Saturday, May 29, 2010

T.M.I. 18 Miler

After last weekends' deuce of long run fails I felt some pressure to get 18 miles logged. The mileage actually didn't phase me too much. I wasn't nervous about whether or not I could complete it, especially when I thought of it as two loops around the Sandrat trail. But, unfortunately, even though I tried hard to eat clean this week I ran into some unknown trigger ingredients towards the end of the week. I suspect decaf coffee uses corn as a preservative on the beans and also in the de-caffeination process. Companies will swear up and down they don't use any chemicals, blah-blah in their process but corn avoiders pretty much have a hard time finding a safe coffee -especially decaf. Anyway that and a couple other ingredients led to some more days where I just felt sluggish and had bodily function problems.
Never-the-less, I got out to the trail a 1/2 hour earlier than the usual meet-up time to run 2 miles. Shaving those off left me with two 8 mile loops.
Gary was waiting in his car as I came out of the woods. After waiting around a bit we decided no one else was coming and set off into the forest. I like running with Gary because he lets me fly at my own pace and has lots of conversation for keeping your mind occupied. We talked about jobs, family, endurance running and the Hawk 50. We saw mulberries and snake berries (pictured to the right). We ran into our fellow Trail Hawk, Christine, who was a Hawk Marathon finisher last weekend. And then Gary taught me a big trail lesson I'd been wanting to know about: Poison Ivy. Because the trail is a popular biking trail for weekend warriors (the ones that don't know the rules of the trail and that the runner actually has the right of way), we have to quickly step aside off the trail as they come swishing by at top speed. They almost never slow down. They barely say thanks. Mostly they just breeze by as we are teetering on the edge of the singletrack and the brush just glad to have seen them in time to hop out of the way. Well, I had be worrying that every time I'd jump to the side, I was standing in poison ivy. It turns out I was right, it's everywhere. Gary had me point it out along the way (I think I got pretty good!). The trail is maintained super well but still, there's so much poison ivy that it seems a matter of time before I'm going to come in contact with it.
While chatting we were trying to come up with a Trail Hawk name. It's customary for each new member (I finally paid up in dues) to be named out on their next trail run. Laurie had already came up with a hilarious name about a month or so ago but then Gary suggested 'Bama Hawk.' It's hard to sum up who you are in one little name, but as soon as he said that I thought, yeah, I got a soft spot in me for the deep south. And it stuck.

Southern Girl
, Erykah Badu (Link to Play or Lyrics)

After about 8 miles, where I'd felt pretty good, the cramping came back. Gary thought it was salt/water intake. It was warm but I'd ran farther distances in lots of warm weather and I knew from experience and from the days before that it was my food issues. I was still paying for mess ups the day before. Heck I still had eczema and issues from a week ago when I ate wheat.
I slowed down a lot and started walking off and on. ARGH. Makes me want to pull my hair out that my body overreacts to food that isn't truly a poison.
I thought about taking a break and going to a bathroom where I could deal with part of the issue. But, I was so thrown by my previous failed attempts that I couldn't let myself stop, even if it was just a break. I was worried I'd go home and log another too-short attempt.
So after saying goodbye to Gary I headed back into the cooler woods and plugged my ear buds into my ears. Surely the scenery, the music and the cooler forest would help move me forward the last 8 miles. Relentless forward motion as they say.
I did move for a few miles but then as a lovely biker came hurling towards me around a corner. I stepped out of the way in time but he chose to stay in the middle of the path instead of hugging the opposite side of the trail (as I was) and totally clipped me.
*#@*% BIKERS!!!!!
It hurt but wasn't lasting. More frustrating than anything else. And sometime soon after that the cramps and nausea came back and the last 6 miles were a battle. The closer I got to finishing the worse I felt. I just needed to get the h-e-double hockey sticks off the trail.
But I wasn't going home early that's for sure. I was sticking it out if my body had to blow up and all I had left was legs.
I was finishing.
And I did.

18 miles DOWN!

Food that worked: Coconut Water, Whole Foods Electrolyte Water, Reed's Ginger Chews (2), Chocolate #9 Agave Gel @ 6mi., Banana @ 10 mi.

Next up: Storm the Dam Trail Half Marathon, El Dorado, Kansas

Monday, May 24, 2010

Long Run Fail

They say if you first don't succeed try, try again.

They also say, if you first don't succeed then skydiving is not for you. *lol*

Luckily my feet were firmly planted on the ground running or I'd be a goner.

I tried getting in my 18 miler twice this weekend. Both times I ended up with only 5 miles in the bucket. I'm super frustrated and don't even want to really be thinking about running right now.

