Monday, April 27, 2009

Freestate 100K April 25 2009

Saturday dawned warm, overcast and breezy... I was pretty happy to see the clouds since at one point the weather folks were calling for close to 90 degree temps.. but by the end of the day I would be cursing those same clouds. I spent the night at my friend Christy's house so I could get an extra hour of sleep, and we had spent the evening getting drop bags together so the morning was all about eating and getting dressed and getting out the door. I wore my awesome, amazing, supremely bright tie dye print skirt from Moeben... I had been saving it for this race and pairing it with my Atayne shirt, matching tie dye sleeves from Shannon at Moeben, Drymax max pro socks, and dirty girl gaiters I was feeling pretty unbeatable!

This was the first time I wasn't going to have a crew for a long race, because my regular crew Christy, Debbie and Laurie were all racing today too! All 3 of them are training for Mt Hood 50 miler, so they opted for the 40 mile option and their longest distance yet. Drop bags were a new thing for me since with an amazing crew, I had never felt the need for them before. I had spent a few days of putting stuff in bags and taking things out until I got fed up and decided whatever the heck was in there come 7 am on Saturday would have to do. I wasn't overly worried since I knew the aid stations would rock, but I have a few special things I want during a race, once those were in, I was good to go.

The time before the start went by in a blur of greeting friends, checking in and talking, talking, talking. One of my favorite bloggers Ken aka Trail Zombie was there to do the 40 miler and then jump in his car and drive back to Oklahoma to do a marathon on Sunday... he's crazy like that!! With a "GO", we were off into the trails, it was a slow start as everyone had to file on the single track but I wasn't in any hurry. I was hoping to finish somewhere between 12-14 hours, I knew it was going to depend on just how muddy the trail was and how hot it got in the afternoon. We had had quite a bit of rain in the weeks leading up to the race, and only a few days of dry out time.. the white trail usually dries pretty quick but I figured the lower blue trail would still be a soupy mess.
I settled into a comfortable group including Nick, Mircea, Lee, Danny, Pat, Debbie, Brad and others I would only be able to identify by the backs of their legs. We stuck together for quite awhile with people joining up and then dropping off periodically. I was feeling great, which made me VERY happy... I hadn't had a good run in weeks and was feeling pretty freaked out leading up to the race. I've been dealing with shin & calf pain and would have to stop and stretch a lot on most runs so it was such a freeing feeling to not have that pain. In no time at all we were at the first aid station (Lands End) which was run by Kyle & Stacy Amos, Caleb Chatfield & Rick Mayo... they run an AMAZING aid station, and are some of the nicest people in the area. I swear they make you feel like a rockstar. Luckily for all the runners you hit this aid station twice a lap and since they are all experienced ultra folks, if you are having ANY problems the chances are good that they can help. With a big handful of watermelon and their cries of encouragement ringing in my ears, I was off again. The 3.5 miles to the next aid station was one of the muddiest sections of trail... but it always is, so I was expecting it. I slipped and slid and tried to run as much as possible, but there were sections that I felt like risking a twisted ankle for a bit of time was not worth it, so I walked through some of the worst.

The other manned aid station is run by KUS (Kansas Ultrarunners Society) every year and a big hug from Stacy Sheridan makes all the hurts go away! It takes a special person to not flinch when a sweaty, salty, smelly runner gives you a big hug, but that woman seems to relish those hugs. I filled up on more water, watermelon and Stacy hugs and continued down the trail. Watermelon is the best ultra fuel for me and getting a big handful at every aid station ensured a big boost for me and an increase in speed. I finished the first loop in 3:59, which made me very happy, fueled back up on watermelon and headed out for the 2nd lap. I was by myself as I started this loop so I stuck my iPod on, sunk into the music and tried to keep a steady pace going (even through the mud). I wasn't feeling quite as spunky this lap, the humidity was pretty wicked and the trail was getting more and more churned up. The course takes us right along the shoreline of the lake for a section and it's super rocky and technical, but gorgeous and it took my mind off the burgeoning aches and pains.

