Nine days ’til my first ultra!
I’ve been in taper mode this week, with some easy short runs. I even missed a few scheduled runs cause I was downright lazy. I’m trying, on the whole, to not worry too much about it. At this point, I don’t think there’s much I can do to improve my running. It’s gonna be what it’s gonna be. It’ll probably take me a wretched 8 hours to finish it, and I’m going to keep reminding myself that it’s supposed to be an adventure, not a race. Okay?
I did do a 7 miler today. But that’s the longest I’ll go til after the 50k. I’m told I should simply ‘shake my legs out next week’. Go easy. Okay. Shouldn’t be a problem, til I start having panic attacks from lack of exercise.
I want to play it cool, but my closest friends know better. All I’ve talked about lately is all things trail running. My co workers hate me. Even they’re ready for this damn race to be over.
Hubs is shaking his head. He has the patience of a saint. Sorry guys, I can be a little obsessive.
Any ho, I did my first race of the season last weekend. Meh. It was great to see folks I hadn’t seen since last fall. I had been hoping to be faster. I’ll blame it on my distance training since it was only a 5k. And I pretty much loathe trying to go fast. As the gun went off, I visualized myself toeing the line at the fifty and my heart beat wildly! I guess it was good to get a short race in before hand to get reacquainted with that feeling.
This is an amazing time to be tapering. I have lots to celebrate these 10 days. Aggie became our girl two years ago this past Monday. I’ve been lavishing her with treats and extra snuggling all week. She is one of the lights of my life. Also, I’m celebrating 5 years sober today, my 40th is next Wednesday (which means an eagerly awaited sushi dinner), and a long weekend in Maine. Hubby and I will be flitting about nightly in honor of each occasion. I wish I was rich enough to have hamachi and maguro every night this week.
I will probably over pack for Pineland, since I’m not 100% sure what to bring or what the weather will be like for the run.
Anybody have some last minute advice for me? I would really appreciate feedback, mantras, google links, food favorites, songs, whatever you got. What are you long run favorites?
Finally, I leave you with what I believe is some awesome poison ivy. It is everywhere here. It is truly spring.
Thanks for running with me,
Posted in 50k, Long Run Friday, racing, Running Inspiration, Running with dogs, trail running, Ultra Run, Vermont | Tagged Pineland 50k, Sobriety, Sushi | 6 Comments »
Well, it wasn’t pretty. But I made it. Six hour run done.
This was my first six hour run AND my first time running 24 miles.
I feel pleased I did it. I feel confused because I struggled so much the second half of the run. More on that later.
Firstly, it’s taken two friggin weeks to write about this run. WTF? I’ve read and re-read your blogs, looking for the words to describe where I’m at. Some part of me is afraid I’m not supposed to be running this long. That I’m not cut out for ultra running. That just last year, when I thought I’d start running long, it was just an immature notion.
The first half of the run was beautiful. 12 miles in 2 1/2 hours. That’s fast for me. It was 70, our first summery day, I had everything I needed fuel wise and was super excited to hit the trails. The plan was two 12 mile loops and done. More importantly, I planned on six hours on my feet, whatever the mileage.
Hubby and I chatted and joked. I felt light and ran with surprising ease. He help push me on the downhills, which I need LOTS of practice on. I’m hoping to learn to make up time on those blessed rests. We ran familiar trails practicing race pace (mine, not his). I saw my first blue bird, a few Peregrine falcons and, my favorite, the first red eft of the season.
After the first lap, I dropped off Aggie and the hubs (who’s rocking the high mileage lately). Changed my socks, chugged a cup of coffee, and took off. Are you sure you’re okay? I feel great. It’ll be awesome.
Only two or three miles into the second lap, my stomach cramped up. Running became an afterthought as i tried to breathe through the pain. Meanwhile, my mood took a big dive trying to push up the long, 1100′ four mile climb. I’d been so psyched to keep as good a pace as the first lap. Yeah, not so much. I made an uneasy truce with myself. That whatever I did, I would just move forward. Whatever that looked like.
I breathed slowly, puffing up my cheeks on the exhalations. The pain subsided and I pressed on. I was starting to gain the upper hand with my inner pessimist.
I’ve been working on keeping positive when the real work begins. Which is easier when things are going well. Of course. This is new for me. I’m used to my mood dictating my behavior. In the past, my M.O. has been to cut my losses when things get hard. Around mile 17, I felt like quitting. Hubby and I had been texting a few times at this point. He knew I wanted to barf. A lot. Want me to pick you up? No, not yet. Maybe in another hour. I guess I had something left in the tank.
And then I reached the downhill point. And things got funny. At least not painful.
