Tuesday, June 30, 2009

7 miles before work

Ran up to Sugarhouse and back + two laps around the park again today. Pace was 11:23mpm. Good run. I easily could have gone for another lap, but I had to get back and ready for work. I can't wait until they have showers here. Maybe next year. Until then, it's sponge baths for me.

My mileage for June was only 70 miles. That's about 15 miles per week. Pretty bad considering my LONG runs should be 15 miles right now. I have a marathon in just six weeks. I'm going to be hating myself at the finish line. I'm obviously NOT going to PR at this race. And, who do I have to blame? Myself, of course. (I would rather blame Bub and the margaritas/beer/chips/salsa/fries/ice cream, but I can only blame her for the ice cream - and NO, she didn't force feed it to me.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Oops! No long run

Long run was trumped by too many margaritas. Uh-oh!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Just a quickie

Took Liz and the boys up to Grimm's gate for a quick run. Looking to do a long run (14+) tomorrow.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Positive vibes today

Good run from work to Sugarhouse, 2 laps there and back to work. Total 6.9 miles with a 10:59mpm pace. I haven't run this route for quite a while. It wasn't as hard as I remember it. That means progress!
I remember during leg 1 of the relay (when I was so tired and my legs were so noodley) I thought that I was a complete moron for getting myself into that mess. Then, during leg 2 (and maybe it was sleep deprivation talking) I was thinking that I could do anything because, after all, I DID pass someone ON A HILL. (I'll only mention that about 17 more times before it loses its cool factor.)
Then, I was begging the fates and the heavens for every street marker to be the "1 mile to go" notice during leg 3 (which was flat).
Today, I was back to thinking that there is a running goddess trapped under this flabby belly. I can do this, right?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Back at it - short

First run since the Ragnar. I took the boys and Liz on an easy 3 mile. I felt sluggish, but my pace was OK. Big news: NEW SHOES! It was very nice.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ragnar: Post Race - aka Truths I've Learned

Truth #1: The “hills” that I have been running are really speed bumps. If I plan to improve, I need to incorporate more of the REAL hills into my training.

Truth #2: My food plan during the race left a little to be desired, but it wasn’t all bad. I was pressed for space, but I still managed to get a good mixture of carbs, protein, fruit and dairy in each day. I managed NOT to purchase anything but ice for the cooler.

Truth #3: My food plan leading up to the race left a LOT to be desired. If I am going to really lose weight, I need to make some significant changes in my daily behavior. So, after a weekend of pizza, chips and beer, it’s back to the basics. It’s back to healthy living. (And, I say “back to” as if I have ever really been there before….)

Truth #4: My training runs were good, but when I do another relay, I will need to sandwich more of these close runs in. They can’t be separated by entire days. They need to be done in the span of hours, instead.

Truth #5: It’s good to say thank you. The exchange for leg 5 (Lisa’s uphill attack) took place in some farmer’s pasture. Hundreds of vans and trucks matted down his field for the entire day. He and a woman (daughter?) were training a young horse while we were there. I stepped over to the corral and asked if we were on his land. When he answered yes, I proceeded to thank him for the use of his land. He was caught off guard and actually thanked me for thanking him!
Me: Sir, I just wanted to say that an event of this size must be difficult to organize, but is made easier by people like you who offer their land or time or resources. We really appreciate it.
Him: Well…. I… Um… Thank you very much, miss. I appreciate it.
Did he go the entire day with just one thank you? Were we all so busy waiting around that we couldn’t be bothered to be polite? I sure hope not.

Truth #6: This was one of the most enjoyable running experiences that I’ve ever had. It was so much different to run with a team v. the solitary running that I normally do.

Truth #7: I will do this again. Maybe as soon as October in Vegas or even Southern Utah in September. I just need a team!

Truth #8: My thighs are really, seriously, altogether far too large.

Ragnar Leg 3: No Watch

Before running again, we all needed sleep. It was 3:30 AM, and we were exhausted. Luckily, the good people of Morgan had opened up North Summit High school for showers and sleep like they do every year.

