Saturday, June 30, 2007

Back at it!

Last week was awesome recovery. Sleeping in, lounging around, short bouts of running, some leisurely weight training, eating and more sleeping, that's how last week went. I was pretty tired after WS, it must be age as I was in bed by about 8 p.m. and slept as long as I could or until one of our animals woke me up. Alex was away at Christian Outdoor School and Bill was trying to be so quiet in the morning but my cat just stood on top of me and howled. I think he might have been saying, "'s 7 a.m. and you are supposed to up!". Bandit (the husky) just stood at the side of the bed and licked my face and I would try to retreat under the covers but that meant play time to him so up on the bed he pounced. Alright already.....out of bed I came. Bill would say, "no rest for the weary around here". Physically my body bounced back well and I was running short little bits by Tuesday and up to an hour by Thursday. Weight training was harder than the running probably because of overall fatigue. I think if I would have been able to push harder in the middle of WS I would have been more physically beat up but since I was slowed by my stomach the benefit is faster recovery. That is how I am choosing to look at anyway :). My brain was fatigued too. I did some really dumb moves like got in my car and tried to drive with no keys, put a load of laundry in without soap, walked purposely into a room for something and forgot the whole reason I went in the first place. Zoned out to Peoples Court on TV and actually felt bad for the people on the show, yikes, then realized I was watching Peoples Court. All the gels might be starting to overflow into my brain making the synapse much slower. I am happy to report that I am back to full thinking mode now.

Friday Susan I drove to retrieved our boys from camp and I swear Alex grew 2 inches inches and his voice is deeper. He is now officially taller than me and out weighs me by 3 pounds and he is only 10 (almost 11). He used the phrase, "yo mom" with me yesterday and we had a firm talk about that.....I am not to be beckoned by using a "yo" ever again. Yikes, he will be in middle school next year and all those girls will be calling and I will have to get all my spy gear upgraded. Hug your babies now because you will wake up one day and they will say "yo" at you and you'll be thinking the same things :). Back to running......

Today I ran for 90 minutes, lifted upper body and did my first bout in the steam room in preparation for Vermont. The sauna was bad but the steam room is worse. I was only in there for 15 minutes and it took a lot out of me. I was soaked of course but breathing in the hot steam is icky! I emailed Olga and asked for her a run down of Vermont as she did it a couple years ago right after WS. She gave me some great info. about the course and a few tips about things I will need to manage like the wet feet and body which will cause blisters and chafing. I am not sure how I will combat those but after another week or so I might come up with ideas to try. If any of you have any good tips please pass them on. I downloaded all the Vermont information and began looking at it last week for the first time. I am not really looking forward to the run, I don't know why but I am not that excited about the course and I can't wear my headphones! How am I going to relive all my youth, my twenties, my thirties all my triumphs, heartbreaks, ect. without my music? Reminiscing about bopping to the B52's when I got my driver's license, a little Boston to remind me of being 17 in car full of girls looking for trouble with the stereo blasting so hard it the car shook. All the disco of the Bee Gee's reminding me of dressing up to go roller skating. Reliving the 90's and all the angry chick those chicks had chips on their shoulders but the music was good. Their music ensured me I must be the victim of something and it had to be some man's fault....joking! I won't have my music to remind me of my wedding day when Bill insisted on playing some bad country song called "queen of my double wide trailer" at our wedding. Oh well, I will have to listen to myself breath :). The course looks very rolly and that is not my strong suit but by the end of Vermont I bet I am better at running rollers ha, ha ha :). I don't know why I find all of this so funny but I can't help myself, I have been laughing for 3 days!

After my run today I could feel my legs due to the deep fatigue of running 100M. It was fun to run today and think that just last week I was in California running in their mountains and here I am back in Portland running in our forest. Tomorrow Ultra and I will run for 2 hours and I bet I will feel it but my schedule says, "you should be back to regular running by next week". I just love absurd it is that running 100M is less debilitating than running an all out 10K. At least how I remember running an all out 10K was, it's been awhile.

Bill and I are off tomorrow afternoon for 4 days in Vegas. We are looking forward to it. Alex is going camping with his grandparents and the rest of Bill's family. I will be using the treadmill while were gone and I have to do a threshold workout next week, 6:51 pace for 20 minutes on a treadmill. I will be sweating like a pig?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Western States Report

A day filled with running, beauty, friends, camaraderie and more learning opportunities. In a nut shell that's how I would describe my day out on the Western States 100M course. With ideal conditions of no snow in the high country, mild temperatures and a perfect trail free of any obstacles it was to be my best race ever. Being in what I would consider some of the best shape I have ever been in I lined up ready to have a perfect day.