The last 4 miles I cracked myself up. I sang out loud, danced, whimpered and performed tired, little dances along the trail. I’m glad no one was there to film me. I probably looked like a crazy, dirty, homeless person in pink technical clothes. I walked some, I ran when I could. And tripped a lot. And laughed and whimpered some more. My mood was all over the map. I felt hormonal. It wasn’t entirely unpleasant. More like taking drugs than I thought possible. And I’m sober. You can see Irony. But I was ready to be done ‘tripping’.
At mile 23, hubby and Aggie appear like a mirage. I truly thought I was hallucinating. My last mile was through our town park. He knew about where I’d be, and came to meet me at my ‘finish line’. I dropped to my knees as Aggie ran to me, not believing her real. I wrapped my arms around her and buried my face in her fur. I laughed and cried simultaneously. I was so touched they came for me. And glad it was over. For today. Thank you, God.
I guess I wasn’t prepared for how hard this run would be. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Duh. But THAT hard. Tears, hallucinations. The drama. Haha. Well, a little drama. I didn’t picture myself falling apart. I still have two weeks to back out of the race if I really wuss out. I keep thinking the 50K is 7 more miles than I’ve ever gone. But I also know it will be different hard on race day. And that I can’t write the day. Maybe some God moments will outshine the hard stuff. It’ll be memorable whatever it looks like. And probably better than that. Right? Alright, enough musing.
This is my last week with any substantial mileage. And a 5K trail race this weekend.
Then, dun-dun-dunt, my first taper.
Thanks for running with me,
Posted in 50k, Hoka, Long Run Friday, racing, Running Inspiration, Running with dogs, trail running, Ultra Run, Vermont | Tagged 802, Pineland 50k | 14 Comments »
We interrupt this ultra training to bring you spring. Finally. Sorry, Colorado. Your time will come.
Today was a super pokey, super beautiful three hour run. It was great to not rush and simply enjoy the trails. There’s always tomorrow to continue race training. 22 days left til the Pineland 50K.
Thanks for running with me,
Posted in 50k, Hoka, Long Run Friday, racing, Running Inspiration, Running with dogs, trail running, Ultra Run, Vermont | Tagged 802, Dogs, Trillium, VT | 11 Comments »
Here is some recent trail porn from the eastern-most point in the US, Lubec, Maine. Aggie was grandma sitting, while the doggie parents trudged north childless. Insert sad face. But all was well.
This was my first trip to the coast this year. It was an eight-ish hour drive to visit extended family. I hadn’t even considered the potential for good trail running on the ocean. But here it was. And it was amazing. Quaddy State Park has some of the most beautiful trails I’ve seen yet. I made hubs wait while I snapped pictures every few feet. I think I said wow about 500 times. So worth the pokey pace.
Before last weekend, i had little desire to run outside of my favorite home trails. Maybe there’s a bit of traveling for more ‘exotic’ runs in my future. Time and money allowing, of course.
Only four weeks left til my frickin’ first ultra! Wooooohooooo! Pineland, here we come.
Does anyone know when to taper before a 50K? Is it necessary?
Thanks for running with me,
Posted in 50k, Running Inspiration, trail running, Ultra Run | Tagged 207, Lubec, Maine Trail Running | 4 Comments »
Such a full, sad and beautiful week. Like so many, my thoughts have been with the Boston community all week. Running has truly allowed me to feel my feelings. Heartache, frustration, redemption mingled with trepidation. All a direct result of the past week’s events.
I’ll keep this brief. I simply needed to say something about the week before moving on. I ran a lot this week, and I’m looking forward to sharing the highlights with you, including my first six hour run.
I’m so blessed to be a part of our running community. I hope you all feel this way, too.
Posted in 50k, Long Run Friday, Running Inspiration, Running with dogs, Shin Splints, trail running, Ultra Run, Vermont | Tagged 802, Boston, VT | 2 Comments »
I’d thought I’d be ready for a six hour run this past weekend. I wasn’t. ‘Long Run Friday’ turned into ‘snowboarding in summer Friday’. It was a glorious, steamy day on the hill. Corn snow and mash potatoes abounded. I love working on my goggle tan. No pictures, please. I imagine I may only have one or two days left to the season. I worked at wringing out every last ounce of joy from the day.
I was about as far as I’ve ever been from wanting to run this week. My five hour run last week kind of ebbed my interest in another long run so soon. I know, I’m in training, i need to learn to push through low spots. But, my running rebirth has been nothing but joyous, and I’m not ready to compromise on this feeling. I’m sure the time will come when I’ll have to expand and use more of the tools in my kit. Right now, I’m committed to keeping running fun. Period.
So, I supplemented. In addition to riding, some hiking was in order. Last week, we had some fifty+ degree days (I know, crazy, huh?). We checked out the largest earthen dam in the US, Ball Mountain Dam in Townsend, VT. There’s a big kayak festival here in mid April when forest service does a dam release. Hmm….maybe there’s a return to kayaking in my future. I was really only there to do some reckying for a new long run route. I’ll keep you posted on that. For those who want to check it out, google West River Trail in VT. It’s a 36 mile combination of mountain and rail trails, with the potential for an awesome ultra…
This is Aggie leaping with glee after being cooped up in the car for hours of Saturday/Sunday driving.
