Things I’m Using

Vttrailgirl (left) VTrunnermom (right). The ladies are killin’ it.



With my second Umstead 100 attempt three weeks out, I’m thinking gear, training & kit additions. 

Running Your First Ultra by Krissy Moehl has been my go-to training manual. VTrunnermom recommended her customizable plans. While I haven’t reached Moehl’s targeted mileage, I’ve been sticking to the structure of her weekly workouts. Core work days, rest, speed & distance days. Most likely, I’m in a place where I was ready for her specific guidance. I love her writing style & I needed her gentleness. Her love of the sport seems genuine.

As in years’ past, my training weeks continue to be erratic. I strive for consistent high mileage. In reality, I have a big week (think 60+ miles). Followed by a 20-40 mile week. Consistency is a goal this year. So, if I don’t finish Umstead again, I know I only have me to blame. If I want results, I gotta put in the time. No excuses. How bad do I want it? I hear this sentiment echoed in everything I read & listen to on running long. If I want to achieve my goal of finishing a 100, I have to piggyback weeks of higher mileage. 

Hip & quad tightness, when not managed, are my bane. Massage & stretching work great, but aren’t enough. Leg muscle imbalance scared me enough to branch out. Call it what you it want, I’ve incorporated other movement into my routine. Snowshoeing, weight training, walking. CORE WORK. Lots of squats. Lots of planks. I might actually be getting abs. Haha. No. But, I feel stronger.

As-of-late, working with a trainer has been a bright spot. I have the pleasure of meeting with Bill for a few hours once a week. This is a really NEW addition, like a month old. We’ll see if I can benefit from this so soon. Hubby & I sometimes go together. My weak adductors are already thanking him. I continue to see my chiropractor every 4-6 weeks. During my taper, I wanna squeeze in an acupuncture appointment.

After a torrid affair with Hoka, I’m dating Altra. Specifically, the Olympus 2.0 & Lone Peak. I am happily ’embracing the space’. I could write an entire post about this. Maybe I will… I’ll say now, I experienced a steep learning curve switching to the zero-drop platform. Obviously, it’s been worth it, if not frustrating, while training for a 100 miler, but worth it.

Most likely, I’ll do the 1st lap at Umstead in the Lone Peak. Then, switch out the two pairs of Olympus.

Injinji. Always. This is a no-brainier. Every time I try running in regular socks, I regret it. So, I have four favorite pairs of Injinji I rotate. I love the OTC soccer sock for support & warmth. It’ll probably be too hot April 1st in North Carolina for this model, so, maybe a few no shows on race day.

Here’s the paragraph you can skip over if you don’t like TMI. ‘Finally switched to synthetic boxer briefs. Bigggggg sigh of relief. Underwear were a big pain in the tookis. I tried everything under-the-sun. No underwear, fancy running runderwear, compression shorts, you name it. Nothing worked. Everything rode up. On a whim, boom. Well, you get the picture. The little things do matter. Maybe this will help someone out there trying to figure out the same pinch puzzle 😉 
Moving on. For recovery, Moehl, uses First Endurance UltraGen. Maybe it’s a placebo, but I really feel better quicker after a hard effort than before. Cappuccino flavor tastes like a chocolate shake. What could be better than that? I love the flavor & look forward to it at the end of a long run. Soreness between B2B long runs has been minimal.

My long runs are fueled by Tailwind Nutrition. For. Four. Years. Period. It’s my perfect running electrolyte & calorie supplement. So far, I can drink it all day without GI distress. And Lärabars. Maybe a piece of Jerky or fruit leather. And that’s that. For Umstead, I’ll stick to these items. Maybe orange slices, some pizza & ramen. Otherwise, we all know the adage, Nothing new on race day.

After 4 years, my trusty Salomon SLab 5set vest had to be retired. Stretched & molded, I replaced it with the larger 12 set. I most likely won’t need the new pack, unless rain is forecasted. Then, I’ll want to have a rain poncho stashed in it. There were a few hours of rain last year. My $2 poncho saved me. 

