I run happy.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

More Boston, More Boston!










I think I am twelve weeks out from Boston?  The weeks are so busy,  I lose track.  I am not obsessing nor perseverating about my training.  It is a part of my day, my week,  my life but it is NOT MY LIFE. I have so many things…
Last weekend was spent with twins from my class a couple of years ago, their buddy, her mom and our friend Shad…he ran the Lake Hodges 50 miler.  Tough guy.  Stoic.  Calm.  Pulled off another 50 miler and he didn't even need the cow bell.  

 Last week also yielded some SNOW in Encinitas…ha, ha…out of a snow making machine.  Some parents from our kindergarten brought ice and make snow for our Kinder Pretzels.  They were SOOO funny!  Some had never felt snow melt through their fingers.  They were shocked it was so cold and many just sat and ate it until it was gone.  Joy.  I love shocking kids and watching them react to something so ordinary to some, yet, completely foreign to most Southern California babes.  Loved that day.
Back to training!!!
The dead leg syndrome has a name now.  An origin.  A source.  Kind of sad.  Kind of strange but definitely not something to stop me from being superhuman!

I guess the 45 X-rays show that I had a fracture on my spine when I was born.  I was born breech and my mom says I was stuck with my legs and head inside of her.  After forceps and lots of pulling, I was born.  Possibly causing that fracture.  Anyway,  during adolescence,  I started to feel the pain as I grew and stopped riding horses competitively.  Only to have the fracture rear it's head once I started running longer distances!

The dead leg is actually referred pain from the nerves in my back, protecting the fractured spine.  Hmmm.

Once again, I'm back to pain management and feeling better knowing what's up.

Boston training is incorporating HILLS, HILLS and more HILLS.  Yesterday's workout was 14 miles, 7 up a hill with 6x5 min. spurts up the hill at goal marathon pace.
7 down hill.
I know the hills going up are great for my fitness and my back issue but going down took it's toll by mile 13.  Baby steps…

I've yet to determine my goals for this marathon.  At this moment, I'm obviously grateful to just be running.

Run happy,
meg

Sunday, January 5, 2014

BOSTON TRAINING BEGINS, Dead Leg Syndrome and Living in San Diego

Ok, let's get the inevitable out of the way.  I live in San Diego.  Yes.  It's gorgeous right now and yes I feel guilty about it.  I cringe when I see a friend has posted another incredible sunset.  I was there to enjoy it.  I know how gorgeous it was and how the pink, purples, oranges and reds lit up the sky.  I was the one who sat at Swamii's Beach and decided to abandon a run and just melt into the bench, watching the show before my eyes.  Unable to separate myself from the moment.  Ugh.   Sorry…living in California isn't that great though.  Well, despite the weather anyway.  For instance…
despite the fact that my dear friend lives just steps from the beach,  she  can't get a new microwave oven.  Hey,  it's expensive to live here.  We pay three times the amount for a home so we have ghetto microwave ovens and
we use lots of duct tape so our furniture lasts longer.
Hey…SNOW or using our imagination and duct tape.  You decide.  We already have.

Speaking of warm weather,  Boston training officially began a few days ago.  I have a sort of calm and didactic approach to Boston this year.  I know I will be there.   I have been off of steady training since my ultra in November.  December was a mix of massages, acupuncture, random easy runs, SUNSETS, and just running by feel.  Somewhere in there I realized that my hip and left leg were STILL sore from the race and not responding to much of anything…even rest.  So,  I have been doing a lot of stretching, yoga and am seeing a specialist again this week.  It is possible to run through this and even train for a marathon.  At 48 years old,  we call it MANAGEMENT.  I just manage pain through lots of RECOVERY and stretching.  I've done this for the past three marathons and still improved my times but I DO NEED to seek some help from a specialist this week just to recover for good from my nasty left leg issues.  Done.

So,  yesterday was my first 12 miler and the end of my first week of Boston training.  I'm excited and hopeful for the spring.

Wishing everyone WARMER weather, nice sunsets and healthy training in the New Year!

Run Happy,
meg

Sparkle Pants, my daughter  and I during the holidays!!  Can you believe he's already 4 1/2??  




Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ragnar Relay #1 … Vail Lake Ultra Trail Race

Ahhhhhh!  Barely a month and a week after my last marathon,  a crew of three fast runners(and me), took on a Ragnar Relay race in the hilliest terrain I've run,  in the dark,  for over 24 hours.

Let it be stated here and NOW…

1.   I need 10 hours of sleep at night, at least.

2.  Relays scare me.  Am I going to let these peeps down?  What if I want to quit and can't?  What if I'm the slowest of the group and they all "play nice" and secretly sigh and click elbows when they see the results?  What if I can't run around the clock, what if I'm cold, what if I get grumpy and start to cry…what if, what if, what if.

3.  I like anything cozy once the sun goes down.  Bed, pillows, yellow afghan,  husband, Jack Russell Terrier.

4.  My legs have been TIRED and lifeless since St. George.

Despite my above frailties, irrational fears and whining,  I DID want to do this race.  My three Andaleg Peeps are some of my favorites; honest, fun, uplifting and enthusiastic.  PLUS,  my passion and LOVE for running in the dark would be addressed at this race and I knew it would be a night filled with light from a full moon, TRAILS, hills and magic.  Magic happens when you run at night, under the moonlight.  Time stands still.  The world closes in and life just seems a little smaller.  You feel a little smaller, some how less significant.  I think we could all use a little dose of feeling the humbleness of feeling smaller.  It puts everything in perspective and leaves one grateful for the light of day and new beginnings.  Ah, so philosophical…

Anyway,  the race started at 4 p.m.  We camped out on a HUGE grassy knoll that faced the gorgeous Vail Lake.  I really don't think it was THAT gorgeous, I'ves seen some hot lakes, but the whole vibe was SO Ragnar that you couldn't help but take in beauty.
Spice Cake aka Chi Chi
Andalegs

 JosA


 Andalegs!
 Solid Rock and Chi Chi
 Go Chi Chi!
 JosA and JosB
 Go Dawg!

Masters of Disaster Team!








The plan was for the four members of our Andaleg Team to take on 3 loops, 2 times.  The green loop was the first, the yellow the second and ending with the red.  Green and red loops were HILLY both down and up.  WALKING was a given in parts and grabbing onto bushes and plants as you climbed was often necessary.  Down hill was rugged, rocky, slippery and often scary as you navigated trails and roads covered with three inches of powdery dust.  You never really knew what was under that dust and with the headlamp light,  I often imagined seeing small rocks, boulders and trees under the film.  Scary at times but also thrilling.  Close to 30 miles in 24 hours.

Each loop ended with my Solid Rock cheering me in, congratulating me on the time and whisking me off to change into dry clothes.  I hit our camp totally HIGH on the night running and complementing the trail.  I respected those trails and because I never FELL, TRIPPED or got lost,  I wanted to marry them.  I will definitely go back to reignite the flame next year…being that I formed a love affair with this race. Don't worry, Solid Rock is well aware,  I haven't STOPPED talking about this race all week.  Anyhoo,  once changed into my next dry running outfit,  I'd head to "the couch," snuggle in with my BRP(best running partner)or with one of the guys and rest up for the next loop.  DID I MENTION THE HEAT LAMP???  A priority for any night relay runner…it ran on propane and heated us on that little couch all night. I wanted to marry the heat lamp too.    We felt like we were in our living room gazing out at the stars, surrounded by 200 tents and even more crazy runners and support crew.

On into the night we ran,  mostly running alone on desolate peaks and through valleys…where I experienced the MAGIC of the night.  As I headed up a long winding hill,  the valley was suddenly filled with moonlight and one by one,  the runners up ahead turned off their headlamps.  We all wanted to feel that isolation and smallness that only night running can bring.  As I crested the top of the hill, the lights had been popped back on as we flew down the other side, eager to finish the yellow loop.

Goals were met.  Dreams were realized.  Friendships reinforced.  A marriage filled with some more love, respect and fun.

Special thanks to Trasie, Team Andalegs Captain, BRP, and especially the Solid Rock who served, cheered, ran a loop with me and paced me to a better time with his fresh legs, fresh attitude and loving support.

