Sunday, April 30, 2006

Afton

It is still raining outside! 3 days of constant rain; it could get to a person, you know? I don't know how the residents of WA put up with this so many days in a row, the suicide rate has to be higher in that part of the country.

I'm feeling like I've been living in a box with the flaps closed in on me. I'm not sure what the deal is. Maybe the high of McNaughton has passed..I haven't been out running hard ..the rain..all of it I guess.

Today was a lot of fun. I headed out to Afton State Park to run with 10 or so friends in the rain. I thought some may opt out, because of the rain, but that didn't happen. Most of us ran about 25K or so. The trails are really in good condtion, there were only a few muddy spots and a few wipeouts.

After we ran we hung out in the visitor center for a pot luck of sorts. Fruit, sandwiches, sweets, veggies and great conversation. Lots of talk of upcoming races.

Steve and Tyler had a father-son pool tournament today. They took second place! Not to bad for Tyler's first one.

I'm looking forward to running some 800's next week. I haven't been to the track since fall!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Big Lake Invitational Track Meet

A few months ago the High School Activity Director asked me if I would be interested in helping to coach the JV track team. I was certainly interested, but during baseball season with Tyler and Troy, I have no spare time. I enjoy watching them play ball and knew that I would feel very guilty by helping to coach the team instead of watching the boys.

I did offer to work at a few meets. The first one on my schedule was the Big Lake Invitational (varsity), which was held yesterday.

It rained all day yesterday; I was certain the meet would be cancelled, but the AD assured me that he would only call it off if there were thunder and lightening, which there wasn't. It was a cold, windy, downpour of a rain..soaking..all day long.

I left work, picked up Troy from school, picked up Tyler from baseball (indoor because of the rain) practice and came home to change in layers of rain clothing. It was a torrential downpour .. and cold. I honestly was not looking forward to standing out in the rain for 4 hours. Not running or anything; just standing there. Yuck.

The meet began at 4 and went until 8. My job was to time the 4th place runner for each heat. I have NEVER attended a track meet. In high school I was out getting high and drunk, so never participated or ran a step and certainly didn't attend a meet. I didn't really know what to expect.

It was so much fun to watch these young runners. To watch the determination on their face, to watch the camaraderie they share with their teammates, to watch the respect they hold for their coaches. To see the pride they felt within themselves for finishing the heat. It was incredible.

It was something I completely missed out on when I was young.

There is a female runner on the Big Lake team who won the 800 and the mile. I asked another timer why she wasn't running the two mile and learned that they can only run 2 'long distance' heats per event. She was awesome. She was confident, lean, respectful and ran like a gazelle. It will be fun to talk with her at school on Monday.

I couldn't help think that some of these runners will someday be running ultra's. They have learned early to discipline themselves with tough workouts and have developed a passion for running.

The rain didn't bother me as I though it would. I just enjoyed watching these young runners.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

"A" Races

When I was looking over my calendar this past January and planning my races along with baseball tournaments, pool tournaments, family reunions, etc. for the year I planned out three "A" races. Three races that I would plan for, train for, taper for and run my hardest for. Those three races are 1) McNaughton 100 2) FANS 24 Hour and 3) Superior 100. Along the way I had hoped I would be able to run Leadville as well, which is three weeks prior to Superior, but it isn't looking like I'll be able to go out to CO at that time. I am usually off of work from June 30 to August 30 but this year may be off from June 15 to August 15 instead. That kind of kills Leadville as I have already planned out my vacation time and it doesn't look like I will be able to have time off without pay.

So now that McNaughton is past, I am looking into the future at FANS. I have a bit of history with FANS. I ran the 12 hour a few years ago, running my longest run at the time of 60 miles..the following year I tried the 24 hour and ran 88 with a goal of 75. The following year I ran 89 with a goal of 100 and last year I was having no fun (not enough food) and quit, YES QUIT, at 12 hours for 52 stupid miles. I sucked. I was a wimp. I will not do that again. I'll have lots of friends out there and will just run and get it done.

This year will be different. I'm focused, a bit more stubborn, have learned a few more things about myself and am ready to get the 100 miles in 24 hours.

Next week I'll begin running 800s at the track, will get a few long road miles in and probably a night run at Lake Nokomis. I'll be ready to roll.

