Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy December!

December has been kinda rough.. I can't seem to shake this darn cold! I'm not very smart though, as soon as I start feeling just a little bit better I go out and do a 65 mile week instead of resting and kicking it for good. Which catapults me right back to feeling bad and I repeat the cycle again. It's amazing how many people have the same malaise.. it seems to be a bad year for getting sick. Of course drinking many beers and staying out till the wee hours of the morning this weekend didn't help either!
This week is slated to be in the single digits and below and I'm starting to panic just a bit with Rocky being only 8 weeks away, and not being able to put in the mileage I had planned on. I'm going to join a gym tonight so I can at least get on a dreadmill and do SOME work without destroying my lungs in frigid temps.

I still have 2 kittens and a mama cat (now fixed) to give away... anyone? anyone?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

aw jeez..

OK, so I had a big ol' race report pretty much done for Dude, Where's the Trail 50K that I ran a few weeks ago, and somehow I lost it.. how? I have no idea since Blogger autosaves, but it's nowhere to be found. I've spent the last week thinking I'd re-write it, but honestly I can't be bothered. A quick recap: This was truly my first DNF.. (I don't really count the one at Rock Creek when I got lost and ended up doing many more miles then the race was), I have a million excuses for dropping out at about 14/15 miles but it came down to "just not feeling it". It was our first cold snowy day of the year and I was running in a group with Debbie, Raul & Mike. As it got colder and wetter and we kinda lost the trail a few times, we made the mistake of discussing how good a margarita would taste.. that was the beginning of the end. Both Debbie and Mike were injured and my right knee had been feeling cranky since Nathaniel's run, so the 4 of us simply bagged it, caught a ride back to the start, and went off in search of the perfect margarita. I could have pushed though, and finished, probably with a lot of walking, but I just didn't want to... I guess I wasn't yet recovered from the 50+miles the weekend before.
So the 4 of us spent a very, very lovely afternoon drinking, eating and talking our heads off, it truly was a fabulous afternoon and we were all very glad to be inside! Sometimes cementing friendships is more important than anything else.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Random Uselessness

So I had brussels sprouts on Thanksgiving.. and I liked 'em!! This, my friends, is huge. Brussels sprouts used to be my most hated of hated veggies (and I HATED veggies!), my parents used to make me sit at the table until I finished all the greenery on my plate and if I didn't finish them then I got the same darn veggies for breakfast, lunch, dinner.. until I finally ate them. Brussels sprouts however were the vegetable that I would end up either starving for 3 days or grounded over, because I flat out refused to eat them.
All that changed on Thursday, my wonderful friend Venus made a very tasty (vegan) veggie dish with brussels sprouts, and for the first time in my life I willingly put one in my mouth.. and now I find myself thinking I will stop at the grocery store tonight and pick a peck of sprouts to have for dinner. (They are very high in Vitamin A, C, folic acid & fibre).
Yay! This has been your nonsense blog post of the day!

( I also always thought that it was brussel sprouts but according to both Wikipedia and my spell check it is brussellS sprouts... who knew?)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my wonderful friends, both real and "imaginary"! I hope every one's day is filled with their favorite foods and favorite people. Even though the economy and outlook seem to be so dire right now, I have no doubt that we all can get through this. There is always hope in this world and I remain hopeful that we will ALL come out of this better than we went in. And I'm not necessarily talking monetary-wise.. this is a good time for all of us to start practicing more compassion, love and selflessness towards our neighbors. If we can all reach out a helping hand to just one person on a regular basis, even in just a small way, we can start to change the world.
I have been reading the book "Universal Compassion" by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and it's about developing unconditional love and compassion for all human beings. The phrase that resonated with me is the idea that "just as I want happiness for myself, so does everyone else. Therefore I must work as hard for their happiness as I do for my own". Not a bad thing to keep in mind and in practice.
I thank all my friends for their compassion, love and encouragement that they show me. You brighten my days with every post, email and in person hug. Enjoy your day!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Nathaniel's 6/12/24 hour run Nov 21 08

"The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep".
I'm not sure a 12 hour night race through the woods is what Robert Frost had in mind when he penned those words but they seemed pretty appropriate to me throughout the night. Nathaniel's Run started at 6 pm on Friday night.. I chose to run the 12 hour option although with temps in the 20's, maybe the 6 hour was the smarter choice! When I got to the Prairie Center where the race was being held, I found a good close parking spot.. where I could access my car trunk just meters from the course. Since I was self crewing, this was very important!
I checked in, got my handmade number, t-shirt and a certificate/thank you from Nathaniel himself. Nathaniel is the race director's nephew, he is 6 (I think) and he has cerebral palsy. The first year Nathaniel's Run was held, it was fund raiser for Nathaniel's family, and in subsequent years it has been to benefit other help programs. This year it was for Heartspring, a center for kids with special needs. The laminated certificate is complete with a handprint from Nathaniel and it is.. hands down, the coolest race item I have gotten! I got my stuff laid out and tried to keep warm with a big puffy jacket and lots of hugs from friends. There was a quick pre-race meeting which Nathaniel himself was at (all bundled up and adorable) and then we were off.. Kyle a fellow Trail Nerd led us all on the first lap as he threw down glow sticks to double mark some of the turns. The course was well marked with flagging and signs but the glow sticks came in handy as the evening progressed and weariness set in.
Our group consisted of Debbie, Deb, Laurie and I for the first 20 miles with others joining in and leaving us periodically. We stuck together and in typical Nerd fashion told jokes, stories, teased each other and farted a lot. The course was a pretty easy 3.35 mile loop and was mowed grassy areas, gravel roads, and wooded sections with multiple stream crossings. Luckily all but 1 of the crossings could be jumped, but one of them was way too wide to jump, so about the time my feet were dry, it was time to get 'em wet again! Surprisingly, my feet are in fine shape with no blisters!! I did something right.. I'm just not sure what it was!
About 3.5 hours into the evening, my husband showed up and walked a lap with me, it was really cool to be able to share my race with him. He said it was fun, but not fun enough to do it for 12 hours (darn, I keep trying to convert him!).
After he left I was on my own for the rest of the night, Deb, Debbie and Laurie were just doing the 6 hour race. It was a darn cold evening, and the wind & cold were the worst on the front side of the course, standing at my car, and for the first mile or so, it was colder than snot.. after that the course drops down and is less exposed and I was able to warm up with no problem. I really liked the short loops for the ease of aid.. some loops I carried water & food and some I did not.. and having ALL my stuff every 3 miles was almost too much, I spent way too much time trying to decide what to eat and what to take with me.. too many choices! At midnight Bobbi (a fellow Nerd) showed up to do the lap counting and she brought the BEST hot veggie soup.. it was completely spot hitting.. warmed me up and gave me a huge jolt of energy. It was the perfect timing as I was getting pretty darn chilled and tired of fruit.
I was really enjoying running along in the woods in the dark with my iPod on, at times the world narrowed to only the circle of light from my headlamp and the music pounding in my ears and at other times my thoughts drowned out the music. After the 6 hour runners finished the woods became eerily still, I would go loop after loop without seeing anyone, and then boom.. either another light would show up over my shoulder or I would spot a glow ahead of me. Everyone seemed to be in the same solitary mood, a few words were exchanged here and there but everyone seemed content to be running alone. The most human interaction I had for about 7 hours were the lap counters, they were cheerful and encouraging even though I'm sure they were freezing!! At one point I came upon Gary Henry (of fame) as he was eyeing the stream crossing with reluctance, he asked me to carry him across... let's just say Gary is not a fan of getting his feet wet!
As with all long runs, I had a few ups and downs.. but overall I felt remarkably good. I was peeing on almost every lap and my energy was pretty consistent. At one point I broke down and had a vegan peanut butter & chocolate chip cookie.. full of fat & sugar.. all stuff I normally avoid, but it was the best thing EVER and I ran a couple of great loops on it, I also imbibed some coffee.. caffeine is something else I avoid, but man, it was GREAT. I guess it's true what they say.. you'll try anything to get you through the long races (well, almost anything.. still no animals!)

