Monday, April 25, 2011

Da bomber!

You know that post run leg jolting? Just as you're about to fall into a deep sleep your legs jolt so hard it wakes you up. They twitch and move but the bad ones come when your mind wonders back to the trail. In your dream you clip a rock. You never fall because you jolt wildly. Sometimes it's so bad your legs go straight up in the air. This is maddening. After and long grueling race all you want to do is rest. Sometimes the jolts are so bad I wonder if I am going to strain an already tired muscle. After Hardrock 100M I laid down to sleep. I was tired and my body was beat. Instead of resting I kept reliving the glorious day and night in those mountains. However during my reenactment I kept tripping and almost falling causing the most intense jolts. Some of them almost hurt. Poor Bill was getting a good beating. I couldn't take it anymore.

In my dream I was desperately trying to not fall, trip or stumble. It wasn't working. After I don't know how many jolts I decided to try to embrace the stumbles. Instead of trying to stay upright, which would cause the muscle contraction I would pretend I could fly. Kind of like the commercials you see on TV where the guy jumps high in the air and lands perfectly, parkour. Instead of jumping I wanted to fly so that's the imagery I created. Now instead of being anxious and trying not to fall I would invite it and fly a good distance before I would touch down again. This worked! No more jolting and I was sleeping. Of course I was still engaged in a wild dream session but now I had wings. I have used this every since and it works every time. A good post run sleep, ah.

Last week I had several conversations about mountain biking. Mostly with people who are good MTBers. As we talked I heard myself say, "I suck at the downhill's" a lot. This is not a lie but I suck at the uphill's too. The difference is I am not afraid of climbing but I was afraid of descending. My lack of talent is a fact. However if I don't change the way I ride downhill I will not make the cutoff for the Leadville 100M ride. The math just won't work. I need to attack the downs and the flats aggressively because no matter how good I get on the climbs I still won't

make it. I left the last conversation pissed off. Pissed at myself because I realized at that very moment that I am creating and

manifesting my own destiny. That last conversation was Thursday. Friday morning came and I announced to Bill that I decided I am going to own the downhill's. If you know Bill or have read this blog for any length of time you have a grasp of his personality. He is calm and confident. While I am loud and expressive. I was going on and on about how I plan to change my perspective, blah, blah, blah. He stands there getting ready for work and just says, "Honey you know what you need to do and if you're afraid it's not going to get any better because you will never push yourself. You know this better than anyone". From that point on I decided I love the downhill's. My bike eats rocks for lunch and if I have enough momentum it will roll over anything. I was done saying, "I suck at the downhills"! I am now a bomber in my mind.

I can fly down anything. Bring on Sugarloaf Pass!

Saturday was the Peak Sports Mudslinger XC MTB race in Blodgett Or. 21.8 miles and a profile that looks like this. 3,800 feet of climb with lots of slick muddy stuff to practice my new attitude.

This would be my second MTB race ever. Old Pueblo 24hr was my first but it was flat compared to this baby. Bill, Micheal and I headed down and on the most beautiful day Oregon has seen and we raced. It was a mass start with over 300+ riders and I put myself nicely in the back of the pack. The climb right of the gate was fine but got my heart singing. Climbing on a bike is hard. It makes running uphill seem like cake. Mathematically that makes total sense, right? You have to power not only yourself but your bike up. Once again I carried way too much stuff. I now realize that is a huge mistake and will carry much less of load next time. The course climbed on a mountain gravel road then took a trail to another gravel road. It would repeat this pattern many times with the trail sections being steep descents to another gravel road. The trails were muddy! Many times you were just sliding while performing your best balancing act to keep the bike from slipping right out from under you. The climbs were brutal and I had to walk my bike up one steep section but I rode everything else up and down. I owned the single track. I clocked over 10 MPH on one section. The rest I was too busy weaving around trees to look. One section was so steep and twisty I found myself balancing on a root while hanging on to a tree. Then I hear from below, "Let go and ride, it's a great picture". The photographer was below so I had to ride now. The course reminded me of McDonald Forest 50K. I was a back of pack finisher and at one time I raced a 12 year old and took pride that I could out climb him. It's the small victories. I think I was maybe in the last 15 riders to come across the line. It took me 3:12. Bill came rolling in with a stuffed bunny in his pack. They hid eggs and bunnies on the course and you got a prize if you found one.

