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