Tuesday, December 31, 2013

peace out 2013...

i'd say 2013 has been a pretty productive running year.  i missed my december goal of 100 miles by a smidge but all in all i'm happy with my progress.  the last time i missed by the same smidge was in march.
these were my running goal miles for all of 2013 and as is evident in the picture to the right…  i made some, came close to others, and fully missed yet others altogether.  injury took ahold of me in the end of september and i only logged 7.23 miles in october but i came back strong to round the year out at a nice respectable 1,060.58 miles.  my goal for 2014 is to log more mileage than that but i don't have an actual number in mind.  

2013 has been a really rough year personally with some really overwhelming challenges.  i did live through it and come out alive so there's that.  i don't suspect 2014 will be any easier on my personal life but i have high hopes for the coming year.  i have HUGE goals and expect a lot of personal triumph!  i hope to stay injury free and emotionally sound.  i endeavor to conquer the marathon as well as the 50K!
i plan to grow in all ways that i can grow and nurture all the relationships that are important to me (new and seasoned) while letting go of the ones that do not serve me.  i will live mindfully and with intention.

which brings me to you… dear readers and friends.  what are your thoughts on 2013 and what are you looking forward to in 2014?  i don't really like resolutions so i'd rather we have goals as goals are something to strive for and keep us motivated to be always moving forward and upwards.  i suppose we can resolve to attain the goals we are setting forth but for me… it seems like when a person makes a resolution it is an absolute and then we always fail with absolutes.  there has to be wiggle room… there has to be room to fail.  without failure there is no growth.  amiright?

so… talk to me people!  what are your plans/goals/resolutions for the impending new year?

Saturday, December 21, 2013


today i was supposed to meet up with some of the LPTR folks to run a 15mi point to point (which, incidentally, i received my LPTR sticker last wednesday! officially part of the group!) on the ice age trail in heartland.  we were supposed to meet at the end point parking lot at 8am to carpool to the start point parking lot.  

turns out that jeff and i had it backwards and were at the start point lot at 8am and there was no one there.  we were worried that no one was coming so we decided we would go run "the usual" back in wales.  we drove back to where my car was parked in wales on the glacial drumlin trail and hopped on that and ran for about 1.5 miles until the turn off onto ice age which runs through lapham peak.  the out and back in lapham is about 7 miles making the run 10 total.  

it was tough running on the sheet of ice that has become the paved portion of the gd.  thank goodness that last night i outfitted my running shoes with screws!  what an amazingly cheap and inventive way of combating the ice/snow!  worked perfectly!  i used 3/8" hex screws which i got from home depot for a little over a buck a bag.  i think there were 8 in a bag so i bought two bags.  i placed the screws near the outside of the shoe so that i wasn't actually landing on them and that is where it seemed the shoes were the thickest.  i know there's a few "how to"s out there where they use way more screws but i found that this was enough for me.  i recommend trying this before going out and spending $$ on yaktraks or some other device that might not work as well and certainly won't be as cheap.  also… i didn't lose any screws on the run!  i believe that it is common place to lose some at some point so i'm really happy that i didn't lose any.

once in lapham it was breathtakingly beautiful!  hoarfrost covered the branches on all the trees and (since we're expecting a dumping of snow) the sky was bright white with heavy clouds.  it was magical! it is really a challenge to stay unhappy, stressed, or negative in any way when faced with such magnificent life.  it is humbling and has the ability to make a person really realize what's important in life.  at least for me.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

scoop of terrifying? sure, i'll have 2 please!

so… at noon today registration opened for the ice age 50.  i went running with friends at 9am on the indoor track at the pettit center which, incidentally, was WAY more awesome than running on the dreadmill but not quite as awesome as running outside in the world.  22 laps is around 6ish miles… i ran 20 because i have these awesome blisters on the ARCHES of both of my feet.  why do i have blisters in such a interesting place you may be asking…

well, i'll tell ya.

on friday i went shopping for winter (read gore tex) trail shoes so that my toes wouldn't freeze off from frost bite the next time i ran in the snow/cold weather.  this is because on wednesday i ran at lapham on the ice age trail in below zero temperatures in the dark at 6pm.  my toes were so cold it took around 2 miles for them to warm up enough that i could feel them.  then they hurt like it hurts when you run your cold skin under hot water after being outside in winter too long.  so i got all paranoid that i would get frost bite and decided i should invest in some winterized running shoes.  my mistake…

i went to 3 different stores and settled on a pair of salomon xr mission cs trail shoes.  
i was reluctant to purchase them but the dude selling them at rei assured me i could bring them back whenever.  i ran 10 miles saturday morning and about 1/2 way through my right arch felt like it was rubbing.  about 7 or 8 miles in and my left started to feel like it was rubbing.  it was uncomfortable but not terribly so and i finished the run cuz what else was i going to do on an out and back?  prolong the pain by walking back?  no thanks… so i got home and got those suckers off and lo and behold… a HUGE blister on the arch of my right foot and a smaller one on the arch of my left foot.  total bummer.  i showered and drained the blisters and decided that those shoes needed to go back pronto.  just a little word to the wise… rei does indeed take anything back within the first year if you are a member.  i returned those stupid things wet after having run in them for 10 miles.  so… thanks rei for being awesome and taking back a pair of $130 shoes that i hated.  later in the day my arches were hurting so bad that i found some blister band-aids and put those babies on.  felt much better!  

