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2018 Races…TBD!

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Sophomore Slump

Last year was a big year.  Lots of big accomplishments, lots of strides made (literally and figuratively) in my running life, lots of awards, lots of miles, lots of PRs.  Lots of things.  I love looking back on it.

It was fantastic.

It was pure.

It was exactly what I wanted out of my 2011.

And it completely drained me.

How do you follow up a performance like last year?  I know I can, and I know I will, but in the throes of a full-on burnout it's quite difficult to imagine.  And almost as equally as exhausting!

But, I'm pulling out of it.  I feel like I will be back in love with running very soon.  I just needed to retreat for a short bit and just stop thinking about it all.  Rather than fighting my loss of mojo and the burnout this time I just let it run its course.  Sometimes that's all you can do to make it through with sanity intact.  I feel remarkably sane considering my seven mile week last week :) 

I also let a bout of the flu run its course.  I'm quite lucky, though.  My version of the flu is considerably less crappy than most others who've experienced it, thanks to all that running and good health otherwise.  So I can't whine too much, but I sure am glad to crave food, and sunlight, and the smell of brand new running shoes again!

It was only a week of darkness, but it was a very long week.  I called the time of death on my running streak on January 22nd after a particularly awful long run that morning, and claimed a 25 day streak as my very own.  A pretty hefty achievement considering my usual streak lasts, at most, six days.  My body was ready for a rest as I had run it pretty ragged, and that's probably how I came down with the flu.  Live, learn, blahblahblah :)

So tomorrow I will attempt to pull myself out of this sophomore slump of sorts and get moving again.  Maybe I'll love it, maybe I'll take some more time off.  No sense in getting too crazy just yet.  Though we do have all sorts of ass to kick come late April, at Zane Grey.  But I feel very confident in my ability to be ready for that :)

Oh, I have another blog!  I've kept it kind of quiet the last several months and didn't do much with it, until recently.  I decided to make that a space to post tasty vittles I concoct in la cucina de Dunmore, among other non-running related tid-bits.  Check it out if you like, or don't :)  But I think you may enjoy it as a nice change of pace:

The Back Paige

I shall now get back to conquering the world and start dreaming up which shoes to lace up for tomorrow's run (I've got a couple new ones to choose from!).

Paige, out.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'm a Morning Runner

Last night's run sucked a**.

I know we all have 'em, it's just been so long since I've had one: a crap-filled run.  I said to Geof that I couldn't remember feeling more awkward running, other than my first run back after Vermont 100 in 2009 (my first hundie).

Everything felt off.  My feet felt like balloons.  My ankles felt brittle and ached.  My knees ached, too.  My hips and hamstrings felt tight.  My stomach was sour.  My mind, good grief my mind, was on a rampage.  The wind howled on the way out, but pushed us along nicely on the way back.  We both grunted and grimaced most of the way, otherwise running in silence.  At least we were in the same boat :)

Four miles never felt so long.  My legs never felt so slow.  The night never felt so foreboding.  City noises never annoyed me so much.  All I could think about was getting home to warmth...and pizza.

I am definitely a morning runner.  Especially in winter. 

This morning's run was infinitely better.  But the bitter taste of a crappy run still sat on my tongue.  Good thing it's nothing a hot cup of black tea can't snuff out! 

I can't wait for tomorrow's run :) 

Random Nature Note:

Last night we came home to our mini-tree/plant-that-we-are-unsure-of-what-it-is (aka "Stella") drooped at a 90 degree angle, leaves pitifully limp and dangling ominously.  I never realized how attached I am to our house plants until that moment.  My heart began to sink.  "Stella!"  I poured her a tall drink of water as we left for our run.  When we came back, I hopped into a hot shower and Geof burst into the bathroom, "Stella just shot straight up!"  When I finished, I stole a peek and sure enough, she was standing fully upright, leaves once again wide and firm.  Stella was once again stunning :)  Isn't that incredible?

Nature, my friends, is awesome.

Paige, out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


WARNING: Shameless Plug Follows!

It's official, Geof and I are now officially grass fed grassletes!!  We've really been grass fed for well over a year now, but as of last week we are now on the Amazing Grass Athlete roster.  Exciting! 
(*I made up the term 'grasslete'.  I must take full blame for eye roll inducing words/phrases.  I felt pretty clever when I came up with that one ;))

We've been Grassheads for awhile and have really enjoyed the myriad benefits of getting a lot of our organic superfoods from Amazing Grass.  When we finally decided to make a healthy balanced diet a part of an overall lifestyle change it really only made sense.  Amazing Grass is a rockin' little company that makes some seriously awesome product, the benefits of which roll over nicely into our running lifestyle.  Have you ever tried any of their stuff?  Check it out if you haven't!  They sell "sample" versions online of a lot of their drinks and bars, so it's cheap and easy to try out.  I also know that Whole Foods sells Amazing Grass if you prefer the brick-and-mortar experience. 

