Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2008: Best Year Ever

Most people know that I'm a diehard Jayhawk fan. Well, I AM a Jayhawk. I received both of my degrees from the University of Kansas and spent a good portion of my adult life in Lawrence, KS. In my opinion, the only thing that could make Lawrence better is a mountain range. Oh, and more sunny (but not very hot) days. So here I am, living in Colorado.

Some might think I'm a fair-weather fan, because I watch KU basketball and not football. But I honestly do not like football. At all. The only thing I like about football is the tradition of eating a crap ton of junk food. I'm forced to watch it (or zone out) a lot because Nick loves the Broncos and apparently if you like even one football team you also LOVE to watch every single other football game too.

Photo by Mike Yoder. kusports.com

I know I was going somewhere with this but…oh yes, I was watching the KU/MU game this past Saturday. As you probably know, Kansas and Mizzou are bitter rivals. A rivalry that predates college sports. As MU is leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, the sporting rivalry is essentially coming to an end. Coming off a close loss to Mizzou in Columbia, our last conference game against them in our house (Allen Fieldhouse) meant a lot to us Kansans. I thought for sure, we would just dominate Mizzou on our home court. You can't really appreciate Kansas basketball until you attend a game at Allen Fieldhouse. The two words that best describe it are "tradition" and "noise". Jayhawks are fiercely proud of their traditions and they'll let you know it, at 120dB.

Photo by Mike Yoder. kusports.com

So I found myself at a total loss when the Jayhawks were down by 19 in the 2nd half on their home court. But despite my strong desire to look away, to leave the room, my eyeballs remained glued to the tv. And somehow the Hawks clawed (taloned) their way back into the game and squeaked (squawked?) by with a victory in overtime. I had never been so overjoyed by a win since that most awesome day, when the Hawks came back from a 9 point deficit with 2 minutes left in the game, to beat the Memphis Tigers IN overtime to become 2008 NCAA National Champions. In both cases, there was a significant amount of jumping up and down and hugging people.

Photo by Nick Krug. kusports.com

And remembering that wonderful day made me think about other cool things that happened in 2008.
  1. Kansas Jayhawks are 2008 NCAA Basketball National Champions. (already mentioned)
  2. Ran my first ultra. (Finally something about running!)
  3. Met Nick. (Met Nick at a race so this is about running too!)
  4. Went to grad school? Not sure if this was a good thing or not but it lead to receiving a cool piece of paper in 2010!
  5. Met Nick.
  6. Oh yeah, I met Nick.
So in conclusion, 2008 was the best year ever. I'm sorry it took the KU/MU game, which reminded me of the championship game, to remind me of meeting my Nickster. My friend Marti will understand though. We watched the 2008 game together and have our priorities straight. #1 KU basketball, #2 boyfriend. Well, bacon is probably her #2, but #3 ain't bad, Marti's boyfriend.

Photo by Dick Ross. seekcrun.com
Ah the old days. 25-year-old me, with short hair, a cotton shirt and that water bottle I don't use anymore.
This was taken the day I met Nick.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weekly Summary: 2/20-2/26/12

Distance (mi)
Elevation Gain (ft)
Green Mountain Hill Repeats
Flying J Speed Work
Buffalo Creek
Buffalo Creek

The Good
  • Largest weekly elevation gain!
  • All trails.
The Bad
  • ???
  • Was going to run again today but was feeling achey from back to back Buff Creek days.
It felt great to get back on the trails. It was a tough week but it was a lot of fun and I felt a sense of accomplishment at the end. 

This week I was thinking about my training in the past. I remember training for big races, doing my 20 and 30 miles runs, and on those days that I would run just 5 miles, I would think about how easy they were in comparison. Like they were so basic. But since I moved out here, I don't ever find myself in that situation. Every run feels like a significant effort. I never think, oh, just 5 miles. It keeps things interesting, but it also makes it tough to get out the door sometimes.