It was a completely enjoyable race, I took it slow since I didn't really have a specific mileage goal in mind other than somewhere between 40-60 miles. I didn't want to wipe myself out and have to take off a bunch of time afterwards so I just took it easy and slowed down when I felt like it. I was very pleased with my nutrition, I was mixing coconut water and plain water in my bottles to give me some extra calories and I was very satisfied with how that worked. My headlamp is great except for wearing it for 12 hours gave me a huge welt on my forehead! I was even wearing a hat under it.. I'm going to try some moleskin on the backside and see if that helps. The light has 2 settings on it and I really liked switching between the 2.. it gave my eyes a rest when they got tired. On the backside of the course there was a long, grassy hill with real easy footing and I would turn off my headlamp while I was going up it.. the stars were amazing and there was just a small sliver of a moon. I could tell when I was reaching the top of the hill because the footing got a bit rocky and I would turn the light back on so as not to miss my turn at the top.
I ended the 12 hours with 53.7 miles... good enough.. and it made me very happy that I finished in good spirits and feeling pretty good. I was however very glad I was not doing the 24 hours! I went home and crawled in bed with the husband and slept for a few hours then got up and was surprised at how relatively not sore I was. The right knee needed some icing and arnica.. I'm not sure what that was about.. I didn't fall or anything, so it's something to keep an eye on. Spent Saturday napping and lazing around the house and finally fell asleep for good at about 9 pm, and slept like the dead.
Today I went for a 4.5 mile hike with the husband and dog and did a few small bits of easy running.. my legs were tight and sore! I'm hoping to be able to still get in a long run this weekend, but we'll see.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I've been so lax on blogging lately.. life has been so very routine that it seems like there's nothing to say!
I've had to change up my normal running schedule a bit, a few Saturday's ago some of the Trail Nerds spotted a (approx.) 120 lb cougar at Wyco park... a park that I run at alone.. a lot. It was decided that I was no longer allowed to run out there on my own since I might make a tasty 4'11 100 lb cougar snack. Since I'm not to eager to get maimed or killed, I reluctantly agreed to only run out there in large groups. So I've been having to drive to Lawrence and run the Clinton trails more often, which isn't totally awful since those are my favorite trails around but it adds an extra 1.5 hours drive time to my workout. Blech!

I spent the last 2 Saturdays volunteering at races instead of running.. 2 weeks ago was the Veterans Day 4 mile run at Wyco Park and I spent the day writing down numbers and times.. my friend Laurie was there to confuse me and yell out incorrect numbers...not really, you see she was smart enough to wear her glasses.. I on the other hand, did not, so I couldn't see the runners numbers. I'm real smart sometimes! It was our first frigid cold day, so I got out the Michelin Man coat and then promptly ruined it by standing too close to the fire and melted the front of it. Again, I'm real smart! It was a usual Trail Nerds race with lots of happy runners and good cheer. Afterwards a bunch of us got in some decent mileage at the park... we kept a close eye out, but no cougars were to be seen.

This past Saturday I volunteered at a road race and let's just say the atmosphere was a bit different.. I think I'll stick to trail races. I was assigned a spot where the runners crossed a road, so I was there to make sure no cars ran them over. It was a pretty quiet street, so my main duty turned into ringing my cowbell and jumping around like an idiot, screaming encouragement and stupid things at the runners. I was surprised at how few people even acknowledged my presence, and since there were NO spectators it wasn't real hard to miss me! C'mon toss me a smile, a wave, a smart-ass comment.. even a hearty "fuck you" will do.. I'm freezing my ass off and would much rather be running far, far away from where I am!
It snowed for a bit.. nothing stuck though.. it was stupidly cold and I was much envious of the runners and wishing for a steamy hot cup of tea. Sunday was gorgeous and sunny and I did a few loops at SMP while my husband and dog hiked.. it was really nice to sleep in for a change and be able to spend the morning with my family. I ran into a bunch of other Nerds on the trails and it was nice to stop and have a bit of a chat in the nice weather.
This Friday is Nathaniel's Run.. a 6/12/24 hour run.. your choice. It starts at 6 pm so I chose to do the 12 hour run to practice the all night run for Rocky. I will be experimenting with shoes, clothes, lighting systems, & food and hoping to get in somewhere between 40-60 miles. I'm going to take it real slow and just see how the body reacts to the all night (cold!) run. The course is a 3 mile loop on very easy trails.. very minimal hills. Should be fun!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Late Halloween & election fun

My Halloween and election week in pictures. Halloween night I spent drinking heavily (unfortunately) at the Record Bar watching some of KC's best musicians play Pink Floyds "the Wall" in it's entirety. I don't normally drink much, or hard alcohol anymore but somehow I got it in my head that drinking Gin & Tonic's would be a good thing. That led me to compete in a costume contest (I took 2nd place but ONLY because I was drunk enough to show the audience my frilly underwear), unfortunately the prize I won was a $50 bar tab which had to be used that night, which meant I spent Saturday in bed interrupted only by trips to the bathroom to puke.
I rallied in time to put the costume back on and go to 2 different parties that night, but I was designated driver and Death (aka my husband) did the drinking for us. The first party we went to served Death some absinthe they had smuggled in from the Czech Republic, I had a few sips but my scientific opinion was.....EWWWW!
Sunday I felt good enough to sweat out some toxins on the trails.. I swear I could smell alcohol coming out my pores!
Tuesday evening was spent at Davey's Uptown, hoping for the best with friends, food and lots of happy tears.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Don't forget to vote today!! I don't care how you vote, just vote! Be an informed voter.. and that means on ALL the issues in your area. We all have our big "hot button" issues that we love to get behind and we all get energized for the presidential race, but honestly we should be most concerned with our school boards, city council people, sheriffs, judges, mayors, & governors.. THOSE are the people who's decisions will most directly affect our lives!! Every time the polling place is open we should be there, not just every 4 years. Think about it!!

And if while you are voting today, you witness voter suppression, intimidation or fraud.. do something! Call your secretary of state, call your local democrat/republican office, call a reporter! When someone is deliberately kept from voting, we all lose. If there is a problem with your registration, ask to cast a provisional ballot and then later you can straighten out things. Get your voice heard!

I am so genuinely nervous, excited and scared.. my ass will be parked in front of a TV tonight, beer in hand watching and waiting and with any luck celebrating!!
Now I'm off to vote!

Monday, November 3, 2008



You successfully entered the Rocky Raccoon Endurance Trail Run located at
Huntsville State Park located in Huntsville, Texas on February 7, 2009.

Here are the details of your transaction:

Entrant Name: Coleen Voeks

Event: 100 mile race
Confirmation Number: 66

Entry Fee: $135.00
Online Entry Fee: $8.30
Total Charged: $143.30

Paid by: Mastercard

Friday, October 31, 2008


Happy Halloween everyone! Here's hoping that everyone gets the good candy today (you know, the kind that doesn't give you cavities or makes you gain weight!). I don't eat candy but I will happily accept beer in my trick or treat bag. I want to see pictures of those costumes! I will be kicking off 2 nights of costumed debauchery starting at about 8 pm tonight, with any luck I'll still manage to get in a not-very-hung-over run or 2 this weekend. Have fun!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy (painfree) dance!

