Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Weekend at the Lake

Saturday morning we headed up north to the cabin on Lake Vermilion. It rained all the way up there, all weekend long, but we had a beautiful sunny drive on the way home.

Steve did a lot of fishing; caught a bunch of walleye and northern, Lukas caught a 13" crappie! He was pretty excited, he's in 2nd grade, his enthusiasm was contagious. But not contagious enough to get me out fishing. I am definitely a fair weather fisherman. Well, actually, I'm an 80 degree, sunny fisherman. Anything else, forget it.

I did get a lot of running in. Dad and Steve dropped me off at shore before they fished each morning. I ran lots of hills along the shoreline. I felt like it was good training for Vermont. As I ran near an old landfill, which is now closed, I saw a group of 12 turkey vultures. They were not a pretty sight!

On a sad note, my Mom's ovarian cancer seems to have reoccur ed. She was diagnosed with Stage 3, 3 years ago, next month. She had surgery and a course of 6 chemo sessions. For the past two years she's been 'cancer free'. Last week her CA125 was increased and upon a CTScan the Dr. did see two suspicious masses. One near her abdomen and one near her lower pelvic region. Her Dr. at the Mayo Hospital in Rochester should be calling today to schedule surgery this week. I'll be heading down to Rochester sometime this week, just not sure when.

I will have my ovary scan again next month. Since Mom was diagnosed I and my sister have an ultrasound every 6 months and a CA125. We might be scheduling full blown hysterectomy's soon. Our future isn't looking so bright on the cancer front. My Grandmother and an aunt have passed away from Ovarian as well...

So, this week is a mini taper for FANS on Saturday. I'm running each day for a few miles, a lifting session, walks with Topaz on the trail..not a whole lot. Just awaiting the Day of Fun.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

More Rain Running

Today Troy and me are heading out to the Minnesota Zoo with 30 other Fifth Graders and many of their parents. It seems like just last year when I went on this field trip with my now, 9th Grade son, Tyler. I can't believe 4 years have passed. It is a rainy, cloudy, cool day today. There are many exhibits inside but we really enjoy the outdoor paths. I have our rain jackets packed so we can catch a glimpse of the outdoor exhibits.

Tuesday afternoon, after work, Topaz and me quickly headed to the trail for a run before Tyler's baseball game scheduled for 400. About 3 miles into the run the thunder and lightening, wind, darkness and rain hit. Even some hail, which hurt very badly! I still had 2 miles to the trail head so just kept my head down and kept on running. The worse part was getting into my car and soaking the seat all the way home. I quickly changed clothing and caught Tyler's first game. Troy had a game at 630, with a 45 minute warm up. During his warm up I ran on the road, and guess what, more rain. I left my car unlocked with instructions for him to duck into it if the sky opened up. By the time I made it to the field the sky was calm and they were ready to begin the game.

Yesterday...same thing! More running in the rain. During the second downpour I opted for the gym to lift shoulders and stair stepper before heading out to the boy's away games. I'm having difficulty building my shoulders any more than they are. They have stopped growing. I'm sore this morning, any hints on growing my shoulders? Tonight I'll run and lift biceps. The legs won't be worked with weights until post FANS.

OK, off to the Zoo..

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Road Running

I had to loosen the purse strings on Sunday to purchase a pair of road shoes. I haven't purchased a pair of running shoes in a year, since the inception of the Inov-8 sponsorship. I tried a pair of Inov-8 trail shoes on the road and they didn't work real well. I went back to the same favorite road shoe of mine, Asics Gel Kayano. Man, at $135 a pop, I'm glad that I don't do a whole bunch of road running! I usually bring it on the road early summer for FANS training and late fall for Ed Fitz 100 K. One pair of road shoes can last me a whole year.

This week is all about running on the road. Yesterday I first ran trail with Topaz, then hit the road. It will be the same story most of the week. I ran Lake Nokomis, where FANS is held, on Saturday, it went well. I'll probably head out there again before going up to the lake for the weekend.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Recovery/Taper/Both at the Same Time

I'm feeling all recovered and ready to go! I've had a few nice slow runs on the soft trail, a couple workouts at the gym. Nothing hurts, no lasting fatigue. At times I can't believe I broke 10 hours and at other times I can't believe I almost let it go. I'm so thankful that I hung in there and reached my goal.