Saturday I woke up at 3:30am and volunteered at the Hawk 50 Ultramarathon for a mere 16 HOURS. I think the Trail Hawks put on a pretty great trail race especially considering the amount of rain that poured the week before. Marking the course alone had to be a huge challenge. You can read Laurie's awesome and detailed race report about how the water crossings were chest high in places (includes photos). CRAZY yet oddly intriguing and fun sounding, no?
Anyhow, I naively assumed we would be rotating shifts or at least that we'd have people relieving us at noon or something. But when are there really ever enough volunteers to have that luxury?
Well, it was extra hot and I was stationed on road by myself where there was zero relief from the sun. I underestimated how much water I would need (and turns out that the runners needed it too at that point in the race) and that I would need to bring safe food for me to eat. I knew I'd have fruit available (although, I wouldn't be able to leave my post to really get to it) but I just thought I could get by with bringing some nuts and a raw bar. I just didn't think I'd be there all morning, afternoon and evening. I didn't know I'd have access to my car and that I could have made myself a cooler stocked with ice and food for myself. It was just partly poor planning, I should have asked how long I'd be expected out there. I should have asked if I'd have access to my car, and therefore could have packed better. I don't expect people to cater to my food allergies but I should have asked more questions to make sure I could prepare. And the person that was supposed to be out there with me didn't show or I might have even been able to leave more... but even that, I can't go to fast food places really. Even if I get a salad to go I have to make and bring my own dressing.
Soooo... long story all to say that by hour 14 or so, I popped something into my mouth that I shouldn't have eaten. I was HUNGRY. I read the ingredients and although I suspected the product to be made of wheat, it named only soy and fish. So I believed it and ate it. In the U.S. wheat is supposed to be clearly labeled on a product as it's a top 8 allergen. It's the law to label food in this way. Well, it must have been mislabeled and when my symptoms started happening I realized that I had never seen this ingreident to not have wheat in it and therefore I had been duped. It's not the first time a label misled me. Won't be the last time either, I'm sure.
And for the next two days I paid a price.
Oh yes.
Oh yes.
Sunday my parents decided to go for a bike ride. I thought I'd tag along and run my 18 miler. Within 4 miles I knew my body was not up to it. I was tired, I was over-heated, I felt out of it and foggy, and my body was wanting to reject and eject the "poison" from the day before.
Monday I tried again. Rinse and repeat. Reject and eject.
5 miles each time and it just leaves me frustrated at myself and my body. This week however I resolve to eat like a saint so I can try, try again next weekend.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Night Runner

I don't normally run at night but rain has poured here for a week and I haven't been running the trails.
But tonight, the sky cleared, the roads were dry and the air was still except for me slicing through for 4.5 miles.
What I'm loving about night running is the element of surprise. I smell the strong fragrance of honeysuckle all of a sudden but can't see it's source. I hear the trickling of water going down storm drains. My head lamp catches a frog leaping just out of my path. Street lights momentarily light up a bit of earth and flying insects as I pass.
Its the same streets I drive, walk my dog, and go about my errands but at night, it's a brand new trail I've never explored.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Current Inspiration: John Muir

"I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in."

"The mountains are calling and I must go.

"The power of imagination makes us infinite."

"Few are altogether deaf to the preaching of pine trees. "

"Surely all God's people, however serious or savage, great or small, like to play."

"Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of
the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter."
-John Muir

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day 5k

Before moving to Alabama, my Mom and I participated in the Mother's Day Run a couple years in a row. Now that I've moved back, we decided to continue the tradition. My mom has had foot issues, including surgery, so we took it nice and slow. I'm happy to do that anyway because the reason we do it is just to enjoy the experience and each other. I had also run my 16 miles the day before so it felt good just to walk and stretch out the legs.
There were signs all along the course with sayings that Moms say:

"You'll thank me when you're older."
"I don't care who started it."
"Wear clean panties in case you get in a wreck."

Hehe. We laughed because they were true and it was a nice touch to the race. Afterward there were long lines for the free food. It was ridiculous and so we skipped it. I couldn't have eaten anything but brown bananas anyway. Mostly, this race is an average road 5k but I love doing it because I get to be with my Mommie.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

16 and Build'n

If it was a snake, it would've bit me!

I thought this was a sleek, black, shiny, long snake as I was running up to it. Luckily it was just a trick stick.

That's what happens when you're out running for two and a half hours! Ya start see'n things! Actually, it was a relatively easy run that I really enjoyed. My legs took a couple miles to warm up and then at six, I got distracted and my foot caught a root. BAM! I was eating dirt. Ugh. I get so pissed off at myself for doing that. My knee HURT too. Just ached for the next three to four miles. Then the pain disappeared for the rest of the run. Whew!
At mile eight I stopped off at the car to wipe up the dirt and scratches a bit, top off my Nathan and grab a little food. I had a Reed's Ginger Chew on the first loop and coconut water. Even though I wasn't exactly hungry, I wanted to start playing with eating more solid foods. The most I've done so far I think is to eat an all natural, organic fruit leather in mango, Justin's Almond Butter & Maple Syrup, and Chocolate #9 Agave Energy Gel. Which has all worked out great. This time I ate a RAW Organic Food Bar in Chocolate Chip (Ingredients: Organic Cashew Butter, Organic Dates, Organic Agave Nectar, Organic Brown Rice Protein, Organic Dark Chocolate Chips (Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Chocolate Liquor, Organic Cocoa Butter, Non-GMO Soy Lecithin), Quinoa, Flax). I cut the bar up in tiny, bite sized pieces and stored them in a snack baggie. This worked out okay although the baggy was kinda hard to stuff into and pull out of my already-used chest pocket. I really need a smaller bag. But, the bite sized pieces were perfect for eating slowly. I'm finding so far that I can eat while running, but I have to do it slowly over a mile or more. I eat a little and drink a few sips, then as soon as I can, do it again. Maybe this is good anyways for a constant supply of energy while requesting my stomach to work a little at a time.
Otherwise, nothing new out there - just logged the miles, felt great and went home. :)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Homemade Salty "Margarita" Trail Runners Drink