We like to nosh on the AG Green SuperFood Energy Bars after long runs, or even just on long car rides where my need to eat incessantly gets in the way of making progress (as well as my need to use the ladies' room every 30 minutes...c'mon, I have a very lady-like bladder!) :)  And  2-3 scoops of the Berry Green SuperFood goes in our daily morning smoothies.  It tastes so GOOD!  Looks disgusting, for sure, but seriously the flavor is awesome. 

So, shameless plug aside, I enjoy being able to represent completely awesome brands (see the Serious Support tab above for evidence), and when this opportunity presented itself we could not resist.  We actually use the stuff daily, and love it.  So I feel pretty good about plugging it all here. 

For transparency's sake, there is absolutely no financial gain on our part by endorsing these guys.  The only gains are warm fuzzies, knowing we get to represent a brand we love and believe in.  How 'bout them apples!  If you're curious, I suggest checking out Amazing Grass if you feel like getting your personal health philosophy rocked n' rolled by a completely Amazing experience. 

And in other running news, we had a totally Amazing T10 this morning!  Warm, windy on the way back, drizzly, and wonderful!  Today marks day 20 of our running streak, a PR by about 15 days, heh :)  Legs are feeling pretty good, and mind and body are very, very happy.  Onward!

Paige, out.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fastest Guns in the (Mid)West

Okay, not really, but that's what popped into my head when I started dreaming up the title for this post :)  But, it's not totally unrelated to the content...!

Saturday morning we're up at the crack of yeehaw dreaming up our run for the day.  We were planning to head up to the Kettle Moraine since the weather was phenomenal (full sun, 30s, rockin' awesome) and began to make motions towards that goal.  Some mid-winter camping had been on the agenda as well, but we scratched that idea upon waking Saturday morning.  We also wanted to make our usual stop at the La Grange General Store for lunch, so that meant we needed to get the show on the road. 

For as early as we got up, we didn't end up heading out the door until close to noon :)  What on earth were we doing all that time?  I have no idea.  So, to the Nordic trail we headed!  We're within 20 minutes of our final destination when I decide Facebook needs to know what we're up to, so I post a quick little status update.  Almost instantly (not really, it just seemed like it) I got a reply from Brian telling me to check out a post from someone else and to "be careful out there."  Ummmmm, what?

I couldn't see the post so I asked what it said and he sent me a text with the information...basically, there was a gunman on the loose on the Nordic trails and a fellow runner was greeted by 20 some odd policemen with their guns drawn when she came off the trails after her run.  She ran right by the guy!

In any event, we had no idea what the trail situation would be so we started altering our plan a bit.  We pulled up to the Nordic trailhead only to see that it has been blockaded and an officer steps out of his truck to speak with Geof while another officer is off to the side doing nothing out of the ordinary...you know, just strapping on a bulky bullet proof vest and tossing an enormous gun across his back.  Gave me chills!

So it turns out, allegedly, some dude not wearing blaze orange (i.e. in plain clothes) shot directly at a hunter and his son, the hunter shot back, and then the dude took off.  Police were on the hunt for him, choppers were called, area houses were put on lockdown, and the Nordic trails were closed off.  But, according to the gent Geof spoke with, it was okay to run the trails across the street.  Seriously?  How was that expected to be safe?  Heh.

In the end, all we could find out was that the search was "called off" later that evening.  No explanation of what happened, or why it was called off, or if they caught their perp.  Nothing.  Isn't that strange? 

We ended up driving up the road to the Highway 12 trailhead and ran to Rice Lake and back.  It was AWESOME!  Lots of hunters out on the trail, which is always creepy feeling, but they are always very nice to us.  I love this section of the KM100.  It's technical, it's hilly, it twisty-turny.  Lots of rocks, a miniature pine tree alley that makes me feel extremely tall as we run beneath the stunted canopy of pine.  I endeavored to run the entire way out; running every up and every down, maintaining a consistent cadence the whole way.  I did it, too :)  It burned on some of the steeper climbs, but I was able to keep moving at the same pace regardless.  We reached the turnaround at Rice Lake and headed back the way we came.  I kept the same goal in mind, but at two of the sections with railroad tie stairs (going up this time) I let myself reduce to a brisk hike for a moment, but still the same cadence.  It felt so good.  The weather was just fantastic, and other than the sprinkling of hunters alongside the trail near County Road P, we more or less had the trail to ourselves.  Some spots were a little mucky, but for the most part it was in great shape.