The mosquitoes have hatched. I didn't have any OFF in the car as I have been living in the frozen tundra for so long..but when I ran on Monday in the 81F nice, humid temperature I quickly remembered about mosquitoes on the trail. Sheesh. They were big and biting hard. Needless to say, the next day I had the OFF on. (good word play, hu?)

I'm picking off 30-50 woodticks from Topaz each day. The collar doesn't work and Frontline makes him vomit. I'll be glad when the ticks slow down in a few weeks. I have to laugh when co workers freak out over one or two ticks. Everyone has a different sense of what 'normal' is. Mine is warped!

I am putting together a wonderfully fun weekend for August 10-12. If you scroll down the sidebar and hit July 06 you'll see our Beta Run on the Superior Hiking Trail. It was a complete blast, so much so that I couldn't let summer pass without a Beta 2. So far 11 people have shown interest in the weekend. Maria and I are again training to run the Superior Sawtooth 100 in September. This time for the Beta we are planning a night run. We'll head out Friday PM and run to Saturday Noon or so. After our run we'll be able to enjoy the home and lake shore and the lovely sunshine and great food. Woohoo! I'm trying to talk Steve into it, hell, there is a pool table and everything! How could someone NOT want to come along? Check out this place: http://66.77.168.114/rns/search/propertydetail.aspx?ID=2 take the virtual tour, it has everything we could possibly need, plus some! I am SOOO excited :)

FANS is only two weeks out. The list of entrants is growing. I'm looking forward to it very much. Last year I was so afraid of FANS, after I left the previous year at 50 miles. Then last year I had a banner run at FANS, so this year I'm not afraid. I'm ready to have another year like last year. If it rains, it won't be a banner year! I love to run in the sun.

This weekend is looking relaxing. Steve is heading up to the lake; I'm going to do a lot of gardening, Troy has a baseball game tonight, Tyler has a game tomorrow so I'll be sitting in a chair enjoying the games and the sun. Olga mailed me the Zane Grey 50 Mile tape so I'll be watching that this weekend, too. (Yes, today I noticed the LINK bar up there..I'm slow..or is it blonde?) Nice way to spend the weekend. I'll get a run in at Nokomis and some time on the trail. It's all good :)

OH...and I have only a few weeks left to work before summer vacation. You know, when I wear nothing but running clothing and swimsuits for 10 weeks and run to my hearts content and become a Border Collie like Topaz? Yeah, that.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Another Fine Ice Age 50 Mile Trail Run Adventure

All week long I've been excited to run Ice Age, for many reason. One reason: most of my friends would be running too and we were all going to be staying in the same hotel; Second Reason: I had a time goal, I didn't know if I could pull it off; 10 hours? Shit man, never done that. 10 hours for 50 miles was my 'gold standard' since I first began this crazy world of ultras. Remember, my first 50 was at Ice Age took me 11:59, my second 50 which was at Voyaguer took me over 14 freaking hours. So, in my mind, since my first 50 in 2003, 10 hours for 50 miles was as incredible as a Boston Qualifier for me. 3: This was 50 miles, not 100. The McNaughton 100 was only a few weeks ago and was still very fresh in my mind. The cold, the rain, the mud, the messed up breathing, the pain, the pure exhaustion, all of that. I was looking forward to *only* (and how messed up is that thinking) 50 miles and no nighttime running, no flashlights, not having to eat a meal while running, oh yeah, it was looking very good in the weather forecasts too. High of 67 and SUNNY. Perfect. Perfect.

I did worry about whether or not I was recovered from McNaughton 100. I tried not to think about it too much. Until later in the race, I thought about nothing BUT that.

I left after Troy hit the bus on Friday morning for Tom and Nancy's. We then picked up Alicia at her place and met up with Jason, Jeffrey and Kevin. We headed on down to Whitewater WI and arrived near 430 to check into our hotel and head over to packet pickup. I saw Maria's van in the lot at the hotel but when I called her room she and Doug had already headed over to packet pick up.

I didn't recognize any faces at the pick up. We headed over to a restaurant in the town where we were staying. It wasn't very good. I ordered a pasta sampler that was as huge as could be with spaghetti, bow ties and rigatoni and three buttery oily sauces. Blech.