Is this for real?! Well, ...maybe. :) If you are wild and crazy like that, you could add some tequila. Heck, I ran a marathon with a guy who chugged a beer, kept it down and finished just fine. But, otherwise, this virgin margarita has sea salt for sweat replacement and to keep you drinking, potassium, calcium and magnesium to balance your electrolytes, water for the obvious and limes for taste! I also added agave nectar not only to sweeten the drink, just like a margarita mix, but to add some calories for energy. It's all natural, home made and works on a hot, summer run!

Recipe: Amy's Salty Margarita Runners Drink
  • 22 oz. (650 mL) Hydration Bottle
  • Whole Foods Electrolyte Enhanced Water
  • 1 Lime (2-4 slices, to taste)
  • Sea Salt (2-3 dashes, to taste)
  • Organic Lime Juice (Optional, 1 Tblsp.)
  • Agave, Honey or Sugar (1-2tsp, to taste)
Shake well & best chilled before run!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Current Inspiration: Amy Palmiero-Winters and Jan Brett

Today I went back out to the Sandrat trails for a mid-week run during perfect weather. 80 and breezy, in the shade almost the whole way.

I was facing the usual neighborhood running and realized I had the time today, I should freaking run where I'll be happy. A lot of people had the same idea as it got pretty busy on the return trail of my five miler.

Although it took me some time to warm up, my run felt good, the leg tweaks I had been having silenced, the trail felt smooth and I just rolled on. It's funny how you can feel so creaky and rusty beginning a run for it all to just start loosening up into a nice flow. I had been reading a profile on Jan Brett, author and Boston finisher, in Runner's World and she said, "The first mile of every run I always get this feeling that I'm not a runner and that this is all a joke." Ha-ha. That's me until later on in the week when I realize that running for 2 and 3 hours at a time probably means you are a runner. Even though I second guess all those hours out there wondering if it wasn't hard enough, fast enough, if I should have been on a different terrain, upset over a leg or knee ache, etc. Scared that my ultra marathon goal race will never happen. Maybe if I even get into the race, if I don't walk too much, if I'm not last, if I finish.... maybe I'll be a runner then. :)

I came out of the forest briefly where the trees part and a breeze came over me, the sun shone and the tall grass whipped back and forth. I just felt glad to be right in that spot at that very moment. Today running felt good. It got me thinking about Amy Palmiero-Winters and how she described her amputee as a challenge like any other. Running challenges can come in many forms, although I'd say hers is up there and her statement is very modest for what she has overcome! But I love it all the same, recognizing that not every run is a good run, not every day is a good day to run, not every body is up to running, and not every moment out there feels right.

But today, it felt right and everything showed up that needed to show up and lay down a weekday run.

Current Inspiration:
Amy Palmiero-Winters, U.S. Track Team
Link: USAToday article.

Jan Brett
Children's Book Author/Illustrator and Boston finisher (7 times)
Link: Website

Monday, May 03, 2010

Sandrat 8 Miler

I missed the Clinton Lake group run because had a lot to do on Saturday and wanted to jump my errands as soon as possible that morning. I probably could have gotten in my two hour run but driving home, showering, changing, unloading crap from my hydration pack and then getting ready for the day would have put me behind more than I wanted.

I never mind running alone anyway. In fact, it's my preference most of the time.

It kept trying to storm but the mix of the cool air trying to overtake the warm made for a mix of breezes and sunny spots. It also made for dramatic scenery every time the trail peeked out from the forest.

I lost my GPS signal (unlocked Garmin.. oops) very early on in the run. I'm unfamiliar with the trail enough to not know the mileage at the turn-around points. I guessed distance by how I felt and how far I had gone since I had restarted my watch. I'm pretty sure I got in all 8 miles and left the trails feeling great.

P.S. My shoulder is healed from last weeks' crash. :)

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Anouk's Trail Run

I took Anouk to a dog park that has a grouping of trees and groomed trails. It's completely fenced in so my little escapee could run off leash.

Of course, once back into the open area, she ran top speed through the only puddle in the dog park!