Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hills, hills, hills!

With 3000 mg a day of amoxicillin pumping through my veins I am feeling better and better each day. I didn’t realize how sick I was until I started feeling better, having energy and motivation again. I still have one more test tomorrow in the morning and am waiting some results before I have a clean bill of health and I can march on with a clear head. The preliminary pock and prod was good and the doctor was optimistic that my lumps and bumps are a result of being sick for a long period of time. I am about to turn to other music besides Robert Plants, Darkness, Darkness......whew things are looking up.

Training is in full swing and since I am feeling better I am hungry and motivated for workouts. Tuesday I had my first attempt at any substantial hills and boy I could feel it. My workout called for a solid 30 min. warm up then 8-10 steep strides ranging from 45 seconds to 1:36. This workout is like the track with the same workload only on steep ascents. I chose the base of firelane 1 in forest park for this stride session. The firelane grade is perfect! It’s really steep from the base and just begins to level off by the time I hit my 1:36 time mark. The first two strides were good but I felt my legs filling and feeling heavy. On the down hills I was clumsy and unsure of myself. My strength on the ascents was okay but my knee drive seemed slow. I could feel muscles quivering that have been dormant since the summer. It felt good to be pushing myself again, being keenly aware of my weaknesses but knowing the changes and adaptations will come over time and practice. By the 7th stride I was beat and called it good at 8 steep strides! It was a solid workout and I felt good which is all relative these days.

As I was driving home I was thinking about the difference between a fast road runner and a mountain runner. I know some folks think they are one or the other based on past performances or just preferences. I wondered what I thought about that now after spending 4 months doing nothing but preparing for a fast flat road run. Strength running versus speed running is definitely two different animals but I think you can train yourself to be good at either. Of course Scott J. has proven that with his Hardrock/Spartathon races. I developed some good speed but to the expense of strength and that was very apparent on Tuesday.

Today was my first attempt at any hill repeats since August! The workout was a total of 2 hours and went like this: 30 min. warm up then .5 miles at m-pace then 2X25 minute hill repeats at threshold, work the downs aggressively. I was excited and Stacey, Tom and Kris were coming too! What a day, great workout, feeling better, great company and lots of sunshine. Sounds like an awesome day and it was. We met in the morning did our warm up and m-pace portion then had at the hill. We chose Saltzman road which is 2.9 miles consistently uphill with a grade that forces you to work. The first repeat was awesome and I felt fairly strong and in control of my body and my breath. When we reached to top and headed downhill fast all was good but about half way down I felt fatigue in my legs. The last repeat was harder for sure but I could sustain it. My cardio is in much better shape then my strength because it was difficult to power into threshold on the last third. My time to the top was about 30 seconds slower and as hard as tried to pump my arms… legs just wouldn’t go any faster.

Driving home I felt completely satisfied and filled with joy. So far a great start to this new phase of training. This weekend will be my first trip to the gorge for some “big girl” hills and terrain.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hagg in drag!

What a day out at the Hagg Lake Trail Runs. This was the 8th annual event but Stacey and I 3rd year of RDing the event. The warmth from the sun was felt everywhere as folks stripped down to shorts, tanks and some shirtless for their trips around the lake. Of course the famous “Men in skirts” didn’t disappoint with their attire, all skirts, some short, some full and some that just shouldn’t. As the girls gawked at the men most decided the guys look better in skirts than most woman! All they need to do is shave their legs and some could be mistaken for girls with really nice legs. The course was fast this year with a blazing field of runners. We heard this was the least muddy the course has ever been and there were also reports the trail dried out more after the first loop! Hard to believe but with Stan Holman’s long lasting course record being broken by more than 3 minutes the rumors of less mud must be true. Neil Olson from Ashland ran the 50K in just over 3:43 and then headed out for ANOTHER loop…..what??????

