Tuesday, March 29, 2011


My build phase started out with a bang. A bang in the head that is. I posted about my poor after race care in my last entry. Since the Waterfalls 50K was "C" level race I wasn't supposed to need much recovery so the following week I had some significant workouts. My fluids were really off all week. My legs were swollen, my energy was low and my face looked a bit puffy too. I tried to catch up and did really well with water intake but left the electrolytes in the container. Not smart. The Friday following the race I had a 4 hour ride which I chose to do indoors. I just couldn't bare another frozen ride. I did a solid workout and was sweating a lot. I generally don't generate a lot of perspiration but I have never rode that long and that hard indoors. Saturday morning I got on plane headed to Park City. I felt pretty miserable. I had low energy, sluggish and just tired. By Saturday night I was really feeling sick. I thought I might be getting Alex's flu. At 2:30 a.m. I got up thinking I was going to be sick but instead I fainted and bashed my head on the granite tub. It was a pretty ugly scene from what I've been told. Blood coming out my ear, nose, mouth and my head on my left side. I went down pretty hard. That created a firestorm of drama but in the end it was a due mostly to my non-existent potassium levels. I was basically dehydrated. The crash got me a concussion, 3 liters of fluids, more tests that anyone would need and pretty decent lecture which I deserved. My BP wouldn't go above 62/32 for 2 hours so I was pretty out of it. I had been drinking plenty of water since I measure it like a weirdo. However I wasn't supplementing for electrolyte loss from the race and then the long ride. I felt so bad for my family and was incredibly embarrassed. Bill was freaked and Alex had to witness this too. I felt horrible all week. Like my brain and my synapses were not functioning plus I had one hell of headache. I guess a concussion can make you feel weird. What a way to start a vacation. No skiing for me! No running or anything for 2 days. They barely wanted me to drive. Being at 8,000 feet didn't help matters either. The gash on my head is a little over a week old here and it looks pretty good.
Matt gave me some doable workouts but it wasn't until the weekend where I got really see how I felt. I had my first big back to back run weekend. We did a Forest Park run then a good Gorge run. I felt better on Sunday than I did on Saturday.

All in all I am lucky this is all I got for my mistake. I don't like to admit when I feel terrible. The race took more out me than I gave it credit for and I certainly took my body for granted. Bill said this, "Your stubborn and tough as nails but your fragile too". I wasn't sure how I feel about that statement. :) Peterson Ridge 40M is in 2 weeks. I am MTBing the course the day before. I will certainly be much more diligent in my post session care. I have a feeling it will be a tough weekend but fun too.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


For all the amazing photos on this page see: http://www.runeatswim.blogspot.com/

By Candice Burt

Gorge legs don't come easy. The Gorge Waterfalls 50K took place this last Saturday. James put on a stellar event. Connecting the 400 trail for 27+ miles with some great views of the well known waterfalls that drape the Columbia River Gorge. This is my summer training ground and I have run the 400 lots but only in sections. Never the full enchilada at once. It was quite a treat to run it in this

fashion. Knowing the Gorge like I do I knew I would be suffering greatly on Saturday. I've had no training for the constant eccentric loading my quads would experience, not enough trail time or long runs.

My plan was to go easy for the first 15-20 miles and if I was still standing and moving without a grimace I would pick up the pace. I had two goals for Saturday. First, a long day on my legs and second, to come away with heightened desire to begin pushing myself in this next phase. I got both plus a bonus. My prize for the day was some seriously sore quads!

I showed up with a pack that was more suited for Hardrock. I had everything I needed to stay warm and so much food you would have thought I was going to be out there for more than a day. My pack weighed 7+ pounds. Is that really necessary? Uh, no! I am still suffering from Post AZ Free Fest Syndrome. The thought of experiencing any cold was more than I could take. I had a 60 oz tanker, a jacket, beenie, extra gloves (just in case the ones I was wearing got too wet), hand warmers, 9 gels, sports drinks (in a baggie), 2 bars and so much other stupid stuff I won't even list it. I am seriously not in race mode and what a big baby!