Recovery you ask?  Always a slippery thing when you're 48 years old and have just run two races over marathon distance within a month or two.
1.  Legs are tired
2.  Lack of sleep fatigue lasted 6 days
3.  Massage, acupuncture, foam rolling over the last week

Grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this fun…Happy Thanksgiving!  Run towards your dreams.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Javelina Jundred; Scariest Race Ever

Have you ever had one of those experiences that filled you with adrenaline all day?  Kept you from sleeping, eating, and doing anything NORMAL like reading, playing scrabble on your iPhone or flossing?


Javalina Jundred HAPPENED on Saturday.
a true life event
I usually need about 10 hours of sleep a night, every night.
Somehow,  I functioned off of three hours and managed to stay in some sort of Javelina Jigh without the use of any substance.

Before you read on,  let it be known that I DID NOT RUN THIS RACE.  I was the wife.  It was a strange and unusual role for me because I'm usually the one racing but I FINALLY got my chance to be Sherpa, Tony Robbins,  Bad Grandma and medic to my 100 ultra attempt-er, Boy Scout.
He's the "giver" in this relationship and he likes to flaunt that over me... A  LOT.
Finally, a chance for me to be THE GIVER.  
I couldn't wait.
I'd rally.
I drink copious amounts of coffee to stay awake.
I'd make him leave the aid station after 5 minutes, max.
I was ready.  I'd read blogs on how to be the best pacer imaginable.  I had jokes, jingles and funny antidotes ready to share with him in the middle of the night.
Game on. I ,too, could be "t"he giver.

We headed to HEADQUARTERS on Thursday before the race.  There was already a tent city erected on top of the very place where many scorpions, tarantulas and coyotes call home.  Runners and support crew peeps rent out these tents and put up their own homesteads.  Some were draped with Halloween decorations,  so many in fact that I felt like I was back in elementary school at our annual Halloween Carnival.

As the weekend progressed,  I was proven correct.  This WAS a carnival.  Runners in costumes were everywhere!  Spooky running mummies,  clowns, jesters,  brides...they all attended the event. 
*Junk in a Box*

 I spent the whole weekend wondering how they kept their costumes on; sweating in the 95 degree heat.  Wings melted,  wigs wilted,  make up ran...a horror show if I'd ever seen one.
And then the bodies.
A 100 miler can do a horrible thing to bodies...in 105 degree heat(which was recorded at one aid station).
I should know.
I spent over an hour in the med tent with Boy Scout as he recovered from a violent case of vomiting and dehydration.
Or was it heat exhaustion?
Moaning was the predominant  sound coming from this haunted house med tent.  Runners were cramping and screaming.  Some writhing.  Some white, waxen and  WAY TOO SILENT.
When Boy Scout was ready to stagger,  I scooted him out to the start/finish crossing and seated him where he could watch all the runners coming in, refueling and heading out once again.
What better motivation?
He cooled down.
He refueled.
He re energized.
And I played Bad Grandma.


*Ready to head out once again*

And, the day(and night)continued.
I had no way of knowing where he was during the next loop.  I could only hope and pray that he hadn't been sick and wasn't  throwing up under a cactus, curled up in a ball along the trail with scorpions and tarantulas and rattle snakes crawling all over him.  I had actually heard(afterwards)that there were some runners in this condition(minus the reptiles).  This vision became too much for me and  at about 4:30 p.m. ,  despite the fact that BS's two SUPER PACERS were about to arrive(and my cell phone died),  I took off  running up to the next aid station to check on my Haunted  Hubby.  
After a few hours,  a run back with an un-costumed, very nice man,  I returned to Head Quarters with the news that, yes,  BS had been sick and couldn't continue without a headlamp and a shirt.  
It was now NIGHT TIME.
In the desert.
Still 80 degrees.

Super Pacer #1 was off.  With his invisible  cape and mask,  he was driven by four wheeler  up to BS with head lamp and shirt in hand and then continued on with  the death march.  BS  was NOT eating, not drinking and felt like *&)(*).  Never, ever a good sign in an ultra at mile 40.  However, relentless-forward-motion happened.