Between the 25K and 50K event we had over 400 runners on the course and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Last year we had the worst weather ever with blowing, relentless freezing rain so this year’s sun was just what we needed. Stacey and I were prepared with lots of space blankets and tarps to help keep the aid stations sheltered but didn’t need one. This made our day so much easier. With the abundant help from all our friends all day we felt like the event went off perfectly. We had volunteers that gave their entire day to race from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and we were so grateful. Micheal and Kris were there in the early morning helping with set up and registration then they swept the course at the end. We were home by 7:00 p.m. with almost everything done and put away……yeah, on to another year.

I am looking forward to getting back in the swing of training. Starting a Build 1 week and now some of my Threshold workouts will be done on hills. I am anxious to see how those workouts go since they are always my favorite. I feel out of touch with my mountain running right now. I know it will come back fast but nothing is fast enough for my “need it now” personality. :) I am still sick so I headed to the doctor and he said I have a deep sinus infection and prescribed antibiotics. He also is sending me to a specialist for my swollen lymph nodes. He was pretty un-nerved by their size, length of time I’ve had them and location....which is most everywhere. I didn’t like anything he told me but am refusing to get myself freaked out until I get more information.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Voluntary Incarceration!

Flanked by chain link fence on both sides is a path that starts somewhere and ends at the ocean. The only thing in between this path and the fencing is a deep man made canal that California has called a river. The river is not the kind with boulders, rushing water where the edges are lined with green moss and ferns. It’s cement with items like a shopping cart and other household things floating in its wake. However amazing this “river” is it was still visited by wildlife. Lots of ducks, cranes and some other big white bird frolicked in the water. It wasn’t until we watched the news did we know that all the wildlife is being killed by some nasty stuff in the “river”. This is the scene at OC100K, fast, flat and not a lot of distractions.

Friday Stacey I flew to Southern California where the sun was abundant. A nice change from the grey gloom of the PNW but the traffic made ours look like a country road in the middle of no-where. Immediately we went the wrong direction but it wasn’t until we reached the out skirts of San Diego did we realize it. No big deal, we have a map and kind of know how to use it. There are so many freeways in Southern California it wasn’t long before we were headed in the right direction but on the wrong freeway. As we continued to navigate our way we find a lovely less traveled roadway. Strange….it parallels I-5 but not too many cars. We thought we hit the jackpot until we rolled into a toll booth! “$4.75 please”, said the man behind the leaded window”. Oh my…a toll booth on a freeway, that’s a new one. We gave the nice man our money and no longer did we think our less traveled freeway was such a jackpot.

Arriving at our hotel by noon left us plenty of time to do a couple of things before our shake down run. By 3 p.m. we were on our way to Liberty Park which would be the sight of our 10X6.2 mile loop run. When you’re from Oregon and the word “park” is mentioned my mind immediately drums up a green park with lots of trees, grass, some playground equipment and maybe a bathroom. For OC100K I had pictured a bike path nestled along side such a setting but when we arrived I was doubled over with laughter. The bike was near a park for about 200 meters but in no way was it IN a park. We were going to run on a path that reminded me of a prison yard. With the chain link fence on the left of the path and a deep canal/river on the right there was no escape. This setting was perfect for this adventure! It took Stacey awhile to come to grips with the setting. With her positive outlook on everything it was quite a shock. On the other hand I thought the lack of beauty made the experience all that much richer.

We ran then headed back from race prep. Since we knew it was going to be hot for us Oregonians I made it clear to Stacey that I did not want to see her jet down the canal/river to cool off. The last thing I wanted to see was Stacey rolling around in that water! She promised to NEVER go near it.

