NEXT EVENTS: IRONMAN BOULDER 2014, Run Rabbit Run 50-miler

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

This blog is about my journey as an asthmatic, hypothyroid, formerly plus-sized endurance athlete. It's occasionally interrupted with things that have nothing to do with that or whining about my weight and horrible eating habits. "You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Javalina jundred: a race report

First off, my goal was to do this faster, enjoy myself, and NO CRYING. I wanted to do this without a crew, but as it happens, the same two crewed for all of us--Mo, an experienced ultrarunner, and Mr. Black, who is Dreadpirate Rackham-Black's husband.

The biggest danger of this race is that it's so very runnable. It can be hard to pace yourself appropriately, and you maybe tempted to go out too fast. It's also easy to underestimate it. In terms of difficulty there's no big elevation gains, no high altitude running. It happens all on the Pemberton trail outside of Fountain Hills, AZ.

The host hotel is nice...Dread Pirate liked her room. However, we walked through a smoke laden casino, which stunk to high heaven. A valet parking thug named "Dave" refused to allow us to cross through a parking lot to get to our car, sending us around and out of our way instead.

We chose instead to stay in the comfort Inn off Shea that gives a free breakfast and every room has a microwave and fridge.

The pre-race "banquet" is one of those uninspiring pasta meals--we chose instead to eat at Jimmy's Krazy Greek restaurant, where I had a Greek pizza, and Sweet Baboo had pistichio, and hummus, for the same price as the "banquet".

The race. Loops one, three, and if you do it: five... are clockwise. Each loop is 15.4 miles. It starts with a five or so mile climb over rocky trails covered with small, loose boulders. It heads west toward the mountains, some short rollers for three or four miles in a generally north direction, and then a long, gradual seven mile downhill back the headquarters. I ran the first loop part of the way with Jo-Ja Jogger, but eventually had to stop and go to the bathroom and didn't catch her after that, although we passed each other repeatedly throughout the day.

Loops two, four, and if you do it, six reverse, heading up a long, shallow climb again. That long climb is soul-sucking. It ends with a downhill that you take somewhat gingerly because of those loose angular cobbled and boulders.

  • What I did right: Hiked up, jogged easy down. Changed shoes at the end of loops 2 and 4. The last pair I put on we're Hokas, to provide some cushioning for my feet, especially the second run down that rocky climb. I made up five drop bags for myself, which I labeled, and so when I cam in, I just said, I need my loop 3 bag, please.
  • What I did wrong: somehow, I did not wear enough lube. I have a band of angry red chafe under the band of my bra, front and back, and around my lady parts. Ouch.
The heat starts toward the end of the first loop (or middle of the second, if you're fast). It climbs throughout the day and doesn't end until (if you're me) the middle of loop three. I came in faster than I'd planned on loop one, but much slower than I'd planned on loop 2 and beyond. The problem is that there are few places to stop and rest--no trees to hang onto, because the trees are saguaro cacti and some other type of tree, maybe mesquite, with long thorns on the flimsy branches.

 

 

 

 

There a lots of cholla cacti and teddy bear cholla. The ground, if you try to sit on it, is littered with sharp pebbles and cactus needles and tiny baby cacti. Only on the first half of the odd loops and back half of the even loops might you occasionally find a flat rock wide enough for your ass. Even fewer if it's my ass.

  • What I did right: as always, I wore a loose, white wicking shirt and lots of sunscreen, and a wide-brimmed REI sun hat. Eventually, I wrapped an ice in a bandanna and wrapped it around my neck.
  • What I did wrong: I didn't train for moving in the heat. It slowed me down pretty dramatically, and sapped my strength. I couldn't come back from it.
Still the race starts out in a party atmosphere. At Javalina Jeadquarters, there is a party running full time, and when you come in there's an energy. There's also a guy constantly screaming over and over again, THAT'S what I'm talking about! Until you want to stick something sharp in your ears. Luckily, his shift seems to end at sundown.