Back to the hotel where Alicia and I put together our drop bags and clothing for the next day. This is where I always begin to get nervous. As I put together my things for the race, and think that I have to wake up at 330 AM, yeah, it makes me nervous.

At 2 AM I woke up to a funny sounding alarm. I looked at the clock, nope, not time to wake up yet, I looked at my watch, no, not my watch. I looked at Alicia in bed, hey! That is where the sound was coming from, her watch! After a bit her watch stopped and Alicia never woke up! 330 came quickly. We were up milling around, eating our breakfast and getting ready to head out.

Tom, Nancy, Alicia and I headed over to the race. Pretty soon Doug and Maria arrived, then we saw Jeffrey, Jason and Kevin arrive. It was cold out, well, it was 43, it felt cold out. We huddled in the car, keeping warm, Alicia and I sitting on the car seat warmers. Nice! 545 and we decided we needed to place our drop bags in the appropriate place and get in line. Brrr.

1 2 3 go! And we're off. All the doubts and worries go away and I'm left running. Running hard. I was hoping to make the 9 mile stretch and arrive back to the start/finish at 1:35, so push, run hard, go girl. I did. I didn't talk much, I saw Travis and talked a bit, but was trying to focus and work out my fears and kinks and trying to get into my rhythm. I didn't have my iPod on yet, I had it in my bag to pick up at 9 miles. I was ready for it already. Travis went on and I didn't see him again until I reached the out and backs. We had a great time talking and hanging out after the race. I was even able tomeet his wife before the race start. Blogger has made a smaller world for ultrarunners!

As I approached the start/finish at 9 miles I looked at my watch. I'm such a bad pacer. Watch read 1:23. Well, that's a little too fast. It made me a little nervous, but, I figured if I began to slow I would just have a slower race. I never make up any time by going out slowly, and picking it up later. I'm tired later. I thought back to the last two Voyaguer's where Jeffrey has paced me quickly through the first sections. We fly through there and it has never bit me in the butt. I just get a faster finishing time. OK, not worried anymore. Just take off the long sleeved shirt, get iPod, a few gels and move on out.

I didn't recognize anyone. I did notice that the people I was running with were much leaner and quicker than groups that I sometime run with at races. Am I going too fast again? I haven't a clue. I didn't make any pace chart or figure out where I wanted to be when. I figured I wanted to be at the 26 mile mark in 5 hours and that was the end of my thinking this out.

I was surprised to see Nancy, who was crewing for Tom, at the aid stations. I thought Tom would be way ahead of me and figured Nancy would leave the AS shortly upon his going through, to meet him at the next stop. Am I ahead of Tom? Do I dare think so? I knew Tom was going to run sub 10. Am I on target for that?

I saw Matt and told him I wanted to run 10; he told me I was going faster than 10, no problem. Well, yeah, but it's like 20 miles in, you know, a hell of a long way to go.

Well, low and behold as I turned around at the second out and back stretch, I caught my first glimpse of who was where. Tom was a few minutes in back of me. This gave me hope. I knew that he knew how to run this thing. I knew he knew pace perfectly. He's run many many Ice Age's and almost all under 10 hours. I spoke with Tom at the next aid station and vowed to keep him in my sights. We had a great time for many miles. I began with him in front of me, maybe 20 feet in front, and I just kept him in view. I was listening to music and wasn't up to talking, so I just kept him in view. Jason was up ahead of Tom for quite some time. Eventually I turned my iPod off and Tom and I began to talk. I asked him about our pace and he told me we were right on. He had no doubts about breaking 10 hours IF WE KEPT THE PACE. That was the big question.

We ran into 26 miles at 4:50 or so. THAT made me happy. 1/2 way to go, I felt good, I hadn't pooped yet so was a bit concerned about that. When would I have to go and would I lose Tom? I began to notice other things as well. My hands. They were not puffy at all. This has never happened to me. They are always puffy when racing. I was drinking SUCCEED. At first I had to plug my nose to drink the first two bottles, the water was soft, sulferey or something. I'm sure that my MN well water would taste horrible to some, and the SUCCEED didn't hide what I thought was a bad water taste. I continued to sip on my 26 oz bottle; making sure to drain almost a whole bottle every hour. I wasn't peeing like usual either. Usual I over-pee. I pee every hour at least and in the final hours every 15 minutes. Well, that wasn't happening with the SUCCEED. Hmmm, maybe Hammer Heed will be replaced with SUCCEED? We'll see.

