Scatter my ashes here...

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Doctor is IN

Finally, on the last day of May, a warm day in Fort Collins! It was warm outside of the sauna.

I ran 32 miles up at Horsetooth Reservoir today on the hills after yesterday's off and on rain after the Houska Houska. Today was cool to start, I was freezing until noon, I had my long sleeved fleece turtleneck on until the last 6 miles! Everyone else was out in shorts and I was freezing.

The air was cool but the ground was warm, because I saw two HUGE bull snakes on the asphalt at the turnoff to Reservoir Ridge. I couldn't pull out my cell phone camera fast enough and they slithered back into the grass as cars went by. They were big!

After my run, I stopped by Runners Roost to exchange a pair of shoes. I cannot even wear 7 1/2s anymore. I put them on and the toes on my left foot go numb from being squeezed together. Just 5 months ago I was able to wear them. I ordered 7 more pairs of Brooks Addictions, mostly 8s, but a couple of 8 1/2s, to get me through Badwater. I will break each of them in before July.

Houska Houska was fun as always, it was a Saturday Night Live theme and there were Coneheads, Killer Bees, the Blues Brothers, Father Guido Sarducci, and so many other creative costumes. I got the honor of running with my friend Morgan, whom I never see anymore. We ran the entire run together.

After the Houska Houska I went to the sauna, lifted, did a few more miles with the girls, and took a long nap. Then I had to go to the store and buy supplies for this week's running. I'll have to get more at mid-week, for making sandwiches, because it won't last if I get it now.

Today I went back to the sauna, it's been unusually hot in there lately. I've only been able to tolerate about 35 minutes each day this week. Unfortunately today I resembled this one guy's therapist again. I said as little as possible and kept the towel over my eyes. This guy loves to try engaging people in conversation even if they are not looking at him. I watched him do it with 5 different people. If they were quiet or ignoring him, he would lie there and sigh loudly, over and over again.

Most people didn't want to talk, myself included. Call me a cold heartless b**** but I'm not being paid to be his therapist. I'm in there to relax, to think about Badwater planning, drink a lot of fluids, and concentrate on staying in the sauna. I don't go there to socialize.

I am sure the poor guy is lonely but I'm not able to help him. I have run into him twice now, only when I go to the sauna later in the day. Usually I'm there before noon and I don't tend to run into oddballs.

The other thing that always seems to happen this time of year is road construction, and always between my house and the sauna. This time it's at Horsetooth and Lemay. I guess it will lengthen my heat training sessions, if I roll up the windows and crank the heater as I sit there through multiple light changes in backed up traffic.

The next two weeks will be a challenge since I'll have to go to the sauna after my runs each day. But after I get back from Arizona, I will be tapering and can go any time I want. For now, I need to remember my sign, psychiatric help $150 an hour. If I got enough clients, I could pay for Badwater!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Three Days, 120 Miles

Just got back from three days of running in Arizona, but the weather gods didn't want to make heat this past weekend. One day did get up to 91 degrees but the other days were in the 80s. The weather was perfect by normal running standards.

I got three good long comfortable days in, and tested a few new items on my feet and in my stomach for Badwater. Looks like I will have to do a repeat in June to get the heat training I wanted.

The saguaro cacti were blooming and there is no better park anywhere than McDowell Mountain Park. Several running events, including the Pemberton Trail 50K and the Javelina Jundred have donated thousands of dollars over the years to support this park. I hope these events continue to give to this unique and beautiful place.

For three days I stuck to the asphalt roads because of the necessity of asphalt training for Badwater, so I didn't get back on the trails. Still, I was not disappointed by the scenery.

I could have been arrested for RWT: running while texting. I entertained myself on some of the long climbs on the out & backs on the park road by sending messages to my crew and a few friends. Here are my comments during the three days of the run:

Day 1I'm finishing up my last 7.5 mi out and back, I'll have a hair over 48 miles after this. It was in the 80s, which feels cool. I never put ice on me, but I still managed to go through 64 pounds of ice for drinks and the coolers.

Only glitch today was having to give up an hour of my precious running time to make an ice run. Silly me I forgot it was hot here, and ice melts!
Good thing I'm the runner, not the crew at BW!

