Sunday, December 31, 2006

Running at the Murph

A few weeks ago my friend Maria (whom I trained with and ran Superior 100) put out a post on the Minnesota Dead Runners Society list asking if anyone was interested in a New Years Eve/Day run at the Murphy Hanrehan Park, near her home. She received responses from a handful of people and an organized run was born.

The plan was to start the run at 8AM for 20.07 (or so) miles. As I posted yesterday, we were in the middle of a torrential downpour. It was still raining HARD at 5 AM this morning when I awoke, and kept pouring for most of our run.

At 745 I pulled into the lot. Shortly thereafter Maria pulled in with her roving aid station. Honest to God, her mini van has been the aid station more times than I can count on one hand. Today she had it stocked with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, orange slices, cookies, cookies and more cookies, salted nut rolls, candy bars, M&M's, potato chips, coke, water and many more items I am sure. Thank you Maria!!!

Scott, Alicia, Lynette and Kevin pulled in with Bob, Chris and Doug following. Shortly thereafter came Les, John and Doug. We had a great turnout!

The temperature stated 42F, the rain was coming down in sheets. The forecast told us that it was going to turn over to snow late morning and that we could receive 5" of snow. THE snowfall of the year, as we've only received like one inch so far.

We took off down the trail, sloshing through the puddles and exclaiming how it sure felt like April. The trail was very very muddy and wet, we were soaked within a few minutes.

The conversation was excellent, it was so wonderful to spend some time on the trail with my friends. I realized I haven't run with people since Ed Fitz. Well, maybe 1 or 2 run clubs since Ed Fitz, but that is it. I enjoyed running with my friends so much today.

We ran 8.5 and came back to the parking lot; refueled and hydrated. A few left for dryer climates and the rest of us took off for another loop. We were all quite chilled as we stood around talking, talking, chewing, chewing for long enough to get cold. Soon enough we were warmed up. I had to take off a shirt as I over-dressed.

I was following Maria closely from behind and slosh! Right into a huge puddle with ice hiding what was below-a few inches of icy water! That is what I get for following too closely :)

Back to the lot for MORE food and MORE drink and MORE conversation until the chills set in we were for more fun and miles.

We ended up seeing one barn owl-that was it for the wildlife. We saw many deer tracks but we were talking so much, I am sure we scared them off before we could reach them.

It was a lot of fun to find out what races we are all going to run next season. A few of us will be running the snowshoe marathon in a few weeks, Les is going to run a 50K in Kansas that Maria and I are thinking we will participate it as well. February 10, I believe.

We were talking about FANS and I stated I finally have that monkey off my back. After a discussion I think I have decided to try Kettle Morraine 100 instead of FANS again this year.

An hour or two before we finished the rain finally turned over to snow. We could feel the temp drop and the winds escalate. I was getting tired.

The Murph is a gem of a park to run in; lots of different trails and routes with a ton of hills! We ended up running 23 miles.

After changing into dry warm clothes in my car I was ready to head for home. In a snowstorm! It was horrible. I saw many accidents and cars in the ditch. I was shaking while driving because I am such a chicken on ice. It was glare ice. With snow on top. It sucked big time. The snow was so heavy that I couldn't see the road, I drove super slow.

At last I arrived home, took a hot shower and decided I did NOT want to go to our friends home another hour away for their party. I would have to do the driving home and I was not up to it. The family agreed and we stayed home to watch another movies. We're liking this NetFlix thing!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

42 Miles for 42 Years

Happy Birthday to Me!

I planned a perfect way to spend the day: on the trail, running 42 miles.

I arranged for the boys to be picked up early by my sister to head to the water park for the day. Steve was going to pick up my car at the trail to have my remote starter installed. I was planning on finishing up by 1 PM, time to shower, grocery shop and get the boys hair cuts upon their return. I let my family know my wish for today was to run long and to spend the night watching movies. What a great birthday!

Cooler was packed with apples, bananas, grapes, cheese, Subway sandwich; I had lots of HEED and water; gels, dry gloves and socks.

