Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


"You must be a busy woman, multi-tasking in the sauna by making lists."

That's what the guy said to me this morning when he walked in the sauna while I was sitting there, figuring out what I need to pack for this weekend's race. His voice startled me, I was so focused. I didn't even hear him come in, or notice a blast of cool air when he opened the door.

Before my 40 minute sauna session at 160 degrees, I ran 15 miles on the bike path and felt slightly tired, but good. I had to force myself to walk for 5 minutes after every 20 minutes of running because I was pushing the pace without even realizing it. I thought I'd be more exhausted today. Yesterday I was off work but I had a 12 hour day packed with workouts, errands, and then 3 hours at work between a class and a staff meeting.

We finally hit 70 degrees Tuesday! Winter felt endless this year, and it could come back any day, but I don't care. The high temperature in southern California finally topped out over 100 and I feel like my time in the sauna is worthwhile. When the heat returns, I get all my energy back. I'm charged up. BRING IT ON!

Except I didn't get to run in the afternoon on Tuesday.

I had too many errands I had to do in the afternoon so I needed to get my run done early. It looked like a nice day. I decided to put shorts on and expose my blinding white legs to the sun. I've been covered up all winter and usually by now I have a good tan on my wrist from my watch, but not this year. I am the whitest I've ever been. I know it's good for me. But I don't want to go out to Death Valley completely white, or I'll burn with any exposure.

I had warm temperatures and a dust storm in the morning up in the park. It was a lot warmer up there than it was in town. I ran 4 Rock Repeats for a total of 20 miles and 4000 feet of vertical. Three and a half hours was all it took. I felt great and could have pushed much harder but I wanted to save something for this weekend.

I am going to attempt to get 90 to 100 miles in this week, including my 50 mile race in Fruita this Saturday. I want to go into that race tired and push through my fatigue. I am hoping this hot weather will last and we get a nice warm day on the Kokopelli trail.

Tuesday's run helped me think of a few pieces of equipment I don't want to forget at Badwater: a pair of swim goggles and some other piece of cloth to wrap around my face to keep the dust out. My first 2 rock repeats started out with strong wind gusts and with last weekend's warm temperatures the dirt road is completely dried out and dusty where I was running on snow just a few weeks ago.

The wind whipped up a few good dust devils and I was wearing shorts! My legs got sandblasted! Not to mention all the crunchy grit I got in my teeth. I could have used those swim goggles to keep the dust out of my eyes.

I also got some cross-training in: snake-hopping. In Arizona we always knew the heat was there to stay when the snakes started coming out. For me, the date of the first snake sighting is the first day of summer.

Today I saw my first snake of the season, as I was coming down the trail to the parking lot after my second rock repeat. It was a cute, skinny snake with a green head and long orange stripes. It was stretched all the way across the width of the trail. It surprised me and I jumped over it.

The bull snakes and rattlers will be following soon, I am sure I'll be jumping over them before long. At least the snakes here aren't as aggressive as the ones in Arizona.

Tuesday after the run, when I got in the car, it was hot inside! I resisted the temptation to roll down the windows. Instead, I cranked up the heat. I drove the 20 minutes back home with the windows up and the heater cranked as high and hot as it would go. I stopped off at Runner's Roost for another pair of shoes, then went home and got my frozen water bottles, and drove to the club for a 30 minute sauna session.

When I got home, my Hazmat pants arrived. I got the first ones I ordered last week and they were too big. I ordered XS based on the sizing chart in the catalog, but I needed XXS. The XXS ones fit better but they are still like parachutes and are too long. I'm not that skinny and I'm not that tall. Anyone smaller than me wouldn't be able to wear the Hazmat outfit.

I plan to sew those pants up while we're on the way to Grand Junction this weekend, maybe I can get them to stay on without tripping over them.

Otherwise, not much to report. I am feeling pretty good. It's been busy at work and the past 2 days I had one day where I worked over 14 hours without a break followed by another busy day without a break, but only 12 hours. PBJs saved me. I'm not as tired as I thought I might be.

Speaking of tired, I got my thyroid results back and as I suspected, I was headed in the wrong direction with my TSH. About a month ago, after I'd been back to working days for a while, I felt like something wasn't quite right. There's a sharpness that I feel in my mind and in how my body feels when I run.

I don't have any other way to describe it except that I feel dull, like I'm losing my edge. Kind of like a blade that gets dull. My doctor is awesome, though. She's working with me to keep my thyroid in check while I place such heavy demands on my body. I am not sure how it works but it seems like I'm using up all the thyroid replacement. My free T4 was lower, too, which would make sense if I'm using it up.

We're going to slightly increase my dose of thyroxine every other day. And I have three months to get everything balanced out, which should work out perfectly.

The only advantage to hypothyroidism is that it helps you tolerate the heat better. You feel cold all the time, so any heat feels great. The year I paced Ken at Badwater I felt fantastic in the heat, but I was slow, heavy, and sluggish in mind, body, and spirit. Been there, done that. I don't want to GO THERE again.

On the other hand, I don't want to end up back where I was last summer, which was too hyperthyroid, which is not only bad for tolerating heat, it's not good for your heart or bones. It isn't good for much of anything except having way too much energy, being overly emotional, and driving everyone around you crazy.

The only issue that I foresee at this point is trying to convince Dennis that we don't need air conditioning in the house this year. Now that it warms up in the afternoon and we have the heat off in the house, he will start complaining about how hot it is upstairs in the bedroom.

Last summer we slept in the basement during the hottest part of the summer. While he was complaining, I was thinking, next year this will be good training for Badwater!

I am hoping I can get him to hold off until August, and by then it will be cooling off at night again, and he'll forget. For the next three months, he'll be sleeping on the futon in the basement. (That's where I found him this morning.)

Don't tell him I said that.

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