It's been a damn long 2 weeks, turns out I'm really grumpy, bitchy, and mean when I can't run.. and I eat a lot too. Today was the 4th race in the Rock Creek series out at Lake Perry, originally I had planned to do the 50K, but due to the injury, I did the half marathon instead. I'm actually kind of proud of myself for being smart and not going back gangbusters. I hadn't run a single step in 2 weeks but Friday I was finally totally painfree and felt like I had all my muscle strength back so I figured I'd at least give the race a go. I was so not ready for the race, I spent the morning racing around the house frantically trying to find my garmin, my shoes, dig out a long sleeve shirt to run in, and wondering where the heck I put my bladder (for my Nathan pack, not MY bladder). Obviously I hadn't put my running bag back together after Heartland. After waking my husband up accidentally by dropping a box on the floor, I was ready to go (sorry honey!)
I swung though Lawrence and picked up Christy "Mountain Mud Babe", she had signed up to do the 50K, but had been having knee problems again (cortisone shot stopped working), so she was going to drop down to the half and we were labeling ourselves "the injured contingent" and figured we'd run/walk/hobble together. I kept telling myself that if the leg hurt AT ALL, I was going to drop out and take more time off, and I made Christy promise to hit me upside the head if I tried to run through pain. We got to Lake Perry, got checked in and spent plenty of time socializing with folks (one of the best parts of a race!). Before long we were off and as I took my first few tentative steps, my joy grew as there was not a twinge from the quad. We took it very easy and did a lot of walking and just enjoyed the sunny morning playing in the woods with others. It was a gorgeous cool fall morning, with the leaves turning beautiful colors and dropping off the trees. As usual there was plenty of back and forth chatting and introductions with other runners and an opportunity to put faces to names.
My leg continued to feel perfect, but I could definitely feel the 2 weeks of inactivity in other muscles, so we slowed down and chatted, had fun & took pictures. At one point we picked up Laurie "Nerdo Mud Babe" on the trail, she had been running the 50K but her hip had blown up on her and she was noticeably limping, so we added her to our injured contingent and carried on. We finished in some ridiculously slow time, but didn't really care since we had just had a really good time out there! I pulled on a sweatshirt, grabbed a Lara Bar and settled in to watch the 50K finishers.
Trail Nerd Caleb was first and then we had a bit of a wait till the next finisher so we spent it gossiping and drinking really wretched beer. It was nice to get a chance to talk with some of the Topeka trailrunners.. something that we really don't get much of a chance to do! The Trail Nerds kicked some butt and did some serious damage to the top 10.. and our Mud babes rocked the top spots too!! Sophia took 1st female and Debbie (crew member extraordinaire) took 3rd. Debbie was so worried about finishing, but she's been training like a fiend and finished looking fast and fresh. Afterwards she admitted that she could have run another 20 miles!! She rocks! I had to take off before all the runners were done, since I was already late for work, but I left with a light heart and an even lighter step 'cuz I am a runner again!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

the Aftermath

So my left leg isn't doing real stellar. I had that knot in my quad from mile 8 onwards of the race and I guess I should have been a bit more proactive in working it out instead of running on it. According to my friend Christy's physical therapist (whom she so nicely "lent" me) I tore up the muscle fibers and caused some bleeding in the muscle, and I'm under strict instructions not to run for at least 7 days. ARGH! The pictures are from Sunday, the one picture is from when I first woke up and the 2nd is from later in the day. The PT said that's blood under the skin. GROSS! He said that if I do run before it's healed I could cause some permanent damage with scarring and stuff which would make it always hurt when I run. So I will be a good girl and not do anything but sit around a play with the cute kitties.... look at that face!! How could you not want one??

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Heartland 50 miler October 11 2008

My first 50 and I'm not sure where to start....actually, yes I do, I have to start with thanking my friends and family. (WARNING! acceptance speech ahead.. cue the tears) I want to thank all my friends, both my "normal" friends who don't understand why I do what I do and think I'm totally insane for doing it, but love, support and encourage me anyway, and my running Trail Nerd friends who do understand and offer reams of advice, help, love, support and encouragement. My parents for supporting me fully, Mom for not shaking me and screaming "haven't you learned anything over the years?" when she heard I wanted to run ultras and Dad for his advice and for showing me when I was young that running extra long distances is perfectly normal. My FABULOUS crew Christy & Debbie who offered to waste a perfectly good fall weekend by being my "bitches", it was completely humbling to be the recipient of that much love and dedication. Finally to my WONDERFUL husband who doesn't understand why I want to do this to myself but gives me his total love, support and encouragement and doesn't bat an eye when he sees a charge for yet another pair of running shoes. Without all these people, my life would be pale, colourless, and sad. ( music swells and cut to commercial)

OK, now that the thanks are out of the way, I finished the Heartland 50 in 10:30:40, which was good enough for 11 place overall and 2nd female. Simply put, I ran out of my head. My main goal for this race was just to finish, my secondary goal was to finish around 12 hours my thirdary goal was to finish in 10 hours. The thirdary goal was my "yeah, right, dream on kid, we all have to have that pie in the sky to shoot for" goal.... I guess I should challenge myself more often.

Christy, Debbie and I left Lawrence about 3:30 on Friday in Debbie's husband's big ass truck (yes that is the technical term for it). Larry was sweet enough to let us borrow it, we were originally going to be borrowing Christy's boyfriends truck, but then one of the other Trail Nerds, Nick, called needing a ride so we had to get a bigger truck. We swung through Topeka and picked up Nick and headed for Cassoday. Unfortunately due to every one's work schedules we missed the pre-race meeting at 4:30 but made it in time to pick up our packets and eat dinner. Well, everyone else ate dinner, I had some iceberg lettuce... no vegan options.. everything either had meat in it or was smothered in cream sauce. Luckily I am used to this and brought my own dinner!
We chatted with a few people and then left to find our way to El Dorado and the hotel. The friendly check in girl asked us if we were there for the race. She said that they had 30 rooms reserved for that night and pretty much all of them were race people, so she knew we would be gone by 5am. We spent the evening drinking water and watching stupid TV. I don't have cable so when I get around a TV that has channels it can be kinda exciting. We caught the Colbert report and some bad VH-1 shows. I was waiting with baited breath for a phone call from my husband, he was due to be arriving home from his 3 weeks in Australia, but his plane was late leaving Sydney and I was afraid he would miss his connection in L.A. but all was good. Once I talked to him and made sure he was safe and sound, I was ready for bed. We turned off the lights but spent another hour at least making stupid jokes, laughing and telling sex stories.. then Nick gave Debbie a dutch oven which caused enough hilarity that I was afraid we were never going to fall asleep. I guess I did because when that alarm went off at 4, it was rough getting up.