As FANS comes and goes I'll begin to focus on Superior 100. That one holds the fear factor for me, the trail is uber tough, but running the 50K at Superior on May 20 will help. I've run a number of 50K and 50 Mile runs up there, I'll run the trail on Friday when I first get up there and on Sunday before I come back home. I'll familiarize myself with the parts of the trail that I am unfamiliar with. I'll plan a few weekend trips up there over the summer to get it all figured out. Maybe I can drag along a few others.

Bonnie has been up there the past two weekends marking the 100 mile trail. She has been hearing moose and saw lots of bear tracks. She ran the 100 in 2004. Yikes.

My other races are either for fun or to help me obtain the goals I have set for the A races.

Today I'm running 5 miles with the run club; I haven't seen them since before I ran McNaughton. It'll be lots of fun :) I and the boys will bike afterwards. A good day.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Back to Working Out

Sunday morning I pulled socks onto my feet for the first time. I then put on my running shoes and Topaz and I headed out to the trail. We ran for 7 miles; I actually ran it. I was quite suprised and very pleased. Everything felt good; I was so happy to be running. I was thinking that one week ago, at that very time, I had one hour left of my 100 mile race. Awesome.

Last night I went to the gym for the first time in 3 weeks. I was beginning to lose my biceps. Tyler told me they are 'just beach muscles anyway, Mom' but damn, they look good. It was nice to go back. There are no women that lift in the gym I belong too. All of the women are running on the treadmills. They guys all asked about my race, asked where I'd been and how I'd been doing. They assured me I hadn't lost my muscles.

I did lift a bit less than I did when I was last at the gym. I was lifting personal bests a few weeks ago; last night I was down a few pounds but that's OK. I have lost 8 pounds this month, I'm sure it's fat and not muscle.

I lifted biceps/chest:

Chest:
DB Press: 40x8x2
BB Bench Press: 130x8x3
Pec Flies Machine: 120x8x3

Bicep:
BB: 50x8x3; 40x8x3; 30x8x3
DB: 30x8x3; 25x6x4
Lever Pull: 80x8x3

Tonight I'll try shoulder/back and will run 5 miles around the baseball fields.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


ALL DONE! Posted by Picasa

Bun Bun Cake.  Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Alicia's Finish Posted by Picasa

Me, Andy (RD) and Scott. Heading out at 50. Posted by Picasa

Filling my face w/ potatoes Posted by Picasa

Andy (RD) and I, 10 MILES LEFT TO GO :) Posted by Picasa

Scott and I; finish. Posted by Picasa

From John's photos. Right after the race. The other photos are pretty bright, the flash washed it out. Posted by Picasa

One week later..must be time for a pedicure! Posted by Picasa

Getting better.. Posted by Picasa

Glamour Shots. One week and some good healing..they are looking pretty good. Posted by Picasa

A View From The Sidelines

Today was the Trail Mix 25K/50K, in Bloomington MN. This was my first offical 50K. I ran in in April of 2002. I loved it and ran it in 03 and 04 but when I ran McNaughton last year and this, I opted to view Trail Mix from the sidelines. Well, not really 'opted', I couldn't have run if I wanted, to be honest. I haven't even wore socks since last Sunday for fear they will rip my dangling toenails off. I'm just going to have to pull them out of the cuticle.

Scott, who paced me last week, ran the 50K today. He's running Massanutten 100 in a few weeks and is ramping up for it. He'll finish in fine form.

I, John and Alicia sat in chairs near the start/finish cheering on our friends. The 50K is four loops; I was there for the last 2 loops of the 50K. There were so many friends out running today! The Minnesota winter is gone and this is the first ultra on the calendar. It was a great day for a race.

Two of my Big Lake Run Club friends, Curt and Dave ran the race today. This was Dave's first trail run and Curt's second. They were all smiles at the finish. I told Dave I might actually beat him at run club Wednesday night. We'll see.

I must say that I felt a bit envious of the runners. Sitting on the sidelines, just like a non-runner; all cleaned up is not that much fun. I felt like I wanted to get out there and run.

Congratulations to all of the Trail Mix runners!

