Category Archives: Training

FFS!! Cactus Rose Clusterfunk

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The start line. That cool little guy is playing guitar, I believe.

I’ve come to realize that during extended periods of running, my heart must be diverting blood and oxygen headed for my brain to my legs, because my mental capacity bottoms out. I made logistical mistakes that slowed me down, but one huge demoralizing blunder earned me the Einstein title: I took a wrong turn.

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The field where I “camped.”

I got to the park, dropped off my stuff, and picked up my packet. I ate some food, pinned on my bib, got my clothes ready. Even though it was still daylight, I figured I might as well try and go to sleep. Later in the evening, it started to sprinkle. It was off and on for a few hours, and I was glad to not be in a tent. Then I realized that the drop bag with my change of clothes and my rain jacket were just outside of the aid station tent, exposed to the rain. Even though it hadn’t full on rained, I figured my clothes were soaking wet by now. The only thing I could do was to accept it and know that I’d be running in the same clothes all day.

As I lay there, tossing and turning trying to get comfortable, I remember thinking, “Jeez, right now I’m just laying here trying to sleep, but tomorrow I’ll actually be running.” And then bam! It’s 4:55 a.m. I’m standing in a small crowd and some lady is yelling, “It’s 5 minutes till the start!”

The countdown commenced 4, 3, 2, 1 and away goes the pack! The first 14 miles went by pretty quickly, as this is the easiest part of the course, and I was still pumped up. When I picked up my first food bag, I discovered that I put the wrong bag in the cooler, and so I had the wrong split information. No big deal. I ate up everything in my food bag and was feeling good about that. Extra bonus was being able to blast a duke while it was still dark. Fortunately, other than being slightly hungry, I had no stomach issues at all during the race.

At the second aid station, Nachos, I wanted some cold water. Three giant Gatorade coolers and I’m looking around for cups. “Cups?” I ask. Guy replies, “Not at this race.” I was at a loss, and was going to just open my mouth under the spigot, but thankfully the same guy let me borrow his cup. (I had no idea that they weren’t going to provide cups! And I thought that there weren’t any volunteers, but that had to be wrong. No doubt many of the people were spectators waiting for friends / family, but there were definitely some volunteers.) Next aid station: Equestrian B.

I had one food bag that was supposed to be for the Lodge aid station (Mile 25). In an effort to simplify the drop bag business, I decided to leave that bag at Equestrian B. My plan was to grab two food bags when I went through. No big deal, right? Well not if you remember to grab the bag! Which I didn’t! It would be much later until I realized I’d fudged up.

I start working on food bag #2. Power Bar brand gels are freaking sweet, and not in a good way. The vanilla tastes like vanilla frosting. And normally I like Chips Ahoy cookies, but they tasted extremely weird and chemically. The pretzels were pretty rocking, probably due to the salt. The tropical lifesavers were good for keeping dry mouth at bay and tasted yummy. But the big winner was the cola flavored gummies. AWESOME!

By this point in the race, the field of runners was spread out. It seemed like I was the only one out there. Somewhere in there I ran with Ed Brown for a little while. He, in his insanity, was doing the 100 mile. I thought he was going too fast, and so did he. But he was having a good time and was super upbeat.

Miles 18-24 were the big hills. Strangely, they didn’t seem so bad. I was pretty stoked around Mile 23, knowing that I was almost halfway done. And then I got to Mile 24ish. The course came to a tee. There were two signs, one said LOOP 1&3, the other LOOP 2&4. I stopped and looked at the signs, confused. I asked some runner, “Is this the way for loop 1?” I now realize he was probably just as confused as I was. He said, “Yes.” What I should have asked him was, “Which way to the Lodge?” Or better yet, the sign should have said (for the benefit of Einsteins like myself) LODGE with a big fat arrow pointing right. Instead, I went left.

I saw trail markers and thought that was a positive sign. But I didn’t see any runners behind me, in front of me, or coming from the other direction. (When you reach the Lodge at Mile 25, you turn around and go back. So there was two way traffic on the trail.) After 3.5 miles, I came across two ladies on horseback. They’d stopped because one of the horses was taking a huge dump. I asked them where the Lodge was and they told me it was behind me. My heart sunk.

