Thursday, June 28, 2007

Western States 100 race report

I am not a good race report writer. In fact, I totally suck, because I never can remember what happened when. But here goes: Western States starts at 5am, so my alarm went off at 3am. I was already awake, hadn't slept all night, yada, yada, yada. I took a quick shower and had a couple cups of coffee and a bagel with peanut butter and an ensure. After, prepping my feet with powder, I was ready to go.

The start is always exciting. It is a busy time filled with lots of pent up energy. I was very anxious for the race to begin.
The start rises more than 2,500 feet in it's first five miles, cresting Emigrant Pass at 8,750 feet. I enjoyed this section, visiting with friends and enjoying the beauty of the area. I kept reminding myself, that I had many, many miles to go and there would be plenty of time to make up for this enjoyable pace.
I made sure to take a succeed pill every hour and to take a gel at the same time. Part of my fuel plan was to take an ensure as often as I could. I had my crew give me one wherever they were. I figured that was a good 250 calories for one Ensure. Ensure plus is 350 calories and I had a mix of the two. I have a real problem eating real food during races, and the Ensure proved to work well for me.
I was really concerned about my right ankle, as I have an injury that was really bugging me as I was going downhill. I ran super conservative on all the downhills as to not turn that ankle. After taking an advil, my ankle felt a lot better too. The downhill section on the back side of Red Star Ridge is quite steep and technical, so I was glad that I made it out of that section unscathed. I used my ipod through Duncan Canyon and then on to Robinson Flat. I love this aid station as it is always bustling with lots of people. There were a lot of cameras filming for the Documentary that is being made, and that made it fun. My crew was great, giving me my Ensures and kicking me out of there in a timely manner. On through Miller's defeat, Dusty Corners, and Last Chance. I threw up once on my way to Last Chance but was able to keep going while still feeling pretty good. Last Chance is a mining ghost town that the marks the jumping off point for the section of the course know as "the canyons." The first of the canyons, Deadwood, drops about 2,000 feet and ascends an extremely steep 1,500 feet to Devil's Thumb. I was surprised at how good I felt on the climb up, although I took it very slowly. The second canyon, El Dorado, is more gradual but deeper, with a descent of 2,600 feet followed by an 1,800 ft. climb to Michigan Bluff. Michigan is a huge aid station filled with lots of people, pacers, and crews. I was excited to be feeling good at this point. The canyon out of Michigan Bluff is called Volcano Canyon and it was warm but the trip through there didn't seem as long as usual. Nice. As I was running down into Foresthill, my sister Shawn, my daughter Courtney, and her boyfriend, Cameron, met me out on the road and ran into the aid station with me. It was such a great feeling to see them waiting for me. It's funny how a person can look so forward to seeing someone and then to get such a boost out of it! I picked up my pacer, Naomi and off we went 16 miles to the river crossing. The water was waist high and cold, and it felt good on my legs and feet. It seemed to help my nauseous stomach too, as I had had a bout of vomiting earlier while on my way to Rucky Chucky. I felt strong and driven as I was determined to win the silver buckle. I continued pressing on afraid to make a wrong move and lose my momentum. With only my light, Naomi, and a new friend named Keith from Philly, I relentlessly moved as fast as I could as I could see that silver buckle so clearly. My boyfriend Matt, friend Gayle, and my daughters Chelsea and Courtney and Courtney's boyfriend, Cameron were at Highway 49 crossing to cheer me on. It was incredible. When I crossed No Hands Bridge my family was there again, whooping and hollering and it was a total rush. I knew that I was just 3.4 miles to the finish. The run into the stadium was totally awesome. I had accomplished my goal by believing in myself and my ability. I had done what I knew I was capable of doing and I had done it to the best of my ability.
I want to thank my crew: My Mom, family friend Uta, my boyfriend Matt, friend Gayle, pacer and friend Naomi, daughters Chelsea and Courtney and Courtney's boyfriend Cameron. I could not have done it without you. Your positive energy and endless love and support for me is unending. Thank you for making my dream come true.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Thank you ---- Everyone!!!

"Unless you test yourself, you stagnate. Unless you try to go way beyond what you've been able to do before, you won't develop and grow. When you go for it 100%, when you don't have the fear of "what If I fail", that's when you learn. That's when you are really living." Mark Allen, World Champion Triathlete

This quote says it all. On Saturday, June 23, I toed the starting line of the Western States 100 miler. It was an awe inspiring experience to say the least. I gave it my all and I succeeded in finishing UPRIGHT in 23:42!! That won me the coveted Silver Buckle! I also broke the Womens single age group record which was 25:19. I am so thankful for all my friends and family for all the encouragement and support that I received during my training. Matt, Gayle, my Mom, Shawn, Uta, Cameron, Chelsea, Courtney and Naomi. I couldn't have done it without you all. I will write a race report in a couple of days for those who are interested.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

6 days to Squaw Valley, but who's counting.......?