Also, in the past, I never would have thought I'd be running a 10-20% grade for a sustained distance. But here I am, doing these crazy ass hill repeats every Tuesday. It's amazing what can change in 6 months.

And finally, I'm getting really excited for 3 Days of Syllamo. Less than 2 weeks! I'm so psyched to spend a long weekend with my friends doing my favorite thing.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Join Team Laurie

In case you aren't in the know, Nick and I are BOTH running Leadville Trail 100 this year. We have never before run the same 100 in the same year. Not because we were being polite and trading off, but because for one reason or another, we couldn't. Too busy with grad school (me) or one of us being injured, etc.

In 2009, Nick finished in 28:51:32. In 2010, Nick was registered again but had to back out, due to back surgery. Hahaha. Back out. Pun. But seriously, it wasn't funny at all. Then I ran Leadville for the first time in 2011, finishing in 28:44:58. Woot woot! I beat his tiiiiiime. I beat his tiiiiiime.

Honestly, I don't know what will happen this year. Nick is faster than me at every single training run distance. But nobody ever does a 100 mile training run, so we really won't know what could happen until race dayS.

And now that the background is out of the way, I can begin my marketing scheme. 

Do you like Colorado? 

Do you like mountains? 

Do you like running?
(I won't be going this fast)

Do you like me?

Do you like that my armpits smell way better than Nick's?
(That's right. They smell like finish line flowers.)

There might just be a spot on my pacing/crewing team for YOU!

Meet my team so far!

Courtney facts:
She will be running the Silver Rush 50 this summer.
She went to the same high school (in Houston) as I did, though she's not as ancient as me.
She crewed Leadville last year for her speedy fiancé, Luke.

Aaaaand, there will likely be appearances by many Langs! Including but not limited to, Chris, Bonnie, Roz and Jenna.

If this all appeals to you, join Team Laurie: We're going places! (like over Hope Pass)


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Weekly Summary: 2/13-2/19/12

Day            Distance (mi)/Elevation Gain (ft)

Monday       meh
Tuesday       4.3/300
Wednesday  meh
Thursday     family
Friday          4.3/300
Saturday      29.3/500
Sunday        meh

Totals: 37.9/1100

Good Things
  • Got in a long run!
  • Skipped hills to have dinner with my sweetie.
Less Good Things (but not necessarily bad)
  • Was not particularly motivated to run most of the week, as is evident from my whopping 3 runs.
  • Negligible climbing.
  • Long run was slower/shorter than I wanted.
  • Skipped hills to eat buttery food with my sweetie??
Embarrassing Things
  • I got too hot on my long run so ended up shedding my tights and running down the road in my bun huggers.
I felt pretty indifferent toward running last week. Was initially shooting for a 50-mi week. I guess some people (including me sometimes) would be disappointed by being off by 12 miles, but I was pleased that I  still had the motivation to tackle the long run! I WAS ever so slightly disappointed in my long run, as I was hoping to complete 30 miles at a 10min/mi pace, but without my Garmin I just ran out 2.5 hours then turned around thinking this would work. But I ended up with only 29.3mi in 5 hours and 5 minutes. ALAS! A 10:24 pace! I'm not sure why it bothers me. Still faster than I've ever run almost 30 miles. But I kept thinking about how it was only a few miles longer than a marathon, and I was running on a flat road, so why am I not running faster?? Anyway, I've never even run a road marathon, nor do I intend to, so why the freak do I even care? 

Well, sneak peak for this week…I think I've sloughed off the indifference. I'm back to tackling the hills. 

The bun huggers are slightly less embarrassing 
when I'm standing still.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Weekly Summary: 2/6-2/12/12

Day            Distance (mi)/Elevation Gain (ft)

Monday      3.7/negligible
Tuesday      blah
Wedneday   AM 1.6/negligible
                    PM 9/450
Thursday     blah
Friday          20/400
Saturday      20/400
Sunday        7.6/1200

Totals: 61.9/2450

  • Back to back long runs! Woo!
  • Highest mileage week this year. Probably within a few miles of my highest mileage week ever.
  • Even with the high mileage my legs still felt pretty good. Sore muscles but no joint or ligament pain.
  • Saw wild turkeys, bald eagles and a fox.