Backtracking was absolutely dreadful because it was hard not to dwell on my mistake. I really wanted to quit. Why did it take me so long to realize I was going the wrong way? Why didn’t I figure that out sooner? Why didn’t I just ask that guy, “Where’s the Lodge?” 

Coming down Lucky’s Peak, I slipped and fell on my butt. I got up and two steps later fell on my butt again. I sat there for a minute. I felt like a baby. I thought for sure I was going to cry. I really wanted to cry, to get all the anger and frustration. But for some reason, I couldn’t. Since I couldn’t get myself to cry, I tried to push all the negative thoughts aside and shift my focus to the trail directly in front of me. That helped. My spirits were lifted when I finally reached the Lodge, but there was still plenty of running to do.

The

next

ten

miles

felt

like

this.

It was soooo slow. Now I understand what they mean when they say you have to train yourself to run on tired legs. It’s like your legs blow a fuse and refuse to run. As a result, I walked a lot. But you can push the reset / manual override and tell your legs to keep running. Provided you are consuming enough calories.

Ah, calories. I was very fortunate that they had gels available at the Lodge. I grabbed only two because I didn’t want to take more than my fair share, but I should have grabbed like four.  As a result, Course Miles 25-35 were tough because I was short on calories. I was actually licking my arms for salt. It would have been way worse without those gels. And I will say this about Hammer Apple Cinnamon gels: as much as I’m not generally a big fan of apple cinnamon flavor, they are the perfect amount of sweetness.

When I finally made it to the Equestrian B aid station, I immediately went to my cooler and gorged: massive instant gratification by chugging a chocolate protein drink, then starting in on some watermelon, and a string cheese, a sip of coke, and chase it all with coconut water…. Glorious! There were several Rockhoppers there that checked up on me and offered assistance. Weirdly, I’d see them again at the next three aid stations. (I believe they were following a runner behind me.)

Having finally consumed some much needed calories, I was able to run some of the last 15 miles. They weren’t fast miles by any means, but speed was the last thing I was concerned with. It was all about finishing.

At this time I, came to the conclusion that I must have kicked every single rock in the park. Twice. I thought about coming back with a sledgehammer and smashing some of those damn rocks, a la Office Space. But rocks are like Gremlins, if you smash one, they turn into more rocks.

My toes were getting pretty beat up, and my shoes felt tighter than usual. Going downhill became a new challenge. I had to be very slow and deliberate with my foot placement, and it was still painful because my toes would get all jammed up in the toe box. I think the Cascadia’s I was wearing simply DO NOT have a large enough toe box. I thought for sure when I finally peeled off my socks, all my toenails would be black. Surprisingly, as of now, I have only one.

Amazingly though, I got not a single blister! I attribute that feat to my double sock method. Injinji toe socks “liners” with Drymax super trail socks. (The Drymax were like $25, but worth every penny.) And I’m not too big of a sweater, so normally chafing isn’t a problem. But I did chafe –ahem this might be TMI– on my nutsack. That has never happened before, and was quite unpleasant.

When I made it to the last aid station, all I could think was, “I’d be done by now.” I tried to enjoy the fact that the finish was close. Maybe an hour. Tim helped fill my Camelback and reminded that, “The rest of the course is easy, it’s all flat.” Except of course, for Lucky’s Peak. Criminy! Just when you think you’re done, the course gives you the finger one more time.

But I finally found my way to the finish line in 12:51. (By my Garmin, official results still pending.)

Jiminy Christmas, the Finish!!!
Jiminy Christmas, the Finish!!!

*   *   *   *   *

So what did I learn?

Planning & Organization = Success. The importance of having your ducks in a row before the race cannot be understated, especially with an undertaking so complicated. I thought I was organized, boy was I wrong!

Make sure your calories and hydration are positioned where and when you need them. Eating solid food early in the race was a little difficult. The food bag was a nice concept, and somewhat successful. However, consuming calories in liquid form is way more efficient. I didn’t drink the Perpetuem like I had planned, so I don’t know how my stomach will handle that. But now I can test it out in training. And I’ll save solid food for the end of the race.