It was great to run with Tom; he had Nancy at the aid stations and she was a great cheerleader. She had Jason's big professional camera and was taking pictures at every station. I was running bare bellied and a bit self conscious, but who cares? I was hot. I hadn't run with the tattoo I had done last summer without a shirt before so I was getting a lot of comments on that. I was becoming self-conscious but wanted to be comfortable foremost.

Pretty soon we were catching Jason. We plugged along and eventually were running with him. He was running strong. The three of us kept moving. Tom had us running up hills-lots of hills, it was very seldom that Tom walked a hill. I was getting tired. We were 37 miles into the race. We were still on sub 10 hour pace. I was worried about blowing up. I was worried about not holding the pace. I felt like I was going to puke. Do I really want 10 hours? Who the fuck cares? Maybe 10:10 is ok. So, it is still a PR. Hell, 1025 would be a pr, you could do that without killing yourself out here. This is dumb. Maybe I'm not recovered from McNaughton. Yeah, that's a great excuse. Shit. This sucks. I'm a horrible weak runner. 10 hours my ass. What the hell was I thinking?

Then I began to fall. Bam. Down on the roots. Back up. Run a bit more. Play Ozzie Osbourne Crazy Train loud in my ears. So loud that Jason heard it as he was in back of me. Sing loudly to Crazy Train. Take my mind off the tiredness. Shit. Fell again. Jason helped me up. My confidence is going in the tank. Turn off music, concentrate on hitting 40 miles. Where the hell is 40? This is the longest fucking 4.5 miles ever.

Finally. 40 miles. Oh my gosh, 10 miles left. I am so tired. Can I hold on for 10 more miles? We're still on 10 hour pace. Oh my gosh. Keep running, following Tom, he'll help me. If I don't follow Tom I am going to slow down and walk and say fuck this shit.

I have to crap. Damn. Now with all of this falling I have scared the shit out of me. Tom, I have to pull over and finally poop. I go into the woods and am instantly covered with mosquitoes. I haven't even seen a mosquito yet this year. Gee, fine time to find them. I do my business and head back out on the trail. I know that 43 mile aid station is soon, then it is back toward confusion corner. I'll see all my friends again on this little out and back. This lifts me. I'll see my friends. OK, run now. If you were still with Tom and Jason you would be running. They don't walk. OK, run. God, I'm tired. God help me, please, help these negative thoughts to go away and let me hit 10 hours. I really want 10 hours. Tom told me if I didn't hit 10hours I had nothing to blame it on. The weather is perfect. I'm running strong. I've been doing the pace. Go Julie. Go.

TOPAZ!! I yell out loud. I'm struggling. Topaz, all the training miles we've done together. Give me strength. Give me a paw hug and tell me to stop whining and get this done. Topaz! Tears run down my cheeks and I realize I'm almost at the aid station. Thank God.

I'm disoriented. I recognize a woman that comes to me from the aid station but who is she? Lora she says, and this is Bubba. Bubba is running. Lora. I knew someone named Lora was going to be at the 40 mile aid station. She asks someone to take our picture. Lora. I grab some pretzels, more SUCCEED. I look for Tom and Jason and they must have already left. How? I never saw them on the path. They must have left while I was getting my pretzels. I must catch them.

As I run away I remember. Lora Runs! Blogger friend. Oh my gosh, how did I forget? I knew she was going to be working the 40 mile aid station. Good grief! I was able to meet her in person. And Bubba. Run Bubba Run! Ironman blogger going ultra runner. Now it all clicks in place. I am getting ultra brain.

OK, 7 more miles. I run and run and run, trying to catch Jason and Tom. Finally I can see Tom running up a hill in the distance. Of course. He's running a fucking hill. Can I do this anymore? 7 miles. Yeah, you can run 7 miles any day. A man following me asks me if I am falling for him? What? Falling for you? Yeah, you were really falling on the way to the aid station. Oh. Yeah. BAM. I go down again. See, your falling for me again. Shit. I cry again. I can't run. I keep falling. I suck. I'm a sucky weak slow fat runner.