  • The week started off slow.
  • Not much climbing this week.

Take Away
Sometimes the barriers to training are physical and sometimes they're mental. This week started off with a pretty big mental barrier. I was tired of snow and mountain trails. On Monday I drove down to Denver to attempt a snow-free 30 mile run but the trail I chose was far from snow-free. I only managed a few miles before I decided to call it a day. I could have tried to find another trail that was cleared of snow but it was just one of those days. I wanted to go home and pout. I kept the pouting up for several days in fact. After another failed attempt at a long run on Wednesday, due to the unexpected bitter temperature in the Platte Canyon, I gave up on the week being productive at all.

But Friday brought a renewed urge to visit that chilly canyon, so I donned many layers of clothing and emerged successful from a 20 mile road jaunt. Then I decided to try something crazy by doing it again Saturday. I recruited Nick and Ben to accompany me which made the run so much more pleasant. The views are truly beautiful so I wouldn't have been bored but the company kept me from focusing on my tired legs. And I was thrilled that even after 40 miles, I had no odd tweaks. Sore/tired muscles but no aching joints, IT band, achilles or anything. I guess this is what it feels like to be properly trained for something!

So despite the not-so-fun start to the week it turned out to be one of my best so far. I didn't focus on the big climbs or trudging through the snow. I managed to take a mental health break without compromising my training. But even if I had only run 20 miles this week, I would have stood by my decision. Sometimes when you've been training hard you just need a break. A few days to stop obsessing over mileage, pace, elevation gain, etc.

Lesson "learned". Sometimes you have enough knowledge to understand something but not the foresight to use it. I'm talking about weather! After experiencing the bitter cold mornings in Platte Canyon (10-15 degrees colder than home), I slapped myself on the forehead and said "Duh!" It's a narrow canyon and the road is right next to a river, of course it's going to be colder in the morning. So now I know to bring extra layers just in case when I run Platte River Rd. I haven't found any way to find weather information in this area because there is no town along the way. So I guess I'll just stick with the excessive amount of gear approach.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Week Summary: 1/30-2/5/12

Day            Distance (mi)/Elevation Gain (ft)
Monday      slacked
Tuesday      AM 4.3/300
                    PM  7.7/2100
Wedneday   7.4/600
Thursday     13.1/1600
Friday          tired
Saturday      6.2/1000
Sunday        ate too much cheese

Totals: 38.7/5600

Did a little shoveling Friday.

  • Ran all the way up Green Mountain without stopping for the first time on Hill Tuesday (1.25mi/720ft).
  • Was able to run more (fewer walk breaks) at Buffalo Creek than I have before.
  • Got in a nice 13 miler before the snow blew in.
  • After the first hill at Green Mountain, I mostly walked the rest.
  • Didn't get my long run in this weekend because of the snowpocalypse.
Take Away

I've been pretty spoiled with the weather so far this winter, so this week's snow storm came as a big surprise to my training schedule. As a trail runner I have a hard time thinking of doing anything but trail running, but I've had to reevaluate my plans lately. I'll be augmenting my training with some city miles. I think it's pretty unlikely that I'll be able to pull off a 20-30 mile training run in the mountains within the next week or two. So that's that. We'll see what I can do with next week.

At the bottom of Buck Gulch Trail (Buffalo Creek) with the pups. Time to snowshoe.

Heading up Buck Gulch. Nice snowshoeing conditions. Not as much
snow as at the house but would still be a pain to run in.

P.S. Retrying this format with the weekly summaries. Will still write race reports and post on any special topics that come up, but I'm hoping this keeps me regular. Like metamucil for my blog.