Shortly after the shoreline trail ends I hit the Lands End Aid Station and got my boost from the watermelon and friends, unfortunately it didn't last long and I really felt like I was slogging along. I had hit a low spot and was wallowing in it, even catching up to Gary Henry, one of my favorite Trail Hawks couldn't bring me up... I was dizzy and hurting and was looking for a reason to quit. I fell off from Gary's pace and ended up by myself again wallowing in my self pity and had pretty much convinced myself that I was going to drop to the 40 mile race when I got to the finish. It also didn't help that I was lapped by the 100K winner near the end of this loop... dude was over 20 miles ahead of me... even if I had been feeling good it still would have been a blow to the ego. I dragged myself into the start/finish area in 8:35 feeling supremely sorry for myself and looking for someone to give me a reason to drop.

I acted like I was going back out... filled up my pack with food, messed with my sock and talked to Nick who had finished the 40 miler 30 minutes or so before. As I chatted, Sophia handed me a black bean burger and I ate about 1/2 it, took a caffeine pill and another handful of watermelon and started to wander back towards the trail. No one had given me a good reason to quit so I headed back out on the trail. DAMN! Once my feet were on the trail, there was no way I would quit, so I resigned myself to finishing the damn race. I pulled out my cell phone and gave my husband a quick call to give him a better ballpark finishing time and warned him that this last loop could be real slow. He was going to be coming out to see me finish and bringing a couple of my favorite friends Mac and Angela, so I told them to bring plenty of beer since they might be waiting on me awhile! A few minutes after I got off the phone, the typical ultra thing happened and I got my second wind... I believe I yelled "let's rock this bitch" as I took off running. Sometimes all we need out of life is some caffeine, good food and a loved one's voices. A few miles later the thunder and lightning started and then my iPod decided to be funny by playing Eurthymics "Here Comes the Rain Again".. ha ha!

A few minutes later as I was running along the shoreline trail the tornado sirens started going off. I cast a quick look around, didn't see any funnels so kept going... when I hit the Lands End aid station they were getting everything under one tent and cleaning up a bit so I grabbed some more ice and water and watermelon from Brett who had taken over Kyle's spot and got out of there along with Lee and Willie from Topeka. We kinda discussed what we would do if a tornado rolled through and joked about it and then I was feeling quite good and took off. The sirens kept going off and it was eerie to hear them all through out town and over the water. About this time the lightning was getting really bad, I kept looking around me but in such thick tree cover there was not really any way to tell if a twister was creeping up. My iPod decided that this was the best time to play REM's song "It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I feel fine).
At one point there was a lightning strike close enough to raise all the hair on my body and rattle my teeth and I whooped in surprise and heard an answering yelp from behind me.. I think we were all starting to worry a bit! I normally would never answer my cell phone during a race (hell, I don't usually even carry it during a race!) but when it started ringing I grabbed it and it was my friends Mac and Angela and they were freaking out.... the conversation went like this:
me: (pant pant) HI!
them: holy shit! Are you OK???
me: um, yeah..
them: where are you??
me: I dunno, somewhere on the trail... the tornado sirens are going off.
them: NO SHIT! we're watching the news and there is serious shit going down in the park right now.. there's even someone on the phone calling from the race in a tornado shelter! They are telling everyone at the park to take cover.
me: huh, well.. (crack! boom!) um, I'm OK, but the lightning is really close, I'm going to get off the phone now. BYE!
them: YOU'RE CRAZY!!!
So then the rain started coming down really hard, but I was having fun.. and was REALLY glad I didn't quit after 40 miles! The only spot I was really nervous was when you break out of the trees and cross an open dam. I hauled ASS over that dam... when you are on it, you're the tallest thing around.... not where you want to be during lightning!!
About this time Deb Johnson caught up with me and we ran together and talked about how crazy the weather was but about 1/2 mile from the KUS aid station, one of the volunteers intercepted us and told us that we were done.. the race had been called off. We were both pretty darn bummed but knew better then to try and argue. I wished that I had been able to run a bit faster during the 2nd lap because most of the people that were already past the KUS aid station were able to finish. They hauled 6 or 7 of us back to the finish in the back of a pickup and we were treated to a bit of hail on the way back. Anyone who had big trucks were deployed to get the runners back to the finish area.
When I got back I was treated to HUGE hugs from Nick, Laurie and Debbie who were all very glad to see I was OK. I never really felt afraid but I guess there was a twister touchdown on the lake and someone (not with the race) got struck by lightning on one of the dams. The rangers had everyone they could round up herded in the storm shelters, I think it was worse on anyone not actually running!! I hosed pounds of mud off me and watched as some of the lucky 100kers finished. Luckily for the logistics of it all, the marathoners and most of the 40milers were done so there was a minimal amount of people on the trails when it all went down. Ben gave those of us that got pulled 40 mile finisher medals and apologized for having to pull us, but as disappointed as I am, I can't fault him. I wouldn't have wanted to make the call.
I got 51.5 miles in.... not a bad days work even if it wasn't quite what I had planned for. All my Trail Hawk friends that were doing the 40 mile distance for the first time did awesome! Debbie, Christy, Laurie, Mircea, Pat all ROCKED it! I'm sooooo very proud of them all! And I'm truly grateful that they all got a chance to finish.. while I'm disappointed for me, this was not a target race for me and while I haven't ever done a 100k, since I've done over that I know I can do it. As always, the volunteers were spectacular and as always I'm very aware that my success in finishing these things is very much due to those wonderful people. I could never express my thankfullness to everyone involved with these races! My fabulous husband and friends also get my hearfelt thanks and love for putting up with my strange obsession and even encouraging it!