At 3:30 AM I was awake, dressed and already consuming my fruit pudding (recipe from Scott Jurek). It's a thick green substance made of all sorts of fruits and it tastes good. Along with the pudding I drank the protein shake (another recipe from Scott Jurek) which now gave me somewhere around 800 pre-race calories. I have used these before and they work great! Heading out to the start I was confident and calm that the day would be a good one no matter what I accomplished out there. I had a lofty goal time of 22:10 which I knew to achieve would mean everything had to be "ON", no room for mistakes or issues and in a 100M race that alone is a feat. Of course I had detailed plan and as the gun went off began immediate implementation.

Up to the escarpment fast but not hitting high 3B or AT I made it 8 minutes under my scheduled time. Wow, what a difference no snow makes! On to Lions I felt great with my work load being way to low I passed a couple of trains and got into one that pushed my HR in 3A. What I immediately noticed is my fitness difference from last year. All the other times I have run WS my HR would be pushing 3B to maintain a slower pace. I felt great holding myself in check and enjoying the day so far. The trail looks so different with no snow and I day dreamed about last year and remembering the sea of snow that we had experienced. Arriving at Lions right about 12 minutes ahead of schedule made me feel great. I saw the pink pitcher of G2O and opted for water only in both bottles. I knew they would have G2O on the course and also knew the flavors would be Raspberry or Lemon Lime. I don't like the taste of raspberry so I chose not to take it. Now on my way to Red Star Ridge I caught up with Jim and we hung together all the way to the aid station and got to see the helicopter filming the course. It was pretty cool to see them so close to the trail backing off just enough to not generate any dust for the runners. We jumped up and down, waved and they took out picture it was fun. The downhill section on the back side of Red Star is pretty steep and technical but we hammered down it and came into the aid station on time for that section. Again I see the pink G2O and opt for water only in my both bottles. I am doing great eating all the foods and gels on my plan and running conservatively. The only part of my plan I wasn't implementing was drinking G2O. G2O is one of the places I get my sodium along with 4X sodium Gels and Shot Blocks. I don't take salt tablets unless I miss the items listed. I like to get all my salt from my foods and liquids as the gel caps make my stomach upset. (picture by Kendall Kreft at Duncan Canyon) I have used this method for most of my races and it has worked well but when I wasn't taking the G2O I should have substituted the 250 mg of sodium with something else and I didn't.....MISTAKE!!

Leaving Red Star I was excited to see this part of the course again as I remembered it being fairly difficult to run due to the trail conditions. I was happy to see the trail was in nice shape and easy to run and follow. I was feeling really good and couldn't wait to get to Duncan Canyon to see Stacey and Darin. At Duncan it was a quick exchange of new bottles and more fuel for the 5.9 miles to Robinson. Stacey implemented my plan of giving me two bottles of water like I scheduled. I didn't tell her I hadn't been drinking G2O at the prior aid stations, it simply didn't cross my mind at the time...... MISTAKE! Since Jim and I had done this section the prior week I knew exactly what to expect and headed off to Robinson. On the climb out of Duncan Canyon I could feel the sun but the nice breeze removed the heat from my skin and I was completely comfortable. The climb out the Duncan Creek is deceiving as it winds along Duncan Peak and Little Bald Mountain and you never really crest either one of them. The climb alone took me about 55 minutes but I wasn't going at a moderate pace not pushing myself much. Jim and I came into Robinson at the same time which left Bill scrambling to get both of us our items and out of there. I was anxious to see my weight my at Robinson because at the pre-race weigh in my weight was way down. I was nervous the scales were (Picture by Beast at Michigan Bluff)off and I would weigh heavy all day when in reality my pre-weight wasn't accurate. I was happy to see I was only a pound up at Robinson but again if pre-weight was low was I really up or really down at Robinson?? Oh well, on to Millers Defeat.

