Race Schedule

2014 Races…Still TBDStill :)
Bike MS 100M ride (UT - June) 8:h:40m
Speedgoat 50k (UT - July 19) 9h:34m:26s


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Schedule's in Charge

A tiny cloud forms above with each breath, a big puff of moisture suspended in the air for a moment only to be blown by the breeze and replaced by the next one. 

Feet moving over pavement in a rhythmic dance. 

The warm-up is easy and relaxed, but I feel a little off.

Is my stride too long?  My steps too loud?

I'm getting lazy already, I can feel it.  I feel my glutes engage as I concentrate on how my feet are hitting the ground beneath me; how my hips align with my knees.  Mindful running makes me feel zen-ish.

Ah, now that's more like it.  Quick, syncopated steps.  Now we can really move. 

A song enters my head and orchestrates the symphony of my feet.  It's the theme from The Office.  How did that get in there?

A quick slosh from my gut tells me it's time to eat something.  Glancing at my watch, I have 10 more minutes.  Pulling out the chews, I hold them tightly in my warm, mitten-covered hand to start defrosting them.

It's cold again today.  Eighteen degrees, cloudy, breezy.  At least the ground is dry.  My lips are numb, and we both comment on our eyelids feeling 'stuck'.  But the schedule is in charge right now, and the schedule says 18 miles today. 

I can feel that we're moving, fast.  Faster than I recall.  But it feels good.  "How come you don't breath through your mouth?" he asks as we push up a hill, heading back.  "Because it's too cold to.  And it's my gage of effort."  So far so good. 

Wind picks up heading north.  Another rumble of the gut, another defrosting of the chews to make them edible again.  "Maybe we stop at the museum to get some water on the way back?"  "Sure."

Museum is just ahead...but it means going off-route a bit.  "I'm fine not stopping if you are."  "Sounds good, let's get home."

The rhythm is taking better hold now.  Checking my vitals I notice no fatigue, no hunger, no jelly legs, no thirst.  I almost consider going further, but keep it to myself.  The schedule is in charge today; the schedule says 18 :)

Can't believe how good that felt.  We do our ritual high-five at the corner as we approach home.  "Nice job, babe."

This time we grabbed an 8:10 pace for 18 miles. 

I took two days off to relish that one, and nurse my now-tight calf :)

Today's run felt like cement running.  That's what I get.  But tomorrow's run will rock once again.  Looking forward to it :)

Crash, out.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

She's As Cold As Ice!

She being Mother Nature as of late.  What's up Mother, why not throw us a freakin' bone here?

I guess it is only January and we here in Chicago have a whole lotta winter still to come. 

*Discontented sigh*

The good news is that my funny right hammy has jumped back on the bandwagon and after 1.75 days, 4 hours, 9 minutes and 47 seconds of rest, I was good as new.  But who's keeping track ;)  Funny how things just work out when you don't freak out and just let things be.

Geof and I headed out into the early morning blustery cold this past Saturday to crank out our long run.  Since the north curve of the path is iced over again, we headed south with the wind at our backs and fully aware of the price we would be paying come turn-around time. 

Hehehe, something like that

With a third solid long run under my belt, I'm finally ready to believe that an 8:30 mile is my new 'relaxed/easy' pace.  We actually bested ourselves this time and cranked out an average 8:24 pace for 16 miles.  Hey-oh!  It was TOUGH running back north.  That wind was brutally cold and at times felt like we were running in place it was so strong, but mostly just wicked cold. 

I'm also now ready to believe that our new "energy consumption lifestyle" (I don't really like the word 'diet') has vastly improved our recovery times.  It used to be that long runs left me feeling pretty meh the next day, but now I feel almost as though I didn't even lift a finger.  It's amazing what a buttload of colorful fruits, veggies and naturally occurring amino acids can do for you :)  Of course, I followed my own set of rules this time and rested on Sunday.  Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Yesterday, Senorita Nature graced us with above-freezing temps, 33 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact.  And when the temperature gets above freezing around here, you know what that means folks?...everything freezes over!! 

