Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Well, it's been a long time

Yup, it's been a long time since I posted anything on this blog. . . .there are 2 main reasons for that. The first being that I don't currently have Internet in my house right now and the second being that I have taken a hiatus from running and am getting back into it just now. After the DNF at CCC100, which was hard to swallow and perhaps a turning point in learning about myself and running and the value of both, I was determined to finish Pine to Palm. I didn't care how long it took me. I didn't care what I had to do to finish but just wanted to finish to get my confidence back. It had been such an unsatisfying year as far as running goes and I didn't want to end on a DNF.

So Owen, John and I drove down to Williams and did the P2P. I finished, despite lots of vomiting and really bad weather, rain and wind. But, I did it and I was ready to take time off and let my running issues heal and take a mental break from hitting my head against a wall.
A few months went by and I started to get the itch to run again. In the interim, I did lots of swimming, yoga, pilates, eating, cooking, hanging out with Struth and reading, relaxing, putting my feet up. Also, had a beautiful trip to the Enchantments!

Now I am back at it and refreshed mentally and physically. I'm actually excited about running again and don't feel too much pain in that nagging leg. I still have to stop once on most runs, but it goes away and generally, doesn't come back for the rest of the run. How peaceful, how delightful, oh how I missed running without pain!
I ran the Ghost of Seattle Marathon 50k at the end of November and felt pretty good. I hadn't run that far since the P2p. I went about a mile out of my way and had a slow start, but managed to squeak by just under 4:50. It was after that run that I was itching to get back out there and run. So since then, I've been putting in some miles and even though most of those miles have been in the dark and the rain, they have been fantastic. Fantastic! Next up is Bridle Trails 50k. I've never done that run and am looking forward to a muddy run. So, as the end of 2010 is approaching, and quite quickly, I close the year with many lessons learned. As the saying goes, patience is a virtue, I truly believe this.
In the meantime, Happy Holidays from Struth and me!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rollin' with the Punches

As I was gearing up for Cascade Crest, which is in less than a week, Owen, John and I did an out and back on the Wonderland Trail. It was awesome! I can hardly wait to do the whole thing. Whenever I am at or on Mt. Rainier, I really feel like I have gone somewhere magical. It's such an amazing place. We were traveling through clouds and sun, snow and rocky shale, sledded down on our bums on the snow in places and saw a mama bear, her cub, a mountain goat and a bunch of marmots.
It seemed like the perfect run post White River and pre CCC100. I was feeling like with all the challenges I have had this year with my leg, I have finally accepted the fact the year with regards to running was not as I hoped it to be, but that I had learned a lot of things about myself, what drives me, how to stay inspired and how to feel the love for running again.
The following Wednesday, just over a week ago, Owen and I take the dogs to Cougar Mt to run an hour or so just to enjoy one of the remaining summer nights at Cougar. I was feeling pretty good, had to stop a few times at the start again, but was feeling pretty good. As we rounded a corner with a few miles to go, Ella turns around and runs towards me and BAM, right into my knee. Ella has a huge head, she is part pit bull and weighs about 65lbs. The impact sent immediate pain up and down my leg. I stopped, sweared and bent over in pain. I could not put any pressure on it for at least 10 minutes. I could not believe my (bad) luck. When I felt I could put pressure on it, I hobbled back to the car. When I got home, I iced it and put Traumeel on it. I have been doing this ever since. Initially, I thought that it was just a funny bone type thing but after I tried to run the next day, I realized that the damage was much more than I had anticipated. I have been to ART therapy a few times and now the swelling has gone down and I can squat without pain. I did not run for a whole week, instead I went swimming and rested, which was not easy. I tried to run last Friday. I went 4 miles and I can honestly say that if Cascade Crest was this weekend, I would not have started. There is no way I could have run 100 miles with that level of discomfort. I worry that if I do it, I will cause more damage to myself. It's a hard thing to decide. I still have a few days to decide what to do which I will measure by trying to run a bit either every day or every other day. I'm about to go out now for a run and I am hoping for the best. As I am processing the possibility that I may not be able to do CCC100, I am realizing that this year is really trying to teach me patience, acceptance among many other things. With this time off, I've experienced a lot of emotions but ultimately, I have come to the conclusion that this setback is a personal disappointment and in the grand scheme of things, I try not to let that disappointment get to far out of balance with the other things that are important to me. Ultimately, you win some and you loss some, that is life. Right?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Suffer-Fest 2010, A.K.A White River 50 miler