Bonus was ice for only $2 at the liquor store in our old neighborhood so didn't have to drive all the way into Fountain Hills.

Got about 3700 ft of vertical too, and some decent uphill running (ah, low altitude)

This park is awesome. I miss having it in my backyard. But I'd rather not pay the price of having to live here.

Tried a new drink to use as an alternative to gatorade, Crystal Light pure fitness. It worked well, no stomach issues.

Better focus on the road, so I don't step on any critters slithering out to soak up the heat.

Tomorrow is another adventure...

Day 2
Started same time this morning. It was 10 degrees warmer. Stopped for 20 lbs of ice. Nice park ranger who saw me yesterday offered me ice from the compound this morning.

Should heat up nicely today. I feel fresh this am, legs are good. Only 6 1/2 hrs sleep, but I'm awake.

After 15 miles I made a sandwich and put ice around my neck. It's considerably hotter today. 7.5 mile out and backs might have to be shortened to 5 for carrying fluids and keeping them cold.

A few gambel quail, a scraggly coyote and a 2 foot racer on the road are the only company I have this morning. Cyclists and runners are all on the trails.

Ran into an AZ running buddy, Debbie Leftwich, in the Pemberton trailhead parking lot. She was running the trail with a guy who is training for Kettle Moraine.

Update: 86 degrees at noon, will get hotter. Now have white jacket on. Jello, V8 and yogurt tasted great at 22 miles.

End of day 2
Stats: 91 degree high temp, 43 miles. only went through 40 lbs of ice today. Used shadescreen and parked car opposite sun.
No rattlers yet just one racer. Still have 5 miles to go today.

Found out hot gummy worms don't taste too bad.

At the end of today I'll have 91 miles in 2 days. All that's left to reach my goal is a 29 miler tomorrow, when I will be have the company of my AZ Badwater friends Woofie and Don Meyer.

So far no blisters, thanks to my improved taping job. Just a little heat rash on my legs.

More tomorrow...

Day 3
Now at 16.5 miles. Today I woke up at 3 am AZ time and tried to get an early start. I needed ice and food, but none of the stores are open, not even in Scottsdale. By the time I arrived in Fountain Hills, I only had to wait 5 minutes for the Safeway to open at 5.

It was 70 degrees at 6 am when I started.

Today should be nearly as warm as yesterday. More clouds though.

I felt good starting this morning. I have been happy with my ability to recover overnight, even with little sleep- less than 5 1/2 hrs last night.

My feet feel good. That tincture of benzoin spray is a miracle, Nathan, thanks! We will want plenty of that at BW.

On my second out and back this am, I briefly stepped off the road to pee and when I got back on the asphalt, there was Woofie riiding toward me on his bike.

He rode alongside me up the steep hill and I was not even paying attention to the fact that I was RUNNING, until suddenly we were almost to the parking lot in record time.

Woofie took off for home and I took a food break, and here I am on the road again, Don will be out here later.

I would like to stay another day and run, yes I do feel like another 30 or 40 mile day is not only possible but comfortable. I am bummed that I have to leave! It's very tempting to come out here on my way home!

I need to wrap up early today as my dad has invited dinner guests, a business acquaintance of his who is interested in ultras and wants to meet me!

I hope I'll have enough of a brain to make conversation!

End of Day 3
Just got back to my dad's house in Scottsdale. Mission accomplished. Today 29.1 miles, high 80s, felt strong mentally and physically. Only 25 pounds of ice today. Total time running over 3 days was 28 1/2 hours. With breaks add another 4.

With sleep and travel time, plus errands, shopping for food and ice, 56 hours. Not bad! Who says you can't shop, blog, and run at the same time?

Only one tiny blister on the side of my big toe from day 2.

Don joined me at noon, which made the last 6 miles fly by with his stories of Badwater.

When we were done, Don took a picture of me at the STOP sign.

Time to rest even if I feel like I could go on forever.

Tonight I will miss the coyotes serenade that I heard the past 2 nights.

On the way out of the park I stopped by the visitor center to check on Houdini, the Gila Monster. He was curled up taking a nap in his cage.

