Friday, September 29, 2006

Minnesota Twins!

Yeah Baby! They won in the 10th inning last night! Troy had football until 8 so I missed the first few innings; but the game went on to 10 innings so I was able to watch plenty! Glad I didn't fall asleep..

We have tickets for tonight's game, we'll be at the Dome..to take on Chicago White Sox..Rock On Twins!! Maybe I'll make a Circle Me sign. Or not.

(Thanks for the nudge anon..thought I better post something on the TWINS :)

I'm reading Chi Running. Have you read it yet? I would have liked to take the seminar last Saturday in St. Paul, but instead I was being made into a Princess. It was my day at Juut Salonspa..hair, waxing, massage, etc. It was wonderful. But, I didn't make the seminar on Chi Running. I'm hoping to make an October date.

Last night while running I was practicing my Chi. I'm not very good at it yet, but it is very interesting. I'm practicing posture, the form, the strengthening execises and such. Now I'm looking for Tai' Chi classes in the area. You know, there isn't a whole lot to choose from out here in Big Lake. Looks like I'll have to go a bit south for classes.

Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday! The weather looks good: 50's at start, clear, 60's at finish. I need a 3:50 for Boston but am thinking a nice long training run may be a better plan. I'll see how a 3:50 feels the first few miles and adjust from there.

GO TWINS!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ultracentric 24 Hour

I've decided to enter the race. The Ultracentric 6-12-24-48 hour races, in Grapevine Texas.

I ran 116.8 at FANS 24 hour run in Minneapolis in June, so figured..why not try running that mileage again?

I have two long asphalt training runs coming up: Twin Cities Marathon is on Sunday and the Ed Fitz 100K is two weeks later. Both are great training runs for the 24 hour race.

I'm thinking it was meant to be.

At the Ultracentric (www.ultracentric.net) races the 24 Hour USA Team will be selected. Top men and women will make up the team. The "A" team will run 125+ miles for women, the "B" team will run 115+ miles.

I'm sure that the top notch 24/48 hour runners will be there, it will be pretty awesome to watch..and to run with some of them.

I'm stepping WWWWAAAYYYYY out of my comfort zone. I've never travelled out of state, alone, to a race venue before. I am going to fly into Dallas on Friday, November 17, run the 18th-19, and fly back home the 19th. Dallas is only a few miles from the race venue, so I won't have too far to travel back and forth.

I had already planned on being out of town this weekend because I was going to run with the Inov 8 Team at JFK. Since our team wasn't able to get together at JFK, this will work perfectly!

+++++

Last night I wasn't able to attend Run Club. I had an early township board meeting. I ran 5 miles with Topaz on the trail. I didn't feel like I had much energy..kind of strange.

Today I ran 5 on trail with Topaz in the AM, tonight will be 5 at the football practice.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Just Checkin' In

This recovery week is going very well. All of the swelling is down, I'm back to running.

Monday I went to the gym during Troy's football practice and lifted chest/bicep/tricep very heavy. It went well and felt good to be back in the gym. It's been a while!

Tuesday I went to Troy's football game, but they had a 45 minute practice prior so I hit the Monti asphalt trail-it was a new route and lots of fun. I stretched out my legs after my run, the back of my knee and calves are still super tight. I don't know what it up with that.

Wednesday I debated about run club. I didn't know if I could keep up and wasn't sure about the asphalt 2x in a row on tired legs. I'm glad I went! I received a warm welcome and a good job for 77 miles welcome! I and Curt ran the route together in 41 minutes. I felt very, very good. Another good stretching session aftewards.

Thursday I ran around the neighborhood for 5 miles with Topaz in the dark. Not a fun run, but good to be out and feel like I'm a runner again.

Today I'll run on the trail with Topaz..I hope the rain lets up..and am thinking I'll hit the gym for legs. Or not. We'll see.

