Saturday, January 27, 2007

Spring Yesterday, Winter Today

It was just like spring yesterday! The thermometer read 43F and the sun was shining beautifully. I'm glad I was able to get out in the sunshine and enjoy a run with Topaz. It was wonderful, I wore SHORTS! Woohoo!! Plus I took a vacation day from work. Double woohoo!

Today is winter. 14F with a -5 windchill. Topaz and I headed out for 15 miles, most of it in the dark, as Troy had early basketball games in Rockford. I heard many deer and a few owl, but didn't see anything, it was too dark. The wind is whipping up and tomorrow promises to be an even colder day.

Have you watched Prefontaine? I popped it into the DVD player while I was cooking up Tyler's favorite, chicken and noodles, this afternoon. I loved it (the movie, yeah, the noodles too). It's the story of Oregon distance (as in 3 mile) runner Steve Profantaine. His coach-Nike founder-primes him for Olympic glory. He can't win the gold, silver or bronze. He's close, but can't reach it. He's getting ready for the Olympic games again. The story is done in a documentary style, but with the flash of a movie. Even though I knew how his story ends, it still caught me off guard; it has such a tragic ending.

It was a great way to spend the cold afternoon indoors.

Tomorrow it is the birthday of my friend, Alicia. We are going to meet at Afton for a 2.5 hour run and a potluck following. That reminds me, I have a batch of chicken wings I better whip up. I haven't run with Alicia since we met at the Murph. I'm looking forward to it..even if it is promising to be -20F windchill. Friends make it warmer, you know?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Northwoods NO Snowshoe Race

I wasn't sure if I would be wearing snowshoes or not at the race yesterday. The forecast for Duluth had shown a 50% chance of snow for Thursday, but I didn't know if any or how much had fallen.

I placed my snowshoes into the truck just in case. I was thinking that if there wasn't any snow, I would probably drive home after the race, not spending the night, I probably wouldn't be too terribly tired since this would be more of a training run, and well, *only* a marathon.

That's crazy thinking, really. A marathon is still a very long distance and on hilly ski trails, covered with ice and a dusting of snow, very difficult. Still, I was in the *only* a marathon thinking mode.

Last year I arrived to the race location two minutes before the start. Barely enough time to strap on my snowshoes. This year I left my home at 530 AM. I was not going to be late for the 930 start.

As I approached Duluth I could see very plainly that this was going to be a NO snowshoe race. Oh! Easy Peasy. I was looking forward to running in plain old trail shoes.

I had no time goals; I just wanted to spend hours on feet. I thought probably 6-6:30 I would finish, depending on conditions of the trail. Some of the half marathon entrants had moved up to the full marathon as they realized there were no snowshoes involved. There was a record 21 marathon entrants. I didn't ask about the entrants for the 1/2 marathon or the 10K.

After talking a bit to some friends and adding another layer of clothing I sat in my car and waited for the start. The Duluth radio told me it was 5F with high of 20F. Not too bad, hardy any wind, perfect!

As it neared 930 I made some last minute changes in clothing (three shirts, jacket, two pair of pants, hat, neck gator, gloves and mittens) and was ready to start.

The race begins in the Lester Park ski trail area. There are many many hills. After a small loop in the ski park we go through some private properties, some single track, some open meadow, around a big beaver pond, over a few river crossings, many high high hills with a magnificant view of Lake Superior. This truly is a beautiful area for a race. The volunteers are fantastic. I think they are the same volunteers every year. I was shocked when they recognized me. One man asked where my entourage was. I told him since there wasn't any snow here, some of my friends had stayed behing to pull their sleds at Afton. This is the first time I ran the race by myself. I normally hook up with Scott and we run together. He was sled pulling for the Arrowhead 135, as was John and Pierre.

The course was changed a bit this year. Man, we took this one hill that went straight up, up, up, up. My hamstrings were screaming. Luckily, this hill was grass covered and there wasn't a lot of ice on it. I was happy to make it to the top and look out over Lake Superior. What a view! I was glad Barb had added this hill into the race. I was looking forward to repeating the loop so I could scale it again.

