Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Making raisins

A couple of weeks ago I got the opportunity to meet and run with one of Kris's long time friends. She is an ultra runner who once lived in Portland but moved to California. While we were all running she was telling us about this great but concerning adventure she had swimming with sharks. This adventure was deliberate. When we quizzed her about why she chose such an experience she educated us on her neurosis. She gave use the the definition of FOMO. A neurosis which means, "Fear Of Missing Out". I don't really suffer from a severe case of FOMO but when it comes to running I might need to seek treatment. My mild case of FOMO is what got me into the Sierra Nevada Endurance Run. My friend Susan and her friend Kristin were heading to CA to participate in the race. Susan was doing the double marathon as her final preparation for Kansas 100M. I didn't want to miss out on a great opportunity to run a flat easy 50M! Plus, the 80 degree temperature would be the perfect test run for heat.

I signed up 3 weeks before the race and didn't read any of the course description. What I did do was take Susan's pace chart and pin it to my shorts. She gave me a quick run down of what she thought the race was and I just sat back and went along for the ride. Now often times ignorance is bliss but I might have taken that one step to far on Saturday. When we arrived in Sacramento it was hot and the weather was predicted to get hotter over the weekend. Seems they have had a cool summer but some super hot days have crept in here and there. Looks like we hit the heat jackpot! The last time I ran in anything over 85 degrees was 3 years ago when I ran WS100M. In fact, I can't remember the last time I felt 85 degrees let alone run 52.4 miles in it. Immediately upon settling in we decide to shake the legs out. We head for the American River bike path which was just down the road from Kristin's brothers place. Susan and I are chatting and sweating having a great time. When we turned around we headed back on the wrong trail. We end up in some gated community where some lady walking her standard poodle crossed the road to avoid contact. All we wanted to do was ask her where the hell we were. We decide it would be best to retrace our steps and head back to the trail head. We again take a wrong turn and end up on some 2 track trail that came to an abrupt end. Now 1.5 hours into our 35 minute jog we decide to call Kristin and have here come get us. We had 2 obstacles. First, no phone and second we needed to hike up a steep hillside into someones back yard. To make things more interesting we were on the hill side with giant wild turkeys and deer. Have I ever mentioned I don't like large bird types? In addition to the wildlife we were wading through thigh high star thistle, scratch, scratch. Finally at the top we ask some nice woman in her car to use her phone. She was incredibly sweet and helpful. Kristin and her sister in law came an retrieved us. We were at least 2 miles out of our way. What a way to start the trip!

After stewing all night about how I would handle the 98 degree revised forecast it was time to go. I had my normal elaborate plan on how to go light, drop my pack, when to carry handhelds and so on. All that pretty much went out the window after I started draining my 40 oz tanker in around 3 miles. The course was no where near the gravel road I thought it was on. We started out on single track and never left it. At about mile 10 I realized my elaborate plan was out the window and I was in for a day of survival. Even though I haven't been in this kind of exposed heat in years I have the memory of an elephant. Which at times is most annoying but this time it came in handy. I knew the only way I would survive this heat was to cool myself from the outside. Draining my 40oz tanker was simply not going to cut it. There was no way my body could process enough liquid to cool itself. First because the heat was too extreme and second because I have not even come close to training it to digest liquid that fast. The course was not easy. In fact, I found it to be moderately difficult. The footing was okay and the trail was wide enough but it twisted, turned and had rolling terrain. Folsom Lake is almost always in sight as you make your way up to Auburn Dam Overlook. However to reach Auburn Dam Overlook you need to climb the cardiac trail. On this day....that was a perfect description. It was steep and rocky and at this time of day it was cooking hot. My respiration was weakening fast. I knew this was a result of my body heating up. My goal at this point was to find any all water and dunk myself. I needed to cool my core temperature. My stomach was perfect and my body felt strong but none of that really matters if you can't breath. I knew I was getting dehydrated but I was putting in as much liquid as I could get my hands on. I was popping succeed like tick-taks! All of this was good but not enough for my Salmon trained Oregonian like state. Once we climbed Cardiac we were treated by the most beautiful canal I have seen. We ran along this lovely 3 foot deep flowing body of water for 2 miles. I took one look at that baby and didn't even consider it might be drinking water. I was fully submerged before you could say, "Last one in's a ????". It was immediate relief. Arriving at Auburn Dam Overlook (mile 22) I was in good spirits, cooled off and thinking I got this. Oh, I forgot to mention, on my way there I got to see my first blood puking. Not mine but another runner's. This was disturbing because it was really red and there was a lot of it. I hope they dropped. Once you leave mile 22 you descend