Study the course. Bring a map. You’ll never regret it. If you do get lost or turned around, just concentrate on what’s 5 feet in front of you until you are back on track. Don’t dwell on mistakes and don’t let a time goal be the end-all; sometimes it’s just about finishing. Once you’re finished, you can think of your excursion as “bonus” miles.

Finally, your attitude makes all the difference. You might feel overwhelmed by the difficulties you are facing, but try and remember that it’s the difficulties that make you stronger. Get out of your head and focus five feet in front of you and just keep running.

Cactus Rose Medal. I really earned this one!
Cactus Rose Medal. I really earned this one!

D-Day Again So Soon?

It’s go time again. Nerves! Anxiety! Excitement! Fear! Giddiness! And Delirium

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Tomorrow I am running the Cactus Rose 50 Miler, which will be my second 50. Under ten hours is my goal, which translates to a 12 min pace. That seems downright slow after running 7 minute miles in Chicago, but I have to remember that this is a trail race, there are steep hills. And it’s fifty freaking miles. I fully expect to cry at least once. If not tears of frustration, surely tears of joy once I cross the finish.

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This is the the first loop. You just turn around and head back to the start for the second loop.

In order to avoid bonking at the end of the race like I did in Chicago, the past few days I’ve been gorging on carbohydrates in order to fully load my glycogen stores. I’ve also managed to avoid alcohol, and tried to avoid caffeine. I’ve manged to forgo my morning coffee, but had a Coke yesterday. I’ve eaten a lot of quinoa and bulghur, potatoes, rice, bread… and I think I’m going to have some pasta before I head out.

I’m going to leave today and go get a camping spot at the park where the race is. (Well, really a parking spot, as I’ll be car camping since I don’t have a tent.) The race starts at 5am, packet pickup is 4am if you pick it up the day of the race, the drive is 45 min, so that would make for one hell of an early morning if I chose to stay home. The last race I ran at this park, there was a traffic jam getting in. Luckily my dad had driven me, because I had to jump out of the car and run up to the start to get my bib and get to the start line. Not going to let that happen again, no sir!

I’m not sure if this race is considered “unsupported” or not, but there are no volunteers at the aid stations, and no food at the aid stations. The only thing provided is water, ice and, at two aid stations, a portajon. You have to bring your own food. Which in a way is good, because it has forced me to pay more attention to a crucial aspect of running a good race.

Reading from a couple sources, I’m figuring on 250 calories per hour, and about 30 oz of fluids per hour. The sources are pretty far apart in their recommendations, so I’m taking an average. I made “food bags,” for lack of a better term, that contain various gels, cookies, chips, snacks etc that total at least 500 calories. I will pick up a bag at every other aid station. There enough calories per bag to keep me chugging along, and hopefully enough variety that I don’t get sick of any particular thing. (If you’ve ever had more than 3 or 4 gels in a race, you know what I mean.)

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“Food Bag” with splits taped on back.

On the back of each bag, I attached a print out of the splits from that aid station till the next food bag. I plan to hang and clip this bag around the sternum strap of my Camelbak. I like the idea of having all my food easily accessible right in front of my stupid face. But if that turns out to be annoying, I’ll shove it all into the pockets.

As far as hydration goes, I’ll be relying mainly on water, with a handheld with Hammer Perpetuem. I haven’t really tried the Perpetuem in training, and I KNOW YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO TRY NEW THINGS COME RACE DAY, but I’m going to anyway. I’m going to rely on my “food bags” for my calories, so the Perpetuem is more of a supplement. Also, It may help to have something to drink other than water.

So that’s the plan to get through the race. Watch my pace, hydrate, and consume calories. Keep a sense of humour, talk to people, and most of all, remember that no matter how terrible you feel, this is fun!

Today is the day!

My Legs Still Work!!

I tried running the day after the race, but that was just not happening. My quads felt like limp celery and my mystery foot pain had returned with a vengeance. I couldn’t manage even one mile. Which is hilarious because on my calendar I thought I’d knock out a seven miler easily.

I did bike around town that day, and that was fine. I went and spent a good part of the day at the Art Institute. They had built a whole new wing for the contemporary art since I’d last been there. Sadly, I felt like it was the same paintings they had before, just housed in a new place. Still it was cool to see real artwork in person again.