There is a mini climb right out of Robinson and could be run if you wanted to push a bit. Then its down down down for about 2 miles until to reach a road that is mostly flat into Miller's Defeat. Seems like Jim and I are going to be leap frogging all day which was a blast, very encouraging and motivating. Again at Miller's I see the pink G2O being poured and opt for water, where is the Lemon Lime???? Off we go to Dusty Corners to where Stacey and Darin will get me ready for the canyons. Jim and I run slowly up the open road which goes on most of the way to Dusty but this section is only 3.6 miles long. I am now on a 21:30 pace if I can maintain my plan which seemed doable since my planned paces were fairly conservative in the last half. On my way to Dusty my stomach seemed to feel full so I backed off my water consumption but continued fueling. Dusty came up fast and here I grabbed my bladder pack which Stacey had filled with water like I had listed on my plan. I still didn't tell her I hadn't been drinking the G2O on the course. As I headed down to Last Chase my stomach had grown but no swelling in my fingers or legs. In fact, my weight looked down. My legs looked like sticks alongwith my arms which is never the case for me. My rings were loose and my hands were not swollen at all but my stomach looked hard and full and I could feel it. I wasn't nauseous but my stomach hurt and when I pushed on it it was rock hard. At the time I was at a loss as to why it wasn't emptying. My energy was good my body was begging to push harder but my stomach was sore. I ran down hill well but I generally excel in the canyons and can climb Devils Thumb easy but not today. When we got the Last Chance I filled my 60oz bladder with G2O because they had lemon lime.....yeah!!! I began the climb and couldn't power anything because I was so full of water, gels, bananas, Organic Food Bars and Shot Blocks. In all 4 years of doing WS this was my slowest climb up Devils Thumb. I just couldn't get my stomach to empty and because I was so full I didn't drink much of the G2O. I don't have experience with this kind of problem so I wasn't sure if I had too much salt or not enough. Generally I have to be careful not to over do on salt for my body weight but when I looked down at my blue shirt it was covered in white salt dust. I hardly ever have normal salt rings more or less on the front of my shirt. My weight was bouncing around my bogus pre-weight so the scales were not helping me out. Usually the scale is my best friend and I can monitor myself well by my weight. The stomach saga lasted all the way to mile 72. Through the canyons I could run the downs and flats well but anything uphill was hard probably due to the slight pitch forward when you climb just hurt my mid-section. I knew eventually this would all pass, it had to, I couldn't get any fuller but my lead on my plan was melting away fast. During my climb to Michigan I finally decided to take a salt tablet.

At Michigan I told Stacey I hadn't conceived a baby in the canyons but something is growing inside my stomach and it won't stop! I think I drank some broth at Michigan and headed into Volcano Canyon feeling a bit better. I ran pretty well down and when I climbed out to Bath road and saw Darin I was feeling slightly better. BTW: I hadn't urinated all day! The interesting thing about my dilemma is I had great energy, my brain was clear, I was sweating and I was happy. I think if I had felt low energy or foggy it all would have made more sense. Even though I was so full my weight at aid stations was within a pound of my start weight. All of this made if hard for me to troubleshoot the stomach problem, it simply would not empty!

Feeling better, Darin and I ran/walked up Bath Rd. and into Foresthill. At Foresthill I would pick up Stacey. She was prepared with broth, coke and other foods and I actually sat down in a chair and drank the broth. I never sit! I wanted to get my stomach fixed so I could run! I was only there about 2 minutes but it seemed like a long time. By this time Jim Rudig, John Liebeskind and Ken Ward were all together heading to Peachstone. We leap frogged and they were all a blast to hang around with. We had a huge party when you add pacers Stacey, Sander and Scott to the mix. We had fun but I was starting to feel a touch nauseous and we let them go ahead of us. At Peachstone I again sat in a chair and drank 3 cups of 7-up! It tasted so good I wanted more but Stacey said enough and we left. Off to Cal 2 and hoping to get there before we needed lights I ran well considering I was about 5 months pregnant with fluid and food. I wanted more 7-up so I was running for 7-up. At Cal 2 I again plunked down in the chair and began to drink my 7-up and it was de-fixed, yuk....didn't want it......want the bubbles. Stacey gets some fresh stuff....ahhhhh it was so good....more.....more. No, Stacey says.....easy girl. We leave and in about 10 minutes I stop lean over and out it all comes! I am not exaggerating it was a lot of fluid. I had at least 5 good heaves of serious liquid, Stacey estimated about 40 oz of fluid came out. I have never thrown up before. I have gagged and struggled to foods down but this was a first and I felt soooooooo much better. I could actually see my feet now! What a relief that was, I wish I would have done that up Devils Thumb!