Weight wise, I’m down to 171. That’s a total weight loss of 56lbs! Crazy shit. I’m 6 stinking pounds away from my goal. I’m down 9 lbs from last year’s Umstead. (I ate my way through my 1st year of sobriety, gaining around 65 lbs. Sheesh. It’s taken me some time to shed that weight).

Thank you to some long term readers, like Mind Margins, Spotted Images & VTrunnermom for sticking with me.
My staple life stuff: Prayer & working my recovery program, specifically, cleaning up my side of the street. God willing, I’m coming up on nine years of sobriety!!! Without sobriety, I wouldn’t be running, let alone breathing. Life is a gift. And I’m living in it. Aggie dog agrees.

Thanks for running with me,

Astrid

Whatcha’ listening to?

My head is a bad neighborhood. When I go there alone, bad things happen. Thoughts like ‘I’m not worth this’ & ‘I hate pain’ plague me. If I choose, I can let intrusive thoughts derail my run. Worse, I leave myself unarmed against destructive behavior. Like, romancing the idea of a drink or a drug. Or self harm as a release. 

I’m mostly ok with how my alcoholic mind works. This kind of thinking is not uncommon in alcoholics & addicts in recovery. My active using provided temporary relief from this thinking. Drinking gave me a pause button to a brain that wanted out from an almost constant barrage of negative thoughts. At almost nine years sober, I have some tools to stay out of my head. Stress is a trigger to self imposed martyrdom. So much time in my head on a long run can be a funny place. 

Reading an article on iRunfar got me thinking about my use of headphones. For today, I don’t think I’ll be one of those people running ‘wireless’ & free in the woods. While the woods of Vermont are where I feel at peace, I use podcasts to stay out of my bad neighborhood. No one is there judging my use of headphones. I know that. Part of me wishes, though, I could be the author of that article. Running free of distraction. Listening to the animal & forest sounds. I do sometimes. Mostly, it’s me & Aggie dog & some soothing voice telling m their good story. Ted Talks, Fresh Air, Stuff You Should Know or Joe & Charlie tapes (sobriety stuff) are my favorites. 

This isn’t to say I could relapse if I don’t have my precious podcasts. It’s not that dramatic. Simply, I have a more enjoyable run with some company. My runs, nine weeks out from Umstead, are loooooong. This still slow scurrier has a 25 miler followed by a 16 this Friday & Saturday. A total of eight hours listening to my own shitty thinking makes for some baaad ideas. So, I choose to listen to someone else’s good ideas. 

What’s your favorite podcast? Please & thank you. 
Thanks for running with me,
Astrid

Stuff Of Dreams

  
Picking my way uphill, Coach Aggie comes zooming by. My beautiful blonde canine hip checks me on the rocky single track, carefree & unworried. She heads up & out of sight, taunting me to chase her. Perched on one leg, I spread my arms, looking for a tree to balance against. This is not how I’m going out. The last seven months are not going to dissolve because I refused to ‘take it easy this week’. Left leg back with the right, I see Aggie turned back, as if to say “What’s the hold up?”. You know what.

It seemed almost inevitable I would twist an ankle just days away from my 1st 100 miler. Of course, no twisted ankle today. Aggie is sleeping in the back seat on the way home. And Umstead is only four days away.

Vermont 100k was the last race of any real distance. Since then, I’ve run in two 50ks & a six hour challenge. After the 100k, I dropped out of the VT50 at mile 14. Despite loosing 50 lbs, my tummy was fat. I figured I was permanently bloated. 3 weeks later, I was admitted to Dartmouth for emergency surgery to remove 2 lbs of tumors from my abdomen. The tumors were benign, thankfully, just blocking up the works. It was a long recovery & even longer before I ran again. I think it was February 1 2015 before I started again. Six weeks later & an additional surgery & recovery, I got back to running in June. Real running. And it felt so good.

During recoveries, running was like this far away hope that I might someday do again. Of course, it was never that dramatic. Swimming & walking, however, aren’t running when what I wanted was to run. Crewing for hubby at Pineland & VT100 was fun, but not the same as participating. Sometimes, only running helps running. Know what I mean? So, I got to be of service & spend some time behind the scenes, meeting some amazing folks along the way. 