I wore my La Sportiva Quantums and enjoyed a solid ride the whole way.  When you step in tacky mud it sounds like peeling velcro as my foot leaves the mud.  It sounds pretty funny, but it also means I'm getting great traction even on the slippy-slidey stuff.

After wrapping up our run we quickly changed and headed for the warm goodness of the General Store.  We shared a hot Fajita Pita for lunch, and I enjoyed my very first kombucha tea (ummmm, holy deliciousness!).  There was a specific dinner spot we had in mind on the way home, so we didn't want to spoil our appetites before we got there.

After sufficiently relaxing our legs and bellies we hopped back in the truck and headed for Woodstock, IL an hour or so away.  The Woodstock Public House has the sort of charm and ambiance I think only exists in movies or made-for-TV-dramas.  I'm pretty sure I mentioned it before (when we went apple picking back in the fall), but the town square is so perfectly perfect it makes me squeal with delight when I see it.  We parked on the far end and walked around the Square to the Pub where we grabbed a high-top in the front room (it has the best people watching :)).  I ordered the most divine pumpkin harvest soup and melted into the bowl as I drained it of every last drop. 

A nearly full moon over Main Street

We walked around the Square once more on the way back to the truck, and we dreamed up Sunday's run/workout.  The day wasn't even done and I was already chomping at the bit for the next day's run :) 

And, in closing, I stumbled upon Joe Grant's blog yesterday (if you don't follow it you should consider it :)) and fell in love with the writing.  He's got great style.  He wrote a short post on his 2011 streak and I cannot get this clip from his post out of my head...it's some serious truth: 

"There's something special about devoting, even the smallest amount of time, each day to something that you love. In many ways, it is no longer a question as to whether or not I will run today, but rather about the excitement and anticipation of what the run will bring."

And that is yet another reason I run...for "the excitement and anticipation of what the run will bring."

Paige, out.

The Art of Running

Remember the Bumper Stickers from back in February?  I'm looking into getting some more on hand so I can do another giveaway, but in the midst of my looking into this they asked me if I'd like to try out a product from their sister company, Easy Canvas Prints, in the meantime.  I checked it out, played around on the site some and decided I could make it pretty running related.  So, I said sure (one of my new years goals: say yes more!)!

The company name is pretty straight forward and leaves nothing to the imagination, as they are exactly that...easy canvas prints.  You upload a photo you want...canvased? (is that even a word?)...select the size you want, and then fork over some moola.  Pretty simple, and a great way to memorialize a favorite photo in a slightly different way than you would likely normally do.  It was fun!

I picked the 8"x10" size and uploaded one of my favorite race pictures.  Geof and I liked it so much that we even included it on the backside of our wedding invitations :)  Here's a pic of the final product:

The lighting in the living room wasn't that great this morning, but the print looks really great in person, just like the original photo but with an artistic touch to it!  I am blanking on who shot this photo originally, but it was either Kelly Gaines or Gretchen.  It's from the 2010 Rio Del Lago 100.  Geof is walking with me across No Hands Bridge around mile 40 of the course.  It was hot, hot, hot that day and when he let go and waved me on I began troubleshooting my situation, preparing to lose my cookies for the first time in a race before pulling it together and finishing up in fine fashion.  It was a fantastic day, and a great race.  This photo makes me smile so much :)

If you've got a picture you want to do something special with then I definitely recommend your checking this out.  I think Groupon and Living Social have a lot of deals for this sort of thing, too.  So keep an eye out, or hop on over to Easy Canvas Prints to see what they can do for you.

Now who ever said running isn't an art?!

Paige, out.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

NON-RUNNING CONTENT...But Still Pretty Cool

Now it's at four posts in five days...amazing! :)

Here's a little peak into my non-running life (does such a thing exist?!)...My older brother, Tate, has a band called How Far to Austin and I just received their newsletter containing a link to a music video they made recently. 

It's AWESOME!  I got goosebumps watching it, then I wanted to dance so I watched it again!  It's their version of Tina Turner's "Proud Mary" and it'll give you a pants party.

How Far to Austin - Proud Mary Video

My brother is the guitarist, in flannel (how many of you were able to pick him out??).  He looks just like me so you can't miss him :)  Except I have a flatter set of abs currently (shhhhhh, this'll fire him up!) and he is quite a bit funnier.  I have much to learn about the written word from him. 

Me and my big brother

My sister-in-law, Katie, is the female vocalist.  She's got some serious chords.  My niece has some big shoes to fill!