I heard from a member of the woman's team for JFK; apparently Connie Garder (who was going to be a member) is going to run the Ultracentric 24 hour in TX on the same day, so our team fell apart. It doesn't look like I'll be going to JFK; bummer. BUT...I am thinking about Ultracentric 24 hour. Why not? It's near the Dallas airport-it's the same weekend that I've already planned on being away..and I had a great 24 hour not too long ago. This is a qualifier for the USA Team so there will be top notch runners there. How cool would that be??

Sunday, September 17, 2006

..And On the Seventh Day..She Ran..

What a relaxing weekend I've had. Yesterday Troy had a 1000 football game; I slept in and then we went to the game. His team lost, but they had a great game. Afterward, it was sunny out and the craving for the woods came on quite strong. I and Topaz went out to the trail. We walked 5 miles, I felt tired but it was good to stretch out my legs and actually move a bit. I was finally able to get my shoes over my feet; the swelling and blistering has gone down quite a bit.

The rest of the afternoon I just hung out at home. I helped Steve stain the deck..a very little bit..and moved some black dirt around for my perennial garden. I still haven't finished up that project. I printed off Sheila's stretching routine and stretched for 20 minutes.

I finally unpacked my drop bags from the race. I didn't want to feel the hope that I had while packing them, I didn't want to go there again. After talking with Maria, that's where I went, to unpack them and unload those emotions. It was good and it was good to move on.

This morning I awoke early, my body must have finally had enough rest. I pulled on my running shorts and filled up a few bottles. I and Topaz went to the trail. And I ran. It felt so good. I smiled and laughed and was happy to be out there. Rain and all. It was glorious. I talked to God and thanked him for allowing me to run Superior as far as I did and was grateful that I wasn't injured and that I felt like myself again. I ran 5 miles and then walked 3.

Mid week I told the boys we were going to go to Church this Sunday. I just am not much into Church; I have never made it a priority. I was raised Catholic, married in a Catholic Church and had both boys baptized and made their first communions in our Catholic Church. But the last few years I have disagreed with the Catholic ministry. I don't believe that women shouldn't be able to minister and I don't believe that minister's should have to be celibate. Those are only a few disagreements I have with the Catholic religion.

Last year Tyler went to the Riverside Alliance Church, because a few of his very good friends attend there and enjoyed the youth program. When I saw how excited he was over it (he even went to a church youth camp) I decided I and Troy would come along to Church as well. I went for a few weeks, enjoyed the Church very much, was a bit surprised at how different in was from the Catholic Church, but enjoyed the change. Then I became busy with other things (running Sunday's) and just let it go.

Today we attended and I found it a wonderful experience, again. It was interesting. The Pastor was speaking about being 'mournful'. He stated that to "mourn" means that we stop trying to cover up our messes, our guilt and our pain on the inside. He asked us to bring our pain to the outside, to acknowledge it and to be real. To be real about what is going on in our lives, to let people know how we feel and to know of the mess we feel inside, that to feel this openness and this mournfulness is a blessing.

He stated that we will experience God's love, comfort and grace when we are real about our hurts, our pain and our discouragement inside.

Isn't that awesome? That is JUST what I have been doing!

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Perfect Mile (Neal Bascomb)

While running Superior last week; I, Maria, Jerry and Stuart were speaking of Dean K and Pam Reed. We all had read Ultramarathon Man and enjoyed it, I was giving a recap of the Pam Reed book and then stated I had finished reading The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb. Jerry was in the process of reading the title, so I didn't give too much away.

This is a National Bestseller, it gives one hope and that feeling "YES, I CAN DEFY ALL ODDS". I think that is why it is a Bestseller. Who doesn't want to feel hopeful..and you know, if he/she/they can do it..why can't I?

That's the feeling I get whenever someone will tell me they can't run or they can't quit smoking or they can't lose weight. HELLO! If I can, you can too.

This story took me much longer to read than the last two. The story is very very indepth. I really came to know Wes Santee, a Kansas farm boy; Roger Bannister, an English medical student and John Landy, an Australian rich boy.

