07/31/11

Startling Old People With My Sneaky Feet

When I bought these Brooks Ghost 3’s, I knew they were supposed to be pretty amazing, but I never imagined they’d allow me to run so quietly – to unintentionally sneak right up on people and frighten them out of their wits when I was upon them before they even heard me coming.  Apparently, that’s the case, though since I think I gave heart attacks to about 20 elderly citizens in the Eagle, Idaho area. To all of you (if you are reading) I truly am sorry. I didn’t mean to terrify you with my stealth, ninja runner qualities.

Each time I’d come jogging along, approaching an older couple deep in conversation or walking dogs or just moseying along enjoying the day side-by-side, I’d aim for a gap to get through or get by.  Usually there wasn’t one. People like to walk alongside one another. So, once I got in earshot, I’d say something pleasant like, “Lovely morning we’re having today!” or “Good morning!” and I tried to say it in my softest, sweetest, most pleasant, polite voice, but I just couldn’t get any better reaction than, “GASP! OH my gosh! Where did you come from?!!!”, as the elderly would clutch their hearts.  I’d smile sweetly and bid them a good day, then try again with the next older pair I’d pass. I’m clueless! I tried speaking up sooner, I tried slowing down, I tried speaking EVEN softer and sweeter – but no matter, always the same reaction. – a shiver down the spine, electrifying the whole body all arms and legs jerked as though they’d heard a gun shot, as they spun around to face me.

Maybe I’ll just stay on ghost mode next time and not speak at all! 🙂

This was my final medium, easy run before Wild Idaho’s 50 miler on Saturday. I kept the Garmin on my heart rate screen, making myself slow down when the heart rate went over 155 (the top of my “easy/endurance/recovery” zone.) I walked when I had to in order to keep it lower, I stopped for a long bathroom break at mile 5.3 when I spotted the only outhouse on the path and I even answered my cell when my little sister sent me a photo of her youngest daughter showing off her first lost tooth this morning “Way to go, Skylie! It looks great!”  I stopped to sponge bathe in the Boise River, splashing the ice cold water on my arms, shins and neck to cool me down in the 92 degree heat.

Things went very well until mile 9, when out of the blue, my right knee had a sharp pain along the outside. 🙁 I’ve never had any knee pain at all and this month I’ve babied my legs – NOT running hard on the downhills, riding my bike more so my legs could have a break as my right ankle has tried to heal up from the sprain.  I have no clue what’s up, but I was limping and had to limp/walk the rest of the run. 🙁  I may need a brace for my race on Saturday. Hopefully some ice and rest will get things back to normal in time for the race, though. Cross your fingers for me!!!!

Stats: 10.02 miles. 12:14 ave pace. 2:02 total time. 156 – average heart rate. Felt: Pretty good, hot, then injured. 🙁

July Stats: 136.03 miles ran + walked, 117.78 miles biked — YAY! 🙂 Weight – back to 125 this week! – Just need to maintain that until the October Marathon now!

07/30/11

Butterflies, Bogus, Buddies and my Baby


My husband, Wayne had been eager to see the Stack Rock trail I’d been raving about the past few weeks. We decided to head up there this morning as a couple. Of course, I had to throw together a little group invite last night to see if anyone else wanted to join us. 13 of us altogether showed up bright and early in the Moxie Java parking lot off of Bogus Basin road to head up to the trails together.

I am never disappointed in the group runs! I am so blessed to live in an area where so many cool, laid-back, runner types hang out and want to congregate together on the trails at a moment’s notice! 🙂 Today’s group was a lot of fun!

My husband is still very new to running. He’s just starting out and struggles with some knee problems, but I knew he’d really adore the pretty views and the cool shade on this trail, so I was so thrilled that he wanted to come today!  He had some pain to deal with almost from the start, so after running the first mile, we decided to make a long hike out of it instead. It was very fun! He found that by using two, long, sturdy tree branches as “trecking poles” it also helped with the climbs up and the steep descents down. He did a great job! I’m very proud of him!!!! He’d never climbed more than 1,100 in a run/hike before and today he hit 1,751 of gain! Woo hoo! Well done, honey!!!