on an old road down into the canyon just to climb out the back side of Robie Point. That was really neat. Once at Robie Point I reminisced about WS100M and wondered if once I descend down to No Hand Bridge (the turn around and end of the single marathon) if my hike out will be slower than when I ran WS100M? It seriously could have been. No matter what it was awesome to be running there again. At No Hands they had the finish shoot for the marathon and believe it or not it wasn't even tempting. Though I felt slow, was so darn hot and I knew it was going to be long haul I was up for the challenge. This race had now turned into an opportunity to test my heat skills. :) So far, my fueling was good, my attitude was tolerable and my body was cooperating. I made the turn and pretended I was racing for the win at WS100M. It was good time to dream the big dream and loose myself. That worked for about 2 miles then the chills started and my respiration began to get super shallow. Time to get cooled down again. Heading back to the Overlook (mile 30) I knew I needed to sit and sponge off. I arrived and did just that. Got my supplies and headed for the lovely canal. I was literally salivating at the thought of the cool dip in the lovely running water. I knew I had 2 miles of running along the top so felt it was appropriate to submerge 2 times. Once at the start and once just before we leave and begin the descent down cardiac. The only thing sticking out of the water was the 4 inch oval of my face. I stayed in for 2 solid minutes each time. It was awesome. After my swims I headed down the cardiac trail arriving at the next aid station. Again I sat and sponged off. The next section was absolute hell! It was 8 miles long. I had 45 oz of liquid and drank a good bunch before I left. I knew I would run out. I felt pretty good but once again I began to heat up. This section was torture. We ran along Folsom Lake watching water skiers, boaters and swimmers all enjoying the cool water on this wicked hot day. However, the trail we were on is just far enough above the lake to make it dangerous to attempt a swim. Most of the time there was a good 20 foot drop off down to the lake after a 5 minute bushwhack. This is where I got pissed! So far my plan of cooling myself from the outside worked well. Now there was water, water everywhere and no way for me to access it. I was getting heat exhausted. Chills and delirium were setting in. I was walking downhill and just plain having a heat tantrum! Out of water and desperately sucking on my dry hose as if I kept wishing water would appear. I was about 5 miles in when I came to and power station. Wahooooo, this baby regulates some water flow which meant there was water. I staggered down to that water source and spent a long 5 minutes fully soaking up every bit of it's coolness. It was so awesome I may never forget it! Once out I was reborn. My body would begin to process and it was the only time I would pee.....post soak. My respiration would return to normal and my system would begin to relax. I knew I had about 20 minutes of good running before my body would heat back up again. Lord knows when I could get back in so I ran hard searching for the aid station. I had been out of water long enough. Then the angels arrived. Volunteers were walking back with jugs of water knowing runners were dry. They gave me 20 oz to get another mile. I was so grateful. I drank it all before I arrived. All I had left was 11 miles to finish. I filled my tanker and headed out still taking advantage of any bit of water access. We had 5.8 miles to the next aid and I hiked down to Folsom Lake twice. My garmin said I detoured .4 miles each time. That sounds about right and it was worth every additional step. However on my last swim I lost my favorite sunglasses....uhgggg. I finally found the finish line in 11:28. The course is 52.4 miles and 6,920 feet of ascent. It's a great course. I loved the fact we were running to No Hands Bridge and back. The race staff and volunteers were great. They really took care of us out there. They were awesome and very encouraging.

I am pretty pleased with how my body and system held up. This was fairly extreme heat for me and I am thrilled I held up as well as I did. My legs were fine the next day. I really didn't get the opportunity to trash my physical self. I drank a ton of fluids the following 2 days but was still a raisin. I drank and drank. Today I am still not at my post race weight so either I had miraculous weight loss out there or I am still making up for water loss. It was a great training torture for Javelina! The moral of this story is if you suffer from FOMO you should seek help as you might find yourself in hot water!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Is there a pill for speed?

I love the mountains and especially love the mountain 100M races. The one thing I don't like about them is the training can rob me of what little leg speed I have. On my last long run as I was making my way down Lief Ericson at a decent clip wondering if maybe one of the reasons I love the tough terrain of a mountain race is because it plays to my strength. I am good climber and always have been. Even as a kid dragging my ski's up the hill in marked off territory wasn't too much trouble. I am sure my low center of gravity helps. :) While I was thinking about how much I love the hill climbing I wondered if I loved it more because it was easier. Of course that didn't set well but I think it might be true. We humans are smart and gravitate to what comes easy. Running fast absolutely does not come easy to me. In order for me to gain one ounce of leg speed I have to work very hard consistently. When I get some I have to nurture it, continue to practice it and most of all I have to constantly force myself to go faster. I think I might be a bit on the lazy side when it comes to the speed side of running. I can easily justify walking. I can easily talk myself into moderation when it comes to the breathing hard piece. Hell, I hate gasping for air. I feel like my legs are screaming at me, "Slow down you fool this is not comfortable". However much I enjoy a good steady hill climb I love the idea of becoming faster.