Ummmm, that doesn't make any sense

Our entire route was littered with sneaky icey patches, out to get us and botch our run.  The wet, icey-looking patches were actually just slush, and the dry, "safe" looking patches were actually ice.  WTF, Mrs. Nature?!  Now that was a frustrating run.  I was hopping around like a numbskull, running scared, jumping into slush puddles where possible and trying my best to avoid the ice.  It was useless.  I ended up walking a large majority of our run, and my hopes of 8 miles turned into 4 miles realllllly quick.  Grrrr.  I'd have been better off on a *gasp* treadmill.  But, the silver lining was that I didn't fall...and that I got home in relatively fine spirits.  I made another deposit into my Character-Builder Bank :)

Today, we opted to skip the slip and head for the 'mills.  It felt really, really good to open up the stride and just crank out a fast few miles.  With the dry, re-circulated wind in my hair, sweat hanging on my brow and sticky mystery gunk from the treadmill touchscreen on my fingers, I was running!  Ah, bliss :)  I give this morning's run two thumbs up, and my iPod playlist an enthusiastic 4 thumbs up.  It's the simple things in life.

Crash, out.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Well, That's What You Get

First Rule of Being Me: Always take the day off after a long run, especially an uncharacteristically fast long run.

Second Rule of Being Me: If you ignore Rule No. 1, you are a pain in the ass, and, thusly, will earn a f''real pain in the ass.

Third Rule of Being Me: Never leave the house for a run without your Icebreaker.

Fourth Rule of Being Me: Eggplant gives me gas.

So, there you have it.  I ignored Rule Nos. 1 and 2 on Monday.  And, as expected, I paid for it.  Worry not, the running gods were certainly trying to tell me to obey Rule No. 1, but for some reason I wasn't seeing the signs very well...

Literally, as we stepped outside for our run Monday morning, I reached for my jacket zipper to pull it up to my chin when I noticed that the bottom of the zipper had come unzipped...but the top was zipped.  It was brokey brokey.  But, technically, my jacket was zipped and secured for all intents and purposes.  Naturally, in these instances, one would leave it alone and be well on their way.  But no, I had to futz with it and, ultimately, make it way worse than it originally was.  That's how I roll.

At this point I was peaved.  Now my jacket is fully unzipped with no hope of getting it re-zipped.  It's bonifiably broken.  I don't even know if that's a word, but today it is.  My reaction?  Run fast, too fast.  Luckily it wasn't horribly windy, so having my jacket opened and exposing my chest and neck to the elements wasn't too bad, jacket flapping in the wind as we fly down the street to the path.  Good thing I obeyed Rule No. 3 and wore my trusty Icebreaker to keep me warm :) (Seriously, FYI, I get absolutely nothing for saying anything about IB, I just love the product so much that I want everyone to feel as warm and fuzzy as I do about it.  Literally, warm and fuzzy.  I digress.)  I eventually decided to do something smart and I pulled off my jacket (without breaking stride, mind you) and flipped it around backwards so that my chest was protected and my back was exposed.  I looked ridiculous, but it worked.  Plus, when you're really fired up you don't really care about looks. 

We're maybe a mile and three quarters into our 3 miler when I suddenly feel an ache materialize in my right glute, then my right hammy.  I didn't even give it a second thought.  I stopped right then and there, announcing to Geof that I was going to turn around for home.  He handed me the keys with a woeful look in his eyes, but knowing full well it was best.  With my bottom lip dramatically curled down and my chin on my chest, I walked.  Well first I tried to run across the street, but that hurt, so then I walked.  Eff!!!!  What the heck running gods?!?!  I just know those running gods were up there somewhere looking down upon me, laughing big ol' out-of-shape belly laughs,"Well, that's what you get, rule breaker!"  (Sidenote: why is it that my version of the "running gods" are fairly overweight men in running shoes and white outfits?  Is that weird?  Should I have kept that to myself?  Hmmmmm.)

My hamstring was strung up so tight that it ached on every outstretched step.  As soon as I got home, I stretched, foam rolled, applied arnica ice, took a round of NSAIDs then iced until we left for work.  I kept it wrapped up nicely in an Ace bandage all day long, and kept up with a couple more rounds of NSAIDs.  I made sure to keep a level head about it.  Afterall, it is what I get for breaking my own rules.  That was silly of me.  I needed a rest day and I didn't take it.  So now my body was going to force a rest day on me.  Things felt better throughout the day Monday, and after a full day off on Tuesday (with plenty of dynamic stretching and foam rolling thrown in there) I was back at it this morning.

I'm pretty sure I just tweaked out my hip flexor and glute by busting out 7:45s from the get-go, and that in turn yanked on my adductor which then pulled on the hamstring.  One big chain reaction.  I'm fine though, lesson learned.  Again.  This morning's run was really good.  Running in the slushy snow was akin to running in sand, but it was still running :)  My hammy was a tad sore feeling, but nothing major.  It was nice to be outside, cold air in the lungs, legs moving beneath me, wind on my jacket-covered chest :)

I'll be good from now on.  Honest.  Long run + rest day the day following = happy pot-bellied running gods, and happy me.