Topaz is going crazy. He needs a good run; running circles around the trampoline and following me on my bike is just not enough for him. He needs his fix. So do I. Tomorrow we'll go for my first post race run. The swelling in my feet is down, my blisters are healing and I'm anxious to get out there.

I need to train running down hills. I'm not confident enough to bomb down the hills, I take these silly mincy steps down, it does me no good. Next Sunday I'm going to head to Afton to do some down hill running.

So, this is what I'm thinking about...a few weeks ago when I was having fun at Zumbro, Pierre and John were talking about me running Arrowhead 135. I was only thinking, barely, thinking about running it, and only because Scott had tried it and mentioned that I should. Well, with Pierre and John talking about it with me, and Pierre saying he'd get a sled ready for me, and John saying he had a sleeping bag I could borrow, and that I should give it a try, well, hell, before I knew it I was really thinking about it. And I let them know. I have been thinking HARD about it ever since.

Today Pierre and John were talking about it again, and yeah, I said I'd run it. Ahha. Run the freaking Arrowhead 135. In February. Shit. I don't even like the winter. The longest I run in the winter is the Northwoods Snowshoe Marathon in under 6 hours. I will have to pull a sled for the whole race. It took John 53 hours. YEAH, 53 hours. And he's a fast tough guy. I'm not. I'm a slow girly girl.

I've never even done any winter camping. I know nothing about it. I guess there is only one way to find out...

I will. I'll learn, I'll train and with a little help from my friends; I'll do it.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Recovering..

Thank you for all of the kind comments, I appreciate them. Just know, you can do this too. All it takes is focus and training. You can do anything you set your mind to, anything that you feel passionate for.

I have a passion for running and for pushing myself as far as I can go. How far can I push myself..how strong am I mentally and physically? I am not sure. Of course, the addicted/obsessive/compulsive thing going on helps a lot too!

My muscle soreness has gone away. I am able to get up and down stairs. My blisters are healing; they are draining a bit. The ones on the bottom won't allow my foot to set evenly on the floor. My toes curve upward but it's OK. I'm lucky that I haven't had any injuries while ramping up my high mileage weeks. I didn't know if my body would stand up to it. It did, for that I am thankful.

I didn't even make it to run club last night. I was going to go and chat a bit but took the boys to the batting cages instead and then went for a 5 mile bike ride. It felt good to move my legs a bit and it didn't hurt my feet at all.

This Saturday is the Trail Mix 50K. I always loved running Trail Mix, but the last two years have run McNaughton the week before. Last year I went to Trail Mix to watch Ann run her first 50K. I can't believe she's really gone.

This year I'll go and watch a bunch of friends run the race. It'll be a good day.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Monday, April 17, 2006


Scott and Julie: Finish Posted by Picasa

Finish Line: John and Scott Posted by Picasa

River Crossing; 10 time for 10 loops Posted by Picasa

Rope Rock Posted by Picasa

Alicia and Julie: The Start Posted by Picasa

Alicia and Julie: Start

  Posted by Picasa

Scott and Alicia; Packet Pick Up

  Posted by Picasa

McNaughton Park Trail Runs: The 100

McNaughton was another excellent adventure.

I feel so very fortunate to have met such wonderful people, to be able to call these people my friends. I wouldn't have so many incredible friends if I hadn't met them through running.

I left home early Friday to pick up Scott Wagner, then Alicia Gordon and finally John Storkamp, before we headed out for Pekin, IL. For a while at John's were weren't so sure when we'd be leaving. My car keys were lost. John eventually suggested we look on the roof, and yes, there they were, we were off and running.

I think the road trip was as much fun as anything else during the weekend. We laughed and laughed..all the way there and all the way back. My abs hurt today. It was fantastic fun..

After numerous stop breaks we managed to arrive at our hotel by 4:00 PM; checked in, and headed over to packet pick up. John and Alicia hadn't seen the trail before so we walked a few miles out and back. We realized how hot and humid it was..instantly. I mean, it was humid and sweat rolling down your chest hot...and we were only walking. Pekin broke a record 89F Friday.

We then chatted with Andy, the Race Director, who I must say puts on a fabulous production. The race is friendly, well organized and fun to run. He had very nice apparel again for the runners. The 30-50 milers received red shirts kind of similar to last year's technical shirts and the 100 milers received a red/black Brooks jacket and hat. Awesome.

