Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Camp - 1 more day!

It's winding down fast as usual. Stop and smell the roses because time flys when your having fun. Today was a short running day for me since Steve and I did so much yesterday. Surprisingly I feel great. A bit on fire to be honest. Today's push ups were all weighted with a ten pound plate (100 of them...gotta try to keep up with other campers) and 50 full sit ups weighted by holding the weight at my chest. I am feeling super strong. Just in time for the big final run tomorrow and since I am getting all my meals in it helps. I am doing a 50K in a loop fashion and I plan to do it for time. I am sort of making up for the Muir Beach 50K. This will be the first time I have run 100 miles in a week (except for when running a 100M race) is years. I am surprised at how well my body is adapting to the big up tick in mileage. It's been fun to push out of my comfort zone with regards to miles. GO CAMPERS!

All the campers are relentless this year. It has been a blast and full of great fun. I am going to miss it but hopefully we can come together again soon for some "fat ass" stuff. We have some ideas floating around. I know this is biggest group of campers ever and it will definitely be the biggest group of finishers ever. That just makes it exciting for everyone. As 2008 winds down I plan to spend my day tomorrow coming up with my list of the best moments of 2008 by month. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. This has been an interesting year in a lot of ways. Not all have been great but as I began to think through it I was overwhelmed by all the wonderful moments. I will share my 2008 recap soon.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Camp Day 5 - Scouting the Wildwood

We had boot camp this morning and since I missed about 3 meals yesterday I was pretty weak. Mark reminded me that the effects of not re-fueling your body are not a lean mean fighting machine but more of a weak whining baby. That's what I was today. I actually think I had a couple of high pitched tantrums when he made us leap over a bench that must be at least 14 inches high. I seriously didn't think I was going to clear it. Despite my weak showing we tried to look tough for the photo! This is my boot camp team. Lisa McCarthy, Darin Swanson and me. We have been having a good time getting our rears in shape together.

After BC Steve and I did 10 miles in Forest Park. It was a slow cold 10 miles but interesting. Why would a park we have run in for nearly 20 years now be interesting? Well the recent arctic blast has left it's mark. There is still a lot snow in the park but the stuff that is melting is making some serious Slurpee's but they are not sweet and they are not cherry flavored! These Slurpee's are cold and very sloppy and if you happened to slip, fall and get a taste it's more like icy dirt flavored. The poor Wildwood has taken a beating in this recent storm. We ran into 3 downed trees in our short 5 mile scouting session. One of the them is HUGE! I bet it was impressive when it fell. The root ball alone is about 12 feet high and the giant fir is very long. The squirrels are going to love this new home. Some pictures:

Given the state of the trail and the predicted weather for Wednesday. I have opted to do something else. It's going to be fun and I am hoping I will have company. I will hold off from revealing the evil plan for now. Let's just say I have gone loopy!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Camp Day 3 & 4

Whew, over half way to our goal and everyone is standing or leaning. Yesterday was a 15 mile day and we did the bridge loop in downtown Portland. I have never done this full loop but have been on various stretches of it. It was cool to link it all together. The snow/ice situation was much better when the above 40 degree rains started and continued. A serious melt began. During our 15 mile run we had constant rain with temperatures in the low 40's. The winds on certain stretches were amazing and made it really hard to move but we were all thankful for the opportunity to come together and run. 13 campers showed up for the group run and 1 slipper camper, Scott Diamond. Don't ask what slipper camp is because it involves wearing slippers and eating donuts I am told. As we made our way we ran through quite a bit of icy slush making the footing rather tedious. Staying upright was a must and that took top priority over speed. When we crossed the Sellwood bridge making our way back home through Willamette park we were treated to Arctic water. If we were polar bears we would have been in heaven! This is the low point next to the river and as the snow began it's melt it uncovered the layer of ice. The standing water with floating ice bergs was something. Once you were in Willamette park there was simply no way to avoid it. It was sooooooo cold as your foot sunk about 6 inches and your ankles moved the ice bergs. Being the "look on bright side kind of folks" Steve pipes up, "This is great training for Hardrock and all the river crossings". Well then, by all means lets just start swimming! We had a great time and everyone seem to like the run. Too much fun.