The race started with the immediate climb up Wahkeena Falls. I have done this so many times I can count the poison oak leaves poking out of the rock wall. It's a nice gradual but a

relentless grade. I was in the middle/back of the pack. Lots of folks were in a big hurry. The fast runners were cruising quickly up the hill. I walked and jogged. For me this climb would not be the issue. I felt this to be a nice warm up for the rolling single track grind that I knew was coming…..all day long. I must have heard the phrase, "This is the only real climb then the rest is pretty flat" 20 times. I suppose everyone has their version of flat but the word flat and Gorge don't go together. I don't care if you are talking about the 400 trail. It became clear that many amongst me were underestimating the difficulty of the coming trail. One group of ladies who were in such a hurry going up Wahkeena asked to pass because in their words were "racing". I gladly moved aside and walked behind them as they jogged and walked breathless up the hill. When we came to the first tiny water flow over the trail I hear, "Don't get your feet wet". After watching them tip toe over rocks, weave and jump over obstacles I decided I needed to go. I hope they made it and would love to have coffee with them because after this they are either all in or all out.

We were treated to almost all the best waterfalls the Gorge has to offer. The best was the one deep behind Oneanta where we got completed soaked by the impressive spray. My body felt strong but super slow. Technical trail running takes practice and by mile 15 I was getting my feet back under me. The up, down, twisting and weaving was hard on my legs but I seriously could feel them adjusting as the day progressed. By the time we reached Eagle Creek (mile 20) I felt amazing. At this point I knew I wasn't going to crumble into a hobbling weeble wobble so I felt I could move with some purpose. I can't even remember how long it took me to arrive at 20 miles but it was long time!

I ran the last 10+ miles faster than an of the previous miles according to my Garmin (it helped that half of it was downhill). The best part of the day was when I came to the junction of the PCT heading up to the first clearing. Our stash spot for hill repeats. Olga!, you would have loved it! Coming to the junction gave me goose bumps! Goal number 2 has been achieved! I am pumped for what I know is coming and what a way to get my Gorge legs on. A full day of it. This is a must do race and I suspect it will fill in minutes next year.

Post race has been a suffer fest unlike any I would have imagined. My quads are so thrashed it's a joke. I deserved it though. I ate terrible, slept terrible and that stuff called water didn't make it into my mouth. How I felt during and right after the race does not at all match up to how I've felt the last 3 days. I had runs or rides every single day and that might have been the only thing that saved me. However, I must have had the most awful grimace on my face or my gate was so tight because I got some, "Are you Ok", questions. I swear the legs attached to my body do not belong to me! They are so under water it's hard to look at but worse they have no intention of functioning properly. This was certainly a good reminder that post race process is important for me. I muscled/suffered/grimaced through all my planned workouts including a plyo workout today. Not sure if this was good or bad but it's done. I only had one or two instances of buckling. Ya know, when you hop out the car and expect your legs to contract and support you. Almost went down.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The next phase!

Seems like my Base Building phase is coming to a close. Next up the Build phase. This is my absolute favorite part of the training cycle. A lot meat in the part of training. Lots of gains and a lot mental shifts. I love this phase most because changes in my strength and speed start to show. They become measurable! I love numbers and data. It never lies and there is very little emotion in data. Since my personality caters to more intense environments it would seem the Peak phase would suit me. However, I have not been able to tap into a good zone with that yet but I have a love affair with the Build phase.

Old Pueblo left me fairly unscathed physically. In what now seems like a premature insecure fashion I sent Matt a mail saying I was concerned about how slow I am running. The loss of speed is hard for me swallow. Since I have no natural speed that is and always will be my weakness. Any speed I have has been well earned. I have found myself to be so slow it's hard for me to get my own head around it. Completely normal for someone embarking on a shift to multi sport. Even though common sense would tell me the shift to multi sport means a sacrifice in one my refusal to accept it is firm. I simply am not yet willing to give into the notion I will be a slower runner. My expectation is to become stronger and maybe even slightly faster. I see that preteen determined kid who refuses to take no for an answer. This stubbornness is a core piece of my being. Sometimes this serves me well and sometimes not. Nothing new there. Since I can feel this angst brewing I know I will be treading on a tight rope with training. I have never been great at calling "uncle" to workouts and peeling back when needed. I will have to watch myself carefully here. It will be an interesting self exploration.

When I do come out of the clouds I realize it's only just March and I have a lot work to do before I should be whining to my coach. Sometimes I just need to be talked off the ledge. Talked out my own head. Sometimes words aren't enough and maybe coaches realize that so like any good leader they take action. This last two weeks I've gotten run workouts that make me sweat! Workouts that beg the question, "Are you sure"? Before you know it you've done it and you walk away with less doubt.