We were up early for our 6:30 start and when we arrived everyone seemed over dressed. We were perfect in tanks and shorts since it must have been 45-50 degrees but others were in long pants and coats. After very brief instructions from Jay (RD), run that way for 3.1 miles, turn around and come back, we were off. Stacey and I had warmed up nicely so it was race pace from the get go. 8:40 per mile was the goal and given my fitness that should be easy. My plan was to run 8:40’s and if I felt I had more at the 30K mark I would pick it up. The first loop was definitely a “get in the groove” loop, determining the pace, finding any reasonable mile markers and getting the lay of the land. I felt tight and rickety from the beginning but that’s to be expected. The first loop was a bit under pace and with Andy Kumeda crewing us the pit stop was short. Off for the second loop where I still felt sluggish and clumsy. Since I had some landmarks for pacing by now I knew I was right on 8:40’s. It’s only 12.4 miles into the race I feel aches and fatigue wondering when I will finally warm up! For the third loop it was headphones and focus to get my 8:40 which I knew was just not normal and I was wondering if and when things would turn around. Arriving at mile 18.6 I grabbed a bar and pain medication. I figured it was early enough to eat and take pain relief to see if I could get my legs turning. I was already in a descent amount of pain and it was getting me very nervous for the rest of the day. It just seemed to make no sense. I knew I had good training under my belt and was certainly not expecting to be so slow, so fatigued and in any pain this early. It was just a reality I was now going to need to deal with. Honestly I wasn’t sure what was going to happen and just how slow I was going to be as my race continued. The fourth lap went better and the sun was really heating up the place. The course was not closed so we shared our path with cyclists. The kind that are all dressed the same riding very fast on the very flat path as their oversized bum engulfs the bike seat….oh and they had attitude. They would fly by in groups of 5-10 zooming within 7 inches of your arm. I felt the wind from their wake. Fortunately this only lasted until about noon but offered a nice distraction. By now I have only run a little over 24 miles but I feel like its mile 80 in a 100M race. As I head for loop 5 I think it’s best for me to call it a day a 50K. OC100K also does a 50K so the option to drop down is inviting me like chocolate cake! My thoughts are rushing as the pain in my body just stays constant not any worse but not any better. I am telling myself I have no need to destroy myself, I am not qualifying for anything, I have other events I want to do well in, I will have run one heck of a 50K at 4:28, things are not going to get better, I am just slowing down so much. By the time I was heading back into the 50K mark I had made up my mind to call it day, lick my wounds and go home with a great 50K. I was leading the woman’s race for 4 laps then got passed by Stephi then shortly later Stacey. Going from 1st to 3rd didn’t even faze me because I knew I had nothing to fight back with.

At the 50K point I was once again greeted by Andy with “what can I get you”? I look at him and calmly say, “I am done, I am already fatigued and I am just going to slow down more”. He says, “Oh no, you’re not quitting, you’re doing great”. I worked to convince him I might have to start walking but all he said was, “That’s fine just walk, you’re doing great”. I tried a few more times as he walked me to the turn handed me my bottle and said, “I will see you in a bit”. For some reason I just did what he said and left for loop number 6. As I am running along I thought about how I was going to do another 5 loops, what was going to happen to my body and just how slow could this be. I try to come up with a strategy to survive. I decide to take walk breaks, walk 15 seconds, then run 4 minutes which yielded about a 10 minute mile. I figured this would be a good way to make it through the rest of the race. Loop 6 was tough both physically and mentally. The physical was a done deal. By now certain things were obvious. The body I showed up with wasn’t going to have a miraculous recovery. My race became a humbling survival. I was fueling well with gels, water, salt tab and a bit of bar. I had plenty of energy and my hydration seemed great but I was just dead physically. No spring in my legs and no gears to draw from. My heart rate wouldn’t rise above 138 which isn’t even zone 1 for me. I pulled out all my tricks, strides, walk breaks and tons of mental games but nothing seemed to change my leg speed. I couldn’t come up with any excuses for my lack of speed.

