03/4/14

2 1/2 Weeks Until My Next 100

The sign says it all!

The sign says it all!

Training has been going very well the last few weeks. Despite a lot more rain than usual for Boise, I’ve been able to get out and get in plenty of miles the last two months.  In fact, the last two months I’ve had more overall miles than ever before, which is pretty exciting!  Joining my hubby for his 5k a day nearly every day has been a nice way to bump up the training miles while keeping the injury risk pretty low since we usually walk those 5ks. I feel it’s been a useful recovery tool as well.

There are a few things going through my mind as I head into the final stretch to my third Antelope Island Buffalo Run on March 21st. This will be my 3rd time running the 100 here and my 4th time running on the island since I paced my friend Bertha in October at the 100k, so I’m comfortable knowing the course practically by  heart and know where to push and where to hold back, which will be useful.  There are many friends coming from Boise and Utah who I’m incredibly excited to see out there, which will definitely keep my spirits high during the race. Some faces I met in 2012 have become life-long friends like Joshua Bryant and Cory Reece. Many close training friends from Boise are also making the journey including my pacer from last year, Derek Call.  It will be fun to see if he still does a heel click for every mile during his 100 like he did for me last year for the final 50 miles of mine! Knowing Derek’s happy-go-lucky nature, I’m guessing there will be plenty of heel-clicking action for the photographers to capture! A new friend of mind, Serrah West will be out there running her first 100 and I can’t wait to see her tear it up! She’s fast and crazy awesome, so I am expecting to see her land in the top 3 ladies by the finish line!

How DOES he do that?!

How DOES he do that?!

My husband Wayne and our five children will again be out as my crew and support for the race, which I’m totally stoked about! This is becoming an Ebenroth spring tradition and one I look forward to so much for the way it draws us together and helps us create some great family memories. I can see it now… my children will be sitting around at Thanksgiving in 20 years talking about all those years they got bored out of their minds while their nutty mother insisted on running 100 miles around an island – for FUN!! It will be grand!

Let's hope I don't anger one of these fellas!

Let’s hope I don’t anger one of these fellas!

After another rough patch with my stomach on an overnight training run last week, I decided to go ahead and order some Tail Wind Nutrition powder in the naked flavor.  I really am at my wit’s end about how to get enough calories in me during a long ultra without having the nausea come on like a tidal wave and just make my race a struggle. I know if I can get a handle on that, my times will really improve.  I guess Antelope Island will be a test for that!

Not only am I trying something new with my nutrition for the race, but I’m also doing something else really daring – I’m doing this one without a pacer – on PURPOSE! I’ve really looked up to a few of the local Boise runners who have been ultra running longer than the rest of us and most of them do these things without assistance – and they do it well.  I’d really love to learn how to manage myself better and consider this the next step in growing up as an ultra runner.  It may be a horrible disaster, but I figure this particular race is an excellent time to try it out.  I’ll definitely be wanting a pacer for the IMTUF 100 in the fall due to the terrain being more difficult and the aid stations further apart (and with my history of getting lost, I’d say it’s a safety issue), but for this one, I think it’s a great opportunity to see if I’ve learned anything at all in the last few years of ultra running or not.  🙂 I’m actually pretty excited about it.  I once did a training run for 50 miles entirely alone and it was one of the best training runs of my life.  Bad weather came, hail, rain, sleet and crazy high winds, but I stayed mentally strong and kept myself moving despite the storm.  When the weather had been mild earlier in the day I had such a nice time just relaxing and enjoying the day on my own  and that is something I really am looking forward to for this race – just a little ‘me’ time for this mom of five!

I do!

I do!

The Boston marathon is only 7 weeks away now! I’ve already received my official Cheeto-dust orange jacket and I can’t wait to earn the right to actually wear it in public like a badge of honor!  Another local mom of five and I (who is also a first time at Boston) will be traveling together and we’re just beside ourselves with excitement as the date gets closer and closer!  I’d have to admit that I’m partly doing the 100 at Antelope Island this year just to dispel some of my nerves! I think it’s working at distracting me!  My Boston training has been going really well, too and I really think I have a shot at a PR on Patriot’s Day! The key will be recovering well after the 100 and then showing up rested and ready to rock on April 21st! It will be a dream come true running that course. I hope I can see through my tears of joy!

Only 7 more weeks!

Only 7 more weeks!