I was sweaty and shivering and just wanted to be warm. So, I decided to shower before getting some sleep. It’s been a loooooong time since I was in a girls locker room. So long that I forgot that there are no shower stalls or curtains. UG! But, I was cold and miserable, and I knew that I wouldn’t sleep in that state. So, I hit the showers and eventually bared it all for the first time in…. ??? possibly my whole life??? I re-dressed in the clothes for my next leg plus sweat pants and shirt and my fleece blanket. I then slept on the floor of a hallway for 90 minutes. It was glorious!

In the time that had passed so far, I came to find out that our driver, Diane, wasn’t the quiet and reserved person I had originally thought. She was quite an entertainer, and we were grateful for her stories and support. She honked in support of us (and many, many other runners) no matter what. She laughed the entire time, and she never complained about the lack of sleep, being crammed into our vehicle, or our sometimes foul mouths.

We headed to the next vehicle exchange pretty early because the race organizers recommended it based on last year. Like everything else, though, it was well organized and everything went smoothly. We sipped hot chocolate, got sprinkled on, and waited for van 2’s final runner. The hand-off was made, and we were off again.
It’s worth mentioning here that van 2 really struggled. One of the girls twisted her ankle in her first section. She completed it, but it was painful. The rest of that team really dedicated themselves to making up any time lost. She tried to run her second leg, but only managed half of it. Then, she was done. :( Her teammates picked up her remaining miles. They pushed themselves so hard that many of them puked… several times. Now, that’s dedication to the team!

I was looking forward to my third leg of the race because it was the only one defined as “easy.” After two “very hard” runs and being cooped up in the Tahoe, I’m not sure that I would classify walking as “easy”, but I was looking forward to having the running over with. Before I could begin, Maria completely rocked it on her up-down-up very hard leg past Jordanelle – in the rain – and wind – and cold! Then, Carrie ran her butt off on a 4-mile plummet into Heber city – in the rain – and wind – and cold. As always, Lisa ran a strong leg to finally exchange to me.

I was NOT going to mess this up. I was determined to run this as strong as I possibly could. (Which, of course, meant that I was road kill a bunch of times, but nonetheless…..) I started out a bit too fast and faded a bit. As I tired, I was about to take my normal walk break, but then I changed my mind. After all, it was only three miles! I didn’t need a walk break, and van 2 was waiting to start their killer last legs. So, I determined to run my heart out and not look at my watch until after the exchange because my watch would just remind me that I was XX minutes past my normally scheduled walk time, and it would make me feel more tired than not. This was a good tactic, but I really was tired, and I desperately wanted every road marker to be the one that said “one mile to go.” They didn’t. I had to stop at the light on Main Street in Heber, so I know that I lost about 30 seconds, but I did my best to really push it the entire time. I didn't make a PR, but I was only 2.5 minutes over my 5K PR. I exchanged with Heather from van 2 gasping for breath, but happy to have completed this adventure.

And, what a fun group of women to share the experience with! I hope that I’ve made friends to last many years. We’re a very diverse group, but share a common interest and a respect for each other.

Ragnar: Leg 2 Road kill = 1

In the time leading up to my second leg, I tried unsuccessfully to sleep. I tried unsuccessfully to stretch (very difficult considering our lack of space). At some time, one van mate picked up the nickname of “Poopy Pants” and another the nickname of “Stinky Pits.” There was much laughter, camaraderie, and sisterhood.

But, once we reached the exchange point, I just got out to spend my time with other runners and allow (hopefully) my teammates some quiet time in which to sleep. It was about 2am, after all! Carrie and Diane joined me, and as we waited for Lisa, we chatted with the volunteers.

By the way – BLESS THOSE VOLUNTEERS! An event of this size couldn’t possibly be successful without hundreds of people willing to sit through the heat of the day and the cold of the night for nothing but a thank you.

Since Lisa was so successful, I didn’t think that I would have to wait long for her to arrive. I was right. Even though she had a tough leg, she seemed to breeze through it. The exchange was smooth, and I was off – facing the section that I had feared for months.