By loop 7 I had accepted the day for what it was, a day to buck it up and do the best you can with what I got. Once I had accepted that I wasn’t able to force myself physically to perform the race became easier. I suppose it always does, in racing and in life in general. Once we accept what we’ve got and don’t ask for something more or better it becomes easier…right….a level of acceptance? For me, this is not okay! I never want to ACCEPT what I really don’t want, lower my expectations or cop out. By the time lap 7 was over and I only had 3 laps to go I was at peace with the day. I rarely took a walk break on 8, 9 and 10 and moved consistently and a consistent pace. I never got much sorer or much slower. I truly found humor in the whole day. I had plenty of time to run through all my training and racing leading up to OC100K and I feel like I showed up in the best shape ever. I had logged some fast 30 and 40 miles….nearing the 8:12 pace and here I was today barely able to squeak out a ten minute mile. My finish time was 10:23:50 or a 10:02 pace per mile. Much slower than I planned but not bad given how I felt. I owe my race to Andy! If he wouldn’t have been there I would be writing an entry titled “quitter”! Even though it was definately not the day I wanted to have it was a great experience. This was the first time I have ever attempted a flat fast ultra and it's a challenge of a different kind. I loved the training and really felt like it got me in some great shape from all aspects. The other new experience was running a race with a drop down option. Wow, that messes with your mind and if you're not having a good day it's super hard to convince yourself to chug on. Once I committed to lap 6 it was a relief and there were no more thoughts of stopping since then it would be a DNF not a 50K. There are already talks underway to go at it again next year. :)

I’ve done some thinking and some reading and feel I have an explanation for my performance. No excuses but some answers on why I showed up so OFF. Stay tuned for that analysis. Surprisingly today I feel pretty good, not horribly sore and not that beat up. I don’t think I was able to run fast enough to hurt myself too badly.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's close!

This is just funny….Ultra pretending to be sick!

Only four days left before I run 62.2 miles round and round some park in Southern California. Training time has flown as it feels like yesterday was November and I signing up for this event. With Hagg Lake preparations being the center of my email and my house I haven’t even created a fuel plan or thought about race day strategy. Besides Hagg Lake taking over most of my brain my lack of planning might have something to do with me lowering my expectations so much. Since I am still not feeling race ready it’s hard for me to grasp what I might feel like if by the off chance I end up having a good day. Wednesday night will be a bag stuffing party for Hagg and then on Thursday night I will sit and think about OC100K.

Yesterday I met Susan and Trisha in the park for their 3 hour run. I only ran 1.5 hours with them and took it really easy. After the run it was my first trip back to the gym in over a week. After a rough start my workout seemed to get better near the end. I was not strong at all and my arms were shaking like crazy even when I cut the weights by a third. I could have just quit but I wanted to keep at it and gain my strength more for my mental outlook than my physical I suppose. I am really sore today and in fact I haven’t been this sore in awhile! It’s feels good to be working the body again but I have a feeling it’s going to take longer than I want to feel 100%.

Today was the first pace run where I was able to actually do the workout as written. It wasn’t super easy but it was doable. The run was 75 minutes with 15 min. warm-up, 15 min in Z3A, 5 minutes at M-Pace (7:32) and 2 miles at 100K race pace (8:40), then cool down. My muscles are incredibly tight! I was thinking I might be a bit dehydrated from being so sick. My weight is still down slightly so I am going to pump the liquids. I know I haven’t been very good about drinking enough fluids the last few days and was a shriveled up raisin after the flu. Today I am making myself drink over 100 oz of water and hope that helps my muscle heath.

When I re-read what I wrote above it sounds like one scared puppy and I think that would be an appropriate description of how I am feeling. If this was a mountain race I wouldn't be this nervous but because this is an unknown for me it adds fear! On a mountain run I know I could walk the ups and cruise all the downs no matter how I felt. Time would be less important to me and I could focus on scenery. The mountains are easier on my body because I get to use varied muscle motion throughout the run vs. one action......very fast. When I say very fast, I mean 9-10 minute miles, that will be fast for me. Fear is a good thing. I am in no way afraid of fear (sounds funny...afraid of fear) but it does add anxiety and can occupy my mind in a funky way. There are a bunch of tag lines that come to mind when I think of fear. You know all of them or have at least heard them......stare fear in the face, it can't stare back....what doesn't kill you will make you stronger....blah, blah, blah. Unfortunately my mind is to smart for tag lines or quotes, my mind knows they are JUST tag lines and quotes so they generally are not that powerful, I wish they were! So.....I am probably going to be scared until Feb. 17th when I am on the plane coming home knowing I have finished this in one piece. Then and only then will my mind rest. :)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Living, eating and running....finally!