The trail is so lush! So much green foliage, moss-covered trees, flowers in shades of pink, purple, white and yellow dotting the  path, fallen trees to leap over, outstanding views of the surrounding mountains covered in heavy forest.  The scent of pine is in the air. It rained on us for a few minutes and it was delightfully refreshing! It was a joy!!!!  On the way back, I spotted at least 30 butterflies. They were everywhere! We also saw the cutest little chipmunk. He posed for a photo op!  It was a lovely taper run with my sweetie! One week until my 52 mile (16,000 elevation gain) mountain ultra marathon!!!! Pretty excited! (and a little scared!)

Stats: 8.63 miles. 3:10 total time 22:03 ave pace. 123 – ave heart rate. 1,751 elevation gain. Felt: Happy

07/29/11

The Sweet Scent of Peppermint

I took it easy on the legs today and biked to Star and back. It was a relaxing, wonderful ride. Riding by the wheat fields, the cornfields and my favorite – the delicious aroma of the peppermint fields made me smile.  The one killer hill (who from this day forward shall be known as Quad-Buster) was a blast to ride down, but a total killer to ride back UP on the way back. But, I did NOT stand on the pedals! I pushed through! Take that Quad-Buster!

Happy Friday!

Stats: 13.22 miles 12.1 mph 1:05 total time 133 – ave heart rate. Felt: Happy

Relaxed with a 15 min DVD yoga workout from a Grown Up Happy Meal I bought years ago. Very relaxing. Did it with my 4 and 6 year old daughters, who’s hair I kept ruffling as we laid on the mats.  They took turns giggling and ruffling mine back. Good fun!

07/29/11

Moonlight Run – Chasing the Boys

What a fun group showed up tonight to run another late night run under the stars! It was even more fun this week than last week! I think we had 17 runners out there tonight. We were quite a sight, our headlamp lights bobbing and weaving through the darkness. At mile 3, we even attracted the attention of two local policeman on bikes who approached us to see what sorts of suspicious activities we were up to. 🙂  We had a great chat with them and heeded the warning they gave us to avoid some woman’s property who liked to chase runners down with a shotgun or her car if they came near. We weren’t in the mood for that type of speedwork tonight, so we took their advice and traveled on.

Again this week, early on, I found myself just a hair back from the “boy’s club.”  Seth, Mike, Tony, Mark, Frank and Jon were flying along ahead of me and made for a great pace team. Their glow in the dark vests and packs made it easy to keep them in sight and I settled into a nice, tempo pace.  It wasn’t long before my friend, Otto caught up to me, too. It was a fun group – lots of kidding around and chatter to keep the miles going by smoothly and quickly.

Not long after 3 miles, Otto and I found ourselves holding on for dear life to the “fast boys.”  Apparently they were just warming up earlier and soon we found ourselves huffing and puffing just trying to stay afloat. They lost us easily, but we kept pushing on – both of us determined to make a good run of it tonight.  Our buddy Jon, eventually came back to harass us, kicking us both in the rear (literally) before running off ahead again. We both made sprints after him, but, as expected, Jon was too quick!  The goof came back later to steal my water bottle and make me run after him to get it back, too.  I never had a brother growing up, but I swear since I started running, I have a whole gang of fun brother-types. 🙂 They harass and tease, but it’s all in good fun and makes me glad to be part of the gang.

Somewhere around mile 7 or so, I remember the pace was starting to really increase. Otto and I were trying to hold on again to the “fast boys.”  It wasn’t pretty. Otto was wheezing and I was grunting, but neither of us relented. I kept thinking, “He’ll fade first and then I can save face when I fade back to be nice.” but he kept pushing on. “Dang it!,” I thought. Finally, my watch beeped at exactly 7 miles and we both pulled back a hair, huffing and puffing. “You’re stubborn!” Otto said. I laughed and said, “So are you!”  It cracked me up. It’s always nice to have a friend who runs a really similar pace to push you out there and I think we served that purpose for each other tonight.  The “fast boys gang” of course pushed us even harder and I would like to thank them for that!

About mile 8, we were back on the main road, heading over the overpass, running through a bit of construction.  Jon, the goofball, picked up one of the orange cones and put it on his head, dancing about as he ran, hamming it up! We all laughed! We were having way too much fun after midnight on a weeknight!