Crash, out.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hitting the Ground Running

Sunday morning, Geof and I got out for a 'long' run, our first run of the new year.  It was FANTASTIC!  The weather was chilly, but the sun was out in full force and made for a truly awesome run.  We bundled up just right (both of us in our Icebreakers :)) and headed north with high hopes, and discovered that the warm weather earlier that week had completely cleared the path of all the ice, finally!  What a treat it was to get to run north.  The winter is particularly brutal on the section of the path north of Navy Pier...usually the entire winter it is covered in thick, craggy ice, rendering it almost entirely impassable.  You can imagine our excitement at seeing it cleared for once!  It looked as though a hurricane had swept through this section of the path...the wrath of all the ice and freezing waves that washed up onto the path completely demolished entire sections of the pavement.  I mean literally, huge chunks of concrete were missing and strewn about the ground, it was insane.  I've never seen it so ravaged by winter, and it's only January!

According to our Moab Red Hot 55k 'training plan', we had 12 miles to cover that day, but I had woken up with only 10 in mind.  However, I decided I had it in me to go further :)  The run was top notch.  We dressed prefectly for the cold weather and were quite comfortable.  I, of course, had to pee really bad as soon as we hit the lakefront path, but somehow I miraculously managed to hold it the entire run.  Though, I eyed every nook and cranny along the path as potential...points of relief :)  Geof wore his GPS and commented on our speed a few times.  I was quite surprised, and when we went over the mileage and total time back home, it matched up perfectly.  We were holding 8:30s for the entire 12 miles (typical for G, not so for me), and the best part was how effortless it felt.  Maybe it was the challenging snow running in the weeks prior?  I dunno, but I loved every second of it. 

I took Monday off running to recover and revel, and then this morning we headed out and chose the north path once again.  Gotta enjoy it while we can!  What felt like a good deal of labor ended up being another solid effort.  I didn't feel really off but I also didn't really feel on.  Kind of a weird limbo between the two, and I resolved to keep on keepin' on.  I thought 4 miles was reasonable, but we ended up cranking out 6 miles...hip hip hooray! 

I should also note that this was sweaty run number seven in my Icebreaker top...and guess what? still no stank!  I seriously love this shirt.  Geof said that at some point I'll need to wash it...that just because it doesn't stink doesn't mean it's not grody :) 

May everyone's 2011 training be off to as good a start!

Crash, out.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hubba, Hubba 2011!

2010, you sure have been good to me.  It was a year of coming into my own; a year of discovery, if you will.  This is a fairly random post, but I get a kick out of summarizing my running year...

I discovered there is a small muscle that lays buried behind your knee, the popliteus.  This little guy gets pissed off on the trails of Texas hill country.  It put me out for 2 months.  Lesson learned? don't run in Texas. 

I discovered that doing planks daily gives you a cute little 4-pack.  I like 4-packs.  Maybe one day I'll have a sixer :)

I discovered that Leadville iiiiiiiiiiis...something.  What word am I looking for here?...oh, yes, a beeyotch!  But it was the best training of my life thus far.  Lesson learned? train in fear, and even if you don't achieve your first goal, you'll find a second goal and totally rock it.

I discovered that I didn't actually need to be wearing orthotics.  Cool.  That saves me $500!

I discovered that I can handle elevation quite well.  I just couldn't handle Hope Pass a second time, this time around. 

I discovered my love for Geof only continues to grow more everyday.  And that's a pretty neat thing.  Turns out, he feels the same way and on November 19th he decided he wanted to ask if I'd like to spend the rest of my life with him.  Sweet!  Of course!!  So now we can go ahead and assume that 2011 is going to be even more rocking than 2010.  I can't wait to start our lives together, officially!

I discovered that La Sportiva is my favorite shoemaker in the wide world.  For now.  I seem to be fairly fickle in my shoe love, but my Sporties managed to capture my heart for all of 2010, and that's pretty amazing.

