6 Mile Test Run

I am learning

I am learning

I’d been planning for weeks to join in with a bunch of my trail friends for a nice, long (22 mile) trail run. This morning that run happened without me since I’m still slowly rebuilding after this calf injury (and the subsequent IT band problems I’ve had.) I felt kind of proud of myself for showing some restraint about that since I often suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out!!)

Fear of Missing Out is a real, medical condition! Who knew! ;)

Fear of Missing Out is a real, medical condition! Who knew! 😉

The sun was shining, the sky was baby blue, I saw the first sign of springtime buds on the trees and the birdies were tweeting – you know ACTUAL tweeting, not that silly “typing a message that all your “followers” will see” goofball human kind!

tweeting birds

Since this week’s recovery workouts went pretty well with adding short walks (2-3 miles) again, the short test run a couple days ago caused no issues and then having the spin class not cause a setback yesterday it was time to add another step forward – so today my plan was to run my usual neighborhood 6 mile out and back. And, that’s just what I did! I was very tempted to do the 6 on trails, since I miss them so much, but I know that the uneven footing, rocks and such may still be too much for my calf, so I decided to save it for the next step in my slow build up back to normal land, so I ran on the asphalt this time.

I walked the first half mile to warm up the calf and IT band, then started lightly jogging. I ran until the first mile was up, then walked a bit again (making sure not to overwhelm the recovering leg.) It seemed to be a good balance. I ended up walking about 2/10 after each mile beep so probably ran 75% of today’s “run” which is definitely progress!

I felt absolutely ZERO problems with the calf that had the strain, which was awesome! My IT band, on the same side, which has been showing more irritation since I hurt the calf 3 weeks ago did start speaking to me at about mile 4.5. I just slowed it down, walked a bit more and tried to stretch it out, but was fine to complete the workout.

I will see my massage therapist this week for a deep tissue massage and have her work over my IT band and calf to keep me on the road to recovery. I’ll definitely see my chiropractor next week for more Graston on the IT band if that doesn’t resolve it, too. He’s been able to keep my IT band happy for about a year and a half so I think this is something we can manage just fine since it’s just “tweaking” and not entirely locked up like it was a couple years ago in what I now like to refer to as “the world’s longest 50 mile run” at Wild Idaho that took me roughly 22:47 (that’s hours and minutes people and to put in perspective just how slow I was once I was hurt.. I had done the first 23 miles in about 5 hours and 20 minutes.. so that was a llloooonnng second half of limping once the IT band seized up and I was too stubborn to stop!!) That injury took months to fully resolve!

When I got back, I took about 30 minutes in my front yard, stretching, doing clamshells, Myrtle hip exercises, calf and hamstring stretches, butt firming work (my issues with the hip area/IT band stuff are partly because of weak glutes, so I am going to keep trying to add in stuff like this after each run!), then did 50 crunches and 50 girly push ups on the grass, while the birdies tweeted overhead. It was a lovely day!

Ave HR: 153. Max HR: 180. Elevation Gain: 119 feet. Felt: One step closer to normal, but still a long ways from confidently saying I can do that 100 in three weeks without causing injury issues to reflare up and set me back (now my focus is on the IT band more than the calf.)

3 weeks is still a long ways away in runner world, though, so it’s too far out to say for sure what I’ll decide about the race just yet. I can bump down in distance (to either 25k, 50k or 50 miles) until the Wed. before the race. I am also signed up for a 24 hour, flat-as-a-pancake loop course race the week after, so I am also having to decide how I want to handle that. It may be smarter to go easy at the first race (doing the 25k or 50k for instance) and then push more at the second race (where I get a point in a local trail series for every single mile I complete in this particular race which is much more generous than the other races in the series so it might be nice to take advantage of that.)

If I was feeling pretty confident and strong another fun idea would be to do the 50 miler option at Antelope Island Buffalo Run instead and try to do it under 11 hours (this one is a qualifier for Western States and I ran that first loop in about 12 hours last year during my 100 and felt like I was holding back, so if I felt strong, that might be the way to go.)