I do need to note that even though my feet spent 11.5 hours completely soaked and immeresed in mud I did not have a single blister!! I am a total Drymax convert and will be buying a few more pairs of the max pro socks. YAY! My Moeben skirt was also killer and as soon as Shannon starts selling them I'm going to pick up a few more. I LOVE running in skirts but in this one I totally forgot I had anything on.. it's that comfortable. Everyone commented on it and if I had had a trunk full of them I'm sure I could have sold 20 of them. I'm taking great satisfaction in getting clothing, shoe and nutrition choices dialed in. I still have plenty of work to do with nutrition but it's getting there. Ah geez... I just realized that this counts as a DNF! Well, crap!

*pictures "stolen" from Dick Ross at and the mud photo stolen from Ken

Friday, April 24, 2009

On Wednesday my very sweet friend Beck sent me a Happy Runniversary email, she remembered that it is a year ago this weekend that I ran my first marathon. After finishing it I thought maybe this year I'd be doing the 40 mile option.. I really didn't think that I'd be doing the 100k and would have already finished a 100 miler. Last year at this time, I was telling myself that no matter what.. I was going to finish.. if I had to drag myself over the finish line on all fours, I was going to finish. Luckily the dramatics were not necessary, but it's the same mantra I've used going into all my new distances. I found a quote from Sri Chinmoy in another blog that sums up how I feel: Give up giving up. Obviously, if I am injured I will DNF a race, but going in with the mind fully engaged and with no thought of failure is one of the most important things I can do to ensure my success.
I'm not sure what to expect this weekend, I don't feel like my training has been very quality but I know that I will not give up. I'm very excited for a bunch of my friends and running partners this weekend, there are a lot of them that are testing themselves with new distances and I wish I could ensure that they will suceed... but all I can do is to remind them to keep going and to smile while doing it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Lawrence Trail Hawks rule!! On Saturday they spent hours cleaning up the trails at Clinton Lake so they looked pretty for the Freestate race this weekend. I am ashamed to admit that I was supposed to be there but had to work instead. My heart was with them even though my body was elsewhere. They cleaned up 16 full 30 gallon bags (and 4 bags full of recyclables) but we still have a lot to do... luckily one of the aims of the Lawrence Trail Hawks is some serious trail love. So it may have been our first trail clean up but it certainly won't be our last!