At 4AM Topaz and I were ready to roll. The trail was wet, not even icy. At 4 AM it was already 37F outside. Crazy. Cloudy, so very dark. I had my headlamp and a hand held flashlight, spare batteries.

It was so quiet out there, quiet and extremely dark. Topaz is freaky over lights; he kept on trying to herd up my beam. Good grief! He is skittish and the dark shadows freaked him out more than once. I was quite amused while I watching him.

The hours ticked 9 AM I headed out to my car and caught Steve as he was ready to leave for the shop with it. I talked him into walking a loop with me. How could he refuse? I am out there running 42, it is my birthday, all I want is for him to walk a loop with me..he did, and he enjoyed it too. Or, at least he wouldn't let on that he wasn't having a nice walk. He couldn't imagine how I could actually want to go any further, but that is one of the differences between he and I. The more I go, the more I want to go.

I piled all of my stuff from my car to his truck and then refueled and made sure Topaz took in some calories and water. We were all set for a few more hours of running.

I spent all day out there and never saw ONE other person! I am surprised that there aren't many others who use the trail, but I am sure grateful that it is quite private. Of course it began to rain quiet heavily..yeah..rain on December that probably was a deterrent for many.

We finished running right on schedule; no aches or pains, no Advil necessary. I consumed a whole Subway during the day, an apple, banana, a few gels and lots of HEED.

Home to shower and get groceries before the boys and Steve arrived home. After they arrived we fit in the hair cuts, had dinner and then it was movie time. We watched a few episodes of 24 (I bought Tyler the first 4 seasons for his Bday), Mission Impossible III and Super Size Me.

What a great day.

It's now 43 F at 10PM; it is raining cats and dogs out. Tomorrow I'm meeting some friends am the Murph for 20.07 miles of running trails. I better get to bed.

Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 Recap and Pondering 2007

It's already been two years since I began this blog. It has become more than I ever intended. This blog began as a place to write my thoughts, to log my miles and race reports.

I have 'met' so many wonderful cyber people through this blog, and through your own blogs. I have been inspired by so many of you, and I thank you for your cheers and well wishes as I try to reach new highs.

I began this blog on my 40th birthday. I wasn't looking forward to turning 40, I was quite depressed by the thought. Thank goodness the days leading up to turning 40 were worse than turning 40 itself. As I look toward turning 42 tomorrow, it is no big deal! I'm happy where I am and wouldn't change a thing.

2006 was quite a year for me. I excelled at running, surpassing my wildest dreams and goals. My goals were to PR at all ultra distances 50K-100 mile to 24 hour. I was able to check off that goal. I PR'd at 50K, 50 mile, 100 mile and 24 hour. Running McNaughton 2 hours faster than the previous year gave me the confidence I needed to try 100 miles at FANS. FANS scared me. I had dropped out the previous year at 12 hours and hadn't been able to reach 100 miles during my 2 prior attempts. Lo and behold, I was able to run 116.8 miles and capture 2nd woman. CRAZY. Voyaguer 50 mile came along and I wanted to break 1030. I did, 1026. Incredible when you take into account my first V was 1406, then 1234 and 1045. September brought Superior Sawtooth 100 Mile Trail Race. I was confident that I had a good solid training program to get me to the finish. I logged plenty of miles on the SHT and had Maria to run the race with. Damn. I couldn't finish it. I DNF'd at 77 miles.

My 2006 goals of finishing 3-100 miles races was going to bring me to my 2007 goals: Running The Grand Slam. Because I DNF'd at Superior, I may not have had the confidence to try the GS. I may have decided to finish Superior instead of trying Wasatch. Because I didn't get into Western States, I don't have to worry about it.

That brings me to my main goal for 2007: Finishing the Superior Sawtooth 100 Mile Trail Race. To get to the finish line I will add longer back to back runs on the SHT. My legs gave out at 77 miles. I'll run the 50K up there in May on a Saturday, followed by another 20 mile on the SHT on Sunday. I'll go up for weekends, training back to back long runs mid summer to late summer. I'll finish that race..or damn near die trying!