The first thing Christy did upon getting up was to shove water in my face.. it would be the theme of the day... if I saw Christy , she would be making me drink. We horsed around but still managed to get out the door by 4:45. Christy and Debbie were awesome, they wouldn't let us even carry our own bags to the car! I felt like a pampered princess. We had a small mishap on the way to the race wherein we almost flipped the truck and smashed into a pole, but Debbie controlled things like a champ and we still made it to the race about an hour before the start. Nick and I checked in and started the bathroom dance.. do I need to go now? Should I wait a bit longer? Maybe I should try now.... We parked next to Caleb, one of the Nerds who was pacing Winn Davis (who would go on to win the 100). Another Nerd, Kyle Amos was also there with his awesome wife Stacey, Kyle would finish 3rd in the 100. I was pretty nervous, but making sure I had everything and giving last minute instructions to my crew kept me from going too nutsy. I tried one last bathroom stop with very little luck and then it was time to line up. This was Nick's first 50 miler too, and even though he's much faster then me, he figured he'd run with me at the beginning to keep himself from going out too fast. We lined up together and waved to Christy and Debbie and then we were off. As we all trotted very leisurely down the highway with headlamps bobbing, I got a chance to say a quick hi to Ken the Trail Zombie who is a total stud, he did Flatrock 50k 2 weeks ago, then Arkansas Traveller 100m last week and this week the Heartland 100.. yowza! What a guy!
Nick and I settled into a leisurely 11:30 m/m pace, or at least we tried to settle in, I kept checking the Garmin and due to our nervousness the pace kept creeping up and I'd have to slow us back down. By about mile 5 we were pretty dialed in pace wise and it was light enough to take off the headlamps. The scenery was amazing... the sun was just coming up and the sky was a gorgeous pinky orange , we were on a huge series of rolling hills and it was cool to see the runners in front of us silhouetted against the sky as they topped the hills. I was very unsure about this race because of the wide open-ness of it. I knew it was going to be amazingly gorgeous, but dirt roads and open spaces are not my favorite things. My biggest concern was how I was going to mentally handle being able to see for so many, many miles and know that I was moving so slow. Luckily, talking with Nick and the other runners made the first 1/2 go by pretty quickly. We chatted with guys from Arkansas, Seattle, & Virginia and everyone that we talked to loved this race and was doing it for at least the 2nd time. One of the guys we talked to was doing this as his 100th ultra.. and he had done all my fantasy ones... I could have run with him for days listening to his stories. By about mile 8, I knew this was not my ideal day.. I had a knot in my left quad that was already hurting and various twinges and aches told me that this day was not going to go exactly the way I had pictured things, but I figured I'd just keep plodding on as long as I could. By the time we hit the Lapland aid station which was the first one that was crew accessible, we both were pretty surprised that we had gone that far alredy. Christy & Debbie swung into action, refilling our water, handing us food and water to eat while we were standing there and making sure we had enough food to take with us. Due to their expert work, we were in and out in a few short minutes and it was energizing to see them. The next time we would see them would be at the 25 mile turnaround.

By this point the wind was picking up and the temps were starting to rise, it was predicted to be in the mid 80's for the day and without a lick of shade, it was a little worrisome. The miles continued to click off quickly due to the conversations... and as we got passed by David Wakefield on his way back to the finish, running easily in 1st place I started a running tally in my head of the people in front of us. I'm sure I won't ever win a race, but I like to be as competitive as I can be and having a ballpark idea of what place I'm in helps. We were passed by the first woman before we hit the turnaround and the 2nd place woman was leaving as we came in to the turnaround. Once again our spectacular crew provided food, water, encouragement and bio-freeze for my quad which was still all knotted up. I kept thinking while I was sitting there "what if I still had 75 miles to go?? ". I got a chance to say a quick hello to Jennifer who was there crewing for her husband Scott (doing the 100), who's blog I also read on a regular basis. Jennifer is 7 months pregnant and looks fabulous, there was some kids running around with t-shirts on that said "future ultra runner" and I told her that she'd better stock up on those in all sizes.
I really like out and back courses because I love to cheer on runners in front and in back of me.. I know how much it helps me to get encouragement so I try to make sure I dish out plenty myself. From my rough count Nick and I were sitting somewhere in the top 15 and I was possibly the 3rd female.
The first section after the turnaround had a killer headwind and running along with a guy who is over a foot taller than me worked to my advantage. I simply tucked in behind him and followed in his footsteps only popping my head out to cheer on runners as we passed them. Usually just over the marathon mark I hit a bit of a low spot, but not this time, which told me I was doing a good job of managing my nutrition and hydration. When we hit the 50k mark, I told Nick that the race started now. It was pretty much unknown territory from here on out for both of us. It was about here that Nick took off, my knot in my quad started cramping and between the swearing loudly and walking breaks that I needed to take, he just kept on going. It was nice to have had company for as long as I did but we both needed to run our own race.

My leg pissed me off so much that I just stuck on the iPod and ran through the pain.. I took an extra salt cap, and it seemed to settle things down a bit. The first song that came on my iPod when I turned it on was by XTC called "Stupidly Happy" which made me laugh, since that's pretty much how I felt.. I was in pain and tired but I wouldn't have traded being where I was for anything. I must say that I think I should be banned from listening to music when I race, it was like I had just shot up with speed. I tucked my head down and ran, and I came into the Lapland aid station (mile 33.2) just a minute or so behind Nick. Debbie and Christy got us all taken care of and I asked Christy to check and see if I was really the 3rd woman, but she had already been counting and could assure me that I was. As we were talking, the 4th place woman came into the A.S so I grabbed my stuff and took off like the hounds of hell were chasing me. I put the iPod back on and somehow found the energy to start ticking off 9 minute miles and then pretty soon I looked down and I was doing 8.5 minute miles... I was running out of my head, but I was feeling pretty good so I kept on going. I passed a few guys and Nick and I leap frogged for a bit and then pretty soon I came up on the 2nd place woman.. we were wearing matching Dirty Girl gaiters so I had to compliment her on them as I passed her.

I kept running in a state of disbelief and also fear, I still had 15 miles to go and I was running stupidly fast (for me anyway). The heat was pretty bad by this point and I was sorry that I wasn't wearing a hat. I like the wind on my shaved head but the sun was starting to piss me off. I kept running and playing air drums and air guitar as certain songs came on.. I even danced a bit. It was about mile 39 when the blisters started. One on each of my big toes which were annoying, but not awful, but the one on my left heel was driving me crazy. I wear short socks and the back of my shoe had been rubbing just long enough to cause a nasty spot on both heels but particularly on my left heel. It didn't hurt when I walked just when I ran so I tried to keep the running to a minimum until the next manned aid station where I could get a band aid. I can walk really fast so I wasn't totally worried about being passed by the girl behind me, but I was too scared to turn around and see where she was.

I pulled into Battle Creek aid station at 41.8 miles and got a quick band aid and tape job and more water and oranges thanks to the fabulous volunteers there. I got out of there pronto and settled into a walk for 1 song, run for 2 songs rhythm. It was in the last 7 miles that I had my "jesus moment" as Nick calls it. When I started running, all I heard about was how a marathon would change your life.. the whole "it was so hard, but once you did it you would know that you could do anything in life" song and dance... well I never had that, so I figured the 50k would do it....nope not that either. But now somewhere around mile 43 it was only my mind driving me forward, my entire body was telling me just to quit but I knew this was where I just had to keep pushing and not give up. Finally! I guess it sounds kinda sadistic to want to push yourself to the edge like that, but it was one of the things I wanted to experience. By feeling half dead, I felt more alive.

The last 5 miles of the race felt like the hardest, worst things I've done. It felt like forever because you could see the town and it never seemed to get any closer. There was a few points in here that I thought "I'm never doing this again". My left quad had gone beyond pain to something else and even my mind was feeling pretty fried. I just kept my head down and the music on and shortened my run walk cycle to 1 song running 1 song walking. I think one of the worst parts was there was no one else around.. I could see Nick up in the distance but the A.S at 41.8 miles was the last human contact until the winner of the 50 miler (David Wakefield) drove by and yelled some encouraging words from his car. Just 2 miles from the end one of my husbands songs came on the iPod and one of the lines in it is "the road to town is lifetimes long" and I kinda lost it, had a quick sob and just kept playing that song over and over to the end. As I made the last right hand turn onto the paved road I checked the Garmin and to finish in 10:30, I was going to have to run, and run pretty hard. Seeing everyone cheering me on up ahead gave me wings and I picked up the pace.. Debbie ran with me the last few yards and everyone else was hooting and hollering. It felt so damn good to finish.
I got tons of hugs from Debbie, Christy, Ben, Vicki, & Raul and they led me to a chair next to Nick. Nick finished 10 minutes in front of me for 10th place overall. As I tried to lower myself into the chair the RD had to chase me down and give me my finishers award... it felt awesome to get it. Christy stuck water in my hand and Ben gave me a cup of his homebrew... I gave Nick the high five and just took it all in. Raul took off my shoes and socks and starting using "the Stick" on my legs and feet and oh boy did that feel so good and so bad all at the same time. It's a fine line between pleasure and pain. We relaxed for awhile and cheered people in, ate some food, & drank some awesome beer.

