Thursday, January 30, 2014

not exactly related

on july 29th, 2013 i stopped taking my topamax in hopes that the gi issues i had been experiencing for months would subside.  one of the possible (albeit rare) side effects is diarrhea and i was worried that my unending and mortifying experience with that (which, not inconsequentially, was effecting my running) was because of the meds.  after having been off the medication for a full 6 months and not noticing a significant change in my gi issues... i've returned to my medication.  i was tested for a whole slew of other issues and am very slightly gluten sensitive which (as it turns out) is the problem not necessarily my medication. 

in case you don't know what topamax is used for...  i take it daily to mitigate migraines.  i've suffered from migraines and tension headaches since my late teens and have taken all sorts of medications, food modification, as well as every other treatment there is... this is the only thing that has been successful for me.  topamax... it is, however, not without it's downside.

i have to say that i am actually really relieved and admittedly a little apprehensive about returning to my medication.  i am worried about the side effects that i am guaranteed to experience.  i was on it for maybe the last 8-9 years with a short hiatus here and there of a couple of months.  my personal guaranteed side effects include reduced sweating, dehydration, weight loss, taste changes, menstrual changes, memory issues specifically finding the right words for things, my teeth are uber sensitive to my dental exams, and sometimes fatigue when i first start taking it but that one goes away.

the reduced sweating is an issue because my body does not regulate its temperature correctly and i have to be very cognizant of what i'm wearing, what my physical output is, and what the weather is.  then i also have to make sure i have appropriate liquids at all times which i've gotten away from in the past 6 months.

the lost of my words is mostly just annoying and tiresome.  my family has taken to filling in the blanks which becomes exasperating for me because while they're trying to feed me the words they think i'm trying to say i'm effectively losing completely what i really AM trying to say.  at best its funny and at worst it is frustrating and bordering on the most annoying thing on the planet.

the menstrual thing isn't a big deal... having my period go from normal to 2 days is actually quite awesome.

the weight loss sort of blows but whatever...

the taste changes go away the same as the fatigue does so that is a non-issue.

i have had some vision issues but it isn't clear as to whether or not that is from my lasik being over 13 years old or from the medication so i'm going with it being so old.

lastly... the teeth sensitivity really sucks but since i only go to the dentist twice a year i'm not going to sweat that one either.  plus, my dentist is my aunt so there's that... she's gentle and all that jazz. 

so yeah... back on my meds.  we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

emma carlin trail head and the ice age 50K

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”

- William Faulkner

yesterday i ran with a group of the LPTR.  while i am considered "one of them" i don't always feel like "one of them".  someday i hope that is no longer the case.  this is the group (minus angela who took the photo) i ran the whole way with.  i'm the one in the blue cap.  they were great fun and funny to boot!  lots of laughs and silly topics of conversation.  i really love running with these people.

anyway… we met at 8am at the emma carlin trail head in palmyra, wisconsin for a 15ish mile out and back.
it was really quite cold not hitting more than maybe 5 degrees when we started out.  we showed up in numbers totaling near 15-20 people.  we all take off together but as the group spreads out we ended up in 3 groups.  the 3rd group wasn't running as far as the rest of us so they ended up turning back about 1/2 way through.  this is single track trail for most of the way and we took it to the IAT (or maybe it's the nordic trail? or maybe the whole thing we ran is the ice age trail?) which is also single track.  i had no idea where we were so don't ask me… lol!  we crossed over some horse trails which are wider as well as some trails that the snowmobiles had packed down quite nicely.  the trail was mostly 3-4 inches of fresh snowsand as well as about a foot deep on the bluffs from drifting.  underneath the snowsand was quite a bit of ice especially on the stairs.  this trail (the one i'm not sure of being nordic or ice age) had stone stairs that were covered in ice and it was so slow going!  we walked up and down all of those…
snowsand (my own definition) - snow that is loose like sand. challenging to run in and hard on the body.  often called "powder" - powder is freshly fallen snow that is very light.  formed by tiny snow flakes, it is extremely soft.  many skiers love powder but runners… not so much.  
the run was so challenging but i didn't realize that it was ALL HILLS until i got home and checked the info on my garmin.

