Saturday, January 28, 2012

Teeter Tottering

Just a very quick post to let you know I ran the 24 miles today!  This post is not celebrating that I ran 24 miles, this is a celebration because I thought I could NOT do the mileage today. Some of you know that I have been plagued with minor injuries for a while.  I have what I call the "domino effect."  One muscle aggravation affects another which affects another and so on.  I have been down about it lately and if you ask some of my closest friends, they might even say I have been very whiny.  I feel like I am in the center of a teeter totter.  One side represent complete injury - a total blowup.  The other represents health.  I am staying balanced in the center right now, but I feel like at any moment I could go either way!  Will my increased mileage push me over the edge or will the added strengthening and stretching help me grow stronger?  I am learning to be obedient to my body which is not an easy thing for a stubborn farm girl to do!  I keep thinking that scaling back or taking breaks now is what is going to get me to that finish line in May. As a child I loved to teeter totter,  not so much now!

Here are some good things about my run today - my it band hurt at mile 16!  Well, that is better than mile 10!  AND it worked itself out by mile 17!  So the Graston and ART are doing their job!  Strawberry Newtons are a great source of fuel - just a little hard to chew, breathe, and talk while eating them!  I finished the last 4 miles by myself and enjoyed the absolutely beautiful crystallized world surrounding me.  I love the squeaking sound my shoes make as I push off the snow!  My chocolate milk/recovery drink was waiting for me in the car when I was done and it was delicious!  AND the very best thing about todays' run (besides the huge mental lift I got) I get to have an hour long massage tonight!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Wiz

Maybe my running shoes should be red, not just any red, a ruby red with sparkles.  And maybe when I put these shoes on and click my heels together I can say, "There's no such thing as pain, there's no such thing as pain" and maybe all the pain will disappear!  I love that idea!  So would that make my chiropractor the Wizard of ITBS?  I think he is!  And let's see - I do run with the scarecrow. She is the thinker.  She doesn't have to wish she had a brain - her brain is working overtime!!! The thinks she can think I can only wish that I thought!  The tinman?  My friend with the best heart ever, she is supermom, superteacher, superwoman!  And she knows and appreciates my love for peanut butter M and Ms!! And of course, the lion.  My friend the lion, bravely takes on new challenges and fights "aggravations" with a "put 'em up, put 'em up" attitude. His courage on and off the road inspires me. The witches are easy - the things that haunt me and scare me the most - The Wicked Witch of Injury and her even uglier sister, the Wicked Witch of Failure.  OOOOOHHH, did you hear that shudder??  I really wish I could land a house on them and have them be gone!  But you know what?  I have those goofy little munchkins cheering me on and singing me down the Yellow Brick Road.  And who could ever forget Glinda in all her prettiness?  All shiny and happy and sooooo positive!  Glinda is the voice inside my head telling me "You can do this, you can do this."  With the help of the munchkins and my friends I am not afraid - not afraid of flying monkeys or even apple-throwing trees. Toto (my running shoes?  Ok - that might be stretch) and I believe there's no place like the trail, there's no place like the trail...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cold Nose, Warm Heart?

Nope - today everything was cold!  Good old MN winter has finally hit!  Can you believe it took me over 20 minutes to get dressed today??  I laid out the layers last night so when the alarm blared at 4:15 a.m. I would be set to go.  First, I wriggled into warm underwear (must protect!), followed by footless tights, two pairs of running tights, and SmartWool running socks.  Up on top I started with my fave running braHandful, and then a tight fitting compression shirt, a loose fitting shirt, a tank, and finally a jacket!  Working my way up- face mask and wool hat. Last, gloves topped with mittens. Oops, forgot the shoes!  Take off the glove/mitten combo, tie the shoes.  Back on with the g/m combo.  Good...To....Go!!
After all that, I was only a little bit late to meet my friend. We made it 13 miles in the sub zero temps.  I wish I had a pic to show you what we looked like - we didn't just have a coating of ice on our lashes that would make us look like sparkly snow elves.  We had CHUNKS on our lashes, frost on our hats, soggy frozen face masks, and frozen mittens!  Note to self - final layer should be a windbreaker!! Celebration - knowing I love to run in frigid frozen falling temps!  Also love that my friend said she was glad we had each other and that the conversation was warm!

And now something only slightly related - a quote I love and it DOES have the word "winter" in it!  I can find a lot of meaning in this - I hope you do too.

My dear,
In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
... I realized, through it all, that…
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.
Falsely yours,
Albert Camus