By 8:00 we were back in our room, ready to sleep. That was a nice thought, but not one to come to fruition. I couldn't fall asleep. All night long I lay there, awake. I don't think anyone else slept much either. It was a sleepless evening.

4 AM arrived. We packed up the last of our gear, filled bottles and packs, and headed out to the race start. It was warm out already, but the humidity seemed to have vanished. The forecast showed a high of 85F with an 80% chance of night time thunderstorms. I was OK with the heat, but I really didn't want the thunderstorms.

John and Alicia were running the 30 mile, this would be Alicia's first ultra; Scott was pacing me for 50 and I was running the 100. The 30, 50 and 100 all began at 6 AM.

Note: next year there will the 50 and 100 option, only. Andy will not be holding the 30.

Maria Barton was running the 30 mile as well. We chatted with her a bit as we began the first loop but fast as she was, we never saw her again! Maria finished the 30 mile in just over 6 hours..I believe.

I and Alicia were able to run the first loop together. It was cool because at the first section we could see John running fast across the field from us. He was in second place. Speed.

The sun came up, the long sleeved shirts came off and temp rose..within the first loop. The wild flowers were beautiful, the rivers were full and I and Alicia just enjoyed the sights and the conversation around us. It was awesome. We ran along with smiles on our faces...wondering what the day would bring.

In 2:05 we were back at the start and I knew I needed to go out a bit slower than that. It just felt so good, I figured I'd run a few 2:15's then settle into 2:30's and try to eek out whatever I could during the night.

John flew by me, as anticipated, on his way to the finish. I can't imagine to be able to run like that. It looks as though he moves effortlessly and so fast. He finished in 4:15; good for 4th. Congrats, John.

I just kept moving forward, running with Chrissy (XY) Weiss who creates Dirty Girl Gaiters. It was so much to talk with her, this was her 10th 100. She is running Kettle Moraine, Badwater and Wasatch this year. Go girl. We ran together quite a bit during the whole race.

Alicia finished her run in just over 7 (congratulations)! so she, John and Scott went back to the room to clean up. I was worried about them coming back to the race as someone had to drive us home on Sunday. They needed some rest, I wanted them to sleep. They came back to the race though, and catered to my every whim.

Scott began to pace me at mile 50. I came in at 11:45. Alicia filled my bottles, John gave me some potatoes and I and Scott were on our way. He ran up ahead of me and I'd follow, always keeping him in my sights. He pointed out the logs for me and anything else I might trip over. He'd run up ahead at each aid station and get whatever I needed. It was wonderful to have Scott to guide me.

We grabbed our lights for the 60-70 mile loop. John went to get my batteries and guess what? I packed AAA's instead of AA or vise versa. I couldn't believe it. I didn't even have extra batteries. Scott had an extra pack somewhere so I used his. How stupid of me. I did other stupid things as well.

During the 70-80 mile loop my feet were really beginning to blister badly. I had removed the elasticon I wrapped them with earlier because there was so much sand stuck to the tape. The sand was rubbing my skin off. They had been blistering for most of the day, per usual, but the river crossings, the sand, it was all too much for my feet. I don't know why I have such blistering problems. There were 100 miler runners out there who didn't have ANY blisters. Believe me, I asked around. At times it was all that I could think about.

Scott told me we were going to take longer than the usual 1 minute stop at the main aid station. We were going to get food and sit down to eat, he was going to have John and Alicia fix my feet. I figured it was hopeless and I'd just tough it out. I really didn't want to waste time sitting in a chair at the aid station. Alicia brought me food, John removed my gaiters and socks. He applied Vaseline to each toe and across the bottom and told me I'd be fine. He went to get a pair of dry socks that I told him were in my bag. Well, gee, guess I forgot to bring along spare socks too. Good grief. Scott, again, came to the rescue and had a spare pair. After eating and having my feet fixed I felt very good. It was a 20 minute stop, but well worth it. The next loop I was able to move along.

I found out later that John just told me that my feet were fine; in reality he knew they were falling apart, but didn't want to freak me out any more. Good move on his part.