There's a costume arty going on, so you'll see some clever running outfits. The one that puzzled me for a while was a woman in a cow-spotted costume with wings and a halo.

Give up?

Holy cow!

So because of the way it's set up, you're rarely alone on the trail. There are three full aid stations and a water stop. The full aid stations each have a porta-John and cots and chairs, and I used them.

Eventually as the night stretches on, the party atmosphere disappears out on the trail. A few people run along, chattering with their pacers. The rest are silent except for the muttered

Good job.

To which you mutter back:

You too.

But nobody notices.

Every aid station is fully stocked and at night, the food really comes out. I had a couple if slices from a submarine sandwich at two different aid stations. I think I might have gotten a little behind in calories but overall, I did we'll.

  • What I did right: after every lop (15.4 miles) I drank an ensure clear and ate a larabar, giving me 400 or so carries almost completely carbs. I carried a 60 ounce pack and drank it empty on every loop.
  • What I did wrong: I didn't take enough calories at aid stations throughout the day. On loop three I tried to make up for it with the sub sandwiches before running downhill. They made my stomach a little queasy. I don't think that salami and American cheese are good running food.

Eventually I started sitting down at aid stations, which would buy me enough recovery time to get to the next one. i sat down at the last aid station, pretty desperate to get off my feet, and pulled them up onto a cot, and wham--I fell asleep. I don't think for very long, maybe ten minutes. I woke up when I heard a cowbell, but it was just the boost I needed to get into the finish line, where I was too exhausted to say, "I'm done," so I drew my finger across my throat. They wrote down my number and handed me the Javalina Wimp-out option: a 100k buckle.

We snagged a primo spot along the course about 20 yards from the start/finish/turnaround.

If you go: this is a runner's course. That's what you do, you run. There isn't much for scenery; it's kind of an ugly course. But, it has its own challenges and it's a fun race to do as a group, particularly with the wimp-out option.

It's an easy race to crew, because the crew stays in one place, and the runner comes to the crew. You have to rent a spot through the race, and then show up early to get a good spot (we showed up at noon the day before the race.)

I recommend this race for the reasons above, and also because it's good to have on your running resume. Most ultrarunners in the west have done this, or know someone who has.

So, this was my second A race for the year. Let's take inventory for 2012:

  • 5 marathons:Bataan memorial at White Sands Missile Range; Shiprock Marathon in Shiprock, New Mexico; Memorial Day in Massachusetts; Seghahunda Trail in New York, and Taos.
  • 4 ultras: 100k in Vermont, this one, and 50k runs at Mt. Taylor and Angelfire Resort
I have another marathon scheduled for 2012, in Tucson. For 2013 I am signed up for the Bandura 100k in January, but after that, I'm going to work on my short game. My new boss requires a morning treatment team meeting no later than 8:30 sharp, so morning runs are out most of the time. Afternoons I"m usually pretty tired. I'm still trying to work all that out.

I'm hoping to gain five new states in 2013, states that Baboo has and I don't, to bring us even. Baboo wants a break from 100s, unless he gets into Hardrock. If he gets in I'll crew for him.

We like marathons. They're like little sight-seeing trips. The states I need are: Washington State, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, and a fifth I can't remember. We also want to do the Marine Corps marathon.

My plan is to incorporate more speedwork into my training. Oh, and to do some training!

...

 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Here I go again, on my own.

Dear Diary,

here's a little Whitesnake mood music

 

In 2010 I attempted to do the 100k at Javalina. After training to finish 100k, I got caught up in the whole 100 mile thing. I never intended to do 100 miles when I started training. I intended to finish 62, and get that buckle.

It wasn't the best of experiences. I felt a little bitter, for reasons I won't go into. At the very least, it scared me off any run over 50 miles for a while. Not because of the distance, either. It was the first, and last time, that I attempted to make a race all my own by depending on other people instead of going with my instinct. It just didn't work out. But even then, I knew I'd be back. My plan was to come back in 2012, after I was done with school, and do--what?