When we got to Fords Bar I sat down in the chair and wanted more 7-Up but the Stacey just happened to tell my puking story and a doctor came over and said, "No more sugar, only water and have her eat tums". He gave Stacey a hand full of tums and said to have me eat as many as I want and drink only water, stay away from the sugar. I ate the tums off we went moving well and things were turning around, yippppeeeeee! At the river crossing I was feeling much better eating tums, gels and water. Great energy and my body was revved up. We crossed immediately and met Darin for the climb to Green Gate. I ran 50% of the climb feeling really happy that my stomach was cooperating. My stomach muscles were sore from all the pressure they had endured all day but feeling the sore muscles was nice contrast to the painful rock that had lived in there for more than 30 miles. On the way to Green Gate I drank a Red Bull which I knew was a risk due to the simple sugars in it but I wanted the caffeine. Leaving Green Gate aid station I was on the edge of loosing my silver buckle which was unbelievable since my mental and physical being was so strong all day but without a mid-section your sort of halted. I was darn determined to come home with that silver buckle so off we went on a focused push to make up time. I continued to eat tums, drink only water and eat only gels but now every 15-20 minutes vs. my normal 30 minute interval. We ran well and I was strong making up minutes at every aid station. My silver buckle was beginning to come back into clear view.

On the Browns Bar section Darin got his foot stuck in one of the many holes on this section of trail. The fall took him down and I knew he was hurt. He yelled for me to keep going and I could hear him screaming behind me. It was horrible as I knew he was in a lot of pain. I wasn't sure he was going to catch up with me and had to begin thinking on my own. At the aid station he caught up and despite his sprain continued on but had difficulty keeping up on the down hills and I could tell he was limping pretty good. I remained focused and ran well into Hwy49. Stacey had me out of there in 30 seconds and onto the finish. Darin was right behind me but when we crested and began the descent into No Hands he wasn't close. With the barn in sight and the flood lights from Auburn I was setting new goals. Under 23:15 would be nice. Leaving No Hands we ran/walked up to Robie and my medial quads were screaming. I had to be careful not take my stride for granted because my medial quads were short circuiting but I had less than 2 miles to go when this set in so big deal! Stacey was at Robie and we all ran in together. I was happy to have pulled it out to get under 24!

Despite my stomach issue I had a great day! I was really happy with my mental fortitude not ever giving up or getting discouraged. Even though I wasn't going to have the day I set to achieve I remained optimistic and never got down and out hoping every minute it would turn around. Unfortunately it took too many miles to make a large enough turn to set me the direction I needed be to achieve my bigger goal. I just loved running with a big Oregon group all day, what fun. I still want to do 22 hours on that course....there' always another year but now I will be hoping I get picked next December!

-Stayed focused and positive
-Never gave up
-Listened to everyones advice
-Laughed at myself
-Not one blister or lost toenail
-Very little chaffing - last year I was a mess

-Not drinking the raspberry G2O
-Not weighing myself at home before the race - my weigh is down and I didn't know it so I discounted my pre-race weight.
-Not communicating to my crew that I had no G2O out on the course so they can give it to me instead of water
-Not replacing the sodium with other foods.
-Not asking anyone at the aid stations what might be wrong

New lessons learned. Now recover and be ready for Vermont in 3.5 weeks.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

River Crossing - Last run in Auburn

Today Jim and I went to Green Gate and drove down as far as we could without getting our car high centered. We made it about 70% down the section you climb out on during the race. On the other side of river we saw WS volunteers who were finishing up testing the cable. It was pulled out of the river by the time we got there. The volunteer was talking to us from across the river and was pretty excited to see runners down there today. The first thing I noticed was how low the river was compared to last year. Jim is out on some rocks that were all under water last year and the boats got all the way up to spot I am standing to take the picture.

Once we climbed back to the car we headed up to Green Gate aid station to start our run. We were surprised how far down the river is from Green Gate! When your in the race it seems to go by so fast but I know most crews do not hike down to the river instead they wait at Green Gate and now I know why. Not that my crew would dream of missing the opportunity for more exercise ;/. It is a pretty steep hike as well and now I know why it takes so long!

It was only 91 today during our run, ha, ha....only. Actually Jim and I are not really bothered by the heat like we were last Saturday. I am sweating very nicely now and no salt rings on my clothes and the weather man is calling for cooler temperatures on Saturday. I guess most anything would be considered cool after last years oven run. We ran into a long time Tevis Cup rider today on the trail and he talked and talked about the ride. It was really interesting and fun to see him so excited about it. He has done for many many years but he wouldn't say exactly how many.