So, here I stand (read sit) at the edge of what I started the blog for four years ago: to record my journey to my running dream. Running a 100 miler. Unbelievable. It’s finally almost here. And it’s good, this chasing my dreams stuff. Besides not sleeping well this week, it’s good. We leave for Raleigh in two days.

“I’ve been excited about this race all year long. Now that I’m here, I wanna go home”. -quoted from ultrawalk.com. That about sums up how I’m feeling this week. Fear, fear fear. I’m gonna trust that the training I put in is enough. Remaining tumors have not grown. I’ve got God, my sobriety & an amazing crew to get me to the finish line. If I can get out of the way, it should be an amazing experience. P.S. Finishing would be really really nice. 30 hours. I got this. Right?

Prayers would be greatly appreciated. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Thanks for running with me,

Astrid

VT100k 2014 Part II

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As long as we run, the challenges are always changing. What never changes is the excitement of preparing for the next challenge, the anticipation of attempting things where success is not certain and the thrill of achieving the things we could not be sure were possible.
Gary Cantrell Ultrarunning Magazine

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Signing up for and running the VT100k was about trying something out of my comfort zone. 62 miles was a long way to go. The prep work was done. It was time for the acid test.
Hubby made his way into the woods around 3:30am. Five hours was too long to hang around on my feet. I shuffled to our tent, headlamps cutting across the dark field in all directions. Once the full 100 was off, I tried to relax. I opted to stay away from his start so I could maintain some composure. I’d gotten so nervous waiting for the 50k at the VT50 last year after hubby left I’d almost gotten in the car and driven away.
I did actually catch a few Zzs. A big part of me wanted to see him off. Some other race, though.
My ‘plan’, if you can call it one, was to finish the 100k distance. Just finish. Whatever that looked like. Run if I can, walk if I have to, crawl if I must, just keep moving. But my secret plan was to finish sub 16 hours. A 15 minute per mile pace seemed doable, with so much dirt road. Even though this was twice as far as I’d ever run, I mapped out my triumphant fast finish. I’ll run some 12s and 13s, walk all the hills and get in and out of the aid stations in under a minute. Everyone knows things always go according to planned in an ultra.

Pre race, the 100k’ers walk, as a group, up Silver Hill Road. The formal start was at the crest of the road. My nerves were calmed by moving. A simple Go signaled we were off.
Within minutes of the start I linked up with Helen. Helen and I chatted and ran and trotted and walked. Both of us wanted to keep our heart rates low in order to sustain for the distance. I was so grateful for the company. I thrive when I have company for the early miles. And thrive I did. I felt amazing for hours.
Blissfully, the first 4ish miles were downhill. I was clocking 10s and 10 1/2s. Wayyy too fast. But the pace felt easy. I’d never experienced trashed quads…would I, slapping the downhills, today?
Being so nervous, I was grateful for the dirt roads, vs trails (say what?). I tried to breathe and settle in. Dear God, I was really doing this.
Mile 6 is Lillian’s, our first aid station. Quick in and out. This were we join up with the full 100. Ah, and famed Agony Hill. This is a two mile climb. Some trail, but mostly dirt road. It is truly steep. And I live here. The roads in West Windsor area are steeper than the rest of VT. I power hiked it in its entirety. It hurt, but I knew once it was done, it would be one less hill to climb.
Running with horses and riders was such a blast. I loved as each beauty went by. It was super easy to make way for them to pass. They were a welcome distraction.
Mile 12 was our 1st time in and out of Camp Ten Bear. I hugged Dr Rick and some friends and made my way.
By the way, I broke a cardinal rule of racing. I was wearing sort-of new shoes. Two weeks before, I bought a pair of Hoka Bondi 3s. They fit just like my Mafate from last fall. No problem. This is my 6th pair of Hoka. I ran about 18 miles in them the week prior. Should be okay, right? Around Camp Ten Bear, my right pinky toe started to hurt, but no biggie.
Second time through Ten Bear. I weighed in. I gain two tenths of a pound. Picked up Paul, my pacer.
The 1st 32 miles went by in the blink of an eye. Actually, I was on target for a 16 hour finish. It was 5:06pm, about eight hours at the 50k mark. Everything from here on out was new territory, mileage wise. I felt great. My stomach was good. Let’s do this.
It was hot, but not awful. Volunteering last year it was 90° and humid. I’d been expecting the worst. This year, it was in the low 80s. It got VERY humid at dusk. Prior to that, it was breezy. Almost idyllic. Thank you, God, for giving this newbie some easy running conditions.
Around mile 40, I got to see my friend Susan at Spirt of 76. This is important. One, cause Susan is awesome and I’d forgotten I’d be seeing her. What a lift this gave me. And two, cause Zeke Zucker runs this aid station. And it was the best. Two awesome volunteers radio from the bottom of a big hill up to the actually station your bib number and have your drop bag waiting for you at the top. Such a small thing makes a HUGE difference to a tired runner. At the top, I hugged Susan, almost cried tears of joy, and was encouraged to eat and keep moving.
Dusk settled in. I was getting tired and cranky. I had pictured wanting to talk and laugh and crack jokes for the second half of the race. My pacer and I had a game plan to have a ball.
This is NOT how things went. I repeat. I was in no laughing mood.
I didn’t want to talk, let alone laugh. I think it was a disappointment to both of us. It took all of my energy to focus on the ever increasing trails.