so this morning i went to the pettit to run on their track with some lady friends.  i was about 18 laps in when my right arch started to bother me so i was glad when kellie needed to go home so that i could stop at 20 laps.  got home and in the shower the band-aids were coming off… i pulled the right one off and was quite successful at leaving the skin intact.  i wasn't so careful with the left (because the blister was tiny) and that proved to be the wrong strategy because I PULLED THE BLISTER CLEAN OFF!  that freaking hurts!

but i digress…  the ice age 50K.

so after my shower it was almost time to sign up for the race.  registration opened at noon and i was reloading the page from about 11:57 on… it was true… didn't open until noon.  at noon i registered for the race and even tho' i got in there right away i still ended up being the 17th person registered!  the race then proceeded to fill up more than 1/2 way during the first hour (somewhere around 180) and was full within 2.  crazy!  now for the terrifying part.  I'M REGISTERED FOR A 50K!  i haven't even run a marathon yet!

for those of you who don't know (and/or don't want to look it up) that's 31.0686 freaking miles ON TRAILS! *gulp*  

i don't even know what sort of training i should do to prepare for this… i think i'm just going to run a lot and for a long time. ha!  training plan schmaining plan.  actually i already started a marathon training plan for the trail breaker marathon that i'm thinking of doing in april.  of course… i might not do that one because it's looking like i've got a lot on my plate already so far and it's not even 2014 yet!  i'm not really worried about covering the distance as much as i'm worried about my hydration and fuel.  i mean… i know they have tables of stuff throughout the course so i guess i don't need to worry but i've had so many issues with my gut in 2013 that it concerns me none the less.  i've finally gotten a good pre-race food thing going on and i don't want to compromise that by eating unworthy items on the trail during the race.  of course, i also don't want to carry a bunch of crap with me either so i think i'm going to rely on the latter to get me through this.  i've been experimenting with drinks too.  it seems to me that i do best on plain 'ol water.  first i was mixing gatorade and water and i think that was upsetting my stomach.  then i moved onto nuun but i'm not sure that does anything at all for me.  at least, i've not noticed any difference when i drink it or just plain water… so there's that.  i am just totally against carrying too much stuff with me.  i don't want to have to leave any clothing or things behind on the trail because i like my stuff which is why i have my stuff.  so i have to figure out a plan for my fuel/hydration.  the mileage i think i will be able to handle without a problem.  i'm going to ramp up training as soon as the snow is gone and work up to 2-3 laps on the black loop at least once a week in preparation. 

right now i'm at about 20 miles per week and i'm going to start upping that by 10% a week until i'm back at my fighting mileage.  so there are some plans in the works. 

but man oh man…

to think that just a few months ago i was telling jeff there was no way i'd even consider doing a 50K.  stick a little bug in my ear about something and i sure as hell will figure out a way that i can be up for the challenge.  maybe i'm too competitive for my own good?  i mean with myself mostly and others secondly.  i just want to prove that i can do it, do it well, and maybe try to do it better than others in the process.  doesn't make it any less terrifying tho' does it?

what does your race schedule look like?  are you stepping out of your comfort zone with any races in 2014?  doing anything that just a short time ago you wouldn't dream of trying?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

let's talk about the ice age 50K

is it naive, cocky, and/or overly confident to believe that i can complete a 50K trail race in under 5 hours? 

i mean... i can complete the black loop at lapham in (best time) 1:03 which is 6.5ish miles... with that said i think that finishing 31 trail miles in under 5 hours is doable.  i mean... the top 10 finisher (female) in 2013 finished between 4:04 and 5:29 so i think i should be able to do it.  this could just be my ignorance talking tho' but i don't see why it wouldn't work out like that?  i guess i don't really know how hilly the course is in comparison to lapham.  although, i have been reading every.single.race.report that exists on this race and it seems like i shouldn't have any problems running it in that time.  maybe in spring i'll start running 2 loops in lapham for preparation.  i've never gone into a race with a goal time that i didn't manage to squeak out on par or really close.   

so my question for you, dear readers, is this:  has there ever been a time where you had a goal finish in mind and it turned out that you were really really off in the estimation?  if so, why didn't you make the goal?  injury? too cocky? or just gross miscalculation?