I have time to figure it all out…… All in all, things are going well, I am happy with the progress I am making and looking forward to an exciting racing (and directing) year ahead! The next race our little company, Final Kick is putting on is only two weeks away! The Shamrock Shuffle at Ste Chapelle winery in Caldwell, Idaho should be a really fun time and I’m looking forward to cheering on our runners and walkers as they celebrate St Patty’s day with 5k and 10k races through wine country, the sounds of a live bagpiper and green local brewery beer at the finish!!


Idaho Wine Run

Looking for the kind of race where it’s more about the simple pleasures in life.. good wine, serene views of the winding Snake River, vast, ripe, fruit orchards along rolling hillsides, the majestic Owyhee Mountains in the distance and good friends to share the journey with? Well, look no further. I have the perfect race for you! My husband and I are about to give Idaho it’s first wine run – a marathon, half marathon, 10k and 5k through the Snake River Valley Wine Region called the Idaho Wine Run on September 30th.

I grew up near Ste. Chapelle (our host winery) and wanted to invite others to experience the spectacular beauty of the area and indulge in the delectable local wines.

Ste. Chapelle, Bitner Vineyards, Vale Wine Company, Fujishin Family Cellars, Huston Vineyards, Hat Ranch Winery, Sawtooth Winery and Hell’s Canyon Winery as well as the delightful little restaurant the Orchard House will be taking care of our runners and offering tastings along the hilly courses and at the finish. Aid stations (and the wineries) will also be offering the usual road-side fare typical of road races: water, Powerade, orange slices and lots of cheering and smiles to encourage you on your journey.

The local Pearl Izumi team has also offered some of it’s runners to lead pace groups for those of you with time goals. This is an opportunity to let someone else focus on the pace while you relax and enjoy the scenery of the open countryside. The event is also walker friendly for those who prefer to take their time, take a few photos along the way and enjoy the day without rushing.

There will be custom wine glasses (or custom sports bottles for children and those who would prefer that to a wine glass) at the finish line as well as medals for all finishers!

At the finish party, you’ll have chocolate covered strawberries, cheese and crackers, fruit and other delicious treats that you can savor while enjoying the music of a live band.  White Willow Massage will be on site offering free massages.  A local Scentsy rep will be raffling off great prizes.  And, what else will you be doing at the after-party?  You guessed it.. more wine tasting!


We hope that you will join us, on this, our inaugural year at Ste. Chapelle on September 30th. Bring a friend – or several and treat yourselves to a day of running, wine tasting, relaxation and breathtaking views! Sometimes, it’s more about the journey and the pleasure you had along the way.

For Marathon Mama readers, I am offering a special discount code. Use code “mm” to save $5! Hope to see you there!





Final Prep for the Bruneau Beast

My husband, Wayne and I are race directors and this past weekend he invited me to test drive one of our newest race courses out – a race like no other I’d ever attempted before because much of it takes place on enormous sand dunes at Bruneau State Park in Bruneau, Idaho!  Wayne had me run the 5k course. I raced a 5k a couple of months ago in 22:41.  This took much closer to an hour and a half!!!!! It was that hard! Though, I do admit to being overtaken by the beauty of it all and stopping for a few photos along the way too!

The Brunea Beast as we’ve dubbed it, will take place on August 18th with a 5k, 10k and a 20k option for those who really, really want to get their full money’s worth while racing on the sand dunes! It should be a crazy, fun time for all! Looking forward to it!

For details check out our web site at The Bruneau Beast.


Boise Trail Runners 1st Drag Race

It all started as a silly conversation on Facebook. My friend Ryan was tiptoeing in a photo and I teased that he needed to get a pair of heels so he’d always be that tall. Then I said, in fact, you could wear them when we ran together so I’d finally be faster.  My friend Lynette (a former Hasher) said “Actually men can run pretty fast in heels! I’ve seen them!”  I asked if one of those “men” she’d seen was her buddy Dennis (the fastest 100 miler in our gang.) She said no. I commented that “I’d pay good money to see Ryan and Dennis race in heels!” From there it just snowballed! Ryan said he’d do it if the money was raised for charity – for a good cause like the Ridge to Rivers Trail System in Boise.  Dennis said he’d do it.  Lynette said it could be part of our 4th of July picnic event and my husband put together a web site and sign up sheet and before you could say “Transvestite”, several men had signed up and the picnic attendance list went way up in anticipation of the “show!”