02/14/14

Have You Exercised With Your Valentine Today?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

My husband, Wayne made a commitment on his birthday in July to walk or run at least 5k a day for an entire year! He has impressed my socks off by sticking with this commitment no matter how busy he’s been directing races, how much snow was falling outside or how cold and rainy it’s been lately! He hasn’t missed a single day in over 7 months!

He has invited me to join him on many of these 5ks and I have to say that it’s been one of the most bonding things we’ve done as husband and wife in our 16 years together.  We have time to talk freely while we walk (often in the moonlight), we hold hands and we talk about what’s going on in our lives.  There have been many tears (and a few stolen kisses) out on our walks.  We’ve enjoyed the snow, the rain, spotting deer and squirrels and discovering new trials together in our neighborhood.

My only regret about these times together is that we didn’t start doing them sooner! Have you taken a stroll with your Valentine today?

02/5/14

A Quick Look Back in Time – What Did It Feel Like to Run 50 Miles for the First Time?

My first 50 mile finish!! I DID IT!

My first 50 mile finish!! I DID IT!

Today a friend was sharing with me her fears about jumping up from the 50k distance she’s already achieved to the 50 mile distance at her ultras. I told her that I believed with all my heart she could do it!  Then I shared with her my blog entry from the day I ran my first 50 miles ever. I titled it I Ain’t No Quitter!  I had the opportunity to go back and read that one again tonight myself and it was like being transported back in time to the summer of 2011 when I was still a baby ultra runner, just beginning to get my legs under me.  That was a summer of high expectations, my first DNF and emerging like the phoenix from the ashes to prove that no matter how many times you knock an ultra runner down, she always rises again!

This year I’m experiencing some really fantastic highs. I finally qualified for the Boston Marathon last spring and will be doing the race for the first time this April. Before that, I will be heading to Antelope Island Buffalo Run to race my third 100 miler.  These are good times. But, there were definitely many bumps in the road to get to where I’m at. And, I just wanted to take a moment to share that with any of you who are new to my blog and might not know about my history as a runner.  Maybe you don’t know I’ve had 3 DNFs – all at 50 mile races or know that my first marathon was a 4:57 back in 2009? Some of you may be unaware that I was about 80 lbs heavier 7 years ago. That I hadn’t ran a step in over a decade when I began the Couch to 5k program in May of 2008. So many things have happened, so many miles have been traveled by the feet that I once worried could never run more than 5 miles since that was the greatest distance they had carried me prior to the year I was 35.

The Old Me - nearly 200 lbs and convinced as a Mom of 5, I had no time to exercise.

The Old Me – nearly 200 lbs and convinced as a Mom of 5, I had no time to exercise.

Today I want to encourage each and every one of you to hold tightly to your dreams. Keep working hard, getting up to go running when you’d rather go back to sleep, stepping out into the freezing weather when you’d rather stay indoors where it’s warm.  Big successes happen in the day-to-day boring workouts that you do because you know they’ll make you better. And, they will! Keep dreaming and keep working hard! Dreams DO come true!!

Confidently

 

If you’d like to read my account of running 50 miles for the first time, please click the link below.  🙂

I Ain’t No Quitter – My First 50 Miles

02/3/14

Marathon Mama Goes Shirtless in Public!

Hot Yoga Be You

I finally did it!!! For the first time since I was 23 or so I worked out without my shirt. After I put my body through five pregnancies and the 40 lbs I gained with each of them I was certain my stomach should stay hidden from view forever. Even after losing over 80 lbs I’ve been very self consciousness about it. Today was a big deal for me going to my hot yoga class and standing in the front row staring at the mirror for 80 min while I embraced and accepted the less-than-perfect reflection and made peace with it. I feel empowered, strong and very confident right now!

It's TRUE!

It’s TRUE!

If you’re in the same boat I was – feeling like you’d really like to take that step and freely do a run or hot yoga workout without your shirt on – go for it! A good friend encouraged me to take the leap last week and I’m paying it forward by encouraging you to do the same! My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner!

 

 

01/29/14

Neither Snow Nor Rain Nor Sleet..

snow-cartoon

What a day!!!! The morning was busy with working on taxes for the business, working with my 6 and 8 year old daughters who were both needing lots of one-on-one with their math today and getting the laundry and housework caught up before lunchtime. I was looking forward to meeting Ryan A. for a lunch time tempo run as a break. I quickly finished up things and jumped in the car to take off. It was raining cats and dogs. I get less than 2 miles from home and the alternator goes out on the little car. It totally dies and won’t start. I knew it was coming. We just changed the battery a week ago and bought it new tires and our Suburban is at the shop right now getting the power steering pump changed. Our last car is a minivan that no longer shifts beyond second gear!!! Argh!!! One of those weeks!

