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!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dog Laps!

This weekend was amazing. Not only did the weather hold and the sun shone but the workouts were nothing short of perfect. It was one of those weekends when training plans and partners come together and share not only the trails but laughs, stories, camaraderie and challenges. It was everything I love plus extra. If fact, this last week of training both on the trails and in the gym felt like a mild up tick meaning I had strength in my body and my mind.

Since this was to be my last peak week of training before the Muir Beach 50K I planned to hit it hard. Especially with the holiday weekend around the corner and not much time for any kind of training I planned to make the most of this peak week. After the 10K last weekend I felt great. I was happy to not be sore or tight after the effort which gave me no excuses. I had a lot of awesome gym workouts but one stands out so much I have to share it. After it was over in 9 minutes and 47 seconds I couldn't stop thinking about it. It was one of Mark's "Get Hammered" workouts and though it was short it was probably the hardest 9 minutes and 47 seconds my body has done that I can currently remember. Here's how it went. First, no rest between sets. Second, the bar I had to jump up and catch is 8 inches above my hand with a fully extended arm. Here's the workout: Very Crossfit like....
15 burpees and on the jump catch the bar and do a pullup.
15 overhead presses with a 45 pound bar.
15 burpees and on the jump catch the bar and do a pullup.
15 overhead presses with a 45 pound bar.
10 burpees and on the jump catch the bar and do a pullup.
10 overhead presses with a 45 pound bar.
10 burpees and on the jump catch the bar and do a pullup.
10 overhead preses with a 45 pound bar.

That's it! That's 50 fricken pull-ups! Towards the end I had to do a kipling pull-up to get myself up and on a few it took a double kipling to get my chin above the bar. The leap to the bar was hard and I was so incredibly worked my legs were shaking, my breath was uncontrollable and I coughed for 30 minutes afterwards due to what seemed like cardiac arrest. The only regret I had is I didn't wear my heart rate monitor. This was and incredible rush for me. Alex has been coming to "Get Hammered" one day a week after Basketball and he is one strong boy. He absolutely loves to show his stuff and show me up. I am really enjoying his enthusiasm and drive. He brought a friend last Thursday and the both rocked the workout. Mark is simply amazing with everyone but he is awesome with kids.

6 weeks of boot camp was over on Friday and we had our final PT test. I was happy to see improvements in all areas. I wondered if I might go backwards since I was NOT rested like I was when we did the first measurement. The test included push ups, sit up (the full ones), hang test (like in school) and a 2 mile run. Boot camp 2 starts after Thanksgiving and I am curious.
My results:
Hang: 1 minute 30 seconds
Sit ups: 66 in 2 minutes
Push ups: 65 in 2 minutes
2 mile run: 7:12 pace

This week of running was the best! Tuesday was track clinic with 3X200 meters, 3X400 meters and 1X200 meter. Darin came out to join and gave some really valuable feedback. I was strong and my times were a bit faster. Thursday Trisha and I did a 13.8 mile run in Forest Park. The night before was a raging storm with tons of wind and sideways rain. When I woke up it looked like the storm was sticking around for a bit. I admit it was hard to think about such a long run in the cold, wet and windy weather. When I arrived at 53rd ave. I had to use my legs to open my car door against the wind. I glanced over to Trisha and yelled, "coffee instead". NO WAY, she was ready. It was one of those days where it was so nice to have a running buddy who has a mission. We bundled up and headed down the trail and within about 5 minutes all the rain and wind ceased. We had found a window of calm weather and it stayed that way until the very last 5 minutes when it returned with a vengeance. That made me think about my weekend plans....hmmmm do I really want to do it.

The bad weather seems to be hanging around now so it's time to embrace the change and pull out the hand warmers. I wanted to do a serious back to back on the weekend to end my second peak week and cycle number 2. I dug through my running archives in search of a good challenges on trails that will soon be covered with snow. Back in the day.....we used to do runs on Dog Mountain in the gorge. We would do "dog laps" which was our funny way of disguising the difficulty of this trail. Dog Mountain is a wonderful place and is a favorite hiking spot for many especially while the wildflowers are in bloom. The mountain has two trails that lead to the summit. The less steep side at 3.7 miles to the summit and the very steep side at 3.2 miles. The trails connect at the top and make for a lovely but grueling 6.9 mile loop. The climb is 2,920 per side! I have stats for doubles, triples, quads and one 24 hour run where we did 8 laps. I sent my times to Micheal for doubles and wondered if we could beat my best at 3:38 and 5,840 feet of climb and descent. Dr. T, Micheal, Steve and I all headed out for the quad busting run. When we all arrived at the parking lot Steve says, "Do you think we can summit in less than an hour"? My record is 56 minutes for a steep side summit. We were planning on doing the less steep side first then we would race to the top on steep side for number 2. We weren't planning on having a easy trip up on number 1 either. Immediately we hit it hard. The summit of Dog is open and exposed and I swear it has it's own weather system up there. We were equipped with hats, gloves and coats for whatever went on up there. Expecting horrible weather we were treated to only dense fog and mild winds on the open ridge. We busted up in good time, snapped a couple of pictures then headed down the steep side for a good quad killer. Micheal lead the charge with Drake and Steve close behind. I brought up the rear as I had to re-learn how to navigate the steep technical terrain. Once I got my groove I overtook Steve and tried to chase the boys but they kept just far enough in front. At the bottom the adrenaline was flowing and we were all excited for the race up the steep side. Waisting no time Steve took off with purpose tailed closely by Micheal and Drake. I again brought up the rear but pushed hard. I was racing the clock and tried to run as much as I could but the steep side is steep and I found myself pushing my quads with my hands in areas. As I made the last switchback turn I knew I was not going to make it. The .4 miles to the top sign appeared and my watch read 58 minutes. I couldn't see any of my racing buddies but the fog was thick. I arrived at the summit 1:03:29....arggg. The only one that made it up in an hour was Micheal but Steve swears Micheal drafted off him then dropped him like a rock. :) We blasted down the less steep side to finish our two loops in 3:25! That's a new record for me and I know I can do better. My climbing was not nearly as good as it will be. Once I got my feet under me I ran the descents well. Double dogs, 5,840 feet of climb and descent..what fun! My quads held up well but I knew I would be paying the piper later but just one more day!