After awhile we headed over to the 95 mile unmanned aid station where Ben & Raul have traditionally set up the "Mirage" aid station at night for the 100 folks. They do it up right.. a big tent with twinkly white lights and all the food you could ever want to eat. Vicki made up some homemade soup and a big pot of boiled potatoes and I cut up lots of watermelon which was a HUGE hit with the tail end of the 50 folks. I think all RD's should make watermelon a staple at ALL aid stations (hint hint). With 7 of us we were able to get the tent set up and everything going in short order and then we just hung out drank more beer and told stories. We waited around to see Wynn Davis, the 1st place finisher come through with Caleb Chatfield (our own Trail Nerd) pacing him and then I initiated some movement towards the car. I would have been happy to stay all night and help out, but my husband was waiting at home for me and I hadn't seen him in 3 weeks. I was ready to go!!

I learned a LOT of lessons from this race... the biggest one I took away was that I need to do a HELL of a lot more work before I'm ready for a 100 miler. I'm taking this week off except for some light easy runs and then it's back into some serious training. I have work to do before February! Heartland is a great race, and I can see why so many people like it, but I think I need to be a lot more stronger mentally before I could do it again. I prefer my long runs in the woods where I can't see from horizon to horizon. But that said, I'm so glad I did it and that I picked this one as my first 50.. the race was so well put on, everyone was so nice and the volunteers beyond friendly and helpful.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Donations needed!

This weekend I'm soliciting donations of extra energy and possibly even a spare pair of legs.. please send to:
Heartland 50miler
Cassoday, KS
Attn: runner #159

Thanks so much... your donations will be put to good use and the recipient will be SO very grateful!

Have a FABULOUS weekend!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Need some pussy?

So we've had this cute little stray kitten that's been hanging around our house for a few months now.. he won't let me touch him but he also doesn't run away real far when I try. I've been occasionally feeding him even though my husband has strictly forbidden it. We've rescued other stray cats & dogs before but our current cat Rueben is a cranky old man and isn't crazy about other felines in his house so we've had to find homes for the others. Since I don't think I have any more friends that are willing to take any strays, I've had to curtail my instincts. I've been hoping to get to the point with this one that I could catch him and at least get him fixed and then release him again.
Since my husband has been in Australia, I've bumped up the feedings a bit (bad, bad wife) and yesterday morning I was at my kitchen sink looking out the window and I saw the kitten on my neighbor's porch, he was limping badly, and it looked like he couldn't put any weight on one of his front paws. I went outside to see if I could grab him and take him to our vet... he just sat on the porch crying really loudly and let me pick him right up. I checked the paw out and it wasn't bleeding or anything so since I was late for work, I put him in our basement with some food and water figuring I'd take him to the vet in the morning on my way to work. When I got home from work last night, I checked on him but couldn't find him in the basement, but I figured the poor thing was just getting a good, safe sleep with a full belly.
This morning I walk downstairs and the kitty is mewling up a storm and I panicked figuring his foot was really hurting him and then I realized that the kitty was next to me and the mewling was taking place elsewhere in the basement. Turns out the boy kitty was a knocked up little girl who totally played me for a fool. She had 4 little kittens all over my basement last night. No wonder she let me pick her right up, she knew she had a sucker on the line.. warm, dry, safe place to have her kittens and food and water to boot!
So after totally freaking out, I got a box fixed up with old towels and collected the babies from all over (she really wandered while having them) and had to cut 1 of the kittens free from the placenta. EW! Mama got in the box with them, but in the process stepped all over the poor things and laid right on top of them. I'm not entirely sure she knows what the heck to do! Heck I don't know what to do!
My husband called about an hour after I got them settled, it was about midnight in Sydney and he was staying with some friends he hadn't seen in zonks, so of course they started hitting the Jack Daniels (hard). It made it a heck of a lot easier to tell him we were parents, but I'm not sure he'll remember when he wakes up in the morning! So in 8 weeks does anybody want a kitten??? Please??? They'll be fixed and have their shots!

(I'll borrow a camera from someone and post pictures of them later)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Flatrock 50K Sept 27 2008

At 3 AM when my alarm went off, I had more than a few seconds of reconsideration.. it would have been so easy to turn off the alarm and go back to sleep instead of getting up to drive 3 hours and then run for 9 hours and then turn around and drive for 3 hours again. Then I remembered all the hassle I went through with work to ensure I could do this race and the fact that Christy was counting on me to be a support for her.. and I got my butt out of bed. Due to the father in law surgery and work situation because of it (see previous post), I was not able to drive down to Independence, Kansas the night before as originally planed. I had gotten home from work and dropping the dog off at the babysitters about 10pm the night before and made sure my race bag was ready to go before falling into bed for about 4 1/2 hours of sleep. When I got up all I had to do was throw on my clothes and get some food down before heading out the door.
I was kinda shocked at how many people were on the road at 3:30 in the morning... at one point I was actually having to get cranky about left lane slow drivers and my inability to get around them. The drive went pretty quickly, I wound my way south on some smaller state highways through sleeping small towns. I encountered some patches of pretty thick fog which slowed me down a bit but luckily not enough to make me late. When I got to the Elk City Reservoir I got a bit confused since it was dark and there was no "Race Event" signs directing me where to go but luckily a quick phone call to Christy got me turned back around and to the correct spot. The sun was just coming up and the surroundings looked very pretty. Christy and Greg had very kindly picked up my packet the night before, so I got my number from them and got everything together. On my way to the bathroom I ran into Doug and Kim from KC, this was Kim's first 50K and Doug's first one in awhile. Beth Hilt, one of our Trail Nerds came down to do the 25K, and even though she didn't start for another hour she was there early to cheer us on.. what a peach!

The starting was on the main paved road which we would run on for a bit before darting off into the woods. At the start I saw Alison, another one of our Mud Babes, and Ken my favorite Trail Zombie. Ken was snapping pictures left and right and since this was his 6th Flat Rock, we followed him for a bit until he dropped us like a naughty habit. The course was amazingly gorgeous and difficult from the get go. My main goal for this race was to help Christy finish, the secondary goal was to take it easy, treat it as a training run and not destroy myself for the Heartland 50 miler in 2 weeks. Due to Christy's knee issues I knew that we were going to be moving slow and doing quite a bit of walking, which was exactly what I needed. We quickly found ourselves at the back of the pack but we were having a blast laughing our heads off at the some of the ridiculousness of the trail and taking bunches of pictures. The course is marked by blue blazes on trees, rocks, or anything that doesn't move. There was a few points where we got off course, because of the rockiness of the course you had to be so careful about looking down at your footing that a few times I simply missed seeing the markings.

The race has a 10 hour cutoff and Christy was worried that we were going to miss it, so we were very careful to spend as little time as possible at the aid stations. I lost a ton of time at the Psummer Psycho race messing around at the fabulous aid stations and was determined not to make the same mistake this time. As we were coming on the A.S we would have our packs off and our lids unscrewed, ready to fill up quickly and we'd grab handfuls of food and just keep going. The turnaround aid station we spent about 5 minutes at because Christy was getting blisters so she had to do some repair work but the rest of them we spent 2 minutes or less at. They were pretty standard aid stations, nothing special, except of course, for the volunteers, who were friendly, helpful and wonderful. They get 2 full thumbs up and a ticker tape parade. I can't rave about the food offerings since they didn't have watermelon. The turn around aid station was manned by Ken's wife Dana and she was so very fabulous, fussing around us like a mother hen making sure we had everything we could possibly need. She also had some way comfortable looking camp chairs and after eyeballing one I wisely chose not to plop my butt down.

