Run Woodstock photos, part I

Finally getting around to putting some pictures from the finish up… All photos in this post were taken by my brother Chris.

Striding into the finish like a BAMF.

My dad, who paced my last loop.

So much feeling! Mainly pain.

Me with my awesome hippie bus age group award. (First – what a surprise!)

Yay for sitting down.


so ready to not be sick

It’s been 8 days since I last ran, and before that I was just doing super short stuff (less than 6.5mi), and now I’m just beginning to get over the cold that EVERYONE on campus has… seriously, as soon as I get better and can do things like bike five minutes and walk up stairs without getting exhausted (from being sick), I’m going to get back out there and my life will return to its own weird normal state of being.

peace love and dayquil,

veggie soup

Fall is just around the corner, and it definitely peeked around that corner today – drizzling on and off, dark grey clouds on one half of the sky, blue and sun on the other, cool temps, a good breeze. Naturally, my body chose today to go bleh and stay inside. For dinner, I wanted something warm and delicious and comforting and healthy and, above all, easy to make! The answer was obvious. Soup!

delicious veggie soup

1 can black beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can great northern beans (what a weird name)
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn
1 can sliced carrots (normally I would use normal carrots, but we just had these)
salt & pepper
chili powder
garlic powder (would have used whole garlic, but I was lazy and not feeling great)
dried minced onion (fresh onion would have been GREAT – again, lazy)
2-3 sticks celery
1-2 tomatoes

Pretty straightforward. rinse all the beans and dump them in a pot along with the other canned stuff. Slice up the celery, dice up the tomato, and cut up however much onion you want and throw all that in. Add about 1.5 cups of water (or veg. broth if you have it/want to). Season to taste; I just used a wee bit of chili powder since I was going for more of a soup taste, but still wanted a little kick. put a lid on it, simmer on low heat, and enjoy! For best results, serve with fresh whole wheat or corn bread with mellow music, incense, and two very cute cats.


Running-related note: my calves are still ridiculously sore and tight, and my heels/Achilles are stiff as well. Took today completely off (not even biking or walking… stayed inside all day).

peace love and good food!

lessons learned

lesson number one: I’m officially calling off my 100M attempt in November. just not enough time at all to properly recover (more on that in a moment), train, and taper. I’m going to email and ask/beg for a deferral for next year, although I’m expecting a big fat No, You Dummy. Oh well. That lesson has certainly been learned. Don’t sign up for big races too far in advance.

lesson number two: my recovery – or lack thereof – from the 50 miler. Well.
I took two days off, I think, then started back into just really short distances – nothing more than 6.5, though they were all pretty much tempo/quick runs. Then on Friday, I made the genius decision to run the 20 miles back to my high school to talk to the cross country team. I should have known better. I really should have. But… hey, my calves were feeling mostly not too tight, my feet weren’t too sore anymore, and my Achilles was only a little painful and stiff in the morning and only made me limp a little. And so what if it was all pavement? I had my PureFlows. Those have cushion, after all…
Well. I’m sure you can all see where this is going. Six miles in, I was questioning my decision just a little. Twelve miles in, I realized it had been a stupid idea. Eighteen miles in, I was cursing myself for being such a massive idiot, that it has been an absolutely TERRIBLE idea, and WHY HADN’T I LISTENED TO MY BODY?!?
You see, ever since the race, my motivation hasn’t quite been what it should be. Plus I still had lots of minor (sometimes not so minor) aches and pains and various stiff things going on, but my thought process was something along the lines of: “Yeah, it was 50 miles, but… it was just 50, it’s not like I did 100, and hey, I’m young and healthy! I’ll spring right back! And besides, I just love running SO MUCH I couldn’t possibly take a week off, let alone two! I feel GREAT!” So I ran. I did listen, once, when I went out for an evening run and was forced back by a rather stabbing pain in one of my heels after just four minutes. But other than that, I pretty much figured I’d just run through the pain and everything would work itself out.
And that did work, partially – the pain/stiffness in the back of my heel and lower Achilles does seem to ease itself out as my muscles get more warmed up and stretched out. But the problem is my joints, particularly my ankles (which is what was bothering me/my downfall in the 50M). When I ran back home yesterday, on all that pavement (flat, hard, unchanging surface = opposite of trails), on sore, damaged legs and feet, and on pretty worn out shoes, the result was a lot of pain. Not quite as much as during the race, but enough that I found myself making mooselike grunting noises in an attempt to distract myself from it. (Didn’t help.) The last two or three miles were slow, sore, gingerly shuffled miles, and I knew that…

1. …the 100-miler was most certainly not happening.
2. …I should definitely not have run 20 miles that day, that I was absolutely not recovered.
3. …you need to take enough time off after races, or whenever you need it, despite whatever I’m Awesome mindset you may be in at the time. Not taking time off doesn’t do any good, and will probably do harm.

