Sunday, January 27, 2013

Building Momentum

I had been planning to head south to the Zumbro River Bottoms to run today but with ice forecast for late morning in Rochester and early afternoon in Big Lake, I would have been driving in less that stellar conditions. I'm glad I stayed  near home. The forecasters were right on.  It rained for a while here and is now snowing. 

There hasn't been any snow fall in the past few weeks so I thought I'd head out to Lake Maria State Park to see if the trails were still designated as ski only. I headed over yesterday morning and was SO happy to see that there hadn't been any ski tracks for a very long time. Yay!!  It was cold, -6F and a good stiff wind, very icy. Topaz had his booties and I wore my Inov-8 Roclite 312's with an additional 15 screws I put through each sole. They worked beautifully!  No slipping, power running up each and every icy hill. Loved it!  Topaz and I ran 20 miles yesterday and then headed back out today.

Topaz has renewed youth in the winter months. He rolls around in the snow to cool down-yes-even at -6F and chows down on snow. He refuses to drink from my bottle or his bowl while running in the winter. I don't know why. I can't ask him. Well, I've tried..he hasn't given me any indication as to why it is this way. Oh yeah. He just isn't thirsty.  

Today was a balmy 16F when we went out. Still, not a soul to be seen on the trail. My plan was 6 hours, starting to run long back to back. Yippee!!  

No booties for Topaz but I still wore my screw shoes. Worked like a charm. We ran all of the main trails, quite a few deer trails and then spotted a trail with a blue hand made sign "winter bike trail". Nifty!  We ran through a section full of rolling hills, frozen ponds, a few new trails to us that we hadn't yet discovered. I've been running out here a few years so it's always exciting to discover new trail!

I brought along a mixture I've been trying lately while running. Quinoa, banana, almond butter mixed with a bit of lower fat coconut milk. It sits in my stomach nicely, doesn't cause me any inflammation and gives me plenty of energy. Because I was circling back to my car I didn't have to supplement with gels and I had plenty of energy without any  stomach upset.

Why the quinoa? During my physical a few weeks ago I learned I have high cholesterol. I shouldn't be surprised. I had been eating meat like a cavewoman along with yolks, quite a bit of fat, too, and not all good fats. When battling the herniated discs I was having problems with grains causing inflammation, which was causing me more pain. I went off the grains for a while and compensated those lost calories with meats. My discs are now feeling good, grains are no longer causing me pain. Because heart disease runs in my family (what doesn't run in my family) and Mom was using Lipitor, Dad is using Lipitor,  I am tweaking my diet.  Still whole foods, nothing processed, tweaking those whole foods.

I have a few ultra friends who were using statins and began to experience ligament and tendon breakdown. They've since lowered their cholesterol and are statin free. Certainly can be done with diet. 

I know, I know, there are those who say high cholesterol is just fine..not an indicator of heart disease, that BMI, blood pressure, etc.  are better indicators. Believe me, I've read my fill of information.. 310 is too high for me. My ratios are pretty poor. Dang. 

My doc asked me to come back in 8 weeks for another fasting blood test. This little experiment will show a new improved result. Remember in 2009 the 6 month vegan experiment? My cholesterol went from 230 to 165. Big difference. 

So, back to my run! My Garmin told me we covered 28 miles. Sweet!

On the trail today we saw 0 human, 2 eagle, 8 deer and 21 turkey. I hope the snow falling now doesn't bring the trails back into ski condition!!

My first back to back long runs in a long frickin' time. Sure feels good!  I hate to get too excited because man, about last year at this time I was feeling the same way. Ran Psycho Wyco 50K in February, feeling great, training for Zumbro 100 and Bam! A training run in March with one fall and it was back to disc pain and starting over again. Ah, scratch that negative thought.

Onto Louisville Lovin' The Hills 50 in two weeks! I got this!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Feeling Fine. No, Feeling Fabulous!

Thankfully I can feel myself awakening and coming out of a depression. I guess I'd call it depression.  As I come out on the other side it is easier to look back and call it what it was/is.

Without training for an ultra, with my Mom's sickness and death, I suppose depression isn't surprising.  

After Mom's passing I found myself looking to others' passions. A family members church, my Dad's passion for Mozart and classical music. Running more. Running away, running to..who cares as long as it makes me feel better and just deal..right? Running long give that openness to myself, to dig deep, to figure it out. I am.

A few weeks ago I reached out to a long time running friend of mine. I don't often reach out to anyone. I prefer to cover myself in my blanket of privacy and isolation. Especially when I'm feeling depressed. I reached out and was asked if I'd like to road trip to the Louisville Lovin' The Hills 50K February 9, in KY. As tears began to drop from my cheeks I new there was only one answer: yes.

