Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Blog Slacker

No time for race reports and run updates right now. Maybe not even time for runs. Wrapping up semester and have tons to do. Not even enough time to form complete sentences. You'll hear from me again mid-May.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Free State: Almost There

Monday, enjoyed a super 4-mile run with Christy "Hawk Mama" Craig and Leila on the Sandrat Trails in Lawrence. Leila is the sweetest, most beautifulest golden retriever on the face of the earth, and we're pretty good friends. Anyway, we were supposed to be running slow, because it's taper week, but we were feelin' good and cranked out 10 minute miles. It was a great run - perfect temps, sunny, and great company.

On a totally unrelated-to-running note, after the run, Christy gave me her Lawrence hair stylist's card. Looking forward to going, but holding off for a bit as I've just spent a buttload of money - booking hotels for PCT 50 miler and tanning so I can look like a decent, non-vampirish bridesmaid at Tanya's wedding. Maybe I'll get over it when I receive my federal refund check, which might be in the mail today!

My Wednesday night run was the polar opposite of Monday's. It was probably the warmest day of the year so far, about 80 degrees. I was leading the group for about the first 1.5 miles but eventually got frustrated with the spideys and their webs and let Christy lead for a while. Soon after, I totally bonked. My legs felt like lead and didn't wanna move at all. I had plenty of water to drink. Not sure what the deal was. Maybe I should have taken salt before the run since it was so warm? Who knows? All I know is that it was making me crabby. All I could think about was how much I was gonna suck at Free State on Saturday. The forecast is for similar temps on Saturday, so I would have to deal with these same conditions, and I was clearly not handling them well.

I plodded on and eventually finished the 5.5 miles, grouchier than ever. Walked past everyone who had finished already, not saying a word, to clean off my shoes and legs in the spigot. Nick's dad was over there, so I talked to him for a bit and eventually started feeling less grouchy. I headed back over to the group to chat and discuss plans for our post-run dinner. We've decided on a new restaurant tradition for our Wednesday night Clinton runs - 23rd Street Brewery. Apparently they have $1.50 beers on Wednesdays. This doesn't impact my opinion, as I don't care much for beer, but the food is actually quite tasty. My spirits were raised by the delicious veggie burger, fries and good company. Also, Nick's dad offered to pace me for the last 20 miles of my race this weekend, so I might take him up on that!

Today, my legs still seem a little heavy and tired. Hopefully they'll recover over the next couple days and the race will be fabulous. I still can't wait, even though I'm dreading it! This will be my longest race yet, and looking at my statistics, I've never DNF'd a new distance. I'll try to keep up with my stats!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Waste Away

Saturday, a bunch of trail runners got together to beautify some sections of the North Shore trails at Clinton Lake. There are several access points to the trails from campgrounds, and these areas accumulate the most trash. Gary got our morning started off right with baked goods and coffee. What a sweetheart! So, pleasantly full of scone, Gary gave us assignments. We split up into four groups--Nick, James and I were assigned "west on white" detail. This stretch is the closest to the campgrounds, hence the filthiest. The high density of trash limited the distance we could cover. We only made it from the first to second set of stairs, about a quarter mile. We DID manage to collect 6-7 bags of trash. Some interesting items we found included, beach pails, a giant gear (perhaps from a transmission), and three raccoon skulls. We got a super archaeology lesson from Christy who taught us how to tell the age of animals by looking at their skulls.

After we all returned with our spoils, we headed out for a sweeping run to admire our work and pick up any overlooked items. Beth Hilt reluctantly led us on the run and pretty much ran the snot out of us. She kept trying to get out of her duties, but we wouldn't have it. We ended up running about 5 miles altogether. It wasn't one of my best runs. I don't know if it was the humidity or the scones that were doing me in but it wasn't any easy run. Ah well, I still can't wait to run Free State!

P.S. Forgot to mention. I'm looking like a blind person in the pic above, because I had just undergone eye surgery the day before. Gotta protect my expensively altered eyes!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wonderous Wednesday

Last night's run was fabulous. Great weather and great crowd of folks, including three Langs! Nick's dad and uncle were in town and graced us with their presence. Good thing too. Uncle Steve got a great pic of this cranky copperhead that just missed a taste of juicy Nick leg.

Coleen, Christy and I fell back from the guys about a half mile into the run. We talked briefly about doing 10 but realized we probably didn't have enough daylight to finish the distance without headlamps. I felt great the whole time. This was the first run in a few weeks that's felt really good. Too bad I have to taper for Free State now. I really wanted to get more training in before my longest race!

