Monday, December 12, 2011
After Javelina I had a pretty solid 2 weeks of doing very little but resting and having fun. It's been a pretty interesting time in the Sundermeier house the last few months. There are lots of blooming changes. Our lives are ever changing as with all maturing families. Our only son is starting to drive and looking at colleges. Bill spent 2 solid months at Harvard getting his Executive MBA and the construction of our Bend home began. I love changes and this family is not ever idle long but I am finding that our biggest, most important piece of our everyday life is coming to a close. That is our daily routine of parenting. Though I know it never ends I can see, feel and sense Alex's maturity into a young man. As I type those words tears stream down my face. I know it's inevitable and wonderful that our children grow up and start to plan their lives but I am telling you it's a double edged sword. I know it seems early but as you know I am a relentless planner. I see my life in advance. I wouldn't at all characterize myself as a over protective looming mom but am having to fight the desire to cling right now. Alex is sort of my emotional mirror. The thought of not having his energy around every single day makes me feel a bit lost and I know that day is coming. I feel it now as he is more independent. I think all moms must have this empty hole when their kids grow up. Though I strive to be different I think I might lose this battle. I am pretty sure I am going to have some hard days in the next couple of years. I am hoping that by the time he leaves for college I will have worked through it all. The other wonderful side of the coin is Bill and I are seeing, feeling and planning what WE will do next. The second half of our lives is beginning. Bill and I talk constantly about our future. It's wonderful to dream with confidence. To feel so incredibly secure with someone you love. I wish for everyone to feel this. It's funny how our lives have unfolded. I thought I would share a funny conversation we had. I love routine, plans, time line and expectations as does Bill. For me though, that outside force is coming to a close. My boss, my daily planner is releasing me. That would be Alex. When I left my corporate job 9 years ago he became my to do list. He drove my days, most of nights and my weekends were planned around him. That was my routine, my purpose, my measurement. My love for personal results were filled with running but mostly I felt accomplished because I could do this time consuming hobby and still be a good mom, there, present and very much alive. I could bring this glow back into the family unit. This was and is very fulfilling to me. Now with changes coming and much faster than I can describe I am beginning to crave more structure. I didn't realize it was leaving me or even that I had it until Bill and I had this conversation: Me, "Honey, I am really wanting us to sit down and go over our 5 year plan again, I want to dive down into detail, I want to know what our day might look like and discuss what it feels like". Blank stare from Bill, then, "I already have so much daily structure I am not sure it can get any more structured". At that moment I realized or understood what was happening. I was losing my daily structure slowing and am not sure what to do with myself!
So, what have I been doing besides feeling sorry for myself? I am now 3 weeks into training for Ulmstead 100M. Since I am riding the Old Pueblo 24Hr MTB in Feb. I have been back on my bike, love that thing! After 6 years of being coached by some of the best in ultra running I have written my own schedule. Best of all I am following it! Yes, it's only been 3 weeks but I should be mature enough at this point to stick to my plan, right? I need to follow it, find that rhythm of a daily routine. I have committed to 10 weeks, 2 times per week of Bikram yoga. I did it before years ago while training for WS100M purely for the heat training aspect. Now, with a much tighter body I am doing it for other reasons. My mid back and shoulders make my hips and hamstrings look flexible, wow tight. I am a total abomination to yoga! No joke. I am glad they haven't kicked me out for purely the horrible aesthetics. I am so smooshed up from running, MTBing and weight training that anything that involves lengthening is foreign to my body. With 6 classes in my body I am just now starting to crave it. My body is responding really well and if I can find a place in my spirit for this kind of training I think it will be a huge benefit to my running.
I have added a day of functional leg workouts. I need to get back to doing lower body weights. I like the strength and stability it gives me. Plus, I just need to do it! For...pure vanity. That has been really fun and interesting. Plus, it's a good thing I can laugh at myself. I may have found my Kryptonite.