Tuesday was a travel day and I was still holding handrails to descend a flight of stairs.

Finally, today my legs felt better. I could walk like a normal person. I went out for a run and manged to nab a seven miler easily. I felt like I was trucking and that was nice. But I could tell that my muscles were still damaged and would need some serious repair. My goal right now is to eat as much good food as possible to get my body ready for the 26th.

It may not have been the smartest thing to do scheduling two races so close together. But I’m already signed up. Now the only thing to do is to do it!

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The light to dark rules! Though a good bit of detail is lost in the photo…
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Love the greyness and the small dot of orange.
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The detail on this piece is ridiculous, every dimple, hair and vein stands out, it makes the woman appear so repulsive. It’s a great painting.
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Love the hair!
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This guy is a big deal. Paints/draws like a four year old – Love it!
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One of my favorite paintings by one of my favorite artists.

Chicago Marathon Race Report

The race is finally over. As usual, some things went well, some not as well. But overall, I’m happy.

Two days before leaving for Chicago, I got a cold. Seriously?! Luckily, it passed quickly. But then the first night in town catching up with friends, I had drank too much and didn’t sleep well. The day after was rough. I tried to catch up on my sleep by going to bed earlier, and that helped.

When I went for a run the next day, I’d developed some weird foot pain on the top of my right foot. I’d never had this pain before and it just appeared out of nowhere. It would go away a little as I ran,, but it was definitely still there. Brand new mystery pain days before the race – AYFKM?

The next day I went to the expo. It was huge, loud, and crowded. I bought a few things, looked around briefly and left. The whole atmosphere was just too much for me. The day before the race, we went… apple picking. I thought I was going to run while my friends picked apples, but it was more fun than I thought it would be. Especially considering I’d never seen a real apple tree with apples ready to be picked. One word: Honeycrisp!!

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The night before, I got my gear all set up. As I attempted to pin my bib on my shirt, I wished someone would create an adhesive backed bib so we can put an end to this safety pin business. (Hmm… Business idea! No, wait. They already exist. And yet we still pin…) I applied my race tat, which was a new thing for me. I had a cup of decaf tea and went to bed around 10:30. I expected to be unable to sleep, but actually had a decent night’s sleep.

I got downtown early and had to wait a good hour+ before the start. It was a bit cool, but not bad. Lots of people were wearing just the outfit they’d be running in. Some smartly had throwaway garments to keep them warm. I had just my hoodie which I hadn’t planned on tossing, but was going to. I was glad to have brought a cheap pair of cotton gloves to keep my hands warm. That helped out a lot.

I tried to eat some Belvita crackers for breakfast. I’ve eaten them before and they are edible. They have like 35 grams of complex carbohydrates, and would definitely be better than eating nothing. I tried to make some #2 business happen before the lines started forming. I’m glad I did, because once the people started showing up, the lines were 10 people deep in no time.

As it got closer to the start time, I got into the corral. I found the 3:10 pace group and listened to the pace leader make jokes. I’m not sure why, maybe it was the corny jokes, but I scooted up further into the crowd. The corral slowly filled with more and more people until we were elbow to elbow, all breathing down each other’s necks. And then it was time. The race started!

I’m not even sure if they did a countdown or not, but next thing you know, there’s a river of people in front of me, and I’m happily riding along. When you realize the thing you’ve been waiting and training for has finally begun – I love that feeling.

The crowds along the first few miles were massive and quite vocal. For the first few miles, I felt like I was being powered along just by the cheering. I was running smoothly and feeling great. My mystery pain was not bothering me at all. I tried to keep track of my pacing with my pace tat, but I found it very hard to read while running. Consequently, I never looked at it again. I decided I would just run, pace be damned.

As planned, I took my first Vanilla gel about 5 or 6 miles in. I had 3 gels on me and had planned to pick up a fourth at the aid station. I’m not sure what I was thinking, I realize now this was not nearly enough nutrition. But for the majority of the race, I was fine.

Mainly I was feeding off the crowd, watching the pavement ahead of me, trying to navigate the throngs of runners. The course was packed with people for a good portion of the race. I’d say it wasn’t until maybe the halfway point did it thin out enough to have some decent breathing room.