Wow! It's been along time since I've had anything good to report. It seems like a month since I have felt even remotly strong. I know it's really only been a couple of weeks but when you do NOTHING time stands still. Normally I am begging for life to slow down but after 4 days on the couch I am begging for a new day instead. Yesterday was a full day of trail work with 19 other bush whackers, blackberry clippers, ditch diggers and debri rakers. Since a small group went out last weekend and removed all the fallen trees with major power tools all we needed to do was cover 14 miles of trail and remove anything left on the trail making it a nice smooth path for race day. Manual labor is always so much harder than you originally think it will be. A fairly fired up group of fit strong people were pretty much beat by 2 p.m. We created 3 groups with team leads and split the trail into three sections. I must of have gotten off easy because my group had covered their 4 miles in about 3.5-4 hours leaving us some time to double back on the other teams who were being engulfed by overhead tree limbs and blackberry bushes. Due to all the snow the tress and bushes couldn't recover enough to lift themselves back up leaving their branches and stickers draping over the trail. All of that had to be cut back and removed which was very time consuming.

Throughout the day I could feel my energy coming back and at 11:30 I was starving willing to consume anything! That was a sure sign things were turning in the right direction. By the afternoon I was itching to eat and couldn't wait for my 1.5 hour run this morning. This morning I met Tom in Forest Park and we headed out for a good Z3A run. While roaming around we found a new friend. Someone had created this creature and left it along the side of the Lief, very cute, creative and a lot of time went into her construction. The face is carved from the fungus that grows on our fir trees here in the PNW. I am sure you have seen it before, it looks like a mushroom growing out the side of a tree and the top is white leaving a nice surface for carving. They are called conks and Beast took a picture of me years ago pretending to eat one. I have seen this artwork in shops around town. The white surface creates a brown line when you push on it. People have used it to create drawings. This photo does not due the artist justice but it was a nice treat to find in the woods. I felt good on the run, still not on fire but there is a flame beginning to emerge. Just in time I hope! My body is still a bit stiff.....funny because I have been resting so much you would think I would be loose...not stiff. I thinks that's a component of age......need to keep things moving or they will be stiff. :) I am hoping that every run from now until OC100K will be better than the previous....meaning I will just continue to bounce back day by day. Our buddy Andy K. will be at the event for a portion of the day because he lives in the area. He has offered to help out in any way he can while we race and that was a great surprise. It will be a huge help having a friendly face around and any assistance he can lend is going to be much appreciated.

With OC100K so close it leaves me pondering the rest of the year. Time to get the trails legs turning. Hill repeats and longer climbs will be on the docket. I am anxious to see how the road speed translates. Now we need the lower areas in the Gorge to begin their spring thaw! Daydreaming about familiar routes and creating new ones will leave the gang talking and planning like crazy. Since most of us are running Bighorn 100M it should be a very fun and challenging spring.

P.S. - I haven't been able to get my spell check to work lately.....anyone else having this problem on blogger? Since I am a math person my english and spelling skills are horrible so I need that spell check badly. :)

Friday, February 8, 2008

First in line!

I will be first in line next Fall for the flu shot! Alex had a relapse on Tuesday in the middle of the night and I just got worse. We spent all day Wednesday on the couch with cats and dogs watching horrible daytime TV in-between naps. No food, barely any fluids for over 36 hours left both of us weak and lethargic. Thursday Alex was back at school and I was at least up and about which felt awesome. Even to be able to shower, do laundry and dream about what I could eat was a welcomed change.