Finally, we were back at the starting spot, the fast boys already cooled down and waiting in the parking lot. We waited around for the rest of the gang to finish up and I got to chat with more of the girls. It turned out there was a Mom of a 4 month old there and another Mom with a 6 month old, a cool friend I’d ran with one other time who has experiences with relays and of course my awesome friend and neighbor, Amy, who was there with her way cool 14 year old son, Dante and his buddy, Jake! I also got to see my sweet friend, Angie, who I hadn’t ran with in awhile! I was so proud of all of them for coming out late and putting in the miles! It was a fantastic group!!! We chatted in the parking lot, I hugged everyone goodbye and then I headed home with Amy’s son and his friend since Amy was still eager for some more miles and was running home.  I had originally hoped to do the same, but didn’t know our “escort” buddy, Jon was going to be there, I’d already told my husband I would come right back sooner. I had a great chat with the two very polite, great kids on the way home! Such nice boys!!!!

I feel pretty jazzed about how the run went tonight. I had hoped I could make it kind of a marathon-goal-paced run — the last speedy one I could squeeze in before my 50 miler next Saturday. My “goal pace” for my fall marathon is 9:09 or better. Tonight’s run was 8:44 average!!! Yeah, baby!!!!! I think I’ll keep pushing just a bit out there and chase after the boys more often! It really did help! 🙂

Stats: 9.38 miles. 8:44 pace. 1:22 total time. 178 average heart rate. 188 feet elevation gain (just a couple of hills.)  Felt: AWESOME!

07/27/11

Went Out For Two and….

Was having so much fun I went 5.  🙂 The ankle’s still pretty sore, so I actually walked the first 1/2 mile to warm it up, then gently increased my pace until it felt fine again.  Ran along the canal path near my home, taking in the rows of  arching weeping willow trees that bend towards the water and softly touch the surface, through the golf course where a remote control air plane vrrrrrrrrrrrred over my head as I ran, through a gaggle of at least 30 geese who went honking and squawking away as I came near, up Nemesis and down again and then  past the cornfields, pastures of horses and back home again.

The splits look progressive, though I had no idea what they were like as I was running with just the heart rate details showing.

Mile 1: 13:35

Mile 2: 11:03

Mile 3: 10:29

Mile 4: 9:58

Mile 5: 8:52

Final Kick best pace: 4:21  🙂 Yeahh babbyyy!!!

Finished with Billy Blanks 35 min DVD for Ab Bootcamp – felt the burn!

07/26/11

Sometimes It’s Not About the Miles

Rode the bike in the countryside. Enjoyed the chill in the air. Glided past the sea of six foot tall fields of corn swaying in the breeze. I gazed longingly at the mysterious, dark, shadowy figures of the mountains in the distance against the baby blue sky and wished I was there, running through the forest, losing myself in the rhythm of thump, thump, thump of my shoes.  Really needed to clear my head today. Sometimes a little sweat can uncomplicate things.  Ankle is still pretty sore. 🙁 Would have rather been running.

9.02 miles. 9.5 mph  57:13 total time. Felt: Uncertain

Did Denise Austin’s Pilates DVD as well for core work. She kept saying, “You’re lengthening the spine!”, but I’m still 5’3″.  Darn it! I feel I was cheated. haha

07/26/11

Scoping Out Another Course

My husband, Wayne and I were given preliminary permission yesterday to set up a few races in our town. We went for a little walk on one of the courses we’re considering. We held hands. It was nice.  Got in about a mile.

07/25/11

My First Brick Workout

I was chatting with my pal, Otto, on Saturday about “brick” workouts – where you do one sport and then quickly transition to another (usually biking, swimming or running.)  Last night I decided to google “brick workouts” and get a few more specifics on them. I got the gist and then decided this morning to bike harder than usual for about an hour, jump off and then go for a short run and do it all in the heat of the day (lunchtime with a temp of 86 degrees and full sun for some heat training as well.)

I took the mountain bike out first for the ride and wore my Nathan pack so I could sip water as needed (man I love that thing – so handy!) I pushed myself a bit out there. Most of my rides lately have been about 11.2 – 11.4 mph on the bike, which for me, as a beginner, feels just about right.  My goal today was to push into the 12’s, push really hard at the last half mile and then jump right into the run on wobbly legs to see what it was like.