Well, exactly this: do it a little faster. More comfortably. Maybe go a little further. Enjoy myself a little more.

So here I am, except that all day long, people keep introducing Sweet Baboo, and then gesturing towards me and Misty is doing her first hundred.

No, I am not. I am doing my third hundred K, and if I can, I'll go a little further.

Misty is doing her first hundred. (No pressure now)

I will go four loops. It's going to be hot as shit tomorrow, and then it will cool down. My goal is to finish 100k in less than my 2010 time, 18:40, and to have fun, the kind of fun I had at the Vermont 100.

Sweet Baboo asked me about pacers, and I made a halfhearted attempt to get one, but honestly, I'm fine without.

No crew this time. I'll put my drop bags down where my friends are hanging out, but other than that, no crew. I need to do this on my own. And I'm going to have a great time watching my friends go further than they ever have. It will be an all night party, and when I'm done, I'll have a shiny new buckle.

No pacer.

No thanks.

I'm good.

...

 

I feel angrier, older, and whiter already.

Dear Diary

13. Knock tapas off my bucket list. Herself Dreadpirate Cudney-Black, Mr. Black, and I went to a Tapas bar, had tapas, and listened to really good salsa jazz. The tapas ranged from artichoke with orange goat cheese, to calimari (not deep-fried and rubberly, but braised and buttery soft), grilled beef-wrapped asparagus, and some others, to a finishing touch of tres leches cake which--if you have never tried it, is worth a southwestern plane ticket to Albuquerque.

12. The night before, I ate out with mom-in-law and had dungeness crab on a bed of hand-cut truffle fries. We ate this delight at Desert Fish, the best place to get fresh seafood here in the desert.

11. Besides knocking on the door of my bucket list, these places we listed in a book that an ultra runner I know just got published. Her book was published not too long after she finished Western States. I'm planning to use her book as a guide to working on my bucket list.

My badass travel outfit.
10. The day after the tapas experience, me and four other New Mexico Outlaws that I know ran the Duke City relay. I ran the first leg, and ran 4.4 miles leg in a 10:28 pace. While this is nowhere near as fast as I have run, or would have liked to run, it was a hopeful experience. I trotted back to start, somewhat slower, and waited for Dreadpirate to run the anchor. Our team finished in about 3:48.

9. After I handed off the batan, and stood on the Bosque path, among the blazing orange cottonwoods. The sky was a brilliant turquoise, and it was about 60 degrees out. Hot-air balloons had lifted off and hung in the brilliant sky, like a fantastic mobile. And I thought, life is good.

8. This Saturday I'll toe the start line with several other Outlaws at the Javalina Jundred. I did this race back in 2010, and finished the first 100k, getting my 100k buckle. I told everyone I'd be back in 2012, and well shit, it's here. It sounds really far away back then. Now it's here. It will be tracked here.

7. So, ultrasignup has posted projected times for finishers based on previous finisher times using some mathematical heuristic that I'm no longer in the business of knowing. It projects, that should I actually be able to stay on my feet that long (doubtful) that I will finish 101 miles in less than 30 hours.

6. I was having some seriously painful shoulder and neck stuff. I though it was from my iPad, and I tried yoga, stretching, muscle relaxers, massage, but nothing worked. I finally figured out that it was from the awkward setup of my desk at work. I took some ergonomic advise and moved stuff and waddaya know? It worked. The pain, ever present for six months, is fading. Rapidly.

5. Mini gear review. If you were paying attention two weeks ago you would have seen the Groupon Goods special of three pairs of Injinji performance max socks for $20. I grabbed this, and they arrived yesterday.

Two of the pairs reminded me of "micro crew" socks that Injinji made in the past. These were socks that made me hate my life. They would, within 50 yards, creek down, down, down into my shoe until they wadded up Under my heel. Fuckers. So it was with no small amount of trepidation that I went out for a short run in these. And you know what? Injinji's new design is great. The socks no only see, to last longer now, but they don't creep down in my shoes. So, they are a success.

