Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Run Rabbit Run 100 Race Report

I would have to say I do not recommend a 10 week training program for a 100. It sounded like a good idea back in sounded like a somewhat okay idea in sounds like a ridiculous idea now. That said I did manage to get my legs in shape for the race. What I didn't take into account is sometimes there are just things you can't control that will affect your race. I mean I knew that there were a lot of risks with signing up for RRR this year. Finishing would be questionable at best, finishing well...well damnit I was sure as hell going to try. 

I was trained up, I was tapering. I was trying to keep busy...and then James got the stomach bug. I swore I could beat it. No way I would get the stomach bug in September...nope that doesn't happen. January, February sure, but not September and not before a big race. At least two direct shots and countless wiped tears later I only managed to keep Robert from getting it. In the end I guess this is really the only important thing, but man its sucks. And so Monday afternoon found me trying to entertain, feed and keep track of two boys from my position lying on the floor. By Tuesday I was keeping fluids down again, but not much food and I was down 4 lbs. That would be great to just about anyone other than someone who is 3 days away from running a 100. In my case that was devastating. I did what I could to gain back the weight but was still down 2.5 lb by Friday morning. I felt like I had rehydrated alright, but that was apparently not right. 

Friday morning I woke up got the boys and myself ready amidst the flutter of nerves that always accompanies a 100 morning. Of course this is where the post-flu mistakes began. I was so caught up feeding Robert and getting James settled that I drank a cup of coffee and a water. Halfway to the start I realized my protein bar was still sitting on the counter in the condo. No biggie I'll drink and eat as soon as the race starts, right?

It was raining...okay it was more like a torrential downpour. My rain shell was at mile 20. Thankfully the clouds began to part at 7:59 and it was barely a drizzle at the start. A mile up the ski hill and it was snowing. Now this wouldn't be so bad except I have this propensity to not eat or drink when its cold. I wasn't too terribly cold, I wished I had gloves, but otherwise I was moving well enough to stay warm. At the top of the gondola Dan, James and my Dad were there to greet me as the first female up the climb. Last year I was fourth, first was not where I wanted to be. But I wanted to run my own race and not worry about what the other women were doing so I went with it. I actually felt really good on the climb which was somewhat unexpected. I finally got to the top of Mt Werner and was ready to run. I headed down the now snow covered and muddy trail heading to Long Lake. It was a much slower go this year which I thought was good. The mud kept the pace slower and I was basically by myself for this whole stretch. 

I got into Long Lake well behind my anticipated time, but figured I was still okay. It was still pretty chilly but I wanted to make sure I left my shirt in case I needed it later that night. I refilled my gel flasks and headed out to Fish Creek. I was running it pretty hard at this point wanting to make up some time, in reality though I should have backed off a bit here. The technical section was so wet and slick that I was forced to practically walk down a couple sections so I figured that was controlling myself enough. I emerged out into the parking lot and immediately grabbed my pump so I could be pumped before I got to town. Of course I miscalculated the splash effect from running while pumping and how close cars were to you on the road so I'm sure there are a few people out there that got a bit of a show, my apologies. Regardless I got the job done, bagged the milk and hightailed it into Olympian. Dan met me a couple blocks away and we chatted easily as we made our way in. We got in and I started refilling everything...except my bladder...I hadn't touched that yet. I hugged my boys, thanked my crew and headed up to the lane of pain. 

I was still climbing pretty well and really just wanted this damn Cow Creek section done with. It's not a super long climb so I made it to the top in what felt like a reasonable pace and then started to really push the downhill into the AS. My stomach started going south almost immediately. I backed off the pace for a bit, but that didn't seem to help so I figured it was best just to run fast down and regroup at the AS. I got in with my stomach a disaster and I was beginning to really feel out of it. I shouldn't feel out of it at 30 miles into a race so I began to worry a bit. I stood at the table trying to assess what I needed but I couldn't seem to hold onto a thought. All I knew was I thought I needed to really drink water. But the problem with my calorie system is that in cupless AS you can't just chug water right there. I had also forgotten an extra calorie flask, but I was pretty sure my salt intake was too high anyways so I was backing off the calories. Instead I chugged a ginger ale and started off down the road. I figured I could chug my bladder and refill it at the water stop and then be able to start taking calories again. So with that plan in mind I ran the 2 mile stretch to the turnoff...last year I had sworn to myself I would run that whole section. I hit the trail determined to keep running but pretty sure I needed to back off. I was feeling more and more out of it so I slowly plodded up that hill. I hate this hill. Its not steep, its not technical, its totally runnable and every year I seem to not be able to run it and it never seems to end. 8 miles from the AS to the top...its BS when they tell you its only 10 miles back to Olympian, its 2 miles down the road, 6 up the hill and then another 4 back to Olympian. I drained my bladder and was feeling a bit better, but the water stop was empty. All I could do was push on to Olympian and re-evaluate when I got there. About a mile from the AS I got passed by the eventual winner.