I could tell right away on the bike that my quads were still fatigued from Saturday’s epic 20 miler in the mountains with Amy and the gang. So, I took it easy on the first 2 miles, letting the muscles warm up. Then, I pushed a bit, feeling really good.  The funniest thing that happened today was around mile 10, when I was riding in the countryside and see Dumbledore (well it looked like him!), holding a “slow” sign. There was no traffic behind or before me, so it felt funny having this little old, gray-bearded man holding up that sign just for me on the bike. He hollered out, “Young lady, there’s new asphalt up ahead. You may have to get off and push your bike!”  “Ok, Dumbledore. Love your movies and books. Sorry you died at the end” No really, I said “Thanks for calling me  YOUNG!” No, not that either. I just thought those things.  I said, “Ok, thanks!” and headed on.   It’s probably good that my Ally McBeal thoughts mostly stay private. I have way too much fun in my head for most people to think I’m sane. 🙂

I rode on for another mile before I finally came to the actual construction crew – a huge steam roller, driving backwards on my side of the road, another construction vehicle head of that one also heading my way and then on the left side of the road, under a shade tree, sat about 6 road workers, in their neon yellow vests munching sandwiches and drinks. I just kept riding, silently praying, “Please don’t let that steam roller smoosh me into a pancake!” His vehicle was SO loud, I knew there was no way he could hear me if I yelled, so I pulled to the left side of the road and just went around him.  I saw the end of the asphalt.  It was new and built up higher by about 10 inches from the right side of the road.  I think I heard one of the workers comment about my bike, “Lucky! I bet it gets sweet jumps!” So, of course, I had to ride for all I was worth and go leaping off the ledge catching some sweet air before landing with a skid on the other side, right in front of the steam roller guy and tipping my hat before zipping off down the road towards home. Or something like that!!!! 😀  And, yes, I made up that last comment. I’m pretty sure many of you will get the movie reference, though. It’s one of my all-time favorites. I DID leap off the ledge and all of those people and machines were there, though. 😀

I picked up the pace and pushed on towards home.  I gave it a final hard push in the last half mile. Total distance: 13.1 miles. 1:02 total time. 12.6 ave pace (YES!) Ave Heart rate: 151.

After I jumped off the bike, heart racing, and looked down at my feet. Doh! When I dressed this morning, I put on the only pair of shoes I own that sort of look like bikers shoes – my Sketchers!  They’re really relaxed shoes for wearing with jeans or bumming around, but I’ve never ran in them! OH well! I didn’t want my heart rate to get a break, so I parked the bike, switched the Garmin to a run workout and took off, still wearing my Nathan hydration vest (since it was getting hotter than heck and again, I didn’t want to take any extra time to go in and get something smaller like my new handheld.)

I almost burst out laughing when I realized how jello-like my legs felt after riding so hard! It was hilarious! I had read to ease into the run after the bike ride for the first few minutes, so I let my legs settle in and slowly but surely, the run started to feel just fine. I also was pretty amazed at how much  my plain ole Sketchers felt like Kinvaras! I felt like I was running in a racing flat, almost – very responsive, comfortable and light. Huh! Who knew?!

I ran along, feeling good – not great – but not too bad, either. The first mile was 9:44, then I spun around and headed back to the house, intent on getting 2 miles. I picked up the pace for mile 2 just a hair. I saw a pair of power company workers give me a funny look as I went by. I thought, “What?! Haven’t you ever seen a runner in the middle of the day busting a move?!”, and I kept going, ratcheting it up, little by little as I neared home. I went into full sprint mode as I rounded the corner in the last tenth of a mile. Mile 2: 8:41. Best pace: 5:13. Average Heart Rate: 175.

As soon as I got back to the house, I reached up to rest my hands on my head. THAT’S when I realized I’m a DOOFUS! I still was wearing the hot pink bike helmet! hahahaha! No wonder those dudes were looking me over with confused looks! hahahah! They probably thought someone had stolen my bike and I was chasing them down or something! Sheesh! I could have run faster without that hot thing on my head, I bet! hahaha!

Anyways… good first brick workout for me.  It really did feel weird to try to run hard after a bike ride. 🙂 It was fun! I’ll do it again soon just for the heck of it!

