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Let It Snow..Let It Snow..Let It Snow

Interesting that my last post was all about heat and sun and warm running. Not so today. The forecasters had been talking about a storm for our area all week long. I figured it was all hype and we'd be lucky to get a few inches.

I ran the Monticello hilly asphalt yesterday; luckily the snow was only starting and the roads were fine. The route didn't beat me up quite as much as it normally does. I finished in less than 4 hours and felt OK.

Spent the afternoon at the movies and relaxed the evening away, watching the snow accumulate.

Today as I stepped out the front door I couldn't see our front steps. We received 15" of snow. Yippee! No, I don't really care for winter, but it is near the end of the season and a good old fashioned snow storm is just fun.

I had to wait for Steve to plow the drive before I took off to the trail. I grabbed my snowshoes and headed out. It was a bumpy ride but well worth it. Topaz and I ran 10 miles in deep deep snow. No one had broke the trail, I was wading through the snow with my snowshoes. Topaz had to jump-run and consumed copious amounts of water as I offered it to him. Normally he doesn't want any water while winter running. Today was hard work! After arriving home I jumped on the treadmill for another 10..and promptly felt exhausted! I reached my weekly mileage though..snowstorm and all.

This afternoon I became one of my children. We went outside to play, following Topaz' tracks on our hands and knees, through the woods and brush. It was crazy fun! I held my tongue and didn't complain about my cold knees.

McNaughton 100 is only 7 weeks out. I need to get in a 50 mile training run-probably in two weeks.

I am not able to get June 1 off (the last day of school) for Kettle 100 so I will be running FANS again this summer. This year I am not afraid of the race though, that is a nice change!

Now I think I will take a cat-nap.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Heat-wave

Really! The forecast for this week in MN is 35-40F! ABOVE ZERO. Finally! If you haven't lived the past 6 weeks at below freezing you don't know how miserable it really is. I'm sick of warming up my car for 10 minutes and still climbing into it cold. I'm sick of the 'Minnesota Hunch' (squishing one's shoulders up into their neck..and why?) , sick of three pair of pants, three shirts and a jacket for running, sick and tired of being cold cold cold.

Minnesota weather is all about the wind chill in the winter..really..it makes a HUGE difference in comfort..and the dew point in the summer. I don't complain about heat and humidity. I love it, the warmer..the better. I love going to Florida and Jamaica. I'm not too crazy about going to Alaska. Even in the summer.

Because it is Presidents Day today, the boys and I have it off. Yippee. Topaz and I hit the trail for 15 miles..it just felt so good to feel warm air..a blistering 29F and a light wind. I saw a robin! It was fabulous.

When Maria and I ran on Saturday around the lakes we saw a group of 5 or so robins in a frozen apple tree. They were big and fat. A sure sign of spring!

I'm been re-arranging my summer race schedule. The boys were very noncommital about the 50K in Superior. They don't care if they come along, kind of like been there done that, whatever, we really don't want to go..so I decided I'll do Ice Age 50 Mile instead that weekend. I'd like to do the Kettle Morraine 100 a few weeks later, on roughly the same trail, so I guess Ice Age makes more sense. I have run the course 3 times in the past and it really is a fun race. A 50 mile will serve me better than a 50K at that point. Now I only need to be able to get the last day of school off, which is when I'd leave for Kettle. That could be problematic. If it is, I'll settle for FANS the following day. I don't need any time off for FANS.

I also added another race, Vermont 100 Mile! It is held on July 21, a week before Voyaguer 50 mile, so I won't be doing that one for the first time in my ultra running experience. Ah well, I need to try some new races. Vermont will be Alicia's first 100, I'm so happy to get to experience it with her. I've never flown into a race destination before, I'm very excited! We'll arrive Thursday and head home on Monday. Woohoo!

I'm thinking the week before Vermont 100 I could do a slow Voyaguer Half. It begins at the finish of V 50 and goes back to Carlton. Dogs are allowed, I could bring Topaz - if it isn't too warm - and take it nice and easy, lots of walking, in preperation for Vermont. We'll see. I wouldn't want to push it so close to Vermont and it would be great fun to do a race with Topaz. I'd spend plenty of time in the river and at the aid stations.

The boys have baseball registration tonight; another sure sign that spring is around the corner. I purchased our Twins tickets today as well, another sure sign!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

50K Minneapolis Lakes Run

When I registered for the Physco Wyco 50K in Kansas I thought 'yippee, I won't need to do a 50K AND a 50 Mile around the Minneapolis Lakes in preparation for McNaughton 100' Well, that didn't hold out, as I wasn't able to take part in the PW.

