Sunday, April 27, 2008

Got the post race blues.....

Sometimes things seems so anti-climactic. This week has been sort of a blah one and I can't determine if it's because the sun is so absent, I'm tired from the race, or it's a recovery week and I am bored. My body bounced back really fast and I think I should have run a bit harder but I seem to be a coward when it comes to pushing myself in unknown territory. I think that might have something to do with the control freak part of my personality. Leaving little to chance in my world and going to a race that on paper looks really tough makes me hold back waiting to see if there will be some big giant hill or piece of trail that's super hard. Seems ridiculous from an experienced trail runner. Also racing is not my speciality. Even though most people get the impression I am super competitive I will surrender easy. I think that is pure lack of confidence in the competitive athletic world. All of this is an interesting self evaluation and it seems I have had this inner conversation with myself many times before. I also seem to get over it by the end of summer but repeat it again in the following spring. Obviously I don't learn my lessons very well. Anyway.....despite running a 50M race I felt great but this was a recovery week and with the exception of one tempo run on Thursday all the other workouts were easy. I know the need for recovery but have to force myself to honor it. On the bright side I got a lot of chores done. :)

My puny outlook could also be a result of the cold grey weather. After being in sunny CA we came home to dark low lying clouds which were producing cold rain. I have lived here for over 20 years and love the PNW but I have to say when the spring doesn't offer much sunlight it's gets really old.....or maybe I'm getting old. :) Finally by yesterday afternoon we got some sun and some warmth which made me feel like a kid in a candy store! Yesterday I had a 2-2.5 hour cruiser run and Scott wrote on my schedule to "HAVE FUN"......yes in all caps meaning don't wear my HR monitor, don't push it and just have a good time. I did just cruise it but I wore my HR monitor. I can't seem to part with it. :) Kris, Stacey and I hit the wildwood trail and really just ran for fun. I was a bit more sluggish than I thought I would be. Afterwards Kris took me to Crossfit. This is her other form of torture and she has been wanting me to go for a long time but if you are a non-member you can only go on Saturday afternoon or Tuesday evening. Since most of my Saturday's are filled with running and baseball and Tuesday's nights are not available I haven't been able to go. But......this Saturday Bill and Alex are at a Boyscout camp and my run was short so it was a trip to Crossfit for me! I think Kris's real intention was see me suffer greatly with these 3 chain workouts which require strength, endurance and range of motion. Now I think I have the strength and endurance but that range of motion stuff......hmmm not so much. I was pretty nervous as I saw the smirky grin on Kris's face. I had the nervous know, like before a race. Anyway the non-member WOD was pretty easy. The warm up was 5 sit-ups, 5 push-ups, 5 no weight squats and 5 pull-ups....repeat this 3 times but up everything by 5 each time. I got to show off my non-assisted pull-ups, he, he , he. After that the WOD was 4 rounds of 400M sprint then 15 overhead squats and not the sissy kind, these babies had to be all the way down. The non-members got to use 10 pound bars instead of 65 pound pound bars. I sailed through this workout but it was the wimpy version while the real Crossfitters had to run 500M and do the squats but with a minimum of 65 pounds. Kris got the second fastest time against even the men! It was cool and motivating to watch her fight to get those squats done. In the end she was that is tough girl stuff. It was so much fun and I could see me getting very addicted to this kind of thing. It's like a shot in the arm of adrenaline, fast, hard, competitive but it's over fast. Fortunately for me it's all the way downtown. :) Afterwards we went for lunch in a very eclectic part of Portland and I got see so much personality. I live in the burbs and love it but we don't get to see too many odd things here in Tigard, OR. I got to see a girl with the biggest dreadlock beehive you can imagine riding her retro bike...I was obsessed with her amazing look. We parked and she was standing on the sidewalk. I so wanted a picture with her and regret I didn't ask. Her beehive was awesome and I want to wear that hair. Those dreadlocks were all the way down past her butt but she had most off them rolled up on top of her head in a beehive.....I loved it, it was the best hair I have ever seen. I wonder if it was real......very cool, her bike was perfect, it made the look.