Next loop and the thunderstorm hit. It was cold and windy and the rain fell hard. The trail turned to a muddy mess. The hills that were difficult to get up and down while dry were almost impossible for me. I would usually get off the trail a bit and find a way next to the trail to navigate that was covered in leaves and sticks. My feet were throbbing. The blisters were popping and new ones were arriving.

The aid station volunteers were all smiles, offering us whatever we could possible want. Andy was at the start finish, high fiving us every time we ran through. He'd announce our arrival each loop. It was incredible fun. The endorphins were at an all time high. It was one huge party, if running is your kind of fun!

The sun finally came up and we were running our last loop. Thank God. This 100 mile run was all fine and fun, but it would be awesome to just be finished. My feet hurt more than they ever have. 7 blisters popped that last loop. I knew I had to just suck it up and stop complaining about them. Complaining wasn't going to make the blisters feel better. Scott told me to disassociate with the pain, let it go. I did. I pretended that they no longer hurt.

Chrissy had hung with us for a few more loops. Scott told me I could finish in 27 something and could probably place third but that I had to hammer. I told him I didn't have any hammer left and I didn't care where I placed. I just wanted to finish. He knows me better than that. I had told him months ago that my goal was to beat my PR prior and that 27 something would be incredible.. After I pouted a few minutes I realized that I did need to hammer. He was right. I did want 27 something, I wanted a PR and last year I ran this in 29:07. I got it together, told myself my feet were fine, hell, it was only blisters, not a stress fracture of PF or anything. Get moving girl and stop whining. Run on.

I did. I ran as fast as I could. Scott ran up ahead of me and told me to hammer harder. OK, I'm thinking, I'm hammering harder!! Finally, we were at the last section. 3 miles to the finish. I felt a huge blister across the ball of my foot and just prayed that it wouldn't pop before I got there. Just let it hold on until I reach the end. The popping is too painful.

As I came into the finish Scott told me to remove my pack, jacket and garbage bag for a rain jacket. I felt like a pack mule; I was so tired of carrying all of this stuff around my waist for the past 27 hours. Scott collected my things and I ran on in, Scott following. Tears ran down my cheek as I realized I was finally done. I had made it, I was able to finish in 27 something and the blister on the ball of my foot was still in one piece.

Andy announced my arrival; John and Alicia were right there, it was incredible. John and Alicia barely slept all night. They were there to cater to Scott and I, each time we came into the start finish. Just so I could run a 100 miles at McNaughton.

Friends like this don't get any better.

Scott was correct, he did get me in at 27 hours and I did get woman's third. I think my time was 27:27 or 27:37 but I could be wrong. I didn't really look at the clock. Thank you Scott.

We took pictures and hung out, I drank multiple Diet Pepsi's and coffee. Eventually I was shaking so much so we went back to the hotel for a shower before heading home.

Alicia removed my socks and shoes. My feet are shocking. I've never seen them this blistered and beat up. We were still laughing though. John took pictures of the 101 blisters and Scott said I needed to send them to Jon Vonhoff ( Book: Fixing Your Feet) to teach me how to care for my feet! But seriously, I need to know how to beat this whole blister thing. It could cost me a 100.

What a crazy road trip home. We realized that I had been awake over 70 hours but I was just too ramped up to doze off. The endorphins were still flowing freely. After dropping off John, Alicia and Scott; I did arrive safely at home last night. I didn't have the energy to climb the stairs to bed so camped out on the couch.

I'll probably be hitting the couch quite a bit today.

Alicia, Scott and John: Thank You.

I have a few pictures to post; John is going to send me some more. When I receive I will post.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Pre-McNaughton

I just checked the weather forecast for Pekin, IL: 88F with chance of thunderstorms and wind. Wowza. That could be a bit difficult. I love warm but am not quite ready for it yet. I have only run in shorts 2x this year-both this week. On the plus side, I may look forward to the night running with the break in temperature. But thundertorms..that would kind of suck. Naw, it will be A-OK. Positive thinking, you know!

This week has been all about tapering. I and Topaz went for a few walks in the woods, one trail run and last night I ran with run club. It was 70F and felt hot. I'm definately not acclimated to heat.

Steve and the boys will be spending the weekend on frozen pizzas, pot pies and tv dinners. They love when I leave and they get to eat junk food. It usually doesn't enter the house.