The section from Green Gate to ALT is a piece of the course I really like and generally move pretty well on. I can see whey now. It's nice and smooth with some mild rollers so not that hard of a section but it is mile 80. We were really happy with our opportunity to spend so much time on the course this last week, not stressing and just enjoying taper runs. I think it will make race day even more fun. Tomorrow we drive back to Sacramento to pick up Bill, Stacey, Micheal and Lisa and head to Squaw. Micheal and Lisa will meet the rest of their crew in Squaw. Looking forward to it all!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Volcano Cayon

Today Jim and I checked out the Michigan Bluff to Bath Road section. It seems there has been some logging done on the sides of the road which makes it much more exposed than I remember. After you leave Michigan Bluff and head up the road for about 2.5 miles then take a left back onto the trail. This section is much wider than I remember probably because they are driving vehicles into the area for logging but I am not sure. The decent into Volcano Canyon has been worked on and it's much smoother with no large step downs remaining. I think this will be nice for me as I generally get passed a ton here because I am slow on the steep downhill. I like this section because you have just conquered the canyons, spent some moments with your crew and you get glimpse of civilization so you have the sense all the hard work has been done and it's time to run! In this picture of Jim you can see the paved road deep in the canyon below. After the descent into the canyon you cross a lovely creek and begin the gradual runnable climb into Bath Road. There are sections in this climb that are nice and flat so you can shake out the legs a bit before you walk up the steep section to the aid station. The views along the trail are very nice!

Today it was about 86 degrees when we started running. You know you are sweating when you stop to go pee and as you lean forward water is dripping from your face! We are getting very used to the warm temperatures and Jim is sporting fewer salt lines on his clothes :).

Monday, June 18, 2007

Some like it hot!

Today was really hot! The car read 100 degrees when we headed out for our 75 minute run. We goofed around early in the day. Got a pedicure, had coffee and got a few things at the grocery store. Of course Jim did not get his toes painted but I now have blue toenails with little white flowers with a pink center, very fun and relaxing. All the dry icky skin on my feet is gone and that will really help.

We ate lunch and then headed out to Hwy 49 aid station and ran backwards toward Brown's Bar then turned and ran back to Hwy 49. The trail seemed to be in better condition than last year. Jim paced me here during 2006 and he thought it was a lot smoother but I can't remember. At that point in the race it's just one foot after the other....trip, trip, stumble, run on whatever. This is a section where I have historically moved very slow. From ALT aid station to Brown's Bar seems to go on and on in my mind. I am always asking my pacer how much further. Sort of like a kid in the back seat of the car......"are we there yet"?
We wanted to do this because there is a climb after leaving the rolling section from Brown's Bar. Right after you hit the gravel road and travel about .5 miles you begin a climb up before descending into Hwy 49. When we arrived at the climb on our way to Hwy 49 we got a good laugh at the "big climb". Basically it's hardly noticeable but is definitely a tug. It's very short and non-intimidating in the daylight when your on a training expedition but during the race it's Mt. Everest! This is a picture of the "big climb" in the Brown's Bar to Hwy 49. We also got a good daylight view of the area where many runners miss the turn and continue on the gravel road. This is well marked but can be deceiving when you rummy and tired. This is picture of me taking the turn back onto the trail.

Being here early is a real gift. It has given me a lot of quiet time away from the day to day busy hustle and bustle. I am really relaxed and getting very comfortable with the heat.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hello from Auburn, CA

Jim and I left on Saturday (6/17) for Auburn. We wanted to get down to the area a few days early and check out parts of the course and bask in the heat. Jim hasn't run WS with the Duncan Canyon section so we definitely wanted to get out on that part of the course. All our runs now are short but still contain enough quality that they can be hard. Some 3Ba and AT in each runs is supposed to keep us sharp for race day.

When we arrived on Saturday we headed to Robie Point and ran backwards on the course past No Hands Bridge and then back. It was pretty darn warm, probably about 94 degrees and we were sweating pretty hard. We are not using any air conditioning in the car or rooms. We are eating most of our meals outside in the sun and spending as much time outside as we can. It has actually been fairly easy and not too uncomfortable.
Today (Sunday) we waited for it to heat up and then headed to Robinson Flat and ran back towards Duncan Canyon then back to Robinson. This is part of the burned forest section and I thought the trail looked a bit better than last year but I really can remember. Duncan Creek at the bottom was very low compared to last year. I kept warning Jim (who doesn't like to get wet) that this creek is pretty high. At least that's how I remember it. I recall having to put my pack around my neck so it wouldn't get wet. Here is a picture of the creek, not high at all. We could easily have crossed without getting wet but chose to walk right through the middle. The sun had moved over the canyon so there wasn't any beating sun like there will be during race day, it was actually comfortable.