I was surprised that I didn't seen hardly any other runners after the race began. I ran with Jo and Rick for a few miles and then didn't see another soul until the last 3 miles of the race. I did have my iPod with me, but was enjoying the peace and quiet and never did turn it on.

At 6 hours, I ran into the finish. Barb, (race director) and a few others were mingling around. Mike brought me a hot cup of hot chocolate! What a great way to end a winter race. Yum. I told Barb that I wouldn't be staying for the banquet, I was going to head home. I collected my very nice sweatshirt, blue this year, with a pair of snowshoes and a red x inside of a circle stating NO snowshoe races, and headed off for home. After stopping to change clothes at a Dunns Brothers and grabbing a Skim Latte, I was off. I arrived home by 7:00 and it sure was nice sleeping in my own bed last night!

I and Topaz are off to head out for 15 miles now. It'll work out some of the stiffness in my legs!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I SO reek at swimming! I like to float around in my pool, soak in the sunshine and drink Diet Pepsi, you know? My pool used to be 90F before I could get in, but last year I weaned myself off of 90 to 86F..pretty good. Actually, I became tired of the boys taunting me.."Mom can't get in, it's not 90!"

I have triathlon on the goal path for this year so I had to take to the pool this morning. It was cold. It wasn't fun. I suck at it. I swam 25 yard of free style, then 25 yard of breast stroke. I could swim breast stroke forever. I can't swim free style for more than 25 yards..when I am out of air and weak. Good grief!

One thing I noticed, I kind of like sucking at swimming. It gives me a goal to reach for, you know? I can run long and slow forever, now I'm getting damn good at intervals..swimming is something new. Something new to hate (yes, I used to HATE running..I SO sucked at it!), a new goal to attain. Can I imagine swimming 2.4 miles in Ironman? HELL NO! But I will, damn right I will.

I signed up for the Gear West University program taking place February 18. They have programs in triathlon nutrition, changing tires, swimming and running. Carrie Tollefson is going to speak during one of the classes. I know nothing about triathlon, other than the books I've read and the blogs I visit. I have much to learn. I have no experience whatsoever.

My first triathlon is the Chain of Lakes in Alexandria. The swim portion takes place in a pool (safe) and then we head out for the bike and run portion. My friend Susan came in first or second in her elite division last year. She signed up again this year so I won't be totally alone and embarrassed.

Lifetime Triathlon was on my radar, but after speaking with many, I've found that the open swim is rather busy and scary there. Lots of pro's and maybe not the best choice for an Oly. first for me. I was hoping to do this one because it was part of Team in Training. Guess I'll check the calendar for another. I don't want to be scared off from the get-go.

Today: Swim: 25 yards freestyle/25 yards breaststroke 4 x Run: intervals for 30 minutes, 8 miles with Topaz on trail and 40 minutes RT: chest/back.

Monday, January 15, 2007

:( A Sad iPod :(

The past few weeks I've been having more issues with my iPod. She's been sad. She give's me the corrupt files message each and every day. I toggle the hold, press the menu and select and wipe it out, all is fine, the I receive more sad messages the following day. Luckily, I bought Tyler a Nano for his birthday so he has been allowing me to use his during treadmill, lifting and road running. I don't need it while running trail with Topaz.

Yesterday I headed out for 22 miles of hilly road. I brought along Ty's Nano. It's so small, so light, so nice. I have the first U2 model. I love it, but it's been sad, it's big, it's heavy. Sometimes during 50 mile runs it irritates me because of her weight.

I brought along some money so I could purchase bottled water along the way, I brought a baggie of HEED, some Cliff Blocks, some gels and a few Cliff Bars. This run is getting a bit less strenuous. It's my toughest workout, very hilly, and well, it's pavement. I don't have a good grassy hill to do repeats on so am finding the next best thing. Relentless hills over and over and over again. I've completed three of these workouts in the past 4 weeks and they are getting faster, but still painful. Yesterday I wasn't getting up and out of my car too swiftly post run.

