UPCOMING EVENTS for 2015: (Under consideration) BigHorn 50K, North Carolina/DC Marathon Doulbe, TURNING 50 (not in that exact order).

It's never too late to be what you might have been. --George Eliot

Athena is the Goddess of wisdom and war. In 2005, I declared war on my own bad tendencies: sloth, being fat, compacency, and being too old for adventure.
This is the story of how I went from being someone who never stood when she could sit, to being an ultrarunner, marathoner, triathlete, and *sigh* student.
"You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dear Diary,

13. Thinking ahead to 2011, I think I want to do mostly 50k runs.  I've done a marathon or longer in AL, AZ, CA, ID, KY, MS, NM, NV, TX, and UT.  I'd like to add 3 or 4 more to that this year.

12. At the race I did Sunday, a woman I know, Tove, smoked me.  She's a cat-something cyclist, but has gotten much faster as a runner lately.  She started the 5k about 5 minutes after I started the 10K, and about mile 2.5 blew by me like I was standing still, running a 7:22 pace.  She's 60.  Sixty. SIXTY.  So just in case you have a friend who's all, I'm too old to do anything like that, well, there you go. 

11. I guess my season has come to an end.  Next year, my fantasy would be to run a marathon in about 5 hours. To do that, I would have to be able to bring my half marathon down closer to 2 hours.

GAWD that's so pathetic.  How sad am I, that my wildest (well, maybe not my wildest but certainly one of my wilder ones) fantasy includes running 26 miles in 5 hours?  Shouldn't one have more interesting fantasies than that?

9.  I am a bit nervous about my ankle.  It is huge, bruised and swollen even though it doesn't hurt and I've had several perfectly good runs on. But now as a result of it being that way, I'm nervous about trails again.

8.  I'm not training for anything above 50 miles for 2011.  I'll be too busy. Internship stuff.

7.  Earlier this week I was assessing a kid who has impulse control issues.  While walking him and his family to my office, the father said, "hey, do you ride a horse?" and then proceeded to insist that I was bowlegged even after his wife AND his son told him to shut up.
Are impulse control issues inherited?  I'll leave it to you to decide.
Meanwhile, I just said, calmly, "I had no idea I was bowlegged."  He kept on it, saying to his wife, "See?  See?  Look at her.  She walks on the outside of her feet and everything."

Am I now a bit self-conscious about this, despite his obvious frontal lobe deficits?  Oh, hell yes.

6.  Okay.  Men in tutus.  What is the fascination in wearing a tutu during a run if you're a guy?  I don't usually see women wearing ties, or cups, or loin clothes.  But I do see many more men dress up as women when it's time to dress up in costumes, than women seem to dress up as men.  Why is that?  Is it just me noticing it?  Penis envy, my ass.  I think something else is being envied here.

5.  This week I start my new training cycle.  I'm starting with week 5 of the 50-mile training plan from the Santa Clarita runners club.  What am I training for?  Well, nothing.  I just like the training plan.  NO, I'm not OCD.  It made me a better runner, I think, and helps keep my weight down.

4.  I found out I can eat lunch at work for $1.75 a day.  I'm not saying it's health food.   Just sayin' it's food.  For $1.75 I can pick out what I want and ask for seconds on the healthy stuff, while skipping the unhealthy stuff.  It's not fancy. It's not Whole Foods. It's edible.

3.  About a month ago Sweet Baboo and I were surprised when our gasoline card was declined while on a trip.  I tell you it is a joy to be utterly humiliated this way. 
Anyway. We found out someone had gotten my card number (I still had my card) and used it to charge exactly $100 worth of gas at two local gas stations in the worst part of town.  About six times.  And yes, we shred everything.  No idea how my number got out.  2010 has been the year of being victimized.

2.  I had a horrible run Wednesday, the first run of my new training cycle.  My legs were tired.  My lungs were asthmatic.  But it was beautiful out, and I'd rather be dragging my wheezing, tired ass through that fall day than just about anything else on earth.

1.  Sunday I dressed up for Halloween as a door that doesn't open, on a house with lights that are turned off.  I know, I know, I'm a terrible person.  But I just forgot, believe it or not, to get candy, and remember, I. Am Lazy.  So I turned out the lights and hid.

...

Great Pumpkin Chase 10K 2010 6- Race Report

This morning I ran a 10K.  I didn't really think I'd do all that well.  My legs felt pretty good, but I was coughing like crazy.  My training doesn't start until Tuesday for this next cycle, but the 10K I did today was kind of a big deal.  It was the first 10k I did five years ago. I'd been trying to do it again since then, but something would always get in the way.

In 2005, when I did this one, I got to about 4 miles before I had to start taking walk breaks, alternated with jogging slowly.  I had to walk most of the last mile or so of the course, and it was warm, and everyone else was finished.  They'd already given out the awards, and people were leaving, while I was still out on the course.  I can't find the results from that race, but it was about 90 minutes into the race when Baboo came out to run in with me, for a finishing time somewhere close to 1:45 or so.

But that was 2005.  This is 2010.

So. This morning, I figured that I'd probably come in between there between 1:06 (my 10K PR) and 1:15.  I have a cough, and ran nearly 5 miles miles yesterday, and there was that thing I did last weekend.

This race is held in the valley in the Country Club neighborhood.  I love late fall and winter races, because they start later.  :-).  This one nearly starts at 9 am.  The guy that puts on this race is the same guy that does the Cherry Garcia race, and the Chunky Monkey race.

It's nearly perfectly flat except for a brief rise as you run up onto the bike path.  You run 2 miles through the neighborhood bordering Kit Carson Park, then out onto the Bosque bike path for an out-and-back, and then repeat the whole thing.

There's a 5k that takes off about 5 minutes later, so that everyone can have the wonderful experience of having fast runners blow by them at some point during the race.  Afterwards, there's a kid's K.  It's a good race.  Cool T-shirt.  Adorable kids in costumes running around, on a beautiful fall day.

I started out a 9am in crisp weather with a single hand-held bottle.  It was about 50 degrees, and I was wearing a long sleeve wicking shirt, a short sleeve wicking shirt over that, a pair of CW-X tights, and ran at what I felt was a reasonable pace.

I'm not lying about the flatness.