For most of the 1st half of the race we had been playing leapfrog with a group of 3 girls and Christy kept having to rein in my competitive urge, whenever they were in front of us I would pick up the pace noticeably to reel them in, but running fast was NOT what I was supposed to be doing that day, so she kept making me back off. I had to keep my mantra of " it's just a training run" firmly in my head. We had been behind them before coming into the turnaround, but when we got there they were nowhere to be seen, and we were a bit concerned. We let Dana know to keep an eye out for them, but as we were getting ready to leave they showed up having gotten a bit lost. We passed Doug and Kim on their way to the turnaround and Kim was looking pretty tired. They are both uber experienced road marathoners but hadn't done much trail training and this wasn't the easiest of a course to attempt without much trail experience.

We leap frogged the girls again, and it was about this point that Christy's knee really started to give her grief, but she took some Advil and once that kicked in we picked up the pace quite a bit. We caught the girls , who were looking pretty rough, so we asked if they had been taking any salt. They indicated that they hadn't been nor did they have any, so since we were so close to the next aid station, we told them to be sure and get a whole bunch of S-caps from the a.s and start taking them regularly. We took off and when we hit the a.s we double checked if they had any S-caps there, but all they had was rock salt. So Christy and I determined that between us we could leave some s-caps and still have enough to finish the race ourselves. We left with strict instructions to make sure the girls got them and took them.
We were feeling great all through the middle section, we were hauling ass, eating and hydrating properly. When we walked we were speed walking, there was no pussy footing around for many miles. Around mile 22 we got the giddies and everything became hysterically funny. At one point Christy stopped running, looked around and went "What the fuck is this?" In our silly state that was the funniest thing ever and we wasted some time snorting, and laughing. I had to explain that this was called a trail race and we paid for this privilege. The giddies kept us going until the last 4 miles or so.

When we hit the last aid station, Greg, Christy's boyfriend was waiting for us, he had finished in 4th place in 6:11:53. We came through the trees and as he caught sight of us he yelled "holy crap" you guys aren't supposed to be here yet. Christy took some more Advil and we grabbed a handful of food and kept going.. we were both getting pretty tired and Christy's knee had about had it. The last 2 miles were just a slog fest, and when we finally popped out on the road, we still had a mile on pavement to run. The knee was toast, so we walked most of the paved section but as we got close the cheers and crazy noise that everyone was making made sure we ran in the last bit. Beth, who had finished her 25k hours earlier, had hung around and was cheering us on from the corner. We finished in 8:51:59. Afterwards we hung around for a bit and ate and relaxed, but I wanted to get home before dark so I asked the RD for my finishers award and took off. It was a fun race, rocky, rocky and rocky, but a lot of fun. Christy did so incredibly well and I'm so impressed with her, there's no way I would have been out there with the level of pain she's dealing with She ROCKS!
Before the race I had heard much hype about how this was supposed to be one of the hardest 50k's around so I was feeling pretty nervous, but it didn't turn out to be that bad... maybe it's just my Colorado upbringing, or maybe it was the fact that I was using this as a training run but I didn't think it lived up to it's difficulty hype, it is however a super fun run on a very pretty course.
Pictures thanks to Ken the Trail Zombie!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Taper Insanity!!

I'm 15 days out from Heartland 50 miler and I've been forced into taper and it's driving me batshit insane! My father in law is having some major surgery which necessitated my husband flying to Australia for 3 weeks (have I mentioned that that's where he's from?) Anywho since we own a small business together, if one of us isn't working the other has to pick up the slack. Which usually is no big deal, but combine working 60 hours a week with not being able to train and being worried about my father in law and missing my husband and I'm pretty much certifiably nuts.
Last Saturday before I took him to the airport I was able to get in a fabulous 30 miler.. it felt great and when I finished I wanted to turn around a go out for another lap. That made me very happy!! If I can get through Flatrock 50k this weekend feeling good then I will feel like I'm ready and be happy even if it won't make the taper crazies go away.
I'm running tomorrow's race with my friends Christy and Kim.. this is their first ultra and I'm so happy to be doing it with them. For awhile it didn't look like I was going to be able to do the race due to work conflicts but then I sold my soul to the devil so it's all good. I can't wait! Christy is kinda crazy, she's doing this race and then on Wednesday she and her doctor will be setting a date to have her knee scoped. She's been in major pain all summer but wanted to get this race done before being out for awhile. She told her doc that she wanted to make sure she would be ready to pace me at Rocky Raccoon 100 in Feb. If runners are nuts then ultra runners are truly insane. Happy weekend everyone.. Happy Trails!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Dirt Doll Drowned

So I just got back from a run at Wyco park..and it has been ages since I've done a long trail run by myself. I love the fact that there is always someone ready to go for a run whatever the day or time, but I didn't realize till this morning just how much I'd missed running by myself. It has been raining here in KC for the past few days so the trails are thoroughly saturated, in fact the trails were actually running rivers in a lot of places. It was with some reluctance that I headed out into the pouring rain, but dammit that 50 miler is coming up quick! As I headed towards the trails, a fisherman yelled at me that I had forgotten my raincoat... bah! Trail runners don't need no steenkin' raincoats! Within moments I was soaked from head to toe and happy as a pig in mud (no lipstick on this pig thank yew very much!). For most of the summer my inner mud babe had been AWOL.. every once in awhile I would hear something far off in the distance that sounded like "mud bog" in a squeaky "tin man" type voice. But my inner dirt doll would say stuff like "ignore that bitch" and we'd go back to pounding the heat hardened, dry trails. Well this weekend, the mud babe jumped up and held that bitchy dirt doll under a nice big mud puddle until she stopped flailing. I might not see her again for awhile!
I spent the day squelching though mud puddles and splashing through knee deep puddles and water crossing. I watched deer drink from the streams running down the trails and witnessed a turtle paddling down the trails too! It was an amazing primal Friday and I enjoyed it so much I came back and did it again on Saturday. 2 days in a row of wet, muddy, fabulous solitary running was what I needed. lately running had been SERIOUS BUSINESS. After all I'm training for a 50 miler and thats SERIOUS. (insert ominous music here). I had kinda forgotten that running is supposed to be fun, so a weekend of getting out of my own head and enjoying myself was exactly what I needed. Sunday was supposed to be a 10 mile run with Christy but instead turned into a 6 mile hike at Wyco (again) with her and her dog.. we turned it into a day of working on speed hiking and enjoying some excellent conversation. This week will be back to SERIOUS training but hopefully not quite as serious as before.. maybe just Serious training.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More Nerd News!

Yes... it's true.. the Trail Nerds really are going for world domination!! Check out the great article by Carolyn

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Best shopping trip EVER!

So a few weeks ago my friend Abby tells me she wants to start running! Yay! Happy Dance! Any time anyone tells me they want to start running it makes me happy, but this made me jump up and down in joy. If you've been reading my blog you'll know that Abby is my friend that recently was diagnosed with breast cancer (read her blog!), so her quitting smoking and taking up "runnish" (her term) makes me joyful. I printed out the Couch to 5K program for her to start with, which is a wonderful program for beginners. Abby mentioned that she didn't have running shoes so I asked on the Trail Nerds yahoo group if anyone had a spare pair of 8.5 shoes that I could beg, borrow, or steal for her.

Within 3 minutes of posting that request, my inbox was stuffed with emails from people wanting to buy her a pair of shoes. I was completely overwhelmed and couldn't stop crying, it was the most amazing outpouring of love and caring for someone they had never even met. When all the dust had settled, it was decided that since so many people wanted to help donations could be sent to the Trail Nerds P.O. Box. After all was said and done, the wonderful runners of K.C. sent $400 in cash, a $50 gift certificate to Gary Gribbles and a gift certificate for a pair of Vasque trail shoes ($90 value). Once again I cried my eyes out, and wondered how I got so lucky to get hooked up with such a fabulous group of people.

Yesterday was the day of shopping.. Abby only knew she was getting a new pair of shoes, she had no idea that she was going to get lots of stuff! When I told her in the car on the way to the store, she was overwhelmed and didn't know what to was hardly surprising since I didn't know what to say myself and I know these people!