The three men were out to break the 4 minute mile barrier. This story tells of their lives as children, high school students and college/military men. We learn of their coaches and their training procedures, their Olympic dreams and battles, their races against one another.

I found myself wanting Wes, the Kansas boy, to be the first to break the 4 minute mile. He truly believed he could. He had no doubt.

This story takes place in the early 1950's; before steroids and such were invented. They plain old eat well and work hard. It's an amazing story.

One by one, each man gets closer to the 4 minute mile barrier. Each man breaks the barrier..again and again they chisel away at it. It makes the reader realize that we set our own limitations. If we open our minds to what we really want, and to what we really believe..be careful..you might just get it!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Turning The Corner...

Thanks for your patience of me, of my ranting and raving and calling myself a failure. I'm now learning from my experience at the race and turning the corner. It only takes some time to put everything into perspective.

My swelling is going down, I managed to pee and sweat off four pounds of bloat last night. Robin, a friend of mine from Leanness Lifestyle, reminded me to use Glutamine. I did last night before going to bed, and what a difference I felt this morning. Glutamine helps to repair damaged tissue and muscle cells. Gee, I think I have a bit of that going on inside. Wouldn't it be awesome to see what running these ultras does to the cells and muscles; then to be able to watch the repair process. I've been eating plenty of lean proteins to help with the repair. Much of the pain has lessened today. I know it isn't only because of the Glutamine but I know that this did help. I'll continue using.

I'm realizing that my experience at Superior was a gift to me. All of my running expereinces are gifts. Yes, even the DNF's. Probably more the DNF's than anything else. This was a huge learning experience. I learned more about myself than I probably ever have and I did have a lot of fun. I'm not quite ready to share all that I have learned of myself.

I know that part of the reason I'm not recoving as well as I could is due to my fuel. I have become 'carb phobic'. I know that when Coach Dave at Leanness Lifestyle suggested I look into Paleo Eating For Athletes, I was all for it. LL works in conjunction with PEFA. Then I began to get sloppy with it, I became less careful of adding the good carbs in (sweet potato, recovery drinks with glucose/fruit/protein powder/juice)after hard efforts. I didn't eat the recovery diet as I should. I usually feel nausous after a hard effort of 6 + hours and usually don't eat afterward for quite some time. I was done with Superior in the early afternoon of Saturday, after working hard for 30 hours and didn't eat until Sunday morning. This is probably a reason for my delayed recovery start. This is a wake up call to me, another learning experience. For some to look at my diet, it is pretty damn clean. But I'm ready to bring it up a notch. To eat the 5 stages/windows with PEFA prescribes. The same way Joe Friel trains his athletes. I'll recover more quickly and be ready for the next workout fueled and ready to go. I'm eating Stage 5 now as I recover and will follow PEFA very very tightly. My first long workout will be Twin Cities Marathon in 2.5 weeks and I will have my recovery food ready in a cooler post race.

During the race I was able to spend a LOT of time with some new acquaintances (Stuart and Jerry are a few) and strengthen new friendship, such as with Maria. We really spent a lot of great hours together. It was only the last few that were grin and bear it!

Not reaching my goal at Superior will not break me, nor stop me from trying again. The anger that I feel over not reaching my goal will fuel my fire for the next time. I wouldn't have tried this race if it hadn't been a challenge. I knew it would challenge me to my capacity; I enjoy challenges.

I felt so very defeated on Saturday and Sunday. I felt like I had failed myself and that I had wholly let myself down. I couldn't stop crying because I hurt so badly inside. I wasn't worried about what others thought; I don't put much into what others think of me. But to let myself down, that was a huge disapointment.

I've had a hell of a year, I've progressed more than I even though I could. And next year, I'll kick Superior's Ass.

I received an email from a person that has been reading my blog for a while. She attached this message to the email that she read in Runner's World:

"I HAD THE CHOICE TO DECIDE WHETHER RUNNING WAS GOING TO BE AN ACTIVITY THAT ENHANCED MY LIFE OR JUST ONE MORE AREA IN MY LIFE IN WHICH I WASN'T ABLE TO LIVE UP TO MY OWN UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS. I CHOSE TO VIEW RUNNING - ANY RUNNING - AS A GIFT.