And what a show it was!!!! The “boys” er.. “girls” did not disappoint! Six brave souls showed up in various drag costumes (the most noteworthy were Lady Liberty – complete with crown and torch and my pal Ryan in piggytails and a tutu – with a sparkly purse dangling off his forearm) to race the half mile in their sky-high heels!  My pal Dennis was in the skyscraper model at about 5 inches, so he’d also brought along his trekking poles, which looked even more hilarious!

The fellas lined up at the start line and the regular bikers and runners out for their daily exercise raised quite a few eyebrows when they saw these men decked out in their girlie ensambles.  Those looks might have been the funniest part of all! I think people thought our group was really “out there!”

My husband counted down, someone sounded the air horn and the men took off like lightening in those heels – tap tapping along the Boise Greenbelt, skirts flying back, blouses pushed back against hairy chests.  They may have looked like ladies, but they ran like dudes, pushing hard for position as they click clicked along.  Very quickly, Lady Liberty led the race and “she” held her own until the final stretch, with the two youngest “women” coming up quickly behind “her.”

The crowd went wild as they came towards the home stretch and the pace shot up to a dead sprint (which I must admit you had to see to believe!) My friend Sean and the youngest runner Jack (who I believe is 14) pushed past Lady Liberty and started charging towards the finish line like a couple of ladies at a KMart Blue Light Special with only one coveted sale item left on the table.  They both wanted that win and they weren’t going to be ladylike and let the other have it!

Their faces grimaced as they raced and then Jack shot ahead in a craze like a tween with Bieber fever and broke the red, white and blue ribbon, then landed in a heap on the other side, clutching his ankle (running in heels is dangerous. Don’t try this at home!)  Sean was a close second and tried to conceal his tears, through his smeared mascara (I may have made up that part).  Lady Liberty was 3rd, Ryan the tutu boy came prancing along, smiling and waving like Miss Congeniality in 4th place, Brian, with his burly red beard came galloping along in 5th and finally, finally……after everyone thought the race was over, way in the distance we could see Dennis in his 5 inch heels tap tapping along the Greenbelt, preening for the cameras and slowly coming into the finish with his hiking poles keeping him precariously upright at this late hour in the race. He resembled best a 90 year old librarian in his tasteful baby blue skirt and cardigan (which he’d unbuttoned at the top, brazenly flashing his man-chest!)

The crowd went wild as Dennis crossed and then (in true Dennis form), he dropped down to the ground for clap pushups.  Dennis is well known in our group for always finishing up his races with clap pushups (even 100 milers!) So, this was a show-stopper! Since he was dressed as a lady, he did girlie pushups, which made everyone laugh even more! Pictures were taken.  I got to “crown” the winner with a pink, feathered tiarra and hand him his single rose — giving him the image of a male Miss Teen America — and my friend Rachael passed out lovely Drag Race medals she’d made to each of the participants.  It was a really fun time!

After the drag race, we also had a more family friendly children’s race, where about 30 kids raced to glory on the same stretch of Greenbelt! Each got a medal from Rachael, a licorice rope from my friend April and a lollipop from me. It was a really fun time and I enjoyed watching all five of my kids run into the finish as I cheered wildly!


A Little Surprise

I have had a fairly hectic week getting things ready to co-direct Lake Lowell Marathon with my husband this Saturday.  When I checked the mail and found this little award I must have won at Antelope Island Buffalo run last month, it made me smile and reminded me that even though it’s a lot of work on this side of putting on an event, for those racers on the other side, it could be a life-changing day –the day many of them will run their first marathon, half, 10k or 5k or set a new PR! 🙂 I’m looking forward to setting the stage up so many of them can make their dreams come true!!!!! Happy racing!!!


Trail Running With My 11 Year Old Son

This Saturday, my husband and I are directing an inaugural St Patrick’s Day 5k/10k race at a local winery called Ste Chapelle. www.runstechapelle.com We’re on track to have about 200 runners, which is very exciting! On my last run with Ryan, he mentioned that he was going to run the race with his son and wanted to know if my boy would like to join them! It was a great plan, since Jr loves to race and this would give him grownup supervision while we were occupied with race directing duties! Yay!!!