I was nervous at the time of registration for this section because it was five miles of gradual ascent. Then, when the race organizers had to change the course in order to avoid last year’s mess at Rockport, my 5-miler because 8.1 miles – still gradual uphill. [Gulp.] Knowing that I would struggle, I entered into this as a realist.

I started this leg with approximately 7:1 intervals which (too) quickly became 3:1, 2:1, and 1:1 intervals. I hate doing run segments that are that short, but I’m not an elite athlete. Besides, I really felt rejuvenated after the walk segments. The course had rolling up and down with the overall result being up. However, most of the hills were easy to accomplish in 2:1 intervals. If I ran the down, I could also run most of the up within two minutes. Then, I would walk the remainder of the up for one minute. Then, I would reach the top and start running again.

At about mile three, I was actually approaching someone! I stalked her with my run/walk method for about a half mile. She was really struggling; her breathing was heavy; her footfalls were hard. I stayed right behind her until I was sure that I could overtake her and stay ahead even though I was walking. Finally, I made my move and got my first (and only) road kill of the race. I was so excited, but I didn’t want to celebrate too much for fear that she would get her second wind and pass me!

I stuck with my run/walk plan and plugged along. As I approached the East Canyon dam, the noise of the water was almost deafening. There must be so much water in that reservoir! But, of course, I couldn’t see it because it was so dark. So, I just continued to kick it up the hills. The whole thing wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be, but there was one point of dejection: the final hill to the exchange point. I rounded a curve in the road and there it was. Vans were crawling up it, and it appeared to be about 70 miles long (or whatever). My response: “Oh, man!” A guy waiting alongside the road for another runner responded with “Yeah, this isn’t an easy one…”

However, it, like the rest of the leg, wasn’t as bad as it looked. I did walk it a bit more than I had planned, but only because I wanted to look strong and fresh at the exchange point which was at the top of the hill (yeah!). When I arrived at the top, I cursed inwardly. This wasn’t the exchange point after all! It was the pre-exchange where a volunteer radios the team number so that their teammates would be ready. Crap! I still had 500 yards to run, and my tank was pretty empty. But, because I didn’t want to let my team down (or embarrass myself), I continued to run as fast as possible.

After the exchange, I excitedly told my team about my road kill. I think that I was much more excited than they were. Whatever. I had road kill. And a pace of 11:44mpm. Not blazing fast, but still, it was eight miles of hills!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ragnar - Leg 1 - Noodle Legs

So, after Deanna showed us all up by warming up with plank pose, striders, ab work, bench pressing a small car, and running a sub 8-minute mile, we really got into the swing of things. I was leg 6, so I did my best to cheer everyone on. Of course, I was in the back of the Tahoe, so it was hard to get my point across.

Carol rocked the big hill in her leg, but the biggest news was Lisa’s machine-like performance heading up to Avon pass. She kicked ass! She didn’t walk at all in her 8-mile climb (which was brutal). At the end when she passed off to me, she was very emotional. I was worried that she had hurt herself or something, but in reality, she just needed a release. I don’t know for sure, but I HOPE that she was so proud of herself that she just couldn’t hold all of her excitement inside.

As for me, I took off too quickly for my leg. (Actually, Lisa was robbed. She did all the work to get us to one mile shy of the summit.) I got to go over the summit of Avon pass. I took off too quickly, and wanted to walk since it was a steady incline. However, my pride (?) wouldn’t let me walk until my teammates passed me. Not like my performance was so great, but it was adequate. So, as soon as they were out of sight, I took a nice walk break.

This uphill climb started something that I would become accustomed to very quickly: being road kill. But, it’s not like I was surprised. The maximum pace to choose at registration was 11mpm. So, I knew that other teams would be a LOT faster.

Summiting Avon pass was really quite beautiful. On my left was one of those “A” frame log fences. On my right were some huge boulders that looked like they had just been deposited there by some volcanic eruption. Then, I began my descent.

Wonderful! Sometimes the course was rocky. Sometimes it was muddy. Sometimes it was treacherous. I hit a couple of rocks that made my left ankle twinge. I was a bit worried, but I managed to stay on my feet and experienced no major crashes, falls, or missteps.