Here are some pictures I took:

Jim at the Duncan Canyon aid station:
Nice downhill section after the Duncan aid station. The forest is burned and the remaining trees are black from the ground up: As you head up out of Duncan Creek towards Robinson Flat the forest is still very burned as you climb nice gradual switchbacks up the canyon. Near the bottom the switchbacks are easy running but as you get near the middle of the hill they become steeper and harder to run because of the grade and the rocky trail.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Work is done.....time to taper!

This last week of training is the end off all my hard workouts in preparation for not only WS100 but VT100, Leadville 100 and Wasatch 100. I guess I didn't realize, until now, that I won't be doing any big quality training preparation after today. Of course there will be other kinds of meticulous preparations, pace charts, fuel plans, recovery strategies, mental visualization, crew meetings and all sorts of detail stuff but no more long hard workouts.

I was running around the track on Tuesday and after the second 1000 meter sprint I realized that I was doing my last track workout for the rest of 2007. I really put effort into the final three 1000's knowing it would be the last time I would wear my red hot track shoes. Driving home from the track a bunch of emotions started to flood in as I revisited all my training. Thoughts like.....did I give it my best I in better's over....after this weekend you might not be in the Gorge again this year. With all that I vowed to give Saturday BS (Black Saturday) effort 100%.

My last BS with the gang was a solid effort and I felt good about it. I wish I could have set some new records but most likely at this point in the training cycle you aren't going to see those kinds of results. My repeats were almost the exact time as my last ones so that is considered great as I head into the taper. It was interesting to ponder the fact that those were my last repeats for the 2007! Where does the time go? It wasn't that long ago when Micheal showed up at Herman Creek and announced, "100 days until WS"! We had a fun group on Saturday and one new BS runner, Kris who is a fire fighter and one good athlete. She is doing her first ultras in 2007 after lots of triathlons and other adventures. Jim, Micheal, Cian, Stacey, Kris and Zoe(the beautiful weim.) all headed to the PCT for our usual repeats. I had 2X40-50min which gets me to the second clearing. Micheal and Cian can make it to Tea Kettle springs in that time so that was their destination. Kris has the same great taste in dogs. Zoe is a sweet dog and loves to run just as much as ultra. I think Zoe did at least 20 repeats chasing all of us up and down the PCT. We all had a great day and we missed the rain!

I knew I had another big day on Sunday so I went right home and started the repair process with an ice bath, a ton of food and a movie. Alex had a bunch of kids over so the noise level was amazing but I was able to hear about 70% of my movie :). I felt pretty achy and attributed that to being sick and sort of run down after Rogue River. The sauna torture can also make you a bit dehydrated if you aren't careful to replace all the lost fluid. I have been trying to be diligent about drinking but I have to admit I not a huge water drinker. As the day progressed I started to get a bit down about how I felt physically and wished I felt less stiff and tired. Then to top it off I was sitting in the office talking with Bill and a large and I mean large book fell from the top shelf and hit me right on the head. It knocked me out my chair and onto the floor. I immediately started crying because the pain was so bad. I had no idea what had hit me but my face and head hurt so bad on my right side I was dizzy. Bill was desperately trying to look at my head and help. Once I got myself together he says, "I haven't ever seen you cry like that are you sure you're okay"? I have a huge knot on my head and had to take Advil just to sleep. Just what I needed.....a good knock on the head...not really....I'm not sure it knocked any sense in me at all but it hurt like crazy and took my mind off all my other aches and pains :)

On the Sunday run I wanted to wear my WS clothes, tape my feet, wear my WS shoes and carry all the stuff I would need before I see my crew for the first time. Sort of gear test drive. For the first time ever I am going to use RaceReady shorts, the ones with all the pockets on the back. While I love the concept and they work great they fit terrible. Way too much material for my body size, too high wasted, the splits flap open and show the lining, the non-split version look like capri shorts on someone my height. With all that complaining I am still going to wear them! I am sure I will have some good chafing from all the extra material. Jim, Stacey, Micheal and I met on Sunday at Angels Rest for 27 miles in under 5 hours. We planned to go up quad buster hill, then down, then up Angels Rest and all over the trails back behind then finish our run with one last descent down quad buster hill. That's two sessions down quad buster hill. If the quads can take that then we are ready for WS! I felt better than I expected given my physical state on Saturday night. My head still hurt at bit but not enough to give me any excuses for being slow. Once we reached to top of 5 mile hill we ran into Beast who was muling around the area and he took a few pictures.