So, today, I decided it would be a good idea to take Jr on a three mile run on the Oregon Trails near our home. It was windy and overcast and really peaceful out. We stopped and read all of the Oregon Trail information plaques along the way, talked about volcanic rock, sagebrush, animal scat (unfortunately we only spotted DOG POO today, but since deer frequent our neighborhood all the time, I’m sure we’ll run into more interesting poo in the future!) and took our time at the overlooks to enjoy the view. I pointed out Table Rock (which Jr has ran up to before!), the taller buildings of Boise, which looked quite tiny from our vantage point, Lucky Peak, the Boise River and the cars weaving along the road way below us. Jr took an extra interest in locating school buses moving like yellow dots along the road furthest from us. It was a lot of fun!

When we reached the steep downhill section, that I was intending to avoid since my IT band is really acting up, he begged to run down it. I let him while I walked it. He started whooping and leaping and saying, “Woo hooo!” and I just grinned and thought, “Man, this kid is SO MUCH like ME!” 😀 He (also like his mother) huffed and puffed when he reached the bottom and had to climb back UP that sweet downhill! That’s my BOY!

I think he’s all warmed up for his race now! And, I think I need to take a few more days of rest and recovery on this cranky IT band. 🙁

Elevation Gain: 146 feet. Ave HR: 106. Felt: Super Happy to share the trails with my SON!!! He put his arm around my waist and I put mine across his shoulders and we strolled side-by-side at the end. What could be better?!


Final Kick “Test” Run

My husband and I have a racing company called Final Kick (like the name?!) 🙂 Tonight we invited a few of our runner pals over for a “test” race so we could try out the racing software my husband wrote, a manual timing system and the new finish chute my husband made this week. It was so much fun! My friend Ryan won the race (2.35 miles) in 16:41 (at a 7:05 pace) and my pal Julie won the women’s division in 17:50 (7:35 pace.) Lots of good friends, lots of smiles and a great chance to test out our systems (they worked – mostly!) 🙂

There were a zillion kids playing in my backyard as we’d asked everyone to bring their whole families. My five kids were in HEAVEN with all those other children around. It was AWESOME! We’ll do a couple more tweaks and I think set up some small events in the Treasure Valley for the rest of Summer and Fall to keep the locals racing near home!


I Feel Like Bob the Builder (Or at Least Wendy)

The night before the race, Wayne and I had to pick up 100 huge cones and then get them on the busiest section of our course – a section that was over a mile long and went down a steep hill.  Our good friends, Davina and Jeremy showed up to help us out. Jeremy drove at the back with his hazard lights on, and Davina drove our Suburban in the front with her hazards on.  Wayne rode in the uhaul trailer, lifting up the huge cones that were stacked up like six high and dropping them down onto the road. My job was to run up, grab the cone, place it where it needed to be and then jog ahead and repeat 99 more times.  It was fun and I was able to keep a nice rhythm as we worked. Kind of like cross training! 🙂

Stats: 1.25 miles of jogging/lifting and moving heavy, tall plastic cones. Felt: Good.


Highlights from the Lake Lowell Marathon 2011

Well, I did it! I survived my first experience as a race director over the Lake Lowell Marathon and Half Marathon and you know what? Despite the lack of sleep, the crazyschedule Wayne the kids and I have had the past few months getting this all organized, having a budget in the red for the first year, etc, it really was a very positive experience for me and the whole family. It was such a learning experience seeing how a race comes about from the first permit, the official USA Track and Field road certification process, permissions from five different highway districts (leave it to me to choose a route that was in a location that was so complicated to get permission to use) and all the police who patrol each section, renting my first set of porta-potties, hiring a timing company, sorting through bids from several shirt printing companies, finding some sponsors for prizes and services for the race, creating a web site from scratch, hiring a band, an announcer, a motor escort service to lead both races, gathering up nearly sixty volunteers, creating a logo, spray painting mile markings, aid station locations and arrows on both courses, ordering ribbons and medals, buying bbq food for all of the racers and volunteers (I’ve never had my entire cart so full of hot dog buns and condiments in my life and got a lot of raised eyebrows as I walked towards the checkout that day) all the way through personally renting and setting up 100 42 inch cones along a busy highway the night before the race that really made me earn a whole new level of respect for any race organizer who puts on an event from this day forward!  I will never, ever, ever complain again about any aspect of any race I do, since I now realize what a treat it is to let someone else do all of the hard work for months while I focus on things like my race pace and time goals.  🙂