While other WBRers were passing me, many of them offered words of encouragement. As team vans passed, they all offered lots of dust to eat. Since the road was really only one lane with runners everywhere, I asked my van to leave my water bottle at mile four. I would carry it the other 2.9 miles.

So, on my descent, the scenery was beautiful! Absolutely beautiful. Green everywhere. Sometimes I could hear the river below. Always I could hear the target practice. Yikes! I found out later that it was an official shooting range, but until that point, I was a bit nervous. I could see the town of Eden below, and I could also see the point where the dirt road turned to pavement. Ah, nice – the exchange point! Good, because I’ve been running non-stop since the summit, and I’m getting tired.

Ten minutes later, I realized that the change from dirt to asphalt was NOT the exchange, but rather mile 4 where my water bottle was to be. Oh. My. God. Misery. I hate running. I’m so stupid to get myself into this disaster. Wait! I’m running downhill. It’s all goooood.

Until I reached mile four. Yes. My water bottle was there. Thanks, team! And, nice to get the grit out of my mouth. But, once I stopped, my legs felt like noodles. Very little strength and quite uncontrollable. I'm sure that the people passing in vans got a good laugh or two. THEN, I had to actually carry the bloody water bottle!. I will never again carry a water bottle when I run. It was too tiring, and it threw my stride off. Plus, it was warm by the time that I got to the exchange.

I hate to admit that I had to walk part of my downhill. Rotten. But, I slogged it out and managed a hand-off to van 2. Then, I felt like I was going to barf, for sure. I ate my sandwich and banana with the team, and then I called Bub and the boys. Then, I got all teary eyed and cried just a little bit. The team took some time to relax on the grass and our blankets while we listened to Maria shriek about daddy-long-legs. It was pretty unexpected (the shrieking, not the crying).

As we drove through the town of Eden, we decided as a group that THIS was the town to vote for in the “favorite host town” contest. There were lots of hoses, sprinklers, and shower heads spraying water on the runners. They had unofficial water stops. They had music (Latin music by the high school jazz band?) playing at the exchange as well as a pasta dinner.

Oh, yeah. My pace was 10:55mpm. I'm happy about that!

Ragnar - Pre Race

Until about half way through my first leg, I felt that I had prepared adequately. Not great preparation, but adequate. I ran a tight weekend that included a similar downhill, a sort of similar long run, and a day of drinking beer. OK – so, it doesn’t really approximate what I was going to do, but I was trying. I was in regular contact with our team contact. I had all of the correct gear. I even managed to find a substitute runner!

So, the morning of the race, I rode into work with Sindi – meaning that I got up at 4:30 and dressed in my race clothes and grabbed my bag. I worked for an hour with butterflies in my stomach. Carol and I were both nervous. I don’t know why – we weren’t going to WIN the race, for pete’s sake!

So, at 7-ish, our van pulled up, and we were packed in with a bunch of strangers. We spent the next half hour getting to know each other as we drove to Layton to meet our last teammate and our driver. Then, there we were. Seven mostly-strangers thrown together in a Tahoe which is only designed for seven people – NOT seven people, a cooler, seven blankets, seven duffle bags, and air to breathe.

So, here’s the first impressions:
DeAnna (runner 1) – seems nice enough for someone who has run Boston! How in the hell did we get her?!?!?
Carol (runner 2) – already know and love her. Excited to watch her in action.
Diane (driver) – quiet and reserved
Lisa (runner 5) – outgoing and cute. Generous enough to let us use her Tahoe for two days.
Carrie (runner 4 and van captain) – organized and personable. Likes to get to know fun details about others.
Marie (runner 3) – funny sense of humor and missing her 15-month daughter – Ah! A kindred spirit.

So, we finally arrive in Logan, and we’re ready to go. Too bad that we’re at the wrong park! Oh, for hell’s sake. So, after arriving at the RIGHT park, we picked up our race packet and shirts. We wandered around (used the bathroom) and checked out the goods. Then, Jody showed up! It was fun to see her. Unfortunately, my boyfriend, Zack, didn’t come. Apparently, he found a new Barbie the day before. She trumped me. But, Jody and I had a good time shooting the shit. She was a trooper since she found no interest in the event at all. But, she did take our team picture. It's good to have friends, and ex's.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

energy is back - Whew!