It was super busy at Gribbles when we got there so we hit the clothing section first. Unfortunately they didn't have the fall/winter stuff in yet and as Abby puts it "mama doesn't wear shorts!" so we were thwarted in our quest to spend every last penny. After jumping up and down and running circles in the dressing room, she ended up with a good sports bra and long sleeve shirt and a couple pairs of socks. (We'll go back in a couple of weeks to get some long pants and shirts and jacket.) Abby hadn't ever been in a running store before so we did some wandering around and looking at all the stuff, she declined a hydration pack for the moment. She said "it's a fanny pack!" I told her calling it a hydration pack makes it sound less dorky.

After that, we hit the shoes...I gave Abby strict orders not to let me buy any shoes for myself.. I have self control issues when it comes to shoes. At one point in my life it was an addiction to pointy high heels and now it's running shoes. Our sales guy checked out Abby's feet, made her walk around a bit in her socks and brought out a few pairs of very bright, white shoes for her to try. It took a few pairs until she found one that felt like clouds. We took a quick spin through the parking lot and she decided that the "communist" red Sauconys were the winners. Then we got to the trail shoes.. a beautiful pair of dusty orange Vasque Blurs were the take home winner. At one point Abby totally freaked out the poor sales guy.. she had mentioned that she recently quit a 2 pack a day smoking habit, and he asked her when she quit, but she thought he said why, so she replied "I got cancer" and we both busted up laughing. The expression on the poor guys face was priceless, which made us laugh harder, 'cuz you know, cancer is funny.
So we got to spend a chunk of money and we still have more to buy.. but most importantly Abby got running shoes and gear that feel like clouds and will help her go far and fast and get and remain healthy. Thank you is probably the most inadequate phrase in the English language, but I'm not sure how to put into words what's in my heart. I've heard it said so many times that runners are some of the best people in the world and you guys just proved it beyond the shadow of a doubt.

(sorry about the no pictures thing.. my camera has gone AWOL on me)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

One year!!

This weekend was my one year anniversary of running! It was one year ago that Erik & I were driving across Illinois en route to Wisconsin when, like a bolt of lightning, it hit me. I want to run... I want to run a marathon... I want to run a marathon with my dad! (I think there's a joke in there somewhere about Illinois being so boring that running a marathon sounds like a brilliant idea) The very next morning, I got up and hit the hotel treadmill.. and amazingly I enjoyed it enough to want to keep doing it. When I got back to Kansas City I kept getting up in the mornings and running and running and running... then Bad Ben talked me onto the trails, which got me running even further. I kinda figured that I would train, run the marathon and that would kinda be it... after all I always swore that I would never be a runner.
Growing up crewing for Dad at ultras kinda sucked... my friends would go on cool vacations and we were always going to some random place to get up early to watch Dad run into the woods, then we'd pile into the car, drive for a bit, park and wait for him to run out of the woods, hand him food and drink, change his shoes and socks and watch him run back into the woods, whereupon we would pack up, and repeat for 30 hours or worse for 6 days (that race is an entire blog post in itself). Yippee!! Needless to say running wasn't high on my to-do list.. I did a few 5ks and 10ks when I was young but that was the extent of it. So I never meant to fall in love with running.. but somehow I did, I have found an amazing amount of joy in the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other. It turned out that Dad gave me some of his distance running DNA. I knocked out the marathon at the end of April, and kept going, 35 miler, 50K, and now in October a 50 miler.
It has been such an enjoyable year, I have gotten to know some of the best people, run some amazing trails and re discovered a childish joy in running and playing in the mud. I'm so grateful to that bolt out of the blue from 1 year ago.. god, fate, nature, whatever it was.. I'm so very, very grateful.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nerds in the News

There was a nice write up in the Shawnee Dispatch today on the movement otherwise known as the Trail Nerds. Go here:


I really can't say anything other than, runners are hands down (feet down?), the best people in the world! I am overwhelmed by some things that have transpired in the last 24 hours and I will share those things at a later date, but right now I just have to say wow! I love you all!!

*and just to make it clear.. the picture is just a random cute dog picture

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mana Mana

So due to some alcohol induced silliness at a party on Friday night, I had the following song stuck in my head during my long runs this weekend..and I'm only too happy to share with you guys... good luck getting it out of your head!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Hair yesterday, gone today

I spent an evening with my friend Stacy showing our support and love for our friend Abby.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Susan Komen Race for the Cure 5K

First off I have to thank all my wonderful friends who donated... thank you from the bottom of my heart, I know that money is tight for all of us and I really appreciate the sacrifice. I hope nothing but wonderful karma on you all! Many kisses and hugs and mud love!

Getting up for this run on Sunday morning was both really hard and really easy. Husband's band had played a show the night before at we didn't get home until 2:30 am. When that alarm went off at 5:30, it would have been so easy to roll over and go back to sleep, but having just seen Abby the night before with her new adorably sassy short hairdo, singing her heart out on stage even though she'd just had a round of chemo.. well how could we just go back to sleep? I roused the husband since we were doing this thing together and we got ourselves out the door. The race started at Union Station which is only a 5 minute drive for us on a normal day, but I figured traffic and parking was going to be a total pain, so we left early. As we headed down Broadway, there was a big ass line of cars in front of us, so we shot down a side street and just parked, it was no big deal for us to walk a mile to the start... best to save the closer parking for others. It was a gorgeously cool morning and the sun was shining.
We started wandering around the expo marveling at all the stuff that was being given away... if it was pink, it was being sold or handed out. I'm not a big "fight for the freebies" type person, so we just watched and laughed. (I did end up with some nice pink lip gloss and pink energizer bunny ears!). The only thing I got excited about was registering to win a free New Balance running outfit complete with shoes. (not that I wear NB stuff, but I'd certainly give a free pair a go!) I started calling my friends to see if anyone was there yet... my friend Sophia is an anchor at a TV station in Topeka and she was bringing a cameraman along to do a story. I was instructed to wear my pink mud babes shirt and find her before the race. We also needed to find Travis and his family/team so we could all at least start out together. Luckily both Sophia and Travis were easily found... thank goodness for cell phones! We did a quick interview with Sophia and then Travis, husband & I went off to find the rest of Travis's team. There was 24,000 people running/walking this thing, so we stood around for many, many, many minutes before we were able to start moving. And as we were crammed together and I was feeling much like a cow, I realized exactly why I don't run big races....this sucked! It got better when we started moving, and it was more fun to be spread out and able to see people. I was enjoying reading every one's shirt and signs that they had, I wish I could have talked to everyone and heard their stories. I chose to do the non-competitive run, so I could do it with my team and husband, so there was all sorts of people around us. We ended up breaking away from our group, there was so many people it was difficult for just Erik & I to stay together! We bobbed and weaved our way around people, enjoyed all the different bands that were playing and the cheerleaders they had on almost every corner. I swear every possible cheerleading squad within a 75 mile radius must have been out there!
The water stops kinda pissed me off... OK more than kinda... they were handing out big bottles of water and people were taking 1 or 2 sips and then throwing them on the ground. It was so freaking ridiculous, I don't even know where to start ranting! Thanks for destroying the environment people! (deep breath.. calm down and focus) OK, Erik and I had a really good time, and my non running "I hate running, you'll never get me to run" husband Erik actually did run a good chunk of the race! I keep telling him NOT to take up running, because I know that he would totally kick my ass and I'd be pissed, but I really enjoyed sharing the thing I love so very much with the person I love so very much. We finished ( I forgot to put on a watch so I have no idea how long it took us) and watched other finishers for awhile.
It was a pretty emotional morning, I kept getting choked up reading survivors shirts stating how long they'd been cancer free. I kept wishing we could just fast forward time to when Abby will be wearing that shirt that says 10 years cancer free. I have to thank Travis for inviting Erik & I to be a part of his team and honoring his mothers memory, it was a huge honor to have her name on the backs of our shirts.