Hubby and I impulsively committed to a three-ish hour loop run together. I usually run solo, with just my Aggie girl. The last time J and I ran together was in November. I love the solitude of my runs, but I’m learning to be more of a team player. Hahaha. It was good to have company, but I relish my solo efforts.
So much of the snow pack has melted away. Some of the 12 miler was ice, some not. There will probably be snow til May on the shader sections. Some of the trails were torrential rivers. Shoulda taken pictures. Twice, my Hokas almost got sucked off by ankle deep mud. Aggie loved it. She was covered with mud, head-to-tale. I bit the bullet and went straight through both kinds of Spartan fun. I wish I had TWO pairs of Hokas for the 50k, just in case. Running in dripping wet, cold shoes is a recipe for DNFing. Despite the muck and ice, I’m really grateful for a change from the usual heavy, slow, snow-covered trails. They were new and different and fun. AND I was able to go a touch faster. You know, I may have actually resembled someone RUNNING!
Actually, it felt good to push. And to be touching REAL terra firma.
As I said before, I’ve been listening to running podcasts, like Trail Runner Nation. One in particular highlighted author Tim Noakes’ book Waterlogged. In it he talks about hyponatremia. In short, we are drinking way more water than we need. So, I tried to stay away from the sloshy water stomach I usually have. On this particular run, I just drank to thirst. I think I normally drink way more than I need. We’ll see, I’ll keep messing around with what works for me, especially as the temperature rises.
This is Aggie after a long day of snowboarding. She was spent.
Hope everyone had a family filled Easter.
Thanks for running with me,
Posted in 50k, Hoka, Long Run Friday, racing, Running Inspiration, Running with dogs, Snowboarding, trail running, Ultra Run, Vermont, Winter Running | Tagged 802, Hyponatremia, Trail Runner Nation, Waterlogged, West River Trail | 6 Comments »
Five hour run in the bag! Awesome!
I love not just the long run, but the prep that comes with it. I had a solid five hour run Friday, accompanied by lots of pre-run gathering. Pack, download, charge, wash, glide, and finally layer up (ohhhh, so many places i could go with that list, but i will resist). And then go back in the house fifty more times for almost forgotten items. That’s Aggie’s favorite part, the waiting. The morning of, I usually take a couple of hours to get saddled up. Poor girl. She tries to be patient with her meticulous mom. Or is that just a procrastinating doggie mom?
And then run. Finally. It was sunny, 30 degrees and gorgeous.
It truly was an awesome run. I felt great throughout. I’ll save the rehash, though. I will say it was like running in sand the entire way. Ugh. Around hour four I almost quit, despite the beautiful day. My interest was lagging, mostly my head was getting me down. So, I cut back home, slugged some coffee, and headed back out. My last half hour was on pavement, and not half bad. Thank you, my savior, caffeine. Next long run I’ll be packing a drop bag with a coffee thermos to have as a reward at hour four.
I popped a Hammer Nutrition Electrolyte pill every half hour or so. No leg fatigue whatsoever! This was a first, so I’ll gladly blame the electrolyte pills for that. They are now a must for my long runs.
I do want to talk food. I’ve heard often to experiment with food on my training runs. That way, come race day, I know what works for me. I’m grateful to have figured out early refined sugar doesn’t agree with my tender tummy. On long runs, anymore than three hours, I feel queasy as is. Add sugary stuff, and it’s worse.
So, I plucked down for some fancy co-op goodies. I read somewhere dates are pretty nutritious, so I tried coconut covered date rolls. My favorite dried fruit are apricot, so some of those as well. And some ‘energy’ bars with spirulina and carob. Top those off with a peanut butter chocolate chip Clif Bar and some Annie’s Bunny Gummies, and I had a feast to graze off of. I packed a few of each in a Ziplock. Of course, I packed some treats for Aggie.
The apricots were a no no. One or two are fine. Anymore, enough said. The carob bars were so dry they were hard to swallow late in the run when my throat starts to tighten. The coconut rolls were my absolute favorite. Sweet, moist, Delicious. Three were my max, lest I wanted REAL trouble. I will definitely buy them again. Next time I’ll try to incorporate a PB and J into the mix. If you have any more suggestions, I’m open.
The last picture is of Aggie post-run Friday. She sort-of melted into the couch. Aggie? Aggie?
So, there you have it. This week is an easy training week. Smaller runs more often. Longer runs are on the plan for next week. Six hours…
Thanks for running with me,
Posted in 50k, Hoka, Long Run Friday, Running Inspiration, Running with dogs, Shin Splints, trail running, Ultra Run, Vermont, Winter Running | Tagged 802, Nathan Hydration Vest | 8 Comments »