Early in the race, I saw a runner fall and skid on his belly because some jackass spectator tried to cross the street. Runner skids across the street and I hear “YOU MOTHERF***ER!!” I felt really bad for that guy, and was paranoid whenever I saw someone trying to cross the street.

I don’t even remember much about the course. I didn’t look around that much, all my attention was focused 10 feet in front of me. I used to live in Chicago too, so there wasn’t anything I hadn’t seen before. I didn’t talk to anyone during the race. One guy asked me if I was the 3:10 pacer, and said he was going to stick with me even though I told him I wasn’t. And then weirdly, he must have peeled off within a few minutes. Which was fine, I wasn’t feeling conversant and don’t think I could have held a conversation if I’d wanted to.

I took another gel around mile 10 and then mile 15. I was alternating between water and Gatorade. Late in the race, the sweetness of the gels and Gatorade had overwhelmed me and I didn’t want to eat another one. And I thought I was doing fine anyway.

Then the wheels fell off. Up to Mile 23, I was averaging about 7 min miles. Mile 23, my pace dropped to 7:30, Mile 24 saw 8:09, Mile 25 8:56, and finally by Mile 26 I was crawling at 9:08. At no point during the last few miles did I look at my watch. I just tried to run. And then I’d stop. And then try to run. My hamstrings were cramping. The last mile I kept hearing spectators yelling, “It’s only one more mile!!”

Perhaps one of the worst parts was losing the pace group. Running ahead of them, then they’d catch up, and slowly pull away. I thought I’d catch a second wind, but the pacer kept getting smaller and smaller until they were gone.

I took some solace in seeing other runners stopped and walking. But that small relief was quickly displaced by the huge number of people that ran past me as I walked. And they all looked strong.  There was the slightest of hills on the stretch before the last turn. I had to walk it. Then around the corner, I saw the finish. Normally, the sight of the finish is energizing enough for a short sprint, but all I could muster was a weak jog. I crossed the finish in 3:10:39.

I missed a BQ by 39 seconds. Kind of a bummer, but I know damn well that I can do it next time.

There’s several lessons I learned.

No alcohol before a race. Save it for after the race.

Going to another city to race can be stressful in regards to availability of food. You need to be able to easily obtain and prepare the right kind of food prior to the race. I think my carbo loading was lacking in the days prior to the race.

Plan your nutrition. I think maybe I’ve been spoiled by trail aid stations that just have lots of different foods available, but Gatorade, gels and a banana don’t cut it.

Save the music for the end of the race. That’s when you need the boost that music can provide, not at the beginning.

Give your race the proper respect / Don’t overestimate your abilities. I thought I could run 26.2 miles easily. I forgot that trail running is much slower and incorporates more walking. Road running is pretty much running non-stop at a much faster pace. And that is really hard.

Final thought: Originally, I had thought about running the Wild Hare  50 Miler in November, but I may end up doing the San Antonio Marathon instead. I think alternating between road and trail races will be a good thing. And in 10 days, I have my 50 mile trail race! Time to start planning!

It’s Nice To Be Back

Got into town, did a little sightseeing. Downtown sure had nicened up since I left! Walked around Millennium Park, and took pictures. Later ate at Epic Burger, which was anything but epic. Then walking down the street, I run into the friend I was going to meet. We get lunch for her, and then go back to her school.  Her classroom has huge windows that provide an awesome view. She gives me the grand tour of the rest of the school and it’s really nice. Them some lucky kids!

Later, went to dinner at my friend Amanda’s. We caught up and later Jen H, her guy Maurice, and friend John John finally showed up. Amanda made a great vegan dinner. And then the wine… drinking was a mistake. I was just so happy to see my friends again. But alcohol before a race is a bad idea, especially if you are unable to exercise restraint. You don’t want to have to endure a recovery day which entails laying in bed thinking about how stupid you are. And this coming off the heels of a two day cold no less. Several months of training could all go down the toilet if you aren’t in top form.

So from this day forward, I must remember: THE WEEK PRIOR TO ANY RACE SHOULD BE ALCOHOL-FREE.

I missed several days of running due to illness, and finally got out today and went for a brief 4 miler. All things considered, I felt great! My legs have lost that dullness from the constant mileage. I was floating along. I hope that’s how I feel all throughout the race.