Anywho, I was just so dang proud that I wanted to share it here.  I remember Tate's first electric guitar and watching him play the first few chords of some Jimmy Hendrix song over and over and over because I'm pretty sure that's all he knew how to play.  Now he's a bonafide Chicago rockstar.  Pretty neat.  Makes my running seem so...pedestrian :)


Paige, out.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Here and There

Wow, three posts in the span of four days...it's like the old days of blogging, when I'd post every time I batted an eye ;)

It's been pretty cold here the last week or so...I'm talking downright arctic blast.  At least for me; at this point; compared to, like, Southern California.  Or maybe not.  I have no idea what SoCal's weather is currently like :) 

We've resolved to train through the winter, as usual, which means running in friggin' cold temps since the new year.  Good thing I've learned how to dress for the cold.  Except for my hands.  I managed to under-think it yesterday and didn't grab my windproof mittens for our Tuesday Ten and my fingertips were in pain for far too long afterward.  Lesson learned.

Another lesson learned.  A really good running jacket makes the world go round.  Or at least it makes the cold miles fly by.  I went out on a limb and snagged a jacket that cost more than $40, and wasn't on the REI clearance rack :)  I bought the Brooks Inifiniti Jacket.  Me likey.  This isn't a product review; I just love this jacket so much I wanted to share it with the world.  It's pretty thin and very lightweight (no lining), and has really awesome windproof-ness and some waterproof-ness.  I also like that it has what I'm calling 'wrist gaiters'.  I don't know what they're really called, but I love them, and they have thumb holes.  Which I also love, but don't use much since it's buttass cold and I'm wearing gloves anyhow.  Since it's not insulated you do need to layer up underneath, which I am a big fan of.  Layers, that is.  I'm also a big fan of walnuts these days, but that's neither here nor there.

So, if you're in the market for a new winter running jacket, and already are a fan of layering, I recommend this jacket.

Speaking of running, Tuesday Ten was fabulous.  We ran a modified route due to ice and crap covering our usual route, and due to my paralyzing fear of ice.  Our runs are a fair bit slower during times of frozen stuff, but that's okay; it teaches me patience...and how to settle down quickly when my heart rate has spiked through the roof because I merely saw a patch of ice off in the distance.  (Imagine what it's like when I'm actually running through ice.  I get instant hot sweats and my heart pounds ferociously in my chest whilst breathing heavily.  Oooo, even just thinking about it gets my heart pounding!)

In any event, we've been enjoying playing along with 31 Days of Adventures!  It's so simple and fun, nothing crazy, just ways to help you see and exeperience your world a little differently.  If you want to join in, it's not too late!  You can do make-up work :)  Today's adventure is to learn something new.  I'm going to learn how to make mashed cauliflower (like mashed taters, except different :)). 

See, nothing crazy, just fun.  I'm documenting my 31 Adventures on Twitter, so if you want to keep up you can follow me there.  My twitter name (or whatever that is called!) is @paigeruns.  Fitting, no?

I've got a fun little giveaway in the works, so stay tuned for that!  Oooooo, a giveaway!  And it's running related, too :)

Happy First Week of 2012 (aka The Year of Woohoo!)!

Paige, out.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011: You Were Good To Me

I'm a big fan of reflection.  I like glancing back at all things awesome, and I like sharing it here, whether you like it or not :)  It's a new year, so that grants me a brief window of time in which to indulgently reflect on the past year and appreciate all the friggin' amazing things that happened.  

We ran a LOT (for me, anyway), went to some really great places (Moab, Salt Lake, Park City, Denver, Hawai'i, Arizona, Arches National Park), did some cool things (ran slickrock, through slot canyons, through the desert; got married (!!); got to watch our good friends Brian and Kelly become parents for the first time (!!); earned some PRs; took some leaps of faith; paid off debt; earned a pair of Boston qualifying times), made some great new friends, and said yes more than no.  

It was an all around magical, fantasy-sequence kind of year.  If I were to do 2011 all over again I wouldn't change a single thing.  And I can say that with absolute confidence.  That feels awesome.

Instead of recapping some highlights of the year via the written word, I thought I'd take a card from Meghan Hicks' stack and try something a little different...explore the year via photos.  You should read her recap post HERE.  The music, the photography, is beautiful.  Thank you for the inspiration, MH!

So, come, follow me along on a quick journey through the last year :)  Thank you for being a part of it and thank you for reading.  I sincerely appreciate it!