4. This weekend, I'm packing six drop bags, just in case. Each drop bag will have an Ensure Clear and two Larabars (580 calories), Change of socks, and mile 30 and 60 will have new shoes. Each one will have a card full of platitudes and affirmations and instructions. These instructions come from my pace chart, on which I predict, for instance, that the sun will likely go down during the fourth loop. So, the card will say, MISTY! YOU'RE AWESOME! DON'T FORGET YOUR HEADLAMP AND SPARE BATTERIES!

3. It's supposed to be in the eighties on the trail Saturday afternoon. Suck, suck, suck. I'll be wearing a loose white, wicking shirt; sunscreen, and big-assed wide-brimmed hiking hat, and my cool-off bandana.

I have five bags, for loops 2, 3, 4, 5, and "6 and beyond". Truth be told, I'm expecting to get at least as far as loop 4, which is 100k. Everything I do after that will be further than I've ever gone.

2. As I finish writing this, I'm on Route 66, headed west to Fountain Hills. I'm not crazy about Arizona apart from the good uktrarunning. i always feel like I'm surrounded by super angry old white people. Meanwhile, I'm eating a diet red bull and white chocolate Reese's. Because life is all about balance.

. I'm sending you a picture since my new iPad has cellular data capability:

1.i've just entered Arizona. I feel whiter and angrier already.



 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursday 13.

Dear Diary,

It's been an interesting week, full of surprises. And by interesting, I mean exhausting, and by surprises, I mean beaurocratic asshats.

13. Managed care. At this point, I have roped off the hours of 2 to 4:30 for one thing, talking to insurance companies, this usually consists of me talking to one guy who asks inane questions, such as when I tell him I'm seeking transfer to a residential treatment center for a teenager who is autistic, mentally retarded, and head buts is grandfather, knocking him to the ground, "but did you try Multisystemic Therapy first?" Which, according to state guidelines and the developer of the therapy, does not work for individuals who have autism OR mental retardation. He challenges me on every single treatment decision, which they aren't supposed to do.

I should mention: we're non profit. We're not trying to make money. It's not a spa. If the doctor feels he needs to be here another day, why second guess him? Why second guess me?

"Are you sure?"

Am I sure that he has autism and mental retardation?

"No. Are you sure it doesn't work?"

Pretty sure.

I"m going to go look that up."

You do that. Let me know if I'm remembering that wrong.

And Ellen looks at me, and says, "that's very diplomatic of you."

That two.5 hours, by the way, on the phone with insurance companies, includes time spent on hold.

12. Reality. There are people out there who go on vacation while their kids are in locked psych units. Seriously. And cannot be reached. There are people who refuse to pick up their kids when they're discharged. There was one mother who moved, across the country. She left the rest of the family to 'deal with it'. I'm not saying I would have ever done that. But I didn't even know it was an option.

11. Generally speaking, I work roughly an hour per client each day. Right now I have 9 of them. Earlier this week I had ten. It's been a long week, but unlike my old job, I get paid overtime. I see blonde hair in my near future...and gel nails. And tapas, which is #34 on my food bucket list.

10. This weekend, Sweet Baboo is going to run the Army Ten-Miler. He made the team, and is now convinced he will be dead last in a humiliating show of slowness. It's somewhat reminiscent of when he was recently out of grad school, studying for the EPPP. This is the test that decides whether you become a clinical psychologist or not. At one point, he was sitting on the bed, staring blankly ahead. "Maybe I can become a gardener," he said. And I, not long on his life, was worried.

He passed, obviously. The first try. There have been many, many times since then Like this, when he predicts certain doom. i have added the handling of these moments to my Baboo-handling skills. Which I will not divulge. Because himself reads my blog. Anyway. He will do awesome. It will be wonderful. He'll see.

