Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Start the Year Right

The holidays - always a hard time of year to eat right and exercise. This year has been a minor improvement - maybe not on the eating part, but at least the exercise. I managed to run 10 miles the morning after Christmas. Not bad considering we went to two different family Christmas' the day before - the first one at 8am and the second one was followed by eating sushi, drinking sake, and Kirin then back to my place for some serious UNO and Harry Potter Scene it (did you know you can make these drinking games??). Needless to say, more alcohol was consumed!
So, not the best run ever, but it was December 26 and it was in the high 50's so it was good. Brady biked along with me so I had company which was nice. Later that day we headed to St. Louis and went to the City Museum - a really cool place. The next morning I got up and ran 4-1/2 in the hills.
Sunday was a day off, but Brooke and I got back at it Monday with a 4 mile run - the weather was nice again on Monday so Brady and I biked after work - only a few miles, but I worked on one leg drills and track standing.
Tuesday - yesterday - I pushed myself for the first time in a while - I started at 5pm with core class. It consists of lots of sit-ups, push-ups, planks and other types of core exercises. It is an intense 15 minutes. That was followed up with a 60 minute spin class. We did a couple new exercises that left me a little fatigued - a good thing I think.
Next up, directly after spinning was the SWAT team's run through the lights. It was a group run we had planned to do before Christmas, but b/c of weather had to reschedule. There were around 20 people that showed up. It was a good run - somewhere between 5-1/2 and 6 miles. We ran through the light display in Carthage then up to the square and around and back. The weather was good and we kept up a decent pace. It felt very refreshing.
Today I have plans on doing 4 - possibly intervals, then Friday I will do 12, and Sunday is the first 5K of the year - Erick's Run!

So, I have decided I will do the Sarcoxie to Carthage Run with the Wind 25K the end of January, then the OKC Memorial Marathon the end of April. Now I have goals I can progress!! :-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

End of a Season

I hate this time of year when all your scheduled races are through and you know you need to take time off, but not completely let yourself go. After the L&C Adv. Race I took off 10 days - it was good - I think the body needed it, but since then I have had a hard time maintaining any sort of schedule.
When I don't have a race scheduled it's hard for me to keep my focus. Then the fact that it's the holidays doesn't help either - too much time is spent running around trying to finish shopping and going to programs and parties and eating poorly! :-P

So, what I want to do now is look back at this season - decide what was good about it and what could be better.

My initial pro's are doing a marathon with a lot of friends and family - that was a great pro this year! Let's see, I also really enjoyed doing the Sunflower with Amy, Scott & Scott - it was a really fun race. Then, doing the Dusk till Dawn with Amy - that was great too - I was worried about doing a night race, but it went well and now I have all the gear so I'm ready for the next one. I always like doing the Ozark Greenways Race with Don, Jonas, and John and then of course the healthy competition and camaraderie with Brooke, Tralaine, Andy, and Bob. Another good first this year was Don, Jonas, Brooke and I teaming up to do the Berryman Adventure Race - it was a really good time and we finished well! Another pro for me is starting to ride a road bike - I put in a lot of road miles this year and I think it's helped me all around. I want to carry that into 2009 for sure - into doing more group rides and duathlons (and tri-athlons, but I'll get too that later).

Then the con's - what did I learn that I can improve on for next season?? First, I did too much I think. I need to determine what races I want too do and stick too that - not add a bunch of little pidly races in that end up eating up more time, money and energy than you would think! I don't have to do EVERYTHING. I need to decide what's most important too me and focus on those events. Which leads me too my next con - SWIMMING. I didn't put enough focus on swimming this year, therefore I didn't ever compete in a Tri event. This is something I definitely want to remedy before next season!