I love to run. It is a gift, the joy I feel while doing so is uncomparable to anything.

Run On!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Rest, Recovery, Re-Evaluate and Rehash

Thank you for all of the nice comments you left for me. Who knew a person could find such support online by strangers..and even some of my in person friends left comments. Thanks Bonnie and Dallas!

Phil, I'm sorry about the PF, but you are right. Those 5 mile cliff runs are worth more than the 50 mile trail race. You'll get that one eventually but you don't want to risk the daily runs. They are what will keep you sane.

Olga and Rob, thanks for talking about me during your run on Sunday. I like that! I can't wait to meet you guys in person.

Donna Rae and some of her friends were betting on my finishing time. Donna bet I'd get 30 hours. Thanks for having that confidence in me DR! Sorry you lost the bet!

So my legs are still not working, it looks like I have no knees nor ankles, just a lot of water bloat from the muscle stress I suppose, salt and carb bloat. It will just take time to go down. The blisters are there, I'm wearing my Molaci Montrail slides to work with dress pants. My Principal keeps asking me to race him! Pretty funny, actually.

Steve is out of town for work until Friday so I am not cooking big dinners. I'm resting and reading. Luckily neither boys had practice last night and tonight elections are held so the games were cancelled. More couch time. I and the boys are eating salads with grilled lean meats. It's good for them, too, but they are tiring of it. Maybe I'll cave in and let them have Subway tonight.

I'm rehashing and re-evaluating the race. I'm deciphering what I've learned and planning the future.

Of course I keep thinking I should have tried hobbling to the next aid station, maybe I would have been better in 8 miles. Then I remember I thought that at the previous 3 aid stations and didn't get better.

I think what I could have done in training is more back to back long runs. Long run Saturday followed by a long run on Sunday with lots of walking mixed in to mimick the walking on tired legs for day 2 of the 100. Maybe some night runs on the Superior Hiking Trail. I think for the 50K next year up there in May, I'll run the 50K Saturday and go out and run another 20 on Sunday with lots of walking.

But then..I went and mailed in my Western States application last week. After this DNF, I don't think I would have done that. I probably would have waited a bit or not entered at all yet this year. But maybe there is a reason I applied so early? I don't know.

The Lottery for WS is held the first Saturday in December. If I get in, I'll make my plan there. Do I go for the Grand Slam? A very experienced Slammer is of the opinion I should. He told me each 100 is training for the next and that Wasatch is tough, but mostly mental tough and that he would help me with the mental training. Again, I have until December before I make my plans.

If I do get into WS, Maria had offered to attend the Memorial Weekend training camp with me, and pace me at WS, and Doug offered to crew. Doug may have had enough of crewing after Suuperior! Again, these are just the thoughts careening through my mind and I won't know for months if I need to make any decisions about WS and the GS and these plans were spoke of before Superior.

And should anything change because I DNF'd at Superior?

I learned alot about myself at Superior. I have a dark side. It came out up there. I am still learning about myself as I'm trying to put this whole experience into perspective.

Kerry Owens, who won the woman's race told me after the race 'word out on the trail was that Julie Berg overtrained' Why would people even bother talking about me out there? And talk about my training? I didn't talk about another person's traning out there or there performance. Maybe posting my training here isn't the wisest thing. Or maybe I just don't like critisism relating to my training. I didn't think that would bother me, but it does. I told Kerry I didn't believe over training was a reason for a DNF. I told her I didn't believe in over training. Wouldn't the reason that I didn't finish be because I WASN'T trained enough? She told me that would be her guess. She told me she agreed with me, she believe over training was an excuse people liked to use. I talked to her for a very long time. We went over my training and hers, I'm anxious to speak with her on the telephone soon.