Today was a 21 mile run and since all our usual haunts are still covered in snow/ice we opted for more bridge loops. We did 2 full loops with full intentions of avoiding the Arctic zone in Willamette park. But, all during Saturday night the temperatures moved to the high 40"s and even into the 50's with a series of warm rain and wind most of the snow was gone. It was quite impressive how fast the snow around my house just simply disappeared overnight. When I woke up the first thing I did was check on the weather and it showed 54 degrees in downtown Portland! Are you kidding??? Shorts it is. Of course being nervous I drug along tights, gloves, 2 long sleeves, new socks and another pair of shoes. When I arrived Steve and I were the only ones in shorts. Everyone was bundled up like crazy. I looked around and wondered if I made the right choice or Dave's email report of his dream run in the tropics transported me into la la land. Again we had quite a group of pavement pounders. Since not many of us train regularly on pavement this 21+ mile run on solid pavement would prove to be interesting and possibly painful but hey, we can handle it. I plan to keep the run interesting by adding some strides and then some mile tempos on the backside on the Springwater Corridor. No way was I heading into Willamette Park for and ice bath so I was going to the a horseshoe course. No one else was going to wimp out with me. They are were doing 2 loops, arctic zone and all. As we made our way around it blew our minds on first how hot it was and second how almost zero snow existed. Since that was case I continued on with the group and when we arrived at Willamette Park there was zero standing water and no snow. WHAT???? Was yesterday all a dream??? Really??? We booked it on both loops doing the second one faster than the first, nice! But....my legs were feeling the love for sure. Nothing was unbearable but the general marathon time legs. The kind that don't really want to move very fast no matter how hard you try.

Another 2 days of camp has come and gone. What fun it's been so far. I have really enjoyed the camaraderie this year, thanks everyone. Only 3 days left with the biggy on the 31st. After hearing a pretty good trail report I will most likely propose a couple of options for the 31 miler. The trails are still quite buried in snow and there is NO parking at trail heads yet. In some spots the trail is not even noticeable unless you know what you're looking for.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Camp Day 1 and 2

It all started Christmas day with a scheduled 12 mile run. The campers need to 100M in seven days along with push ups and sit-ups daily and none of the sissy kind. It all started with a pretty enthusiastic group of 20 campers, probably the biggest group ever. Right of the bat the emails were flying challenging more push-ups, more sit-ups, banter about the pending snow days. Then the real snow hit and all was quiet.......

12 miles on Christmas day is a big task since there are so many important celebrations and time commitments but this group could not be stopped even with all the snow and ice. I met Steve in the morning at the base of Terrwilliger Blvd. (a popular running path in Portland). Since this road leads to the hospital I figured it would be plowed and the traffic would be very light making it good for running. It was fabulous. I am so desperate for any kind of even running surface where ice holes and drifts are few and far between that the light coding of icy slush felt great. Not only was the road plowed but at least 1 mile was closed because a house was sliding down the hill. We got the whole road to ourselves. It was an awesome 12 mile run.

Friday was a scheduled 7 miles and our first group run. The group would be small since most are still having trouble even getting out of their driveway but it was nice to see other campers. We met at Lief after Darin, Lisa and I finished a brutal boot camp session with Mark. See, I ate M&M's last night which meant suffering for all. I suffered and my friends did to....sorry I couldn't resist! After our legs and arms were mush we all made our way to the park. The freeways have all been plowed but the side roads are a mess. I felt for the folks who parked their cars on the streets. They are now buried in lots of snow and ice. Lief Erickson is an 11 mile gravel road gated off so only runners, bikers or hikers can use it. The path is covered in a foot of ice and snow. The snow would be fine but the ice is awful! We were breaking through, twisting and sliding. We had fun and enjoyed the company but quickly began brainstorming for the finally, the annual purge and splurge 31 mile run that takes place on the the 31st using the Wildwood trail. Most likely that is not going be a good place for a 31 mile run. The ice/snow is just to weird. A few good ideas were born so we will begin testing them out and come up with a plan.
Tomorrow is a scheduled 15 mile run and we are doing the bridge loop. Details to follow. So far, many campers have reported in and they are determined and creative. It's and honor to hang with such cool people and I am looking forward to more. I only have 1 pair of long running tights so I am getting a lot of laundry done.