In other news, Mr. Gary Henry has officially founded a new trailrunning group, the Lawrence Trail Hawks. He's given everyone swell hawk names. We counted last night as our first official group run. Soon we will complete our charter and begin collecting dues. All excess funds will go to the Kansas Trails Council to sustain the trails we use and love.

Gary asked me to be the group's treasurer. Of course I told him I'd help in any way! It's my understanding that we're holding elections, so nothing official yet. But I'm excited to be part of the new group. Looking forward to a logo so I can start buyin' Hawk gear!

In other other news, I've been thinking a lot about my wasteful behaviors lately. Of course I love the environment, but I never thought I PERSONALLY was doing anything to damage it. I mean I don't litter, I don't leave the lights on all day. What else is there? But I started thinking about how much waste I generate and it really took me aback. I thought about all the plastic grocery bags I use, all the paper napkins, all the paper cups. Then I thought, WHY do I need to use so much? So I've begun to watch what I use and throw out. I don't grab 5 napkins at Einstein Brothers, use one, then throw them all out. I grab one and use one. I bought some reusable grocery bags at Dillon's. I also realized I need to start bringing a coffee mug to Einstein's (my morning haunt) instead of throwing out a bunch of paper cups every week. Just trying to do my part and hoping to make a slight impact.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Gym

I ran at the gym today, because I wasn't feeling the cold/rain combo. Christy was going to join me but she had a long day and needed to rest. I ended up running 5 miles on the quarter mile indoor track at the KU Rec Center. Woo. Exciting. I remember it being more fun last time I went, when Christy was there, gabbing with me. I wanted to run 10, but of course my tummy got upset at exactly 5. I really need to figure out a better diet. Seems like my stomach causes most of my running unhappiness. I'd rather have tired legs, I think! Any dietary suggestions? Do I need to go vegetarian? Vegan? Bacontarian?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Slow Day

Well, missed my long Saturday run this weekend. Planned on 20-30 but it didn't happen. It all started when I forgot to take my allergy meds Thursday morning. I realized later that day when I was at the vet with Roxy. Uh ohhhhh. Yup, I'm allergic to all things furry. I thought worst case I'd be kind of sneezy for a day while the drugs got back to work. But Friday afternoon I started getting all headachey and stuffy. I took a nap after class and woke up feeling worse. Oh no! I still had my fingers crossed that I would get better overnight and be able to run in the morning. That didn't happen! I woke up feeling pretty bad, so Nick went out to run without me.

When I finally got out of bed around 10, I thought, "Maybe I just needed some sleep. Maybe I can go running now!" I got my answer when I walked the 20ft to the kitchen. No. I was diiiiiizzeeeee! It felt like my brains were sloshing around in my head. While I didn't run anywhere, I did manage to get some laundry and cleaning done. I had to take a break every 5-10 minutes because I kept getting dizzy. The fun part came around noon when I developed a splitting headache that wouldn't let up all day. I eventually agreed to take some ibuprofen around 9pm. (I whined to Nick all day about my headache but didn't want to take anything for it.)

Well, I felt much better this morning. No headache, less dizzy and no cough. So I decided I should at least try for a run this weekend. Within the first mile I developed a bad headache...the kind that hurts with every step. I was starting to think this running thing was a bad idea after all! Well, I wouldn't say it turned out to be a great idea, but it wasn't horrible the whole time either. The headache let up a little which made it easier to deal with the dizziness. Nick was super nice and ran extra slow with me. We also took frequent walk breaks! We were travelling about the same speed as I would be going at the end of a tough 50k, except we were only running 6 miles.

Ah well, I was glad to be outside after being holed up all weekend. Too bad I didn't get some exercise on the really gorgeous day!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Recovering Nicely

Went on my first run since Rockin' K today. 6.5-7 miles at Clinton Lake. Felt great. Was pushing hard to keep up with Gary the first 4 miles. Nick, Debbie, Lisa and I split off from the group at that point and turned back from an abbreviated version of the normal 9.5 mile run. I thought maybe since Nick ran 50 miles on Saturday, he might run slower than Gary on the way back, but he decided to run FASTER! That over-achieving jerk! I kept up until the last half mile, but he started to really haul some booty, so I let him show off.