I've attempted White River 3 times. The first time I was successful. The second time, just last year, I had a DNF at Fawn Ridge, mile 31, on account of breathing issues and my third attempt was just this past Saturday. Last year I was disappointed with not finishing the run and have since addressed what caused the breathing issues. Initially, it seemed like I had asthma. However, after numerous Dr.'s appointments and tests, the diagnosis was Vocal Chord Disorder. Yup, my vocal chords were inflamed and out of sync making it hard to get air. I've been on medication and to speech therapy to help me breath during symptomatic times. That being said, my biggest concern with going to WR this year was the pinched nerve in my leg, not breathing. I thought the pinched nerve would effect my run but just how much I wasn't sure. I was prepared to go, have fun and have no time goals, just enjoy myself. It seemed a few of my friends have been experiencing a wan in enthusiasm for their sport and so it was nice to commiserate with them about that. I was excited to just go out to such a beautiful course, see some friends and run on the trails.

Right before start time, I decided that I would run for about 5 minutes to see if I could induce the pain that comes in the first 3 minutes of my runs. But after 5 or minutes, that pain didn't come. I thought I might be lucky at the start so I lined up with all the others and got ready to go. It was great to see everyone at the start. There is something special about WR I think. Since it is USTF National Championships, lots of people come out to run and some compete for the prize money.

Off we went at 6:30 AM, running on the dirt road to the single track. After a few minutes, I was walking. No problem, I thought it might happen, no big deal. Once I recovered from that, which didn't take too long, I was running again. I was a bit behind on the single track and found myself trying to pass people and get into a groove. I was feeling pretty good up the first climb to Noble Knob, chatting a bit with some people and getting into a good pace for me. I got past Ranger Creek and was headed for Corral Pass, mile 17. I love this out and back because it's the only out and back. I got to see the elites zooming past me, it is so impressive! I got to see Owen on the out and back and he looked good. I had caught up to Ronda and it was nice to see her and chat with her, it seemed like she was having a good day. At the turn around at Corral Pass, I was feeling pretty good for the next couple of miles. Then I noticed that my breathing was starting to act up and it seemed more difficult to get air. I slowed down and practiced my breathing techniques I learned. I was struggling a bit but thought that soon enough a downhill would be coming and I could recover. When that downhill came, I just focused on breathing and letting gravity take me down the switchbacks leading back to Buck Creek. Once I hit the flat ground, my breathing got bad again. So I walked and breathed, walked and breathed. I got to the half way point, well mile 27 or so, and fueled up. I headed back out to the SunTop trail head. Last year this is where my breathing really became an issue. I decided to just slow it down and concentrate on breathing. I reached the trail head to the climb to SunTop and from here on out, White River became a suffer-fest. I could not get my breathing back, I slowed down, stopped on and off, drank, ate, took salt tabs, etc. It didn't matter if I walked slow, walked fast, stopped, ran, I just could not get it together to breath well. As I approached Fawn Ridge, I actually stopped before the aid station to get calmed down. Laura Houston was there and remembered what had happened last year and was happy to see I was in better form. I said yes.....I am glad too....