**About this time,  I headed back to our hotel to eat and *try* to sleep. Then returned to Head Quarters.**

Super Pacer #2 assumed duties and let BS take a nap in the tent for 20 mins. Then, filling him with a hot dog and chicken soup which was a total B-12-like experience for him ,   sent him on into the night ready to fight.  Or not.  The night got long, the trails were rocky, words and moans  were spoken(well, maybe no one heard those words and they were just in his head)but somewhere along that long, long, hot trail,  BS decided he'd settle for the 100k.  So he did.

No regrets.
No tears(or at least Super Pacer #2 didn't tell me about them-it's a guy thing I guess).
No pouting.
Earned  a 100k  belt buckle.

We packed up at 3:30ish a.m., headed back to the hotel and SLEPT like zombies until mid-morning.

So now, the NEW plans and plotting have begun.
The next 100 miler is being pondered and planned.
The NEW training for the next  HOT 100 Miler is being studied.
Moving Forward and not looking back is in play.
My husband appreciates punishment and wants to beat this 100 miler thing.  

SOOOOO proud of my ghoulish man.

I must also express my admiration and gratefulness to ALL of the Javelina Jundred runners, those that finished and those that met their demise but will rise once again.
Although often eeri,  I saw faces of joy, anguish, determination, fortitude and love out there in the  Arizona  desert and I will never forget some of the finest performances of athletes anywhere.
Truly a carnival of tough, BIG HEARTED runners, volunteers and the finest ultra event planners ever.

Congratulations HONEY  and everyone!  I KNOW that Javelina will be an ultra that we'll want to attend every year.
Hauntingly Amazing!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

100 Miler--Javelina Jundred Here We Come and a little race report on St. George!

BS is tapering for his first 100 miler...another stepping stone for Western States?  He is sound, ready, had his last massage and now we must wait...
If a marathon is both science and mind...what is a 100 miler?  I can't fathom what would happen to mind after 50 miles but I will be there to witness, report, cheer, yell and possibly,  play BAD WIFE...by not letting him quit.
The Javelina Jundred 100 miler is in Arizona and is basically an ultra in the desert that is a looping course.  Every three hours I should see my BS come around and my plan is to hug and kiss, check in on the mental state, and let him decide WHEN and What to eat.  
I look forward to being TOUGH WIFE...I should have done it during the last ultra but when I looked into his eyes and held his chin between my palms,  I saw a candle that had been blown out-extinguished- and I folded.
Next Saturday,  I   WILL   NOT  FOLD.
We will light that candle again, together if necessary.

Here he is finishing ST. GEORGE with a 3:29,  a PR!


PR's For All!
St. George was definitely the best marathon I've run.  It was FUN, gorgeous scenery and we were all ready for the demanding down hills.  I would never, EVER say that because this race was down hill that it was EASY.  A few well-meaning peeps had some comments to share about it being an automatic PR race and I will admit,  that's why I chose this race.  However,  a lot of down hill training went into this race...heck,  a lot of HILL TRAINING period.  There were a couple of tough up hills in the race but when I hit the down hills,  I was mentally kissing and hugging my coach for the AWESOME training plan and for the 3 x weekly down hills we did during the last month of training.  SMACK!!

My goal was to PR at 3:19 and I was some seconds over that.  My second goal(because I'm like that)was to run my last 6 miles stronger than any other part of the race.
Science,  consistency and confidence in the hills and a beautiful course were on my side and my final miles were
7:00 min. pace or faster.
Ahhhhhhh, second goal met.
Finish strong.

Goal 3:  Take off two full weeks from running after the race.
Epic fail.

I succumb to peer pressure and OCD with running.
I returned to jogging at the track workout for 4 miles,  7 days after the race.
I know that the reason my training and racing for St. George was strong and injury-free is because I focused MORE on recovery than on the workouts.
At 48,  recovery is everything.

Guess I'm going to have to work at goal 3 a little more.

 This is the starting line at St. George.  Dark, chilly and eery!  There were about 24 of these bonfires and about 40 runners around them,  melting their shoes and snuggling in Mylar blankets.

So,  we're off to Arizona soon!  With two weeks off from school,  I plan on reflecting on my first trimester of school that just came to an end;  how to better herd my kittens who are extremely lively as well as BRIGHT.  More rainbow skeleton building may be in order!
 I also plan on playing a lot with this little guy who made his own cat and people puppets...
 As well as a ghost mask.  Lots of fun planned!  And recovery.
Happy Fall!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

St. George Here We Come!!!