I arrived home, showered, gathered the boys and went off to church. Agh, trying to get out of my chair after sitting for 75 minutes was tough! Dropped Tyler off at home, Troy off at a birthday party and went to the Apple Store. Poor sick iPod. Her hard drive crashed. Luckily I have "Apple Care" and received an Apple Card for $305 to replace her.

Today I ordered the 8 G Nano. I'm sure I'll like it as much as my other model. I should have it all loaded up and ready to run by the Snowshoe Marathon on Saturday. Or the No Snowshoe Marathon. I think there is only 3" of snow in Duluth. Either way, it will be a good time.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Three Shirt-er

This morning when I awoke the temperature was -6F with a windchill of -18F. I don't think we've had below zero yet this winter, unreal, but true. Heck, it was in the 40's just a week or two ago with downpours of rain. Crazy but true. Well, not today.

As I told Troy what the temperature was outside, he told me "Mom, it's a three shirt-er day for your run today". He was right on. One pair of fleece lined tights, a pair of baggie tights, two thin technical shirts, one heavy technical shirt and a soft shell, one pair of gloves and a heavy pair of mittens, a neck gaiter, a heavy hat, my thickest most warm Smartwool socks and my new favorite Gortex Flyrocs. After 5 miles I was sweating pretty heavily so I went back to the car and left one of the thin shirts behind, grabbed a gel, tried to get Topaz to drink and headed out for 5 more miles. I stayed warm and dry. I did loop back at the car before heading out for the final 5 for more drink and another gel. I didn't want to bottles under my jacket or deal with frozen HEED so I kept drink and gel in the car. Topaz didn't want much to drink but he did munch on a bit of ice and snow here and there. He even did the 'cold paw dance' once or twice. While he stops to listen for something-a pileated woodpecker or running deer-he would lift up a paw or two while standing. I have never tried those little dog booties for him. It's not very often that we are out running in below zero temps.

With what felt like 30 extra pounds of clothing on, my running was pretty slow. It's pretty icy on the trail now, the snow is compacted down, then we had some rain that made a glare sheet of ice upon the top, it makes for slow going. I ran 15 miles in just under three hours.

The Snowshoe Marathon is next Saturday. I don't even know if there is any snow in Duluth. I'm glad the races weren't held this Saturday. It was almost -20F in Duluth this morning.

Today my gym began a Fitness/Weight Loss Challenge. Of course, I entered. I couldn't resist. I get to weigh in weekly at the gym, have my body fat tested weekly, have pictures taken every 4 weeks with a final weigh in mid April. I don't know why I enjoy being accountable to someone else! I truly do. I think that is why I loved being a member of Weight Watchers for so long. I did see that most of the people on the list had weighed in at 200+ pounds. There was only one person in the 140's. I went it after my run to have all of the data calculated.

It was encouraging to see that the trainer is encouraging contestants to lift 3x a week, include interval training for cardio and to eat 5-6 meals a day. Looks like the Body For Life way of eating/exercising is becoming the norm for all. That's a good thing.

No basketball today; Troy has a bye week. We're going to see Eragon. Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good: Yesterday I hit some personal bests at the gym while lifting legs. Laying ham curl: 92.5 x 15 x 3 and slanted leg press 250 x 15 x 4. Yeah me.

The Bad: Steve's pool tournament is scheduled from February 7 to February 11.

The Good: Yesterday Inov-8 contacted me and asked if I'd like to represent them for the 2007-2008 year. Yahoo!

The Bad: Steve doesn't write anything on the calendar or plan anything out.

The Good: I received a letter from the race director of the Northwoods Snow Shoe Marathon that is being held next week. She voided my check and is giving me FREE entry to the race because I was the winning woman last year. Ahem, I was the ONLY finishing woman. But I'll still take the comp entry!

The Bad: I asked Steve if he was going to be home on February 9-10. He said YES, GO TO KS.

The Good: I've lost two of the fat pounds that I gained and did not lose any muscle. Yeah me.

The Bad: I won't be running the Psycho Wyco on February 10.