I got into Olympian still in second but completely dehydrated, low on calories, totally out of it and knowing something was really not right. I was also starting to have pelvic muscle spasms which were not only crazy painful, but messing with my gait so my left quad and right knee where starting to have issues. I was a complete mess as I fell into Dan and Sandra. They loaded me up the best they could got me squared away pumping inside to hopefully regroup and gear up. As I was pumping I started getting the chills and could not shake them. I knew it wasn't that cold, but I couldn't stop shaking. I finally managed to get out of Olympian with Sandra at my side heading to meet Dan at Fish Creek. No one was sure how much race I had left in me but we were going to re-evaluate at the TH. I was somehow still in 3rd when I left Olympian but was deteriorating by the step. The lead hares passed me which was completely demoralizing. Last year Rob Krar didn't pass me until the road between Long and Summit, I was hours away from that.

As I approached Fish Creek I knew my race was over. I knew I could walk the last 65 miles or so but I wasn't here to walk it in in 36 hours. I finished last year and this year the goal was to run a strong race not just to finish. I just felt like everything was shutting down and I was done. On top of that I wasn't having fun. I hadn't had fun for the last 30 miles...that's a long down patch. And so as I tried to stand there tears streaming down my face my crew hugged me. They said all the right things, they tried to get me going but also knew that sometimes its not about pushing yourself to one more aid station. 

Looking back now I still question if I made the right decision but deep down I know I did. I was too severely dehydrated to continue and the muscle spasms likely would have led to some larger problems in my legs. 65 more miles that night wasn't worth not being able to run all winter or getting myself that much sicker to where I ended up in some serious trouble. You have to know your body and know yourself to know what's pushing through being uncomfortable and what's pushing in a damaging way. There's no way to completely know which one it is so you have to be prepared to accept your decision. 

I'm definitely bummed and upset about the way the race ended up for me. The DNF has definitely fueled my fire to train harder and be better prepared for next season, but at the same time I can't let it continue to just eat at me. I have to move on and learn from it. And I can say I learned a lot more from the 48 miles I ran that day than from the 107 I ran last year. I'll never stop daring to try the things that sound too crazy or impossible...that's where I live right on the edge of insanity just outside my comfort zone. Its easy only to do the races you know you can do, to never attempt something that might be just a bit too crazy. But that's not my style. And with that comes a higher chance of defeat. I've rather fail in a blaze of glory than to wander cautiously down the path. It's not the choice for everyone, but its the choice I made. 

So thank you Steamboat for kicking my ass and remind me I am indeed a mere mortal...

A huge thanks to my crew and pacers who despite only running a couple miles each never once complained. They gave it their all to see me through this crazy adventure and for that I am forever grateful. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

It's All In The Bag

Robert's 10 weeks old which means that my Run Rabbit training is done and I'm officially tapering. For the record I do not recommend training for a 100 miler in 10 weeks, but sometimes that's just the way it works. On one hand I am certainly not burnt out. Of course on the other hand I have to keep wondering if I built up miles too quickly and will pay the price during the race or if my fitness is back enough to run for nearly 30 hours. Well we'll see soon enough. 

This was my last big week of training. Although as it ended up I cut an extra day off the weekend so I ended up with a bit less mileage than I would have liked. However I doubt that extra 12 miles on Saturday was what would make RRR for me. I'm pretty sure if anything it was better to cut it short and start recovering for race day. 

All in all I felt good. I ran my last long run with Dan at Buffalo Creek on Friday. I began to worry a bit as I made my way up Buck Gulch and my legs were just tired and sluggish. I felt like I was climbing okay, but not where I should be this close to a 100. But the longer the run went the better I felt. I felt myself subconsciously continuing to pick up the pace and my legs just felt more and more relaxed. So hopefully this is a good sign. I just have to remember its just the warm-up until I get to Olympian Hall. 

Week August 31 - September 6

Miles: 57.5
Hours: 9.5

My present from James...he told me I look "cool" with his flower

At the grocery store James made everyone's day...
and the bagger who also has special needs insisted I let her buy James a pony ride

The giant prepping for game day

First selfie

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Soccer Practice

With only two big weeks left of training this was a make or break it week. I survived the last day of daycare being closed as well as the getting James used to the new facility. That was no easy task either. Drop-off has always been easy so to now have the kid who was laying in the hallway crying was tough. Every morning I felt like I was in a panic searching for the closest teacher James would recognize. They were awesome with him and by the end of the week the meltdowns had been significantly minimized. 