I looked down at my Garmin and saw that my pace was somewhere around 9:30.  "That won't last," I thought.  "No way I'm going to last more than a mile at this pace."

My first three miles were about 9:30 or so, and my last three miles were around 10:15 or so, because I was starting to cough more and wheeze a little.  No drama, nobody I was trying to pass, just a nice run on a beautiful day.

The only thing unusual that happened was that a woman I know, Tove, blew by me like I was standing still.  What made that so unusual is that Tove was running the 5K, which started 5 minutes after the 10K, and Tove is 60.  I so want to be like Tove when I'm 60.

I got a new PR! And if that wasn't enough, I was surprised to find out that I was 2nd in my age group.

Then afterwards, I tried not to throw up or pee from the force of the coughing fit I had when I stopped running.

Then, I ate some bread (why no pumpkin bread, I'm wondering.  Or pie?  I'm just sayin')  by one of the sponsors (Great Harvest Bread Co.,) and watched the kid's K.  They were adorable.

 All-in-all, a beautiful way to spend a beautiful fall Sunday morning.  

...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Plan Work Whine Reflect: Thursday 13.

13.  Plan. I'm going to spend some time getting good at 50-milers for 2011.  That's my goal.  I'm considering Old Pueblo again.  We'll see.  Baboo may not be available for Old Pueblo, so I'll have to find a way to get out there and back.  Normally, I wouldn't mind that, but the last time I tried to drive after being up late I nearly killed myself.

12.  Work. I was offered the teaching job after all.  However, it turned out to be a temp job with stimulus money.  I couldn't see quitting a permanent job for a temp one, so I turned them down graciously.  Meanwhile, I'm relieved to have been picked, considering the dismal performance I put on at my interview.

11. Whine. I have a cold, and it sucks. Turns out that running 100K does NOT boost your immune system in the short term.  In fact, I think the moment I quit running all the virii and baceteria in my body went, WHEEEEE! and ran through the unlocked gates to my respiratory system.  Everyone gets their cold somewhere a little different, with me, it's my voice.  I lost my voice yesterday in the middle of giving a kid an IQ test.

10.  Reflect. The other good thing about my experience: I did love the training plan. I was able to stick to it.  I became a stronger runner.  I'm going to be using that training plan again, starting at the beginning. Soooooo, next Tuesday: big 2 miles run.  Yeah, baby.

Another picture stolen from Raj.  

9.  Plan.  On the way home from JJ, we stopped at Dairy Queen. I had a salad.  OH YES I DID.  I will not gain weight during recovery.  I'm not saying that, as salads go, it was the healthiest.  I mean, it was Holbrook, Arizona, and it was Dairy Queen. It was middle-aged iceberg lettuce and some cheese.  I think I saw a tomato in there somewhere.  Still, I resisted.  I even threw away half the dressing.

8.  Work.  My one year anniversary is coming up at the children's hospital.  That means in another year, I might get a raise.  >:-(

7.  Whine. See above.

6.  Reflect.  I have new respect for the distance. (100 miles).  For the first time, stubbornness alone was not enough.  Which means I have to try again, some day.  I hate having a DNF that is unfinished.  So far, I have finished every race I DNFed in except one: Barb's Race.  My bike tire blew out completely that day, on crappy poorly maintained roads.  I finished the run, though.  Just not interested in going back to wine country and finishing a race on crappy roads in 96-degree heat.

5.  Plan. I am now searching for a good running jacket for winter.  It must be close-fitting, vented, have a zipper up the front, and reflective.  Any suggestions?

4.  Work. There are stairs leading up to my office.  Stairs.  I never really minded them until Tuesday morning.  It was a slow trip up that one flight of stairs.  I felt almost normal until I puuuuuuuled myself uuuup that third stair


--> For the record, I'm one of the few people where I work who consistently uses the stairs.  In fact, there's more than a couple people who use the elevator exclusively.  Even when coming down from the 2nd floor.  And no, it's not faster.  It's one slow-assed elevator.  

3.  Whine.  Actually, this isn't a whine.  It's an affirmation.  I publicly declare that I alone am absolutely 100% reponsible for not getting to 100 miles. I'm not going to blame the trails, or the weather, or the staff, or the race director, or any manner of things we are tempted to bitch about when things happen.  I trained for 100k.  I finished 100k. 
What I don't need is anyone telling me that I could have sucked it up and pushed harder to finish another 40 miles.  Or that I could have eaten better or drank better and finished another 40 miles.  I've accepted the fact that I wasn't trained up enough.  To say otherwise would be like saying that someone who hasn't trained for a marathon only needs to just eat and drink right, and show up, and they'll finish the whole thing.

Anyhoo....

2.  Reflect.  I was very curious about the magic wand that the guy at the Coyote Camp aid station tried to use on my knee.  I tried Googling lots of things: metal stick, metal healing rod, magnetic pain stick, magnetic rod.

Finally, just for fun, I typed in metal wand healing and started getting links to this product:

 It should be noted that, retail, this wand is $304.00.  But. if you are a distributor it will run you only around $284.00. 

Yes.  It's true.  Not only can you be scammed by the whole concept, but you can be scammed by being sucked into a multilevel marketing scheme. 
It's two-click-two-click-two scams in one!

I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking that my general wet-blanket skepticism kept it from working. Another reason not to buy it.  Advil and Tylenol work for me whether I believe in them or not.


1.  Relax.  Just for the record, the number of WeightWatchers points earned running a 60k for this GeekGirl was 82.  I didn't spend any, however, as they were all earned Saturday, and my tracking week ends Saturday at midnight.  :)



Just kidding.



You know me better than that.

I had a big-assed bowl of pasta from a decent restaurant Sunday, covered with a heap o' fatty old cream sauce.  Alfredo, I think.  I don't know.  And it was probably 3 servings.  I ate it all ALL.  Sweet Baboo ate a 16" pizza



> urp <

...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Part 2: The Sun Goes Down. And it gets very dark.

You get custom-made bibs at this race.  People wearing pink
are those doing the race for the first time.  Everyone else gets blue.
This was the Garmin profile from all four loops.  
Loops 3 and 4.