Ok, after the bike and run, it was time to cool-down. I headed a quarter mile out and practiced my power-hiking arms for the first quarter mile (a VERY important ultra marathoning skill that I’ve been putting extra effort into lately since my next 50 mile race is less than 2 weeks away and has MORE climbing than I’ve ever done in a run in my life!) In the last 1/4 mile, when I spun around and headed back to the house, I just focused on easing the heart rate back down again.  I felt good! Very proud of myself! Great start to the week!

Looking forward to a couple more group runs this week (a moonlight run on Thursday night where I think the group  is doing 12 and my buddies Amy and Jon are running home from there with me for another 4 miles or so on roads) and then hopefully a shorter, higher altitude, easy trail run on Saturday (one week before my race – FAINT!)  Then, it’s taper time! I’m sure I’ll do lots of other fun workouts the rest of the week, but I’ll figure those out as I go. 🙂 Happy Monday everyone!!! Go get active! And, don’t forget to have a little party in your head while your doing so. Smile! It makes people wonder what you’re up to!

I finished up my workouts with 30 min with the Wii Fit Plus doing Yoga and Strength. Felt good!

 

07/23/11

Amy’s First 20 Miler in the Foothills

My wonderful friend and neighbor, Amy just signed up for her first 50k – and not just any 50k – Wild Idaho’s 50k with 10,200 of climbing!!! It’s a toughie! So, she wanted us to take her to the trails and put her on some tough climbs for 20 miles (a distance about 6.5 miles greater than she’s ever gone before even on a road run) just to see how her fitness was in that type of workout.

So many encouraging friends showed up today (at 4 am!!!!! in the dark with headlamps) to help Amy reach that goal.  Mark, Ryan, Otto, Jenny, Emily and I all were along for the ride and it was epic!!!! I’ve never seen a brand new trail runner tear it up the way Amy did out there! She’s exceptional in every way! I’m very impressed and absolutely expect her to kick some serious booty at Wild Idaho in two weeks! GO AMY!!!

I really babied the ankle out there today. It’s still sore and swells when irritated so I held back on my downhills and just pushed as hard as I could on the uphills.  Very rocky, sandy, steep trails today. Some of the toughest I’ve ever done.

20 miles. 4,550 ft gain. 15:51 ave pace. 5:17 total time.  Just stopped the watch for the stop at mile 11 or so to refill water and fuel.  Moving time: 13:54 pace. 4:38:09 total moving time. Fastest pace: 6:26.

07/22/11

Moonlight Run

My good friend Seth set up a weekly moonlight run for the summer months – a chance to avoid the heat of the day and get in some miles with friends under the stars.  I was thrilled that I was able to go tonight and meet up with everyone.  We must have had 15 runners out there tonight – some familiar faces like Seth, Ben, Jon, Amy, Day, and Ryan and many new ones too! I always enjoy meeting other runners and getting to chat with new people and tonight I had the opportunity to run a little bit with nearly everyone out there and get to know them better. It was really fun!

The most dramatic thing that happened tonight was when one of the gals had a bloody nose after the first mile. I felt terrible that I didn’t have any tissue or anything helpful to offer to her.  She had a bandana and did what she could to help deal with the bleeding. My buddy, Ryan and I stayed with her until she felt better and then we jogged along gently, hoping her poor little nose wouldn’t feel irritated by the movement.  Thankfully, she felt much better after that and we were able to get her back to her good buddies (who all agreed that she deserved the “hardcore runner” award tonight for bleeding on a run – haha. 🙂

I enjoyed the easy conversations, the cool, night breeze, turning off my headlamp and just gazing up at the stars and then at the very end sprinting with my pal, Jon to the finish (my Garmin says I reached a 4:27 pace – yeah baby!)

We hung out in the parking lot after the run and Ben shared some of his stories from Badwater. He even brought out “The Buckle” and let us all take turns touching it and oohing and ahhing at it. I even bowed down before him and declared, “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy” in true Wayne’s World fashion.  🙂 It was pretty awesome.  Another pal of Ben’s had even brought along this delicious pumpkin, chocolate chip bread that he shared with all of us after the run.  It was like a little party in the parking lot by a lot of happy, sweaty people.

Lots of fun. I’ll definitely be back for more next week!

4.78 miles. 59:23 total time. 12:25 pace. Felt: Happy