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And my darn feet. Just after Spirit of 76, some part of my little toe felt like it exploded. No joke. I knew it wasn’t broken. But it wasn’t good. Actually, it was bad. This is where running became challenging. It’d be another 10 miles before I looked at it.
God?
I’m still here.
I know I said no bargaining. But this is starting to suck. Can you take over?

Any running after dark was easy on dirt roads. Easy footing and glow sticks allowed me to focus on the basics. Drink, eat. Go to the bathroom. Step step step. Repeat. Running trails in the dark was challenging. Even with a headlamp and handheld flashlight, I worried about going a** over bam box.
At Bill’s, mile 53, we weighed in again and did a sobriety field check. It was late, I think 11pm. I’d been at Bill’s in 1991, when it’d been the old finish line. It looked nothing like I’d remembered. My memory of it had been covered in two decades of gauze and dewy fondness. In reality, it was powerful. But, I’d been expecting a tearful reunion of sorts arriving there. It was not. I had work to do. And all I could focus on was pushing through to my destination. Eyes on the prize.
Mile 49 to 62 were SLOW. My quads were trashed and my rotten toe was causing me to limp. After five miles of fast walking, I slowed to a crawl and some 22-25 minute miles. I knew the sub 16 was slipping away. Really, it was already DOA. Limping was all I could muster from here on out.
At Polly’s, I sat for the 1st time all day. Five lonely little miles were all that separated me from the finish line. I run that everyday. But an injury and tired at 1:30 in the morning five miles feels like an eternity. Sitting felt good. I checked to see if hubby was okay. He’d been running so fast all day. I wondered if he had somehow passed me in the dark. Turns out he’d dropped at his mile 60. My heart sank. I thought about stopping. I took off my shoes and saw the sad state of my feet. Yeah, now I understand why folks quit so close to the finish. I was a mere 5 miles, and I wanted to quit.
Run your race.
Okay, God.
Well, walk is more like it. Walk I did. I Thanked God for picking me up and sending me back out. Cause I sure didn’t do it.
I whimpered. I trudged.
For those who haven’t run this course, please note that the last few miles bring you within earshot of the finish, then send you mercilessly back out into the deep woods. Hearing the dwindling voices turn to nothing is such a killjoy at mile 97. I would have screamed if I had the energy.
The last 1/4 mile is lighted by glow sticks submerged in clear gallon milk jugs. Such relief. My watch had died a half hour ago. I had no sense of time at 2:30 in the morning. Seeing them, I knew I was there.
Glowing green was replaced by the red neon cast of ‘Finish Line’. Oh, Good God, Yes.
18:17:59. Someone put a finisher’s medal around my neck.
I grabbed on to my waiting gorgeous hottie of a husband.
Can I stop now?