My schedule for Umstead is going to be pretty intense compared to how I have trained the last couple of years. I think I am choosing to do this because it's going to keep me focused on forward momentum and mentally busy. I can't miss a beat with this one and right now I think that's the best place for me to be. I need the intensity of a hard routine. I am craving that kind of push right now. I really want to have a solid run at Ulmstead 100M. I might even try and RACE it. It's been awhile since I have pushed myself hard at a 100M race. Where I have set a time goal and trained to achieve it. I think 20 HRs at Ulmstead would be a pretty big challenge for me so that's what I am chasing. To do this I am going to need to run more than and average of 35-40 miles a week which is what I have done in the past 2 years. That simply is not going to cut it for a quick time. My body adapts nicely to whatever I throw it's way but I not even going to try to fool myself this time. :)
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
I had a really strange race. I am not going to be able to express it very well here but am going to try to paint the picture. I can't complain about running 21:17 and coming in 4th woman, I am happy with that. My pre-race prep was horrible. I did everything wrong except for get drunk and be hungover. Thursday was a tedious decision making day for our home we are building in Bend (yay!) I went into the process with no food, not much water and when I was done I was exhausted both physically and mentally. I then rushed home to get everything ready for the house sitter and the race. I might have eaten 1200 calories that day and drank about 40 oz of water, not good. Friday was another quick paced day with travel and such. In an attempt to eat really clean and healthy I ate nothing to speak of. I also drank very little water. I might have gotten in 1300 calories that day and about 50 oz of water. Already behind in sleep we got up a 3:30 a.m. Saturday. I tried to eat and drink knowing I was behind the curve but it's a little late!
The race started and I feverishly fueled. I felt dehydrated at about 10 miles and worked at keeping up on fluids and food. I did a really good job. Lap 1 and 2 went pretty well. Lap 3 just sucked. I was feeling tired, yawning, unmotivated and had a mild headache. For no particular reason. That lap was filled with self doubt and much loathing. Yuk, I hate that which made it all worse. I can't tolerate much personal loathing from myself. It just makes me feel angry and pathetic. Knowing full well that all we do is voluntary I don't like to complain or whine. I think intense negative thoughts are a sign of weakness. For me it's icky emotional indulgence. Not that I walk around like Susie Sunshine all the time I do expect more from myself. This battled ensued between thoughts of worthlessness and acceptance. I gave it the all girl effort too! I tried to cry, nope couldn't do it...I was too pissed off. I tried to convince myself that quitting would be best because we wouldn't miss our flight, stupid reasoning. I even tried to see if I could discover a possible injury! Then I would most certainly need to stop. My brain was ruminating in the negative. I came in to lap 3 and told Micheal I was just off, tired and not in it. He was really good. He just listened and said your doing fine just keep going and fuel. Before I knew it I was back out there on lap 4.
The 3 hours of ruminating, being negative and pathetic did me in...in a good way. I was done with myself! Mumford and Sons song, Thistle and Weeds came on my IPOD.
But plant your hope with good seeds
Don't cover yourself with thistle and weeds
These lines resonated, for whatever reason, and helped me get a grip. The wonderful thing about Javelina 100M is the course and it's washing machine loop format. You get the opportunity to see everyone and be part of their day. I was surrounded by some really amazing people doing some really amazing things. That alone is beautiful and rewarding. I love positive energy, passion puppets and people who dream big. Here I was with all of that. So with that realization I was able to draw inspiration and joy from them. A few things that caught my attention. Esther Holman's run and relentless pursuit of her 100M finish. Andy Kumeda's strong amazing day. The Beast, nothing more needs to be said there. Anna, smiling and always positive demeanor. Liza's run was of course amazing but what I saw most impressive was her lovely effortless smile as she passed by...a true athlete! The volunteers were so cheerful and had compliments galore. Every time I came around to headquarters I felt like a winner! Focusing on all the other people and things was so much better than paying any attention to my own run or myself!