Next run for me is Twin Cities Marathon in a few weeks, October 1. I don't think I'll push it much, this will be a training run for the Ed Fitz 100K a few weeks later. I love Ed Fitz. It's a relay and a solo ultra. Not many enter the ultra but there are many teams that participate. My Big Lake Run Club is going to have 2 teams. Fun Fun. I have posted a race report from last years Ed Fitz on the side bar. Lots of fun.

Originally I wanted to run TCM in 3:45 to qualify for Boston. I have the speed work in and all, but don't think after Superior I'll have the push. We'll see. Play it by ear I guess.

So that is where I am today. Who knows where I'll be tomorrow..

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Pre Race Party: Maria, Colleen, Julie

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Me and Maria; Start

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Maria, Aid Station 2

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Aid Station #2

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Bean Lake

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Stuart, Maria and Jerry

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Setting Sun

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Duke won the Marathon!

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Superior Sawtooth 100 Mile Race Report

I didn't realize how nervous I was until I left all four of my drop bags and home, after I had left, for Lutsen. I had decided to return home, as I left my vitamins and hair conditioner behind. I walked into the laundry room, and there were my drop bags. Oh. No!

Thursday night was wonderful. I met Doug and Maria at their lodge cabin to head over to Two Harbors for Larry's race briefing and pasta dinner. It was so great to meet the other 30 runners, eat pasta, breadsticks and salad and see the awesome swag for completing the race. A Brooks red jacket and belt buckle that had color, plus all race entrants received a very nice tshirt.

Larry told us that because the group was small and intimate, he'd like to do something he used to do at his earlier races. I am thinking 'what the hell is he going to have us do?'. He had each racer get up and introduce themselves, then state a bit of their running background. It was a real nice ice breaker, a way to put faces to names and a great introduction.

Back to Lutsen, I phoned phone to check on the boys' football games and then headed to sleep. I actually slept very well, only waking a few times to make sure it wasn't 5 AM. The race began at 8 AM so we had plenty of rest time.

Doug and Maria picked me up at 6 and off to Gooseberry Falls we went for the start. It was cool and misty, but not raining. The forecast was getting better each day with only 20% chance or rain during the race but very cold. Lows in the low 30's for Friday night. I was glad I had my winter clothing packed in a drop bag.

We had a good hour to mill around, go to the bathroom too many times, visit and take pictures. Then it was show time. We were off at 8:00.

Even though I and Maria had been training on the Superior Hiking Trail together quite a bit, we never made a commitment to run the race with one another. That's a tough commitment for me to make. I was very pleased though when it became apparent that we were going to run this race at the same pace as our training runs.

We ran together for 65 or so miles!

The first aid stations were spaced far apart. 9.9 miles, 10.1 miles, long hauls without food. The trail is so primitive that car access isn't available in many areas. The aid/supplies for station 1 had to be hauled in by the volunteers. You would have never known that, they had everything very well stocked.

I saw Don Clark, a mentor of sorts to me, a very experienced ultra runner. I was so excited. I gave him a big hug and said "it's here Don, the race is finally here." I was super stoked. Had my 3 bottles filled with Hammer Heed, grabbed a sandwich and a Salted Nut Roll to put in my shorts for later and headed for aid station 2.

The trail is relentless up and down, rocky and rooty and just plain old damn tough. But beautiful. So very beautiful. We covered the rocky section that I hated most of all sections during the training, but while picking our way through it this time it didn't seem so bad. It was raining last time I ran through it, that is probably why.

Maria and I picked up two other runners that we ended up running most of the race with: Jerry from Missouri, it was his 51 Bday, and his 4th attempt at Superior. He had 1 finish but got his second yesterday in 31 hours! Awesome. Also, Stuart from Kansas City was with us, he was attempting his 10th finish!! 10th! He got it too. Amazing!

We made a train through the woods, running, talking, just enjoying each others company. I felt very lucky to be running with some experienced runners.

Darkness fell upon us, we turned on our lights and man, it was a whole different race. Maria asked if all the roots and rocks would go recess into the ground now that the sun went down. I wish!