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Things That Worked
100 Calories of Tailwind per hour. No stomach issues whatsoever.
100 calories of fruit per hour, like watermelon and banana.
My Ultimate Direction SJ pack. It’s super comfy. All day. I love it with Hydra Pak soft bottles.
Seeing friends, like Lorinda, Julie, John Jenkins and Dr Rick during the run.
Meeting New RD Amy Rusiecki. She is awesome. AND she remembered my name!
Meeting Jimmy Dean Freeman. Who, I’ll add, is such a gentleman, he stopped running to shake my hand.
Running with ultra runners. You are all inspiring.

Things That Didn’t Work
New Shoes…blisters Everywhere. My feet took two weeks to heal.
New Shoes.
New Shoes.
New Shorts. Ugh. Seriously.
Not wearing gaiters. I had huge friction burns from the dirt in my shoes. I could have saved my feet a bit by using ’em.
Not taking the time to change my socks.
Taking course pictures. I failed at multi tasking.
Not laminating my aid station sheet. It turned to paper pulp early on.
Frozen smoothies in drop bags. They didn’t stay frozen. Taking a sip of a turned Spirulina smoothie is never okay.

A big THANK YOU to everyone who helped me with this race.
HUBBY! You’re winning the 100 next year.
Paul, my pacer.
Julie, my crew.
Krista, hope you had a great date night. Can we go running now?
Deb and Terry Shearer. Thanks for having us. AND for coffee at mile 57! You, Deb, are the coolest.
Fish and Jeremy, Jonny’s crew and awesomeness.
Dr Rick. I’m so grateful you’re the new Medical director.
Julia O’Brien, who didn’t help me personally, but is a pretty cool lady.
Lorinda. I loved seeing you EVERYWHERE!!! What a treat.
Susan. Thanks for the inspiration.
Ben Pangie. Great to finally meet you. I hope everyone checks out his blog. He’s a super star.
VT100 volunteers. The best volunteers anywhere.
Everyone who prayed for us. Especially Cindy G. It worked. Truly.
Aggie Baggie.

Steve Bradish, this one was for you. I love you.

Thanks for running with this grateful girl,
Astrid

PS I lost my 1st toenail!

VT100k 2014 Race Report Part I

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Wow.
I ran. I walked. I was mad. I walked some more. My feet hurt. It was really, really late. Somehow, I finished.
Okay, thanks for reading.

What’s up with that?
I’m fighting writing about my 1st 100k cause I’m still dumbstruck. That was one roller coaster ride of feelings. But, two+ weeks seemed long enough to procrastinate. This was twice as far as I’d ever run. Well, run is probably the wrong word. I’ll back up a bit.

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All day Thursday, I was a jittery mess. It was the last day of work before my run-cation. Most of our race stuff was ready to go. Just some last minute items to tidy up. I hadn’t slept a full night in two weeks. By that night, though, I finally slept straight through. Friday, I was up at dawn, packing frozen smoothies and h20 bottles in our drop bags. I ticked off both mine and hubby’s items for the race into the truck.
What about my gaiters? Nah. Skip those. Every time I where them, it rains.
Driving to West Windsor, I practiced savoring every moment. For six long months, I’d been counting down the days. Now, here we were. Unbelievably, I hadn’t combusted before the big day. Maybe I could slow down time to make this last.
We arrived to Silver Hill early in the day. New friends, Krista and Guy and their family, were arriving too. Guy has run the full VT100 five times! Krista has won the 100 mile horse and rider race! Ben was there, too. Fast Ben, from Twin State 50 running his 1st hundred. I met Amy Rusiecki, the new RD. Oh, man. The day was already off to a great start.
Tent City was on the rise, little slashes of reds and blues against our lush summer greens.
Beyond the registration tent sits the old finish line.