I'm ok running about 20 miles on the Blue Hill Trail this time of the year. It is snow covered and icy; very uneven. Over 20 miles and I am just wore out from trying to navigate the trail. It is slow going and takes forever. For my Bday I did 42 miles out there and it took forever. I can't get any leg turnover on the snow and ice.

So this morning I headed off to the Minneapolis Lakes for a 50K training run. Maria offered to join me for 10 miles, so we met up at the Lake Harriet Bandshell at 8 AM. Luckily I left home in plenty of time, as I wasn't paying attention and ended up in Eden Prairie on a frontage road next to the Minnesota Vikings training center. Good grief.

The wind was whipping. On the way to Harriet I heard on the radio that it was 13F with a -4 wind chill. I was thankful I brought around my Turtle Fur neck gaiter that stretches to my hair line and wondering if one pair of pants was going to be enough. Thankfully, one pair was fine.

At 8:00 we headed into the wind. Brrr! There weren't many other runners out today, there were a good number of couples, walking hand in hand around the lake. Maria and I chatted around the first loop of Harriet-Calhoun-Isles, quite quickly, before I knew it we were back at Harriet. Luckily for me, Maria felt amazingly well, only a week after PW and decided to run Harriet with me again. Yeah! After the loop we parted way. Maria headed for home, I headed for my car for a refill of Heed and my iPod. I had only consumed 12 oz for the 2.5 hours we were out there, not nearly enough. I am just not thirsty in cold weather. I know that I should be drinking more, but I do not. I wasn't hungry at all either. I had ONE gel the whole damn 50K.

For the second loop of the three lakes I became bored. Mentally. I struggled. I knew part of it was because I wasn't fueling as I should be, I wasn't drinking as I should be. I was watching people in love holding hands and talking and smiling..and I was all alone. God, I felt lonely! How odd that I was thinking this way. Finally I switched on my iPod and quit grumbling to myself. You know, a big part of ultra running is mental. Really. My body wasn't tired, wasn't in pain, but my mind wanted negative thoughts. At one point, at Lake of the Isles, I was watching two Border Collies run as fast as they could in front of their human, who was skiing across the lake. I cried. I missed Topaz. See, crazy..and low fuel will bring on sadness. Finally I quit crying and laughed at myself.

I let Ozzie Osbourne and Black Sabbath occupy my head. I sang along and cruised back to Harriet, ready to begin loop three. I ducked into the biffy for a few minutes, out of the wind, sucked back a gel and was thankful that I didn't head back to my car and drive away. I had actually entertained the thought, back on loop two. I told myself that I was here to run a 50K, that training for an ultra at this point is more mental than physical and how great I would feel when I was finished. Did I want to run well at McNaughton or did I want to pack it in now. The choice was mine.

I bucked up, smiled and laughed at myself and off I went, around Harriet, around Calhoun and up to Isle. I like Lake of the Isles best. There is a dog park, a skating rink and a ski path across the lake. The scenery is very pretty and the homes, my gosh, who lives in those mega million dollar homes? I can't imagine.

I was feeling good. Mentally I was back in, glad the bad patch was over. As I came back up to Calhoun I could smile again. In order to make it a 50K I ran two more Harriets and called it a day.

Only 60 oz of Heed today, my biceps are a bit tender to the touch, as they are whenever I am dehydrated. My jacket had a layer of ice in it and my face was numb. But I was happy! I did what I had planned to do. I'm a bit closer to my goal.

If the trail doesn't clear in a few weeks I'll be doing a 50 mile around the lakes. I hope the trail clears!

I was back at my sister's in Zimmerman by 4:00, in time to pick up Troy. Then he let me know he wanted to spend the night. Oh well. We had a nice visit.

Tomorrow Topaz will get in his run.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I LOVE Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I love red, I love chocolate, I love cake...all of it. It's not just receiving these items..it's about giving them, too.

The boys woke up to heart shaped pancakes .. yes, I'm silly .. with whipping creme and chocolate shavings. They only snickered, but I know they like it. I've created Valentine breakfasts for them since they could chew.

Then it was chocolate for breakfast dessert, and the cake will wait until after school.

Last night we created Valentine bags for all of Troy's classmates. It will be the last class Valentine party, as he moves onto Middle School next year.

Topaz received a heart shaped milk bone biscuit and Toffee received his smelly salmon breakfast shaped as a heart. I'm a geek, but a romantic one!

Steve left me a gift certificate for a full body massage at Aveda, I think I'll schedule that appointment soon!