So yes. The results of all this are that I’m forcing myself to take at least one week off, maybe two. It all depends on how I’m feeling, both mentally and physically. Running should be fun, and for the past week, it’s been an internal struggle just to get out the door to run an easy five or something. That alone should have been a strong hint that something wasn’t quite right with my running and me. I’m hoping that after my break, I’ll be re-energized  remotivated, and ready to run once again.

peace love and running after an acceptable break!

PS. A note on talking to my old team. Although I only recognized a few of the faces there, since many of my younger friends have graduated, it was really nice and actually fun getting to talk to the kids about my adventures in running and how I got to where I was. A couple of them told me that they thought what I did was just so cool and inspiring, and a couple more said they wanted to do a marathon someday. One brave young soul even said he might do an ultra. (He has no idea what he’s signed himself up for.  :P) So that was pretty cool and rewarding; I love it when I think I’ve made an impact on someone for the better.

race recovery

So I ran 4.5 yesterday, and it was fine. I was planning to run in the afternoon, but my ankles/knees were a little sore, so I didn’t. Then this morning I was supposed to do 4.5ish again, but I lasted about 6 minutes… my heels/ankles, my right bone spur in particular, was really hurting… Alas, today ended up being a rest day.

I realize now that my problem is recognizing when I actually need to rest, and how much damage certain runs do, and how much recovery time they require. I’d planned on a 50-odd mile week this week… yeah, I don’t think that’s going to happen. I have a problem with changing my plans, though; once something’s on the calendar, if I don’t run that, I feel like I’m slacking off. I need to accept that this week is going to be very, very light mileage.

Other than my ankles/heels hurting, the only lingering thing seems to be extreme fatigue. I just haven’t had energy this week. I slept 8 hours last night, napped for 2.5 (waking up at 7 pm), and am going to bed now (9:50).

I just need to listen to what my body is trying to tell me.

peace love and SLEEP

Race Report: Peace Love & 50 Miles (Run Woodstock, 9/8/12)

50 miles: done.

I took Friday off, spent the night at home – I think I went to bed around 11 or so – and it was raining. It rained through the night (there may have been some light storms), unfortunately for the 100-milers out there, and through the early morning. I woke up at 4:15 to the sound of light rain outside and a cool morning chill drifting in through my cracked-open window. Contacts in, toast eaten, bib pinned on – let’s roll.

The race started at 6 a.m.; it was still dark and the whole campground was muddy, so we expected the worst in terms of trail conditions. Six minutes to go, we were directed into the starting corral. In the dark damp morning, everyone’s breath vaporizing in the dim headlamp beams, the excitement was tangible. You all know – that energy that builds and builds just before a race, electrifying your muscles, waking your mind… as the RD gave a few last-minute directions, that energy was alive. Two minutes, one… three, two, ONE…


The group yell of a hundred-odd runners setting off on a day-long race, starting off in the dark, trotting over barely visible, muddy, uneven terrain… a short lap around the campground, then onto the trail!

The first hour slipped by, hardly noticed; it was just running along a dark, then dimly lit by a cautious morning sun, trail, floating quietly among the trees and through the dewy fields; hills small and large alike rolled by underfoot, us none the wiser, unable to see them… although on certain very slippery sticky slopes and soul (sole)-sucking bogs along the trail we had to wake from our early-morning-run reveries…

The sun rose gradually, not drawing attention to itself, just letting the runners run along, not noticing the change until the end of the first 16.6-mile loop when they emerged from the trail into the campground, the bright sunlight of 9 a.m. welcoming them back to the crowds, the excitement of a race, the aid station… I met up briefly with my dad; I was feeling good – confident, strong, and above all happy; I had passed my mom on the trails as she was nearing the end of her 5-mile race (at that point, we had the 100, 100k, 50M, 50k, full, half, 10k, and 5 all on the same trail so it was pretty congested). I quickly refilled my hydration pack and set off for my second lap, feeling excellent.

A few miles in, not sure how many, there’s a pleasant field – mid-height grasses and wildflowers flanked by turning-fall pines and oaks, with a packed singletrack weaving through it – and I breathed deep, inhaling all the fresh morning scents and sights and sounds, taking in the cool dewdrops on the glinting grass with the sun rising orange and yellow above the treetops silhouetted dark against its bright light – and I smiled wide, because that is the absolute best way to spend a morning.

