Leadville Silver Rush 50

Art and I ran our first 50 miler on Sunday, July 14th in Leadville, Colorado which is also where we ran our first trail marathon.  We lucked out and were able to get a hotel right across the street from the venue.  That means we got to sleep in a little bit before the 6am start.  Who doesn’t love that?  We laid everything out the night before  which helped calm my nerves.

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The race started out with a shotgun blast and a very steep hill.  That is it behind us.

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The first ten miles were rollers that took us up to 12,000 feet.  The scenery was beautiful and I spent a lot of time looking around.  Below is a little of what I saw.

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The route then dropped down before climbing back up to 12,000 and then down again to the turn around at the halfway point. I felt good, like I was just cruising along, hiking pretty aggressively up the steep parts, when I reached the aid station at 18 miles.  There I got a much welcomed surprise.  Art met up with me!  He had waited for me at about mile 11, but somehow we had missed each other.  So he had stood there for awhile waiting.  By the time he texted to ask if I was ok, I was already at mile 15.  He didn’t tell me he had waited; instead he put down a handful of 6:30 miles to catch up to me.  Trust me, it was so much better running it together.  We laughed and sang and chatted with people.  I did feel a little bad because my pace is so much slower than his.  At one point on a very steep climb back up to 12,000 for the third time, he took my hand and pretty much towed me up it. That’s love. 🙂

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Both of us were having a great run, playing around a little as you can see by the photos above, and not having any physical problems.  The I hit about mile 32, right after we got hailed on, and I could feel the IT band on my left leg starting to tighten. It didn’t get too bad until I hit the last ten miles.  These should have been the easiest miles: rollers that were pretty much all downhill.  I had been on target for close to a ten hour finish, but when I hit that downhill I got that terrific knee pain that made bending it hurt like you know what.  All you runners know that pain.  We kept having to stop so I could stretch it.  I could run up the hills better than down and after a while I was walking more than running. About a mile from the finish, the heavy steel gray clouds opened up and a deluge of rain came down along with lots of thunder and lightning.  The trail turned into a river, especially the last hill we had to run down in order to get to the finish line.

We finished in 11 hours and 12 minutes and went straight to the food tent where we stuffed our faces while shivering and trying to find a couple square inches of dryness.  It wasn’t working well, so we walked back across the street to our hotel where we took a really hot shower. Post treatment included leg massages, lots of ice and ibprofen, and hydration.  I now know that I need to spend a lot more time running downhill to prepare my muscles for those descents.  Art was in fine form before, during and after.  He spent the rest of the week on his bike riding over Independence Pass before racing the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb Challenge just this past Sunday where he did incredible well.  He’s amazing.

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The only thing that made it better was if Dara had been there.  I tried calling her at the halfway point; I really missed her and she was on my mind the entire time.  I imagined us running together as I know we will do someday. She inspires me in so many ways. I love you, big little sister.

And on the other side of the country…

So while Desma was prepping to run her 50 miler today, I was hitting the roads for 18. It turned into 8 as I quickly discovered I couldn’t move any faster than an arthritic 80 year old. I ran for 4 hours yesterday and even though I took it slow and steady and even got a quick leg massage after, my knees were swollen and very sore.
The guilt of cutting an 18 mile run short on a day when my sister is running 50 is getting to me. I thought about her the whole way as I whimpered through my own run. I felt a little silly as well since it seemed EVERYONE was out on the road running. I must of looked a little odd with my shuffle, hop, limp, shuffle mode of transportation. It took me an hour and 22 minutes to get through 8 miles. That’s not exactly cruising.
I called my mom to come help me grocery shop today since the hubz is working. She laughed at me. “I should be calling you to help ME shop!” she said. Oh well, I guess I’m the old lady now. I’m pretty sure no one would complain if I parked in the handicapped parking once they saw me trying to get out of the car! Maybe I’ll get to use a motorized shopping cart. Nah, I’d rather just gimp around the store…
My thoughts aside from those that involve my achy knees, are with my sister. I know she can do this. She is strong and strong willed. She can persevere through anything. Love you sis! You’ve got this!

The Day Before

Here we are in Leadville and my stomach is all butterflies.  I’m excited and nervous.  There is still snow in these mountains, people!!  Tell me that’s not crazy.

Here’s the plan for the rest of the day. First, relax and stretch the legs.  We already dropped Sadie and Tessa off at the boarding facility and picked up our race packets.  There was some small mix up which caused me a little angst: I didn’t show up as being registered.  But it’s all cleared up now. Art is # 310 and I’m # 682.  Not much in the swag bags this year, but we did get t-shirts.  And the mugs they give out along with the finisher medals are pretty cool.