Leave it to Bill to get a bunny. It was awesome. Now here's the amazing part. I rode my ass off! I pushed my heart rate so hard on the climbs it reached 176 and never came below 165! I was working so hard my eyes rolled in the back of my head, you know the feeling. I rode the downs fast reaching speeds of 25 MPH on open sections. I toppled only once. I still came in close to last. There were barely any woman riding and the ones who were have quads the size of my body! To top it off among the woman I am OLD! These are strong athletes. The men who were in the top ranks have legs so huge they make bodybuilders look like they need to hit the squat rack. These are serious athletes, no doubt in my mind. Once again I was very inspired.

Afterwards I was spent! My body was like a wet noodle. I was scheduled to run a 1:10 negative split run right afterwards but I had to bail. I just couldn't do it. Of course now I wonder but I had 4 hours the next day (Sunday) with some M-Pace effort. When I finished I was seriously curious how that was going to go. Sunday I got up at 5 am and Bill drove me out to Newberry and I ran the trails back to Lief where he picked me up. It was rough start but I got a groove going and did a fairly good job. What I noticed was interesting. My body was fine but my cardio system was taxed. I had a hard time getting things rolling there. I got 4 hours to do a lot of thinking and have realized I love MTBing. Saturday really helped me graduate from a gravel road rider to a mountain rider. I have lots of work to do but am loving the challenge. I truly suck at the sport but love that drive and frustration. It's uncomfortable. And, my goal is to not be passed by any woman on a single speed! Come on, really. I just want one of those chicks to move in with me so I can pick her brain. However impressed I am with their strength and ability I am not sure I want quads that size. I don't think you can have one without the other but then there's Lance. ;)

I am just about to finish up a serious block of training. It's been a tough hard block this last 4 weeks but I can feel the changes. My running miles are in the 60-70 range and my biking is about 6 hours a week. Most of my runs include some quality. I am loving it but ready for a break which I get next week leading into Miwok 100K. As the Leadwoman events get closer (starting July 3) I am getting more focused. Now that I am a MTB bomber in my mind things are looking up!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Peterson Ridge Rumble!

Peterson Ridge Rumble did not disappoint. In pure ultra runner style Sean puts on a fabulous race filled with lots of happy people on some great trails. I had a great weekend in Sisters. The whole family took part in the dry sport filled adventure. There were many highlights but these are best of the weekend.

Packing: Fitting 4 sports and 4 adult sized people in one car is an event all its own. Skiing, snowboarding, running and mountain biking requires a lot gear! We got it all in and it was some Bill's best work. The man can pack!

Mountain Biking: We rode the course on Saturday. I cut off early while Micheal and Drake continued on the final loop of the 40 mile course. I didn't think there were any rocks on the course but for some reason things are just different when you're on bike. I can't wait for the day I can get on that thing and own it. I am still incredibly nervous. Rocks are not fun to fall on! I toppled a couple of times and on my first fall the end of my seat jammed itself into my glute. It hurt bad and stung for a good long time. Somehow I ended up with 2 nice bruises on my right quad. I had to carry my bike up and over the rocky hill. Once off I couldn't bring myself to remount. That just leaves me so frustrated! The highlight was being warm! It was awesome. We had to shed layers right away. That has to be a first! Also, my bike was not full of mud! That made me want to ride more.

Visiting: I loved seeing all the great ultra runners. I so much enjoyed getting caught up with so many as they pulled into the Best Western in Sisters. Smiles, hugs and good stories.

Dry: Seems simple but not running in wet weather was really refreshing and I actually got a bit of sun on my cheeks. My shoes didn’t have dirt clods inside and my hands weren't blue. That was just the icing on the cake of a spectacular day.

Alex: He spent the day volunteering. Handing out socks and pigs ears seemed to keep him busy and entertained. He told us endless dog stories. He's a true animal lover. However, he must have been told at least 4 times, "Last time I saw you your mom was pushing you around in a stroller" or "How on earth did you come out of her". Poor kid. All he cared about was if I dressed him appropriately in that stroller. When we told him he would only wear a diaper he was horrified! Of course we were kidding. Then in true teenage fashion he says, "You guys are old because I was under 2 years old". Thanks Alex!