So, what am I going to do??
1. At least 1 marathon with emphasis on breaking 4 hours (adding speedwork to my routine)
2. 1-3 Sprint Tri's (depending on how well I like them and how much my swimming improves)
3. Work more on road riding - spend time on drills, going to spinning, and just plain miles
4. 3-4 Adventure Races (adding more single track riding to my routine)
5. It may be a pipe dream, but I would like to break my 24 minute 5K PR

This list will be modified, updated as time goes I'm sure, but this is the start I needed!
So, I'm off to start on the list - heading to spinning class! :-)

The First DNF

So, something I had hoped wouldn't happen finally did. I don't want to spend much time dwelling on it or trying to over analyze it, but I also don't want it to be like it didn't happen.
It was the Lewis and Clark Ozark Adventure Race 2008 - an 18 hour, 3 person Adventure Race held November 15 in Northwest Arkansas.

The days leading up to the event were a little stressful - just knowing it was going to be the longest race we had done, new team, and the weather factor - which didn't seem too be moving in a favorable direction.

Turns out it didn't move favorably - it got cold - highs in the 40's and windy. We had lots of warm clothes though so we really thought we were prepared. We got to the Lewis and Clark shop around 5pm - got registered for the event then ate our complimentary pasta dinner. After that we retreated to our cars to repack our camelbaks then met back up at 7pm for the pre-race meeting where we were told we would be starting at 3am around 30 minutes from where we were. The team decided we should leave at 1:30am so we all went back to our hotels to finish up last minute items and try to get a little shut eye.

Ah, 1AM came early. I took a quick shower to warm up and wake up - got dressed and loaded up then went to Scott's hotel to meet him and Diego - we left from there to go to the start. The race started with a wheelbarrow race to get our maps - I was the wheelbarrow (maybe not the best idea!!). Anyway - got the maps - got back in the truck and plotted our points. First section was biking - in the dark and cold - whoohooo! ;-)
Biking went pretty good for us - we passed 5 teams I think in that section. The road riding was fine then we hit single track. In the dark it was quite a challenge for me - eventually I was able to tuck in behind Diego and could see better with his brighter bike light and made it ok. Not fast, but steady. The lighter it got the better I did so I felt pretty good about that. We hit the canoe section about 8:30am. We made attempts early on to keep ourselves dry - those didn't last long - the river was low and with 3 people we were heavy! We had to push, pull, tug to keep ourselves going - this was no float. About an hour into it we managed to flip our canoe over - nothing like being soaked when it's 40 degrees out. We kept up the pushing, pulling, walking for the next 4 hours.....5 hours in, we thought we should be too the end. When we realized we were still around 3 miles shy we decided to give in. It was 11-1/2 hours into the race - 8-1/2 miles into the canoe and we were 3 very cold individuals. We could have toughed it out, but knew we wouldn't meet the cutoff times to finish the race. It was depressing for all involved. We spent time questioning what we could have done differently and there were a few things, but it mostly boiled down to Mother Nature kicked our arses on this one!

So, the race may have beat us this time, but we will find a way to conquer.

Monday, October 20, 2008

We did it!

The first thing I need to say is Whoohooo (compliments of Debbie!!)!! We have a new PR - 4:09!! So, much better than 4:16! ;-)
What a day, well, weekend really. Brooke and Tralaine and the rest of her family went all out to make the smallest marathon I've ever ran in one of the best! We (Brooke, Michael, and I) left for Wichita around 10:30am Saturday morning. Got into town in time to visit with Brooke's grandparents then to Tralaine's to get unpacked, make posters, put together Don (the first timer's) new shirt, and the goodie bags that would be carried by all of our support team! We had Brooke's step mom Diane and her husband Alan as group 1, of course Michael, Calvin, and Tanna as group 2, Sharron as group 3, Jackie (Don's girlfriend), Don's brother and another friend as group 4, then Tralaine's mom & sister as group 5.

We all went to Diane and Alan's for a pasta feast Saturday night - spaghetti & meatballs w/ marinara, ziti w/ chicken & alfredo, salad & bread! So yummy!! I of course had my mandatory 2 glasses of red wine - victim of superstition! After dinner runners were given packets (thanks to Tralaine & Sharron) and supporters were given there bag of goodies and signs. After dinner our group went back to Andy & Tralaine's to shower and get ready for bed. I opted to go read while most of the others played some Wii.