I continued up to SunTop and was just miserable. I knew I was dehydrated b/c I had not peed yet. I was wondering how I could be dehydrated as I was drinking lots and taking salt tabs. I was actually drinking Succeed from one of my bottles, which I never do, I usually only drink water. I thought, if I can just make it to SunTop, I have another downhill and I can recover and let gravity take me down. I did make it up, what a relief. I fueled there and headed down to Skookum Flats. I was a balance between discouraged and determined. I couldn't give discouraged too much power as I had gone into the run without expectation for myself except to finish. I was determined to finish as I did not last year. I tried not to focus on the fact that I wasn't having a good run and focus on the fact that I WAS running....and be lucky for that. As I ran down the logging road, I knew I would finish and was hoping my breathing issues would subside. However, once the road flattened out, I was in trouble again. Ronda came flying past me, she looked great. Once I got the the last aid station, I was pretty wrecked. Eric Sach dowsed me with some water and sent me on my way. The last 6 miles were absolutely dreadful. I could not breath well at all and my leg acting up. I kept focusing on the fact that each step, no matter if it was walked or run, was a step closer to the finish and I would eventually make it. FINALLY, I saw the road. I came out from the trail and the finish was right around the corner. I don't think I have ever been so relieved to see a finish line before. I squeaked in at 9:57, 41 minutes faster than my first attempt. I was thankful that Owen was there at the finish line, he and Leslie calmed me down and I got my breath back. I couldn't figure out if I was being stupid, stubborn, tenacious or ????? In retrospect, all that doesn't seem to matter. It's funny how less than 24 hours later I can forget about the problems I had and feel good about the finish. I am very happy with a finish, happy to have gone under 10 hours, happy to have gotten 9th place and happy it is over! Also, the next time I struggle like that, I will remember's was a good learning experience. Congratulations to everyone for running WR, it's not an easy course, but it is beautiful and satisfying. Results and photos here:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Best Birthday Cake...EVER!

My 2-tiered snow cake was the best birthday cake ever! A Mt Rainier backdrop.....a very thoughtful Owen and miles and miles of running around and up Mt Rainier made for an amazing birthday. More to come.....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Another Birthday and other ramblings

Well, it's that time again. No, I am not turning 4 but I am in my 4th decade. 4 is my lucky number so I am optimistic about this decade. I really wanted to do something EPIC for my birthday. When Owen asked me what I wanted to do I said, "I want to run the Wonderland Trail! In 2 days! Unsupported! We can do it!" He was not as optimistic about it at first but then he changed his tune and got on board with lots of enthusiasm. The Wonderland Trail is the 95 mile trail that circumnavigates Mt. Rainer. It has lots of elevations gain with from what I've seen, amazing scenery. We would run from Mowich Lake to Longmire, 60 miles, the first day, stay at Longmire that night and then finish the remaining 35 miles the next day. Of course we would do it supported, but I don't know anyone who would be a support crew for us, so unsupported it had to be. We got maps, did research, bought fast packs and trekking poles, talked to Brock who has done this before and got very excited. However, as we did more research and given the cool weather that we had, and with the 2 of us not having much experience with mountain navigation in the snow, it slowly and sadly became apparent that it is unrealistic that we could do this in 2 days and do this without serious risk. There is just too much snow. Ice axes are recommended in some areas, etc. So, the Wonderland Trail is going to have to wait. It's disappointing, but I know that I will do it someday and someday soon. We are instead going to do a recognisance mission and continue the research to do the Wonderland Trail and do it wisely. It'll still be fun and we will find epic things to do on the mountain, how can you not?

Other than the fact that the snow conditions are preventing us from running the Wonderland, I was wondering if it was the smartest thing I've ever thought about doing as I also have 2 100-milers coming up and I have had what I am calling a bum leg since January. I could not figure out what was going on with this leg issue and why it was not getting any better despite rest, PT, ART, strength training, etc. Most times I can run only 3 minutes and then have to walk for a while. Sometimes after I walk for a while I still cannot run without severe pain and burning in my quad, wrapping around my leg to the bottom of my foot. This is a problem that won't go away. YET....I still run, I still am doing races and I still just run in this pain. It's weird. Sometimes I am reduced to limping, sometimes the pain goes away after some time and I can run for several hours. If I take too long of a break, then the pain resurfaces and I have to go through all of that again. However, I have had some success at some of the runs I have done. Watershed 12 hour went just fine. For the 2 weeks leading up to Watershed, I could not run more that 3 minutes at a time. I thought I would not even go b/c I was continuing to get more and more discouraged with not being able to run yet really wanting to, and badly. But thanks to Gwen and Natasha, they told me to go and run for as long as I could and have fun with it. So I went and amazingly, was able to run the whole time with minimal pain and ran 66.6 miles. What's up with that? Van yelled out "SANDBAGGER" as I accepted my 1st place women's award. I am sure it must have seemed like that, how cold I possibly have done that? I was wondering myself. I was in some pain the following week, no doubt. I continue to struggle running, especially uphill fast walking/running, yet when I can run mostly pain free, being out there is worth it. I've been though quite a bit of emotion through this whole process. I've felt disappointed, exhausted, mad at the pain, frustrated I couldn't keep up with people I used to be able to, thought about quitting, etc. As it turns out, I have a pinched nerve and now it makes sense. No wonder it hurts, no wonder that the continual pain makes me frustrated and cranky. No wonder I can't go up hills well, my nerve is not firing to my muscle to tell it to move. I sometimes feel my body cannot be supported by my leg stepping up. So, oddly, I feel a bit better. At least mentally. It is getting better, the pain stops now at the calf, meaning that it is indeed on the mend. It won't be better in time for White River 50, Cascade Crest 100 or Pine to Palm 100, but I have more confidence that I can now at least finish those events with this leg thing going on, it'll just have to be at a slower pace. I don' t feel I can really "race" anything b/c once my leg gets moving beyond a slow pace, the pain creeps in. This process had taught me a lot of lessons. I won't go into the all, but I will say that it's almost like I have come full circle with regards to running and have gotten back to my roots meaning that I run because I love it, because I have a passion for it, because I like to stay fit and run with my dog in the woods. All the other things that swirled in my head with regards to running took up space and energy in my mind that really bogged me down. It's almost like I've renewed my vows with running and the adjustment, although slow going and full of hard lessons, has been healthy and worth it. Someday this nerve will heal and when it does I am going to celebrate. My first run with no nerve pain and no stopping because of it will be something to remember!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I ran 104 miles at Pac-Rim AND I met Gary Hall Jr.