The Run: I had a great run. Went out easy fearing the worst and picked up the pace section by section. I felt incredibly strong. For the first time this year I felt like a runner. My mile pace for the 40 was a few seconds slower than last years. I was really pleased because I was gearing up for Bighorn 100M then. The best part of the run was catching up to Bill who was running the 20M. I got to run about 3 miles with him before I had to take the split. We had a ball putting on our own concert. Cueing up the Black Eyed Peas, Just Can't Get Enough. I do Fergie and he does Will I Am and the other guy. I sing in my perfected Fergie voice, "Boy I think about it every night and day, I'm addicted wanna jump inside your love, I wouldn't have it any other way, I'm addicted and I just can't get enough. Then he sings, "I just can't get enough, I just can't get enough, Girl we could form a team and I could be the king you could be the queen and my mind's dirty and don't need cleanin I love you long time so you know the meanin." We've got this song down. It was a blast but Bill really needs to work on his rap. Alex wants to hide when we get our Black Eyed Peas on but he can't help by try to improve his dads beat. Then we came to the split where Bill heads for his finish and I split off to do the last loops. He says, "This Is Mega

Switch Up, go get em honey! Our concert was over but that got me fired up to work hard for the final 15.

Recovery: If my recovery from the Gorge 50K was rated I would give it a 2. I was beat up and wiped. I rate my Peterson Ridge Recovery a 9. I feel great and only a bit sore in the hamstrings. Mountain biking makes my hamstring sing so the Saturday ride made them ripe for the run.

Just a great time. Coming home filled up and energized. Sean has created a sock monster in Alex. He loves his Peterson Ridge socks. His size 15 feet fit perfectly in those socks. I told him I cannot wash socks alone and he can't wear them everyday unwashed ;)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

See ya in Sisters!

I think I am ready to get my butt kicked this weekend! Peterson Ridge Rumble 40M race on Sunday after a good solid MTB ride the day before. I am not even going to try to fool myself into thinking I won't suffer. I suspect this will be a good one. Last year the race was hard since it came at the end of a peak week of training but I was gearing up for Bighorn 100M and had much better running legs than I do right now. So be it! I am just hoping I won't get my ass handed to me so bad I can't move afterwards. It's going to be a great weekend with family and friends. A bunch of us are mountain biking the day before while Bill, Alex and Drakes family ski. Carrie, Micheal, Drake, Jim and I are doing the 40M while Bill and Kris do the 20M. The weather calls for sun! I am excited for the whole weekend.

The last couple weeks post head bang have been interesting. I was really having some icky post concussion symptoms. The nausea, dizziness and headaches were bad but the spaced out wierdness was horrible. I literally would be stopped mid-conversation by intense nausea, ringing ears and minutes later I would be out of it. Then the headache would start and it was awful. I have never had a migraine and I am most certain I never want one. I looked like I had been hit by truck the next day. After a visit to the doctor because I thought I was going crazy he said I had Post Concussion Syndrome. I told him I don't do syndromes so exactly how long is this going to last. When he said 3-6 months at best I almost punched him but was reduced to tears instead. I called Bill crying like a blubbering baby. Since that happens infrequently he tried to cancel his meetings and come home but assured him I would be fine and just needed to cry. Poor man. I had a good solid day of pity and then moved on. It was time to get over it. The doctor said the best thing I could do was minimize the duration of an episode by removing myself from all stimulus. Basically powering down. So that's what I did. Since Saturday I have only had one small episode. The minor headache still comes and goes but it's not a big deal. Note to self and everyone else: Don't hit your head on anything! It's not good. Plus, the lack of clarity in the synapse makes downhill running slow and weird. I have been able to do all my workouts and in fact they have gone very well. What I noticed is the episodes would come about 30 minutes post workout. Generally I run around like a crazy woman during the day but instead I would have to come straight home. I found it was the only way to minimize the episode. It was like my brain needed to be still. This of course led to deep thoughts about choices, adaption and labels. How we get through things, how we think about ourselves and the labels we use to define ourselves. I guess my brain will just not shut down completely. Anyway, all is good and thank you to everyone who has helped me, spent time with me and worried about me.