BTW: What present did you get that you are most excited about? I got an adaptor for my car so I can now play my IPOD in my car. I am going to LOVE this once I get my IPOD. As soon as Bill is done blading our road we are going on the hunt for the perfect color....I think red as a reminder of "red hot Sunday's"! What do you think Micheal??

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and is looking forward to another fun and adventurous year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


This is a picture off our back deck! We have been thrown into a deep freeze here in the Portland metro area. Some city's and county's have declared a state of emergency. See we are sort of snow pansy's around here and they have mayber two snow plows for the city so the whole place shuts down. I grew up in the snow but have spent the last 24 years forgetting what's it's like to live, drive and run with the streets and trails covered with serious inches of white stuff not to mention the lovely thick layer of ice underneath. Besides being stuck at home and sometimes without power there have been some funny times. The news is 24/7 arctic blast coverage and the cars, oh my, the cars and people. There are AWD vehicles with chains on the back tires (what!), cars abandoned on the sides of streets buried in snow and ice, people trying to cross streets when cars that most definitely won't be able to stop are approaching. Those are some of the funny sights when you ask yourself, "What"!. I myself have been chauffeured around by Bill who has his 4X4 SUV chained up. The city is empty! It is really creepy to see how halted we are. The grocery stores are bare, no deliveries of goods to the homes, garbage hasn't been picked up for over a week. Bill has lived here all his life and can barely remember 1968 when Portland got almost the same amount of snow. Needless to say it's been weird.

I did venture out today in Bill's car (he took mine to work) and I drove about 10 MPH. Due to the huge ice ruts we have created on the roads it was wild. Where was I going?? To the gym! YES!!!

Saturday, just after the mini snow storm and just before the mega snow storm a few of us headed to Forest Park for an 18 mile run. Trisha, Susan, Steve and I had a great run in the soft powdery snow. We had our studded shoes on and the traction was fabulous. It was quite a sight to see the park under so much snow and barely a runner out. We did see a cross country skier and some cross bikes (they were having a bit of a hard time) but other than that just a few folks out enjoying. I had some scheduled speed work during the long run so I turned back early and found a go0d 2 mile section to pick up the pace. I ran back and forth until those guys came back. My speed was shall we say...not great! But...my heart rate was in the sweet spot from lifting my legs so high to clear the snow. Sunday we were buried in snow. I was starting to go a bit nuts so Bill and I headed out early to do some shopping. There was no one on the roads. The city was in shut down. It was fun to be out.

Monday: Boot camp was awesome! Not everyone could get there but to my surprise my friend Sarah showed up. She braved the elements, got herself out of her driveway and joined Darin and I for a killer workout. Now for running....I went on the hunt for some better traction devices just to find that all 4 stores I tried were sold out. Seems everyone had the same idea. This stuff is going to stick around so it's time to get prepared. I am ready to cross country ski bull mountain if necessary even though I don't know how to CC ski! I have now embrassed the situation. Time to toughen up. Once power was restored to our house I got on my treadmill for a good 7 mile run which lifted my spirits. I have felt so sluggish I told Bill I might be going into hybernation. I am not used to being limited and clearly have gotten spoiled by my running freedom.

Tuesday: The gym says they are open! I need to get out so I made my way there and spent close to 3 hours working out and loved every minute of it. I did my M-Pace 10 mile run on the treadmill and actually loved it. I am rested! My heart rate was pretty low for my 7:32 pace. I had a 2% grade going but I think I am was so excited to be sweating I had some sort of high going. It seems when I have a purpose and a specific workout I am seriously motivated and the treadmill actually becomes inviting. Afterwards I headed into the weight room where I couldn't seem to get enough. I drug myself out of there knowing I am going to "Get Hammered" tonight. At one of the "Get Hammered" classes last week Mark had us build a snowman. It looked easy but it wasn't. :) I would say we did a pretty good job. Our snowman definatley has a spare tire.

Tomorrow is another recovery run and I am going outside no matter what. I just need to be sure I have enough room to get out the way of Portland drivers. :) Christmas Camp starts on Thursday and it's going to be a tough challenge this year but that makes it all the more satisfying. This weather is making me dream about a lot of California and Arizona races. :0 I might find a couple on my schedule as everytime I look at one I sort of hit the "registration" button.
Everyone have a fabulous holiday with family and friends! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cabin Fever!