9. Ulp. One week from Saturday I toe the start line at the Javalina Jundred. GAAAAA!!!!!!

8. Last big workout before Javalina. Sunday, myself, DreadPirate Rackham-Black, and several New Mexico Outlaws will run the Duke City Marathon as a relay. I have never run a marathon as a relay before. Every single person on my relay team is faster than I am, most of them considerably so. But, I imagine it will be fun. It will be beautiful, this morning run on the Bosque, through blazing gold cottonwoods, with breakfast and/or coffee after.

7. No carbs. The Atkins diet was, hands down, an unmistakeable disaster. Yes, in case you wondered how it went: I threw myself on that sword for you, and you're welcome. After ten days of low carb, I couldn't run 50 feet. I'm still trying to recover. I need carbs if I'm going to run. But from here on out, they will be whole grain.

It really sucks, too, because I liked this diet. I could give a shit about carbs. I don't get cravings for cookies, or bread. I get cravings for meat and cheese. And bacon. I have compromised by precooking some good, quality bacon and refrigerating it, and putting one or two pieces on my salads throughout the week. Mmm.

6. Yes carbs. So, taking about carbs reminds me of oatmeal. Which reminds me of Cooks Illustrated magazine. I love this magazine. Every one of the recipe articles is a long, nerdy treatise of one particular dish. For instance, properly cooked steel-cut oatmeal:

This week, I made the steel-cut oats, with oats from Trader Joes. I have started shopping there, but that's another topic. They turned out fabulous, and I put in some walnuts and apples from the last of the apples off our tree. I also made French Apple Cake, from the same issue. And I don't even bake. But after reading about all the thought and science that goes into developing a recipe, it seems less mysterious, and I'm curious about, especially since I live at 6000 feet and want to know what I might need to do to cook it for us.

5. Hippie. I read an article about a link between pesticides and drop in IQ, and I've decided that I need my brain cells, so I'm going to go organic when I can. It's easier on the earth, too. All the apples from my tree are organic (as the worms and bird-pecked spots can attest) and I feel good about that, since apples are at the top of the dirty dozen list for pesticide contamination. My grapes are, too. Costco has a goodly selection of organics now.

4. Drinking the coolaid. And so it is, after years of declaring I will not join your Trader Joes cult I find myself working about five minutes away from one. So, I popped over there to pick up a few things such as--ohhhhhh, pumpkin pecan instant oatmeal for work. And salad greens, and eggs. Most of their stuff is pretty reasonably priced. And I just like being there, as I wrote earlier this week. And their stuff is not just tasty, but imaginative. Don't know how they do it.

3. Flower child. My house has dried flowers and herbs and shit hanging all over. I have rosemary-infused everything, including cleaning spray, vinegar, and olive oil. It's seriously Martha-Stewart-meets-hippie-flower child decor and I don't care. I will be sweeping up seeds and dried petals and leaves all winter and I don't care. It makes me happy. I feel domestic and useful and all that crap.

Doing all this herbal and dried plant stuff makes me feel like this:

But to my neighbors, I probably seem more like this:

 

2. No news is no news. Sweet Baboo and I have been on a self-imposed news hiatus for a couple of months now. I highly recommend it. The world seems like a nicer place when you are not reminded, daily, by fear mongerers that it's not. There world is not as scary as they would have you believe.

 

1. I promised myself I wouldn't post anything political but I could stop myself. Ahh. What the hell.

 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bring on the Forks

Dear Diary,

Lately I've been working my way toward becoming a foodie of sorts. I've been trying are things that I've heard of but didn't try because I thought there was too much hype. For instance, balsamic vinegar: Man, oh, man, where have you been all my life?

I've subscribed to Cooks Illustrated which is Mythbusters, geekiness, and cooking, all in one. The iPad version Kicks. Ass. I highly recommend it.