I am feeling a bit guilty about being away during Easter. We are coloring eggs tonight, I'll have the Easter baskets all ready for Steve to hide. We still do the whole bunny thing. I baked a Bun Bun cake last night that I have been making for 14 years. I will post a picture of it, it's so cute and I finally loaded my camera software; again.

Tonight I'll pack and clean out my car. We're taking my vehicle as it gets the best gas mileage of the 4 (Honda CRV) and there is enough room for all. Scott is going to drive it. Tomorrow I head out around 530 AM.

Over and Out!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Grand Slam

One of my goals is to run the Grand Slam of ultra running. 4 100 miles races in 8 weeks. Vermont, Western States, Leadville and Wasatch make up the 4.

Yesterday I met with a woman who has run the Grand Slam. She is the only woman from Minnesota to have finished the series. I had met Wendy this past winter, only saying hi and congratulations on running the GS, can we meet someday for lunch to discuss?

We were finally able to work out our schedules to meet for lunch yesterday. Wendy brought her photo albums of the races that her pacers/friends and hubby took. They were wonderful. She had friends from MN that travelled with her to each race.

We spoke for 2.5 hours and I could have asked a zillion more questions but my goodness, it was time for us to go home!

She told me that in her opinion, most of the people that are able to finish the GS run sub 4 hour marathons. She told me that in her opion, speed training is of great importance. I agree. You have to have quick leg turnover, you have to beat the cut- offs. 3 of the races are a 30 hour time limit, Wasatch is 36.

She loves Leadville, it is in her blood. She'll run it again and HIGHLY recommends the training weekend offered; as well as the training weekend for Western States.

It was awesome to speak with her. I like to have someone from who I can learn and talk with about these races; a mentor. We'll be keeping in contact and will be traveling to/running a few races together.

I am just runnng 3-5 miles on the trail this week; taking it easy. I'm being careful with my calories so I don't gain during this low exercise week. I haven't lifted weights for 2 weeks and it feels like my biceps left me. I'm anxious to run the race and get back into training mode.

Superior 50K is May 20. I think I'm going to race this one.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Play Ball!

The baseball season for the Minnesota Twins began Tuesday. We lost, buy hey, we won last night.

I love baseball. I love everything about it. I love going to the games - even though we have the old huge outdated, bad turf, metrodome. I still love going there to watch the games. I dream of new venue with a retractable roof. I love watching on TV and I love listening to the Twins on the radio.

They rock.

Twins Baseball offers different season packages. We have a 22 game package, our first game is their home opener, next Tuesday. I can't wait!

Both Tyler and Troy play baseball. 4 nights out of the week that's where we are..sitting on the baseball fields. Tyler plays school ball and summer ball; Troy only has the summer ball option.

One of Tyler's tournaments is during Grandmas Marathon weekend. I may only spend one night in Duluth so I can get back quickly for his Saturday night game.

Today is a 3 mile trail with Topaz..then book club at Don Pablo's. I should check out their menu online so I know what I'm in for. We read the book My Dog Marley. It was very good.

Play Ball !

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Tapering... :<

I used to enjoy tapering when I first began training for, and running, marathons. I enjoyed cutting back the mileage and thinking about the big day ahead. I felt I really deserved the decrease in mileage and savored the break.

Not anymore. I hate tapering. It's boring and it makes me feel lazy. I want to do speed work and tempo runs and lift. I'm not. No speed work, no tempo, no lifting. Just a few 3-5 mile runs on the trail.

Instead of run club tonight I opted for a quiet run with Topaz. I was all 'people-ed" out. I had enough stimulation from the human race at school today. I just wanted woods, water and quiet.

My run tonight was all about that. I saw a few deer, a few raccoons, the bluebirds are back, the water is open..and I wore shorts. The first shorts run of the season.

It's 61 degrees outside and all is well. Even if I am tapering..

Monday, April 03, 2006

Sloppy!

I awoke Sunday morning to a thunderstorm. A raging thunderstorm; thunder, lightening and pouring rain. I stretched my legs, did ankle circles under the covers; nothing hurt from yesterday's hills.

I really didn't have to go out in that cold rain. I should taper shortly. I ran 8 hours yesterday; I have nothing to gain by going out in the cold rain for a few hours.