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The arch picture I took last year. For this year’s event, It was moved into the woods (unhappy neighbors). I wish I’d gotten a night time image of it. It’s lit up and glorious to cross under. Unfortunately, I could care less about snapping pictures at 3ish Sunday morning. The new finish is just beyond this path.
Our wonderful friend Dr. Rick is the new medical direct for the event. I think he was as excited to be there as we were. As modest as I am, I dragged him around, introducing MY friend to anyone who would listen. Thanks, friends for bearing with my excitement level. Thanks, Dr. Rick for humoring my enthusiasm.
We weighed in. I could have hugged the medical staff for not flagging me as a ‘pretend runner’.
Hubby and I met up with his crew and pacer, Tony and Jeremy. My race folks, we’d catch up with later. The four of us talked ultrarunning. We talked race strategy. I was in heaven. I was with my people.
At the pre race meeting, I cheered and clapped like the newbie I am. I noticed folks fiddling with their phones and reading the newspaper, bored. Really? I was enraptured with everything said. I guess I’m so green it hurts. So be it. I hope I never tire of the gift of the pre race meeting. Seriously. We’re all on vacation. And in paradise. And about to eat an enormous meal with reckless abandon. Calories be damned. What’s so important on a damn phone right now?
At dinner, I ate. And ate. And ate some more. And then I waddled to the truck, thoroughly exhausted from spinning my wheels. My eyes where unfocused from exhaustion. Hubby guided me to bed. I hoped and prayed for some new strength tomorrow. Cause I sure had little to nothing left in the tank now.
Later, at our hosts, Deb and Terry’s house, we tried to unwind and rest. Resting the night before an ultra feels like an exercise in comedy.

you sleeping yet?
no, you?
no.
Pause.
you sleeping?
no. You?
And so on.

I prayed harder and more earnestly than I’ve ever prayed. God, I know I ask for a lot. Can I ask for more? Can you grant me some sleep? Please? And renewed strength. I want to run this race well. Can you stay with me?

Maybe a few hours of sleep, and it was time. It was really time.

Part II soon.

Thanks for running with me,
Astrid

Getting Ready

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Yikes. I’m almost larger-than-life here.
This is me heading to the finish line of the VT50 last year.
I hope to look this cheerful at the end of the VT100k Saturday. I’ve been hopping up and down for the last two weeks, I wonder if I’ll have any energy left to run.
Long training weeks of 50 miles are done. We made it through a very long winter and emerged into a full fledged summer swelter. I’ve done the middle of the day heat training. Training races have been run. Back to backs done. Aggie has dragged my sweaty carcass through bramble to a taper-crescendo.
At this point, my training is what it is.
It’s time to prep.
Every aspect of running an ultra appeals to me. Of course there’s the running. That’s a given. But organizing our gear has been utterly satisfying.

I went as far as ordering 15 insulated lunch bags to polish our running style with. We nixed the garbage bags in favor of uptown style. Red for girls, green for boys. I have seven drop bag sites. Hubby has nine for the full 100. We’re gonna utilize all of these. Neither of us has to think about what our bags look like at midnight when we’re a little trail weary. And we look good!

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Here’s what’s in each drop bag for our VT100 experience:
1 Stick pack of Tailwind
2 Bottles of frozen H2O
1 Bottle of frozen smoothie
1 GF PB&J (hubby is a celiac)
2 Gels
Tums
Gas-X
Aleve for her, Ibu for him
Socks
Wet Wipes
KT Tape strip
Pretty straight forward. I’ve heard simple is best, especially later in the game.

Vermont is hottest and most humid in July. Any perishables, like fresh fruit and ice, our crews are handling. So far, the weather forecast calls for 82° and 75% humidity. Although the VT100 has been hotter the previous two years, we are going to have our crews carry lots of ice. Last year volunteering at Stage Road Aid Station, we had very little ice to give the runners. I want to make sure we have lots to share, if needed.

What am I missing?
Batteries, headlamp and flashlight I’ll leave in my Ten Bear bag for later in the day.
Extra Buff, change of shoes will be in my Spirit of ’76 (mile 40) bag.

I know lots can go wrong. I tried to prepare for all the parts I can control, so when something does go wrong, and it will, I won’t feel like a house of cards. I wanted everything ready so I can sit back and enjoy the pre race festivities Friday.

I’m injury free (for today). Packed, trained & rested. So let’s do this.