I very reluctantly make the call to Ryan to tell him I won’t make it. Ironically, earlier this week we’d talked about how great it is that we never flake on runs together. I felt like a heel.

Thankfully, Wayne’s home and drives the minivan with the battery charger to help me out. We have to stop twice to recharge it just to get it back to the driveway. Wayne offers to take me to lunch since he can see I’m having a crappy day. He takes me to Chinese -the first non-healthy food I’ve had in 8 days. He orders Coke. I have tea and water. I’m starving since I’d skipped lunch trying to get everything done. I eat most of my food but skip most of the manderin chicken. The soup, chow mein and rice are yummy, though.

We drive to the parts store to get a new alternator. Then Wayne asks, “Are you seriously going to go running in THIS weather?” He knows me well enough he shouldn’t have even asked. I tell him as soon as we get back home I’ll take off – Chinese food in my gut or not – this is tempo day!

And I do. I head out into the rain. The schedule called for 1 mile w/u, 6 miles tempo at 8:00 then 1 mi c/d. I am determined despite the weather to hit my splits. And, I do.

The rain is coming down hard when I start. I ease in, warming up the legs. Mile 2 includes a steep downhill towards the town greenbelt. I relax and let my legs do what they love to do. The pace is too fast for the goal, but I know the downhill is the reason so I’m not bothered by that. The effort feels similar or easy. After mile 2, I hit the greenbelt finally and the weather changes. It starts to snow and the wind picks up. The miles tick by as I run through the basalt canyons with the view of the fog covered mountains ahead of me. I have to keep my eyes squinted almost shut because the snow is coming down hard and hurts if I open them. I hit 4 miles and don’t turn around. I want to keep going. I run until I’m at Sandy Point – the end of the line and the starting line for the Famous Potato Marathon — the very race I qualified for Boston at in May. I get a little emotional because I’m training for Boston in this very workout! The dream is coming true and I’m proving that I’m worthy of the honor – willing to tough out my workouts no matter what the weather or how bad my day is going.

It’s a little more than 5 miles into the workout when I turn around in the parking lot and head back. The wind is powerful in my face and the snow is coming down harder, burning, stinging my eyeballs. I try to run with my eyes closed but try to squint when I know the speed bumps are coming. There are several in the parking lot – maybe 6? I’m soaked to the bone. I’ve ran 4 tempo miles just under goal pace. I’m on track. I’m feeling a little tired, but I’m ok. I can do this. I’ve trained in bad weather before. No big deal. I keep at it and don’t let up. I hit mile 5 on track and mile 6 comes and goes and I don’t slow down. I’m done with the tempo portion but I don’t choose to rest. I want to get out of this crazy weather, so I push on, knowing that’s the way to make it end – to get back to my five kids and warm house an hot shower. I hit mile 7 of tempo and have done it also under goal pace! Wow!!! I finally let myself take a walk break as I climb up out of the greenbelt section and back onto highway 21, which is bustling with cars.

The weather changes again. It’s colder. The rain/snow feels like sleet. The trucks and buses woosh by on the bridge, splashing me with slush and water. It’s uphill now. Almost home. One more mile. I jog from the bridge to the front door, realizing I’ve done over 10 miles when I set out to do 8. I knock and my 6 year old opens the door and yelps when she sees me. She says, “Oh my gosh! You’re a snow monster!!!” The other kids pile around to have a look at the creature standing in the doorway with piles of snow on her head who’s soaked to the bone.

I did it! Over 10 miles done!

Tempo Mile splits: (Goal was 8:00)
1. 7:36 (downhill assist)
2. 7:49
3. 7:51
4. 7:55
5. 7:58
6. 7:57
7. 7:58 (bonus one!)

Elevation Gain: 336 feet. Ave HR: 168 Winds: 12 mph with gusts up to 20. Rain, snow, sleet.