This next week is the beginning of the Peak training cycle for Bighorn 100M. Every year I am excited to get here. The big tough runs and lots of training in the gorge. The wildwood will be a thing of the past at this point in training. Hopefully the weather will be getting warmer and the snow melting.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Leona Divide 50M!

TIME: 8:51:45
PACE: 10:38 per mile

PLACE: 28th out of 148, 1st Masters, 5th girl
ASCENT: 9000 feet (my alt. came up with less)
BLISTERS: One small one on my toe

With highs in the Los Angeles area in the 90’s the prior weekend I wondered what that would mean for Leona Divide 50M. We were so lucky a cooling trend started leaving us to run in temperatures ranging from 45-65, perfect for us Oregonians. Not so happy were the Californians as they lined up dressed in coats, hats and gloves while we were comfortable in shorts and tank tops. I have to admit the first few miles were chilly with the fog and wind that blew pretty relentlessly on the hillside.

We started the race in the dark but since the first 13.4 miles were on a dirt road there was no need for any flashlights. The crowd consisted of about 175 runners and the only Oregonians we could identity were ourselves. Stacey (aka Forest Gump – self named), Steve, Susan and I were all looking forward to a tough day in the sun. My plan was to race Leona hard and spend it all. I created a pace chart with a finish time of 9:40 so I could plan my fuel adequately but I knew I should be able to run this course in under 9:30. My “A” goal was 9:15 which I felt would be big stretch but if I could buck it up and get tough I could do it. I had a consult with Scott who has run this race 7 times and once held the course record so he knows this race well. He gave me a great de-brief on the course and told me how to run it well, I felt ready, pumped and like had been on the course before.

The first 8.4 miles travel uphill on the dirt road which is not that steep and I was able to run about 90% of it in 3A. Since it was early I chose to take some power walk breaks and not spend to much on this first section. After we climb the first initial hill the road rolls along for a couple of miles then drops fast into the aid station. My plan was to run the down hills as hard and fast as I could from the beginning….no holding back. I arrived at the aid station about 1 minute under plan, quickly got more water and headed off for the next 5 mile stretch. We remained on this lovely dirt road that had zero rocks, was soft and sometimes had a thick layer of sand on the top. We continued to climb and the road got a bit steeper so I walked about 20% of the time. It wasn’t a grueling climb but more of a constant uphill. The wind was crazy at times and the sky was covered by a thin layer of clouds some low enough that it looked like fog. It got cold at times but not enough for me to want any more clothes. I was anxious to get on the other side of the ridge and out of the wind. Once we crested this climb it was a steady fast downhill for about 2.5 miles into the 13.4 mile mark and the end of the road section. I grabbed more water and a piece of banana just as Steve came into the aid station followed closely by Stacey! Stacey is using LD50M as a training run for Miwok 100K and is right on my tail along with Steve! Come on….I am racing, they are just running for fun.

We leave the road and hit the PCT trail. We will be on the PCT for the rest of the run until we climb back onto this road for the final 3.0 miles into the finish. This section of the PCT is awesome, not a rock in sight and the surface literally looks like it has been swept. It’s perfect, runnable and soft! This next section is a rolling wonderland all the way to the 20.3 mark. I ran every single step of this section and was feeling really strong pondering the rest of race, how hard should I push now, when do I turn in on, where are all the woman? As my mind wondered and we twisted and turned along the hillside I had several déjà vu’s of other southern CA races. The trail and scenery reminded me of the Miwok course, then the AC100M course and at times the SD100M course. It was a weird mind game at every corner knowing I was running LD50M but it seemed like I was somewhere else…..very strange but cool at the same time. The trail did get narrow in spots and if you were reckless and not paying attention one foot could be sliding down the hillside as mine did a couple of times. Fiddling with my fuel and not paying attention to my feet was not a good idea. My fueling plan was pretty simple, gels on the half hour, GU2O at the start and in my drop bags, Organic Food Bars cut in half every 2.0 hours, bananas and water from the aid stations. As I was coming into mile 20.3 aid station I knew we had a big climb coming and I was supposed to power walk it but as I got into it I felt comfortable running most of it. I forced myself to take walk breaks but with Forest Gump (Stacey) on my butt I wasn’t about to let up. If she is just doing a training run I better finish before her or I would have to stay in CA! I would not be able to live that down so I forged on fiercely. Once we crested the climb we again got to blast downhill on beautiful single track into the aid station. More water please? I was drinking a ton and taking an E-Cap every hour coupled with my 4X sodium gels, that’s a lot of salt for me. I felt super strong and really wanted to get to mile 28.0 so I ran very hard arriving at 28.0 now over 15 minutes ahead of my 9:40 pace chart. I felt no signs of fatigue and was stoked for the biggest climb of the day where I could push into threshold. As this point in the race Scott said I could start working hard.