Loop 3, I was still hanging onto the fantasy.  I was going to finish all 100 miles.  I was going to have my crew come out and run to the finish with me.  I started slowing, however, toward the end of loop 3 (mile 46), and my feet were starting to hurt. 
There's not a lot of bushes to pee behind out here. 
Just sayin'.
I'm not sure exactly when my very reasonable goal of finishing a 100k turned into trying to do a 100-miler, but after the race, I met some other women who tried to do the same thing, at the last minute, convinced that another 40 miles wasn't that big a deal.

I saw JoJaJogger out there but lost sight of her after my 2nd loop - wanna give a shout out. She finished, and took home 100 mile buckle!  I also saw Catra Corbett, more than once.  She's tiny. She won the costume contest.

It slowly dawned on me that it's not just the training that your legs need, it's cumulative time on your feet.  That has to be there.  My 3rd loop was just over 4 hours.  I was pretty happy with my time so far.  I figured if I averaged 4 hours on my first 3 loops, I could then go to 5 hours per loop for the next three, and still make the 9:30 am cutoff to begin the final 9 mile loop.

I had this other idea, severely misguided, that the time on my feet wouldn't be such a big deal now that I was lighter.  I tend not to blister.  I figured that, with a nearly 30 pound weight loss, time on my feet wouldn't be such a big deal.  Right?


WRONG.

Sunset on the Pemberton Trail.  These pictures were stolen from
Raj, another ultrarunner I have the privilege of knowing.  
What I didn't realize, however, is that your feet support your body, no matter what the size, and they can only do this for so long before they started to feel like angry monkeys had been pounding coconuts on them.

I came in, from my third loop.  Dread Pirate and SWTriGirl had arrived to take over crewing, and Courtney got ready to pace me.  Sweet Baboo  went to do the rest of his run.  I changed into dry bra, shirt, and socks.  The sun had set, and we donned our headlights as we headed out.  I had changed into more comfortable shoes.  My legs were a bit tired, but that was all.

Me: not being cute, just trying to finish.
We started out and as we headed up the 8 or so mile climb I could feel myself slowing, but I was maintaining an 18 mile pace going uphill.  I was on track.  But then as we reached the top of the climb my knees started hurting.  Then my ankles. Lastly, my feet were wearing out.  The bones in them ached.

From time to time, I would accidentally kick loose rocks.  They weren't big rocks.  But it was the same spot, on the same foot, each time, with my big left toe, and I knew that I was going to lose that toenail.  The last time I kicked one it felt like someone had shoved a knife under my toenail.  I swore and staggered for a bit, and it took a while for the pain to go away, and then I was left with the rest of the pain.
.
At the last aid station, a man asked if he could try something to help my aching knees, and I was like, uh, sure.  I sat down and he started waving what looked like a short knitting needle up and down me and then around my knees.

WTF?

I waited for him to actually touch the knee, but that never happened.  After a few minutes of this he said, "how does that feel"?

?? How should it feel, I thought.  You didn't do anything.

I settled on saying that I didn't really notice a difference, but I appreciated him taking the time to try.

Unbeknownst to me during this time my ankle, which I had rolled 2 weeks prior, was starting to swell.  I'm not sure if it had anything to do with the final results, because it didn't seem like it hurt, but there was so much pain going on that I am not sure I would have noticed.

At one point, the trail suddenly tilted down to the left, and I had to walk up toward the right, off the trail, to maintain my balance.  Courtney said something like, "uh, stay on the trail now,"  and I realized there was no tilt.  It was me.  By the time I was headed in for the final 5 miles of my run, I knew there would be no 5th loop, or 6th, or 7th.  I didn't have another 40 miles in me.

The other thing that happened was beginning to become concerning: Two to three times per mile, I started having to pee.  I'm not sure why this was happening, but after the 7 or 8 mile mark this was accompanied by diarrhea.  I've often been pretty satisfied at the fact that I don't get sick to my stomach, but this was not a helpful alternative.  My stomach was cramping a bit, but it was minor compared to what was going on my feet and legs.

The pain in my feet, ankles, and knees started radiating upward.  My hips hurt.  Then my back.  My back hurt so much that when I coughed, which was often (I was trying to fight off a cold) the contractions just about knocked me sideways with how much my back hurt.  I finally started crying, because everything just hurt so much.  I hate crying in front of people.  Hate it.

At JJ there was no holding onto anything, because everything was a cactus.  The loose rocks, which hadn't bothered me at all before, bothered me quite a bit.  Every step was excruciating.  There was no relief.  The ache turned into searing pain.  As we made the final descent to headquarters, I was walking at about a 25 to 30 minute pace.  I stopped and sat down several times, desperate to get off my feet.  I never expected pain like this.  I've had three very large babies, one of them with no drugs, but it was nothing compared to this.

Runners headed out for their 5th or 7th loop passed me HEY YOU'RE LOOKING AWESOME!! as they went by.

The pain worked its way into my lower back.  I was so pissed - I wasn't too tired to run. I wasn't too breathless to run.  But my feet were too worn out to continue.  If it had been anything but the pain, Courtney could have kept me going.  They all could have. But the cumulative pain of everything in me from the waist down was too much.  

About a mile from Jeadquarters, Dread Pirate came out with another guy, Mike, and walked in with me.  She talked me into taking a gel, and some water.  On this loop, I had had 2 PBJ sandwiches, 3 cups of Ramen, 2 cups of iced coca-cola, some sports beans, several enduralytes, some sport legs, and 64 ounces of Gatorade, but the last I'd eaten was at the last aid station.  I was moving so slowly and having stomach cramps, so what was the point in eating?

This picture was taken the next day, when
most of the swelling had gone down.
I hobbled into Jeadquarters, and asked about Sweet Baboo .  He hadn't passed me on the way out, so I was worried about him.  Nobody knew where he was.  We found out later that he was in a warming tent that we didn't know existed.

Dread Pirate, SWTriGirl, Courtney and Andy hovered around me, trying to get me to eat, putting warm clothes on me, because I was cold and in pain, and started shaking.  SWTriGirl brought me pizza, and THAT I would eat.  I was just sick of sweet stuff.  They brought me water.  Andy started taking off my shoes and leg sleeves, and when he gripped my right ankle, I yelled.

My ankle looked like a doorknob had been shoved under my skin.  I'd never seen it so swollen, even after I turned it. In fact, both my feet were swelling.