This year I decided to do something different than Chuckanut 50k. I love Chuckanut 50k, but it fell on the same weekend as another event I hadn't tried before so I went with Pac-Rim 24 hour run. When I signed up, I was thoughtlessly excited because I just know I have a strong passion for running and for running long distances. However, recently, I really feel like I have lost my mojo for racing/running. I can't really explain it here, but suffice it to say, I'm low on the mojo right now. Owen and I went on his family's ski trip a few days before the run and I had such a great time. I felt like I didn't have a care in the world. It was sunny, the snow was great in the afternoon's, it was the first time Owen and I had skied together and his family is incredibly fun and generous. I didn't think about work, running and all the other stresses that usually bog me down. We skied 2 full days at White Pass and then headed back to Seattle Friday. We got home, went to the store, did a load of laundry and it was 10:30 pm. Time for bed because 4:44 am comes early, especially when there is a big day ahead of you. And yes, I really set the alarm for 4:44 because 4 is my lucky number.
The alarm went off, the car got packed and off we went to Longview, Wa to run 24 hours around a 1 mile gravel loop. I couldn't help to think to myself, am I really prepared physically, mentally and emotionally to run 100 miles? I felt so different before Cascade Crest 100 and to compare the two just seemed like comparing apples with oranges. 1) I was having leg pain and wondering if I would make it 24 hours/100 miles; 2) was I prepared to run in a 1 mile circle for that long? 3) it's FLAT, I love hills! and 4) WHERE'S MY MOJO!
We arrived. We set up out little area that we would pass by loop after loop. It was literally a small area compared to other runners who had "changing rooms" or as most people know them by; tents. My plan was, don't get injured, try for 100 miles and don't go much further, keep my eye on the prize, (my "A" race later this year), as John Novak would say. This was my plan, not very specific or well thought out, but with some obvious goals. At 9 AM, we were off. For the first 4 hours, it was ok. The loop was pretty, it was fun to see people, my leg pain was manageable and I was running with one of my favorite people, Owen. We hit 26 miles at 4:25 and 50 miles at 9:08. We hit 100k at about 12 hours and it was dark by then. I was getting really bored of running the same loop and I couldn't imagine doing it for another 12 hours. We adapted a system of walking patterns based on what Eric and Steve told us and just moved right along. By mile 70 or so, my body was in so much pain. My leg was the least of my feet were on fire and my shins were so aggravated. By mile 75, I was reduced to walking, hobbling, wincing, and overall, not enjoying myself and wondering...why am I doing this? However, from my few years of ultra-running, one of thing that I have learned is; if I don't reach a point where I feel like crumbling, then I'm probably not trying my best. However, when it's happening, it's sometimes hard for me to remember this. After a few more miles and this time with more walking that running, I thought I had maybe actually done some damage to my right foot and was wondering if I should continue or not. I thought about some of the times I had felt this way, like Carkeek 12 hour and Watershed 12 hour and really questioned myself. I was bummed. I didn't want to stop, yet I was really in a lot of pain. I thought, well, maybe I could walk the last 30 miles and still get 100 miles and accomplish a goal. But I didn't know if I had the staying power to do that, walk for 30 miles around a 1 mile loop in the dark and get cold and miserable. What's a girl to do? Owen was giving me good advise....and I was trying to follow it but my mind was all over the place and I felt somewhat emotional. So, I decided to walk until something better presented itself and this is where Owen and I separated for a while. He ran, I walked; he felt good, I did not. Then a few miles later, I could run and I felt good and although he was running, he did not feel good. You just never know what will happen. We caught up with each other and ran for a few more miles together and then separated again. From mile 80-something until 100, I ran alone. I looked at my watch at mile 92 and it read 19:10. If I could tun the last 8 miles at a pretty good "ultra" clip for me, I could break 21 hours. I could hardly believe it because not that long ago, I was hobbling and walking and really at a low point. It just goes to show that anything, and I mean anything, can happen when you are out there that long. So indeed, I finished 100 miles in 20 hours and 40 minutes. Whoa, I could hardly believe the journey I had been on and was so jacked up with endorphins that it hadn't really kicked in. My plan was to slow down and walk a few laps and call it good. As I started to walk, I realized just how much my body hurt. My leg, my feet, my shins, my hip-flexors, I was so cold and I thought, just walk....just walk..... and then figure out a game plan. As I looped around for lap 104, Owen was just finishing loop 100. He was excited yet completely physically about to shut down. It was time to go and get him situated. I did not need to do anymore loops, we still had 90 minutes to go to finish the 24 hours but clearly, that 90 minutes would not have benefited Owen or myself. So we called it good.
We drove back to Seattle and that was hard too, I was so tired. I had to stop at a rest area to sleep for 30 minutes and then make 2 more stops just to stretch. We still had to pick up the dogs from their second homes and go to the store and who knows what else we did, it was a blur. But we made it back all in one piece, even it that piece was frayed.
I went to work on Monday and walked like Frankenstein. I looked terribly tired. I made it through the day and then again today, I made it through the day. My feet are still wrecked. I decided to go to the pool to swim and loosen up. I grew up swimming competitively and although I don't swim that much anymore, I still have quite a passion for it and follow it. It was random that I went to THAT pool and THAT time. When I got there, I realized I was sharing the pool with former Olympic swimmer Gary Hall Jr! I have never shook hands with an Olympic athlete let alone a swimmer, so it was really amazing that I had that chance. When I initially saw him, I approached him and told him that I enjoyed watching him race and we didn't say too much. Then I got in the pool and swam and he was in the lane next to me...what a thrill to watch! I got out and then HE approached ME and said, "are you the one that ran 104 miles?" and I said, "yes, how did you know?" He said that he overheard my friends talking about it. Oh....I was sort of flabbergasted that he approached Olympic swimmer! The he said congratulations, that is impressive, I could never do that. I said something like, well, I could never be an Olympic swimmer like you, the chances of someone becoming and Olympic gold medalist is quite rare. Humbly, he said, 'every one's got their thing.' was really a cool experience!
I am really glad that I ran the 104 miles and completed my second 100 mile run. I will be even more glad when I find the rest of my mojo. If anyone has seen it, let me know, I'd like to see it again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Good Music=Good Training