An event of this magnitude would never have been possible without the help of some pretty big-hearted volunteers and sponsors! Wayne and I were overwhelmed by the level of service we received from many of our friends, family and those in the running community who were strangers when they showed up on race day, ready and willing to help, but left as old friends.  People like Marci, Tina and Mike who together made up my “dream team” on race day who oversaw all the volunteers as they checked in, got hooked up with supplies and sent out onto the course. Those three worked through the hurricane and remained calm, polite and willing to adapt at a moment’s notice (which was a handy thing, since we were all learning as we went!) Friends like Jeremy and Davina, who not only came out late the night before the race to drive with their hazzard lights on so Wayne and I could place those 100 giant cones along a very busy section of highway for over a mile, but also showed up bright and early on race morning to work an aid station and also drive at the back of the runners as official “course sweeper” making sure the last runners were safe in traffic and had help available if needed.  They also helped close down each aid station as the last runner went past, then took the time to text Tina who was at the finish line next to me as I took photos and cheered my runners in.  I was able to stay informed of the race on the course and even the progress of the final runners throughout the day this way and it made things run so smoothly!

My friends, Otto and Casey and their two cute kids, volunteered in numerous ways from manning an aid station, to working the finish line food court, to handing out medals and water bottles and even staying after everyone had gone home to help us clean up the park and load up our vehicles with all the supplies again and then coming out to help us again the next day (Mother’s Day) to help us load up the big cones again so they could be returned.

Many of my volunteers worked for us for nearly the entire race, which meant several of them were on their feet or helping out for 7 – 10 hours! Rob, Emily and Ben were amazing at wearing the glow-in-the-dark neon orange vests and holding up stop signs to allow runners safe passage across streets and back into the park towards the finish line! That’s a really tough job and we deeply appreciated their willingness to help us with it!

One thing did differently at our race was to offer free race photos to all the runners. That required finding photographers who were willing to come and hang out on the course for hours taking photos and then provide them to us so we could sort them for the racers and put them on the web site. We had three photographers, including my good running buddy, Emily, besides me out on the course and at the finish line, working hard to capture those special memories for the racers. We are so grateful to each and every one of them!

Our very close friends, The Thomsen family entertained the crowds with their fiddling music, which was quite a treat and our good friend, Bob used his great skills as orater to read off each runner’s name and time as they crossed the finish line and then to present awards at the finisher’s picnic.

So many wonderful friends showed up to hand out water and Power-ade to the runners along the course. I am truly grateful for each and every one of them for giving of themselves to cheer on the runners and help make their journey a better one on such a warm, May day! Each and every one of these volunteers played a special role in making this event go off without a hitch! Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!!!!!!

A huge thanks also to our sponsors, who made this event even better than expected with their contributions.  The Pulse Running and Fitness Shop in Meridian, Idaho contributed prizes for our top finishers, donated GU, Power Aid and cups, and loaned us several large drink and water dispensers, as well as set up and manned an aid station on the course! Thank you guys so much! Dr Gallagher was a huge help for on-site medical care and chiropractic and massage attention to the racers at the finish party. Sweaty Bands donated prizes for our top female finishers. Road ID donated prizes for the top male finishers and race bibs and gave us a reduced price on goody bags and race pins. Bio-Freeze donated samples for all of the goody bags. Sysco Food Services of Idaho donated delicious bagels and cream cheese for our after-race party.
We were also so grateful to our suppliers who all gave above and beyond in customer service and attention to details! We’d happily hire you all again! Idaho Ink Spot did a fantastic job on our race shirts and volunteer shirts. Awards by Wilson did a great job on our race medals and shipped them out quickly so we’d get them in time for our event! Boise Motor Escort lead each of our races and kept our runners safe with the help of the wonderful Nampa Police Department. Porta potties were supplied by A Company. The Thomsen family band provided outstanding, down-home entertainment to our runners at the after-party and Bob Wagner did a fantastic job as announcer at our race. Blue Circle Sports went above and beyond many times during registration when these first-time race directors had a thousand questions and did an outstanding job of timing our race. We thank you all!