Exercise is another story as I was lying on the couch in shear misery thinking I have no desire to run at all! No weight training, no running and very little movement has been the training plan for the last week. Marking “0” in my log for more days than I have in 4 years gave me something to think about. It made me remember how fortunate I have been with my training and racing for so many years. Not being sick or injured enough to keep me from running until now is pretty cool. At least that is something positive for my brain to churn on while I watched Judge Judy. BTW: Oprah says if you have a cluttered house it makes you fat. :)

Today is even better since I have been able to eat a banana with yogurt and am thinking about a sandwich! I had a tempo run on my schedule but I knew that wasn’t going to happen so I got up and headed to the trail for whatever came my way. It was just nice to be upright, outdoors and moving my body even if it was really slow. I spent 75 minutes out in the cold rain loving every minute of the slow weak slog in the mud. Tomorrow is another full day of trail work out at Hagg Lake and on Sunday I will try a 1.5 hour Z3A run. I am really looking forward to feeling strong and healthy again which I am assuming is just around the corner.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I Surrender.....

To the virus gods, just take me I won’t fight back….I promise! That was my message to the powers that be yesterday afternoon when it became clear I would be praying to the porcelain god all night. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse it did, I got Alex's flu!

In the morning I was getting my hair cut when I look up and was suddenly dizzy and not because my hair looked great! I thought to myself, hmmmm that’s weird but then it happened again. Oh No! Not thinking much of my dizzy mind I head home to eat and head out for a nice recovery run. I prepare my meal and sit down to eat it and the food suddenly looked terrible as my stomach growled and turned. Why me...I bow my head? Within about an hour I was lying on the couch trying to pretend this was all psychosomatic and my giant upset stomach was all in my head. Unfortunately that idea died quickly as I was racing to the bathroom. Not a pretty sight folks. As I was lying there on the bathroom floor I was thinking of the movie, “The Devil Wears Prada”. In the movie the overly obsessive assistant says, “I am just one stomach flu away from ideal weight”. I always laughed at that until yesterday! It was funny but I forgot that once you reach ideal weight via the stomach flu you have no energy or drive to enjoy the weight loss!

With Bill out of town and just me and Alex at home I began making back up plans for getting him to and from school. It’s a good thing I have great friends close because I was seriously thinking I might need someone to come get him. Fortunately the bulk of my illness subsided at about 4 a.m. and I was able to peel myself up to drive Alex to school. After another 5 hours of sleeping and my first re-introduction to fluids I am on the mend… below ideal weight I might add…ha, ha, ha.

I am beginning to find humor in all of this. It’s a good thing I didn’t have any big ideas about OC100K because I have no idea how it’s going to go but I will finish. Today was supposed to be a 20 mile run at sub 8 min. pace but I got a different kind of workout. :) Like I said in my last post….what was supposed to be the shortest taper is now for sure the longest and I should have mega antibodies running around inside me now.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Down but not out!

Just as things were looking up in the health department Alex got the flu! The poor guy was so sick last night it broke our hearts watching him work through the nasty virus. He had friends over for a sleepover and Bill and I were just about ready to head for bed when he came running down stairs and said, "I think I am going to throw up"! Of course he doesn't make it all the way to the bathroom and it was clear his party was over. I call the parents and they can't get here fast enough when I told them Alex has the flu. By 10 p.m. we in the throws of it and poor Alex needed both of us right by his side for comfort. One of the great things about Alex is he can express clearly what he needs. Bill and I thought back at the number of times Alex has had the flu and with this event included it's been about 3 so he is not an expert. With his lack of experience it left us cleaning up a lot of messes, using every blanket, towel and sleeping bag we own.