I'm in taper mode for Freestate 100k on Saturday and I'm frankly freaking out. I'm not feeling like I have the mileage in for this race, which is probably just a figment of my taper crazed brain. I've been spending my non running time doing things like: washing my Nathan pack, cleaning my Garmin watchband, and digging mud out of the crevices in my toenails. I'm much better off when I run. While I'm looking forward to this race, I'm almost ready for it to be over with. I'm ready to hit Leadville training really hard and I feel like Freestate (and the weather) has kinda been a roadblock to it. After this weekend though I can lay out a good schedule and get on it! The weather forecast for the rest of the week calls for sunny skies and warm temps which are a godsend.... our trails are really muddy and wet right now. Saturdays forecast is 75 and sunny.... it's gonna be a warm and hopefully a dry one!

(i stole the pictures from Gary "Story Hawk" Henry and his blog at

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rough weekend

My weekend didn't go exactly how I planned it, which can make me kinda cranky. First off my planned Friday morning 20+ miler with Gary and Christy got rained out. I don't object to running in the rain normally, but combined with the cold, noone was feeling it. I'm really, really ready for some warm, dry spring weather!! I waited till the rain cleared up in the early afternoon and went out to Wyco and did some hill work... on the (eek!) pavement!! I haven't run on the pavement in months and months! The 6 1/2 mile loop of the lake has some nice, long, steady climbs and if you can avoid the drunk fishermen, it's not a bad paved loop to do. I'm going to try hitting it at least once a week after Freestate... hills are the focus of my training from here on out... Leadville is going to chew me up and spit me out if I don't get really serious. This week I did 2 days of hill repeats and 2 days of cranked incline treadmill walking and I'm hoping to add at least one more treadmill day in the week.

Saturday I got up extra early to pick up a friend of a friend for our usual group run. Brian was visiting from St Louis and is doing his first ultra at Berryman in May, so we had a bunch to talk about while driving to Lawrence. There was a pretty good crowd for the group run, mud not withstanding. It was a gorgeous, sunny morning but unfortunately for me, my legs were shot. Shot, shot, shot. I could hardly keep up and then I took a nice fall into the mud, which made me cranky and then I had to "see a man about a horse", so I lost total contact with the group. Lands End at 6.5 miles is where we normally regroup and sure enough everyone waited for my crabby ass. Instead of continuing on to 15 miles with everyone else, I decided to just turn around by myself and only get in 13... I knew I was just going to be struggling and was irritated enough that I wouldn't even be good company.
On the way back, my attitude got a bit better but my legs were still really tired, it's definitely time to taper! I chatted for a brief moment with a guy training for FreeState also, we expressed hope that the mud would dry up before then... I also was passed by David Wakefield, he was flying along the ground like the mud was of no consequence. When I got back to the car, I de-mudded myself and settled down in a camp chair to enjoy the sun and wait for everyone else to make it back. While I was sitting there I noticed a woman runner checking out the map board so I yelled over that she should stay on the white trail since it was much less muddy. That prompted a conversation, and it turned out Laurie was visiting from Texas and had run Rocky Raccoon 100 also! Total small world! We talked for awhile and then she had to get running since she only had 2 hours before her ride would be back to pick her up. It was nice to make that connection and we expressed the hope that we would meet up next year at Rocky.
Shortly after that, everyone starting filtering back and Brian & I packed up to get back to KC. Nick had taken good care of him and Brian expressed that he had a great time... it was his first group run and I'm hoping that he'll hook up with the SLUGS when he gets back to St Louis.

When we got back to KC, it was brunch time at Mac and Angela's.. we were celebrating Abby's birthday and then in the afternoon they were going to go pet baby cows at the Shatto Farm. Mac & Angela made an awesome fruit salad and roasted veggies, which really hit the spot after the run. The best part of the day was seeing the expression on Abby's face when Angela brought out her big present... we had all chipped in on a Kitchen Aid mixer. Abby had been dropping hints and out and out pleading for one for awhile now, so she was a bit overwhelmed. It was sweet!