I continued trying to get caught up on fuel but we all know you can never truly catch up. I did a good job. It's always an interesting study. One of the draws of the 100M event is the opportunity to see yourself, your demons, your strengths, your grit and whatever else you have or most importantly DON'T have. You simply can't escape it every time. This year's race was much different than last years for me. This year I had no fight, no desire to push. I was tired! Not physically but mentally. I couldn't muster up a good fight if I was forced. I was content with the day as it was unfolding. Though I wondered how I would feel about this attitude later it seemed I had no choice. My mind, body and soul were too tired to roust my drive.
When Micheal picked me up for lap 5 I welcomed the company. The rain came in while I was about half way through lap 6 and I was immediately cold. I was bundled up pretty good for someone who runs in the rain a lot. The trail became a mess quickly. Big puddles and lots of sinking sand or slippery mud. We almost bit it a couple of times. This just solidified that I was not up to par. The fatigue built and now I was in "get it done" mode. I walked a lot! Most of my final lap was a full on hike/walk. What's the difference? A hike has purpose and a walk is what you do with your dog and a cup of coffee. My stomach was crampy and not doing so well. I was starving but another gel was just not gonna do it. Neither was another banana, salted potato, cup of soup, blah. When I finished it was pouring and all I could think about was getting the wet clothes off before I turned into a Popsicle, then food. I went over an scarfed down 2 pieces of pizza and was still hungry. We hustled off so we could get a shower, a tiny nap and catch our 11 a.m. flight home.
I have been so tired these last two days. More tired than I can remember being after one of these. My body on the other hand seems to be barely phased. I didn't even need compression socks on Sunday and have very little soreness and no swelling. I think I am exhausted though. Time for some rest to re-energize! It's been a hell of a year!
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
I booked my flight out of Arizona for Sunday at 11 a.m. How's that for pressure? I am either being cocky or efficient. Worst case, I will have to take another flight. This may be the fastest trip ever. Leave Friday, run 100M on Saturday and be back home to Oregon by dinner.
My plan for the race is...well I have no plan. I hope I don't get too hot, I hope my body holds up and I hope the hurt locker is padded. There is a lot of HOPE in that sentence. With such low mileage I have no idea what to expect so a good conservative approach will be best I think. Last year I ran a hell of race there. For me to run that fast at 100 miles was crazy and I felt great the whole race. I should have given my laps 4 and 5 more effort. Last year I had way more running and pounding on my legs though. I don't even think I looked at the hurt locker door for long. Maybe it was the Advil I took?
My lap splits last year were: Total time 20:07
Pretty even with the laps 5 and 6 being in the dark. I hope I can get under 22 hours. I really like the format of this event and am excited to share the trail with friends. The weather looks tolerable for this Oregonian. :)
Monday, October 31, 2011
I also signed up for the first every Forest Park Trail Marathon. In another attempt to force myself to run fast but now on a long run. I ended up being first girl across the finish line in this very small event. I didn't even know I had won until about 40 seconds after I finished. While heading to the finish line the crowd seemed very energetic and I thought, "wow, these guys are really into cheering folks on". I knew the 1/2 marathon had just finished and was very uplifted by the crowds attention. Just past the finish line Bill comes up and says, "You have no idea you just won do you"? SO COOL! My prize was a gift certificate to Fit Right NW. New trail shoes in my future!
For my final long training run I did Autumn Leaves 50K last Saturday. The terrain is flat, five 10K loops so no time for dilly dallying around. It was just what I needed to get my butt out there. Time with friends and like minded folks spurred me to get out and push myself. It was a perfect day too! No rain, early morning fog and sun made it pretty easy to keep going. I ran hard but what I really wanted to do was gain speed with every 10K. Just to test myself. I was able to accomplish this but on laps 2-3 it was very close. I did however manage to squeak in 2 minutes faster on lap 5 than lap 4. My feet were a bit sore. I haven't had sore feet in years but I also haven't run on pavement for that many miles is years. I had to dig out some road shoes that have about 15 miles of running on them and hope they held up. They did. I was not at all sore on Sunday which totally blew me away. Must be my new diet....kidding!