One More Day!!!

Begin Countdown and Taper

It hit me just the other day, the thing that I’ve been training for, waiting for since forever – well it’s almost here. 6 days till I arrive in Chicago, and then 3 days until the marathon.

During yesterday’s brief 5 mile run, I accepted that I have to start tapering. That’s a big deal for me; I feel like I should still be training for Cactus Rose, which is two weeks after Chicago.

Part of the Cactus Rose course.
Part of the Cactus Rose course.

Tomorrow, the Rockhoppers are having one last training run for Cactus Rose. I’d like to go and maybe do a shortened loop of 15, but that’s almost twice the miles my marathon plan called for. I may talk myself into going. It’s only 7 extra miles, not that big of a deal.  Or be smart and stick to the plan. You want to be fresh for Chicago. Chicago will be a good training run (distance wise) for Cactus, so it’s going to be okay.

I have to remember that training at this point probably won’t make much more difference. Moreover, of late my legs always seem to have a dull, tired feeling when I’m not running. Tapering will allow me to see what “fresh legs” feel like. I’ve already put in the miles, now is the time to throttle back. Now is the time to get my mental game plan together.

 

Lighthouse 20M Results Bad and Good

Perhaps it’s time to schedule an eye exam.

Two ten-mile loops. Easy peasy, right? Actually, it was super easy.

While it had rained the night before and the threat of mud was high, there was very little mud to speak of. The most mud we encountered was on the walk to the start. The course had a few tiny hills, but it was mostly flat and super runnable. Had I known how fast the course was, I definitely would have signed up for the 50K.

One of the worst parts of the day was when the 50K’ers took off. There was a huge crowd of people, then BANG! They take off and there’s like four other people left. It totally felt like the party just left me behind. And I would have to wait a whole freaking hour for my start.

More people eventually showed up and it seemed like we had our own little party ready to roll. The gun went off and the fun began. I wasn’t really trying, but I got ahead of the crowd pretty quick. However there were two guys ahead of me that were hauling. I tried to keep them in my sights. But the gap widened at mile 2.5 when I had to stop to take a sh*t. After that, I never saw the dudes again.

I cruised along, feeling good and strong. Even though I forgot my handheld in the car, it wasn’t a big deal since there were 4 aid stations per loop. I was totally fine without it and actually glad that I wasn’t carrying water.

For a several miles, it was like I was the only runner. The two dudes in front were just gone, and there didn’t seem to be anyone behind me. Finally, at about mile 5, a guy catches up to me. I  slowed down because I was confused. The fence line I was following ran perpendicular right into another fence. I was like, “What the?!” But then I saw there was an ever so slight trail following this new fence line. And then a hundred feet later, the trail disappears behind some trees. Again I was unsure if I was still on trail. I expressed my doubts to the other guy, he seemed unconcerned. Eventually we saw a big sign with a big arrow, which was perfect.

Trail anxieties relieved, I started talking with the guy. Mike from Boston, just moved to Austin, doing the 10 Miler. It was nice talking to someone after running alone for what seemed like forever. Mike probably felt the same way. We ran for several miles, talking about -what else-  running. About mile 8, he said he was taking off for the finish. I was sad to see him go because it was nice having company, and even nicer having another pair of eyes finding the trail.

When I got back to the start, I saw Mike. I asked how far out the two guys were. Turns out, one was a 10 miler, so there was only one guy ahead of me, although I had no idea how far ahead. But with 10 miles, there was still a chance. Mike had finished second in his race.

The second loop went by quickly. I started passing the slower 50K’ers. I was hustling along. One thing that struck me: I don’t push myself hard enough. Or more accurately, I’m not sure what I am actually capable of. I filed that away for a later training date. I’m nearing the finish and still feel like I have plenty of gas in the tank. Although I’m worried because I seemed to have missed that one section with the fence line business… Or did I just not pay attention?

My Garmin has my finish at 2:30:32. And only 19.52 miles. Oh $%^#!! I did miss part of the course. I tell the three people working the race. They seemed unconcerned and/or unsure what to do. I look at the tiny map on my Garmin and I can plainly see, yep, I missed that right turn. (Later, on Map My Run, I saw that I fudged up not once, but twice, and unintentionally cut off a half mile. A HALF MILE.) I told the lady who handling passing out the medals that I should be disqualified. While it would have been nice to place, it was a 20 mile race, not 19.52.