Some of this has come to fruition because I finally find myself, as a grownup, with a post grad salary and no kids to support. Okay, Well, there is the Mini Baboo, but he's in community college, so that's not too bad. And we're not rich, by any means, but I finally have the job I was aiming for. I'm finally making more than I would be if I had stayed in teaching. And, I'm finally done with school, thank fuck. Which means that I have time for gratuitous hobbies. And, I read an article recently that if you're going to eat small, eat quality. Enjoy your food.

So, I've started a Friday tradition of driving to Trader Joes after work on Friday in search of something interesting for dinner. It's cheaper than going out. It's more fun than just staying home. I wonder up the aisles, and I bask in my good life. My outrageous fortune. As a bonus, going to Trader Joes leaves behind, literally, the desperate poverty and misery that I manage all week. I suppose that sounds shallow. But honestly, I couldn't come back to it on Monday if I didn't leave it behind on Friday.

SO I was intrigued by this article I came across on the net. It's a food bucket list. Yes, there are people that aim for loftier goals than this, like seeing the Mona Lisa up close, blah, blah, blah...whatever. I like this idea better. Here are the 25 foods I haven't tried from this bucket list:

(I want to apologize, in advance, for any fucked-up auto-corrects that I don't catch). I'm only going to list the things I haven't tried. Or, that I've tried, but not a really good quality version.

2. Eggs Benedict

3. Baba Ghanoush

#9 oh my god, are you fucking kidding me? You wouldn't believe the amount of cheese fondue forced down my throat by my mother in the 70s.

Anyway

10. Pupusas

11. Black truffles

12. Fugu

15. Latkes

18. Hangi (new Zealand)

19. Ethiopian Cuisine

20. Louisiana Turtle Soup

22. Peking duck

24. Maryland crab cake (the best way to do this is for Sweet Baboo to get us back to Boston. No pressure, now, babe...

25. Authentic Vietnamese Pho Soup.

26. Oslo Bucco

27. Cuban sandwich

28. A pastrami sandwich from Katz's Delicatessen in NYC

30. Octopus

32. Dim Sum

33. Beluga caviar

34. Tapas

35. Falafel

44. Marzipan

45. Beignet

47. Sprinkles cupcakes

48. Churros

49. Raw Sugar Cane

So the way I see it, the quest for a marathon or longer in every state AND a foodie bucket list are not only NOT mutually exclusive, they are almost meant to be together.

Bring on the miles.

Bring on the forks.

...

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

A half-assed race report.

Dear Diary,

after reading some of these articles, I have to admit I'm intrigued.

  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2129159/
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2716748/
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21558571
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Link&db=pubmed&dbFrom=PubMed&from_uid=22835211&holding=f1000%2Cf1000m%2Cisrctn
I'm at the perfect place to experiment, too. I had a great year last year, and then lost a lot of fitness due to the sloth.grad school matrix. I'm at my running baseline, and about to start a new training plan for the Bandera 100k. During this time, in addition to losing strength and speed, I've gained 13 pounds.


So, I have a bit of a background in chemistry, and I've read the research, and I have to say, it's intriguing.

Much of the time when I binge, unlike others I've known, I don't binge on candy or cookies. I binge on cheese and meat. So, I'm trying out the New Atkins diet. Yes, they got some of my money. I bought the book, and am currently in induction phase. So far, I'm on day 3, and I don't feel unusually tired or have horrible breath.

I have to say it's odd that in a decade, the pendulum of my dietary habits swung from vegan to keterogenic.

Here's a typical work day:

Breakfast: an omelet, with 1-2 eggs, cheese, turkey bacon, some roasted red peppers and herbs, and chai made with half-and-half.

Snack is a low carb/low sugar light and fit yogurt and crystal light.

Lunch is broccoli, mashed cauliflower or the like, and usually fish, cooked in olive oil and herbs.

Afternoon snack is some sort of Atkins creation, like a bar or other treat.

Dinner is usually chicken or fish and some greens.