The discovery of, and continued adoration of, a few of my Favorite Things has left its mark on my 2010.  Wilderness Running Company is my favorite trail running resource, both for gear and for information.  They rock.  Atayne continues to be the apple of my eye.  The future looks bright for Atayne and I'm looking forward to their continued growth as a company that makes good and does good in the world.  La Sportiva Wildcats are the love of my shoe closet life.  *Long contented sign*  My recent discovery of Icebreaker has shaken my world.  IB is something every runner/active person needs in their closet :)  RecoFit makes top notch compression and it's the only sleeve I'll wear.  Susan (the brains behind RecoFit) is a seriously awesome lady with a really amazing product.  Nuff said.  And what Favorite Things List can be complete without Drymax?  Happy feet make a very happy runner :)

Let's see, oh, yes, I discovered how awesome a gal fellow blogger Gretchen is.  I was honored and stoked to have her along to crew and pace me at Rio Del Lago 100 this year and couldn't be happier with the whole experience.  I still have yet to lose those two toenails, by the way.  The new nails have already started to grow in and push the old ones up, so it's just lots of trimming for now.  I'm a huge whussy and refuse to rip them off :)  Nice visual, eh?

I learned some things about myself this year, too.  Like that I was (WARNING: very dramatic statement follows!) terrified of dying climbing back up Hope Pass, and terrified of the failure that came with such a demise.  I didn't die, obviously, but I was such a sobbing slobbery mess that at the moment my wristband was snipped off I sorta felt like death was more appealing.  I did learn, however, that in the face of failure I can rise above and extract the silver lining.  Of course, that didn't come without a short spell of total self-pity first (and a lot of snot).

I learned that failure lights a serious fire under my ass and that I could probably solve all the world's problems if I was a constant failure.  Thank goodness that's not the case; how stressful would that be?! ;)

I've learned that all good things come in good time.  Being a good person and believing in the basic goodness of others makes you feel really warm and fuzzy.  Suddenly the world doesn't seem so scary when you decide that it isn't.  It helps to not read/watch/listen to the news.  Actually, that is a very vital part of this equation :)

Amazing Grass's Berry SuperFood makes my world go 'round.  A couple months ago, Geof and I decided to give it a try, and now we have it in our fruit smoothies most every morning.  I notice it on days we have missed it (when we're out of town...but they do have little travel packets for those occasions!).  I love the stuff.  I'm learning the value of a truly balanced diet, and incorporating more whole foods and fresh foods.

I learned that I am an overly cautious person in my running.  Not every little ache and pain is a limb about to fall off, a bone about to snap, or a tendon about to explode.  When you get to the point that you'd actually consider inviting your chiropractor and sports medicine doc to your wedding, you know you have a problem.  I had to cut myself off and tell myself to stop being such a candyass.  "Suck it up!"  I am happy to announce that it has been over two months since I've gotten any ART treatments :)  Thank you, thank you.

One of the many wonderful gifts of 2010 has been the friendship of two very awesome people.  I met Brian and Kelly, aka the "Brelly", when I joined the CHUGs back in early 2009.  This year there was hardly a race run, experience shared, or laugh had without the Brelly.  We traveled to Rocky Raccoon together in February, had the honor of attending their wedding in May, experiencing Leadville in August, and the absolute stoke of sharing in Brian's conquering of the 100 mile distance in September (and those are just some highlights).  I'm looking forward to all that 2011 holds and sharing all sorts of new and different life experiences together.  Life is so much better with amazing friends to share it with.

Well I believe I started my 2010 with a mileage goal in mind.  It was a tad lofty for me, but I also wasn't intending on missing out on over two months of running due to injury (some of February, March and April).  Ah well, life, lemons, lemonade and all that.  I came back much stronger, and lots more balanced :)

After tallying it all up I come away with a new personal best, surpassing my 2009 mileage by a bit: 1,341.5 miles...precisely 259 hours of wonderful time spent doing nothing but running.  Only 340 of those total miles were race miles, which is a HUGE change from 2009 (which had something like 800 or so miles spent racing of ~1,314 total miles for the year.  Wow).  So, that means I spent waaaaaaaaaay more time training this year...and that is a very good thing for this lady :)

Goodness, what a truly incredible and exciting year 2010 was.  But seriously, 2011 is going to trump it.  I can tell you that now!

And now for a quick shot of one of my favorite pictures from the year:

Geof and I, just after he finished the Leadville Trail 100 mile run

I very minimally considered goals for 2011, but after reading this post I decided it's not entirely necessary.  I very much enjoy Dax's style and approach.  I would like to push myself a little more in 2011.  I pushed it in 2010, for sure, in training, but I think I am capable of far more.  And, rather than getting caught up in numbers and times, I'm going to just enjoy each step I get to take along the way to whatever I decide to do on each trail.  Love the run, be the run.  

2011, you look good!
Crash, out.

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