About then I started crying again, getting all snotty and messy, apologizing to everyone, because they'd come out for nothing. I was done, we all knew it.  It was after 1:00, and there was no way, even if I wasn't in pain, to suddenly run two loops faster than I'd run any of the others.  After about 30 minutes, I hobbled over, turned in my chip, and since I'd finished 4 laps, I was given this:
100K = 62 miles.  The distance I went was technically 61.6
miles, but I'm not going to split hairs.  
Sweet Baboo  showed up after a while, and walked me over to the warming tent.  It was 80 degrees in there. At first I was unbearably hot, and then I was cold again, and then it was perfect, and I fell asleep on a narrow cot.  Eventually, SWTriGirl and Dread Pirate were faces above me, telling me they were taking off and going to a hotel.  I don't remember what I said or did, but I think I fell asleep again.

My puffer-fish feet the next day.  They're actually in good shape., just swollen.
It's hard to see how swollen my ankle is.  You can see my only blister, a tiny toe-tip one on the 2nd toe on my right foot.  

While I was sleeping, Sweet Baboo and the crew were loading up the car with everything except a tent, because Courtney was LOVING this whole ultra running camp thing, and wanted to spend one more night.  

We headed back to the hotel, where I fell sleep.  After a night's sleep, I was surprised to find that my feet were fine, for flesh-colored marshmallows, and my ankle was still swollen.  I slept most of the rest of the next day, but got up in the evening, went down to the pool, and sat on the wall between the pool and the hot tub.  I would dip my legs into the jacuzzi, and then into the pool, and kept doing that.  It felt great.  By then, the cold I'd been fighting off for days was finally on me.  Monday, I woke up a little stiff and sore, and we headed home.  

So what happened?

My training plan was specifically to get me to a 100K.  At this point, 50ks have gotten easy for me - in that I can do one and still do things and be functional afterwards.  I don't feel too sore the next day.  I have to work my way up to having 50 milers be that easy for me before I attempt to try another 100-miler.  That will be a couple years, I think.  Maybe 2012.

What did I learn?  

My crew was awesome.  They were taking care of me when I couldn't think. I now know that I get sick of sweet stuff, and need to have my own non-sweet food with me.  I need to bring my own sports drink so that I can get my nutrition partly that way, since watering down the drink seems to be common in ultras.  My clothing choices worked well.  I didn't get sunburned, I didn't get chaffed in a single spot, and I stayed cool.  My calves and quads are a bit stiff but not too much.  

Mostly I learned that I can go 100K.

Just not 100 miles.

Yet.  

... 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Javalina Jundred Race Report, Part 1.

PART 1: Sun Comes Up

Javalina Jeadquarters is a party.  If you ignore the suffering out there on the trails, you can delude yourself into thinking that the whole thing is a giant party, and you're all, YEAH!  HELLS YEAH!  I'LL RUN 100 MILES! completely forgetting that the party is happening amongst the crews and support staff--not the runners. 

So.  I had originally gone into this race preparing for and training for a 100K.  Somewhere along the line I got a little lost and began thinking that I could do 100 miles.  I mean, It's just 40 more miles, right?  Right? 

Well, anyway.  At 6 am, like with a lot of ultra run 100s, the clock starts with a countdown, and everyone counts down from 10, and then there's an air horn, and you're off! 

The reason I had picked this race is that the terrain and trails are very much like the ones behind my house.  Same type of elevation gain and loss.  Same kind of rockiness in spot, and smoothness in other spots. 

The Pembertonrail is a 15.4 miles loop.  You do loops 1, 3, 5 clockwise, and 2, 4, 6 counter-clockwise.  The final 9 miles is clockwise but then about 5 miles into it, you take a 4-mile shortcut trail back.  There is an aid station every 5 miles, and that shortcut is carefully guarded by the "Coyote Camp" aid station. 

The first loop was easy.  Well, of course it was.  I came in conservatively, about 3:45, and then left the aid station a little less than 10 minutes later.  The sun rose, and the sunrise was glorious.  We were blessed with a rare, cool, partly cloudy day.  While there were some instances of nasty heatness when the clouds moved away from the sun, for the most part it was in the mid to upper 70s, certainly bearable.

I had a great, energetic mix on my iPod.  I used my iPod as a hydration marker; the beginning of each song was a reminder for me to take several swallows of Gatorade or Succeed from my hydration pack .

My second loop, too went well, but I learned to hate the counter-clockwise loop, because it's a long, steady climb, almost imperceptible, but a climb none the less, that goes up for about 7 or so miles, levels out with some short, steep rollers for a few miles, and then about a steep, rocky 2 or so miles downhill, leveling out for the final 2 miles or so.  I much preferred the clockwise loop with it's short, steeper uphill, and then rollers, and then gradual downhill. 

I wore a loose, wicking, white shirt, in order to keep me cool during the heat of a day.  After loop one, I put on a "Sun Day Afternoons" hat that shielded my face and neck from the sun.  I wore a pair of compression shorts by "Moving Comfort" and a bra also by them, which generous amounts Sportslick.  I wore Victoria Secret "Body By Victoria" underpants, which may seem like a strange thing to tell you, but they have no elastic parts to chew into you while you run.

Down below, I wore white compression leg sleeves and Injinji socks, not the bamboo natural fiber kind, because they are shit. I wore the nice, thick athletic ones, which I rolled on over toes with lots of Sportslick.  Because there really wasn't much actual steep climbing, I wore my street shoes that were  the most comfortable.  I carried a Nathan pack - I'd really wanted a "Go Light" pack but I couldn't get one in time for the race.  My pack had two containers with E-caps and SportLeg capsules.

Sweet Baboo, of course, was dressed as Elvis.  His costume was wildly popular, and he was running easy, as his costume is actually specially made by a woman who makes running clothes.  I don't know how he felt, but I got kind of tired of people doing that pointing thing and saying Elvis-isms, such as "thank you.  thank you very much" and so on. 

Javalina Jundred is also a costume party.  I was startled toward the end of loop 1 when a woman, who appeared to be nude, came running toward me, wearing an odd hat.  I saw her several times, before I realized she was wearing a bodysuit.  The hat, Baboo finally told me, was a birthday cake.  Thus, she was wearing her birthday suit.  It was a near match for her skin, with little shadows artfully applied here and there.  Clever!