We reached 50 miles only 40 minutes faster than our training time. I don't think we ran any faster, I think our aid station time was less. We were very pleased with our pace.

Larry had told me that a section near Sonju Lake was what he thought the worse section would be. Now I agree. We ran - no walked - through it in the dark. It is a low cedar tree area, just full of millions of tree roots. Some spots I couldn't find foot placement, so walked upon the roots and could feel my blisters on the bottom of my foot pop.

Yeah. The blisters were back, with a vegenance. They made up for the lost time, when I didn't receive any from Superior 50K through Voyageur 50 Mile. My feet are raw on the bottom and a few toes.

There were miles of this cedar tree root crap. We just kept plugging along. We noticed that we were all feeling tight in the shoulders/neck and realized it was from looking down at our feet so intensely, and holding the light downward to see. You couldn't stretch out while walking or you would go down immediately. Stop to stretch. Stop to take a drink from my bottle as my head had to tilt back and I couldn't see the roots. Crazy. I would love to watch the winners go through this area. I know they go a lot quicker than we did! It would be great to see how they do it.

Eventually we made our way through and man did it get cold! We were told by Mike and Shelly at an aid station that Larry went through at 11 PM and said it was 36F. We saw Mike and Shelly after midnight and I think it was cooler than that by then!

I put on long pants, another jacket, gloves and a hat. I was still freezing! At another aid station I grabbed a pair of my socks and put them over my hands but was still shaking uncontrollably. This made me so angry. I was afraid I'd become hypothermic due to my own stupidity of not packing enough warm clothing.

During the walking of the night time hours, Chris and Bob hooked up with us. Chris led our merry train of runners through one section, telling us rhymes such. It was a lot of fun. We now had a train of 6-8 runners. It was wonderful not going through the night alone, one of my fears before the race began.

The walking and cold took it's toll on my legs. I was thinking that maybe all of the walking would restful, that went the sun came up I'd feel well rested. Not. I felt worse. The back of my knees became sore; something I'd never felt before. Then I could feel that pain extend into my hamstrings and down into my calves. I tried stretching at each aid station and I just wasn't loosening up.

I and Maria stopped to pee and our train went up ahead. I and Maria were slowing. Chris was still leading us, but she was waiting for us to catch up quite a bit. As we came into the next aid station our train was just leaving. I knew we were in trouble. I re-lubbed up my painful feet. A heel blister popped so I salved up that, the arches were popping. I didn't look very closely. There was nothing I could do about it. I tried stretching out and my legs were like cement.

Bob switched with Chris and headed out with I and Maria. We had the Manitou River crossing ahead of us. It was still dark, we would be crossing in the darkness, in the water as the bridge had been removed for replacement the week prior and no new bridge was yet constructed.

Bob and Maria were moving better than I. I was taking mincing steps, 2 inches in stride, moving from my hips as my knees would no longer bend and my calves and hamstrings were cement. Shit. I've never felt this before! Go away pain! The blisters I can handle, this I was having a hard time with.

Bob felt concerned about leaving me in the dark. He came back to me and explained that he was there to pace Maria, that he told her he would get her through months ago. I knew that. I was lucky to have had Maria most of the race. I told him I totally understood, please don't feel responsible for me. He was so sweet. As they left me he would yell out : 'See my light, you take a hard right at the bottom of the curve' It was very nice of him.

It was dark. Total darkness. Lucky for me it was about 430 AM so I knew daylight would be coming soon. Thank god. It took me forever and a day to get to the river.

I came to the river crossing and there was a guy there to help me out. He took my hand and guide me across the dry rocks. But I couldn't bend my knees. He did a good job for me and I feel into the river anyway, hitting my head on a rock. Shit. Maybe it'd knock the leg pain away? Not so. He apologized, I apologized, told him it certainly wasn't his fault!! Thanks and I'm on my way..