Marathon Training!!!
It seems like my mind has been so consumed with LIFE and LIFE'S way of throwing vulnerable and real moments at me,  I haven't been blogging about running.  My passion and dedication has been completely IN but a friend's misfortune has brought a film of gray over much of what I've done over the past month and a half.  Nothing like a dear, dear, dear friend's suffering to wake you up,  cloud your perspective and at the same bring about that CLARITY that only comes from seeing those close to you so  vulnerable and hurting .  The details must remain private but it's always safe and responsible to say...

DON'T TAKE ONE SOLID DAY FOR GRANTED!

You may feel gray some days, you may feel yellow or some other cheery color but don't let your "feelings" mask your gratefulness for all you have, feel .  This is not a trite observation.  It's real.  

So back to RUNNING!

My 12th marathon is next Saturday.  I can't believe  that after 7 more SLEEPS,  we're taking a road trip to UTAH and I'm running St. George.  So excited.  The following is a brief synopsis of my training over the summer and up until now.

Hills
Hills
Down hills
Uphills
20 mile hill runs with 10 downhill at marathon pace.
22 mile down and up hills with 12 miles at marathon pace.
Tempo runs for ten miles at marathon pace.
10x800 at 10k pace
Hills
Down hills
Up hills

Get the point?  A running pal remarked that St. George was one of the "easy" marathons because it's all down hill.  Obviously,  she had never done that marathon because one would definitely not make the remark after the amount of hill training one needs to do to make it to the starting line.  The hills, cross training and recovery have all  prepared me for another FUN day in the sun.  AND...I'm ready.
At 48 years of age,  I can finally say...I have not been injured during this marathon training period although it was one of the most challenging of my life!  I have never felt defeat, disappointment nor discouragement nor have I felt like I wasn't going to be able to give it my all.  I will race next Saturday, I will push my hardest yet, I will HURT and I will be HAPPY!!

To further add to the list of positives,  my ultra hubby will be with me as well as my FAST ANDALEGS RUNNING BUDDY, Jillian.  

Bring it on baby!!

GOALS:  I qualified and got into Boston two weeks ago and with that out of the way,  I can focus on having a SOLID,  consistent and under control race.  NO worries, no extreme pushing, no times that I must meet.  This frees me up mentally to relax and trust my training and my body.  THANK YOU, BODY.  That hug I gave you the other night after my last tempo run as meant just for you.  Grateful.

Who else is going to St. George???

Run grateful,
meg

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Marshmallows, Dusty Trails, Peaks, Mountains and Stars

Some races just come together.
Some races start and you know you're done before the first mile.
Some races are done before you start but you do them anyway...and that's okay.

This last Saturday was one of my better ones:

hot
trails
hills
for 13 miles.

BS had some battles...

heat
trails
hills
for 32 miles(50k)...

but he persevered and finish his 50k in 7:xx,  ending with a death march that included a smile and a few minutes of projectile vomiting once he reached the shade.  So proud of my mentally and physically strong husband.  Yes,  projectile vomiting might not seem okay to some but in our household,  it happens.

 Dawn...we camped and drove a mile to the start.
 Early start, 6:30 a.m.
 Finish...sometime after 1 p.m.  the last 1/2 mile.
 Pre-vomit fest with Craig!


 Race Eve festivities with Ping and Pong, their mom and her boyfriend.
My favorite part of camping.
Finding the perfect marshmallow roasting stick is always a priority for me.

BS was satisfied with his time and effort, it was a hot day and he finished.

My half was a highlight for my year; I felt strong on the hills both up and down and the heat made me feel great...it is definitely a comfort for me which is weird, I know.

My highlight of the weekend was NOT the lumpy, hard and crusty ground where we slept because I tossed and turned ALL night.  No, the highlight was when I left the tent to pee in the tall grass at about 2:30 a.m.,  near our tent,  and and looked up to see an ENTIRE sky filled with stars that were so close together they almost exploded before my eyes.  I couldn't walk.  I couldn't stop myself from scanning the sky.  I felt so insignificant and yet, so embraced by the beauty.

Thank you Cuyamaca 3 Peaks for a great time...

Run happy,
meg