Things that worked well for me on the first two loops:

1) The long downhill runs that Coach Baboo had me do once a week.  These built up my quads, so that even after the rest of me took a beating, they are barely stiff. 

2) The self-imposed 2-3 mile runs up the hills near my house, along with the dually-imposed 50k runs and sprints I did.  These helped built up my calves.  They, too, are barely stiff. 

3)  Every 5 minutes, I took 3-4 big swallows of Gatorade.  Every hour, I took 2 e-caps and 1 Sportlegs.  I stayed hydrated without getting too full.   

4) My crew kept me loaded with real Gatorade or Succeed, since it was really diluted out at the aid stations.  What the hell is up with that?

5) Courtney, who crewed the first 2 loops, was a newbie at this,  but she was magnificent, and she had a blast.  She set up a station close to the in-out area and had stuff ready for us.  She ran to get things. 

She would hand me things and I'd say, "what's this?  why do I need this?" and she'd reply, "it was in your instructions."  Oh.  See?  You need a crew.  You can't think your way through this.  At the least, you need to have bags set up for each leg or loop with strict instructions for your tired, delirious self.

6) I had a 1000 calorie breakfast that consisted of high-sodium, simple carbs. 

Things that didn't work well for me:

1) The cold that I'd been fighting off going in.  Or allergies.  Whatever they were.

2) I continue to be plagued by shoes that insist on arch supports.  I don't need arch supports; as I have flat feet.  The result, after 25 miles, is a hot spot on the inside of my foot that gets pretty painful.  I had it taped twice, which helped.

3) The fact that, in all honesty, I wasn't trained for distances much further than 60 miles. 

All in all, I had a good couple of loops.  My hopeful plan was to get in three 4-hour loops, followed by 5-hour loops, which would get me to the 9:30 cutoff to start the final half loop. 

My feet were starting to ache a little, but I expected that.  I felt good, I felt hydrated.  Sweet Baboo would get me stuff from aid stations like a nutella sandwich, to entice me to eat.  I just wasn't hungry, but I was eating sports beans, lots of Gatorade, and had eaten two peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, some potatoes, and even a couple of gels (gag). 

Prior to the race, with all my clothes and shoes on I'd weighed in at 157.4.  When I came in from the first loop, I weighed in at 156.7.  After the second loop, I was back up to 157.4 precisely.  Everything was going as planned.

Coming into the end of loop 2, I felt good.  I got my left foot taped in the hot spot on the inside of my foot, which instantly felt better.   I headed out loaded for bear, ready to do this thing.  I put the idea of mileage out of my mind, and just focused on doing what I had done one more time, and then one more time after that. 

Eventually, though, the sun has to go down, and that's when things can get very dark.

Part 2, I'll put up later: a hot tub awaits me. 

...

Friday, October 22, 2010

How Fast Is Slow Enough? How Slow is Fast Enough?


A little over 5 years ago I watched my husband complete his 3rd or 4th, sprint triathlon.  I also watched women doing it who were just as old and heavy as I was,some of them even older and even heavier.  And, I thought, maybe.

 The first time Sweet Baboo asked me if I would run with him shortly after that, I did a slow, shuffling jog maybe 20 yards before having to stop and walk.  It was a perfectly flat, neighborhood road, and that's all I could manage, before stopping to walk slowly, and catch my breath. It was a start.  Everything has a beginning.

It took years before I could run the whole way through a 10k, and then a half marathon, Even longer before I could run the whole way through a full marathon  I might have been able to do it faster, but I'm tentative, and afraid of being breathless at times  I still am, a little.  I call myself lazy, tongue-in-cheek, but what I really am, most of the time, is fearful.  I'm fearful of lots of things.  It's just gradually my fear of not finishing overcame  those other things.  I would do the next longer distance, sometimes going to dark places and hating it the whole time, but as soon as I crossed the finish like I would mutter to myself, "I bet I could do that better," or, "I wonder what else I can do?"

So I did my triathlons, and occasionally did duathlons and running events to support that.  Along the way I discovered, much to my (and anyone who knew me for a long time, honestly) surprise that running was my preferred sport.

I never planned on doing anything like this; it existed in some other realm of people who were the other, those people who were willing to give up time to train, which still seemed like work for me.  I had turned ankles, and IT band syndrome, and sore hips, but the soreness and the injuries would fade, and I would learn from it, and get back out there and start again.

Less often, I saw wonderful things and had wonderful feelings that, while fleeting, left me searching for me chances to feel that way.  Most of those times came with trail running, so I drifted in that direction.

I do not come from a family of outdoorsy people, like Sweet Baboo does.  My people are not runners, or even hikers.  My people are drinkers, and eaters.  The drinkers are the skinny ones  The eaters tend to live a bit longer, but not a whole bunch.  I'm not all that crazy about how either of those extremes winds up, late in life, so I went my own way.

Is a 100 miler in everyone?  Is it even in me?  I don't know.  All I know is, I'm constantly amazed as what I can get this body, now nearly 46 yeas old, to do.  When I do local 5ks and 10ks I love watching the women cross the finish line of their very first 5k or 10k, and I wonder where it will take them next. I admire all the people who do various things for charity or in honor of some dearly departed loved one because, honestly, I'm completely selfish.  This is for me.

So, tomorrow at 6 am, I'll begin a new journey.  Regardless of whether I finish 100 miles, or 100K, I'll learn something, and have a new experience I never had before.  On the other side of this experience will be lessons that I'll generalize to other parts of my life, like I always do.

So the take home message here is that you can do more than you think you can.  You can amaze yourself.  You can.  You may not want to run 100 miles.  But you can do something, I bet, that you never thought you could.

Dread Pirate will be updating to my facebook wall.

See you on the other side.

...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's real. It's happening. Auuuggghhh! Thursday 13.

13.  According to the official results, my time was Finish: 28:06 Pace: 9:03 (THAT is a LIE because their course was long, so there.)  But I'll forgive them, because they said that overall, out of 1071, I finished thusly:
347th out of 1071 total 5k runners,
115th out of 597 total women, 
8th out of 53 women 40-49. 

This has always been my dream.  I know, I know, I should use my wishes and dreams for world peace, right?  But who has that kind of power?  This seemed more achievable.  Most of the time.

12.  so, uh.  I promised earlier this year that I absolutely would not try to do a 100-miler unless I got below 160 pounds.