A huge thanks also to our sponsors, who made this event even better than expected with their contributions.  The Pulse Running and Fitness Shop in Meridian, Idaho contributed prizes for our top finishers, donated GU, Power Aid and cups, and loaned us several large drink and water dispensers, as well as set up and manned an aid station on the course! Thank you guys so much! Dr Gallagher was a huge help for on-site medical care and chiropractic and massage attention to the racers at the finish party. Sweaty Bands donated prizes for our top female finishers. Road ID donated prizes for the top male finishers and race bibs and gave us a reduced price on goody bags and race pins. Bio-Freeze donated samples for all of the goody bags. Sysco Food Services of Idaho donated delicious bagels and cream cheese for our after-race party.
We were also so grateful to our suppliers who all gave above and beyond in customer service and attention to details! We’d happily hire you all again! Idaho Ink Spot did a fantastic job on our race shirts and volunteer shirts. Awards by Wilson did a great job on our race medals and shipped them out quickly so we’d get them in time for our event! Boise Motor Escort lead each of our races and kept our runners safe with the help of the wonderful Nampa Police Department. Porta potties were supplied by A Company. The Thomsen family band provided outstanding, down-home entertainment to our runners at the after-party and Bob Wagner did a fantastic job as announcer at our race. Blue Circle Sports went above and beyond many times during registration when these first-time race directors had a thousand questions and did an outstanding job of timing our race. We thank you all!

The marathon started at 8 am, right after I sang the National Anthem and Wayne and the kids launched some rockets overhead. I’d been honestly more nervous about singing for the runners than I was about directing the race, but it went pretty well, and then I was able to focus on other race directing duties and cheer the runners on and take photos until it was time to do it all again at 9 am for the half marathoners.

Once the half had started, I jumped into my little car and ventured out onto the course within minutes and was able to get out of my car, find a great spot near the dam and photograph many of the half marathoners.  I think my crazy tutu did help many of them smile as I took their photos.  Seeing so many happy racers made me smile too. I could tell most of them were having a lot of fun and that really made my day! Since I knew about a third of the racers, I was also able to cheer, jump up and down and scream as they went by which was a lot of fun!

Once I’d got some good shots of the half marathoners, I jumped in the car again and zipped up the road to find the leader of the pack.  I found Zachary Pope at about mile 5 and got some great shots of the lead motorcycle escort and him together, far ahead of the other runners.  That was exciting! I took several shots and cheered as he passed on his way back to a glorious first place finish (and course record) of 1:26:02, nine minutes ahead of second place finisher Aaron Littleton who finished in 1:35:25.  Tyler Boschma was hot on his heels with a third place overall time of 1:35:43.

As the first place finishers of the half finished up, I drove ahead to find the leaders of the marathon and see who was leading. I’d heard that my friend, Ryan Anderson was holding the lead early on and I was curious to see if he had held onto it.  At about mile 15 of the marathon course, I finally spotted the lead motorcycle escort leading the top runner. I quickly got out of the car and started snapping photos from afar as he approached.  It only took a minute to realize it wasn’t Ryan. It was Matt Kerns and he was leading by about a mile. I got some great pictures, then saw the red shirt I’d been looking for coming towards me in second place! It was Ryan! I took some photos as he approached then held up a funny sign to lighten this suffering on the course.  Ryan laughed as he approached, then stopped for a hug and to let me know he was having some pain from a lingering injury. I told him he was doing great and off he went.

It was just a matter of seconds before I saw another close friend. Dennis was looking really strong – strong enough that while in 3rd place, he started hamming it up, doing yoga poses and clicking his heels in the air for photos! Those this was only Dennis’ second marathon, he’s no stranger to long distances.  He’s completed many ultra marathons, including a whole slew of 100 milers, so I was not surprised when he zipped right on by after his little show of silliness and went on to Boston Qualify with a time of 3:35:36 and an overall placing of 6th place, while also winning 1st in the 50-54 age category! Well done, Dennis!