Next, we’ll get all our gear set up for tomorrow. Packs will be prepared and clothes laid out.  I’m glad we brought all our cold-weather gear as it is not going to be warm in the morning and definitely won’t be warm at 12,000 feet. And the weather report is calling for rain which is no surprise as it’s monsoon season out here.  We already got rained on at packet pick-up. One good thing is that our hotel is right across from the race venue.  I’m looking at the finish line from my window right now.  That meas less hassle in the morning and more sleeping in.

I guess after that it’ll just be dinner and more relaxing until bedtime.  We are not very exciting people.  We bought food at the grocery store so we can just eat in tonight.  Hummus sandwiches all around tonight.  Homemade pancakes for breakfast.  We try to eat the same way before a race as we do at home. That means simple.  No eating out for us.

Anyway, I’m hoping to finish in twelve hours.  I’m going to go out and enjoy myself and do as much as I can for as long as I can….and then maybe a little more.  I’ll probably cry when I see Art on the trail after he reaches the turn-around, and that’s ok.  I’m an emotional runner. 🙂  Life is good.

10 Reasons I Hate Running

As you may know, Running and I have been having difficulties within our relationship. While I don’t like to air my dirty relationship laundry, I’m fed up so here goes:

1. I question everything I put in my mouth. I mean EVERYTHING. Is this going to negatively effect my next run? Will I regret this piece of candy/half a donut/crouton, etc.? Should I try this new Gu on this run? Is gluten good/bad for me? Paleo or Carb-loading? It’s enough to make my head spin and I get motion sick reeeeaaallll easy.

2. Something hurts. Always. Most of the time it’s a good hurt but it sucks when it’s not. And my husband gets irritated because all I do is discuss what could possibly be causing it and trying out different ways to get it to stop hurting.

3. Early mornings. Like 4am early. Need I say more?

4. And on the flip side: No more late nights. Anything after 8pm becomes extremely stressful for me as I begin to count how many hours of sleep I’ll be able to get before my next run.

5. Chafing. Hence, the reason I bought stock in BodyGlide. Chafing and then sweating on the chafed area= AWFUL! And FYI. Don’t ever ask to borrow my BodyGlide. For your safety.

6. $$$$ I want to run every race. Everywhere. But between entrance fees and travel expenses, my husband said no. I sulked. He won. Especially after he saw the price of my shoes.

7. I can’t wear heels. And for all you women who run and do, I am very jealous. It’s just not physically possible for me to do without spending days after wearing a pair of pretty 5″ heels gimping around like a lame horse and wondering why I thought that was a good idea in the first place. Like a lame horse, my husband has contemplated putting me out of my misery. (Just kidding, he just rolls his eyes and ignores me.)

8. I’ve become boring. I have no idea how to talk to someone without bringing up running. It’s an awful habit!! My friends are beginning to avoid me.

9. Acne! All this sweating and oily prone skin anyway leads to breakouts like a 13 year old boy. I look enough like one without adding that extra bonus in. Geesh!

10. It keeps me always looking for the BBD- the bigger, better deal. I’m never content. I want to know what I can do next! How far can I push myself? Where exactly are my limits? It’s exhausting trying to figure out!

 

(A similar post was written a couple of months ago in Running Times. Check it out! We all have our reasons and these are mine.)

 

Tell me about your relationship with Running! Love/hate or both?

Where’s Dara?

I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, I promise. This past week has been a little rough. My body has rebelled against me finally. I was wondering how long it would take…

I have discovered that I take longer to recover than most people. I can go along happy as a clam (are clams really that happy?) but sooner rather than later, my body decides it’s had enough and just shuts down. Refuses to do anymore work and I have to give it a few days of recovery. I think everyone experiences that but maybe I’m a baby, it seems to happen faster to me.

I told you that my hip was bothering me last week and it was taking a long time on my runs to get it to warm up. That has continued and I spent a good two miles the other day trying to work it out. I can’t blame anyone but myself, as I haven’t been really good about stretching and rolling. I know, shame on me. I could give a million excuses but they aren’t worth much in the end.

On top of the hip issue, I’ve been exhausted. Vermont has been having a little heat wave coupled with intense humidity and I’m not sure if that’s linked to my exhaustion but I’ve been spending most of my spare time taking cat naps aka. falling asleep whenever and wherever I happen to be. I know, I’m super exciting to be around.

I have been trying to remedy the above situations. After my two long runs this past weekend (2 hours on Saturday and 3.5 on Sunday) I took epsom salt ice baths. They were… ummm… invigorating and refreshing to say the least.