I wanted this last big run to emulate some of the running I will be doing at WS so I could experiment with paces, running form, fueling as if I was in the middle to the race. What that means is I didn't bust down quad buster hill but instead ran it steady and focused. I wanted to know how fast I could run downhill for 5 miles without really propelling. When we climbed up Angels Rest which almost exactly the distance and grade of Devils Thumb I took it steady and relaxed vs. my normal push. I know I won't be running up Devils Thumb at all, probably not one step but normally I can run most of Angels Rest. On our way back from Larch Mountain up to Devils Rest I was thinking of the steady climb to Michigan Bluff and try to think about how I will feel there and what I might want to do on that climb. For the last descent to the car on quad buster hill I was pretty pooped and giggled about how normally this is a sub 7 minute descent but when your tired it's more like a 8 min. descent and some sections slower. That is exactly what it like heading into Eldorado Creek. The terrain calls for a fast gliding descent but when your tired it's not as much of a glide ad you wish. Those were all my thoughts and final running preparation for WS100 07! I feel like I am ready.

I had the pleasure of doing all my WS100 training with Jim and Micheal who are also running WS this year. It was so much fun to run with guys which is much different than running with the girls. They don't talk much and they never complain or whine. They don't announce when they need to use the bushes, they just go and then catch up. They don't make any excuses for having an off day, they just say, "I am having an off day". They aren't overly positive and they say what they think. They also have a great sense of humor. They are very tough and can really handle pain well. That is an area I need to work on so it was fun to see them tough things out during their training each week as they got stronger and stronger. I have never had so much fun training before! Thanks guys! Since we are all going to be towing the line in Squaw it will be comforting and motivating to know my running partners are out there somewhere kicking butt. When I am having an ultra moment I will know they are pulling for me and I for them.
Now it's time to taper!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 do you know if you are????

I have been thinking a lot about "peaking for a race" lately and though I understand the concept I am not sure I would know if I was peaking. I been surfing the web and combing books about training searching for the true definition of "peaking for a race", how you know your peaking and what it feels like. Surprisingly to me I have not found much about the topic and I sure haven't come across a concrete definition. I am having some really great runs and my recovery seems to be quick. Along with some other great feeling I am pumped up about this summer and especially WS. All of these uplifting, kick butt, strong as an ox feelings has led me to wonder.....could I be peaking? Since I realized I have no idea what it really feels like to "peak for an event" I went on a hunt for information.

During my search I found a ton about sharpening as that phase seems to be well described and a ton of research has been done about this phase of training. I supose it's because the sharpening phase of training is absolutely necessary in order to have a peak performance. You simply must do a good job at the sharpening phase to have any hope of peaking for you event. Maybe that is why there is in depth writings about sharpening and very little about peaking. Also, maybe peaking is very hard to pin point......just how would you know if you had a peak performance.....a PR......a great day on race day....quick recovery?

It seems that there a ton of measurements for the sharpening phase. Measurements that can help you determine if you are on track with your training and continuing to build endurance and speed. Every running book I own (a lot) all have some kind of measurement with regards to endurance and intensity throughout your sharpening phase. They also have pretty in depth descriptions of how you will feel during the sharpening phase which is very intense as your body ramps ups and adapts to the demanding workloads. When it comes to peaking all the books are very vague but here is what I have found. You know when your are going to peak when.........
  • During your speed sessions you no longer need to force your body through the workout session. Instead your body "surges forward at it own will" and "thirsts to accelerate".
  • About an hour after your training you feel supreme vigor instead of mild fatigue.
  • Your everyday physical activities, like climbing stairs, become easier.
  • You become extremely sensitive to everyday situations and mildly irritable as the body is "prepared for action and ready to fight".
  • As the body becomes flooded with previously latent energy, a heightened se_ual awareness is often evident. (this is "G" rated blog so I won't be talking about this)

I got this from of Lore Of Running by Tim Noakes, MD. When I was doing my web research I found some articles that talked about almost the exact symptoms as the ones above but that is about all I found. The symptoms above tell you that you have sharpened correctly and are getting ready for one kick butt performance. I also found lots of sources that indicate a "peak" doesn't last for more than about 4 weeks meaning you cannot expect to have great performances again and again as your peak will begin to fall.