My feet looked pretty good after the three days. Add another 40 degrees and that might change, but in general my tape job worked great, and all I had was some heat rash.

Now it's back to Colorado to finish out the next 4 weeks before I taper! Maybe a repeat trip in June to get some real heat, it could be 110 by then.

Monday, May 16, 2011

What's your next race?

People keep coming up to me and asking when is my next race. I guess they think I must race a lot. I really don't. But I do have one important race coming up before I go to Badwater, and that is one I wouldn't want to miss: the Houska Houska 5K. It's a fundraiser for the Poudre Valley Cancer Center and the Rocky Mountain Bone Marrow Donor Program.

You don't even have to wake up all that early to do it. You can give the sun a chance to come up before the race starts. And there's plenty of parking, no crowds, and fun for all ages.

It starts at 9 am at Houska Automotive on Riverside Ave. in Fort Collins. This year's theme is Saturday Night ALive. I might have to run with a pillow in my shorts. Or with a cone on my head, and tell everyone I'm from France.

The Houska Houska 5K is the best answer to the crowds and traffic of the Bolder Boulder, not to mention being a local fundraiser. It's my kind of race: low-key, fun, they don't even give out race numbers, but you do get a t-shirt, and they have root beer floats and bloody marys at the finish, among lots of other things.

If you haven't done the Houska Houska, don't put it off another year. You'll never go back to the madness in Boulder. You can go here to register. I'll see you there!

photo credit: Nathan Nitzky

Friday, May 6, 2011

Getting excited...

Just got back from a strong 34 mile run around the lakes in Loveland. It was warmer today, close to 80 degrees. I wore a tank top and shorts for the first time all year, no gloves, no hat, no tights, no multiple layers of shirts and jackets. I felt so light!

Funny how 80 degrees doesn't feel even close to hot for me anymore. I could have easily dressed with a few layers, but I need to expose my skin a little before Death Valley so I don't fry out there. I ran well, I can feel myself getting stronger from the frequent long runs.

I had a post-run feeding frenzy afterwards. For some reason I was craving pizza, which is something I rarely like to eat anymore. But after today's run it sounded so good, I called Dennis and asked him if he wanted pizza tonight, and he thought that was a good idea. I ordered it, and couldn't decide what I wanted, so I ended up ordering two different large pizzas. I have no idea why. I think my brain was temporarily disconnected. Looks like we'll be eating pizza leftovers for a while, at least through the weekend.

This week is looking like it will end up somewhere around 120 miles. I have two shorter runs planned this weekend on hills, tomorrow I'll run 20 miles on hills at Horsetooth, part of it with Cat, Dave, and Pablo.

Yesterday I gave two short slide presentations, one at Poudre Valley Hospital and one at Medical Center of the Rockies, here is a link to the slide show, without the music. The presentation was about the Save Change program, raising funds for the Cancer Center, trying to increase employee involvement in Save Change.

There is no shortage of motivation in our household.

I started out my day excited because I heard from a running friend who is a fellow Badwater junkie, and she has her own special solo excursion planned across the valley a week after I do my double. I won't say much because she is keeping it sort of quiet but I am very excited for her and I hope she has a successful adventure, knowing her, it will not only be a success but an amazing athletic feat.

My enthusiasm for her adventure, and my own, got me going this morning. I kept thinking about how it feels to be out there, this little speck under the huge blue sky, and all the rocks and color everywhere. And the intense heat. And feeling so humbled by the landscape, and the history, and the elements.


My next order of business is getting the equipment lists organized and figuring out all the loose ends that need to be finished before we leave in July, and ordering whatever supplies and equipment (mostly foot-related) that I think I'll need.

I will be starting my serious heat training in the sauna after I get back from Arizona in a few weeks. I've been going twice a week just to get a little taste of the heat and I think I'll be fine with the 100 degree temperatures they are having in Arizona now. My Arizona friend Don Meyer is going to come out to the park while I'm running that weekend and keep me company for some of the miles, which will be a blast!

There are really only about 6 more weeks of intense training for Badwater before I start to taper. It happens so fast. So much to do, so little time. I haven't even started to taper and I'm already bouncing off the walls! That means I need to run more. See you later...