Next on the course, I spotted, what I started to refer to as the “Dream Team.” A whole group of strong runners running in a pack, feet churning in perfect sync. They looked fresh! Fifteen miles in and they still looked full of plenty of power and strength! In their midst was the first place women’s runner, Suzanne Sever, looking fit and calm with nearly 11 miles to go.  They didn’t disappoint, either.  They would go on to earn 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 7th overall in the marathon. That 5th overall went to Suzanne, who was the first woman to set the course record with a time of 3:31:50 (A BQ!) Impressive! Who sneaked in at 6th place? Dennis! A great job to all of them!

After viewing the lead runners on the course, I headed back to the start/ finish to take more photos of the finish. I made it back just after 10 am and stayed right there snapping photos, handing out medals and cheering until just after 2 pm. It was like having a front row seat to the coolest show on earth! I heard so many stories about runners doing their first marathon or half, people overcoming challenges in their lives as they became runners and racers.  I saw Daddies and Mommies finishing up their races with their kids running in with them. I saw a mother/son team finish up – the son having finished his first marathon that day and heading out to run his Mom in on her half.  I saw many husbands and wives, finishing the race, holding hands and smiling (many stopping for a smooch when it was all over.) I got to cheer as our only 50 states Club runner, Lisa Pass, who had come all the way from South Carolina, came running in through the finish, completing her 48th state marathon! I was so honored to chat with her later and hear about her plans to finish up her final two states – saving Hawaii for last! Wow! I saw two runners struggling with dehydration as they crossed the finish line and helped them over to the medical tent, where Dr Gallagher looked after them.  He also helped many runners who had blisters, pain or other injuries and helped to relax and realign many others who deeply appreciated his skilled hands being present at the end of the race.

My very close friend, Julie, was one of the runners who needed his help after her finish. Julie is one of the fastest runners I know.  She’d been fighting an injury in her foot for months. Robie Creek seemed to be the final straw and she’d been barely able to go even a short distance in training for the last several weeks as she tried to rest and heal her foot, which the doctor had suspected could be a fracture.  I’d offered to let her transfer her race to the half, but she told me that she’d never gone back on a goal like this before and she wanted to give it her best shot. This is even more impressive since she hadn’t raced a marathon before.  I was worried about her foot, but knew that she had a lot of heart and determination and she went out there committed to finishing.  And, that she did! With sharp, biting pain with every step, Julie ran her first marathon! It wasn’t the pace she had planned for herself, but it was amazing for me to see, since I knew how much suffering she was enduring with every foot step. She did it! She ran a marathon!!!!!

There was a particular group that really stood out to me on the half marathon race course. Anita-Nell Swanson brought along nearly half of our half marathon runners and walkers! Her group of pals was so full of energy and fun and determination that I think everyone who encountered them on the course or later was energized and inspired by each and every story of success! Many were first time half marathoners! It was very emotional as each and every one of her runners and walkers crossed the finish line – nearly all of them doing so with a friend. They truly showed heart out there and made me glad that they’d chosen my event to race at.

Altogether, 75 half marathoners and 33 marathoners completed my courses. There was lots of positive feedback and “thanks” at the end and the smiles said it best. I think nearly everyone had a great day.

I hope you enjoy some of the highlight photos. I took over 600 that day and will try to post the best of them at www.runlakelowell.com , but here are just a few of my favorites to give you an idea of what a fun day it was for runners and Race Directors alike! 🙂 Woo hoo! Lake Lowell Marathon and Half were a success!!!!


Training to Race or Racing to Train

Ea-sy Pea-sy. Nice and Chee-sy. Ea-sy Pea-sy. Nice and Chee-sy. This was my mantra today. After doing two tough 15 milers in the mountains (with a total elevation gain of about 6,000 ft between the two) within 3 days of each other this past week, I was expecting to be pretty sore.  Surprisingly, I feel fairly spry!  I do have a little soreness in my quads and hamstrings, but not too much.  I think the biggest lesson I learned about doing two 5 hour, long climbs so close together, is that by keeping my heart rate fairly low on each of them, fueling good and not overdoing it, I have recovered very quickly.  That was the goal! Well, one of them.  With Big Horn 50 miler only 7 weeks away, I’m trying to accomplish a great deal in training in a short time, without overtaxing my body or pushing myself into an injury.  I think this current method is exactly what I need right now — gentle pace, long distances, lots of time on my feet and plenty of practice on the climbs and descents.