As I was going up the relentless climb out of the river I saw Bob and Maria. They didn't see any markers so thought maybe they went the wrong way. Maria was sure they must have taken a wrong turn. I was too tired to worry about it. I heard Bob say that he thought they were on track so I just kept on trucking. Bob once led me out of Superior 50 mile through the dark. I would have never made it without him. I'll do whatever he says!

I followed Maria and Bob for a while, then took some more Advil, even though not even 4 hours had passed, and felt some pain in my legs subside. I was able to shuffle a bit, so went out in front and didn't see them again. The sun came up so at least I could see where the hell I was going. I wished my energy would come up too. Not to happen.

As I came across Caribou river I could smell pancakes from the aid station. They smelled good, but then my stomach turned as I though about eating them. I puked. I've never been sick during a race. Great. Just what I need. I'm finally shuffling and now I'm barfing and I'm doing the frankenstine walk again. Damn.

When I got into the aid station the pancakes still looked good so I had one, and it wasn't a good thing to do...

The next aid station was another 2.5 miles. I tried to shuffle but was reduced to walking with my hips, straight legged. I couldn't get down hills, I had to drop onto my butt and scooch down the rocky hills. I was trying to figure out how long I could do this.

I came into the next aid station, with a shuffle, I didn't want them to see my gait. I put some lube on one foot, I couldn't get the other shoe off, my foot was too swollen and sore of the blister fiasco. A very kind woman gave me a peanut butter sandwich in a baggie and I was on my way. I forced out a shuffle, a smile and laugh and hobbled across the road. 6 miles to Cramer Road.

Longest 6 miles of my life. I went 1.5 miles in 1 hour. I was on my butt scooching down the rocky hills when a woman out for a trail hike found me. She was very worried about me, asked if I had broken my leg, I tried explaining what I was doing..she couldn't figure out why I was trying to RUN a 100 mile race and I just gave up. She asked if she could help, I told her no and continued to scooch down the hill. Joe Lovett came across me next. He had DNF'd at Superior 100 last year and was out for retribution. He looked great, he passed me like I was standing still. Oh, I was! He finished too!

Eventually the sweeps, Don Clark and his son Joe, came upon me. Apparently Don had been behind me for a while, watching and assessing my condition. He helped me to stretch and told me I had to decide what I was going to do about continuing this race before the next aid station. I couldn't believe I was contemplating dropping from the race. I had never ever ever thought that I would quit. Until the last few hours, it was all I was thinking about. Was I going to be able to resurrect myself? Would my legs get energy back? This was one of the three 100's that I wanted to do this year. Was I willing to give up that goal? I put on my sunglasses and tried to cry quietly and I was thinking out all of these thoughts. God, I was a failure!! I didn't have the mental strength to push my broken body through another 23 miles. Could I do this walk thing for another 23 miles? I figured this race may take me the whole 38 hours but never did I think I would drop.

I did. 77 miles in. It took so long for me to get to the next aid station, I was dead last and I was dead. My legs had given out on me. Maria had dropped a few aid stations before. Shit pie. 1.5 miles an hour was not going to get me to the finish. Would it get better?

Neither of us finished.

It's the hardest decision I have made. But it was the right one. I was afraid I'd injure my knees, calves or hamstrings and not be able to run again. What if I couldn't go for the 5 mile runs with Topaz each day? That's what I love. That's what I love more than a finish of a hundred mile race. I love to run. I couldn't let Superior stop that. Or, is that a cop out I kept asking? I didn't know. I still don't.

It was awful to come into the aid station where many of my friends working the station were at. John, Alicia, Maynard, Rick, Linda, Bonnie; they were all there. I was done. I was stunned. This race beat me.

There was another guy there, from Minneapolis, that dropped as well. Rick and Don and Joe drove us back to the hotel. We felt like we were going to a funeral.

Back at the hotel I collapsed in my room. I couldn't move. I pulled myself to the shower and tried to clean up. Everything ached. I was afraid I pulled everything in my legs. They are dead.

I sat out at the finish line and watched the runners come in from the marathon and 50 mile and then later in the evening, the 100 miles. It was wonderful to see them cross the finish line.