about 8-10 miles in my hip flexors were hurting something fierce and the last 6 miles of the run it was almost all i could think about.  i think this was caused because i had to lift my legs higher than normal in the stride i use for the snowsand running.  i will be so happy when the snow is gone and i don't have to run in it anymore.  the best (and maybe only good thing) about running in the snow is that my legs are getting stronger each time i do it.  that will make for easy running once the obstruction of the snow is gone.  yay for that!  it took us just under 4 (yes.. FOUR - yikes!) hours to complete that 16 mile run.

i'm hoping that my speed will increase and therefore my time will decrease once the snow isn't a factor.  i am perpetually surprised at how humbling it is to run the trails.  they certainly can knock a person down a peg or two.  probably a good thing… especially given my perchance for hubris and egocentricity.

the trail is really breathtakingly beautiful and we ran over part of the trail that i'll be running my 50K on so that was cool.  it made me rethink my lofty under 5 hour goal but whateves… i will be happy if i finish the IAT50K i think.  this is the course:

i'm rethinking it because it was ALL HILLS and they were STEEP at that.  i'm not going to tell anyone that i'm reassessing my goal (so shhhhhh) but that will be in the back of my head.  my first goal is to finish in under 5 hours.  my final goal is to finish with a smile on my face.  if i miss the first goal then i have the second one to keep my going.  its a win win.

i'm going to have to go out there a couple of more times before the race so that i have those legs under me when i finally run it.  i want to feel confident about my race and the only way for me to do that i think is to get out there and run the course ahead of time.  it looks like a pretty fun course.  a 13 mile single track (uphill probably both ways) out and back followed by two 9 mile loops of rolling horse trail groomed trails.  i'm glad the hard stuff is at the beginning when i'm fresh.  i keep thinking that the two 9 mile loops should be a piece of cake.  broken up in those three parts it doesn't seem like a lot of mileage.  maybe i'm just fooling myself tho'… hey, whatever works right?

Friday, January 17, 2014

amphipod is the BOMB!

a couple of weeks ago i went into my local fleet feet store to buy some replacement bottle tops for my amphipod water bottles.  the ones i had were getting discolored and sort of gummy which i thought was gross.  i had remembered that i saw a replacement pack at fleet feet so i went back and bought them when the time was right.

imagine my disappointment and surprise when the cap i put on the bottle to go run a 7 mile run in the freezing cold of winter in wisconsin LEAKED!  the freaking thing was leaking through the seams!  by the time i got home from my run my glove was soaked as was the neoprene casing on the outside of my bottle.  so the next time i went to run with that bottle i tried a different cap out of the pack.  SAME THING!  i decided that maybe it was leaking because i was holding it upside down and shaking it so i figured i'd just go ahead and run with it anyway.  i get to the pettit and don't make it even one mile around the track (just under 4 laps if anyone is counting) before my hand is all wet and the neoprene case is soaked.  bummer.  so i put the bottle down by my coat and run sans hydration.

normally i would just have tossed the defective caps (turns out all 4 were leakers) and take the loss but i thought… bullshit!  i'm going to email the company.  i didn't want to have to buy two new bottles so that i could have leak free caps… after all, i had already thrown out the original ones so all i was left with were the defective ones.

so i sent an e-mail:

to my delight i got a favorable response:

the e-mails went back and forth a couple of times to iron out some details but today i came home from work to find a box with brand new, shiny, and beautiful water bottles to replace mine!  i had explained that i didn't need new bottles that it was the caps that were the problem but kellie insisted that they didn't want to "maybe" fix the problem and that they'd rather just send me a whole new set up.  i am so impressed by the customer service and the fact that they stand behind their products 100%!  it made me feel really good about their company.  i love the water bottles i have from them.  they are comfortable and i've never felt that they were too bulky or a burden while running with them.  this just furthers my warm fuzzies towards the company.  talk about amazing customer service!  thank you kellie!