I had a drop bag here with another bottle of GU2O, more gels and a red bull. I poured the Red Bull into one of the bottles, loaded more fuel in my pack, lubed up with bodyglide and off I went. No sign of Steve or Forest Gump but I knew they were close. At this point in the race I have passed only one girl and have seen no others. I am leap frogging a couple of men but really I am in a pocket all by myself, until now. I get my head in the moment and conjure up thoughts of toughness and brawn so I could ignite the fire for this climb. Again the trail was beautiful and at this point whatever we run to the mile 35 we run back so I knew I would be coming down this section later. I ran/walked but mostly ran this whole climb. In hindsight I could have pushed harder here and should have. I kept running into folks, passing them but these runners don’t make it easy which helps me keep my fire burning. I pop another gel, salt tab and chase them with my Red Bull. I played a bit of “trail poker” called a few bluffs, folded when necessary but had a blast busting up this section in less than one hour! This is where I see the front runners heading home and man these folks are moving! I count at least 4 woman and have no idea how many more are in front of me. Just as I was coming into the aid station there is a girl just ahead walking. I was running so a, “passing on the left” was just about to come out of my mouth when she breaks out into a run as we come into the aid station. I wasn’t in to much of rush as I got water and walked out while putting my lid back on. Just as I was approaching the checkout here she comes like we are on the track, blasting by me in a full sprint. The checkout folks said, “Wow, looks like we have a chase”. I giggle because I had no intention of breaking out in an unnecessary sprint. I run off right behind her and I can see she is working really hard. I decide to let her set the pace and tuck in close behind as we run this next section. For the next 12 miles we will be rolling along on the ridge and it’s not easy running as the rollers are big but short and reminded me of a dirt bike course. This is my worst type of terrain, I am not super efficient on this kind of trail but with my new found running partner my mind didn’t even notice the trail. This girl ran as hard as she could pulling me along as I refused to pass. I was enjoying this chase and her pace. I don’t however think she was enjoying me but I figured she could surrender at any time but she didn’t. Because she fought so hard I knew she wasn’t going to give up without a fight so when I decided it was time to make a move I better “PWC”….pass with conviction and for good. After about 35 minutes of this I decided she is too slow and pass, taking the downhill’s hard to propel me up the next roller into to the turn around and aid station at mile 35.5. She was close but I couldn’t see her anymore. Just as I was leaving the aid station she came roaring in, yelled her number out and left without even re-fueling. Hmphf………I best get moving. I forced her to work hard for 3+ miles and now this is payback. Fortunately Scott gave me instructions to “Let it rip” from here home, no holding back, push as hard as could. I got my mind out of the chase game and into finishing the last 15 miles which I knew I could run hard. I had plenty of body and was super motivated to not be passed. I was on my mission running home as Forest Gump is heading to the turn. On her training run only 6 minutes behind me was serious motivation to stay focused…..thanks Forest. I was so happy to be coming to the end of this ridge section and on to the lovely long downhill. I arrived at the aid station and guys at the entrance said, “I see you passed and it looks like for good”. I reply, “She’s not giving up easy”. I spend less than 20 seconds getting more water.