I'm so happy that this run went well. No stiffness in my quads, but still a twinge in my left ankle. I didn't feel zapped for energy or anything. I took it slow and easy, and still managed to keep a decent time. I feel much better about the RELAY TOMORROW! Yes - it starts tomorrow and ends Saturday evening (at least that's our team)! Nervous but not as bad as I was after that last run.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

no gas in the tank

I had NO energy for this run. My legs have been stiff and sore since my Saturday run, and I was just wiped out! It was a measley 3.5 miles, and I barely ran it faster than if I were pushing the stroller. I'm sure that the beers that I drank the night before didn't help, but am I doing something totally wrong with my diet? I'm getting two rest days per week (sometimes three or four!). Maybe it's my shoes, too. These things have over 600 miles on them. Time to really make some changes.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Slow down, human

Liz and I ran to dad's via Droubay road. It was a good run at a respectable (10:33mpm) pace. I'm a bit stiff now since I suck at stretching. Liz is getting slower at the long distances. I think that I need to just start limiting her to 5-milers. The first two miles of this run were quite BLEH, but I'm glad that I stuck it out.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Another lap on that dang wood chip path

Good morning run from work to Liberty to work again. Looking forward to running with Liz this weekend. The sore on my right achilles is still bothering me and rubbed raw/bleeding during this run. I hope that it can be healed before next weekend. Maybe I can get some thin running socks - perhaps that will help? I know that doing the wood chip path is helpful for me because my times improve on it. I just still don't like it until I'm DONE with it!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rainy days and blisters always get me down

I haven't run for a week. Four of those days were because I was being lazy and the boys just do NOT want to sleep at night. Then, we spent Pride day getting drenched by the rain. Walking around in wet "cute" shoes caused blisters at my achilles (both feet) and a nasty opened blister on one of my toes. So, I didn't run for a couple of days due to that. But, enough is enough. So, I brought my clothes to work and went for a little lunch time run - in the rain. OK - it didn't rain the whole time, but enough that I was pretty wet (rain, sweat, whatever). I managed 5.6 miles with an average pace of 12:03 mpm, BUT this did include two laps on the wood chip path at Liberty AND the healing blisters on one of my achilles opened up causing me to bleed all over my shoes. I thought it was a decent pace considering the lack of running, the sores, and the weather. Still, I dream of a day when I'm running a 9mpm. No - I still don't enjoy that wood chip path, but know that I need to do it to prepare for next week's relay and the 'thon in August. Yes - the relay is next week - YIKES!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

multi tasking

Lizzy and I took the boys on an errands run. We stopped and bought a new fuel filter for the Honday (now, just need to figure out how to put it in!). Then, we stopped at the IFA for some squash, pickling cucs, sage and thyme. Then, we headed home. The return home was done in basically 2/1 segments because I hate pushing that stroller up any kind of incline. It was still a good run. The boys were happy to get home; they were getting bored. We were gone longer than 54 minutes, but I only timed our running - not the shopping breaks! Good pace, though, of 12:04.

Monday, June 1, 2009

long-ish and good pace

I got up before the boys for my run today. I combined the USU loop with one lap at the track and Grimm's Gate loop for total 8.13 miles. Happy with my 11:27 pace. Unhappy with some chafing on my thighs. As I started this run, I realized that it was just two short years ago that I was in the hospital in labor at 6am. What a wonderful day that was! We were sooooo tired but anxious to meet our little boys. I, of course, wanted to be in shape waaaay earlier than this; I never expected to take two years to be training for another 'thon. BUT, I wouldn't have traded any of my lazy, silly play time with those boys for any five mile run in the world. By the way, Lizzy had a good time, but 8-10 miles looks to be her max now as she is getting older. By the end of 8-ish miles, she is trotting more and more slowly. :(