Sunday we planned a 20+ loop starting at Herman creek up the Gorton Creek trail to Green Point Mountain and back down the Herman Creek. Green Point tops out at around 4,800 feet and the run would yield over 5,000 feet of climb. Steve was sure we would run into snow and did we ever. The day started out speedy because the Beast came along and he is a terror on the hills. The only hope you have to to get in front and slow the mighty engine down. My legs could feel the Dogs but I knew they would hold up. It was an amazingly clear day but bitterly cold. The east winds were intense at times bringing the temps down below freezing. If it were raining we would have been permanent ice sculptures but the exceptionally dry air made for a great run. We hunkered down and made our way to the top. We hit snow in small amounts which looked like a dusting but on top we were in a winter wonderland. It was so neat. We rarely have dry snow and this snow was both fresh and dry and the sun was shining bright. The temperatures were getting very low and I had to pull out my hand warmers, hat and coat. I was worried about Ultra with her thin coat and delicate pads but she kept warm by running back and forth. One of her pads did start to bleed and I was freaked. I took a look and it was just chaffing from the snow and not bad. There was nothing I could do but get her out of the snow as fast as possible. We didn't do any standing around except for the summit for some quick pictures because it was to cold. At the top the views were awesome with Mt. Adams at one angle, Hood at another and a high mountain lake below. The trees made me think of Christmas. Plunging down the back side through the fresh snow finding the trail by following deer tracks and using Ultra's keen sense was fun. Fresh unbroken snow just deep enough to hear the crunch felt like a special treat and it was. Once out of the snow and making our way down the long steady downhill was fast but technical in sections. The footing wasn't so great with all the blowdown and loose rocks. My hammered quads had to find their groove to stay steady but with 2 miles left I was pooped and my legs were mush! Ultra's foot stopped bleeding and she seemed to not even notice the rubbed pad. I think she may have been on a running high too...I know we were. I was sore when we were done. All of us were but what a great weekend of training and team work.

I woke up this morning and tentatively got out of bed wondering if my legs were going to buckle. They are sore but not as bad as I thought they would be. Maybe tomorrow the real pain will set in but since I ate about 2 pounds of fish last night my muscles might have gotten all they needed. At least I know my omegas were on the high side! :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Confusing Surprise!

I got a 10K PR yesterday! 44:17 or 7:09 pace. I got my stats wrong on my last entry. I confused the Autumn Leaves 10K with the Champoeg 10K. Both races are run in the same place but AL10K is part of a bigger event, the 50M and 50K races in Nov.. The Champoeg 10K is part of another event held in February. I had a PR there last year just before the Orange Curtain 100K. I ran a 7:16 pace last year and that was PR for this distance but not anymore!

With such low expectations and therefore no preconceived ideas of how I would do at that this race I wondered how that mentality impacted my performance? For me, I doubt it had any effect good or bad. The 10K distance is an all out effort from the start with some restraint in the beginning but all in all you run for life. The mental aspect of racing really doesn't seem to play a role for me at these shorter races. I know they're going to hurt, be over fast and what you get is pretty much preset by your fitness. Sure there are other factors like how rested you are when you line up, how tight you might be and if you did a solid warm up but really not much mental noise.
I got there early to see friends and get good and warmed up. It was a perfect fall day and the folks that were running the 50K and 50M distance were well into their race by the time the 10K started at 10 a.m.. It was nice visiting with everyone. Micheal was gracious enough to come out and pace me. He doesn't like this road stuff but maybe the 1.5 miles of trail on this course fooled him. :) We did a good 20 minute warm up. I popped a gel before the start and when I tossed it in the garbage can the other full gel I had in my hand went in right in the dumpster with my garbage. Sh_t! I opened the dumpster and could see my nice clean shiny gel but it was way down deep in the garbage. I needed Bill or Alex with their very long arms but they were home so I was left with no no choice but to do a bit of dumpster diving. It really wasn't that bad and got a lot of good laughs but some were concerned. :0