I love my treadmill, I love my treadmill, I love my treadmill......I better because it looks like I might be on it awhile. It's been days since I have been outside to run. In fact, it seems like days since I have been outside my house. That is a total exaggeration because I have gotten out yesterday and today but I definitely feel caged in. Looks like most of kids in the Portland Metro area are getting an additional week of Christmas vacation and everyone is prepping for the long winter freeze the forecasters are predicting. When is it going to end??????? Let me out!!!!!!

Coach gave me some new workouts the other day. I am pretty excited about them. Lots of sweet running and pretty specific workouts which I just love. I did my first one on the treadmill yesterday and it rocked. For the next month I am going to focus on some long speed stuff. Back off from the long climbing and really drive the M-Pace and T-Pace stuff. Then in mid January I will ramp up the hills again. I am looking forward to doing some specific training in the ultra running sweet spot....Z3A and Z3B. Since I might find myself doing a lot of machine running (on a treadmill) at least I'll have a purpose and that keeps my focus in the right place, on running instead of pouting that I am not on the trails. I am having a minor attitude adjustment. Now if it keeps snowing this lovely white stuff and doesn't turn into yucky ice I will definitely venture out for a good snow run. So maybe!

As the new year approaches my 2009 race plans are unfolding. I haven't got anything set in stone but I will be putting in for Hardrock 100M again along with Anna, Micheal and Steve. Hopefully one of us will get lucky. My other 100M plan will most likely be Bighorn 100M. I am toying the Ultra Tour De Mont Blanc but am not sure I ready to take that leap yet...but...I am still looking at the application. Also thinking about CCC100M, AC100M and Javelina 100M for a late season 100. As for other shorter stuff I have a whole list. I also would like to do a couple of seriously fun training weekends. My list includes R2R2R in the Grand Canyon, another weekend at Smith Rocks and a weekend of torture on the Waldo 100K course and a training camp in Utah on the Wasatch. So many fun things, so little time and oh yeah.....energy. So for right now I am lining it all up and will post my plans soon. I am so looking forward to 09 and applying all I have learned this year about training and me to 2009.

Boot camp is continueing to challenge me big time. I think I will have trouble washing my hair tomorrow. You're not supposed to wash it everyday anyway are you???? Shaving the armpits will definatley be out of the question. Thanks Mark! We have quite a team for Boot Camp 2. I will post a picture as soon as I get one.

Christmas Camp is underway. 18 campers this year! A few new faces which will be exciting and fun for all of us. This group seems more motivated than ever which just fuels me. I will post our camp schedule soon. It's a 100M week starting on Christmas Day and ending with our traditional Purge and Splurge run on the 31st. I think this is going to be a huge challenge for me. My miles are not very high but I will make it happen. 2008 is closing in fast!

Monday, December 15, 2008

There is a first for everything!

I had my first DNS (did not start) on Saturday for the Muir Beach 50K. I was pumped to do this event and felt like I was ready to have a stellar race. Friday Bill and I left early in morning for Oakland, CA where we would make our way to Mill Valley, CA. The race start is very close to the Golden Gate bridge and since I have done Miwok 100K I sort of knew the area. On Friday morning I woke up for boot camp at 5:15 and returned home at 7:30 a.m. and we immediately left for the airport. My stomach was a bit upset on the way to the airport and since I have an iron stomach it made me wonder what was up. To make a long story very short I found myself violently ill in the hotel room. As soon as we got into our room I was on the bed in a ball and a couple of hours later the puking and other bad stuff started. It went on until about 1:30 a.m. when I was finally able to make a full sentence. That sentence was, "I think I might be able to pull myself together by morning". Bill said, "No". Being the stubborn self driven person I ignored him rolled over and slept. At 5:30 a.m. I woke up shook Bill and said, "I feel better". I was able to get down 2 crackers and 1/2 of a banana and thought I was good to go. Bill just looked at me and said, "Okay, but I want you to think about it..you haven't eaten in 24 hours, your dehydrated and by the way...you look emaciated, I don't think it's wise". I got up and thought I was fine but when I went to walk up the stairs I had to stop and take a break. My heart rate raced and my hands were shaky. Hmmm, guess climbing 7,100 feet would not be a good idea. I made the right decision but it was hard. As I peered over to the race area I felt sad as the day was beautiful and I really wanted to be out there enjoying the trails not laying around in a sick room. By early afternoon I was at least getting water down but not easily. Food was not easy and still isn't but I am forcing calories. We spent Saturday afternoon walking slowly around San Francisco so not all was lost.