Windburn Six in the Stix...brrrrrr!  Photo: Kelly Gaines

Moab's Red Hot 55k...holy tough course!  Photo: Rob Corson

Horseriders 34 Miler...oh the MUD!  Photo: Kelly Gaines

Crossroads of Indiana Marathon...hello Boston!  Photo: Action Sports Images

Bachelorette Party!!  Photo: Tilly Troelstrup

Ice Age 50...my second favorite PR :)  Photo: Michele Hartwig

We got married!  Photo: Matt Dunmore Photography

Hawai'ian Honeymoon...ooo la la


June was a whole lot of post-wedding and honeymoon rest and getting ready to start Javelina training, and apparently it was a non-photogenic month for us :)

Sunburn Six in the Stix...First Female Overall!  Photo: Kelly Gaines

Palos Hills 32.4 Mile.  Photo: Kelly Gaines


I turned 30!!  And, I discover a love for apricot beer via Pyramid Brewery's Apricot Ale :)

Hiking just above Nederland, Colorado with Julia, Charlie dog, and Geof

My first 50 mile PR of the year (North Face 50 - Madison): 8:35, and a photo with Dean Karnazes.  I'm pretty sure his legs were more shaved than mine that day...

Our second/new 50 Mile PR (Des Plaines River Trail Races): 7:44!  Photo: Bill Thom

My favorite PR of the year: Javelina Jundred: 22:40.  What a day!  Photo: Vens


December was focused on finishing up Mission: 2000, and enjoying the sights and sounds of the season.  We're both suckers for the holiday season :)

Our tree!  Brrr, it was chilly that day, but completely wonderful

Christmas Eve with the Kings!  Photo: Kevin King

And our traditional Elf Yourself skit with Brian and Kelly, and now baby Caleb, too!

But out of all the amazing things I got to do and experience this year, the absolute best thing was this:

Marrying the dude of my dreams :)
Photo: Matt Dunmore Photography

Happy New Year!

Paige, out.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Mission: 2000: Accomplished

I did it!  Two thousand miles, DONE!  Well, 2000.6 to be exact.

I knew it could be done, but the immune systems gods tried their best to keep me down...I hacked and coughed, and blew my nose the majority of the final 22 miles this week, but I made it.  And found that a temporary cure for a head cold comes in the form of running.  Works better than any over-the-counter remedy out there :)

And now I'm going to get all number-y on you :)

Previous highest mileage year: 2010 - 1,341.5
2011: 2000.6 miles (659.1 miles more than 2010, bam!)
Hours running: ~311
Run entries: 244
Average run distance: ~8.2 miles
Average pace for all 244 runs: 9:18 (that's a considerable drop from 2010's average pace of 11:36, yowza!) 
If I ran west from my front door for 2000 miles, I could get to: Bend, Oregon
If I ran east from my front door for 2000 miles, I could get to: Portland, Maine and still have 600+ miles to cover...but Google maps won't let me run across a glacier for some reason, so, Maine it is!
Races: 9
Race mileage: 402.6 (I liked focusing less on racing and more on high quality training...and I think it paid off pretty well.  I plan to do this again in 2012: less racing, more training and loving it.)

It was a highly successful year over here, too, and I'm mostly going to outline the below items for my own personal need to document so that when I'm old I can look back and reminisce about the days of yore...and chuckle and say, "dang, I used to be so slow and lazy when I was younger!" :)  So skip this brag-y part if you like.

Marathon: 3:39 (Crossroads of Indiana)
50k: 5:12 (Ice Age)
50 Mile: 7:44 (Des Plaines River Trail Races)
100 Mile: 22:40 (Javelina Jundred)
Pairs of running shoes in my closet at one time: 12
Number of Honey Stinger Waffles before I thought I'd toss my cookies: 12 (I need to work on this)
Number of falls on the exact same spot on my right knee, drawing good blood: 2
Number of injuries: 0
Number of sissy pains that my awesome ART/chiropractor worked on: 2

And that's a wrap folks!

What a fantastic year 2011 was!  I sincerely look forward to all that 2012 has to offer, and I plan to take advantage of every bit of it...and running better than ever.  It doesn't get much better than running a full year injury free, faster than I have before and farther than I have before...except for being able to repeat that same formula, and then some in the following year :)

So now that I've made you gag with this post, I'm simultaneously working on a different sort of 2011 wrap-up post, with pictures this time :)

I honestly wish you all the best in the new year, and I hope that you find and/or continue to cultivate your Serious Case of the Runs.  We are a lucky folk who find joy in running.  Now get off your computer/phone/tablet/whatever you're reading this from and go for a RUN!!

Paige, out.

2012...I'm comin' fah YOU!
Photo credit: K. Troelstrup

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