This morning I got up after almost 9 hours of sleep, a LUXARY to sleep that long I might add, with the plan to go for what I like to call my 4 mile dog walk loop run. Essentially, it is a 4 mile jaunt with Struth to get him out and get my legs moving. It's all about him on these days, he gets to stop and smell, pee where he wants, take short breaks, etc. It's different from him coming along on my ride which entails a longer harder run with minimal pee breaks for him. I was feeling tired and unmotivated so I just put one task in front of the other and the next thing you know, I have laced up my new Mizuno's, put on my running clothes, iPOD and have Struth leashed up so we are ready to go. The first 5 blocks are what I like to call misery. Oh my aching legs......and I just hope that I get loosened up. Well, after some short stops for Struth and a few more blocks, I start to feel better. The sun is coming up, I have new running shoes on and I had downloaded some new songs on my iPOD. iTunes is great. It's great because there are songs that I used to like to hear on the radio but never bought the CD because there was only like one song that I liked. Now, I can buy all those cheesy songs and download them on my iPOD and reminisce about all those times I sung at the top of my lungs or danced alone on my apartment. So, I'm feeling better and better with each block that goes by and getting into my music. When the time comes to turn left for the 4 mile loop or go straight for the longer loop, "Pump up the Jam" came on my iPOD, please, don't judge, you know you would bounce your feet to this song if you couldn't get your booty on the dance floor. So, all of a sudden, I decide to go straight and got for the long loop. I sure had a bounce in my step. I go through "Pump up that Jam" and then the best rendition of Rod Stewart's "If You Think I'm Sexy" comes on by the Revolting Cocks. This song always make me laugh. Then a few more songs come on, some Salt N Peppa, some Right Said Fred and now I am running really fast, (or so it feels like it, but probably not), and Struth is lagging behind a little bit. I am having a great run even when I hit the uphill slog on 10th. I run up 10th and next thing you know I am cruising down 11th past the Broadway Playfields and across Madison through the Seattle University campus and home again. I made it in record time. When I got into my house, "Pump Up the Jam" had made it's way back into the shuffle and I didn't want to waste the rest of the song so Struth and I shook our booty's, (ok, well, maybe he didn't) until the song was over. Then it was back to reality and I had to get ready for work. What a drag, I was having so much fun. Next time you feel like all your training is same old same old, put some new songs on your iPOD and have yourself a good fast time.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bandera 100k