Today was the first chance I had to get in a recovery run. The marathon and half that I’m directing is happening this Saturday, so my husband and I have been in “GO” mode the past few days as we finalize details of the race. It’s pretty thrilling to see an idea that I had come to life (and a little scary, too!)  The medals and shirts are ordered, the race bibs are getting their timing chips applied today, we’re finalizing the menu for the after-race party and ready to start buying some of the supplies and food and I’m feeling ready to show up at the starting line in my tutu and sing in front of a crowd for the first time in many years when I do the National Anthem. I have jitters! I’m excited! I’m terrified! I can’t wait!

Today, I really wanted to focus on keeping my heart rate in the “easy” zone for full recovery.  That was tough! I always get a heart rate spike when I start running. It’s usually why I run so slow the first mile. I think it’s my body adjusting to movement after not running for a day or so. Whatever it is, today I kept seeing numbers like 174 in the first half mile, despite a very snail-like 13 min pace! (My max, by the way, is some number over 200. Not sure what it is, since I haven’t done any proper testing and just use the numbers the Garmin has actually recorded on workouts thus far. 200 is that number at the moment, though I didn’t feel I’d given my all and probably had another gear or two left when I did that. I’d imagine my top is about 210.) Anyways… seeing 174 when I was aiming for something closer to 140-145 wasn’t good, so I forced myself to slow down and then slow down again until I was practically running in slow-motion.  Even, then my numbers weren’t making sense, so I walked. That’s when they quickly returned to about 120-130 and I was able to pick things up gently again until I reached the target zone.

I felt pretty good. The sun was shining, there were beautiful tulips and daffodils dotting my neighbor’s yards to make me smile. But… it really was a struggle to run at an actual recovery pace. This might sound silly, but I find it much easier to run a mountain, long run or a speedwork session than a recovery run.  I like the challenge of pushing myself and holding back is harder – at least mentally, for me. But.. I know that my body really needs these sessions at times, so I had to repeat to myself, “You are training to race not racing to train.” many times to keep it in check. Turns out, that meant, walking a bunch. I didn’t want to. I felt fine and a little silly walking when I wanted to run faster, but I did it and I’m glad.  Learning to control your impulses and listen to the wisdom inside your head of others who’ve shared good advice is a hard at times but can be the difference between flaming fast and then fading in a race (or along a training path to a bigger goal) or improving gradually, getting stronger, building up the muscles and the mind and the legs until race day, when you’re chomping at the bit and ready to roll – and do what you came to do.

Now, Big Horn 50 is a different kind of beast than I’ve ever ridden.  It’s muddy, the elevation at the start is higher than I’ve ever been in my life (I live at 2500, train up to about 5,000 at times, and the race starts at over 9,000!!), there are creek crossings, steep downhills (almost 11,000 of elevation loss in the race and only 6,000 + of climb) and – I did mention it’s 50 miles, right?!! FIFTY MILES! Have I lost my mind?! Mmmm… I’ll take a raincheck on that question and let you know when I get back from the race. 😉  The longest run I’ve ever done is the Orcas Island 50k, which turned out to be a total distance of 32.67 miles with 8,000 of climb and loss.  That took me 9 hours and 40 minutes.  I have a 15 hour cut off for Big Horn to run 52.65 miles.  That cut off scares me more than the distance!

So, I’ve got a couple of big challenges in front of me right now: Directing my first race at the Lake Lowell Marathon and Half Marathon this upcoming Saturday and running my first 50 mile trail race at Big Horn on June 18th!  Time to think positive and give it all I’ve got for both!

Stats: 4.52 miles. 13:09 pace. 59:28 total time. 31 ft elevation gain ( ha ha ha – super flat). Average HR: 144. Recovery Run. Felt: Eager to go faster and further!!!!!