The race start was simple....GO...we are at an ultra so no big send off. I got into a comfortable groove for the 1.2 miles out and back. Micheal trotted effortless in front of me....sometimes appearing to be jogging in place. :0 After the 1.2 mile out and back my pace was 7:10....very fast but it seemed slow. Don't get me wrong I was breathing pretty darn hard and had a tiny bit of wheezing probably because of the colder weather. After the out and back we get on the 5 mile race course with the 50K and 50M runners. It's pretty darn flat. There are some tiny rollers but nothing to talk about. The course travels on the bike path at Champoeg to a turn. I was the 4th girl at this point but Micheal and I closed in on the 3rd place girl just as we neared the first aid station. Mile 3 pace was 7:17. I was working hard but felt good and relaxed in my stride. My calf was not an issue during the run. I had some tightness in my hips from a killer leg workout on Thursday but other than that I was on fire. Mile 4 pace was 6:31....yowzaa! As I tap my lap counter to record the mile split and I glanced down to see 6:31 I thought for sure the marker was wrong but still I was cookin. At this point with just 2 miles to go I pop the dumpster gel and Micheal takes my gloves. I knew I could hold a good pace. We round the corner for about a quarter of mile then hit the cross country portion of the race. The 5 mile course has at least 1.5 miles of cross county and trail. This is where Micheal went nuts with the pace, prodding and urging me to push. We gaped the 4th place girl nicely here and the 2nd place girl was within sight but still had a good lead. The trail would be slower but by how much I wasn't sure. I never let up but mile 5 posted 7:57, yikes! Digging deep and closing the gap on the 2nd place girl during the rolling trail trail section with less than 1 mile to the finish I pushed into another gear. My wheezing was really cranking now. Just before the finish with about a quarter mile to go we jump off the cross country stuff and back onto road. With the 2nd place girl within reach I pushed but so did she. The little hill before the finish wouldn't give me enough to catch her but my last mile split was 6:45!
I was pretty stoked about how strong I felt. I had no idea it was a PR until I got home to log the day. I had figured we had done faster than a 7:44 pace which is what I did last year but I had no idea we did a 7:09 pace. I am pumped! Micheal was a great pacer as usual. Beast snapped pictures as usual capturing every grunting moment.....thanks Beast. We hung around and cheered the other runners on then Micheal says, "Let's go for another loop". Uh....no! But after a brief thought I said, "We're going to go slow right"? He nods with agreement so off went. Man I was stiff but after about 2 miles of good slow jogging I felt much better. I think the after run helped to stretch things back out and move all the lactic acid around. I feel great today.

I am not sure how I could run so fast. I am honestly perplexed. I have had little tempo training so far and this is faster than any of my tempo running in a couple of years. I was certainly NOT rested. I need to think about this. The only thing that is definitely different is my weight. I know Darin has talked about pounds vs. pace before and maybe the lighter Ronda can run faster....I don't know. The one thing I know for sure is now I have a VDOT and it's 46 according to Daniels. That means my track workouts, my M-Pace and T-Pace are going to be rough! My M-Pace is 7:48 and T-Pace is 7:17.....now that is going to hurt.
Next week is a whopper! Hitting the trails hard with training before turkey day vacation.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Appetite for destruction...

No, it's not Guns n' Roses but I sort of feel like I was in a mosh pit. I can't get enough of all the great workout options that seem to be available right now. Running is going well but I definitely over did it my first month back in my shoes. This last weekend was the topper with track, tempo then hill repeats followed by a great run in the gorge. At boot camp last Friday we did some what seemed at the time to be harmless sprints. Mark had us barefoot on the mats that travel the length of his gym. We were to sprint on our toes then do a strength move that he chose in between. At the time this was no big deal but during my second hill repeats on Saturday my soleus muscle started screaming big time. I stopped and loosened up my shoe but the pain just continued but so did I. That night I iced, massaged, rolled and poked at my calf which helped a tiny bit. Walking was not fun and my calf had absolutely no definition due to swelling. But, did I call off my Sunday run....NO! Am I smart....not so much!

We lucked out with a window of great weather on Saturday morning. I got talked into hill repeats by the gang so I hold no responsibility for my pain.....it's their fault. :) When we all arrived on Saturday morning it was hilarious to see everyone in Black Saturday attire without any reminders. We all headed for the warm up in the balmy weather. Dr. T. came out for the fun and he too was dressed in all black. The hill repeats were mild ones...sort of beginner strength, perfect for me. Micheal wanted big boy repeats but I just couldn't do it, at least I showed some level of restraint! Of course I brought up the rear on both repeats but I managed to make both hills in almost the exact time. They were slow but I was able to run steadily every step despite the peg leg I brought with me. Just as we were finishing it started to pour! Serious rain was falling but that didn't stop Steve from insisting we do 25 push ups in the mud. He is so excited about Christmas Camp and it's only November! Being the suckers we are every single one of us dove into the muddy road to do our part. A good day of running.

Sunday we chose a solid 16 mile route in the gorge that yielded over 4,300 feet of climb and descent. My leg was a mess and just before the last climb I begged for Advil. Popping 3 Advil to dull the pain in my inflamed calf gave me hope I could make it back to the car in one piece. I have been pretty fortunate with injuries during my running life but I know when something is on the edge of being bad and that's how I felt about my calf. It was definitely not torn but I was on the edge of a bad strain. The run was awesome and again we dodged a weather bullet. I was certainly beat from the weeks workouts.