Javelina is a flat course. I am going to have run there. I am going to have to run most of the race so all my training consists of running. Imagine that? An ultra runner who is going to be running. Of course I am running while training for the mountain 100M but the slow steady threshold hill climb is my favorite workout. In fact, when I had a threshold test done on hill and flat I had a higher threshold on the hill! That was a total reflection of my training. Though I am proud to have these large glutes I really really want to run fast! I am running fast right now and it is hard but I love conquering the weakness. I love the fact that I can't do it. It pisses me off! Currently I am consumed with speed. I am in constant contact with my fast twitch muscles...all 6 of them. I certainly don't want to give the impression that I am fast because it's all relative. What I am doing to chasing everyone I can find around forest park. I've got routes, paces, loops and numbers assigned to all of them. I am going to be faster. I am going to become one with the awful loud hard breathing that comes from running fast. All 6 of my fast twitch muscles are going to need to "man up" and carry the load. There will be no talking on any of my fast runs. I refuse to allow myself to be social during this time. I will be smiling and I will be happy watching my legs spin like crazy but I won't be discussing it. I will be listening if I can hear anything over the loud obnoxious breathing. Don't be alarmed just pretend it's exercise induced asthma. I need to get fast quickly. :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Routine, goals, changes.

Alex is off to his first day of High School. I would post a picture but he refused to allow us to take one. He was excited and nervous but mostly it was Bill and I who needed a hug. He's going to a small school and is involved in football so he knows lots of kids. This will make the transition easier. Bill took the morning off and we both drove him there expecting it to be a jittery event but he hopped out of the car and was off. For me this means routine is back in order. Summer was hard this year. Alex is just old enough to be more independent but I was having a really hard time letting him. With all his summer activities it made my routine fly out the window. I just rolled with it but now am craving the schedule.

I am only 6 short weeks out from Javelina 100M and the training has been going very well. My new coach is quite different than Scott. Change is good. However, letting go is a bit hard but it's exactly what I needed and am embracing it fully. Running is simple but how you put it all together to maximize time and energy is hard. For me the challenge is and most likely always will be not over doing. Once I put my money down I do what I am told. So far I have 2 hard runs a week and the rest are comfortable. During the summer I added spinning to my schedule and am doing that about 3 days a week as additional recovery. I try to keep it short. No more than 45 minutes per class. I am liking the additional strength in my medial quads. Cyclist's have rock-in legs so I put a pair on my vision board to inspire me. :) As part of my training for Javelina I signed up for a double marathon in CA. Susan and her friend are going down and I get to crash their party or add mischief to it. Susan is using it as final prep for her 100M in Kansas. The terrain is perfect for Javelina and the timing seemed right. I am excited to do something new. Which bring me to my next plan.

I have felt a bit stale lately. I really feel the need to see and experience some new stuff. For 2011 I have come up with a list of races I want to do. Many of them will be new. It's time for me to pick some races I have never done before. In 07 when I did the Grand Slam and finished the Leadville 100M I was immediately drawn to the Leadwoman. Bill remembers me talking non-stop about it for a month. I came home and in the Fall bought a mountain bike. Well it got dusty after I really hurt my knee riding. My refusal to learn how to use clips cost me plenty and my recovery was not fun. The following year I put in the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike race and didn't get in. I moved on. Well I've moved back. After being there this year for Micheal's race I got the itch again. And.....I found out (almost 90% sure) you can get into the MTB race if you sign up for the Leadman or Leadwoman event. I can't stop thinking about it so therefore I need to do it. If this entry policy is the case I am going to do it! Bill is all in. Alex.....only if don't make him climb another 14er, I am sure I will. This means I need to learn to ride my really nice full carbon mountain bike! I don't have a clue how to ride but I have friends in all the right places. Kris and her soon to be hubby are experts so I am lined up with a couple of events. Also, Susan's hubby Rich can give more info about how to ride a bike than I will ever need to know. Finishing the MTB in under 12 hours is a requirement. I think that's pretty stiff and will most certainly be my biggest hurdle. I am excited! The Leadwoman event starts with the Leadville Marathon on July 9th then 2 weeks later you can choose the 50 mile run or 50 mile MTB. 2 Weeks later you need to complete the 100M MTB race then the following day the 10K run. The finale is a week later when you run the Leadville 100M run. I better get those tires pumped up!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Like home made apple pie or monster trucks!