I'm also going to dip my toes into the sport of triathlon. Those that have been reading my blog since inception will know that my friend Ann and I were training for triathlon in the months before she was diagnosed with Lymphoma, Stage 4. We were biking 20-30 miles and swimming. Her swimming was getting pretty strong, mine still sucked. It still sucks. When Ann was diagnosed at the end of October we still had plans of completing the Chain of Lakes triathlon in May. After Ann passed away in February, I just couldn't bring myself to complete the triathlon without her.

It's been a tough (almost) year that Ann has been gone. Running all of the races this past summer without Ann has been especially tough.

For 2007 I will complete the Chain of Lakes triathlon, in May. I'm going to train with Team in Training for the 2007 Lifetime Fitness Olympic Triathlon and will be collecting funds for Lymphoma Cancer Research in Ann's memory. I'll then try my hand at a 1/2 Ironman..looking like either Pigman or Steelhead. Collecting funds in Ann's name and helping to further the research for Lymphoma Cancers will get me into the pool. I know that Ann will be with me. 2008 will bring another 1/2 Iron and Ironman WI.

I'll also run the McNaughton 100 mile in April; I love that race! This year they are adding a 150 mile option..I just don't know that I want to go around the course an additional 5 times. June will bring me to FANS, and you know, now that the fear is gone I might as well try cracking that 100 again. I'll run my usual favorites: Superior 50K, Afton 50K, Voyaguer 50 mile; yes, I'm a creature of habit. I don't have the money or the time to travel long distances to run my races. I enjoy the Minnesota races very much and am very happy right here.

I guess I better get into the pool...

Monday, December 25, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Runner Girl Saved By Dog!

This is a great link. I sat here and cried, I'm not the only runner girl who has a dog as a best friend :)

Holiday Preparations

I'm all prepared for the Holiday. Today I made the last of the prepartations: Grocery Shopping. Egads, the grocery store was crazy busy but well stocked, thank goodness.

Christmas Eve menu: Appetizer: Cream Cheese Ball, Meat and Crackers, Veggies, Blue Cheese Dressing, Olive Tray, Shrimp Cockatil. Main Course: Lobster, King Crab Legs, Porterhouse Steak, Tequillaberry Salad, Marshmallow-Cherry Salad, Fresh Baked Bread, Cheesy Potatoes, Lefse. Dessert: Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake

All ingredients are purchased and I'm ready to cook.

So did Lobster become more expensive this year or did I just purchase the biggest one I could find because I am hungry? One lobster (I'm the only one that likes it) ran me $42.50. Sure, it's 1 1/2 pounds @ $32 a pound, but sheesh. I don't think I've spent that much ever on a lobster. I only purchase one each year, for Christmas Eve, and yes, it is a major splurge for me financially. It's worth it once a year, you know! I figure I deserve it. Yeah, that's how I rationalize it. Oh, and my nephew Lukas likes to eat some of 'aunties' lobster too.

Before I did all of the shopping I and Topaz ran 15 miles on the trail. I didn't have to worry about slushy Heed either. It was 34F when I left this morning. Crazy. There is about 1 inch of snow, it made for nice soft footing. It is supposed to hit 40F today so I'm thinking the snow won't be here for Christmas afterall.

Next Saturday is my 42nd Birthday. I'm thinking 42 miles for 42 years would be a great way to celebrate.

Have a great Holiday weekend!!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Hills Are Alive..I am not..

I do I do feel dead! This is the year that hills will not kill. I will be strong running up and down hills. I will train on hills, I will, I will!

Yesterday Troy had a basketball tournament in Big Lake. After a few hours of basketball I volunteered for a few more hours at the concession stand. It is always the same parents who volunteer for everything. Sit courtside to make sure each child has equal playing time .. no one will raise their hand. 14 boys, there is at least one parent with each boy..some have two parents and will anyone raise their hand to help the coach out? Hell no. OK, up goes my hand. I'll help. Hell I'm at every game anyway. Now for each game I will be sitting on the bench with the boys. I will not be working any more concession stands, however. My time was served.

After basketball duties I hit the asphalt and hills. The Monticello route that my triathlon friend, Susan, ran with me last year. Oh man. It was as tough as I remembered. Last year I ran the route 3 times. This year I'll be running it once every 1-2 weeks. It's a killer.