Got up around 6am - ate some oatmeal - got dressed - put on the pace tatoos and were out the door to head to Derby, KS. Did some stretching at the Rec Center then it was out to the road for the start of the big race!! We got our team pics - and everyone commented on our cool orange shirts!

The first section of the race wound through some neighborhoods in Derby - it was nice - not too hilly, tree lined areas. Brooke, Angie and I all stayed together through this section. Water stops and our trusty support staff were awesome during this section. At mile 9 we hit the air force base (where we knew we wouldn't have much support till mile 13, then not again until we left the base). Going into the airforce base we were basically on chat roads - not exactly what we were expecting - after a couple miles it went to black top - then to concrete (very hard). Around mile 12 there was a loop back where we were able to see Don, Frank, Andy, and Tralaine and cheer them on. At 13 we saw Sharron, and right after that we ran around some of the display planes, then through a path lined with fallen soldiers, then we turned and went uphill and into the wind! OUCH!! I don't think any of us enjoyed that section. We finished up the air base with a run through the air force museum and then by the air field. It was so refreshing to see our supporters upon the exit of the air base!! We even saw our friend from the beginning that was tracking everyone's progress on his bicycle. He told us we had two more hills but that the wind should be with us for the duration. He was close. The last 6 miles really weren't too bad. Although I'm sure Brooke would disagree - she wasn't feeling quite as well. I had toe and knee issues, but overall I felt surprisingly well. We ended up on a walking/biking path that was in the shade and helped. After that, we only had a little over a mile into the Old Town area to the finish. I was so excited - I could tell we were going to get our PR and I still felt good!! I think I had tingles all the way in. We hit the finish line in 4:09!! I'm still very happy - that will last for a few more days before I start contemplating doing my next one and improving my time again - lol!!! :-)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

3 Days - 500 people?

Runs this week have gone pretty good. Still having toe issues, nothing serious though. Brookie and I ran 6 miles at lunch on Tuesday - it was hot, but we had a good run. We had plenty of stuff to chat about and she got to use her cognitive coaching skills on me so the run went by quickly. Yesterday I did a 4 mile run at lunch - in the rain (not sprinkles, heavy rain) with Brady riding his bike along with me. I probably owe him one for that b/c it was also pretty cold! ;-)
Today - the last day of running before marathon - Brookie and I ran 3 miles - actually 3.3. It was soooo cold this morning. So, on the run Brooke tells me that there are around 500 people registered to do the Wichita marathon. I think that is around 1,500 less than the smallest marathon I have done so far and that's not including the 5,000 or so that did the 1/2 marathon (there is no 1/2 at Wichita). So, I'm trying to get my head around the fact that there may not be people around us all the time. This will be more like training - just Brookie and I out for a run - it will just be in a different city! :-)

Now is the time for serious taper - rest and relaxation - sigh... The hardest part of marathon training I think - this is where it starts getting more mental than physical. You start questioning everything - did I train hard enough, too hard, is my body ready, what should I wear, what should I eat, etc. The easy answers are yes, we are ready and you eat what you always eat and we decided what to wear weeks ago so just chill! ;-) Easier said than done though. When you are physically active you can reduce or control stress - so now when you have the mental stress of marathon is when you are supposed to be a couch potato. It's very hard! I'm trying to get into the mode of it all - even though it's just Thursday I'm pretending it's casual Friday with my comfy fleece top and jeans! So far it seems to be helping.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

One More Week

So, taking off running all week may have helped. Ran today - only 3.5, but it felt good - even in new shoes. The Pearl Izumi Streaks - seem to be awesome!! Went for a bike ride afterwards to White Rose winery and had some pretty darn good Missouri wine. Bought a couple bottles that I stuck in my camelbak for the ride home to have for dinner - we shall see how that goes. So, planning to do the duathlon tomorrow then do a couple 4-6 mile runs next week then it will be RACE TIME!! I'm excited and nervous - as always! ;-) I just hope I don't let Brookie down - it's our first race together! :-)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Witchita Marathon Approaching