Afterward, Debbie, Nick and I enjoyed a margarita and dinner at On The Border. We tried to get Lisa to come, but she's quite studious and insisted she had to do some writing. We'll peer pressure her next time!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Rockin K Marathon - Kanopolis State Park, KS

For some reason, I never got excited about this race. I was definitely excited to go on a road trip and hang out with friends, but I wasn't psyched or even nervous about the race. And I'm ALWAYS nervous before a race.

My first mistake of the day was not taking the mandatory pre-race poo. I thought I heard the race director say there was a toilet at the manned aid station, so I figured I'd wait til I got there to go. In the meantime...I ran. I ran with Coleen for a while but before I knew it, she was smoking me. I KNOW Coleen is in better shape than me, so I decided to get realistic before I killed myself trying to keep up with her. I ran with Nick, Mircea and Mark Inbody after I split off from Coleen and the girls. We hit our first aid station at about mile 7 I think. It was the unmanned aid station, which featured...water. I didn't need water. I needed to go potty. I was wishing I'd looked at the course information more carefully! The thing is...this course had almost zero trees, so going outside was more complicated than usual, and I decided to hold it.

I was thinking the manned aid station was probably at mile 9 or 10, so I kept running, running, running. Wellll, it wasn't until mile 13 or so. I grabbed some snacks and chatted with volunteer extraordinaire, Karen Henry. I asked her about the toilet and she told me there was some sort of camp toilet that had already blown over. Alas, I was feeling too cowardly to check it out, but I didn't have to go so bad anymore, so I decided to continue on. On my way out of the aid station tent, I saw Stacey Amos and Angel Clark and chatted for a few minutes, then I was off. I don't know where they came from, but when I was gabbing I saw Nick and Mircea leaving the aid station. They must have stopped to get stuff from their drop bags.

I decided it was time to get going. About a quarter mile out, I was feeling pretty good and passed a couple guys. About another quarter mile later, the debilitating nausea kicked in. I tried running but mostly resorted to walking, slowly. I wanted to be done with the race and convinced myself I'd drop when I got back to the aid station in a few miles. A few things helped get me back on track. One: James Barker caught up with me and I was happy to see a friend! Two: Tricia, a friend of trail nerd Katie Spaeth caught up with me. I had just met her the night before at the pre-race dinner and enjoyed chatting with her. She was very positive and it helped keep me going. Three: I didn't wanna be a pain in the @$$ and make a volunteer drive me back to the start line.

I did, however, spend a good 15 minutes at the aid station before convincing my lazy self to leave. I had about 8 miles to go, which didn't seem far at the beginning of the race, but seemed like forEVER at this point. The nausea subsided a bit but never went away completely. I was running a lot more than I did on the Big Bluff Loop (aka hill hell) and eventually passed a couple. A little later I caught up with Tricia and her husband, chatted with them for a bit, then went on ahead since they were walking.

When I got to the BIG water crossing, I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to go around to the beaver dam, but I wasn't sure how deep the water was. I decided to go ahead and test the waters and turn around if it got too deep. It turned out to be about waist high, which was managable, but QUITE chilly. I complained to myself about the cold for a bit until I remembered that I was uncomfortably warm before I got in the water. Well I got going and not paying attention and before I knew it I was surrounded by the wrong colored flags. Soooooo, I turned around and about a tenth of a mile later I saw some people making a sharp turn. Aha! Well, at least I hadn't gone too far off course.

The last few miles weren't too bad. I walked the uphills, and ran the flats and downhills. As I was approaching the road to the finish line and thinking of the steep hill I had to get up, I wondered if I would walk it or not. Well I ran it. I'm pretty good at the whole finish line thing. It's the other 99% of the race I have trouble with. I finished the race in 6 hours and 35 minutes...waaaaaaay slower than I was hoping. I have to say, I think this was the hardest race I've ever run. Harder than the three 50k's I've already completed. Still undecided about running it next year, but I'll say the volunteers and race coordinators were great. Stacy Sheridan made everyone feel like family, even newbies like me!

After the run, I changed, grabbed some food and hung out in the Corral Shelter with my nerdy friends for a bit. When Debbie, James and Sophia decided to leave, I decided to ] take a nap in Nick's truck...until I looked at the time. I realized I did NOT have time for a nap if I was going to get to the only accessible aid station to see the Nickster. Seeing Nick was definitely more important! It was a win-win-win deal: I got to see Nick, Roxy finally got to leave the truck and run around at the aid station, and Nick gained a running partner (Rox). Well, Nick did a great job. I can't believe he went out for that second loop! I don't think I could EVER do that 50 miler! He's a stud.

The End

P.S. This is the worst race report I've written, but please forgive me this one time. :)