Link to Sophia's report on the race (I admit to feeling myself up on TV!)

Link to Abby's blog... everyone really should read her blog, she just started it and it's a scream, but it's also made me cry a few times. Since she is a fabulous songwriter, writing really is her forte and her personality shines through. (If finding humour in cancer in not your thing you might want to skip it though)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Psycho Night Trail Run Aug 8

Whew! I'm finally getting caught up with entries! I was so sad to not still be on vacation but this race helped make me happy again. Yet another zany race from the Trail Nerds.. this one was a fun 10K that started at 8 pm at Wyco Park... just in time for it to get nice and dark. I was so very excited to see my running friends and catch up on everything that had happened while I was away, and a race was the perfect opportunity to do so. I got to the park about 7:00, pulled in right next to Nick and Laurie and the fun began. I stood around and gossiped with everyone for awhile and then wandered over to get my number.... I requested number 69 and Shane was kind enough to dig through the stack and find it for me. Yes! I Love being totally juvenile sometimes!
While waiting in line I finally got to meet Kim & her husband Doug... I've been totally enjoying her blog for ages now and it was great to find out that she really does exist! That's a picture of the 2 of them... aren't they adorable? I've been harassing her to stop running on the pavement and just run trails with us, but they do so much good work with Team in Training it's really selfish of me to try and lure them away. I was rockin' my new Mud Babes technical shirt that Bad Ben had so awesomely dropped by my work earlier in the day and so were a ton of the other girls!

Ben gave us a 15 minute speech on all the stuff to look for and the usual warnings and then we were off into the twilight. I bought a new headlamp at REI when I was in Colorado, but hadn't tested it out yet, so it was with crossed fingers that I turned it on and stuck it on my head. It was a super fast start and I stupidly didn't think to warm up... too much socialization, and I didn't consider that it was a short race. It usually takes me a good 3 miles to warm up, so I was sucking some serious wind for awhile. The course was a small, usually muddy section from the Psycho Wyco course but sadly most of the mud on the course was dried into ankle breaking ruts so I was feeling a bit out of my element! By the time I hit the Triangle I was feeling more warmed up and felt pretty good whipping through the twisty section. There was a good 15 of us in a row and the glow of head lamps and flashlights through the super tight twisty sections was super cool to see. I wish I had had a video camera! By the time we got out of the triangle I was feeling great but for some reason the dark was fucking with my head and I was reluctant to pass anyone. I figured as soon as I stepped off the trail to pass I would fall on my ass, so I just stayed behind the conga line until the trail opened up on a hill and then I was able to get by a few people.
I finished 10th female... not my best effort but it was fun and showed me that I need to do a lot more running at night. I felt pretty timid and the LED light was messing with my vision, so maybe a combo of regular light and LED is the way to go. I will also wear a bandanna on my head underneath my headlamp, I was sweating so much it was slipping down. Afterwards everyone hung out and ate Popsicles and drank beer and socialized. I wish we could do 1 night race a month!

Thanks to the ever wonderful Dick Ross at for the pictures

Pikes Peak

Continuing on my Colorado vacation theme of running some of my favorite places to hike when I was a wee one, I ran Pikes Peak on Tuesday Aug 5. Well, I ran to Barr Camp (1/2 way) anyway. I was lazy and slept in a bit so I didn't actually get on the mountain until about 7:30, which was too late of a start to consider doing the whole round trip. I was crossing my fingers and hoping I was altitude adjusted enough not to get sick and also hoping that I could be quick enough to get back down before the afternoon storms rolled in. I was carrying a long sleeve shirt in my Nathan pack but I'd just prefer to avoid the storms and the heart attack inducing lightning strikes that can happen on the Peak.
I started up slowly into the first switchbacks, and by the time I hit the first 1/2 mile there were a ton of runners coming back down. Running up the incline and then running back down Barr Trail is a popular morning run and since the Pikes Peak marathon was only a few weeks away, I was spending a lot of time giving way. I know that technically uphill runners have the right of way, but on the loose scree it's a lot easier for me to step aside and some of those runners were flat out flying. I took a mile detour over to the Incline trail to watch people coming up for awhile, I was kinda hoping for a Matt Carpenter sighting, but no such luck. I chatted with a woman from Michigan for a few minutes, she was asking about my Nathan pack and I was more than happy to extol it's virtues to her.
After a few minutes of watching gasping, sweating people struggle up the hill, I made my way back to Barr Trail and continued upwards, at this point I started passing people going up but no one was coming back down yet. I passed a woman with a light day pack on and a comb in her hand, and periodically she would stop walking and comb her hair! I slowed way down to watch for a few minutes... it was the oddest thing I had ever seen.
It was a gorgeous, peaceful morning, temps in the low 80's and most importantly low humidity... I was loving running for hours without ending up drenched in sweat. I was enjoying running by myself and had kinda gotten into a bit of a trance when I rounded a switchback and up ahead of me, I saw what I thought was a bear. I stopped dead, let out a squeak and as my heart raced madly, I realized it was just a big furry black dog. Scared the bejesus out of me. These are the times I wish I had a Garmin 305 with the heart rate monitor just so I could see what kind of spike I had gotten. I gratefully patted the dog as I passed him and expressed my relief to his owner. The rest of the way up was uneventful, except for losing my bright pink bandanna. When I realized I had dropped it, I just figured I'd find it on the way back down instead of backtracking.
When I reached Barr Camp, I used the bathroom, which were the NICEST things. They were composting toilets and were meticulously maintained, there wasn't a bug or piece of dirt, or even a bad smell in there. I was tempted to take a picture, but figured that might be a bit too weird. I ate a Lara bar and cleaned out my shoes while watching all the hikers mill around. I spent a few minutes talking to Teresa who along with her husband, Neal are the caretakers at Barr Camp.. they are both ultra runners and we talked races... she was hoping to do Heartland but it filled up too quick. I moved on when a bunch of hikers showed up with questions, but not before telling Teresa that I'd kill for her job! The idea of living half way up my favorite mountain year round taking care of hikers & runners.... woah, talk about a dream job! Cold & snow and all!
I headed back down at a quick clip... the last time I ran down this mountain I couldn't walk for a week, so I was really hoping this time would be different! I wasn't a 1/2 mile down when I heard the first thunder come rumbling through the trees.... I looked up and sure enough, dark, cranky looking clouds... I picked up my pace even more. It felt like flying at times, and luckily it only felt like flying... I remained solidly on my 2 feet instead of spread eagle on my face. As I pounded down the trail I was keeping an eye out for my bandanna that I had dropped, and at one point folded up nicely under a tree was a bandanna... but it was purple, not my pink one. I kept going and not a mile further there was another bandanna in the middle of the trail, and this one was pink, but it was a light pink instead of the dark pink I had dropped. Very odd. I never found mine, all I can figure is that someone decided that they would rather have my pink one and exchanged it for theirs.
By the time I had reached the lower switchbacks I was starting to get comments from hikers about how I was looking great and good luck at the race. I guess the assumption was I had to be training for the marathon... which I'd like to do someday... maybe. I'm not sure I would like being that crowded on the trail. I finished up before the rain hit and was amazed at how many hikers were just starting out, ominous clouds and thunder rumbles and all. I guess if you're only going a short way up it wouldn't be bad, but I hoped they were prepared!
I was thrilled at how good I felt after finishing, I never even felt the altitude and my quads felt great after the 7 mile descent. I did not want to fly home the next day!!

I managed to get up early enough to do an easy 5 mile run with Dad at Ute Valley Park before leaving for DIA. I wanted to run longer but decided that getting a shower in before boarding the plane would be a good thing. Although.... it might have meant getting a row to myself.... hmmm, something to consider for the future!