And as much as my heart broke to do it I took Robert in for his first day of daycare as well. I wanted to get him a bit used to it...although since he is so unimpressed with anything these days I wasn't really sure he would even care if he was somewhere else. But I needed to get in a real long run on trails and so I dropped him off and scurried out of there before I could change my mind. 

I was halfway up the trail at Apex when I realized I had not actually told Sandra I was free. I was also already bored at the thought of 30 miles by myself doing loops at Apex. Thankfully it had been months since I had run there. Which by the way amazing what can happen in a few months. The new parking lot and bathrooms were open and honestly you could curl up on the bathroom floor for a nap and not worry about what disease you might catch. This is aside from the fact that the toilets flush and there are water fountains and a bottle filler! Are you kidding me? Almost too fancy for us trail runners! So anyways thankfully Sandra was able to meet me for the last 7+ miles to save me from my boredom. But I was super thankful to be out on the trails and feel pretty good. I did 17 on Wednesday so to feel good after a 30 on Friday made me feel like I might be able to pull off Run Rabbit.

I was also able to catch a smile from Robert although don't let him know because he apparently wants to maintain his "grumps" nickname for the foreseable future. 

James also really wants Robert to be a playmate...enough of the baby stuff already. Although I'm getting worried that Robert is going to be 6'5" and 20 years old and James will still be calling him "BABEEEE"!


I've been so excited to see James finally progress with pretend play. On Monday while I was feeding Robert James brought this small figurine up to me and pretended to feed it...on me...hmmm...then he kissed him covered him with a blanket, more like buried, but it counts and said "shhhh" and signed elephant sleeping. He's also learning to play the banjo. I am very thankful Uncle TJ bought the plush version of the banjo...

Week August 24 - 31

Miles: 74.3
Hours: 12.5

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Beast

The only way to describe this week is it was a beast. I'm tired thinking about it! It actually might have been the best mental training possible. Running 100 miles has nothing on what it took just to stay alive this week. Monday through Wednesday seemed like a dream. Just easy days with Robert. And then came Thursday...daycare closed. James' daycare moved to a new facility so they had to shutdown from Thurs until Tuesday. That meant 5 days of me with both boys. It was honestly the hardest thing I've ever done...and that's not just because I was left pushing a 70+lb B.O.B. to get my runs in. 
Night hike

The double B.O.B. is a Beast in it's own right. That's the only way to explain it. As I heaved that damn thing up Mt Carbon I just kept reminding myself how easy it would make running up the ski hill in a couple weeks seem. But we did have fun. We played at the lake on our run, we rode our bikes, painted, baked cookies...okay yes anything possible to  keep the monster busy. I absolutely love James' energy, but if only I could contain it or channel it and use it at appropriate times. Balancing an infant and a James is a ridiculous task. But watching James love on Robert and want to be able to play with him was worth all the exhaustion, headaches and tears. 

Friday my legs were screaming from the 16 miles I'd run over the past couple days with the Beast so when Dan called to say he was coming home early to go camping for the weekend I was thrilled to have an excuse for some short runs. But let me tell you camping for the first time with an infant and a James is no easy task. 

All worth the hell of both boys at home

Training-wise it was a bit of a disappointing week since I wasn't able to get in a long run. While Pike's was a long run in terms of time on feet I'm definitely a bit worried about two weeks in a row without a real long run. I still have a couple more weeks and my overall mileage wasn't too bad so hopefully it will all come together before I have to start tapering. 

Week August 17 - 23

Miles: 54.5
Hours: 9.5
A little driveway art

They got to go nuts in the old classroom before they moved

Insisted on wearing his backpack for our after dinner hike

The Beast

Dinner getting used to the camper

Yes, I built a sandbox at the camp site for James

Leadville weekend!!!!

Camp site

Sunday, August 23, 2015

PIke's Peak Ascent Race Report

Since I didn't get into Leadville Dan and I decided this was our opportunity to run the iconic Pike's Peak races. Dan was going to end his season with the marathon and I'd start mine with the ascent. Dan has been rehabbing his knee since Never Summer and while he most likely could have finished the race...slowly...he decided it was best if he didn't run. He would have finished only to not run for 6 weeks or so while he started his knee rehab over. It just wasn't worth it. So that left me to run the ascent.

I worried all week I wasn't ready for a race like this. Would my legs hold up? Did I have the endurance? The speed? Would my stomach hold up? What I didn't ask was if I was ready to race? I kept telling myself this is a training run? It will help with Run Rabbit. But I never prepared myself to actually race. As it turns out the months off of racing left my racing mindset just as out of shape as my body. 
This is what happens when Dad watches the boys!