01/26/14

Chasing Deer Through the Fog with Friends

Some of my Boise Trail Runner pals and I enjoying another run in the hills

Some of my Boise Trail Runner pals and I enjoying another run in the hills

There are a few things I love about winter trail running in Boise:  (1) If I hit the hills in southeast Boise, I’m almost guaranteed to see deer (or at times over 100 of them in a herd, which still takes my breath away no matter how often it happens!) (2) Seeing everything covered in a magical blanket of white is really quite beautiful. (3) Seeing my friends finish up the run with their frosty hair, beardcicles and eyelashes glistening with white is downright hilarious!

Jack Frost has left nothing untouched

Jack Frost has left nothing untouched

This weekend, I had back-to-back runs with friends in the foothills and it was amazing. On Saturday, a group and I ran from Barclay Bay

near Lucky Peak Dam and enjoyed 12 frosty trail miles. We spotted several mule deer and a few bucks, much to our delight.

Miles and miles of hoarfrost. Beautiful. Peaceful.

Miles and miles of hoarfrost. Beautiful. Peaceful.

On Sunday, I ran from Camel’s Back Park with a group of friends and enjoyed meeting a few new pals who’ve joined the gang recently

and knocking out some early morning miles in the fog and ice.  It’s been a lovely weekend and I wanted to share a few photos with you.

Barclay Bay

Barclay Bay

How is your winter training coming along? Are you running solo more or using positive peer pressure with pals to get out the door when you’re tempted to snuggle up by the fire with a blanket and a cup of cocoa? Our spring racing will be a reflection of how we’re spending our time now.  Those who train hard will usually be rewarded with better times and a more pleasant racing experience! 🙂  Hang in there! Keep it up! Happy winter running!

SAM_5455

01/12/14

Make Your Own Screw Shoes For Under $5

Wayne Screwing My Shoes

Wayne The Handyman Hard at Work to Make His Running Wife Happy

Marathon Mama’s Step by Step Guide for Making Your Own Pair of Screw Shoes:

Step 1: Select a pair of running shoes you’d like to pimp out with grabbing power for those icy runs!

I prefer to use a pair that I’ve worn for some time but that still have enough cushion and wear to last a couple hundred more miles or so.   When making your decision, it’s good to consider what size of sheet metal screws you will be using, since a very thin sole would not work well with say a 3/8th inch hexagonal screw since it would likely push through the outer sole and into the insole (where your foot will be.)

I had hoped to use my Brooks Pure Grit 1s but the 3/8 inch screws we had purchased were too long to make it a safe option.

I had hoped to use my Brooks Pure Grit 1s but the 3/8 inch screws we had purchased were too long to make it a safe option.

I opted for my Brooks Cascadia 6 shoes for this winter’s version of screw shoes.  The soles are thicker, which made them a better match for the size of sheet metal screws we had on hand.

Step 2: Gather Your Tools

*You will need to buy a package of hexagonal sheet metal screws, which can be purchased at any hardware store for under $5 for a pack of 100.

*Power Drill (optional) – Wayne has done it both with drilling holes into the shoes and without first drilling. If you don’t have access to a drill or don’t want to use one, no worries.

*Hex Screw Driver (not optional) – This was the tool that did the bulk of the work to get the screws into the bottoms of the shoes.

Sheet Metal Screws

Sheet Metal Screws

 

Hex Screw Driver

Hex Screw Driver

Step 3: Screw Your Shoes

Place one of the shoes between your knees securely with the sole facing you and use the hex screw driver with one of the sheet metal screws and begin turning it while you apply steady pressure into the shoe. It took me a couple of tries to get the hang of it, but I was able to handle it myself after that.  I would recommend no fewer than 10 screws per shoe and no more than 16. It’s really up to you and your preferences and it’s not hard to remove a few if you find the tread too uncomfortable once you finish up and test them out.  I like to make sure to put a few along the top, a few in the middle and some at the heel for grip no matter where your foot tends to strike.  Here’s an important point: Place the screws into the lugs (raised surfaces) along the bottom of the shoe, since there’s more sole there to drill into.

Apply steady pressure as you twist the hex screwdriver.

Apply steady pressure as you twist the hex screwdriver.

Keep working until the screw is entirely embedded in the sole of your running shoe.

Keep working until the screw is entirely embedded in the sole of your running shoe.

 

SAM_5422

Step 4: Test Them Out

Always be cautious when running on packed snow and ice, but I do promise that you’ll soon realize that you are much safer with a pair of these babies than you were without as you take to the roads and trails with your studded shoes.  Now get back to that winter training!