talk to me people!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Santa Hustle 5K

Santa Hustle 5K - December 8, 2013

time = 23:47:67
pace = 7:40 average
placed 3rd in my age group (40-44) out of 94
placed 10th in women out of 988
placed 43rd overall out of 1353

after the drumstick dash last weekend i've been dreading this run for the simple fact that i have decided that racing in cold weather is not for me.  i love to run all year long but this racing… not a fan.

so i woke up around 4am (as is customary for me these days) and realized that i could sleep for another 2 hours so i went back to sleep.  i woke up bolt upright because i thought i was late and i was having some lame dream about something that i don't remember except that it has left me with an icky feeling so i know it wasn't a good dream.  when i woke up it was 6:15am and i was relieved because i wasn't late.  i got out of bed, took care of the dogs, used the bathroom, and had some juice, vitamins, and a banana which is also customary for me on a race day.
i layered up in enough stuff that i thought i'd be warm enough but not too warm when i was running and took this picture.  you can't really tell i guess but i'm wearing the following:
sports bra
tank top
long sleeve thermal
nike dri-fit 1/2 zip
north face summit series wind/water proof jacket
the santa hustle shirt

pair that with some smart wool knee high socks and running tights and i was good to go.  i'll just say right now that my butt was FREEZING as per usual in my running tights.  i wish lululemon made some super warm tights but no such luck for me…

moving on… i was meeting megan for the race.  today was her 34th birthday and she is IN LOVE with christmas so what better way to celebrate than with a santa run?  i arrived early because the race location was 1/2 hour from my house and i was worried about parking.  thankfully i got excellent parking and when megan arrived there was still some parking in the lot i was in so BONUS! we were close to each other AND no one had to pay for parking.  it was about 8am now and we decided to head to the porto-pottys.  i have never sat on a colder seat in all my life!  we wandered over to a huge blow up santa, took a picture
and decided it was far to cold to be standing around outside when we could go sit in the heated car so we went back to the car.  it was 20 degrees, overcast, and waiting for the snow to begin.  we sat in the car for another 10 minutes and then headed to the start.  we began walking towards the front and hit a green rope where they asked us if we would be running the whole time.  i (incredulously) said OF COURSE! so they let us through.  apparently, behind the rope is for walkers.  megan was sick so she was hacking up lungs but took some dayquil and thought she'd be fine.  there was no fan fair really for the start… just a sort of "GO" and off we went.  i took off too fast as usual and when i realized i was running sub-7 i slowed down.  i didn't want to poop out at the end like with the drumstick dash.  so i tempered my pace and tried to keep it faster than an 8min mile.  i really was most interested in getting an open space to run in so once i got there i slowed my roll.  i was just trying to run a comfortable pace and when checking my garmin realized that i was maintaining a sub-8 which is great!  i really didn't have a desired finish time in mind for this race which is probably a good thing.  it was really cold out and when that is the case my lower half doesn't warm up as fast as i'd like.  this is the main reason i'm not interested in doing any more winter runs… i feel i'm prone to injury if i'm not sufficiently warmed up.  (more about that later)  so i'm just running along and enjoying all the santas… they had cookie stops, the customary water/gatorade stops, and then candy stops!  i skipped all of them because for a 5K in temperate or cold weather i figure i can wait to get my water at the end.  this was an out and back course so i was trying to count the ladies who were ahead of me.  turns out i was 4 off from where i thought i was… i thought i was in 6th place but in the end i was in 10th place.  not bad… at the turn around i was grouped with a 30-something guy and a little girl who i guessed was 10… turns out the guy was 33 and the girl was 11.  either way i was pacing them and when the girl pulled ahead a bit i turned to the guy and said "i'm gonna stick with you." to which he replied "i'm trying to do the same thing with her!"…
so we just kept pace with the girl (who finished 4 seconds ahead of me… might as well have been a lifetime).  she was so cute!  she was running effortlessly and told both me and the guy "good job" more than once!  i love runners!  at the end when she saw the finish she exclaimed "oh! there's the end!" and took off like speedy gonzales!  it was adorable… if it wouldn't have put me behind her anyway.  the guy took off at the same time and i was alone to come into the finish.  i was just behind both of them tho' and i tried to gun it with little success i think.  at the finish, everything was frozen.  bananas, water, and the gatorade had a little layer of ice on top.  i took a water and drank a shot of gatorade and walked to the end with the guy… i'm going to call him by his name now since i read it on the results.  jeff and i walked to the end and caught our breath and exchanged pleasantries.  he said that doing things like this let us know we're alive when i said how awful that was.  he's right.

things like this… running in races, running in cold, running with strangers… i love all of it even when i hate it.  even when it's hard.  even when i think i don't love it… I.LOVE.IT!