Friday night was not going to be the restful night I planned to prepare me for the 30 mile pace run on today's schedule. At about 2:30 a.m. Bill says, "why don't you go upstairs and try to get some rest and I will take care of Alex". I protested but he insisted so off I went. I felt so incredibly guilty that I couldn't really sleep as my ear was keenly aware of what was going on down stairs. My alarm was set for 5 a.m. but I didn't need it because I was completely awake. Alex had finally stopped getting sick at about 4 a.m. and was fast asleep on our bathroom floor. I proceeded to get dressed gather my stuff and left the house to meet Stacey and Micheal for carpooling. The plan was to run the Springwater Cooridor which is another rails to trails project and the total length one way is 22 miles. We planned 3X10 mile out and backs as the pace was to increase every 10 miles. The pacing today was much slower than the other Hyper Pace Runs I have had so I was really looking forward to this more relaxed run. The pacing was to go like this: 10 miles at 9:15, 10 miles at 8:40 and the last 10 8:00-8:15. That seemed so doable in comparison but with the night we had I felt even those paces would proove challenging today.

It was raining/sleeting when we arrived at the trailhead near 7 a.m. but everyone was ready to go. Tom, Steve, Micheal, Stacey and I headed out for the first 5. It became really clear that the rain/sleet was COLD! Our faces were freezing as we tryed to carry on a conversation and within about 30 minutes our hands were numb. We had it all, hats, gloves, coats and Stacey even had hand warmers but nothing was going to touch the cold wet rain. The first 10 miles went fine and we were just under pace. When we got back to the car our hands were so frozen we needed to warm them up before we could leave. Everyone changed their clothes in an attempt to keep the body heat going and with that we left for the next 10. I wasn't feeling all that great but hey we are ultra runners and thrive on discomfort, beating the elements and the odds, right? I chanted this in my head as my body began to protest. All my joints were aching and my heart rate was skyrocketing. Generally I should be able to do about an 8:30 at 145-150 but today I was seeing 158 and higher and I wasn't even getting an 8:40! I was frozen to the bone and my hands were non-functioning making fueling a dreadful process. The weather was relentless but the company was great. When we reached the turn around at a total of 15 miles I knew my day was done at 20. There was no way I was going to be able to get anywhere near an 8:15! I don't think I could have even pulled an 8:30. I felt nauseaus and achy but again don't we all in a 100 miler? I gave myself a big talking to.....your stronger than this....pull it out girlfriend.....this is the last big push.....these paces should be easy! None of it was helping my stride and my HR continued to climb. Down and out! That is where I was and the sinus cold I battled earlier in the week wasn't much of an issue so that excuse went out the window.

So......what was supposed to be the shortest taper I have ever done may be my longest. :). This last 2 weeks have not been a highlight for training and certainly haven't helped my confidence for OC100K. But........I refuse to whine too much because I feel super lucky. Why???? First, I had 4 great friends who braved the elements today and kicked butt! Micheal, Stacey and Steve are probably driving home right now as they were strong both mentally and physically. Tom gave me a ride back to my car and he had just a great running day and he felt strong cranking out some fast miles. He pumped me up despite my lack of performance and perseverance. Then to top it off I came home and Bill had these beautiful flowers waiting for ME! The one who went to sleep while HE took care of Alex. He's the one who worked on our 12 loads of laundry, the one who gave me a huge hug when I came home knowing I would be bummed, the one who ALWAYS acts unselfish, more giving and strong than anyone I know, the one who works his A__ off to provide this wonderful life I get to live and he NEVER complains about a thing....he deserves the flowers! I took a look at the flowers and I said, "What are those for"? He said, "Because I love you".

Not that this is supposed to be a mushy pity party but more of a "put it in perspective" post. A bad week, a couple of bad runs but like Kendra says, "it's just running". When you surround yourself with amazing people it's hard to stay down and out for long. In fact it makes any pity party I was thinking of having seem utterly silly and laughable in the big scheme of things. So......I will march on and get over myself immediately! :). It's days like these that make the good ones that much sweeter......better than chocolate. Now I am going to go watch "Die Hard With A Vengeance" and toughen up!

Trail work tomorrow out at Hagg Lake, power tools and brawn all day!