Well, I didn't think I'd actually pull that off.

Oh. Shit.

11. Long after I'd given up on the evil HR minions at RRPS, I got the call.  Could I come for an interivew?  Heck yes, I can come for an interivew.  So I went for an interview.  More on this as it develops. 

10.  This weekend, on Saturday, the high is the mid to upper 70s.  OMG.  That would be awesome.

9.  But I'm still freaking out.  DP has been emailing me all week (she's crew chief) and asking me about stuff.  Each time I respond, my nausea rises a little higher.  It's real.  It's happening. Auuuggggh! 

8. I went to an interview for the teaching position. Not sure how it's going to turn out.  They asked me to solve a trigonometry equation.

I know what you're thinking.

Yeah. Me neither. Not for years.  I figured I would brush up on my math skills before working, not before the interview.  Eek. 

7.  So, i've been working on my "pace" chart for Javalena Jundred.  For each loop, which is about 15.4 miles, I've worked out times I'm likely to arrive back at the "Javalena Jeadquarters".  And instructions for each, such as, "I'll need my headlight to take out with me, and a jacket tied around my waist."  Stuff like that.

6.  I found out that cutoff for the 100-miler is NOON instead of TEN.  This is both good news and bad news.  It's good news, because it makes it more likely that i can make it, even if I slow down and am walking long distances.  It's bad news because it's going to be harder to give up.

5.  I'm going through a "gels make me gag" phase. Not sure why.  They have to be really thin and runny or I can't eat them.  So, other things I'll be eating on the course include sports beans, pop-tarts, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. On white bread.  We're also going to have gingerale and coke.  Just in case. 
I think the gels were making me gag because we got a box of some that had, for whatever reason, become nearly solid.  At first, it was nice, almost like having that thick chocolate topping for ice cream.  Eventually, though, it got old. You shouldn't have to chew your sports gel.  That's just so wrong.  Then it generalized to other thick gels. 

4.  Excuses that have flickered, however briefly, through my mind for why I can't do this 100 mile run this weekend, include but are not limited to the following: my eye hurts, I feel bloated, my nose is runny, it's hard, what if I have chaffing problems, my ankle hurts, my knee hurts, my head hurts.

3.  People who bitch about taxes are rarely willing to give up some of the comforts they have that are paid by taxes. They have ideas of what others should give up, but not them, never them.  Discuss. 

2.  I really need to run with my dog more often.  She's so unsocialized and spastic.  She yanks me several different directions.  I know if I ran with her more often, that would get better, but it's so unpleasant when I do that I can't bring myself to do it more often. 

1.  I was asked by RBR recently what I will be wearing at Javalena.  Answer: loose, wicking shirts; compression shorts, compression leg sleeves, injinjis, and lots of body guilde.  LOTS of body glide.  All over my feet, under my bra, and other places. It's all about comfort this time.  Not cute. 

...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Race Report: The Duke City Marath--uh, I mean, 5K.

The Duke City was my 2nd 5k run, back in 2005.  At the time I did it I had done one 5k and one sprint triathlon. Awwww.  Yeah.  I know. I was aDORable then.  Here's a link to that short, perfunctory report back in 2005.  I can't find my time, but I think it was 38 minutes and some change.


I mentioned earlier this week how bitter I was at doing a 5k and passing up a perfectly good half marathon, but it was by direction of my coach, and I don't argue with my coach because so far, everything he's done has worked.

So. Baboo, eh, I mean Coach, headed out on the marathon course, and the rest of us lined up for the 5K. Although most people milled around and didn't seem to know what to do, I set myself with the 9 minute pace crowd, just for fun.  My PR up to this point was a 9:28 minute pace, and I hoped to beat that.  I fantasized about geting a 9 minute pace.

And we were off!  I headed out at a good clip, and refused to look at my Garmin.  I just wanted to run as well as I could.  I had some good tunes on my ipod that I repeated over and over: Vida la Vida, Freedom 90, Tusk, and some others.  The couse is perfectly flat, the roads completely closed. I was enjoying this run.

Dudes.  Viva La Vida is like, the best running song ever.

Play song from iLike.com (opens in another window) 


About the end of mile 1, I caught up with a guy with longish grey hair that was running a pretty good pace.  I stuck with him for about 50 yards, and then thought, I wonder if I can run faster?  I sped up my foot turnover, and cruised ahead of him, looking for another target, and found one, a tall, easy-to-spot chick wearing fake (well, obviously) antennas.  I settled in behind her, trying to keep up with her, which wasn't easy. About this time I caught myself in a sigh.  Which meant, of course, that I wasn't running hard enough.  But that was okay. I felt good.

Mile 1 pace: 9:24

It was a good cold morning for a run, windless, no real sun yet, it had just come up, and a nice flat course, and and--oh, hey, there's long-grey-haired guy again!  I must be slowing down.  But then, oddly enough, he pulled a head of me, and settled out, staying just ahead of me.  I waited to see what he would do; would he speed up?  Nope, he just stayed there.

Huh.  So, I sped up a little, and passed him again, just to see if I could. I maintained my speed and enjoyed myself, running along, still enjoying myself.  I'd passed the turnaround and was headed back on the course. I felt good.  I thought that maybe my sister-in-law and my neice and nephew *might* be out watching, since we were running through their neighborhood, so to put on a good show, I squared my shoulders, lifted my head, and sped up some.

Mile 2 pace: 8:58

At this point I was headed back down Central, aka Route 66, and could see the 5k walkers who were headed out - some where clearly race-walking, while others were walking at a brisk pace, and my mind wandered--how long will it take to finish this at a good brisk walk? and--jeebus, there he was AGAIN, long-grey-haired guy! He cruised past me, and then settled back, staying just ahead of me.

I was beginning to take this personally. Could it be?  Could it be that in a large, city 5K he had determined that for whatever reason, he couldn't stand to be passed by me? Let's find out.

So I sped up, and passed him again, this time I was starting to breathe heavily.  I sped up about as much as I could stand, and left him behind, and this time waited a while before settled back in my pace again.  Still feeling good.  Approaching the last turn.