Kudos to Al Holtz - who just ran CCC 100 two weeks ago! He was in our train for a while and he finished in fine form. And Kathy Weix, who only decided at the pasta dinner to run the 100-she finished too.

I spoke with the winner woman, Kerry Owens, from Washinton, DC. She ran Massanutten and came in third there. She told me Superior was more difficult that Massanutten. The winner male finished in 21. He won Massanutten in 20 hours. Amazing. It was wonderful to watch everyone finish the race.

I think 34 were entered and roughly 18 finished the race. I was getting too cold to watch the last finishers come in but I was there in spirit!

As I was packing my stuff this morning I began to wonder how in the world I was going to get my stuff up three flights of stairs to my car. I put everything out in the hallway and began the trek. Much to my delight, Scott and John appeared. John carried all of my stuff to the car. And I sobbed on Scott's shoulder. I couldn't help it. He gave me a hug and all of my emotions came pouring out. How embarassing.

This morning we all gathered at Betty's Pies for breakfast. I saw Kathy and began to cry. Again. I'm way to emotional about this. I was so happy for her, so had happy tears for her, and so sad that I didn't finish. She was just kind and began to cry and said she was so sorry I didn't finish. She has 6 100 finishes now.

I had a difficult time driving home. I needed to use my hands to move my leg to press upon the gas or break. My knees still don't want to bend. It's not all bad though. I have to take this as a learning experience and turn the negative into a positive.

I need to rest, regroup and lick my wounds. I'll be fine. It isn't everything. But damn, it's much better to feel this pain when there are buckles and finishing jackets in the mix!!

And next year..I'll finish that race!

Monday, September 04, 2006

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzz......

My body is definitely catching up on any sleep it may have been deprived of during these last few months of training and racing.

Since I am tapering I am not up at 430 AM for 20-30 mile runs. I'm laying in bed, sleeping.

Friday night I packed my running bag, set the alarm for 430 and went to bed at 930 and read for a while. I was planning on meeting my ultra buddies at Afton State Park.

At 430 I awoke, listened to the rain, thought about the articles I read the previous night by Francesca Conte, Catra Corbett, Bethany Hunter and Ann Trason; all stated how important extra sleep is the week prior to racing a 100 mile run, and promptly turned off the alarm and dug deeper into my down comforter. I awoke at 930. I haven't slept until 930 since I was doing hangovers. Incredible.

I awoke, cleaned house, (and it is still clean as the 'boys' went to the lake and I opted to stay home-scrumptious!)and headed over to Macy's for some back to work shopping for myself. I bought a new fall/winter wardrobe-all in a smaller size. Thank you Leanness Lifestyle!

Anyway, when I arrived home it was raining, the Twins were losing..and I took a nap on the couch with Toffee, my Ragdoll Cat. I slept for another 2 hours!

Again, last night I crawled into my wonderfully empty Select Comfort King bed, with Toffee (I sent Topaz to the lake too..he loves it there..and I miss him), at 930, read the Superior Hiking Trail book with my pace chart so I could visualize where I will be and when, and slept until 900! Holy man!

This morning I put on my clothing that I am wearing while running Superior 100, put on my run pack with bottles, an additional hand held for the first 50, camera, iPod, flashlight, batteries and all I'll be carrying, and headed out for a short 5 mile run. After moving some items around from pack to short pockets, to pouches I became comfortable. I meditated while running down the trail; thinking about the race, visualizing the run, crying but I'm not sure why; excitement, being in total awe, fear, welling up of emotion I guess. It was wonderful.

I've realized that I'm totally fine with not having a pacer. I've turned what I thought was a negative, into a positive. I've spoke with many that have run the 100 at Superior without pacer or crew and did fine. Many are running the race this year without pacer or crew. I probably won't have the luxury of a pacer/crew while I attempt the Grand Slam so this will be good practice. I've meditated, visualized..and SLEPT!

I'm ready.