Well, the time is almost here. The 34th running of the Western States 100 mile endurance run. I am excited and nervous all at the same time. Anything can happen out there, and I hope for a good race without any major issues. At Wasatch last year, I got Rhabdomyolysis and spent a few months wondering if I would ever race again. One Doctor told me to put away my running shoes and take up another sport. I was bummed out and felt like I was drowning when I heard his advice. I didn't know what to say, and I didn't want to think of my life without running. Sick, huh?
9 months later, and here I am getting ready to tow the line of this sensational, absolutely exciting race. Thanks to everyone who has run and trained with me, and for all the support and encouragement that I have received from everyone. If you would like to follow my journey, please click here. I am number #344. Please send prayers or good vibes or something positive my way. Believe me, I will need it. Thank you all. Peace out.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Why we taper

I have started my taper for Western States. Why? Well, tapering allows for muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints to recover from months of high intensity training. When running long, there are microscopic breakdowns in these structures. The tapering allows this damage to heal. The tapering period also allows your muscles to store the most energy that they possibly can. This will hopefully allow you to avoid "hitting the wall" or push this stage later in your run.
Listen to your body. There are no workouts the week prior that will enhance your preparedness for the race. I think that "less is best", particularly if you are feeling either physically or mentally tired and /or your leg muscles are fatigued. Okay, enough about tapering, I'm bored already. I do have a quick question for everybody. If you bonk in the pool, can everyone else hear the thud? Um, yeah. Cause tonight there was an echoing thud on the bottom of the pool when I completely bonked somewhere around about 1000 meters. I totally sucked at the pool tonight!! I had to force myself to hang in there and act casual. I actually swam slower than the slowest swimmers there tonight. Not good. Not. Good. Maybe swimming is not the best thing during my tapering period. I don't know. I do know that I stopped caffeine today and I do have a terrible headache. Can I hang in there with caffeine withdrawals for 12 more days? YES!!! I can't wait until Saturday, June 23rd to have a large cup of joe before the start of the race. Yes, the wait will be worth it. Sweet. I hope everyone who is getting ready for their race is feeling good and thinking strong.

"The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do." Walter Bagehot

Friday, June 1, 2007

Just thoughts.....

I have always had a hard time saving money. In fact, I don't. I spend everything I make and then wonder where in the world did it go? I have no clothes to speak of, and my nails are short and ugly. I've never had a pedicure, but I do have a lot of running shoes!! Oh, and I eat good. That's another thing. I don't like to cook very much either. I'm so over cooking!! I just find it so easy to eat a burrito and be done with it. I think that it is good to see eating as a means to fuel my body than as something that will just fuel my thighs and butt. No cake, no cookies, no ice cream. Veggies, fruit, and lean meat for me. Sounds boring, huh? I can eat the same thing day after day without getting bored, but I can not run on the same trail more than a couple times a week or I just go CRAZY!! I do believe that I am kinda wierd that way. Its so nice to be able to look at my training and know that here is an aspect of my life that is a given. It's set. So long as my gym membership is paid every month and I don't lose my running shoes, I always can go out for a run or a swim and there's nothing stopping me from at least achieving that goal each day. Nobody will come in and say,"Nope, sorry that's can't have that swim and you owe me a long run." It's mine, all mine. Nobody wants to take it and nobody can have it. I like that about training. It's all up to us as individuals just what we can achieve. I have been lucky that I have a strong drive and lot's of will power. It's not easy to force yourself out of a warm bed at 4am to drive 2.5 hours to run 10 hours. But once you are on the road with a hot cup of coffee, and quiet with yourself, you just know that it is going to me a great day. And once on the trail, everything just works. That my friends, is what keeps me going day after day, run after run. Knowing that my running is getting and keeping me strong. I know that my heart is healthier for it and my mind is learning to dig deep when the going gets tough. When your legs and feet are super fatigued, and you are low on food and glycogen, and your water bottle is almost empty, you learn that in order to continue you must dig DEEP. And do I mean DEEP!!! I have been called a survivor and I do believe that there is so truth to that. Ultra's teach you to survive. You have to, or it "see ya later, alligator!"
Western States is in 3 short weeks. I have not had the training that I would have liked, but I will go into that race as though I have been training like a madman. I will give it all I have and then some. I will dig deep and know that I am a survivor and I will prevail. I am excited and nervous at the same time. I am so unorganized and so scattered that it makes my head spin. But that is who I am, and that is the way I will be. I will start the race and know that everything will come together as it is suppose to. I will give it my all and that is ALL I can do.

"If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves." Thomas Edison