The Good: It's Friday :)

The Bad: I guess you know by now.

The Ugly: I'm kind of pissed off about the above.

Friday, January 05, 2007

My. Aching. Legs.

I received an email from Ben, race director of the Psycho Wyco 50K that I will be running on February 10, in Kansas. He welcomed me to the race and then told me that TOPAZ is welcome to attend! Dogs are welcome to run the course with their owners. How cool is that? IF I were driving alone I would definitely bring my pup along. I would love to run a real trail race with Topaz.

Last Sunday when I ran with the group at the Murph I tried out a brand new pair of Gortex Inov 8 Flyroc that had arrived along with my other winter goodies. They were fresh out of the box that morning and yes, Scott pointed out to me that I hadn't removed all of the tags yet. Anyhow, I wore them in the sloshing puddling rain all day, for 23 miles, and I didn't receive ONE blister. I hadn't even applied my magic blister potion!

I've been wearing these shoes all week long in the melting snow and my feet stay nice and warm and comfortable. They have a nice sticky tread on the bottom, I don't slip and slid on the ice, they aren't stiff but they are stable. I really like them. I'll be wearing them at the Northwoods Snowshoe (will there be snow?) Marathon up in Duluth in a few weeks.

Tonight Topaz and I ran 8 miles on the slushy snow trails. My legs are more sore than usual. Last night I lifted legs and am feeling it already.

BB squat: 80x20x1; 150x10x3
Slanted Leg Press: 100x20x1; 215x10x3
Leg Ext: 60x20x1; 115x10x3
Laying Ham Curl: 60x20x1; 95 (PB)x 10x3
Standing calves: 180x15x3
Adducter: 215x15x3

Tomorrow my friends are running out at Zumbro River Bottoms; it is beautiful there-the trails are awesome. I won't be attending, I'll be running the trails near home. I won't be wearing my Julie the ultra runner hat; I'll be wearing the Julie the basketball mom hat and attending Troy's games. I'll be missing his games during the snowshoe marathon and the Psycho Wyco 50K so I hate to miss too many games for 'training' runs. It's the right thing to do, isn't it?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Let's GO! Posted by Picasa

Topaz clears the trail for me this morning! Posted by Picasa

Happy New Year!

For our Happy New Year treat we received 5" of snow! Yippee! I didn't really mind that we didn't have any, but now that it is here, it's pretty darn nice.

Once I worked out the aches and tiredness in my legs this morning I dressed into running clothes and donned my snow gaiters for the first time, put the snowshoes into the car and headed off to the trail.

Topaz loves the snow! He doesn't need ponds to cool off, he can just roll around in the snow. I still bring water for him though, the snow that he munches isn't enough.

We snowshoed for 5 miles and I was exhausted. Each year I am amazed at the workout snowshoeing gives. My heart rate was extremely high. Of course, I had a 90 mile week last week so that was part of it as well.

Tomorrow I begin another fat burning block. Since October 15 I've cut back on running, well, from my summer 80+ mile weeks to 40 mile weeks (except last week), increased lifting to 5 x a week and increased calories. I had my body fat tested last Friday and found that I gained 2.8 pounds of muscle (can a person really gain almost 3 pounds of muscle in less than 3 months? I'm skeptical..) and 4 pounds of fat. Yeah, I knew that would happen. I don't like it, but am not suprised. I knew to gain good muscle that fat would come along with it. I had basal metabolic testing, maximum oxygen consumption testing and underwater body fat analysis. I'll go back in April to see how the numbers change.

I'll begin 3 sessions of 30 minute intervals each week, then increase to 4 and 5 on top of my 50-60 mpw running. 3x a week lifting, sometimes 4 on back off running weeks. 40/40/20 on the macros with a zig zag of 1400(low) and 2000 (high). I'm hoping that since I've increased my calories the past few months that I can burn some fat without lowering to a constant low of 1400. I just don't want my metabolism to crash and burn again. As I increase my big weeks of running mileage I'll increase my calories as well. No more of this 1200 calories a day and running 80 miles a week habit.

Happy New Year!!