i waited to cheer megan on as she crossed the finish and she did not look so good.  running and being sick simply wasn't agreeing with her and man… i felt bad but she was a trooper and finished in a respectable time especially for being sick!  she has nowhere to go but up even tho' her time was still pretty great.  looking at my splits it looks like i held pretty steady the whole time and turns out… i DID kick it in to gear at the very end for a moment.  my time on my garmin is a bit different than the time my chip clocked me at but i'm pretty happy either way.  3rd in my age group is pretty good.  not awesome but pretty good for the weather… after we were both done we went to warm up in the car for a bit because we were going to stay for the awards.  when we went back there was an announcement stating that they would mail the awards because the weather was beginning to get bad.  it was really starting to snow now and got windy.  i was glad because it was really cold.  on the way home the snow was really making a mess of it on the highway… as i approached my town tho' it was less and less snow.  the further away from the lake i got the less snow there was.  once i was home there was a lot of talk on the news of accidents and telling people to stay home and off the roads.  it's a good thing they decided to not do the awards.  the one thing i wasn't happy about is that they said there would be heated tents and there weren't.  that was a bummer.  when its so cold out they really should have a place for people to stay warm.  i loved that the course was flat and fast… it makes a huge difference in the cold i think.  once i was sitting in my car i realized that my ankle feels really wonky.  both of my ankles have been wonky since my last race and i'm not really sure why.  the right tho'… has been getting worse and worse pain wise as today has gone on.  we'll see how it is tomorrow.  it's so disappointing to be injured.  i just want to feel good so that i can train and run.  i'd like to do a marathon in april but if my ankles don't start to cooperate i might have to put that off.

so the end of the story… if you don't mind racing in cold then this is a great run!  apparently its a new course from last year and people seem to like it better.  i thought it was pretty great.  ran along the lakefront the whole time which is quite pretty.  if it weren't so cold out i'd definitely do it again.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

dances with dirt - devil's lake, wi and always lapham

i've been checking the website religiously (read: several times a day) all of november because they had it listed that registration would open in november.  finally, when i checked on december 1st and it STILL wasn't open... i gave up.  last night after my amazing run (read on) registration was OPEN so i'm now signed up for the 1/2 marathon!  fun will be had by all!

yesterday i had a magnificent rainy, muddy, foggy, pitch black try not to fall down run with my friend jeff in lapham peak.  our weather has been pretty weird all week so it was great to take advantage of the warm temperatures (45 degrees) while we still have them.  by the by... it's in the low 20's today. ha!

we decided to run the black route because the snow was gone from all the rain and jeff called earlier in the day to make sure the trails were open to runners.  usually, once there's snow, lapham makes snow for the ski trails and once they're groomed for skiing runners aren't allowed to run on those trails.  when we can't run those trails we take ice age for an out and back which amounts to 7 miles with a lot less hills but technical and fun.  so the black route it is! 

we started out and it was greasy and slick from the get go.  it gets dark so early and with all the fog it was really really dark!  there's something to be said for night runs with friends.  it is really really a good time.  we slipped and slid our way through most of the route and once we were about a mile from the finish i asked jeff if he thought we should skip the last bit because there's a huge rolling downhill that could be dangerous in the conditions we were running.  we decided to go for it!

this is where we both fell down.  ha!

jeff fell first with a flying hands/knees slide which covered his hands and shins in a good deal of mud which is evident from this picture.
this was near the top of the hill too!  so we laughed and laughed and i yelled "ONE!" and off we went...  we slipped and slid the rest of the way down the hill and i had 2 really near misses where i yelled out as i was running.  sometimes the almost falling is worse than the actual falling.  certainly gets the heart racing!  once we made it down the majority of the hill we found HUGE snow mounds!  several of them because this is where they've been making the snow during the previous week.  so, of course, we ran up and down them all!  it was a lot of fun and we like our fun! 

as i was coming off the final snow mound i didn't realize that there was a ginormous patch of ice and i landed smack on my butt and my gloves got soaked!  more laughing and i don't think i've ever popped up off my butt onto my feet in a squatting postion so fast in all my life.  didn't matter tho' because my poor butt was already soaked through and now freezing!

there was a bit more slipping and sliding as we rounded the final meadow stretch and of course all the laughs!  it was such a fun run and i feel so fortunate that i get the opportunities to run in the places i run with the people i run with. 
it is really theraputic and centering always.  this is what my shoes looked like after the run... not so bad if i do say so myself... except they were soaked through!   the lapham peak trail runners were in full effect in the evergreen grove building... fire raging, food consuming, drinks flowing, and laughter all around.  introductions were made and in 2 more wednesdays i will be a member!  yay me! 

enjoy the journey everyone... it's a good one!