Saturday, December 31, 2011

Can I Get a Whoot Whoot?!

     I admit that I was nervous about today's run.  It was an 18 miler.  I have done plenty of those, so I don't know why I was so worked up.  I slept well last night, rolled out of bed with plenty of time to stretch, and made my way to meet my friends.  It was a nice, easy pace and we covered Mankato pretty well!  My abs felt tight and that always leads to some tightness in the hips.  The good thing is that it never got worse! Around mile 14 my stomach started to slosh - annoying for my running partners, I would think. For me it is a sign that I am getting hungry. We continued to pick our way over ice patches and dart the occasional car.  Well, the time passed quickly and 2 1/2 hours later we were done!  FYI - chocolate milk after a run is the best!!
     So, this milestone is completed.  I looked at my plan for the month of January - I have some pretty big runs coming up.  Next week is a recovery week and it is perfect timing - my holiday break is almost over and I will be back with my 5th graders. It will be nice to relax my running schedule.  Then the plan really ramps it up - mileage for the next few Saturdays (and all are followed with a Sunday run of considerable mileage) 23, 24, 25, 26, 20 and then the plan switches to hours.  I can do this!  I CAN do this!
     **I get to get a few more miles in tonight - 5K Resolution Run!  No PR tonight - just a fun run with friends!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Woods Await, Maid Marian

Today the trails called my name and I answered.  Ok, really my friend asked me to road trip to a nearby state park and I readily agreed!  How could I refuse?  First of all, a trail run with a friend is always a practice in adventure and sometimes comic relief!  Second, a trail run in MN in December? You betcha!  This year Old Man Winter seems to be sleeping or forgotten about us hardy Minnesotans.  Our snow total for the year is maybe 2 inches.  That means clear streets, so slipping and sliding though snowbanks as we try to get mileage, AND it means trails are accessible!  YAY for us!  So we headed out on the trails of Nerstrand Big Woods State Park.  Eight miles never passed so easily and so quickly.  The rolling hills kept our muscles challenged, a few steep ones to get the heart really pumping, and a creek crossing here and there to remind us of Mother Nature's love of variety.  Now, if you live in MN or anywhere else where seasons actually mean a change in weather and landscape, then you know how beautiful the scenery is when the first lime green buds appear in the spring, then burst into the full-blown verde of summer, and last the soothing autumnal tones.  THAT is one of the reasons I love to run trails.  But today seeing the barren trees scattered across the prairie with the icy blue sky as the backdrop was breathtaking!  My friend appreciates nature maybe even more than I do and noted that a part of the forest brings upon the image of Sherwood Forest. I love that! What shoes would Maid Marian wear if she was a trail runner?  Well, I in my Nike Pegasus, may have caught a glimpse of the wily bandit and his Merry Men as I rounded the last bend to end my run.  Trail running is way for me to connect - just connect.  With nature... , with others..., with myself..., with fictional characters?...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sweet Anticipation

Maybe the running gods are trying to teach me an important lesson in patience.  You need that to be an ultrarunner, right?  I mean, you can't expect to run for hours and hours without practicing patience!  I have been waiting for days for the registration for the Ice Age Trail 50 to open. It was scheduled to open on Saturday, but technical difficulties on the website prevented it from doing so.  The race directors thought maybe Sunday- but then the website guy got the stomach flu.  Then Tuesday or Wednesday were the dates set.  Here I am on Thursday waiting... waiting... waiting.  I guess a person could say that I am just a little bit excited for this race!