Four miles of perfect downhill running on awesome single track! I see Susan and she informs me I am 5th girl but I know there are at least 3 super close and none of the them are going to slow down. I also know that Stacey can run downhill so fast it’s scary so my position is not in the bag. Flying downhill in what feels like effortless speed with my feet barely touching down made me feel so incredibly alive. I relished every second of it. I figured I was doing about a 7:20 pace coming down passing a couple of men but mostly by myself listening to my music. I arrive at mile 42.6 where I have a drop bag. I ditch my pack and take only one bottle and three gels for the last 7.4 miles. I knew we had to climb back up the ridge and I remembered the trail. It was going to be a climb but not steep. The 3.5 miles up reminded me of the climb out of the horse corral at Miwok. It was so similar it was freaky. I was fairly strong here but walked about 30% of the time. My legs were feeling the run now but I shuffled up pretty good. The sun was heating the place up but we were near the end so I wasn’t concerned. I didn’t drink much at all on the climb but popped my last E-Cap, chased it with a espresso 100mg caffeine gel, yum! Cresting the hill and into the last aid station they say, “You are going to break 9”. “What, are you sure”, I ask? “Yep” he replies. I am crazed! I had my watch set to show me the lap time which I hit every time I come into an aid station. I didn’t have it toggled over to show total time……this was a good day! We had one mile of uphill then 2.5 fast down to the finish. The uphill was a run for me so not to much of an incline. The downhill was gloriously fast. I glanced behind me a couple of times to see if I had anyone barreling down on me but it was all clear. I sailed in the finish at 8:51 and first 40-49 year old. I haven’t seen any results yet but I think I finished pretty strong in the field. Glenda presented me with this great award, a t-shirt and a hug. I also get a free entry for the 2009 race! I ran down to the car to get my camera in hopes I could catch a picture of Forest but she was to quick coming in just under 9 hours. Steve and Susan both ran really strong races and all of us had a great day.

LD50M is a wonderful race. It has some hard long climbs and really fast relentless downhills. The single track is some of the best I have ever run on and the road section is nice and soft. Of course the volunteers were fun and helpful. I will be back! We were all pretty tired coming home on Sunday morning but everyone seems to have bounced back nicely overnight logging miles yesterday and today. This is a recovery week for me and then it's into Peak training for Bighorn.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I used to hate the taper. It seemed to long and boring. My body was so revved up from training and during the taper it would feel like I was just sitting around on my butt, doing nothing. NOT ANY MORE!!!! I have grown to looooooooooove the taper. I think my mindset has changed for two reasons. First, my training over the last 4 years has been so different. Instead of logging a ton of miles and most of them fairly slow I now run fewer miles but every one of them is quality. The workouts are hard! Second, my old taper plan was so much lazier than Scott's taper plan. During my old taper I would just run easy 4 times a week but Scott still likes to see some quality stuff during the taper to keep the body revved up. So for those two reasons I have grown to loooooove the taper weeks. For Leona Divide 50M I don't get to fully taper but I did get a cut back on my back to back runs this last weekend and I don't have any tempo workout this Thursday. I still have 2 miles at M-Pace mixed in a 60 minute run but that's just to keep me hungry. :) My body is feeling so recovered and ready so I hope I pull out some moments of glory out there this Saturday.

Last weekend while some of my buds were running Peterson Ridge in Sister's, OR Kris and I were doing a 2-2.5 hour run. She needed to do a KPR and I needed to just have fun and push to 30 minutes at Threshold when I felt ready. We did a loop then split at one of the firelanes in Forest Park. We played "Blind Chase". She went down to Lief to do her KPR work and I kept on the trail. We planned to meet up at the bottom of one of the firelanes. The goal was to beat each other to the meeting point. She took off and of course ran like the wind and I pushed hard to beat her. One advantage I had is that I didn't inform her we were playing "Blind Chase" until I beat her, ha, ha, ha!!!!! It was a close call though. She payed my back by dusting me the rest of way home leaving poor Emma (her dog) to try an herd me up to her and Zoe (her other dog). Poor Emma just kept trying and trying to make me move faster but when her mama got to far away she dusted me too! After the run I got to try on Kris's work clothes. Not everyday do you get to dress up like a Portland Firefighter......:). Those suits are incredibly heavy and that hat is insanely heavy. I would surely die in the fire before any poor soul got rescued.
Sunday was just 70 minutes of recovery and the rest of week looks like this:
Monday = Off
Tuesday = 90 minutes with 10X30 second strides with 2-3 minutes cooldown in between. Before starting the strides you gradually climb your HR to 3A for 30-40 minutes.
Wednesday = 60 minutes with 2 miles at M-Pace
Thursday = Off
Friday = 30 minutes with stride outs, 10 of them lasting 10 seconds each.