Even thought my miles really don't warrant good training for a 100M race I have been out on my Single Speed MTB a few times. After riding up and down my road a bit I got the courage to take it out in public. I absolutely LOVE it! It's incredibly different than riding a geared bike. I can't really explain it. You have to just ride it and within 2 miles you'll get it. It's hard but so much fun. I really love riding uphill on it. I actually ride my routes faster on my SS than my geared bike. This is just a function of how you have power a SS versus a geared bike. One thing is certain, I am more tired and have lingering fatigue from the sessions. I am going to line up to TOE 50M MTB this year on a single speed! I have now put it out there. With 7,800 of climbing it will tell me if I should even THINK about trying Leadville 100M on a single speed....before I die.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
My lack of natural speed has been laid out countless times in this blog. Any and all speed I have is earned the old fashioned way, hard work. I have to dial it in my training schedule week after week, monitor it, push myself and keep track. This year I had very little speed work, if any, in my schedule. I think there is only so much you can cram into a week. My body did it's fair share of adapting to mountain biking and adding speed sessions might have thrown me over the edge. The adaptions I am referring to include my back, my glutes, my shoulders and my hamstrings. All of the above were quite developed to run, do speed work, go long, climb and run technical trails, etc without injury. In fact, I have not been laid up with an injury since before The Grand Teton's 100M in 08 (I am currently knocking on wood and banging my body on it for good measure). This year, at times, I felt as if I was riding a fine line. My mid back has been so tight at times I swear my waist would shrink a whole inch. My medial glutes were always fired. Trying to get my legs to swing was challenging and just when I got it worked out, bam! another hard MTB ride. My shoulders and mostly my traps did not like the forward lean. Learning to drop them and relax is still hard. As for the hamstrings, well, let's just say I didn't have any. I have some now! I must have spent hours upon hours on a foam roller. The pull portion of the pedal stroke forces those babies to work.
At times throughout the year I felt so slow and sluggish. Mostly after a measurable event when my time and effort were not what I remembered. I had this constant battle of desires. Not wanting to lose my speed but needing to make serious gains in another area raged a war in my head. I have pretty much mastered my emotional/logical action center. I am driven by both emotion and logic. I blame this on my up bringing. Raised by 2 woman who couldn't have been more opposite in how they marched through their lives. My mom, the original bra burner of the 70's, free of almost all logical thinking, extremely loving and always emotional. She defined the free to be attitude, the who cares what others think, be your own woman kind of stuff. My grandmother, who couldn't have been more realistic, the penmanship scholar, the accountant, the stoic woman. She would always presented herself appropriately, never talk about issues and march on with the up most respect for herself and family...no matter what. I am pretty certain, after years of debate, that I carry both these fine woman's ideas. The issue......conflict.....the gift....conflict.
So choosing the more logical/practical notion that something has to give. So get on with it. I guess I would have a good Fall project, speed work. When I got home I had nothing on the books with regards to workouts. I immediately found myself becoming a race registration slore (bad word I know). My friends were sick of me emailing them trying to coheres them into to joining me. I even signed Bill up for a 1/2 while he was out of town. Anything I could do that was short and would force me to run fast, due to pride, I was all in. I got into Todd's Portland Trail Series, I ran the Wildwood 10K and signed up for the Forest Park Marathon. To enhance my drive to run faster I threw my name in for Javelina 100M in November and thanks to Susan's fast fingers got into Umstead 100M in March. Both these 100's are flat courses so I will need to find my legs. In between the 100's I am going to ride the Old Pueblo 24Hr Solo again. I got a single speed MTB and am anxious to ride it in a race. I'm not sure if I will ride OP on my single speed or go geared. The guy riding single speed at Leadville made it look so easy! It's not!