I ran with one guy for the first loop and a half or so – he kept catching back up to me, and vice versa – and a woman for a good few miles of the second loop, and those were good times. There was conversation and company, two vitals on a long run of any sort, but especially welcome in a race. Runners are just such pleasant people. We pushed each other. But then I found myself alone with about a third of a loop left until my pacer (my dad) would join me… and I faltered. I was alone, I was tired, and my ankles were absolutely killing me. My first loop had been right on schedule – I came through at 2:56, and my goal was 9 or 9:30 – but this one was just so much harder. I had been feeling so great the first time around – what had happened? Thoughts of quitting flashed through my head. I didn’t think my ankles would let me keep going. But I came through the last mile and a group of nature-walkers cheered me on, then I saw my dad at the aid station. How was I doing? I hurt. It was hard. But I buckled back into my pack, grabbed a couple little PB&Js and pretzels, and we headed out at a less-than-brisk walk (at 6:29).

The beginning of the third loop was pretty damn rough. My morale was still low from the end of the last loop, and I was having trouble running at more than a shuffle even on the flat rails-to-trails section of the loop. A mile or so on the dirt roads took us to the real part of the trails, though, and somehow I managed to pick up speed once I was back in there. I couldn’t have done it without my dad there, I think; he was a great pacer, to my surprise, I admit. But he kept me going, letting me walk when I needed to but also prompting me when I should run: “Want to try running a little now? Just til the next hill,” or, “Why don’t you run this downhill, pick up a little speed.” And of course, because it was my dad, I got his wonderful sense of humor. As the loop went on, I got more and more tired; I was talking less, trudging more, but he kept me going – that, along with my inability to cope with the thought of putting forth less than 100 percent, even if that 100 percent was no more than am 11:30 mile or a powerwalk, or even a trudge at times.

By the time we hit the last aid station, with about 4-5 miles to go, I was absolutely dreading the last stretch. I knew just how long it would take, and how much longer it would seem to take. And those two hills in between me and the finish… I was right. I don’t know exactly how long those last miles took me, but it was probably a while. I found myself walking on a straight, flat stretch, but I could barely will myself to run. Three miles to go, two… there were some fallen trees that had to be moved over, that was hard… one and a half…

Then we finally, finally, crossed the last dirt road and reached the picnic table that I knew was the one mile mark. The aid station that had been there (for other races) was gone, so I ate my last bite of powerbar, took a drag of water, and took off. I powered through the last mile. I ran hard; I don’t know how. I stopped feeling the pain in my ankles, the soreness in my feet, the fatigue everywhere else. I stopped thinking. I practically ran with tunnel vision, not saying anything; I’m sure I had that glazed look of someone entirely focused on a single thing. That thing was finishing. It was in my grasp and I just wanted to finish as soon as possible. I ran hard on the downhills and flat sections. I ran up the hills. At half a mile, I told my dad to go ahead to let my friends and family know I’d be coming in. He took off at what he later told me was a decent clip, and I wasn’t far behind, not far at all. At a quarter mile, I came up the last hill, around the bend, and there was the campsite. I heard the music, saw sunlight reflecting off the cars, caught sight of the crowds… and I sprinted. I have no idea how I sprinted after 50 miles, but I did. I came in hard. When my eyes finally rested on the colorful RUN WOODSTOCK FINISH, my breath caught in my throat and I ran harder. And harder. And faster. One final push…!

And then I was done. I was done. I crossed the finish line and stopped running… and, embarrassingly, started tearing up. My family was there, and two of my good running friends. My mom and dad were congratulating me, telling me how proud they were; my one friend kept calling me a badass; my brothers said I was insane. There was a photographer clicking away, documenting this Emotional Family Moment. I pulled it together, went and got my finisher’s medal and age group award (I was the youngest person running, and the only one in my age group, go figure), then sat down for a long time. I’d come in at 10:37:36 – about an hour longer than my goal – but I was satisfied. My mom drove over and picked me up from the campground since I really, really didn’t feel like walking to the car. Then I spent the rest of the day huddled under a giant fuzzy soft blanket on the couch, being brought food, water, and ibuprofen. (I hurt.) After eating some seriously delicious alfredo & shells, I stood up long enough to shower (chafing, OW), then went to bed at 9:30 and slept for about 10 hours. I spent half of the next day lying in bed, watching 30 Rock on my dad’s iPad and not feeling bad at all about wasting a beautiful day. Laying down felt damn good. A lot better than standing. But by 2 or so, I was able to walk, and did so with my parents for 45 minutes or so. I took today (Monday) off too, but I’m jumping back in at 7 a.m. tomorrow. Even though after the race, I swore I’d not do the OT100… I’m not dropping yet, and I’m still going to train as though I were going to attempt it. But only time will tell.

All in all, a painful, yet fun… in a weird runner way… experience which I’ll definitely do again… in a while.

6th woman out of 19
44 out of 84 overall
1st in age group

peace love and long-distance running!

PS. Pictures to follow or be added later… I’m waiting on my brother…