On Sunday, Gary announced the formation of a new trail running group based in Lawrence... the Lawrence Trail Hawks! I figured since I run in Lawrence at least 3 times a week, this is the trail group for me. I was the first KC member and my trail name is "lil' big hawk"... Gary has been assigning names to everyone as they join. We're going to clean up the Clinton lake trails on Saturday in time for next week's races. I'm really excited about this group.. should be a good time with good people!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rockin K trail marathon April 4 2009

Bless me father for I have sinned. I have ignored one of the cardinal rules of running..... Respect the distance. Since Rocky Raccoon I have been feeling kinda cocky.. nay.. very cocky.... I mean I finished a 100 miler and in fairly good shape too.. that means I'm kinda badass, right? HAH!
I signed up for Rockin' K back in February... ever since I started trail running I've been hearing stories about this race. Gary Henry is one of the biggest pushers of the race, he kept telling me (and anyone else who might listen) how gorgeous and fun but tough Rockin K is. I heard stories about chest high stream crossings in 14 degree weather, I heard that the numbers are actually ear tags from cows, but I also heard about how well the RD's Stacy and Phil Sheridan will treat you and how well taken care of you will be. I think I also heard something about it being a tough course, but somewhere that must have slipped my mind.

I signed up for the marathon instead of the 50 miler since the Freestate 100k is only 3 weeks away and I had also heard stories about how difficult it is to head out on the second lap at this race. There was a lot of Kansas City people heading out, most were doing the marathon but a few hardy souls went for the 50. My ultra buddy Nick did the 50, he's trying to do 30 ultras before he turns 30 so he has to take advantage of every ultra he can. The week of the race, I sinned... I thought to myself, "it's ONLY a marathon.. no big deal.. I won't even bother to taper for this, after all I do 30 mile training runs regularly" BAD COLEEN! BAD! I did my regular shorter runs during the week, cranked incline treadmill power hikes , started working out using the rowing machine and to top it off on Wednesday I did a 20 miler. My only concession to the race was taking Friday off. Unfortunately due to my hectic, crazy weekend which I already blogged about, I wasn't able to drive down to the race until the morning off... so off I went at 3 am with only 3 hours of sleep and a heavy training week in my legs.
A thermos of coffee and 3.5 hours later, I was parking at Kanopolis State park and getting my packet from Nick and Laurie who had so graciously picked it up for me the night before. I checked in and stood around the fire for awhile talking with anyone in range. (Coffee makes me kinda chatty). At this point RD Stacy Sheridan grabbed me and told me that she stuck some extra RawRevolution Vegan bars in my race bag... she was concerned that there wouldn't be enough for me to eat at the aid stations..... I was blown away. Not only did this delightful woman know that I was vegan, she was truly worried that I would go hungry. WOAH! And then to top it off, she informed me that they had made up a batch of vegan bean soup for the finish line too. I felt like a rockstar!!! In a happy daze, I wandered out of the camp shelter to the start line.. Phil gave us some instructions like... follow striped flags on the way out and checkered flags on the way in.. got it!
We took off on a small section of pavement before turning onto the trails.. it was a gorgeous morning... sunny, windy, a bit cool but it was supposed to be in the 60's later on. I was wearing a skirt, short sleeve Atayne shirt, Moeben armwarmers and a lightweight long sleeve Atayne shirt over it all. The trail was in very good shape for just having gotten snowed on earlier in the week... there was some muddy sections but nothing ridiculous. It was amazing how just 3.5 hours away from Kansas City, the trails were so very different.... the soil was much more like Colorado and even the rock formations were very Garden of the Gods like. It was a great morning to be running with friends, I started out with Laurie but at some point she dropped back and was running with Nick and I ended up in a threesome with Deb and Debbie. We were moving together well and enjoying each others company and ended up sticking together the whole race. There were lots of water crossings, some were jump able, some were most definitely NOT, and most were also very muddy. I was wearing my Drymax max pro socks, I had been warned that the feet would be wet most of the day, and when I peeled them off after the race, the socks were muddy, soaked and gross but my feet were blister free! YES!
The course is wide open, lots of prairie, rolling hills and open bluffs and unfortunately for us, wind, and it was howling. As we were going through one farm gate, a gust of wind blew me into a barbed wire wrapped fence post and I skewered my hip. I was pretty sure my last tetanus shot was still valid so I didn't panic, but it did bruise up nicely.
The first 13.1 miles went quickly with lots of talking with old friends and new runners and marveling at the gorgeousness. The first manned aid station was at 13 miles and we quickly refilled water packs, I grabbed some oranges, and bananas and also hit the bathroom. Since the aid station is in the middle of nowhere, they had a camp toilet set up... a small tent with a toilet set on a stand and a bag. I had never pooped in a bag before! I had been warned that the bathroom had already blown over a few times, so I took care of business super fast. We headed out on a loop section that would bring us back to the same aid station in 5 miles, The Debs and i picked up Gary at the aid station and he ran with us for awhile. It's always fun to run with Gary, he tells great stories and he'll sprint ahead to take pictures and then join us again and then do it again and again, he's also done the race enough times that he knows the nitty, gritty details. The 5 mile loop section was ridiculously windy.. windy enough that many times it would literally blow me off the trail and we started joking about loading me up with rocks to hold me down. It also had some of the most amazing scenery and killer climbs too. Definitely the best part of the race!
By the time we hit the aid station again, my legs were feeling pretty toasted and the wind was sapping our energy. We loaded up with food and water again and headed for the last 8 miles. By this point we were walking up all the hills, the wind was not giving us any breaks and it seemed like it was always in our faces. The Debs really got me through the last section, my legs were total and complete toast, my right hip were I had run into the barbed wire was stiffening up, and the wind had sucked all life out of me. We tried to encourage each other and just keep moving forward.
When we reached the last big water crossing, it was deep, deep and moving along quickly. Debbie is quite a bit taller then me and volunteered to go first.. if it came to her chest, I was going to find a beaver damn to cross instead. Luckily it only came to her hips so Deb and I waded in... it was frigid but felt awesome on the legs, the water came up halfway between my waist and armpits so luckily no swimming for me! I was so tired by this point that I just wanted to be done.. this marathon was kicking my ass. It was about this point that any cockiness had washed away and I realized the folly of my sins. Respect the distance.. and LISTEN when people tell you it's a difficult course. I finished in 5:49, and I was more tired after 26.2 then after any of the 50ks.