After the first couple of Portland Trail Series events I found I wasn't as slow as I thought. It also reminded me that I am a mental basket case. I can decide I am slow and be slow. Then I can be put into an environment where I should run fast and I can. Of course, this is all relative. I am pretty excited to incorporate speed sessions back in my training.
Speaking of training. This will be the first time I have not had a coach in 7 years! I think I am going to do my own schedule. The issue, I am not so good at holding myself accountable. I am sure I can blame that on my childhood too, ha, ha, ha. I am going to give it a go and see if I can create some alter ego to hold me accountable.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Leadwoman events started out perfect with the Leadville Marathon. It's the first event of the series and it went off without a hitch. I'd given this race absolutely no attention. I didn't even
look at the information until Thursday. One glance at the profile and time cutoff I felt nervous. Please! How can a marathon put me in that frame of mind, nervous and self doubting. Seems fairly ridiculous now but I suppose my demeanor was as result of feeling anxious because it's all starting. The hard work is basically done and now I need to execute. I am finding this to be a weakness. I love the prep. The dreamy part of planning an outcome. Preparing your body for the event is always my favorite part. Watching and feeling the changes all the hard work brings. The transition from preparation to execution is something that does not come easy. It feels like a lost space. A space I am not sure how to manage with confidence. Once it all gets going I seem to find my mojo. That is a good feeling. I wonder if my pre-event start mood is a conservative, you never know what's going to happen default. Never be too confident. I am not sure this is a good quality.
We arrived in Leadville mid day on Friday the day before the marathon. On the drive I tried endlessly to convince Bill to drop down to the half. I was really worried about how the altitude would treat him. Coming right from Europe and an extremely stressful work trip had me concerned for him. He pretty much ignored me. When we got to Leadville and he saw the finishers medal his eyes lit up and there's was no negotiation. He was doing the marathon. It's a cool trinket.
The day was beautiful, the terrain rugged and the scenery amazing. I took it really easy and any time I felt my lungs stress or a mild dizziness I pulled back. Once I made it to the turn which was the high point at 13,300 feet I felt great. I picked up the pace a bit. I finished in 6:02 which thrilled me. I was 3rd 40+ year old and 3rd Leadwoman. Not bad given the effort. This finish left me gitty and more excited for the other events. The altitude was there but not debilitating. My body was fine and I had no aftermath. Not even sore quads! Bill was impressive. When I saw him heading up to Mosquito Pass he looked really good and was feeling awesome. I am always impressed with my amazing husband. He can do pretty much anything and does it with the up most strength. This crosses all parts of his life. He felt really good too and with his non-existent training I was blown away. One event down!
LMTB Training Camp: Bill forwarded me an email he received from the Leadville Series Website. It was about a training camp for the Leadville 100M MTB Race. He asked why I wasn't doing this? I didn't even know about it. While we were hanging out after the Marathon we drove
both the 50M and 100M MTB courses. I got increasingly freaked out. The climbs were grueling and even my Rover didn't like inching up the rocky hillsides climbing St. Kevins and the top of Columbine! That night had some sort of nightmare about the MTB ride. Bill woke me up. I was sweating and ranting about altitude. That pretty much cemented my need to go to the training camp. Bill insisted. I am not sure if he was trying to get rid of me J. After a couple of days in Leadville we all headed to Beavercreek where Bill had a huge work event. The camp was to take place Friday and Saturday. Co-workers of Bill's whose family was also in Beavercreek offered to take Alex zip lining and MTBing while I was at the camp. With him taken care of I called the camp director and asked if I could get a last minute spot. I headed back to Leadville for what would be the most incredible MTBing experience ever.
The camp was full of LMTB 100 veterans willing to share their wealth of information. All the guides had over 7 finishes with a few going for number 15! These folks know how to finish this race. We were broken into groups based on our predicted finish time. The cutoff is 12 hours. I chose the 11-11:30 group. I actually think I will be very close to 12 but wanted to give myself some room and be pushed.