As we drove home I was hoping I hadn't gotten myself into a pickle as I watched my calf grow in size. The rest of the day it was the normal routine of icing and massaging. It was swollen and sore but I felt if I took a day off and was careful it would be okay. I am leading a track clinic on Tuesday mornings and I wasn't sure how that was going to go, yikes. Monday was definitely an off day for running and my calf started to show some definition and the soreness became more localized than just the entire calf. By Tuesday morning I was able to walk pretty well and proceeded with the track clinic. We did a good warm up, the 3X200 meters, 2X400 meters and 1X200 meters so it wasn't a killer track workout but I could feel it. I actually think it helped move the fluid out of my muscle but I am keeping a eye on it. Maybe I am over paranoid from ignoring the early signs with my knee and am being overly cautious.

I have done a relatively good job of reining myself in with running. The gym is another story. I have been doing doubles with weights pretty much everyday except Friday, Sat, and Sun. To top it off Mark has created "Get Hammered" which is his version of Crossfit. I was like a kid in a candy store and couldn't get my punch card fast enough. I was pretty excited about this kind of workout but with no Crossfit gyms anywhere near my house it was easy to forget it. But, when Mark got this going I knew I would be doing it. To top it off his times fit perfectly into my life. He does it every weekday at noon but also on T & Th at 6:30 pm....perfect. Last night Bill, Alex and I all went and it was brutal. Short and sweet but tough. Alex was a machine and I couldn't believe how strong and motivated he was, it was cool. At some point I am going to have to make some choices with my gym routine but right now I just can't! I have a workout problem and I may need an intervention!

This weekend I will get my VDOT at the Autumn Leaves 10K. I ran this last year in very good condition getting a PR. This year is going to be another story.....slow....but it's a starting point and I am thrilled to be getting some good data.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Some cool running!

I have done some good runs lately but my hubby and my friends have really been doing some fun stuff. First off, Bill, Jim and Scott ran the Marine Core Marathon. Scott was pretty trained up since he just ran Portland a couple of weeks prior but Bill and Jim......hmmmm not so much. Jim finally getting back from the middle east still sporting his full beard and Bill....well training using his standard plan.....go minimal and suffer the rest had a slow but good time. They all had rave reviews of the race and all that it was. Suffice to say all three had a fun and Bill is not complaining about being very sore.

I had to miss a trip around Mt. St. Helens with Steve and Micheal. I am just not ready for a long hairy run like that. They picked an awesome fall day where the sun shone and the wind was only bad in one area of the mountain. With St. Helens recent years of volcanic activity the once awesome trail around the mountain has not been maintained and the usage has been to minimal to keep it up. On top of that the winter we had last year left some of the washouts which were once gentle traverse drops now full on cliffs. The trail would simply disappear and they would be left searching for the least death drop. Micheal said he there were a couple of times where he was pretty nervous while Steve maintained his general....it's all just fine attitude. They saw awesome fall colors and a few elk sighting. All in all I missed out on a great day. I sure hope some day they will rebuild some of the trail as this mountain run is very unique and a must do.

I have got myself in a good routine now feeling good on my runs and beginning to incorporate some of my traditional speed workouts into my weeks. Last week was the end of my first 3 week cycle and I got just over 65 miles in. That is actually a pretty high number for me this time of year. Besides my 3 recovery runs I did a solid track workout consisting of 200 meters and some 400 meters. It was a pretty good workout. On Thursday I did my first real tempo run. Since I am VDOT less meaning I have no good numbers to use for my speed work I used heart rate. I kept my heart rate between 165 and 171 for the tempo portion of the run. My mile spits were interesting...not horrible but not great either. One good thing is I felt super strong and in control. I wasn't dragging myself by my ear. :) My tempo splits went like this: 7:57, 7:34, 7:49. I have a bit of a consistency problem......

Saturday Micheal drug me for 14 mile run in Forest Park. After a good two mile warm up I let him take the lead and that's when the dragging started. We did this same run the prior weekend and with Micheal driving we knocked of 12 whole minutes! It was so much fun being pushed but not killed. Afterwards I was sweating like a pig but felt like I good a good workout. The downhills are coming back. Surprisingly I am stronger on the uphill climbs and wonder if that is due to all the incline walking and a stronger glute/hamstring tie in. I can't wait for hill repeats to test it out for real!

Sunday was a trip up Table Mountain. Since the weather has turned meaning no more sunny crisp clear fall days and the rains have moved in it might be the last time we are able to do this run before late spring. I haven't been up to the top of Table Mountain for years. I have run the PCT leading to the trail head many times but they closed the center most trail leading up the top so they could rebuild it. I was excited to see the new steep trail. Steve, Micheal and I headed out in drizzle for the 6.5 mile run to the trail head via the PCT. Steve is just so excited about running right now he continually quizzed me about the schedule....when do Black Saturday's start....when do you start the serious back to backs...how about this race....how about that run. He is excited for winter training but both him and Micheal are so far ahead of me it's not even funny. As we continued, Steve finally says, "Are you going to be in shape enough to do C2M"? When I just kept my mouth shut simply because everything he said sounded so fun he proceeded to tell me that if not it will right back into that bikini! I gotta love brother Steve! The ideas for winter training are coming together nicely. When we arrived at the Table Mountain trail head we began the steep 1.1 mile climb to the top. This is about a 2000+ foot climb in 1.1 miles so it's good and vertical. Although I have been on this before it was quickly apparent it was a new trail. If it wasn't for Steve, Micheal and I would have needed to turn back because when we hit the boulder field I would have had no idea if we were still on the route up. It is completely re-routed from the old center trail. We got to the top and decided to take the other trail down. It's a bit longer but no less steep. It would be good training ground for the dive and and plunge at Wasatch. We slipped and skidded out way back down to the PCT then raced back to the car arriving just as a down pour started. It was a great training day with over 4,500 feet of climb in 16 miles.