That said, I can't wait to do it again next year... but I will be smarter and more prepared! It is an amazingly gorgeous course, it was VERY well marked, the aid stations were excellent, the volunteers rocked my world, and the race directors rule! What more can you want from a race? (And for the record, I totally have a crush on Phil and Stacy Sheridan.. they rule!!)
I spent an hour or so hanging out at the finish line, sharing stories, relaxing and eating 3, or maybe 4 bowls of vegan black bean soup. It was great to see everyone either coming in to the finish or loading up to go back out. Nick looked great when he came in at the end of his first loop and finished the 50, thanks to Laurie's help and some pacing from his dog Roxy. It was with great reluctance that I packed up to head back to KC... I could have spent all afternoon talking with the runners and helpers.

The pictures are courtesy of Gary Henry and many more can be found at his website along with lots of other ultra running info!

Monday, April 6, 2009

crazy busy

Last week was one of the crazy ones.. every once in a while I get a week where it seems like I don't sit down and this was once of them. At least training has been going well, on Wednesday I went for a 20 mile run with Christy at Clinton Lake. In hindsight, not one of my smartest moves.. I knew I was running a marathon at Rockin K on Saturday, but I figured since I was only using it as a training run, I wouldn't bother to taper or even slightly rest for it. (stoopid, stoopid) Christy and I had a great time, it was nice weather and the trails were only mildly muddy.