I checked in with the family and there was nothing on the calendar. Reaching out like that, stepping from my comfort zone, was the spark to lift the depression. That spark is growing.

Two weeks ago I met a group at Lebanon Hills for an awesome 14 mile run, last week I increased my weekly mileage for the first time since JULY to 45 miles and this past Saturday I ran 22 miles at the Lebanon. It's not *only* the act of running long that has me seeing the light again. It's all that comes with that. Seeing my friends again. You see, when I'm running 5 miles with Topaz each day, I hibernate myself. I love that 5 miles to begin my day, but when I don't get out to socialize at's not good. Pushing my body further. It feels wonderful. It's so good for me to push past comfort, to see what I can do. That 14 miles two weeks ago on hilly trail had me sore for 4 days!  This past 22 miles..same trail..I wasn't sore at all and was able to run another 10 yesterday. That just puts a smile on my face.  It's drinking water, eating healthy, taking time for me, being happy, taking care of me, adequate rest, smiling, scheduling my runs, enjoying the excitement of a race..the road trip planning. I've really missed it.

As Maria and I ran our final 7 miles yesterday I was thinking about how fast and strong she has become!  She was running all the hills-waiting for me at the top-as I trudged up. I used to run  hills! I just am not in that shape anymore!  It's so inspiring to see how Maria has turned it on this past year. I can do it again, too.  

Today it is -14F/-40WC outside. I almost ran on my treadmill until I looked at Topazs' excitement to get out and run.  We ran 8 miles and it was just fine.

I'm getting there. Slowly but Surely! I'm getting there.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What Is Up?

Well let's see..what am I up to?  

Last weekend I finally ventured south for a run with friends. I live a good 90 minutes from the trails my ultrarunner friends go out on. If I drive to Afton it's 90 + minutes and driving to Lebanon Hills is a good 90 minutes. The 3 hour drive cuts into my day for sure.  Not to mention how sad Topaz is if I should leave him behind.

Sunday I met up with friends to run Lebanon Hills for 14 miles. I was surprised at the condition of the trails-they were perfect!  Snow covered but smooth-heated bathrooms with running water along the way. What a treat!

We ran 1 - 7 mile loop, stopped to refill frozen bottles and drop gel packets, I changed into a dry pair of mittens. It was cold but not windy. I went out for another loop and was pleased that it wasn't until half way through that I was becoming tired. Lucky for me, Maria had run 27 miles the day before so she was a bit slower than her norm and I could almost keep up. 

I really had a great time catching up with friends. It's been too long. I'm going to head to Kentucky  for a 50K in a few weeks. I didn't realize how happy it would make me to have a race to train for. Instead of running 5 miles with Topaz each day I have purpose to my run and it feels great. Yes, the months of relaxed running have been awesome..but I really enjoy having a race out there. When I first began to run 14 years ago, it was a scheduled 5K or 10K that propelled me out the door each morning. 

Today I was planning on heading back to Lebanon but something came up later this morning. Instead I woke early, ran with Topaz on the trail for an hour and just slipped and slid all over the place. The trails here are glare ice, it's 0F and 15 mph wind and my mind was worried about falling, causing my gait to go off. Pretty soon my stabilizing muscles were screaming. We ended up coming home, me to the treadmill, Topaz right beside it. I ran another 20 miles at 9:30 pace. I wouldn't have done that if I hadn't had a race out there. 

I listened to Ultrarunner Podcast-an interview with Jen Sheldon and another with Scott Jurek. I then watched a documentary "Running with Demon's" - gotta love modern technology!  The miles went by quickly and I felt good. Gnarly Bandit for me this year. We are holding Mom's ceremony on June 1, the date for Kettle Moraine 100 this year. I may run the 50 mile at Zumbro. I'm not sure if I want to run 6 loops for the 100 miler. I am going to run Black Hills 100 at the end of June and I want to run Superior 100 again. Just can't get enough of that one.

For now, I'm just happy to be running :)

Happy New Year!!

Here we are, 2013!  

I hope you are all enjoying 2013 so far: reaching goals, living life fully and happily, doing what it is that you want to do!

2012 ended on a very sad note for me. My dear mom passed away the day after Thanksgiving.  I'm thankful that I was able to be with her at that point, but boy, it sure was/is difficult. 

Ovarian cancer took her life. She fought against it for 9 years and was very successful at times. In the end, the cancer took her.  

I'm thankful that she showed me that I needed to have a full hysterectomy so that I wouldn't have to live to fight the fight she fought. Next week it will have been two years since my hysterectomy.

I have much to be thankful for.

Cheers to 2013!!