I have built a pace chart for 9:40. I think I can do this and hopefully more in the 9:30 range. This race is no wimpy event with 9,000 of climb. Oh.....and the's been hot in LA. Us Oregonians will surely come home with a tan/burn. I am psyched for the race.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

So fast it's a blurr....not really :)

We had an awesome run in the gorge on Sunday! With the low snow levels we had to get creative and the route we came up with got us over 25 miles and 6400 feet of climbing in just over 5 hours. It was a great back to back weekend for me with hill repeats then this run. We started at 7:30 a.m. just as a burst of rain showers began forcing me to head back to my car to gather a jacket. Of course once I got the jacket on it stopped raining and I was sweating. That is how the weather acted all day, it would be sunny and warm then the dark and rainy. Our route took us all over the Angels Rest/Multnomah Falls/Wahkeena parts of the gorge so we got lots of good climbs and some rocky terrain which was a total blast. The rocks were slippery and I decided to use one to help me over a creek but ended up sliding down the side of it onto my butt. Not a bad fall but it left me dirty! :) We thought we would run into snow on the top of Angels Rest but the trail was clear and only patches remained on the hills along side the trail. Micheal, Stacey, Steve and I were all busting butt pretty good and after about 3 hours of running we came to Wahkeena Falls. From the parking lot it's a nice climb back up to the ridge so we thought this would be the perfect time to throw in some threshold running. Micheal took off running and I followed while Stacey and Steve ran/walked to the junction. I forced myself to run every step and work hard to see how my body would respond as we neared the end of this run. I felt great and strong. This particular climb is a made up of lots of switchbacks so it was fun to see everyone. In the picture to the right you can see Stacey making her way up the switchbacks hot on Steve's heels. After that little bit of threshold work all of us were ready to take on the last climb of the day back up to Angels Summit. A rather chatty group all of sudden became very focused. Leading the way was Micheal followed closely by Stacey while I took a break to filter more water. Once we reached the Angels Summit it was 2.2 miles of good downhill running to the car. I cranked up my headphones and raced down this last hill in a manner that seemed to be effortless and fresh. It was the perfect ending to my Peak week before Leona Divide 50M and was a much stronger effort than the week before. I AM ADAPTING!
Monday was OFF! Whew....I need it to catch up on life stuff. I let so many things pile up and it was nice to get things in order. Today was a whopper of a track workout calling for 2X1000M and 2X1200 meters at R-Pace meaning I only got 70% of interval time to recover. I was on fire at the track today! I was doing my 1000 meter at a 6:17 mile pace and felt comfortably taxed so I bumped up my 1200 meters to a 6:09 mile pace. Those were harder but easy to maintain and I think I could have done 2 more. I left feeling really jazzed at the effort. My tempo run this Thursday will be shorter than usual and my weekend only calls for a 2.5 hour run with 20 minutes at threshold on Saturday. The next week will be race week so no new or hard workouts. I feel good about my fitness going into Leona and am really looking forward to the race. I love the 50M distance because it's just long enough to fall apart and come alive again. :)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Peak week in review!

Tomorrow will be the end of a 4 week cycle and the final run of my peak week before Leona Divide 50M. Next week will be a Modified Build before a recovery leading into the race. So far this has been a really good cycle and only one more run left. It's been a cycle in which I can feel the progression throughout the weeks but not be overly tired or taxed.