Mile 3 pace 8:48

I could see the finish line ahead of me, less than a quarter mile, and I could feel myself smiling, because I felt good about this run.  At the same time, there was a girl in a red shirt just ahead of me that I had given up on passing.  She was too fast. The girl with the antenna was long gone.  Way ahead of me.  I couldn't possibly pass her.  I knew I couldn't run any faster at this point.

Except that, well, just then, there he was again!  Grey-long-haired guy, breathing hard, passing me again, and he stopped accelerating just ahead of me like he'd done areadly several times.

I was thinking, really?  Really?  It's 2010 and you have to stay ahead of a woman? Dude, why me? What the #uck is your problem?

And then I thought, well, why not me?  At the time time, as we came into the finish, I just thought, to hell with this.  The last 100 yards or so I lengthened my stride and ran like hell, passing him and the girl in the red shirt quickly, and kept accelerating until I finished.

Final 0.15 mile pace: 7:20
(At some point during this lap Garmin says I hit a 5:29 pace)

I finished, got my finisher's pin, and then wandered about for a while before heading out for a nap and a shower - then I came back to find Coach Sweet Baboo, who did his marathon in 3:47.

Things I noticed doing this race:
  • Gradually, the people I pass seemed to be getting smaller.  
  • 5K runs are just plain fun!
  • I've never finished in the middle of the pack before. It's crowded there.  
  • No matter how fast you are, it still feels hard.  You just get to finish a little faster.
  • People aren't as chatty and friendly in that part of the pack. They're all busy trying to breathe, I guess.  
  • When so inspired, you can almost always go faster than you think you can. 
  • No matter how fast you are, there's some idiot man who can't stand to be chicked

Final average pace: 8:58

Thanks, long-grey-haired guy, wherever you are. 

...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Counting down...Thusday 13.



Dear Diary,

13.  Sunday me and the bitches went clothes-shopping.  I put myself into their capable hands because, honestly, I don't know what I can wear now.  I have an idea of how I like to look, and what is appropriate.  Roughly speaking, whether I work with teenagers, or the mentally ill, or both, I try to be as forgettable as possible.  They have enough on their minds.
For your entertainment, I'm including some pictures that were taken.


12.  I was surprised at what fit me.  I felt leggy.  I haven't ever felt leggy before.  Even when I WAS leggy.  I wound up getting a dress, sweater, bustier and skirt from White House | Black Market, and a blazer from BCBGMaxAzria.

This jacket is reversible.  The other side is fake fuchsia reptile.  It's wonderfully tacky. And crazy expensive.  I skipped it.


11.  I snacked on frozen yogurt and diet coke. It was a full-on girlie day.  I don't know what the male equivalent is.  Football and snacks? Rugby and raunchy songs?


10.  I've started looking at teaching positions again.



9.  I do love my job, a whole bunch. However, it pays less than a teacher's job in most states, and I was distressed to learn recently that due to a pay raise, my first raise, which could be as much as three whole percent, won't be available until December 2011.  Exqueeze me?

I honestly thought that if I hung in there, I could make a case for a raise sooner than that.  Rediculous.  I mean, I love that job, but there's lots of fun jobs that you love with crappy pay.
I have race entry fees, and trail shoes and cute running clothes to pay for.  In a rough economy, you have to make choices.  So, it's potentially back to teaching for now, which I'm good at, have enjoyed and, unbelievably, pays much more money.   No hard feelings against the children's hospital, just some advice: maybe the reason turnaround is so high is because they have the lowest pay in the city.


8.  Meanwhile, bureaucracy reared its ugly head.  I had to jump through so many hoops for HR that my application didn't make it to the principal who was hiring.  Remember: this is my old employer. They have my personnel file.  But they refused to forward it without 3 new letters of reference and something called a "transcript analysis" form.

I am now permanently bitter towards all HR people. They are evil.  They aren't just evil, they ARE evil, As in, you look up "evil" and it says "see Human Resources".


7.  I have mixed feelings about teaching again. There's no teenagers at home, so that's nice.  I'll be off early enough during the winter to run in the afternoon, while it's still daylight.  And summer, well, I'll just have to find SOMETHING to do...


6.  Sweet Baboo is doing the Duke City Marathon this weekend. I was all, oh!  So what am I doing--that half, right?

"I signed you up for the 5K"


"THE 5K??"

He laughed.  "You're sharpening now. Just run it at a high intensity."

"Seriously.  The 5K?"

"Yes."

I checked my training plan.  This is a 20 mile week.  20 miles?  How does one do a 20 mile week?   So my long run this week is...6 miles?  How bizarre.  And NEXT week is a 10 mile week.  Well...until Saturday, that is.


5.  I bought this dress.


4.  So I started off this Tuesday by doing my little hopshuffle just before dawn up the switchbacks behind my house and--GODDAMN IT--I turned my ankle.  OF COURSE I did.  Ow, Ow, Ow.  My mother should have named me 'Grace'.

 I limped home and immediately went to that dark place, where I imagine I gain lots of weight, lose my fitness, and generally become a loser in life.

From a sprained ankle, you ask.  Yes.


But then by the end of the day it had settled to a dull ache, and I could walk on it fine, and manipulate it with with my hand.  I had finished my 5-hour midterm, and life was fine.  I'm fickle that way.


3.  I liked this jacket (above).  It wasn't in my budget for this trip.  Maybe another time.  I bought the black jacket to the right.  


2.  SO, I have some new clothes.  It was fun.  But before I buy more, I have to go through the pile of stuff that's to go to the tailor.


1.  9 days.  And counting.  Eep.

...

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Closer to hell. But faster.

Dear Diary, 

Today, I did the 15 mile run at the Pajarito Trail festival.


Last year, I did the Pajarito trail run, a 15 mile bit of heaven that I recall thoroughly enjoyed, and blogged about, here: http://athenadiaries.blogspot.com/2009/10/closer-to-god-pajalito-trail-fest-race.html.  The title of that post was "Closer to God".

I also took pictures.  I'm going to re-use those pictures because, well, it's a mountain.  Not much changes.  Plus, I didn't stop to take any.  For reasons that will be explained, in time.

101009 Pajalito Trail Run
Valles Caldera from 10,000 feet.

101009 Pajalito Trail Run

101009 Pajalito Trail Run

The race starts in a ski resort at 9200 feet, and climbs
up to over 10,000 feet in the first couple miles, which is where this picture was taken.