Well, Bandera 100k has come and gone and I am glad to have finished and earned a belt buckle. Bandera is about 45 miles NW of San Antonio. The race takes place at Hill Country Natural State Area, literally, that is what it is called. It's like a big park with lots and lots of rocks, sotol and cacti. Texas has no mountains and so this course could be very run-able if it weren't so rocky. The climbs were short and rocky and sometimes in succession. The rocky downhills were at times tough to maneuver so it wasn't like I could just blast out a fun downhill. I notice I keep saying "rocky" but really, that is what it was!
I got up the morning of the race at 4:15 and got ready to leave by 5:15 to get to the race by 6:30. My parents had made the trip down to visit with my brother and his family who live in San Antonio and to support me in the 100k. We figured, as did my brother, that it would take 60 minutes to get to the start line, 75 minutes at the most. I had not picked up my race packet yet so I was comfortable getting there at 6:30 to get things ready by the 7:30 start time. As we were driving to the start, the car thermometer said 10*! OMG. 10*F! Now, I knew it would be cold, but I thought it would be at least over 20*.
My dad had ample directions, 2 sets. However, we still got lost by following the map quest directions and eventually found our way with the back up set. My dad was driving really fast as it seemed like getting there on time was in jeopardy. Well, we got to the race with few minutes to spare and the car thermometer still read 10*. I jumped out of the car and ran to the tent to pick up my race packet. There were 3 different races going on, 25k, 50k and 100k. So, it was a bit crazy and I was also pretty stressed because we had arrived just minutes before the start and I had a few things to do still. I got my number, put it on, checked in, (different then just picking up race packet at 7:27, 3 minutes before the start). I had to get my drop bags in the right place, I put my parents to that task while I put on my camel back and frantically found an official to tell me where the start was. He pointed me in a certain direction and said "go up that hill and you will see all the people up there ready to start". Apparently, I was not clear as to which race I was talking about because by the time I got up there, someone noticed the color of my number and told me that the 100k start was "over there", pointed back down the hill and then mentioned that it had already started. OMG. So, I ran down the hill dodging people as I went and ran to the start line and then past the start line to begin the race. I think I was about 10 minutes behind. I was so flustered that I didn't really mind the weather. In the first 3 minutes I fell. It was at this point that I had to reevaluate my race strategy and take some deep breaths and try to enjoy myself. It took me about 1 hour to pass a bunch of people so that by the time I got to the first aid station I thought maybe I had made my way to the middle of the pack, but I had no idea. I simply had no idea how many people actually started the race or where I was in the midst of the runners. I was happy to get to the first aid station because my camelback tube was frozen and I was not able to to get any water. I drank some at the AS and checked to see if I had left any real estate on the trail when I fell. I had, and I had some bloody legs from all the sotol I came into contact with....not as bad as cacti, but prickly enough to make me bleed. I'd take that, though, over the poison oak at Miwok. By the time I got to the second aid station, about mile 10, I was able to drink from my camelback. I had put the tube in my under arm to thaw it out. It works!
My parents were at the first 3 aid stations and then headed back to my brothers place in San Antonio. I kept running and it was warming up, I could take my gloves and hat off and my camelback was working just fine. I ran a bit with 3 guys from Texas for about 20 minutes and then we separated. After that, I did not see anyone but the people at the aid station for about 7 hours. Also after that, my asthma starting kicking in and I had to slow down to catch my breath periodically.
At the half way point, after the first of 2 loops, I was feeling ok. I had come in at the 50k mark just under 5:40 and thought I could break 12 hours even if I ran the second half in 6 hours. As I started the second loop, my asthma went off the charts. I had to walk and walk and walk. I would run a bit, walk more, run a bit, walk more, use inhaler, repeat...repeat....
Again, I realized I had to reevaluate my goals. I did not want a DNF like White River or wind up in the Med Tent like Seattle Marathon because I didn't use common sense with regards to the asthma. So, I ran when I could, walked when I had to until I finished.
With 10 miles to go, I saw my brother with my parents and he was suited up to run. He and I ran together the last 10 miles and he did great. He is a road runner and so running some of the very rocky trails at Bandera in the dark I thought might be dangerous, I did not want him to hurt himself. I told him this but he really wanted to run and so we were off. We ran to the next aid station as the sun set and then ran the last 5 miles in the dark dark. He was great and I was so glad to have him there. I was a rough day so his company was appreciated.
I was so happy to see the finish line, I mean, really happy. I finally finished in 12 :15. I can't really complain about that considering the day I had. It was more of a mental victory than a physical one.
I have to remember to be grateful for the ability to run and follow my passion for running. However, suffice it to say that although I am glad to have another 100k under my belt, I would not do this race again. Nothing against the race director or the volunteers or the other runners, they were all fantastic. Joe seemed like such a nice guy and he clearly can put on a well organised race. The AS volunteers were so helpful and kind and the runners that I did come into contact with were all very open. It's the terrain that I didn't enjoy and all the outside factors that came into play that whole day did not sweeten the deal. But if you like that kind of terrain, I bet you'd enjoy it!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It's so weird to write 2010