The more unsettling thing of all this was not having my name listed on the web page official results. No DQ, or even an asterisk. Nope, I was not part of that race. Oh well.

The next two days I redirected that bummer energy onto canvas. Finished two paintings in two days. Maybe I’ll sign up for a 5K and get lost…

bitchin'
bitchin’
THE QUICK BROWN
THE QUICK BROWN

Lighthouse Hill Ranch 10/20 Mile/ 50K Trail Run

Tomorrow I’m running a 20 Mile trail race.

It’s a pretty small event. Last year, there were 55 finishers for the 10 mile, 17 finishers for the 20 mile, and a mere 11 finishers for the 50K. This is probably the smallest race that I’ve ever been to.  Two weeks ago I inquired about previewing the course. They don’t have day access (must be private land) I would have to rent a cabin in order to do so. I forget what the price was, but it was way too much. So I, and likely everyone else, will be running this race sight unseen. I’ll be doing (2) 10-mile loops. Easy peasy.

I’m excited but not nervous at all. Mentally, I’m looking at this race more as a training run. In fact, my marathon training schedule has me doing a 20 mile long run, so it fits perfectly. But I am going to run it hard, as it would be nice to place. I don’t know if they have awards or not, but I would definitely earn some “trail cred” with the people I run with.

My friend Zach is running the 50K. It’ll be his first ultra, what’s more it’ll be his first run over 20 miles.  He’s been logging good mileage for several months, and I asked him “What are you going to do with all those miles?” That finally convinced him to sign up for a race. Which reminds me, he still owes me $65. He’s a beast of a runner, but I wonder how he’ll handle all the variables at the same time – nutrition, hydration, sweating (he sweats like crazy), which leads to chafing, mental issues, gastrointestinal issues, pacing, etc.

Several Rockhoppers are also running, so that’ll be nice to see them. However, most of them are doing the 50K, which makes me feel like a chump. Whatever. I’m hoping I can take some cool race photos. Although that seems really hard, most race photos I’ve seen are not flattering at all. But maybe I can work some magic. We’ll see.

Most importantly, I need to remember to make a new playlist!!

Procrastinate Later, Write NOW!

I’m sure I’m not alone in my constant procrastination, and it’s time to do something about it.

Blogging has been on the backburner for too long. Good things are happening, and it’s time to share. I’m not going to worry some much about “crafting” my writing (since I’m not a writer), I’m just going to write. The biggest news for me: Running is fun again!

My Achilles seems to be pretty good for the most part. There are occasionally still times when it hurts, but the intensity and duration are lessened. I’m on 5 days a week, mostly following a Hal Higdon marathon schedule. Last week I ran with the R-U-N group for the first time in a million years and that was a blast. There’s a guy David who is pretty fast and I tried to keep up with him, and that was a great chase. The group is meeting again tonight and I have just enough time to write something…

An observation for you: I’m running the same greenway 5 days a week, at about the same time each day. Without fail, I see the same little old man walking the path. He seems very happy, and probably he waves or smiles at everyone. Whenever I passed him, I’d wave at him and he’d wave back. We don’t know each other, and I’ve never stopped and talked to the guy. But I’ve seen him so many times, I sort of feel like I know him. And now it’s gotten to the point where I can’t stop smiling when I see this old guy out there, in the heat, walking and smiling at everyone.

I’m tempted to stop and ask his name, just so I can say “Hi Fred! (or whatever his name is) when I see him. But I’m not skilled in the art of introduction, so I may just let that go. It may be enough to enjoy things as they are, and not want more.

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I just completed the fourth week of the 100 push up program! I’m elated, but not looking forward to week 5 and 6. This week was tough and I’m thinking about repeating the week. I will make 100 pushups. Perhaps this weekend I’ll see how many I can do in a single go.

That’s my entry to get myself back on track. An injury sucked all the gun out of running, but now, things are starting to look up. There’s plenty more good news I’d like to share.

Next up: Juicing!