Enjoy Valentine's Day today.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Running in the SUNSHINE :)

Yesterday morning I went into the basement to run 10 miles on the treadmill. McNaughton training is here! The race is only 8 weeks out. It was boring. The iPod podcasts and music didn't excite me much. Topaz whined at my feet, sad that we weren't on the trail.

Yesterday afternoon it was 7F!! Oh Wow! 7 ABOVE zero. The sun was out, the wind was whipping but I was heading for the woods. It was wonderful...to feel the sun on my face, to feel the wind in my hair. I wasn't covered with material from head to toe. I loved pulling my neck gaitor OFF of my face and onto my neck. Oh, how wonderful. Oh Joy! We ran 10 miles, AND it was DAYLIGHT when we finished. It's been a long time.

Spring will be here soon :)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Mother Nature: Taking Her Arrowhead Entrants

It looks like the cold weather has taken it's toll on our Arrowhead 135 Winter Ultramarathon runners. She's one cold bitch. Last update at 2 PM today had 18 runners/skiers and bikers left in the race out of the 49 that had begun. Now there are even less.

I just can't imagine running this distance in this cold weather. Your water is going to be frozen, you are carrying a stove with you, do you keep stopping to thaw the water? Do you have enough frozen food? Can you really generate enough heat to stay warm..you need to walk..you must freeze while walking. We all know what it is like to have your sweat freeze..to cool off so quickly you feel frozen. Well, hello, during the night the wind chill was -60's WTF i say WTF? How do you do this?

I can't believe I was contemplating such a thing. I must have been having a good high confidence day. I haven't had one of those since I crashed and burned at Superior. Shit. I'll get it back, eventually. Now, I'm just struggling.

So, Scott was finished with his race at 38 miles and Pierre, Race Director, suffered frost bite and dropped at 74 miles. John Storkamp, last year's winner, dropped at 74 miles. I'm sure it was a tough decision, but a damn smart one. I don't know where John Taylor dropped, it was at about midnight last night. CONGRATULATIONS to all of you guys..for the effort you gave..man, I'm in awe to each and every one of you. I'm proud of you all. I can not wait to hear about your adventures.

Treadmillin'

Yeah, lots of treadmillin' this weekend. Saturday morning I looked at the thermometer and read -21F. I didn't look at the wind chill. The trees were swaying back and forth so yeah, it was cold. I and Topaz headed out for 10 miles..that was enough. I was cold and slow, he was fine. There was NOT one other person out on the trail. Topaz was moving quickly, rounding up deer and chasing them back and forth. I was moving like molasses, feeling like the Michelin (sp) Man. I decided to bag the outdoor run after 10 miles and finish another 10 on the treadmill. Topaz wasn't too happy about that, he stood by the treadmill and whined at me.

Troy had two basketball games in Dassell-Cokato Saturday afternoon; both were tied in the last seconds and Big Lake lost both. Tough games!

Sunday..still cold. I took Topaz out for only 8 and then ran 12 on the treadmill. The boys complained that I was stinking up the basement while they were playing XBOX 360. Poor poor boys! Good grief.

Last night when I was at the gym, running on the eliptical, treadmill and stair stepper, I was thinking about John, John, Pierre and Scott running Arrowhead. O lord. It was -38 on Monday's start with windchills in the -60's. I just can't imagine. As it became dark I told Troy "right now, those four are looking at the same stars and moon that we are. It is -30F and they have been running for 12 hours..they have 38 hours to go" Tough boys. I said a prayer for them. To be safe, to be warm and to finish. I hope there is an update online soon.

Today is a balmy -1F. A heatwave! I and Topaz headed out for 8 in the neighborhood, it didn't feel too bad. Tonight during Tyler's guitar lesson I'll go to the gym for sprints on their treadmills.

Looking forward to reaching freezing...

Friday, February 02, 2007

Arrowhead 135 Winter Ultramarathon

This morning, with the full moon in her splendor glory, Topaz and I ran 8 miles through the neighborhood and down the gravel roads. It was cold! His drool froze to his whiskers. My drool froze to my face. A beautiful picture.

As my butt was becoming numb, I thought about John, Scott and Pierre, who will be running the Arrowhead 135 Winter Ultramarathon. The race begins on Monday at 7 AM and closes on Wednesday at 7 PM. It begins in International Falls and finishes in Tower. The entrants can choose to ski, ice bike or run. The runners have to pull all of their aid and clothing in a sled, fastened to the waist. I'm thanking my lucky starts that I decided not to run. Brrrr. OK, I'm a baby.

It is supposed to be -30F, or colder, during the race. There is only one race checkpoint with hot soup and aid. Oh. Boy. Go get 'em!