It is just too weird to write a whole different year on my checks, at work, or just SEE IT and realize, DAMN! It's a whole other decade, again!
Last year was quite a year for me. Lots of really great things happened. It's too much to sum up in a blog and probably too boring for anyone to I'll just skip most of the
details and focus on running, which is what this blog is really about anyway; running with 4 Muddy Paws!
Last year in running for me was very busy and very satisfying. I started counting the races I did last year and came up with 13 races. I am counting the unfortunate DNF at White River. As the year progressed I was pleasantly surprised at how much I was able to run and pleasantly surprised that I did not burn out. There were some bumps in the road mostly due to undiagnosed and untreated asthma which lead to by DNF at White River and my very unpleasant trip to the med tent at the Seattle Marathon at the finish. I was determined to finish that marathon and ultimately realized maybe I should have reconsidered that goal due to the consequences of running with asthma. Nevertheless, the highlights of 2009 are running my first 100 miler and pacing at another 100 miler and getting some PR's. But when all was said and done with all the ups and downs, what I am most looking forward to in 2010 is not just doing some races but doing some epic runs such as the Wonderland Trail, the Grand Canyon and Mt. St. Helens. I have realized that being in shape to run a long ways does not always equate to which race I could do but instead appreciating my fitness and running for the pleasure of running through the mountains, around the mountains and with good friends.
I'm starting off the year running Bandera 100k in Bandera, Tx. I'm looking forward to it and my brother might even run the last 5 miles with me. He is worried he won't be able to keep up. I assured him that after 55+ miles, he can surely keep up. I'm excited to start the year, the DECADE, running in an entirely new place. Who knows how many ultras I have in me, gotta make these count on all levels.