I finally catch Jason and Tom. I'm so happy. Jason is struggling now. He's shuffling his feet, raising lots of dust. How does he not catch his foot on a root? I've lost confidence in my footing and can't believe he isn't falling. Eventually Jason tells me to pass him. Are you sure? Yeah, he's sure. I'm feeling a little better. I know I have to run fast to stick with Tom. Can I? He's running up the damn hills again. Ugh.

If you want 10 hours you have to stick with him. He's going to make it. Tom tells me how many more miles we have to the aid station, then 2.5 miles to the finish. How good does 2.5 miles sound? I want the aid station.

Tom pulls away from me. I can't keep up. He runs up another damn hill. He's strong. Go Tom Go! Go get that 10. I'll try. I try. I try. I keep chugging along. I play my music loud. I listen to Guns N Roses and Black Sabbath. Rock on. Run on. I am strong. I am woman. Hear me fucking roar. ROAR.

The aid station. I fill up a bottle and tell the volunteer "the last Hurrah!" I'm so happy. 2.5 miles. Woohoo! I see Tom running away from the aid station. I follow. I run hard. 28 minutes to go 2.5 miles. Can I? I won't know unless I try. I can smell the barn. Damn, it's coming. GO JULIE. GO. I run, I run as fast as I can. These tired legs are flying. Confusion Corner. I thank the woman who is standing there for her volunteering, I run. I run up the damn hills. This is it hunny. Now or never. I don't have another 50 mile race this year. I have a few 100's a 50K, a 24 hour run. This is it. The day is perfect. Nothing hurts. No advil today, nothing swollen. NO BLISTERS. I pulled a brand new pair of Inov 8 Flyrocks from the box the morning of the race. No Blisters.

I'm with a group of 6-7 people. We're running our asses off. It all comes down to this last mile. We all want a sub 10. I look at my watch. Time is ticking away. How much farther? Don't know. Only 8 minutes left. I can hear the cheering. I turn off the music and run. Run hard. Up another hill. Run it.

Oh my god. The finish line. Oh my god. I have under a minute. I cross one batch of carpets for the timing device and think I'm done. No! Run! Go up to the finish line. Shit. Am I going to break 10?

Julie Berg from Big Lake, MN. 9:59:19.

Oh yeah :)

Tom and Nancy are cheering. The buckle is placed in my hand. I let out a whoop. I did it. Damn, that feels good. Reaching a goal that I didn't know if I had any business in being able to reach.

Lisa Smith Batchen had sent me an email with my workouts and my race strategy. I had rehearsed her tips in my mind. They worked. All of them. Thanks Lisa!

We sat in the sun of the finish line and watched all of our friends finish. Kevin finished in 910! Crazy fast. Pierre and Paul finished a bit later than that, after Tom and I finished Jason came in, and Alicia came in, then Maria and then Jefferey, we had a blast. It was so wonderful to sit there and swap race stories.

I spoke with Travis some more, some people that were at the race came up and introduced themselves tome as they read this blog, I was able to meet Juli Aisters, who I had been emailing earlier. She came in second at the Transcendence 6 day. It was incredible to meet her in person.

Too much fun. As much as running these ultras can suck at times, in those dark moments when you doubt yourself, you dig deep and you get the job done. You keep moving forward, believe in yourself, even when you don't think you deserve to believe in yourself. It's a crazy mental game. Your mind has to be able to reign in the negative thoughts that you will feel during an ultra and change them to the positive. The bad times during the race will make you realize how incredible the good times are.

Friends are a big part of this. What a great weekend. After the 600 finish time we rounded up all of our things, headed to the hotel and went out to a fabulous restaurant. I had a wonderful grilled chicken cesar salad. And a whole lot of fun with my friends :)

Pictures to follow..

Thursday, May 10, 2007

OH YEAH!

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Ready for the Oven

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Chocolate, Egg Mix, Flour and Oreo

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Halved Double Stuff Oreos w/Flour

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Melted Chocolates, Butter

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Oreo Crunch Brownies

Warning: Once you taste one of these bad boys you will never want to create another batch of another brownie. It will always have to be Oreo Crunch. If you ever bring theses brownies anywhere, you will be bringing them to each and every event. Everyone will ask for them.