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I also rolled and cried several times. Then Monday was a rest day. Tuesday also became a rest day due to a late night celebration with Ruth (surprise party for her birthday) and just exhaustion. We ran Wednesday morning and I did the first four miles alone and had to walk at mile three. That wasn’t a great feeling. We had planned to meet for the second four miles and do a tough hill but I just couldn’t run a hill that morning. My hip/IT band doth protest too much. Instead we stayed on the flats and Ruth got to watch me shuffle along for a bit until it worked it’s way out. Yesterday, I ached from the waist down but was able to celebrate the fourth with our friends with minimal complaining. You’re welcome, everyone!!

I’m not sure if I’ll get a run in today. I’d like to but I’m not sure it will fit into our schedule. Tomorrow is an hour and a half run and Sunday is a two-hour run. I think they will be done slow and steady and I’ll see how next week goes depending on how I feel.

Here are a few pictures from the past week:

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Beautiful Saturday morning trail run. It was incredibly humid- water was dripping off the trees. I felt like I was in the jungle.

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Equinox Pond. One of the most beautiful places to run.

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This picture needs a bit of explaining. This is chafing from my new camel back. On Sunday, it was incredibly hot and humid and my 3.5 hour run took me into late morning. My shirt was drenched after the first 12 miles so I took it off to run in my sports bra. Big mistake. A few miles later, I had to take off my bag to grab a bit to eat and when I put it back on again, it hurt so bad I thought that something had stung me in several places all at once. I was jumping around in the middle of the road like a mad man. I still had 5 miles to go so I saddled up,sucked it up, and took off running. The above picture is the aftermath. Could have been much worse so I am grateful. Lesson learned: When wearing my Camel Back, I must stay fully clothed no matter how hot I am.

What lessons have you learned recently?

Family Fun Run

By 6:30 yesterday morning, Art and I were out on the trails for the start of our 30 mile “fun run.”  Normally we don’t need to head out quite so early around these parts, but we’ve been having a wicked heat wave.  Temps have been in the 90’s…that’s desert 90’s too.  It’s like the sun here has a serious vendetta against everyone.  So we got out early…well, early for us.  Our route was a little different this week as we wanted to add in more climbing.  We ran from the apartment to the Elden Lookout trailhead, ran Christmas Tree to Sandy Seep, then Little Elden to Little Bear. From there we hit Sunset which we took to Schultz Creek trail to Oldham and on to Pipeline before completing our loop.  MIles 2-about 11 were pretty much all climbing with a few rollers in the beginning. Little Bear was a new trail for us, and I loved it.  It is a relatively exposed trail due to wildfires that tore through the area a few years ago.  But the views were beautiful and we saw some deer.  The photos below are from Little Bear. You can really get a sense of the awful damage the fires did.  I think it is one of my favorite trails, though.

 

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There was a wonderful six-mile descent which I felt I had earned after going up for so long.  But the lower we dropped, the hotter it got and we were running low on water.  I was overheating a little bit, but was able to find a very nice man willing to spray me with his garden hose.  Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers.  So we took a detour off the trails to the nearest gas station, refilled our water and drank an absolutely delicious sweet tea.  We ate a little bit and relaxed for a few minutes before beginning the trek back home.

 

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I’ve been having trouble with the heat lately, so Art tied two arm-warmers together and soaked them with water from time to time.  That was a life-saver.  Those of you who have seen me during a run know that my face turns a worrisome shade of purple. For the last five miles, when the heat really cranked up, he kept soaking me with water. Thanks to my cooling system, I was merely a lovely shade of pink.  Check out the outfit below

 

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I’ve found two of the best things to eat on a long run are oranges and baked potatoes with just a little bit of low-salt on them (the potatoes not the oranges).  On top of that, I take in EFS Liquid Shot and salt tabs because I sweat like a water fountain.

 

I left the garmin running the entire time.  My total time was 7:04. My moving time was 6:17.  My pace was 12:32.  Total elevation gain was 3,630 ft. I am not fast, but that pace puts me in good standing to make the time cutoffs at the Leadville Silver Rush 50 in two weeks.  I am more than a little nervous, but I think I can do it.  Art hasn’t decided if he’s going to run it with me or head out on his own which means he’d finish an hour before me like at the marathon.  🙂

 

It was a really fun run.  I didn’t have any meltdowns and there wasn’t any dry heaving.  It was an awesome way to spend a Saturday morning. I am pretty tired today, but wouldn’t you know Art went out for a 25 mile ride up Snowbowl this morning?  He’s crazy. 🙂

 

By the way, kudos to Dara for being able to handle an ice bath two days in a row.  I am way too much of a wuss for that.