Monday was a recovery run which I did on the treadmill at the gym before my weight workout. I like to put the setting on random hill profile with level 6 and run moderately only bumping into Z3A on the biggest hills and spending all the other time in low Z2 and even Z1. I have been hitting the weights hard during this cycle on both my upper and lower body. I am up to 4X6 reps of wide arm pull-ups with no assistance. Now for some of you that might be a piece of cake especially if your a guy but for this girl that is awesome! I remember struggling to get just one and trying to time my attempt in low use hours at the gym. I didn't need an audience since it wasn't pretty. Things are much different now as I confidently leap up to the bar and swing my arms out wide and whip out 6 solid big boy pull ups then do a dead man hang on the last one for 30 seconds....ahhh progress it's so motivating!

Tuesday was a new workout called "Intervals/VO2 max at an incline". Sounds hard and it was, very hard. The workout goes like this: warm-up 30 minutes building to 3A then 4X5 min. on a steep incline pushing to max heart rate then jog down in less than 70% of interval time and repeat. If you follow the Daniel's training method these are done at I-Pace meaning you drive to max but recover for no more than 70% of interval. You can rest for up to 90% on some I-Pace workouts but I didn't get that luxury making all the others harder. I could not drive to max on this workout because my legs gave out and could not propel me up any harder. This was a brutal workout but short. I was able to get to my markers every minute time and time again but I felt like I was crawling, scraping and digging my body up that hill. I can't wait to do it again now that I know what's in store. :)

Wednesday was another recovery and again I opted for the treadmill because I wanted to consolidate time and do it just before my weights. Even though I had the tough workout the day before I felt really strong on this recovery run which was a good sign going into Thursday butt kicker.

Thursday's bring the tempo run. This week the tempo portion was 8 miles at M-Pace which is still 7:48 for me. I warmed up with my usual 3 miles then hit it and felt like I was on fire. Miles were coming in fast so I throttled back my heart rate and found a good spot between 165-167 beats. I was still faster but not over so much that I was busting into Z4. These tempos are supposed to be run in Z3B in the upper portion and my Z3B ends at 171 so this was perfect. During this run I found myself daydreaming and planning my day then all of the sudden I would be back on the gravel road remembering that I am doing a hard workout. Just as I was finishing up the tempo portion Trisha shows up so we ran back to the car together. Now that is a great run, one in which it comes easy and natural. After my 12 mile run I was in car thrilled because it was so much easier than last week.

Friday was OFF! I still jogged 3 miles on treadmill before yoga and weights just so I would be warm.

Saturday (today) was Black Saturday with 2X40 minutes for me. Stacey, Kris and I all met at the top of Saltzman road at 6:30 a.m. We all had early commitments so we had to start our run in the dark cold rain. Of course we were all dressed in BS attire but Kris had to upgrade the outfit by adding socks with skulls.....awesome, we all need them. Stacey and Kris will look great with their long legs but I might look more like the Dutch paint can know the guy on the Dutch brand paint can.....not a good look but I am willing to sacrifice my fashion sense for the group. :) As we ran down the sun was coming up but there was no yellow globe but at least it was light out. I don't know why but we were all kind of out of sorts on the first repeat. We still worked hard but none of us seemed to be feeling the love. Maybe it was too early but by round two I was on fire! Kris and I had to go all the way down to highway 30 on the pavement and run all the way up to Skyline to get enough time and it was still short. On our second one I could see Kris on the turns....more progress. Right on her tail were three girls and one split off from the crowd in an attempt to pass Kris back but that was not going to happen. Kris set it in another gear and I got to watch the girl give up, turn around and come back to join her friends again....that's when I ran by and pushed my heart rate up to 175 to get a decent gap hoping they wouldn't chase me because that's all I had but the fear of a chase helped get the blood moving. When I reached the gate I took a look at my watch and was pumped to see I was 2 min. faster! Saltzman repeats are going to soon be a thing of the past....we need more hill! The total distance is 3.6 miles from Hwy 30 to the top and I did mine in 37:30 and 35:04! I was so happy because the negative talk was churning big time in my head on the first one. My butt was tired from all the legs workouts in the gym, my stride felt weak and uncoordinated, I had it all going on but then things just turned. I love that!

Tomorrow is 5 hours in the gorge and there will be some snow travel but we have to get our there. I need to be on some technical challenging terrain so I can get my legs trained up for Bighorn 100M.