I’m covered in grace, that I can run. Everything else is just icing. I’ve been running again for a mere 2 1/2 years. That I’ve come this far to run further than ever is incredible. I’m beyond wow’d that I’m going to run in this year’s VT100 so soon. Whether I make it to the finish line or not, it’s gonna be an amazing day. I hope you’ll include me in your prayers Saturday that it’s a smooth, fun day for this grateful girl.

Thanks for running with me,
Astrid

PS I had the privilege of being interviewed for Far North Endurance. Please check out the link here
It’s a great piece! Thank you, FNE.

Pineland 50k 2014

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This year’s Memorial Weekend race marks the one year anniversary of my entry into the ultra world!
Remember how nervous I was for this last year? Well, don’t worry if you don’t, cause I do. I was a wreck. I barely slept the night before. I barely slept for the entire week prior. This year, I slept like the professional sleeper I really am. What a difference a year makes.

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Race conditions in 2013 were cold, wet and soupy. Served with a Hungry (Wo)Man side of mud. Weather reports for this year’s fun called for perfect and dry. And dry and glorious it was.
Race morning, me and hubby, the beautiful Joy and divine Sherry were off at 8am with little fuss. We were comfortable and not shivering or soggy. Hubby and Joy took off for a quicker race.

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Sherry (not crop) dusting this farm. I’m so outta here. Wait for me…

Honestly, my race was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Having great weather makes for easy racing. Sherry and I talked (I know, doesn’t sound like I’m racing if I’m talking) for 5 straight hours. We ate, we drank, we laughed. The hours flew by. The rolling, non technical terrain requires little attention to footing. So, I focused on keeping my head busy.

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One loop down. 16 miles to go.

What to say? This race was pretty straight forward. And, happily uneventful.
I figured out at the TARC Spring Classic using Tailwind, I don’t have to eat much. I ate a small amount of banana and watermelon at aid stations. Less food means less tummy trouble. Since my stomach wasn’t upset, I felt strong. And my Psoas wasn’t bothering me. Life was good.
Half way through the second loop, I felt good enough to try a little kick. I took off on my own, hoping I didn’t take off too early. I spent the last 8 or so miles around 10-11 minute miles. For me, that’s flying. I kept worrying I was going to poop out. Never happened. Go figure. My God, I even passed a dozen other racers. So, that’s what that feels like. I apologized to all of them.

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Wish my photos were this good.

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I guess I had plenty of Toyota Jump in me at the finish line. Having a crowd at the finish line helps with enthusiasm. Hubby was there to usher me across.
7:32:15.
That’s a freakin’ PR! By 16 minutes. AND I took 1:22:00 off last year’s race.
Hubby and Joy finished in 5:53:00. Nice work, fast people. A girl can dream…

I think I love ultrarunning as much as talking other runners. It was great to see Heather, Fish, Annette, Lise and company. And meeting new friends, like Bill from California was running another 50k the following weekend. And I think the one after that, too. Hey, Heather, please hurry up and heal so we can run together.
Of course, Sherry, you are my angel. Thank you for being my ultrarunning rock. You are a first rate lady and a great running partner. I wish very new ultrarunner could have an experienced Sherry to guide them.
Many thanks to the race director, Erik, and staff. The aid station volunteers are so pumped, their enthusiasm is motivating. They got me in and out quickly. Thank you to all for putting on a first rate festival.

Some things that worked:
Tailwind. Tailwind. Tailwind. Buy some, it’s the bomb, er, the best. I used a scoop per 20 oz bottle o’ water. I had 4 bottles waters mixed with the Mandarin Orange flavor and one of the caffeinated Raspberry the last hour.
A pineapple Spirulina smoothie before and after the race. The world needs more pineapple.
My Salomon Advanced Skin S Lab 5 Set Hydration vest. It’s so comfy, I forget I’m wearing it. It’s worth every penny. It does need a shorter name, I agree.
My Sacro Iliac belt. It looks silly. I need more crap/gear hanging off me like a hole in the head. But, my back doesn’t ache so badly when I use the darn thing. Thank you, Dr. K for taking such great care of me.

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Since Aggie couldn’t race with us, she took care of our comfy bed.

PS 38 days ’til the VT 100k…

Thanks for running with me,
Astrid