Andrea posted this recipe on her Tenacity.net website, that is where I found it. It's fab. I have tweaked it a bit over the dozen times I have baked them, this is my version. The recipe didn't call for frosting, but how can you look at a naked brownie? Use you favorite chocolate frosting. Pictures to follow tonight.

OREO CRUNCH BROWNIES

1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 Bag chopped Oreo cookies

Frosting-OR ANY FAVORITE CHOCOLATE FROSTING OF YOUR OWN!
1 C heavy cream
4 T Karo Syrup
1 C unsalted butter
2 T vanilla extract
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips
3 C Powdered Sugar

Frosting Prep:

In small saucepan bring to a boil cream, syrup, butter and vanilla. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Add chocolate chips until almost melted, mix in powdered sugar to thicken. Frost cake when COLD.

Brownie Prep:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour an 9x13 baking pan.

In a heat-proof medium bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, heat butter, chopped semisweet and unsweetened chocolate until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. OR just microwave, this is what I do. It takes about 4 minutes to melt.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, espresso powder, vanilla, and sugar. Blend slightly cooled chocolate mixture into egg mixture; cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture.

In a small bowl, stir chopped Oreos and remaining 1/4 cup flour. Add Oreo mixture to chocolate mixture. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and smooth top with a rubber spatula.

Bake 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted 3 inches from center comes out clean with some crumbs attached; do not overbake. Allow to cool. Refrigerate to get clean cuts.

Frost when COLD with chocolate chip frosting.

Makes 20 big brownies.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Heat Acclimation

Tonight I noticed that Troy's baseball game didn't begin until 630; he was required to be at the field at 545 for a pre-game practice. Well, the boy's youth group is finished until next fall, this meant I could hit run club. Wow, go and see my friends..run 5 miles..enjoy the sun and the 81F. Yahoo Mountain Dew. Then be able to head over to the fields, meet up with Steve and watch Troy play baseball. Great deal.

As I was coming up to the group I told Ken how happy I was with the heat, he asked if I like to run in this stuff? Yeah, I like to do everything in this stuff! I told him I'd remind myself of that when I was sucking wind on the other side of the lake.

Yeah. I was. I was sucking wind. My mind may love the warm temperatures but my body wasn't liking it. Tonight was the first warm weather run of the season for me. It was on the black asphalt, no shade and nary a breeze. Definitely not the tree covered, soft trail that I've been running on lately. I was hot.

Kurt has Superior 50K in two weeks and with Ice Age on Saturday I told him I was going slow. He was going to go slow too. Well, we were sucked into the group of fasties and were running sub 8's. Then realized our error and backed off. And then went faster again. Finally I had to take a walk break. I couldn't talk, my side was aching..sheesh..heat acclimation is beginning. Eventually we finished in 42 minutes. A bit longer than usual for both of us. But that's OK, it was fun to be back out running with the group and it worked into my schedule perfectly. I suppose I should taper for Ice Age? Maybe on Friday.

Off to the baseball game and Troy's team won: 17-12. Oh yeah :)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Ice Age Babbelling

It was 73F today! Sunny and warm. I love it, I love it I tell you. The warmer the better. After running in nothing but rain for days on end I fully enjoyed 10 miles on the trail in the warm sunshine. 10 miles wasn't scheduled for today, but I hadn't received my workouts from Lisa for tomorrow and the next two weeks, so I ran 10 since it was beautiful and tomorrow I have Tylers baseball game at 430 and Troy's at 630. It is possible to get a run or gym workout at 4 AM tomorrow morning, but for good measure, I ran longer today.

As I was running I was thinking about Ice Age and noticed my feet began to feel tired. As I was adding up miles in my head, I realized I have over 400 miles on my Inov 8 Roclites. They are probably wearing out and I wonder if I should try the Flyrocs for Ice Age. I think I may break into a new box tomorrow to give them a try. Ice Age doesn't have all the rocks and roots, the Flyrocs should be fine. But, I should have thought of this a week earlier. My feet still feel a bit achy tonight.

I'm so excited about Ice Age! This was my first 50 mile race a few years ago. I barely made it to the finish in time. I finished only aminute before the cut off. Way to close! I was carrying a 100 oz camelback with everything in it but the kitchen sink. I had no clue! I remember a gal came up to me and told me she was only carrying a handheld with gels in her shorts. I couldn't imagine. She told me she trusted the aid stations and there was no point along the race over 5 miles without aid. Boy, was she right. I was lugging along an additional 28 pounds. Can you believe it? I weighed that damn pack when I was home and yeah, 28 pounds. Plus I was roughly 155 pounds at the time.