Day 1: We rode 60 miles, the first and final 30 of the race. This takes us up and over St. Kevins and up and over Sugarloaf and down into the Pipeline aid station. We then retraced our steps. That meant we needed to ascend the legendary Sugarloaf climb. This did not disappoint and neither did its descent. I followed our guide down Sugarloaf and asked him to give me all the advice he felt I needed. This was awesome and removed almost all my anxiety. I heard this quote many times on day 1. "You will not finish your race because your descended Sugarloaf fast but you could very well lose your race on that descent". After I did it I could completely see the point. This is a rugged, rutted, steep, slick descent with almost only 1 line down. If you taco a tire or take a bad fall if could be over. The climb back up Sugarloaf was hard and it will be even harder after 80 miles on your legs. Some of it is ridable but there is a good section of hike-a-bike. Hiking your bike up a steep rocky climb is really hard! It hurts my calves and pushing the bike leaves very little use of the upper body to help propel you up.
I crushed this day leaving my group and catching the faster groups. Mostly because the Mosquito's were so bad I didn't stop for long. Finishing day 1 was incredible. The level of athletes I was surrounded by were inspiring in all their stories and advice. Once finished I headed straight to the store for a 20 lb bag of ice to prepare myself for the next day. Bring on the ice bath. After a wonderful dinner provided by the camp and the amazing speakers I was pumped to see how my body would respond to day 2.
Day 2: We left with another police escort from the headquarters making our way back to Pipeline where we would pick up the course again. Today we do the final portion from Pipeline to Columbine and back. Columbine is the biggest longest climb on the course taking you to the highpoint at 12,200. This climb is about 5 miles and 4,000 feet. Not many breaks and the top is very rocky and steep. This will be a hike-a-bike section for me. I was anxious to see how much of it I could do before dismounting. We started fast (this seems to be a theme) and I am seeing speeds on my bike I have never rode. Upwards of 35 MPH on my MTB is not a comfortable pace for me but I don't have choice or I will get crushed. I hung in the middle of the pack and forced myself to focus with relaxation letting the bike carry me, not fight it. This is mental ache for me. A constant brain/body conflict! I was feeling good physically and actually excited to see how I preformed compared to the group. I rocked! First girl to summit columbine and was strong. Emotions bubbled up big time as I saw the summit and was still on my bike with some reserves. The leaders came rushing by and I got a ton of atta girls which meant a ton coming from those athletes. Tears began to fall and my grin was no doubt wide. I got to the top and exchanged some high fives with a couple of guys. We began the descent! The top portion was so steep and rocky I thought about dismounting. I held on to it and trusted my bike who never lets me down. My hands ached really bad and we just started coming down this 5 mile beast. I hung tough trying to reposition my hands to relieve the ache but still have control and a good grip on the brakes. This bike has become a very trusted partner and seems to always take care of me. That sentiment was shared by many MTBers when talking about their bike. It's such a huge factor. You must love your bike! I made the decent without incident. In fact, I completed the entire camp without incident. At the base I shook our my numb hands and aching arms. Heading back to pipeline is no cake walk. It's a mild up with sometimes steep but short climbs. 65 miles and another 6,500 feet of climb was done! I loaded my bike and headed back to the family with a whole new confidence I can make the cutoff. Not that it's going to be easy but it's possible! This opportunity was incredible and I am so thankful Bill pushed me to do it. It literally was life changing. Another adventure and a hugely incredible experience!
Now we are all back in Leadville I feel really good. Darin, Micheal, Drake and his dad arrive this week to do the Silver Rush events. Micheal and Drake are doing both the 50M MTB and the 50M Run. Bill is riding the 50M MTB and Darin and I will run. It’s going to be an action packed weekend and event #2 towards becoming a Leadwoman.