i am returning the other bottles/caps so that they can check them out to figure out what went wrong.  i feel really great about the resolution as i wasn't looking to get anything for free i was just looking to have non-leaky caps so i could use my bottles again.  i cannot say enough good things about this company, their customer service, and in particular, kellie who helped me with this issue.

and that's all i have to say about that.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

summer racing and winter weather

did you know that there is a such thing as a polar vortex?

polar vortex [′pō·lər ′vȯr‚teks] (meteorology) t he large-scale cyclonic circulation in the middle and upper troposphere centered generally in the polar regions; specifically, the vortex has two centers in the mean, one near Baffin Island and another over northeastern Siberia; the associated cyclonic wind system comprises the westerlies of middle latitudes. Also known as Antarctic vortex; circumpolar whirl; polar cyclone; polar low.

weird right?  well... apparently wisconsin is under a polar vortex right now. 
today and yesterday it was a high of -15 degrees fahrenheit. awful really... can't even go outside for more than a few minutes.  frostbite can happen at 5 or more minutes. 
my poor dog went outside last night to go to the bathroom and when i called him back he was walking so slowly that i rushed out to get him and carry him up the stairs!  then i ran his paws under warm water.  not good.

the good news is that by friday it will be back to around a balmy 23 or so degrees!  that means that on saturday i will be running outside instead of inside and that is a great thing!  that is a glorious thing!  that is a magnificent thing!  almost better than candy i think... almost.

in other news my 2014 race calendar is nearly complete.  i'm just waiting on the milwaukee lakefront marathon to open registration on the 20th and that's the last one on my schedule.  that's not to say i won't throw a 5K in here and there if i feel like it but for all intents and purposes this schedule is complete and i'm quite happy with it.

so dear readers... do you plan your race schedule out that far in advance?  do you have 2014 ready to go?  what is the race you're most excited about for 2014 and why?  what do you think about this "polar vortex"?

Friday, January 3, 2014

sometimes blah sometimes pee yourself excited

this wisconsin weather blows!

it was -15 this morning when i got in my car and i guess there's just going to be more of the same.  tomorrow will be a balmy 24 degrees but then it will plummet to a high of -15 or so.  what this means for me is that i am very reluctant to run after work.  it is dark outside and frozen and my other option is the dreadmill which i absolutely hate. 

last night i mapped out my training plan for the next 4.5 months.  it will take me through a 10K in march, a marathon and a 20K in april, ending with my 50K in may. in the midst of all that i'll be heading to florida for the easter break in april while still trying to maintain my training schedule.  so.much.running!

the bulk of my mileage is in april too so that will be interesting... driving the couple of thousand miles to florida and then trying to run 22 miles when we arrive.  i might have to alter those two weekends of training to accommodate the travel. lol!

so where was i going with this... oh yeah, the cold.  my weeknight miles are supposed to be (key words here are supposed to) in the 3-7 mile range and the kicker is that because its been so cold and i hate the dreadmill... i've not been logging them like i should.  i love running... i want to continue to love running... so i feel that doing it when i'm not feeling it (for whatever reason) is not in my best interest.  however, it IS in the best interest of my fitness and readiness to tackle a marathon and a 50K.  *sigh*

what's a girl to do for motivation?  that is the million dollar question at this point.  i have no problem with motivating during daylight hours no matter how cold out it is... I.WILL.RUN!

so how do i motivate to get on the treadmill after being at work all day and it's dark out?  how do i STAY on the treadmill for more than 3 miles?  ugh... sounds torturous! 

i guess i'll just plug away at it and maybe get it done without crying. lol!  maybe just the fact that i want to succeed at the longer distances will be motivation enough?  maybe i will look at my butt and decide i want it to look awesome in a swimsuit when we go to florida... or maybe i'll just get home from work, snuggle up under the covers, watch some t.v., and go to sleep.