City.  It's a place that really knows how to take care of itself.  It's clean, friendly, highly academic, has a lot of history and culture, and clearly loves its runners and cyclists judging by the number of awesome paths through and around town making getting around sans vehicle very easy. 

My feet held up incredibly well...not even a hot spot.  Funny, 'cuz a 4 miler was hot-spotting my feet pretty well earlier in the week.  My feet must be allergic to Chicago ;-) 

The run honestly could not have gone any better.  The time flew by and we were really enjoying ourselves.  Before we knew it, we were pulling up to the store.  Another one in the books.  Bagels with PB, and OJ awaited us inside the store and we noshed like kings while Geof and Joe shot the breeze a little while longer. 

One of my favorite parts of the run?  No soreness.  Not even jimmy legs (which I usually always get after long runs).  Not even during the 3.5 hour drive home later that afternoon.  Not even the next day, or the day after that.  I couldn't even tell we ran 20 miles.  About dang time my legs got used to the distance!   So, I feel like I turned a little bit of a corner with this run.  And that feels pretty good. 

After changing into dry clothes, we treated ourselves to iced lattes and sat outside Tierra Coffee, basking in the warm, non-humid, sunlight, while visions of new running shoes danced in my head.

Week four holds one final mileage push before a step-back week in week five (woohoo!).  So far, so good.

Paige, out.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Serious Case of the Training Runs

It's official: my first two weeks of JJ100 training are in the books.  The verdict?  Pretty darn good. 

Other than my little spill on Friday, things are well, and that's a great thing to report.  I actually ran a few miles over my intended mileage both weeks.  That's a rare event.  It just sorta happened that way.  I have felt a bit like my body has reset its running clock and the last two weeks have felt kind of...awkward...though not altogether bad.  It was weird, like my legs forgot how to run.  My knees knocked every so often (that hasn't happened since my college running days when I was lazy and had crappy form!), I kicked my ankle bone here and there, blisters pop up out of nowhere, I tripped and fell (again, that hasn't happened in a LONG time, on pavement), and my 'easy' pace has been feeling quite labored. 

What's up with that?!?!

Today's run was no different...I couldn't find my groove, my rhythm, my boom-shocka-locka.  I also ran in a new pair o' kicks (Brooks Ghost 4s) in an effort to start easing them in while also easing out my close-to-retirement Brooks Ghost 3s.  My feet were all slippy slide-y inside my shoes, like they were clown shoes and the insole was slick.  I sort of fantasized about ripping them off, setting them on fire and then throwing them in the lake while doing a barefoot happy dance on the shore whilst watching them disintegrate.  But then I decided maybe I was overreacting and that I should find solace in knowing tomorrow's run in them will totally rock the casbah.

I should now mention the degree of awesome that our Saturday long run ended up being.  It was a very high degree.  We started in a light drizzle, heading south.  The legs felt brand new and totally rockin' for once and we flew through the first 10 miles or so.  It was amazing.  I wondered if I had had a leg replacement done in my sleep.  We had planned initally to run south for a bit, then turn back north for a bit of a change in scenery.  But after a loop around Northerly Island, we silently decided to continue south.  It stayed cloudy, thankfully, so the steambath we were already running in didn't turn into a full-on wet sauna, thank goodness.  Geof had 24 on the schedule and I had 17, but since we had a Cubs game to get to directly after our run, it was looking like our less-than-three-hour window for running was only going to allow my 17, so that's what we were shooting for.  Geof's piece-of-crap GPS (it is SUCH a POS, and I think we've finally decided it's time to retire it and return to the trusty Garmin :)) wouldn't link up from the get go (after standing around in the rain for 15 minutes, waiting to see if it would start), so we were working off of pace to judge our turnaround point, and rough memory.  Once we turned around, at what we thought was about 9 miles, I started a slow mental downward spiral.  Just a general feeling of blah, and an overall feeling of wanting to be done.  Instead of being a total wretch, I decided to practice my 100-mile reminders: this, too, shall pass.  And, it did.  It just took a little bit of patience, and dropping my very last Honey Stinger Waffle on the ground, whilst exclaiming, "oh, f**k!" in front of passing runners and cyclists.  You better believe I picked that sucker up, dusted it off, and ate it.  Hey, five second rule. 