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Question

     He overheard the conversation. He leaned over to my treadmill and interrupted a chat I was having with a friend.  He heard the words "ultra", "50 miles" and "running." And then there it was. The question I had been waiting for.  The question I knew would come.  The question I was ready to answer.  The question was asked by an acquaintance. Out of the blue. Out of his mouth.  "Hey- what are you trying to prove?"  What am I trying to prove?  To you? To others? Nothing- absolutely nothing. To myself - absolutely everything. 
     The first thing to prove to myself is that I can actually do 50 miles all at one time.  I think I can, pretty sure I can.  But to actually lace up the shoes and hit the trails and run and run and run (and run and run and run) for 50 miles? Wow- now that would be something, huh?
     The next thing I want to prove to myself is that I am an achiever. I can set goals, somewhat lofty goals, and work my way toward that accomplishment.  HUGE!  I tell my students all the time "Set a goal, you need goals!"  Practice what I preach, right?
     The biggest thing of all for me to prove to myself is actually kind of dumb, and I should know better.  It is almost even embarrassing to post it here.  Let me preface the next statement with this statement - I have issues with getting older.  (that may have to be a topic of a future blog post.)  Anyway, if I can run 50 miles at this age- something I would not even attempted 5 years ago, then it proves to me that growing older does not mean growing sedentary.
     So Mr. Elliptical Man, here is my answer to your question. Don't take my desire to run an ultra personally.  I am not trying to outdo you in any way. This has nothing to do with you and absolutely everything to do with wonderfully, fantastic me!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Food For Thought

     Well, it is time for me to start experimenting with fueling on the run.  The last (and only) ultra that I did I spent a lot of time at those ridiculously wonderful aid stations shoving down gummy bears, Pringles, and Mountain Dew (love that MD!)  I made it through the race ok - no stomach issues at all.  But since I have decided my mantra is "Let's do this right!" I have also decided to take a look at fueling with more healthy foods.
     A good friend of mine and someone whose advice I respect so much recently told me to start eating a potato, a banana, a smoothie, and green veggies every day.  So now for the past two weeks that is what I have been doing.  My students make daily jokes about my potato and salsa meal (delicioso!), but I have to tell you - I have been feeling pretty darn good!  I think a big part of it that I as I am making this effort to eat better I don't have as much room in my stomach for the junk foods I love, but I also think that the balance of nutrients is making me stronger!  So thanks for the advice, CS! I have also been eating cold black beans a lot - sounds disgusting?  Nope, again - delicioso!  And a great source of protein!
     The fueling plan for today's 20 miler - 1/2 peanut butter sandwich pre-run and G2 and Honey Stinger Waffle during the run.  I also planned to take a couple of FRS chews along the way.  That was the plan and I pretty much stuck to it EXCEPT that my mom came to visit last night and anyone who knows my mom knows what a terrific cook and baker she is and well, she brought some cookies with her ( chocolate chip and sugar) and they were just sitting on the kitchen counter this morning and I thought I better sample them before my family got up and ate them all and well, I only took a small handful.  WHEW - confessions are so hard!!  So yes, a couple of cookies were added to the gas tank!  So, here is my review - LOVE the Honey Stinger Waffle!  It was frozen due to today's temps but once it warmed up in my mouth it was really good.  Kind of like tortilla meets maple syrup!  G2 is always good.  I really like the FRS chews and now they come in "hard shell chews" which means no more fumbling with wrappers! I did not tire and felt like my energy level was pretty consistent.  Followed the run with a big ol' chocolate milk and a banana - was able to do that within 5 min of my run, so happy to restore glycogen to the muscles.
     I am looking forward to further experimentation - not just because I want to figure out what works for me BUT ALSO because I love to eat!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Oh Yeah, Baby!

Oh My Gosh!!!!!!  Am I really going to do this?  After waiting for about a month for the website to get in working order, Ice Age finally opened!!!  A couple of my FB friends posted the news and I instantly went to the website.  I felt almost frantic as I went though all the details of the registration - name, address, birthdate, etc.  And then I was on the last step - payment.  OK - once I hit the "submit" button I am committed to this goal.  I hesitated and said out loud to nobody, "I am registering."  I think I thought someone might try to talk me out of it.  I hesitated again for just a second and the pressed the button.  "I registered!"  My son reached out for a high five.  Since we were sitting on different couches only our fingertips touched. So he got up and walked over and said "Let's do this right" and smacked my hand a hard one!  "Let's do this right!"  What a great mantra - thanks, Kellen!  Training, fueling, recovering - let's do this right! 123 days (as of right now) to do this right!!!  Whoo Hoo!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Rowdy Girls

     Yep, I know some pretty fast women!  They flirt (with PRs), they drink (Gatorade), they swear (ok, really, they do!) and cheat (gravity- you should see them!  Running gave them hot bods!) They smoke (runners of the opposite sex) and they lie (their humbleness prevents them ever telling how talented they really are!)  Do they sound like the girls your mama warned you about? Ha! Actually, they are my friends and some of the greatest women I have ever met!
     On a recent early morning run I looked around at the group.  We are from all walks of life, but running brings us to a common ground.  One thing I think is really cool is that within this group we have distance runners and sprinters, triathletes, trail runners, and even one trying out ultras (me!) Everyone has different goals, but on the road we are just women who love to run.  Sometimes our runs are pretty quiet - just a small banter back and forth.  Lot of times we laugh or joke (unfortunately for husbands, they are sometimes the subject of those conversations!!) It is easy to share stories of our daily lives on our long runs - as ordinary as they may be.  But I would never say our runs are boring!!  There have been times when I have been laughing so hard I fall out of stride.  We get loud and sometimes obnoxious. There have even been a couple of times when I thought there might be a rumble with a passing motorist who dared to heckle us. I love my group of lady runners!  They support me, and cheer me on (and up), and are with me every step of the way!
     My mom always told me to "run with the right crowd" - I think she would be pretty proud of the choices I have made!