Funny how fast the running comes back. Especially the endurance part. That is comforting and good to know. My quads are only a bit sore which is surprising but maybe they will be sorer tomorrow. Boot camp is still a killer on Mon, Wed, and Fri. morning but I am becoming addicted. Alex came one morning since Bill was gone and proceeded to take pictures of us suffering! Not only did he find this to be good sport he also thought he should give us pointers on how to better do the excersise to get maximum suffering. He will make a great boss someday! He is growing up so fast! Now 5"7" tall at 12 years old....I just can't believe it. I love to see all the changes as he grows into a young man but sometimes I just want to turn back the clock.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Getting under control!

Funny how it seems so hard to get in control for someone who is for the most part in control. I have been like a kid in the candy jar with workouts and by the end of last week I found myself starving and very tired. I knew I was headed down a slippery slope last week and wrote about it in my last entry. I gave myself one week of total freedom before I felt the need to pull in the reigns. I finally came up with a training plan. It was hard to work in all the races I want to do and still train effectively for Coyote Two Moon. I had to pull back on some of the short races I had lined up so I could fill those weekends with good quality endurance based running. I only took my schedule out through the end of December because frankly it was taking a long time and I was developing ADD as I continued on. I really wanted to go for 4 week cycles but when I got it all down on paper with the key milestone events 3 week cycles made more sense. It's probably better anyway as I continue to build my base back up again. Just because I have my running under control does not mean I have my weight training under control. Maybe in a couple of weeks I can back off but for now it's so much fun I can't stop.

This week was week 1 of my training plan and on Tuesday I made my first trip to the track. I begged Trisha to come along so I wouldn't wimp out. It was a short session of 200's and 400's so nothing over the top but it was plenty hard enough as I watched my HR climb to 182. It didn't help that my hamstrings were screaming, "mama" from boot camp on Monday. However out of shape I feel my times did not reflect a significant down turn from where I left off. I am happy to report I was less than 5 seconds off my peak phase times. I do think the lack of body weight helps me move a bit faster so I hope I can maintain some of this loss as it seems to come in handy.

Today Trisha and I headed to the gorge for a 2.5 hour run. She is super fit right now so I got pushed the whole time trying to keep up. The day was perfect and the temperatures pleasant with no wind. The trails were empty and it was so nice to be out there. She brought along a new GPS watch that her and Darin are wear testing so it was fun to see the new tool in action. The GPS is built into the watch so no other piece of equipment is necessary. I think it's a Garmin but not sure, Darin can confirm this. She ran the entire way up Angels Rest and I tried to do the same falling a bit short but overall I was pleased with the fitness on big girl terrain. I wore the NB trail shoes I am testing and they were great. Granted the terrain was not slippery and I not sure how they will do on the slippery rocks but I liked them a lot. We climbed a bit over 3000 feet today in a short run. It was pretty much straight up and straight down. My downhilling is pretty pathetic but I felt better as we went along. I have a ton of work to do there and I can't wait to see how my quads respond tomorrow.

On other fronts I have been busy doing boot camp 3 times a week. It's M,W,F at 6:30 a.m. and I am getting my behind kicked. It's a blast and my partner Lisa is a work horse. She never complains and it's inspiring to watch her bust her butt with such strength and metal toughness. It sure makes me buck it up. As hard as it is it's a blast at the same time. This session goes for 6 weeks and we are almost done with week 2 already. After boot camp I go straight to the gym for running or incline walking for 45-60min. After that it's food then the weight room with Marlin (trainer) and 3 other girls. He matched us up for a group session which has some awesome benefits. First, the price, and second the camaraderie. There is just something about working out with others that helps me be my best. Maybe is the competitive drive or simply wanting to put my best foot forward. Overall as a group it's full of tough girls. They are fun and amazing so there is no shortage of hard work. I am enjoying getting to know them and already the laughs are good. But, since I do this schedule on Monday's and Wednesday's I am getting my sorry butt kicked but good! I love it!

Hagg Lake planning is in full swing and Stacey and I are busy getting all the permits, brochures, shirts and registration going so we can be ready on November 1 for entrants. This is our 4th year of RDing the event and when we get going it seems like yesterday we were doing the same thing. Fingers are crossed hoping the race will continue to sell out and runners will continue having fun on the opening race of the Oregon Trail Series.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Scottless schedule!

First off I want to thank all of you who were open enough to provide so many words of encouragement and support while I ventured into the unknown world of bodies. It truly makes stepping out of our box easier when others are there to add valuable comments and encouragement even though it's not their gig. THANK YOU!

