Sunday, January 25, 2009

Last Friday I was able to talk 7 people into doing a super fun night run in the snow. I wanted to get in one more all night run before Rocky, so I conned 5 of the other Rocky runners and 2 just plain crazies to join me. We met at 11pm at Clinton Lake.. which technically was closed for the evening, so it gave the run a bit more of a "dangerous" thrill! The original plan was to bang out 24 miles and then go grab some breakfast somewhere, nap in our cars for 30 minutes or so and then join the regular Saturday morning group run for 10 more miles. The first wrench in the plans came when we tried to get to the trail access place where we planned to stash some water and provisions but the road was closed. So instead of doing a large 24 mile loop we decided to just do 2 10 mile loops and a short out and back section so we could grab aid out of our cars. The other wrench in the plans came the morning of the run.. Mother Nature decided to give us a nice new coating of fresh powder.. only a couple of inches but it slowed us down considerably.
We met up and got the loop plans worked out and started out.. temps were in the upper 20's so as long as we were moving we were OK, but if we stopped for too long the icy wind made things COLD. The plan was to stay together so we went out at an easy pace.. the footing was pretty slippery and the snow hid the rocks very well so a slow easy pace was needed. We had a few tumbles through out the night but luckily nothing serious. The moon was a gorgeous bright orange crescent rising through the trees, but it was hard to spend any time admiring it.. one wrong look and boom! You were gonna tumble on the slippery rocks. The run was filled with silly stories, songs and much Rocky discussion. 4 of us are first time 100 milers so we had lots of questions for Gary, who did it last year. Actually Gary DNF'd last year at Rocky so he's ready for revenge. After we finished the second 10 mile loop we decided to bag the last couple of miles, since we were all so darn cold.
We threw on some warmer clothes and headed to IHOP for some food and coffee! The waitress wasn't sure what to make of us.. bleary eyed and salt covered demanding much coffee. When Gary told her what we had been doing she simply raised an eyebrow, said "uh-huh" and walked away. I'm sure the overnight shift is filled with crazy people, so a bunch of night runners would be downright normal.
We warmed up, ate our fill and 4 of us headed back out to Clinton Lake. The 2 non Rocky runners went home to get sleep and 1 guy had his kids basketball game to get to. I curled up in a blanket and cranked the heat in my car and dozed for about 45 minutes until a friend knocked on my window. I put on dry shoes, hat and gloves and headed out with the group. I was amazed at how good I felt, at least for the first 6 miles... after that I was pretty wupped. I finished up the run with Christy and Lisa.. Christy was finally coming back from a knee injury and Lisa who had never run more than 5 miles before. We took it easy and engaged in much girl talk and enjoyed the run.
I headed for home as soon as we were done, and crawled into bed for a few hours of sleep before having to be at work at 4 pm. It was a super fun way to get in 30 miles and helped me realize just how much I like running at night. Of course running at night after having run ALL day will be a much different thing I'm sure. I'm still scared shitless, but oddly enough I'm also feeling pretty darn ready for Rocky.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

yo-yo weekend

Friday's are one of my days off and it turned out to be a beautiful, sunny, 50+ degree day here in KC. I spent 7 hours of it on the trails, and it was GREAT! I haven't done over 24 miles in a single run since Nathaniel's Run in mid-November, so it was good to get in 30 miles and break that mental barrier again. My cough was receding and it was so glorious out, that I was bound and determined to get in a full 30. I hit the trails at Clinton Lake about 8 am and immediately things felt great, I whipped out a couple of quick miles and then slowed down to take advantage of the quickly warming day. At about 6.5 miles in, I stopped to water behind a bush and almost peed on a geocache container. I spent a few minutes investigating it, and signed the logbook, I didn't take anything 'cuz I had nothing to leave in return. (Unless of course the geocachers would be interested in salt caps or a gu packet.)

At about the 10 mile mark, it had warmed up enough that I was getting downright hot so I stopped to take off my long sleeve shirt. Stupidly I hadn't worn a short sleeve one underneath so I was going to be exposing my pasty winter white skin in my sports bra to the poor creatures of the woods. Luckily up to now, all the creatures I had seen where of the 4 legged variety, but as soon as I had doffed my shirt, down the trail came an older couple walking their dog.. doh! At the 11.5 mile mark there is a trials course set up for mountain bikes and I always enjoy spending time playing around on the railroad ties and beams. I turned around at the 12 mile marker and headed back to my car for some food.... I ran out of water with 3 miles left so ended up being much slower due to thirst and some severe mud. When I got back to the car I dumped my Nathan Pack and grabbed my hand held bottle since I only had 6 miles left to do, I also ate and changed my shoes.