You know the feeling you get when at a moment everything feels super right? Like when you drive through the country and all the houses are perfectly manicured, swings sit on the porch and an old couple is holding hands as they watch the cars stroll by. Or maybe when you go into an old diner and you see the lady that seems to have worked there for 100 years is still wearing a full apron? I remember running Vermont 100M and my whole day was like a step back in time. It a super peaceful feeling. From the start of the race to then end. As we made our way through a countryside where at any moment George Washington complete with a wig could pop out of the woods and say hello, it was peaceful. For me small towns where people still wear cowboy hats, men still hunt and woman can things they grew in the garden is comfortable. I loved going to my grandmothers house as an adult. Since I spent most of my youth there taking in all I just described going back was settling. As a youth I couldn't wait to escape it, find my way, be different and vowed to not be so narrow. Not narrow in a bad sort of way because it certainly wasn't that. Though my roots are from a really small town and none of my family made it past high school they were pushing the limits constantly. Some of those limits should not have been pushed and re-direction would have been a good idea none the less they were solid in who they were. In this small town where seriously everyone knew everyone and everyone knew more about you than you wished there was no way to hide a damn thing. I pushed all my limits in this tiny town and has plenty of accomplices but we didn't get away with anything. Though I couldn't wait to get he hell out of dodge I can keenly sense when I feel at home.

At the Lululemon Ambassador Summit we spent 3 full days discovery how to push ourselves to dream the next dream. Where to go when it seems impossible. How to be authentic! How false humility doesn't serve anyone. How to project a positive Ego. I was exhausted taking in every detail. We went through an intense goal setting session. An area I thought I had down pat. I set goals. I am achiever so this will be cake. So I thought. I did find I am a great visionary. I could describe my 10 year vision with amazing detail down to the feel of the couch. What I didn't do well was my 1-3 vision. The immense blur that took over my brain was interesting. Give me a month to a year and I can do it but that in between area was a total loss for me. Bill and I talk about our future all the time. Me make plans and we get detailed. We can see ourselves in the future, where we want to live, how we want to live and basically what we'll eat. But, we are so busy dealing with day to day life we rarely think about 1-3 years from now. That made me think about my grandmother's house. Why? Because I want Alex to have that same feeling when he is an adult. I want him to WANT to come visit. To bring his wife and kids over to our house. I want him to feel a sense of belonging and authenticity from me and Bill. So far, I think we have done a good job of that but now it's time to really step it up. As Alex grows and change I want him to think of Bill and I as real. I mean the kind of people that don't just say stuff that sounds good. Since my 10 year vision includes Alex and his future family I better make sure the next 3 years I do the work to make it happen. One thing my crazy family did for right or wrong was show everyone who they were. Therefore I am not fake. Never have been good at being something or someone other than me. My friends say I have no poker face and they're right. For years I found this to be a weakness. If only I could slap that sticky smile on my face things would be so much easier. Though my lips are bent my eyes say it all. I have my up bringing to thank for this and I am learning this is so more of a gift than a curse. Being authentic and true is powerful. I am not in any way saying if I hate the color of your hair I need to say it. Or, if you ask me do I like the color of your hair I need to say it sucks. It just means I don't need to say, "I love it" and smile. Being authentic does not mean all the noise in my head that normally plays at every turn (you know what I mean) needs to come spewing out my mouth. What it does mean is I don't need to apologize for what I choose to do or how I choose to live. In my small town hardly anyone did that. They couldn't. I find in our world today where media is king and Sunday breakfast at the diner doesn't exist much the opportunity to be authentic is lost. The opportunity to touch people's life for real can be missed. The depth of our relationships can be a bit shallow. Lot's of time people are apologizing for their success so others feel better and are seemingly more acceptable to be around.

Going to my 25th class reunion was like taking a step back in time. Ironically it was 2 days after I got home from the Ambassador Summit so my mind was spinning. What I found was just what I left 25 years ago. A group of kids who are now full grown adults who are just like they were. Not that they haven't changed and grown but they are authentic. The group of kids who were dear and near to my youth are still just the same but older. I loved it. I was lucky to have such a life as a youth. However, if you would have asked me that at 16 I would have told you to pound sand...this sucks. Times were hard for my family and they had issues but they taught me to be real and that nothing is wrong with us. My friends were real. The best part is I haven't changed. My family is real and my friends are too. I now find comfort in knowing I have created an environment where being an authentic person is comforting. The peacefulness I found at my grandmother's house might not be coming from where I originally thought. Maybe it's a place where you can be you. Take it leave it. That is what I to give Alex.