I headed out at 1:00 with Espresso Hammergel and two 24 oz bottles filled with HEED. I brought some money and more HEED in plastic baggie so I could purchase water at the convenience store and mix up another supply. I had a few bars and some cliff blocks to try out. Grabbed my iPod and I was all set.

The first 15 miles went by pretty well. No aches and pains, drinking, eating, all is well. I was given FREE water by a cute guy working in the store, mixed up my heed and ate a few cliff blocks, which were OK. By 20 miles I was tired. I have only run a 20 once since Ed Fitz in mid October, so my body isn't all that used to that distance yet. I do have a snowshoe (or trail shoe the way the weather is looking) marathon next month so I better begin some long run training. Any how, the pavement, the hills, merciless hills and 20 miles kicked my ass. By 24 miles I was plain old exhausted and thinking of a hot shower. I reached my car just before dusk.

Geeze, I had a concert to go to! Tyler asked me if I'd take him to the 93X Nutcracker. It was his first concert and I was flattered he wanted ME to take him. I must not be too much of an un-cool Mom. I would have rather died than go to a concert with my Mom. Never ever. So, yeah, I was pretty excited. I was tired, but it was a lot of fun.

This morning was 15 EASY miles on the trail. Slow and easy. While sitting through church I almost feel asleep. I'm tired, a good tired, you know?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Spring Has Sprung

Last night I hit the trail for 10 minutes. In shorts-and it was raining outside. Raining on December 12. That's crazy for Minnesota. All this week the temperatures are supposed to be in the 40's with a shot at 50 on the weekend.

We built our home 15 years ago and only one other time have we had a brown Christmas while living here, but it was -15F. I don't recall it being this warm in December, ever. Crazy, but I'll take it.

I broke off one of the crampons on my snowhoe during the marathon last winter. For only $5 Northern Lights repaired it for me. I don't care if it sits in the garage, unused for a few more weeks!

Tonight instead of run club I'm playing Bonkos. I'll be hitting the trail earlier in the afternoon with Topaz. I'll be wearing shorts. Again.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Racing the Sun..Set

Yesterday was Tyler's 15th Birthday. I can't even believe that 15 years has passed since his birth. Those of you that are parents know exactly what I mean. It's crazy. You ask yourself how did this happen even though you know exactly how it happened.

As per tradition since Kindergarten, I brought in a sheet cake to his class to serve and sing Happy Birthday. I thought once he entered HS he may balk at that idea, but he didn't. He enjoyed it very much, as did his classmates. For dinner he invited 5 boys over for my manicotti and more cake.

I didn't make it to Run Club because of the birthday celebration but did make it to the trail. Man, I have been fighting the cold weather for weeks. I have been complaining about it and dreading going out for my runs. It's been a mental battle that I finally overcame last night. The sun was shining brilliantly, the temperature was 17F with a -8 windchill. I wore three pair of pants, three tops and a jacket, gloves and mitts and a facemask. The full facemask was the ticket! It felt wonderful to run in the sunshine! I and Topaz ran 10 magnificent miles and had to race the sunset to finish at dusk.

Today I am looking forward to my evening run.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

No Western States in 2007

I simply forgot that the lottery for Western States was being held today. I had read that each entrant had a 26% chance of receiving an entry into the race, so I never really felt I'd get in.

Olga reminded me of it today, and alas, I was not selected.

I would like to attend the Western States training camp in May. Three days of running 70 miles along the trail, now that sounds like fun! Who knows..maybe I'll enter next year..but if I had to enter today, I wouldn't.

Last year I really wanted to run the Grand Slam, but it is tough to have a goal that could be unattainable. Wasatch is now a lottery, and hitting WS and Wasatch the same year could be damn near impossible. I think I'll let that goal go and think up a few more instead. I think I will just try to finish Superior 100 as well as McNaughton and FANS. I like those races and they are near home, that is important when selecting my races.

I've been feeling under the weather and I believe a full blown flu is on it's way. Tyler was sick last week, I suppose it is going to be my turn.