The shoe change was a big mistake... I had been wearing my La Sportiva FireBlade's which I absolutely adore, but I'm always open to other options and picked up a pair of Adidas Kanadias for super cheap on clearance. I've been wearing them here and there and while I'm not feeling the same love for them like my FireBlades, they haven't been awful.. until I hit the mud. These shoes are total and complete shite when it comes to mud. I have NEVER had so much mud build up with no shedding on a shoe before. The last 6 miles of my run consisted of me running until I felt like I was running in spike heels then having to stop and scrape mud off the bottoms.. and repeat again and again for 6 miles. When I got back to the car I was ready to throw them across the parking lot. GRR! It was kinda a frustrating end to a GREAT run. By the time I left the park, the wind was starting to pick up a bit which was about to blow in a wicked cold front.

16 hours later I was back at Clinton Lake for our Saturday morning group run and it was a MUCH different scene.. groups of warmly dressed runners huddling behind trees to block the frigid wind.. the ooey, gooey, squishy mud was now frozen ruts that threatened to turn your ankle at every step. The turn out was great for such a cold morning though and we all started off in good spirits. On the tight switchback turns you could see everyone snaking though and we stuck together for a few miles but then broke up into smaller groups. Everyone made it to the 6.5 mile "Lands End" section where we stopped for a quick picture and then most everyone dropped down to the blue trail which would take them back to the parking lot with almost 10 miles for the day. The rest of us headed on to get in at least 20 for the day. In our group there was 4 of us doing Rocky Raccoon, so a lot of discussion was about that. I felt pretty good for the first 16 miles and then by the 17 mile mark, my legs turned to shit... I was tired, I could totally feel the 30 from the day before. We slogged on but the last mile turned into a power walk mile. I was wearing a pair of Inov8 Roclite 312's (with goretex to keep my feet nice and dry), and as much as I want to like these shoes they just don't work for me. I'm kinda sad to send them back since I want to like them so much, but they just don't feel comfortable on me. At some point in the future I'll try another model by them, but I think the FireBlades will be my Rocky choice.

Today I was going to go to the gym and do some fast, super incline treadmill walking, but my cough has come back in full force so I was merciful and spared the other gym goers. I'm not sure, but I have to imagine I would get kicked out of the gym for coughing up lung oysters and spitting 'em on the floor next to the treadmill. Instead I spent the day napping, drinking tea and getting myself ramped up by watching "Running on the Sun" and "Dancing the Bear".

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy New Year!

I can't believe it's January already! December always goes so darn fast when you work retail. I was looking back on December's training calender and there are way too many empty spots for someone about to run a 100 miler. Someone remind me next time to pick a race that doesn't involve training over the most stressful, sick time of the year! I have been sick on and off for over a month now and it's really pissing me off. Right now I'm in the middle of a 4 day no activity streak, and I'm going bonkers!!
Looking back over last year which was my first full year of running makes me rather happy.. I did my first marathon, 50K, and 50 miler. I also met some of the most amazing people and had some incredible times. I didn't quite hit 2000 miles for the year but it gives me a chance to smash that amount this year. 2008 as a whole was a pretty good one for me.. there are things that didn't go quite as I planned, but even bad things can take you in a good direction and that's what I'm hoping for 2009. Running will remain a constant, but there are some things that I want to change for this year and luckily it looks like my husband is on board with the same changes so we'll see.
Mid-year will see some big changes and I really want to do the Mt Hood 50 miler in July but that could be right in the middle of some upheaval, so I'm crossing my fingers for the best on that one. I know that I want to do Javelina Jundred on Halloween.. I'm already planning my costume! The Free State 100k is already on my calender.. can't resist my racing at my favorite place to train. The rest of my schedule is kinda open.. I know I want to take some trips home to Colorado and put some miles in there, whether it is racing or just running. Since I only hear good things about the Tatur-put on races, a trip to Oklahoma is very do-able too... so many choices, so little time and money!