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

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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