We came home early yesterday to the deep freeze. I-5 looked like a yard sale when we drove home from the airport. Bill can't be stopped during weather like this. He chained up his 4X4 and feels a sick sense of freedom as he plows around everywhere. He took the tractor and bladed our road so folks could be mobile. It's COLD! Now that I have had a solid 5 days off running I am itching like crazy to pile on miles. Good thing Christmas Camp is around the corner for a 100M week....yippee! Even though we are snowed in it's is an awesome sight we don't see to often. Even our husky wants to come indoors.....he's really not a cold weather guy. :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Dog on a bone!

That's how I will describe Micheal on Dog Mountain on Saturday....more on that later.

The holiday season has crept up on me fast. Thanksgiving was great. Since Bill's family were all in Mexico for the holiday we decided to go to Disneyland. We had a great time and especially Alex and Bill who love to ride all the hairy stuff. I am more of a Peter Pan level rider so my job is bag holder. We were in the park for 2 magical days and one not so magical day. Thursday was awesome, the crowds were fine, the fireworks and snow falling on main street were very enjoyable. Friday I felt the magic was being sucked out of me by the minute. THE CROWDS! Oh my, it was awful and I felt completely overwhelmed and scared to return on Saturday. I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of people on Saturday so the magic returned and we had a great time. I don't think Bill or Alex will out grow Disney.

I hit it really hard the weeks before Disneyland knowing that I would not be working out for 3 solid days. No running, no lifting and I needed it. But, when I got home and hit the routine again on Monday I was left with a sluggish tired body. Funny since I should have been rested? I thought it reminded me of a very bad taper. The kind when you have trained really hard, you begin the taper and it's to relaxed and you pay on race day feeling sluggish and lack the fire. That's how I felt. I think it might have been to drastic of a rest. It really didn't matter but was an interesting observation anyway. Back in action I did a killer track workout on Tuesday and an awesome tempo/longish run on Thursday. On Thursday we did 14 miles in Forest Park and did 3 miles at tempo speed. It was hard workout. I did a ton of lifting as well and was able to do 5 sets of 5 weighted pullups. I used a 10 pound weight strapped to my waist. I alternated my grip and was pumped to be able to do them.

For the weekend it was supposed to be amazing weather so we decided to head back to Dog Mountain for more laps. I have no pictures to prove how wonderful it was on that day because I had briefly lost my camera. Michelle said we would not be able to prove we did it and Beast would not believe us! The day was great and we were all strong. Michelle drug us up the first summit and showed us how to run down the steep side. Unfortunately I couldn't keep her in my sights to steal any tricks of the trade but I still came down faster than before. On our next trip up no one was jazzed at trying to hit the 1 hour summit goal. Micheal must of been on it though because before I could look up he was gone! I pushed and was stronger than the last time but only shaved about 30 seconds off. Micheal however...summited in 53:32 on the steep side! That has got to be close to a record. BEAST??????? I know you know so let me know please or if any of you readers know please share. That is simply smokin fast. Steve and I have still not broke the 1 hour mark but I know I can do it....eventually. :)

Sunday we did a great loop in Forest Park. Just over 16 miles but some good training. Overall we all felt better after this double Dog than the last time. Progress...... I feel pretty good about Muir Beach this coming weekend. I have my fingers crossed for a good day in the sunny climate. I want to have a fast time......

On another note: Steve told us he read an article that says if you hang around happy people you will be happier. If you hang around negative people it will impact you poorly but will not have an equal effect on your outlook as hanging around happy people. This makes so much sense to me. I am generally not miss sunshine but not unhappy either, more of a realist and I feel the emotions of the moment. But......I hang around happy people and am married to a happy person and I think it hugely impacts my outlook. I have hung around some unhappy people or more like folks who don't like other people in general and I got impacted by that even if I didn't think at the moment it has any bearing on my outlook. I am grateful for all the happy shiny people I get to mingle with....it keeps life moving and even in tough times a smile can be launched or laughter can be found. Download: Shiny happy people by REM.

Looking forward to Christmas Camp and will start planning very soon!