My legs were feeling less than jazzy towards the end, but I was mentally much more spritely knowing that baseball, beers and hotdogs awaited us!  Finishing up in just enough time to allow us a whole 14 minutes to clean-up, pound a smoothie, and get downstairs to meet Richard and Tilly and head to the game.

We were both pretty sure we ran at least 18 miles, but the pacing didn't match up when Geof logged it...too slow a pace.  So, when we got home later that afternoon I decided to map out our little jaunt.  A solid 20 miles, on the freakin' nose.  Hot damn!  No wonder my legs felt like Jell-o that night :)  I'm also happy to report my golfball knee didn't bother me once.  It's pretty gross looking still, but that's about it.  I'm getting good at 'wound dressings' :)

So, Sunday was a time-on-feet day...walking around the Museum of Science and Industry all afternoon, finally getting to see the Bodyworlds exhibit (AWESOME!!!) and the Smart Home exhibit (also AWESOME!!!). 

Did I tell you about NF50?  No?  Well, Geof and I decided to sign up for the Wisconsin edition of the North Face Endurance Challenge - 50M.  The timing with our training was just too perfect, so we'll be running that one together this time.  I ran it back in 2009 and had an okay time, but I was also undertrained, overraced, and totally wiped from the season.  I am really looking forward to this one this year!

One last really random thing, I tried this really good drink yesterday that I grabbed while we were in line at Whole Foods.  It's called Ginger Soother and it is DELICIOUS. 

Our friend Jim mentioned a ginger juice he'd used throughout Burning River 100 the week prior and when I saw this at the store I figured it may be what he was talking about.  It's by the same peeps (Ginger People) that make Ginger Chews (aka stomach lifesavers).  Geof and I both agreed it is quite yummy...of course we are both big, big fans of ginger and would eat it in bulk if given the chance :)  So, if you see it somewhere, pick up a bottle and give it a try.  I'm thinking it could be worth its weight in gold during the late miles of a 100M, when the tummy feels a bit on the fritz.

So, on to week three.  Should be a good one :)

Paige, out. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Things That Go CRASH

My former alter ego, Crash, made a surprise guest appearance today. 

I fell.  Hard.

Arrggh.  That hurt.  Well, surprisingly, it didn't hurt much at first, but now that my newfound scrapes and bruises have had time to settle into their new homes they sting pretty good.  And by good I mean bad.

Let me paint the scene for you:

We ran a fast 5 miles in pretty decent humidity, and I was pretty much thrilled to be finishing up the run.  Just one of those runs that went really well, but despite that I wasn't all that into it for whatever reason.  I was sweating balls and thanking my lucky stars for being so close to home, just two short blocks to go...  I wasn't looking, and I caught my toe on a lump of cement on the edge of the sidewalk.  I lurched forward, turning my right side to the ground.  CRUNCH went my right knee on the gravel-y sidewalk, and then SWISH as I slid to the curb on my right hip and forearm.  I finally halted and rolled onto my butt, stunned, but perhaps not so much as Geof was!  I was covered in fine gravel on my right side and my knee instantly started bleeding, but not too bad.  Geof pulled me up and I jumped on my feet a couple times to see if it hurt, and then continued on our way home, running just a little faster :)

Ow.  Falling is so jarring, especially on cement.  I will say, thank goodness for that gravel-y stuff as I rolled with it, rather than fully scrapping my body on the unmoving sidewalk.  I'm also super glad I didn't hit my head on anything.  I have a pretty nice scrape on my knee that reminds me of being a kid, racing neighborhood kids down the block after school.  I always fell when I did that, hmmm, a prelude to the future?  My right forearm looks like a mini-Edward Scissor Hands had his way with my skin.  Oh, and there's a large black and blue marble emerging below my knee.  Graaaaavy.

Crash leave now; I was quite happy in my vertical running state of late.  Crashing is for the birds.

Anywho, enough of my complaining, it's Friday!!  It feels good to feel like a runner again.  Two weeks of f'real training will do that for you.  Update soon, but first I need to go ice my booboo and feel sorry for myself for a couple more minutes :)

Paige, out.

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