The only thing I read about the course was not to waste your energy passing in the Ws and not to redline there. I took this to heart a bit more than I should have. I'm not sure my heart rate ever broke 100, I was never out of breath, my stomach never went south and all I kept thinking was "man I'd really like to be running more". Needless to say my performance was seriously sub-par for my capabilities. I was really disappointed at the end of the race. But really I have no one to blame but myself for not being mentally race ready. It was a good experience though. I know I need to work on my mindset before Run Rabbit or I'll end up with the same results. The good thing was at the end of the race, at over 13k feet my legs felt amazing! I started powering uphill more with no fatigue. Hell I chugged a PBR with a quarter mile left, at that point I figured why not, and then sprinted into the finish. So I know my legs have it. I know I'm strong enough for Run Rabbit the biggest question is endurance. 

Overall though it was a fun and very well organized race. I didn't run well, but I learned a lot that will better prepare me for Run Rabbit and I dusted off the cobwebs. Better to have a lackluster race at Pikes than RRR right? Now it's time to step up the training and get serious...both mentally and physically. 

Week August 10 - 16

Miles: 59.0
Hours: 12.5

Thursday, August 13, 2015

White Shoe Boxes

Last Friday I sat in the back of my Uncle's car next to Robert and listened as the lyrics heaven let your light shine on me played on the radio. We were heading to celebrate her amazing life and the legacy she was leaving behind. I couldn't help but think that I was pretty sure my Gram's light was shining down on me at that moment. I can only hope that I can reflect some of Gram's light onto others. 

Little Grammy as we so affectionately called her outlasted everyone living to 97! That's a full life and a life that will be very missed. She was honestly the sweetest, nicest woman you could possibly ever meet. She not only never said a bad word about anyone, but she always saw the best in them. I'm not nearly that good of a person, but maybe if I try I can be half as nice, that would still be pretty much up there on the sweet scale. 

The one thing she taught me above all others though was love. My Grandpa passed away long before I was even born. But as long as I knew my Gram's she always wore her wedding ring. I don't think I've ever known another widow to wear their wedding ring every day for 46 years. That's true love. I might not have known my Grandpa but he must have been a pretty special man for her to never even think twice about finding love again. And they must have had a special relationship for her to feel that way. I look to her for guidance on days when Dan or I are being particularly 'awesome' and I need that little reminder about true love. She is a strong and amazing woman. 

Though she be little she is fierce 

Every year a couple weeks before Christmas a white shoe box would arrive in the mail. Inside the box was perfectly folded sheets of wax paper protecting these delicate cookies. My favorites were these little butter cookies with raspberry jam. I have tried a million times to make these cookies and I can't even get close. Gram's were perfectly pale, the jelly perfectly cooked and they never spread out, there were literally the perfect cookie. Mine are always slight odd shaped and golden brown around the edges. Maybe in another 60 years I'll have them perfected. I'll never forget that white shoe box that was packed full of Gram's was my favorite part of Christmas.

I'll never make perfect cookies like Grams, my apple pie will never be as flaky, my tomatoes never as plump and my grass never as green, but I will try every day to show my family as much love as she showed me.

Week August 3 - 9

Miles: 52.5
Hours: 9.5

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Kazoo Bands and Badasses

After last weeks dismal miles I was in a panic to get my training back on track. I feel like the days are ticking by toward Run Rabbit and a long run hasn't happened since Cheyenne. So this week I made it my priority to run and get in my miles at any cost. I hit the treadmill with a vengeance at the beginning of the week. Tempo runs, incline workouts, speed workouts, all followed by hiking with the boys afterwards. I figure pushing a double B.O.B. up the mini mountain in our neighborhood has got to count for something. My legs certainly would tell you it counts!
Top of Mt Pritchard lap 10!

Thursday was my best bet for a long run. So I loaded Robert into the B.O.B. and trudged up our mini mountain...10 laps for 20 miles and 3500 ft of vertical, one feeding break and one mention of a crazy neighbor. Seriously one older man came chasing me down on his moped to ask what I was doing. Yes, I'm your crazy neighbor who is training for a 100 mile race by running this 2 mile loop. Someday I'm sure I'll be that old neighbor watching the young kids from the porch and thinking they must all be crazy.

The crazy neighbor was quickly forgotten though when Sunday I was pushing James up Mt Carbon and a guy came up from behind calling out "wow, you're a badass running like that". I think badass is a much better way to close the week than crazy neighbor so I'm sticking with it. 

James raced his Ironkids event on Saturday, although I was a bit disappointed that they changed the format from last year so it was just a fun run. No bike. We've been working so hard on the Strider bike to get him ready. Oh well, we'll find another race for him to rock his bike at. 

In other news James learned to play the kazoo at Adam's Camp...he hasn't stopped playing it either. And Robert's starting to let out a couple smiles, but mostly just grunts his disapproval at us. I'm pretty sure he's siding with my neighbor that I'm more crazy than badass.

Week July 27 - August 2

Miles: 64.5
Hours: 10

Post race celebration!