101009 Pajalito Trail Run



Fantastic aid stations, wonderful volunteers, very well run.

Here's the problem.  I don't recall last year tripping over every fuc#ing root and stepping on every single loose fuc#ing rock.  I think they got a lot of rain, and it washed a lot of loose rock down.

The result, was that I tripped and went face-down, HARD, at mile 0.75.

I played leapfrog with a group of folks, and was very proud to chick one youngish-looking guy, only to watch them all peel off and head toward the 10K finish.  After this, I was alone.  Very, very alone.

The rest of the run was me tripping over everything you could trip on, letting loose with profanities, and then apologizing to the  family and their small children that were, inevitably, around the corner.

Forget about scenery. Forget about pictures. I had to keep eyes down.  The race itself, by the way, had almost no flat spots.  Just steep uphills and downhills, covered with loose rock.  There was no stepping around it.

If you do this race, I recommend training by having close friends place trip wires at hidden and random intervals on your favorite trail.  Then put baseballs and golf balls on a flight of stairs and run up and down. 
Photobucket




This is me last year.  

My finishing time: 4:20.





























This is me this year.


My finishing time: 3:53.

This year, for being the last place finisher, they gave me a jar of honey.

I looooove honey.  I intend to boil it, though, or something. It's raw, and I'm not into botulism.

Now, last year, I reported that my last place finisher prize was a pair of gloves. Baboo had them waiting for me when I finished.


I found out today that this was a lie.

Apparently last year, the race people reneged on the last place finisher prize.  Baboo won the gloves in a raffle, and then made up the story about the prize because he thought that I deserved something for how hard I worked.

So I bet you can guess what the real prize is.  It's not a jar of honey.  Do I have to say it?  I bet I don't.

My prize finished a lot faster this year, too.  But I'll let him tell about it.

...

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Can I have a trashcan? I need to throw up. Thursday 13.

Dear Diary,

13. I don't think there are too many things better after a good run than a cold glass of strawberry milk.

12. I came home Thursday and found a big scrape on the side of Sadie's nose . No clue how it got there.  I asked her, but she didn't want to talk about it. 

11. I've taken to watching Tosh 2.0.  I love this show.  I have to be really nice and diplomatic at work, so it's the perfect release. If you are one of those "kill your TV" people -- well, I just don't care.  The rest of you: Try this link.

10. I finished up last week with the final build week of my training plan. Of course, last weekend, I did that 50K, and I ran 10 during the week, 20 on Saturday, and then 11.6 on Sunday.  By Sunday, I was exhausted, my knees hurt, and I could barely finish the 11.6 miles.  I ran 196.11 miles in September.

I've been told that this is how I'm supposed to feel, and by the end of my taper, I'll feel great.  SRSLY, they tell me.  "Great".  Well, I guess we'll have to wait and see.  Meanwhile, I kicked off my taper, during which I'll have to be careful about what I eat, by eating chicken enchiladas and a chile relleno at a local haunt.

9.  Lemon-lime Gatorade and Juicy Fruit gum is not a good combination.  Just in case you thought about it.  It's not.  In fact, it's pretty darned nasty. If you decide to try it out of curiosity, just because I said that, don't come complaining to me.

8.  I'm wildly excited about my date with The Bitches.  I rarely do girlie things.  I'd say on average, about every other month.  Getting my hair done AND girlie clothes shopping puts me one ahead.  This is it for me until Christmas.

7. Sunday night I celebrating the beginning of taper by eating a big plate of cheese fries and a root beer float.  'Cause I'm all about healthy.  Of course, I can't keep eating this way through the taper.

6.  I have 9 weeks to get in 200 hours for my internship.  This fall is gonna suuuuuuuuck.

5. At this point, I have four crew members for me at Javalena.  Sweet Baboo, Dread Pirate, and SW Tri Gal are scheduled to be in attendance, along with Courtney.  It's gonna be a party!  Well, maybe not for me.  They ought to have fun, though.

4.  So.  Meanwhile, DP is bombarding me questinos.  What do you want me to do?  What are you bringing?  What are you plans for pacing? She's destroying any chance I have for a if I don't think about it, it isn't happening scenario.

IT's looming.  IT is three weeks away.  I'm starting to feel the nervous flutterings that soon will because anxious nausea.

Can I have a trashcan to throw up in please?

I looked for my Xanax.  It's gone.  I must have gotten rid of it.  Crap.

3. I'm reading a book, "Comfortable with Uncertainty."  Timely, neh?

2.  So I had this conversation with my instructor this week:

  • (me) I was wanting to talk to you about this grade.
  • Okay, what did you want to talk about?
  • Well, this is supposed to be an example of a clinical note, and your comments seem inclined toward being fairly subjective, almost nit-picking.  It's not clear to me, too, how the points add up.  There are lots of comments all over the page, and then a grade at the top: 12.
  • Don't worry about the points.  
  • Don't--how can I not worry about the points?  This is a 12 out of possible 20, that's 60%, which is a D.  I don't think this is D work, and I just wanted to know what your rubric was.
  • It's not a D. 
  • Yes, it is a D.  In fact, 12 out of 20 is a D MINUS.  
  • This is just one part of five parts that add up to 100.  That in turns adds up with other grades that add up to 500. You're missing 8 points out of 500.  Don't worry so much.  You can still do an extra note and make this up.
  • But it's still not clear to me how you arrived at 12.
  • You got an 18 on your other note.
  • Exactly, and I feel they are very similar, I wrote them in the same sitting, from the same set of notes, from classroom role plays on the same day.  So can you tell me why this note is an A- and this note is a D-?  It
  • Again, you're too focused on the points.  Don't be so focused on the points.  Just keep writing and you'll make it up.  

===========
Oh, yes . This semester is going to suuuuuuuuuck.

This, by the way, is the difference in view points between a professionally trained EDUCATOR and a SOCIAL WORKER who happens to be teaching.  Who doesn't use a rubric?  Are we barbarians?  It's madness, I tell you.  MADNESS.

1.  I'm eating wayyyy too much.  WAY too much.  I have to tone it down.  Down, I tell you.  My willpower has gone to shit in a handbasket.  I have to find a way to keep busy so I don't eat.
Otherwise, there will be way too much of me trying to haul ass around Javelena.
...

...