So, it's 9 days and counting to the Wichita marathon. Getting slightly nervous, but trying not too get too worked up about it. It's the first full since the stress fracture...sigh! We did our 23 mile long run last Saturday because we had an adventure race the weekend before. This means only a 2 week taper. I ended up having toe pain following the last run so I've been laying off since then. Nothing serious I don't think - it's at the base of the toe beside my big toe one of those metatarsal things I think - lol! Regardless it's hurt so I haven't run. Planning to do a short duathlon on Sunday - 5K run, bike 15, run 1 - no biggy, then maybe a couple 4 mile runs next week - we'll see how they go. Not so sure about running 9 minute miles at this point - looking to just finish in 4:30 probably - my PR is 4:16 I think, I'm not confident about hitting that goal, but we'll just see what race day holds!! :-)

Margarita Bloks

So, I've been running distance for about 4 years I guess - my first marathon was in 2005. Since then I've done quite a bit of research on nutrition - not necessarily how much I need b/c I've been told I'm still not there, but more on what is good to eat - or better yet what I can make myself eat while running. The one thing I really seem to enjoy, whether it's a marathon or an adventure race are Margarita Clif Shot Bloks. They are so salty, but not too sweet like most of the other bloks and gels - so good. My 'running friend' Brooke and I think they are the bomb. Now, I've given them to others and they are usually a little too salty for them. We never use them for anything under 12 miles, but for those type distances they work just great. Generally one bag is enough to fuel up a bit (this is where there is some controversy) - we each take 3 and drink some water and can usually make it another hour or so.

For those of you new to bloks and gu's - blocks are kind of a cross between a gummi candy and jello I think. They are 'heavier' than a gummi and they are shaped in blocks - hence the name. Six come in a package for around 180 calories so splitting it gives you about 90, about the same as a gu. They come in lots of flavors and most have added caffiene or extra sodium. Margarita flavor just has the added sodium - no caffiene since that's on my list of things I don't do. Trust me this is a short list - lol!

For more info go to:

Berryman Adventure 2008

So, training for the Wichita Marathon, it's the weekend of the last long run and what do we do??? An Adventure Race - 13 hour and 8 minute adventure race. Was this a good idea? Who knows, but it sure was fun! :-)

This race was done with Don (the Gazelle), Jonas (the rock), Brookie (the Navigator), and myself. We did a really great job this year with our orienteering - we always knew where we were and we worked really well together to figure out points. Not to say this was an easy race - I think we're all just getting better at the navigating (especially our fearless navigator!) and we were all in pretty good shape going in.

It all started at 7am.....well, better back all started at 7:30pm the night before with the pre-race meeting. That's where we got our maps and passports and found out race start time. Then, back to our hotel room to plot points and discuss the course - the fun stuff, but when it's getting late and you know you have a long day in front of you it's also the hard stuff. We called it good about 10pm and decided we would meet at the campground shortly after 5am. At that point Brooke and Jonas went to take the bikes to the drop off while Don and I gathered up all necessary gear and took to the start line (we also took a little cat nap after our chores were done - sorry guys!! ;-) Anyway, so race started at 7am - and the orienteering had begun. Right after finding our first point I began to have cramps on the outside side of my calves - terribly painful. I had to walk for a couple minutes and took some ibuprofen. I was so worried it wouldn't go away and I would be the weakest link. It wasn't too long after that the pain became tolerable. Not sure what caused it, but I was glad it had subsided.

So, we whipped through points 1-7, at 7 we had to put on PFD's and cross the river - packs and all. It was so scary, it was the Current river and it was really moving and over our heads. Luckily Jonas and Don went first so they were able to snag me before I got too far downstream. Next we did checkpoints 8 - 13 I think - still orienteering - that's the section we met up with Laura Lee & Steve I think it was from Salina, KS. It was fun chatting with them. Then, onto the 12 MILE canoe. That's a long time to be on a gorgeous river on a hot day without beer!! Once we finished that section I felt like we were home free!