Well, the next year I went back to Ice Age with a two bottle back, left the camelback at home and lost a few pounds, finishing in 1057.

I haven't run Ice Age for the past two years, instead I and the family have headed up to Lutsen to run the Superior 50K the following weekend. Because I had originally planned on running the Kettle Moraine 100; but alas, I couldn't get that Friday off of work as it is the last day of school, so I will be running FANS instead. Now I have to top my 116.8 miles there last year! :)

Back to Ice Age, I won't be carrying all the packs and water. A hand held bottle will suffice. I will have a drop bag full of gels. I ate one every 40 minutes during McNaughton and it worked fabulously.

Another thing I'm excited about is car pooling! I normally like to be alone, so have always drove by myself to race venues. But last year I rode to McNaughton with Alicia, Scott and John and had so much fun that I promised myself I could car pool more often. So, for McNaughton this past April I rode with Maria. It was wonderful! Thankfully I rode with Maria, as she had to take care of me on the way home with emergency room and all. Yikes.

I'm going to ride along with Tom, Nancy and Alicia. After Troy gets on the bus on Friday I will head on over to Tom and Nancy's, we'll pick up Alicia and be on our way.

There is a huge group of my ultra running friends who will be at Ice Age this year. I can't wait!

I'm hoping to run a 10 hour race.I don't know if I can; hell, I never have. My fastest 50 mile is Voyaguer last year at 1026. Voyaguer is tougher than Ice Age, and I'm in as good shape, if not better, than I was then, so I think I have a shot. In the past I was always afraid to set a goal other than finishing, but last year I realized that if I don't push toward a higher goal, I don't know what I can really do.

I'm happy that I have lost a few more pounds and am feeling pretty damn good. Tonight I had a great fast, strong run. I felt awesome.

I have a batch of the Oreo Brownies in the oven. Tomorrow I'll post the pics and directions. Warning: you will never want another brownie. They are THAT good. Tomorrow is Nurse Appreciation Day. I work with two nurses at the school, so thought I'd bring in some brownies to show my appreciation of them.

Couch Time!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

My Rhodos are Blooming!

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Baby Purple

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Purple!

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A Night Off !

Boy, Troy doesn't have a baseball practice tonight, Tyler's baseball game is away so I didn't attend (BAD MOM, I KNOW), I have no meetings tonight, I am free!! I went running, played catch with Troy, cleaned up the house and am now doing nothing!

I went shopping last weekend for deck furniture and it was delivered yesterday. I love it! I can't wait for the pool to be filled and clean and sparkly and warm. Tonight I received some big potted geraniums for the deck, it is all looking pretty spiffy.

Last night Topaz and I hit the trail late. Troy and Tyler had baseball, Tyler had church group, I finally reached the trail at 620. I couldn't believe it when I pulled into the lot and saw that there were 8 cars parked. Bird watchers and walkers must use the trail in the evening hours more than early evening/late afternoon. I couldn't believe it. Most of them must have been on their way out as I only saw 3 people.

As Topaz was running out in front of me (of course) he began to pounce up and down in one place. I couldn't figure out what the hell he was doing. Attacking a gopher? Then I heard this hiiissssss...it sounded like a rattle. Oh boy, a bull snake! It was BIG. I haven't seen one in a while and I forgot how they kind of freak me out. I told Topaz to leave it alone and made a big arc through the long grass so I wouldn't have to look at it any more. Well, the snake hardly ever moved from his sunny spot on the trail! I ran 15 miles, passing the same spot 3 times..the snake was still there sunning himself each time! Unreal.

Another wildlife sighting. There is a creek that flows under a bridge. I stop at the bridge during every run, every loop, for Topaz to lie down, cool off and drink. Well, last night a brown something was swimming along in the creek. I don't know what it was. It looked like a big fat, brown rat. With big whiskers. Wow. Needless to say, no camera. Dang.

Tonight wasn't as exciting. Just 8 miles, no wildlife sightings. About 101 wood ticks. And a camera attached to my waist. Hmph.