I have been experiences some real fun highs lately and those moments lead me to ponder why I am feeling so great. Alex and I would leave for school and we would crank up the radio and sing at the top of our lungs then laugh our heads off about how horrible of a singer I was. Once I dropped him off and headed for my run I would again be antsy and be-bopping in my car as I drove to my workout. I'm surprised I haven't gotten a speeding ticket. I am so excited to get to tempo. On my speed workouts I have to hold myself back because my body is so revved up. I've even taken note that my household jobs are not jobs but more like a way to expend pent up energy, I even cleaned out my closet. Just thinking about WS gives me butterflies but I am not nervous just excited. The weight room is my friend and I am able to lift much heavier and can power through my workouts. I am sitting up straighter and walking with more confidence. I like everyone around me.....must be something in the air!!!!! I haven't noticed an additional irritation but quite the opposite. My body seems to be operating like a well oiled machine with regards to recovery, digestion and don't look tired or beat up. The muscles are beginning to loosen up and feel very springy and plyable. When I put my headphones on I feel like I am in a rock band jamming to my music and seem to be a zone.

I have no idea if I am heading for a peak performance but I thought the changes I have felt in the last couple of weeks were very evident. If I am peaking then bring it on!!! These are some great highs and I intend to milk them for all their worth....enjoying every minute of it.

Saturday, June 2, 2007


It's time for heat training and lucky Oregonians get to do it the hard way. It's the sauna for me! What's your form of torture. My gym has a good sauna and not many people use it, they are drawn to the steam room vs. the sauna. I see them walk by and get in the steam room then I see them leave the steam room. That's my entertainment while I am getting hottttttttttt. I started my heat training a bit early this year because last year we got the opportunity to go the the Grand Canyon on this day last year when they had record setting temperatures in the canyon. The shade read 118 degrees so it had to have been at least 120 degrees in the full sun. We did a double crossing and had to stick together and use Bright Angel Creek to cool our core temperatures as we crossed the canyon floor. That was last year so since I am not in the canyon I am in the *&%^!*" sauna. I started with 15 minutes last week and thought, "hmmmm this isn't so bad" as I did push ups, sit ups and ran in place. Then I bumped it to 20 minutes and was climbing the walls at 15 minutes as my watch went tick, tick, tick. The Counselor (Micheal) is an over achiever already lasting more than 40 minutes in his sauna, he even showed up with a long sleeve shirt for our run this morning. This week I bumped it to 35 minutes and yikes that's not fun. I did all my moving around for the first 20-25 minutes then the truck hit me! I was begging to get out....kinda of like a caged animal but since the Counselor has set the bar so high I had to persevere. I have had 2 sessions of over 30 minutes in the oven and after our run today I forced myself to drive straight to the gym for another hot flash :). This is me when I started......Not looking to bad....sort of fresh and happy. When I arrived the temperature for the sauna wasn't set to high so of course I immediately cranked it up thinking, "what on earth....who turned down MY sauna" forgetting that other people use it to. I get in and there is a lady in there and she immediately looks at me as she relaxes nicely in her moderately hot sauna. The temperature started to rise nicely....170, 175, 180 and within about 3 minutes that sucker hit 190 and she was out of there. All by myself I started to do my sit ups, crunches, push ups....standard sauna workouts. Then the sweat started to pour. Seems like I must be getting used to it because I was sweating so fast and it really wasn't bothering me. 15 minutes flew by and I am thinking, "this rocks.....ha!...I can do this" Then my water bottle starts to melt a bit and my headphones start to short out from all the sweat in my ears. My heart rate is lower than it has been so its workinnnnnnnnggggggg.....I am getting heat trained. 25 minutes goes by and I feel remarkably good still walking, jumping a bit of rope, modified push ups. 30 minutes hit and here comes the truck! Crashhhhhhhhhhh it hits me, I feel weak, tired, every minute seems to take forever, I am soaked with sweat, chased out two ladies (sorry) and been checked on by gym staff twice (seems and anorexic died in there recently, very sad). Waiting and waiting for the 35 minute mark to hit and I swear it seems like forever....sorta of like it feels when your waiting for aid station to appear. Bingo.......35 minutes! This is how I looked after 35 minutes in the hot torture chamber. Now if the Counselor says it's no problem to stay in there for 45 minutes one more time....I am going to hurt him! Next week it's moved up to 40 minutes.
Afterwards I weighed myself to see how much I lost and only lost 1 pound whereas a week ago it was more like 2 pounds. I cooled off in the locker room then took a cold shower and was still sweating 30 minutes later! BTW.....I don't really like the heat but I am using some of Stacey's thought process......"I love the heat, the heat is my friend, the hotter the better". I just love this sport of ultra running, when would you ever do something like this unless you were ultra running :).