But can I even imagine not beginning a Sunday morning without a run? What would I do while everyone slept? Clean house, do laundry? Great fun.

Well, just take the morning off. Be a normal person.

After I decided I wasn't going to go out in the rain I did do some laundry and I did write a grocery list. I pulled out some clean clothes and headed for the shower.

Topaz nosed his way into the bathroom. As I began to run the shower water he showed me his sad eyes and his chin almost drooping to the floor. He wanted to run. He didn't get to run on Saturday since I was out frolicking with my friends.

Oh Pup!

I softly said "Ok, Tope, let's go for a run" Oh the joy! For both of us. I was happy, I knew how I was going to begin my day, and Topaz was beyond thrilled.

Into my running clothes, out to the car..brrr..cold and wet and driving rain. Oh well. It could rain all day at McNaughton.

Not a soul was on the trail. I and Topaz ran for 3 hours in the cold driving rain. I had a cap on, yes, I became soaked through, but still..a great start to the day. One that I am accustomed to.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Zumbro Bottoms Fat Ass Run

Today Larry Pederson, Race Director Extrordinare, held the ZBFA run. I believe this is the 4th year he has put on this wonderful run. Larry lives in Zumbro Falls, and about 20 minutes from his home is the Zumbro River Bottoms.

A "Fat Ass" run is one without a timer, entry fees, may or may not have aid or prizes. It's a group of people getting together to run..purely for fun.

The run today began whenever you wanted it to. Larry stated that the run wouldn't be timed so you could begin at 7 or later.

I set my alarm for 3 AM; headed out by 430 and still didn't arrive by 7AM. I arrived about 720. There were others milling about the 'assembly' area. Some had headed out, and some were still arriving.

The assembly area is near the river, down at the bottom of the bluffs, with outhouses and picnic tables. Larry had maps out of three different loops he had marked; the pink loop was 10 miles, the green loop was 7 miles and the orange loop was 7 miles. I think. I may have it confused by now. I was confused while I was running it!

If you ran 3 loops plus another of the 7 you'd have approximately 50K.

I was OK with running any distance. McNaughton is only 2 weeks out, I could train or not, at this point it really doesn't matter. I didn't care if I ran 10 or 30.

I, Maria and Greg grabbed the orange River loop maps and we were off.

Oh my gosh! We became turned around within the first mile! This loop was along the river, in the marshes and wetlands. We waded through the river-but made Greg go first incase it was over his head! He is much taller than I and Maria, and went right up past his thigh! Marie and I opted to follow the river a bit further down and cross where it looked to be knee height. Good practice for McNaughton as we cross 3 river crossings every 10 mile loop.

We ended up running most of this loop in reverse, as we somehow messed up the route. I was very thankful to be running with others. We think our 7 mile run on this loop was more like 10 miles as we kept missing turns and re-running the route. Or maybe that is just wishful thinking...

We ran back to the assembly area, filled our bottles, I grabbed a banana, chatted with others for a while, we grabbed a map of the pink route. OH! This was a beautiful 10 mile section.

Away from the river, we ran up up up the bluffs. The scenery was fantastic. The trails were pretty dry-there were some real real muddy and slippery sections, but the most part it was very good. Especially after we just ran that wet river section.

Larry had marked some bushwacking along the trail. We went straight down a bluff, I don't think it was even a deer trail, it was just Larry having fun with us. Down we went, straight down the incline with burrs and shrub and mud. We did have fun too.

Back down down down the bluff, down to the river bottom, just when I didn't think we could go any further down; down we would go. It was incredible. Then up up up the river bluff, to the top of the world. The overlooks were incredible!

We ran back to the assembly..didn't get turned around at all during the pink loop and then grabbed maps for the green section and off we went.

The green section went up even higher than the pink. We were on top of the bluffs and could see the river below, the farms, it was amazing. We didn't get lost on this loop either. We just had a fabulous run.

Back at the assembly we decided 27 some miles was enough. We sat around the fire and visited with about 10 other runner friends. We all talked about the trails, all of the work Larry puts into this just for us to have some fun, and how much fun we had.

We spoke of other races to come this summer, what are goals are, who is running what.


What an awesome day. It was wonderful to see everyone one again and to get that first spring long run in!