As you know I wasted no time getting back to what I love to do and that's run on trail. Since I have been coached by Scott for the last 3 years it's been easy to find my way back to a schedule because I was accountable to him. I work well when I have a detailed plan. I can stay extremely disciplined and in control. But.....without a schedule I am sort of a loose cannon. I am going to coach myself! The first thing I have realized about my client (ME) is that she NEEDS a schedule and needs one ASAP before she hurts herself. Okay enough 3rd person....maybe. I have run everyday since Sunday. No big deal, it's only Thursday...right. Well I have gotten myself so incredibly sore I have to take a day off from running tomorrow. My quads are sore, my calf's are sore and my hamstrings have no idea what hit them. All of this is good soreness but if I don't get a handle on myself soon it's not going to be pretty. My knee is fine but it let me know today that my medial quad is sooooooo sore and tight that I better work it out before I hit any real descents. I can't get enough of the trails and the lovely fall leaves. Fall and Spring are my favorite seasons in Portland. My first day on the trails I seriously almost got choked up I was so happy to be out there. Completely silly but true. This true break has really got me hungry which leads to my current problem......self control. The great news is I have thrown in a bit of tempo work to get a base line and it wasn't bad nearing 7:30's. My cardio is still good from all the incline walking. Of course I am sure my threshold area is poop right now but that's normal when coming back anyway. Overall I am pleased with my starting point but am shocked at how sore I am. :)

While Alex was at baseball practice (2.5 hours) I started working on my running schedule. I have learned so much in the last 3 years from Scott it should be easy to draw it up, right? Well, what I found was I just kept bumping things so fast I had myself running nearly 120 miles a week by mid January....not gonna happen. So, back to the drawing board and this time I created formulas to drive the workouts and progressions. My old finance days do come in handy here and there. So far it's coming along but I still have myself ramping quickly. I will keep at it but this is much harder than I thought it would be. I wonder if I will be so disciplined when I only have myself to answer to? I sure hope so because the value of good training plan and one that's followed is the only thing that keeps me progressing.

I am almost done wear testing the NB trail shoes shown above. I am super picky about my trail shoes which I am sure most of us are. These are really great shoes and I like them a lot. I have had only 5 runs in them but hit a lot of good terrain, rocky, smooth and some mud. They perform nicely on it all. I haven't taken them to the gorge yet but will in the next few days. That will be the real test. With my wide forefront and high instep fit is a big deal but these shoes have a lot of mechanisms for solid adjustments.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I went running today!

It was so fun to wake up and lace up my shoes for my first run in 6 weeks! I couldn't get out the door fast enough. For the week leading up to the show all I could think about was drinking coffee and going running and I have to say I waisted no time doing both.

For the final week the diet got ugly for 3 days. That carb depletion before the loading was hard by the third day. Day 1 & 2 were not so bad but by Tuesday night I was beat. That night my evening cardio left me dizzy and shaky. But....the good news is I got to start loading back carbs on Wednesday. The caloric intake was different everyday starting on Wednesday. Starting at about 1500 calories and ending at 1200 on show day. I ate 8 meals a day, all very small and perfectly balance with proteins, carbs and fats. My water intake remained at 150 oz until Friday were it went to 75 oz then 60 oz on show day. My energy was off the charts on Wednesday as my body gobbled up the carbs. I had to slow myself down during cardio and I had good strength for lifting. By show day I was ready and felt like I did the best job I could have done in 5 weeks. Mark told Sarah he thought I stepped on stage at about 8% body fat. The girl that won my height class took the overall winner for the show and she had muscles I didn't know existed. I don't know how low her body fat was but standing next to her I looked like a twig with padding. :) She looked amazing and I am sure she works her tail end off to achieve it.

Friday we drove down to Canyonville and I started the painting process. No one told me how awful this part would be. I got painted at 4:15 then again at 8:00 p.m. NO SHOWER OR WATER can touch the body. Sleeping was icky. It feels like you put a ton of sunscreen on, hung out at the beach all day then go to bed. A lot of the paint came off in the bed and my clothes were ruined. I had a good idea the clothes would never be the same so I was prepared with an old t-shirt and shorts. The smell is disgusting and since you have to be in the paint, get touched up and glossed many more times throughout the day you smell horrible! Here are some pictures of the before and after painting.....I was black! The next morning it's up early then hair and makeup. My hair and makeup looked awesome. Tori (another competitor) did my hair and Mendi (a figure pro) did my makeup. I looked really good and hardly recognized myself.

The day of the show is busy in the morning and since I was doing both open and masters (over 35) I had to do both suits twice. The masters class was big and they held us up there a very long time which was exhausting and hot with the stage lights. On my first trip out and posing for the judging my legs were shaking like a leaf. They were uncontrollable. Even as I flexed with all my might they just shook and shook. As I was standing there I wasn't really nervous but the shaking seemed humiliating. All that was going through my head was how embarrassed I was to be shaking like a leaf. But as we began the turns I glanced and saw others shaking too. Whew....I am not the only one. Immediately upon exiting I asked Mark and he said it was totally normal, everyone is shaking and the audience can't see it. What a sigh of relief because from my standpoint it seemed like an earthquake had struck my body.

Overall I had a blast. It was a very cool experience and my body came out great. I was very pleased with the athletes and their camaraderie in what would seem like a very superficial endeavour. What I found was very professional people who loved what they do, helpful, encouraging and down right fun to be around. I suppose it can be different in different venues and different people but the ones I was around were great and I felt honored to be among them. I placed 3rd in my height class and feel really good about that plus I got this really cool bronze eagle. The number 2 girl got me on the two piece round when her 8 pack appeared. My mini 6 couldn't compete. :) Getting up on stage was easy knowing my support group was one row away from the judges. I could see their faces, clicks of the camera, tips from Mark as I posed and I heard a few rooster calls too. It made it so much fun. The big question is....will I do it again? I loved the switch to my body for sure, the break from the pounding and a different focus but I wouldn't trade it for ultra running for one minute. I did something that scared the hell out of me and I am thrilled to have done it and thankful for it taught me about me. I may do another show next year in the off season again but for now I can't wait to get muddy!