Biking was all that remained - less than 25 miles. It was single track and jeep roads for most of it, but still better than sitting in a canoe I think. The only issue we really had all day was Jonas had two broken chains - luckily he is a whiz at fixing them so we were up and running in no time. Two funny instances happened while waiting on chain repair that made the journey even more enjoyable though so I wouldn't change a thing (Jonas would probably disagree - lol!) One was Brooke and I deciding we needed a Margarita break (I'll have to explain this in a separate blog!), so while we were eating these incessant gnats were swarming our faces - so we were running in circles waving our arms frantically and laughing (9+ hours into the race - we were a bit giddy) - as we are doing this a guy comes up the hill and yells. We think it's Don or Jonas and they've busted us, but it turns out too be a fireman from Wichita who didn't even see us, but it lead to a funny discussion anyway! ;-) The other instance takes longer to explain, but it ends with Brookie riding away from a big group of guys after yelling "girls rock" - it was pretty priceless!

So, we finished the biking in the dark - happy but fatigued. Don and I ran back to the hotel to shower and I opened up my post race red-wine! ;-) Then, back to the campground to have burgers & baked potatoes. Oh my - I have always thought the burgers after the Greenways races are good - they are nothing compared to Kent & Becky's campfire burgers - they were sooo good!! I'm still wishing I would have had one more!! :-) We tried hanging out by the fire and chatting - did good for a while, but a little before midnight we decided to call it good and all went too bed to dream about the next race! lol - just kidding - we were all too sore at that point to dream, but it sounded good!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Making it back

So, starting back with 1 and 2 mile runs was excruciating - mentally anyway - it was so hard to know that 4 miles used to be my shortest run and then all of a sudden it was the longest. Luckily during my time off of running I was able to ride my bike - that became a bigger part of my life and it helped me to maintain some cardio. This was a great thing to be able to get right back into Adventure Racing!!
I have managed to do 3 Adventure Races so far this year - completing them all! :-)

The first was the Sunflower 12 hour race held in Lawrence, KS. I did this as part of the Thirsty Turtle's team - Scott McGaha, Amy McGaha, and Scott Eis. It was a great time overall - we had challenges for sure, but we finished strong and that was really what was important.

The next race was the Ozark Greenways Adventure Race. This was done as part of the Durty Nellie's Team - Don Presson, Jonas Heter, and John McCoy. We had a really good year - even though some of the team didn't feel they had trained enough our finish was much quicker than normal.

And the last race I did - the Dusk till Dawn race was as a two person all girl team! It was with Amy McGaha and we were the Thirsty Turtletinas. I'm happy to say we finished first in the all girl teams! I must confess that there was only one other all girl team, but we did finish in front of a lot of the all men teams as well - even passing one team in the canoe's - pretty impressive we thought! ;-)

So, next on the horizon will be the Berryman Adventure Race in Big Spring Park near Van Buren, MO. It will be done as part of a new group of Dirty Nelly racers....Don Presson, Jonas Heter, and Brooke Higgins. It is only 3 weeks away - I still need bike time badly, but other than that I feel prepared. Part of that preparation is due to training for the marathon though - it should cover the running portion of the training!

Been too long

So thanks to my 'friends' I'm training to run another marathon. I definitely am not planning for any great times, but so far we are on track with our training to at least match my PR. There's still a little voice questioning whether this is the best idea given what the Ortho said, but he is just a doctor and they are just practicing and in this day and age probably covering his arse...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Here we go

August 16, 2007 - the day I was diagnosed with a stress fracture of the femur neck - the day I found out I would not be running for at least 3 months...
Since then I have had a follow up MRI that shows the stress fracture is healed, but I still have a labral tear in the same hip, but I have been cleared for running short distances and allowed to gradually increase mileage. The ortho surgeon doesn't recommend any more marathoning, but couldn't say conclusively that would have caused the fracture so he left it all basically up to me.
Moving on, I did my first run of 1 mile on November 26, 2007 - it felt great. I continued on that week with runs of 1 mile each day. Since then I have increased in mileage doing runs of 2 - 4 miles at a time with one run being 4.6 miles.