As we were running along we were discussing the fact that it was April Fools Day and one of us came up with the idea of making some prank phone calls while out on the run. Somehow in the haze of endorphins this seemed like the BEST IDEA EVER! So when we got to the 10 mile turn around we called one of our running friends, Gary. Now as a bit of background, Gary is notorious for playing awful pranks on his poor wife on April Fools Day, so we figured we'd test things out on him and try and get some revenge for poor Karen. I called his work number and commenced with hysteria when he picked up.. I told him that Christy had fallen and blown out her knee and she couldn't walk, I couldn't get her off the trails and I didn't know what to do. Gary remained very calm, telling me to call 911 and get an ambulance out, and when I continued to be hysterical, offered to jump in his car and come get us. At that point we revealed the joke and thanked him for his willingness to come rescue us! It's nice to know that if there really was a problem I have friends to rely on! Gary took it in good grace and we told him it was our revenge for Karen.. we then called Karen and told her what we had done. She was very appreciative that someone had FINALLY gotten him! Buoyed by our success with Gary, we moved on to my husband... Christy called and told him I had fallen and there was bone showing and I was refusing to go to the hospital. I couldn't hold out long when she handed the phone to me and I let the cat out of the bag real quick. Let's just say that he wasn't as amused as Gary... and rightfully so! That wasn't enough so we did the same thing to Christy's boy friend and unfortunately I talked a bit too long while spinning my yarn.. long enough that he was able to leave the gym where he was working out and get in his car to head to Lawrence. He wasn't very amused either when the joke was revealed. Needless to say we both felt really bad for putting some really great guys through that trauma. Next year I'll just do the fake crap on the pillow trick.

Anyway the run went great, it took us a bit longer then usual because we spent so much time talking on the phone instead of running! As we were a mile from the cars we ran into the usual Wednesday night group run including poor Gary so we got to give him a hug and apologize in person. He then tried to talk us into playing a prank on Karen. The man is incorrigible!! Kristen turned around and ran back with us to the cars and we got a chance to hear all about her new lab puppy.. which meant there was much squealing on the trails. She can't wait till the puppy is old enough to run with!

Thursday afternoon I spent at the gym with my friend Angela learning how to use the rowing machine properly. Angela rowed for Sarah Lawrence so I figured if anyone could show me how to get the most out of the machine it was her! I have found that I don't really like spending much time in the weight room so rowing a few times a week will work my core and arms and legs in addition to giving me a cardio workout too. I can go to the gym at 6 am, get in an hour of rowing and still run in the evenings. Done right, that machine is an ass kicker! After Angela schooled me good, we went to help her wife (Mac) hang up her paintings for an art opening on Saturday... I got to use a cute 5 lb sledgehammer to drive nails into brick... I LOVE playing with power tools and big hammers!!

Friday night was First Fridays in the Crossroads Art District and Angela and my friend Slimm combined forces and had an amazing exhibition of rock photography. They are both incredibly talented and it was fascinating to see some of the same bands shot by each of them. It was a big ol' party and lots of my favorite people were there and then my favorite band played... The Gaslights have the sexiest bass player ever! (and lucky for me, I get to wake up next to him every morning! woot!) The Gaslights put on an amazing show.. some new songs, some old favorites and 2 covers... you've never heard "Money Changes Everything" by Cyndi Lauper until you've heard it sung by Abby... it'll blow your hair right off and break your heart at the same time. And one of the most exciting parts of the night came when Mac talked Michelle, the owner of Davey's into booking our band for a show in August! Our very first one!!! YAY! Happiness and total terror all at the same time. I had to scoot home as early as possible so I could get up at 2:30 am and drive 3.5 hours to Kanopolis State Park to race (race report coming soon).

Saturday I got up at 2:30, drove 3.5 hours, did the race thing, slurped down a few bowls of vegan black bean soup and raced 3.5 hours back to Kansas City, jumped in the shower and got ready for another evening of chaos. First off we headed to Mac's art opening at the Brick.. she paints these huge canvases... all abstract, gorgeous with soothing colours. She has 3 of them I could see on my walls. Unfortunately we couldn't stay for long because we had to be our friend Louise's 40th birthday party at 7:30. Off we went to Lenexa, had a few beers, a lot of laughs and a great time and had to scoot out of there a bit before 9 to make it to Czar Bar where the Gaslights were playing again. Another fun evening with lots of great people, amazing music and a beer or 2. By the time the show had wrapped up, I was dead on my feet. I had been up for 23 hours, driven 7 hours, run a marathon, and stood around in high heels all night. Put a fork in me, I was done. I managed to roll into bed at exactly the same time I had gotten out that morning.
Needless to say I spent most of Sunday sleeping in and napping and then napping some more. I also spent some time playing my bass... terror is a great motivator! I had a great weekend but I'm really glad every weekend isn't like that.. I'm too old for it!