So, I wasted no time getting back into the swing of working out. I was up at 5:30 preparing to hit the road for boot camp at 6:30. Mark does a book camp which is all about nutrition and working out group style. It's 1 hour long, 3 days a week for 6 weeks and you measure your progress from start to finish. After that is was more running for a total of 8 lushes miles. We did 2 miles as fast as you can at boot camp for a base measure. Then it was weights with Marlin and Erica, then walking at an incline with Sarah. I worked out from 6:30 to 11:00 today and loved every minute of it! I got coffee on the way home as I dreamt about my 90 minute run on the trails tomorrow.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Home Stretch

No, it's not my Halloween costume it's my makeup! Today Gretchen came over and did my stage makeup and it's awful but that's what it needs to be. Layers and layers of very dark foundation and dramatic eyes. I still don't have the false eyelashes on and my body gets painted on Friday. They call the tan competition color...it's not a tan...okie dokie. The idea is to have your face match your skin, wow.

They eye shadow will match my suit. :0 It's hard for me to believe I need to look like this but I have put myself in the hands of serious professionals and am just going along for the ride so bring on the eyeliner baby!

Only a few days left and I am getting excited to do the competition and get back to running. Weeks 3 & 4 were fairly uneventful. I didn't have any menu changes and my exercises schedule stayed the same. What I noticed is by Wednesday after 4 solid days of 3X30 min. of cardio and lifting hard everyday I was dead. Thursday's were an off day and seemed to bounce back really nice but Wednesday's were hell day. I did finally get my suits and here they are! They are amazing in an odd sort of way. As I said before they are extremely uncomfortable and the blue one is super scratchy. All my posing sessions are now done in full dress absent the gotty makeup that's required to help your face show up under the lights. I am super lean but am disappointed in my muscle bellies. I always felt like I had pretty good sized muscles until they were unearthed and what laid under the fat is tiny little muscles. So to put it mildly I look really small, sort of like a 12 year old girl with wrinkles. It seems that every day as I work the necessities of this process I get my mind blown. I love to have my mind blown and I have gotten a complete eruption by dropping myself head first into this world of bodies. EVERYTHING is about the body, shaping it, flexing it, forcing air into it and it's a wild ride.

When I went to pick up my suits from the gal who makes them she of course had me try them on and do my poses. She tweaked the fit, shoved things around and studied the look. The conversation that proceeded went something like this: She says, "Your a beautiful girl with a great shape and you should go into this show and think of it as a great experience then work really hard for your next one......I think you have the potential to go pro". I look at her and assure her I won't be doing another show any time soon as I am going to get back to running. She then says, "Well then just enjoy the process and don't expect to much". Hmmm I think she has more to say but won't. I tell her, "Do you see a problem?....If so, give it to me I can take it and would love to hear what you have to say". She says, "Okay I will give it to you straight, your simply not lean enough"! She proceeds to tell me there will be at least one other girl in my height class that is shredded and is that way all year around and she will most likely win. I assure her I am fine with it and I have never looked this good with only 11 pounds of fat on my body I can go into this feeling fine....I have already won in my mind.

As I drove home (55 minutes) I almost started laughing. I am not sure if it's the lack of abundant glucose or that I have totally evolved. The long journey home was awesome because I found myself completely un-phased by her opinion and the realization that my self esteem is obviously not tied to my body was awesome. As someone who has always kept a check on her weight because at 5"1" it doesn't take much before you find yourself round I felt I was obsessed with my body. Well, maybe I was at one time but I am certainly over it and that makes this one week of suffering worth it. Maybe the freedom comes from now knowing that within 5 short weeks I can change my body completely and it's really not that hard. Whatever it is I am taking it to the bank.
That brings me to this final week and I have to admit it sucks! The biggest issue I am having is NO CAFFEINE! That is right down evil and wrong in my opinion. I am not a huge coffee drinker but I have my ritual in the morning and I love that ritual. I can have de-caf but really?!!! My macro nutrients changed big time pumping up the proteins and robbing my carbs. I need to drink 150 oz of water each day. My workouts stay the same so you can imagine the lows I feel. It's kind of like heading for mile 75 and a mild bonk. The only difference is I don't get to shove gels down, chug coke, eat a banana and chase it with a Red Bull. This process lasts for 4 days then we start loading the body with carbs. It's actually just like carbo loading but everything is on smaller scale. If you carb load for a running event properly you are supposed to slow your carb intake for a few days before you load. Most runners forget that process which then leaves them feeling bloated in the end. The idea is to have the muscles hungry for glucose so when it comes in on Thurs., Fri., and Sat. the muscles gobble it up and then look very very full and strong. Attached is a table of my menus macro nutrient breakdown. Everyone seems to think I am on a low carb diet but definately not for the first 4 weeks. This last week is low for 4 days then it bumps up. I put my running menu breakdown on the table for comparison. To view the table you will need to click it open.