It turns out that some of my favorite foods work well with this. Greek salads. Antipasto. Fish. The only craving I anticipate having is breaded meats. The only other possible stumbling block might be my love of crackers and cheese, but as the crackers are simply vehicles for cheese, I'm researching flax meal crackers. There is also a way of encrusting meats and fish with flaxseed meal.

I actually kinda started this diet last week, but went off it this past weekend to do the Mt. Taylor 50k. I didn't think that a brand new style of eating, four days old, was a good way to go into a race I was neither trained for nor ready for, starting at 9000 feet and climbing to 11,000 feet. Twice.

The race, btw, was gorgeous. The aspens were turning, and there were part of the course where the light shone golden through the aspens and the forest floor was littered in golden leaves and dappled sunshine.

Other parts of th course, I'm sure were beautiful, but I was whining and crying at 10,000 feet on my way up to 11,300 feet. I was a regular I Love Lucy

WAAAHHHH.

Why am I doing this? I shouldn't be here. I wasted a spot that could have been used by a real athlete!

WAAAHHHH!

I did the first 25 or so miles with Caroline, who is Deaf. have you ever had a friend whose lamguage you dom't really speak? i know very little ASL, relatively speaking. We drove out together, and I tried gamely to communicate what was happening at the race meeting to her in my pidgin sign language, usually falling back on providing a type of closed captioning on my ipad.

At the race, we quickly fell into the back of the pack. The first part of the race is a clmb up to La Mosqua Peak, maybe 10,800 or so. then downhill for a while, then another climb up the Continental Divide Trail to the start, where you begin the second loop, which climbs Mt. Taylor. I turned my ankle a couple of times, nothing major, but Caroline started having serious knee problems heading up Mt. Taylor, and had to drop soon after.

Caroline is interesting because she can cook. As in, COOK.

She is always posting these wonderful dishes she's made on Facebook. Here's an example:

See, now, if it were me, it wouldn't look that pretty. It would be on a paper plate, sans garnish. Might even have ketchup on it. I would call it "beef with mushrooms." But not Carolyn. No. This is breaded petite sirloin with balsamic portobello mushrooms. Except she wrote it in Italian. Cause she's all classy and shit.

But, that's not the most interesting part of Carolyn, the cooking. The most interesting Carolyn Fact is that she apparently used to weigh 200 lbs more. Three years ago she started power walking, then jogging, and she lost 200 lbs. She did her first half iron a year later. She hasn't finished an ultra yet, but she will. 200 lbs makes my 40 lb loss seem kinda like, well, bullshit.

But, I digress. During the race, we hiked along, running the downhills. We were followed closely by chatting people pulling flags. One of them was Sweet Baboo, who has breathed the same air as me for twelve years and knew, at mile sixteen, that I was building a case for dropping out of the race. Unfortunately, he's too ethical to give me any real aid on the course other than carrying my bottle of Tylenol (shhhhhh.) but he was sympathetic when I did my Lucille Ball imitation.

After climbing Mt. Taylor, there is a cutoff, which I made by a few minutes. Then, you run down, down, down (three miles) into Water Canyon, where you see a sign informing you that it's one mike straight up back to the aid station. THAAAAAT's right. Three miles down, nearly 1000 feet, and then one mike back up.

The last few miles of the course were straight down a ski slope. The last mile or so, I saw this

I came into the finish and got this

..

I also got lovely turquoise and lava rock bracelet.

Last night, we had a "debriefing" at a local pizza place. After rewarding my feets with a pedicure, I headed over there and had a Mediterranean salad. Mmmm.

If you are interested in the Mt. Taylor 50k, which I fully expect to be New Mexico's signature ultra, the website is http://www.mt50k.com . All money raised goes to the runners and to charity, the charity being a Navajo running organization. Mt. Taylor is sacred to the Navajo, as is distance running

So, that was my week, Diary. Now I'll spend the next two weeks focusing on "Induction" and getting ready for Javalina Jundred.

TTFN.