So...how do I feel???? Comfortably numb! That is the only way to describe it. I am not cranky or irritable but quite the opposite. Not much can phase me right now and I am low on energy at certain points during the day. I think by Wednesday I will be among the walking dead. But....on the bright side I will really appreciate those carbs a lot more now.
Another amazing discovery is feeling how my body reacts to food and the lack of certain foods. I have had ah ha moments for the last three weeks. I have FELT a lot of parallels to my training and racing. The low moments I have been having are not unlike the ones I have had while training and racing. I find this to be curious. Why? Because how we fuel while training has a great impact on our performances during training. During racing it's obvious and we are much more "on it" meaning during an event fueling is everything. But.....during training fueling is everything as well. The flat feeling I have had during my walking sessions, the puffiness in my muscles which in the body world they call a "flat" look. Those are all from low glucose in the muscles which in never good. Since I am not in any over training or overly fatigued state the only variable is food. What this tells me is I need to pay attention to these kinds of feeling when I start training again because it may be due to low glucose in the muscles and I need to fuel them better. I don't know if this holds water but I am going to test it.

Last Thursday I landed myself in the emergency room in the middle of the night with a kidney infection. I must have had a bladder infection for some time and ignored all the signs. Since I haven't had one since I was 25 years old I forgot that burning while urinating is not normal. I thought I might be using to much hot sauce on my food. I know, how stupid can one person be but truly I was not even concerned until the pain in my back got so bad I dreaded breathing. Bill was out of town so I had to wake Alex up and drive to the hospital. They wouldn't give any pain meds because I had to drive home which sucked. But, they pumped me full of antibiotics and sent me home with a bunch of stuff. I found this to be extremely ironic since that last week before a figure competition it's all about water, hyper hydrating then dropping the water. Mark and I discussed it and I know I might not come in as low as I could because the antibiotics force your body to hold water in the tissues but I am doing it anyway....bloated or not! So with just a few days left I am hoping my friends are working on their "cat calls". You know the kind of comments you might get if you run by a construction project???

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Operation Go Figure - Week 2

Well yesterday was the end of week two. When I met with Mark on Wednesday he changed things up. He now has me doing 3 cardio sessions a day 5 times a week. He also changed my menu and decreased my calories. The caloric change down was minor...only about 60 calories a day. The biggest change was the macro nutrient shift. My carbs went down and my proteins went up while the fats stayed the same. The change in carbs was not major and I am never carb depleted but with the extra cardio added I can feel it. I do my cardio at 5:30 a.m. then around noon then again just before bed. Kind of odd but it makes sense and burns fat like an inferno.

I am still not chewing my arm off but am ready to eat on my 3 hour interval. I actually heard my stomach growl for the first time in forever! My metabolism is cranking and I can tell because I am getting hungry faster and I am sweating more when I do my workouts. All of this is very interesting and amazing.

As of last Friday I have shed 4.4 pounds of fat and gained a bit of muscle. I suspect I will see more muscle gains this week with the extra protein. My weight is pretty low for me coming in at 108 pounds and that's with workout clothes and shoes. At the starting of a 100M I am weighed at about 114-116. I am pretty sure my trail shoes are heavier than my workout shoes but still that's light for me. It's crazy to see my body change so dramatically in such a short amount of time. The even crazier aspect of it I am not starving and not tired or sluggish. It makes me think a lot about how simple it all really is and how complicated and complex we might choose to see it, meaning change. Somehow change always seem to be saddled with so many obstacles when in truth those obstacles might be created. I don't know, just thinking and observing as this process continues. Right now I am burning around 700-900 calories with my cardio and probably about 250 for my weight training. The sum of those minus my 1747 calories is obviously working. I would have suspected I would feel like crap but I don't yet. :)

I have been practicing the posing portion a lot. This is my weakness. I am not shy about soliciting help and am fortunate to have friends who are willing to play "figure competition". They are the judges and I give them a script which tells them to prompt me for the next pose. They then judge and give feedback. It's been super helpful in a few aspects. First, I get practice and have to move around with ease in and out of the poses. The goal is to do this as if you are a pro with a graceful appearance and not a football player....which is where I am at. Graceful is a new word for me. I have never been graceful, never took dancing lessons as a kid, and really didn't play much dress up. So....now I am. It's also helping me become more comfortable in my own skin and doesn't allow me to hide my body. Obviously this is something I will be over by Oct. 11th. So far its all been a big growing experience and I am enjoying the "out of my comfort zone" push.

Someone asked me yesterday if I am having trouble with all the un-healthy food around my house. Friday's are pizza and movie night at our home so there is all sorts of junk food around then. In addition, my family eats about 70% of what I eat. Alex likes white bread, Bill loves chocolate and they both indulge in ice cream. The truth is I have absolutely no desire to put any of that in my mouth right now. I have never been one of those impulse emotional eaters anyway but as Thomas said, "Nothing like getting up in front of a crowd in a swimsuit to motivate". However daunting the swimsuit is the biggest motivator is the changes I see. My body looks quite a bit different and that blows my mind so that alone is motivating.

On the running front Micheal, Steve and I signed up for Coyote Two Moon 100M in mid March. Now that is going to be a challenge. Training for that kind of 100M with our winter will leave us becoming very creative. I am excited to do this low key FUN 100M. They seem to lean towards the FUN part so we will for sure take part. I am looking forward to doing this race.