Scatter my ashes here...

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

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 50

I had big plans for running this weekend. I got 6 days off work and I planned to do a long run. I was thinking 60 miles or so. I wanted to have time to recover so I planned to do it Halloween. I wasn't sure of running on Halloween night, having to share the streets with all the trick-or-treaters, and who knows what other kinds of weirdos, other than me.

It's been less than 2 weeks since I ran the 70 miles at Boulder. I didn't take it too easy after that either, I got some decent running in last week and I've been staying busy on my days off. I went down to Denver when my dad was there on business and met him one day.

This fall it's been perfect weather, warm days and cool nights, plenty of days to go outside and enjoy the leaves. Fort Collins had some excitement last week when Barack Obama came to town. For a town with a population of about 130,000, they said there were 45,000 to 50,000 people at the rally at CSU. The entire area around campus was jammed with people. Four more days to the election.

Wednesday was my last day at work for the week and we had a busy week. I ran my butt off Wednesday and hardly got a chance to eat, drink, or pee all day. As a result I was exhausted on Thursday. I hate to use up one of my precious days off to recover from work, not to mention that I'm not getting paid to recover! It was a good week though, some good things have been happening at work and in some ways I think it was worth the tired feet, hypoglycemia and dehydration...

This morning I slept in, started out with the Buffaloes and took them for their run first, then dropped them off at home and went out on my own. I settled into my pattern I want to stick to at Across the Years, 20 minutes of running, 10 minutes of walking. As the day went on it felt like summer. I had to remember to drink extra fluids and put enough salt stick in my bottles. It was so warm, it reminded me of Halloween in Arizona. I wore shorts the whole way.

The thing about running all day is that I'm always looking forward to night running. I have to get through the long daytime hours until I can get into the part I like best, running under the stars. I was tired. It took me 30 miles before I felt good, and the sun was going down by then. But tonight I was sharing my dark streets with goblins, witches, princesses,and other creatures.

My familiar neighborhood loop was full of kids holding big bags of candy, totally oblivious to traffic and the sidewalks. It's amazing more kids don't get run over by cars on Halloween night. Every time I ran past the house, I felt guilty about the Buffaloes, who were home alone, barking at the sounds of kids roaming the neighborhood. Dennis worked late and didn't get home until 7:30, and I was out on the streets dressed as a runner, dodging the Cat in the Hat and Merlin.

I didn't ever feel like I had a lot of energy all day. I kept a moderate pace and did a lot of walking by the end, and decided I wasn't going to push myself too hard. I adjusted my goal to 50 miles, which would get me home and in bed at a reasonable hour, before I'd turn into a pumpkin.

I got done with 50 miles a little after 9 pm. The Buffaloes were so happy I was home. I ate everything in sight, took a shower, and now I'm going to bed. It's so nice to sleep in your own bed after a long run...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dog Breath

This morning it's raining a light mist and I took the Buffaloes for an hour brisk walk first thing. All the leaves are falling on the ground and the streets are lined with orange and yellow. Perfect fall weather, not too cold to walk in the rain, but cool enough to see dog breath.

Boulder turned out to be fun and a good workout. I wasn't feeling great at first. I only got 6 hours of sleep because for some reason I woke up at 4 am when I could have slept until 6. My stomach wasn't happy for the first few hours either, probably due to drinking Heed.

It took me about 30 miles before I felt warmed up enough to do anything, and having not slept well the night before, I got into that weaving, inefficient zone around midnight and decided to make it through one more out & back before I called it good. I got 70 miles in before I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore.

The weather was perfect, warm and not windy, which is unusual for Boulder. There wasn't a big turnout for the race, seemed like a smaller crowd than last year. There was plenty of hot food at night, and it never got too cold. I wore shorts until 10 pm.

The other nice thing was I wore Drymax maximum protection running socks and got no blisters, which is good because this course is on the perfect blister surfaces, loose dirt, rocks and gravel with uneven footing, on a dry, dusty, warm day. My feet had very little heat rash, too, which is amazing for me because I usually look like I have some nasty foot disease.

My feet feel different since Badwater. I have this one persistent hot spot in the middle of my left foot, which is where I got my most painful blisters during Badwater. Now I can feel the callus wanting to build up agan. I think the only remedy for that will be taping at Across the Years. It didn't become an issue at Boulder since I wasn't on my feet more than 16 hours.

Drymax sent me some cold weather socks last week. I didn't use them in the race since it was so warm, but I wore them today. Very comfortable, and they'll be great when the snow starts falling, which could be any day. They look like something Santa might wear. Perfect for Christmas.

My only regret about the Boulder run was that I didn't bring my camera on any of the loops, and the sunset was one of the most beautiful ones I have ever seen. Unfortunately the peak colors hit in the middle of my loop and I was 3.5 miles from my camera! The sky turned hot pink and reflected off the reservoir, and the water was smooth and looked like pink glass.

The other memorable thing that happened on the run for me was coming around a corner and seeing this woman out for a walk with her baby stroller and her dog, a yellow lab. She was sitting down on the edge of the trail, hugging her dog. I love that image of her and the dog sitting there, looking so content.

Dennis came down and did a lap with me and brought me more ice. He did the whole 7 miles with me while I walked. He said it was hard to keep that pace. Since I haven't been walking much in training lately, I needed practice. Once I got back into my powerwalk, I was passing people who were running, and I was getting comments on how fast my walk was. It's my secret weapon.

Walk like you're possessed.

The day was warm and I was using plenty of ice in my bottles. I found that Heed didn't work for me for very long, my stomach didn't like it. It's weird, I used it all last year in racing and training and it never bothered me. Now it upsets my stomach. I had my backup supply of gatorade and I stuck to that, 1/2 gatorade, 1/2 water, ice and a salt stick capsule in every bottle.

After my 9th out & back, I could start to feel my hamstring, in the same place that's been bothering me since Badwater. Not bad to get through 64 miles without feeling it, but once I did, I knew I'd have to be careful.

Today I'm slightly stiff and sore behind my knees, my upper hamstrings and butt, and the front of my ankles. Walking muscles. I needed to do more stretching during the run.

I feel like if I can do a 70 mile training run and bounce back from that, I'm where I need to be for the 48 hour run. One more long training run this fall should be all I need. Ten weeks to Across the Years!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Off to Boulder...

It's that time again, to gear up for another ultra! I haven't been too energetic lately, work has kept me busier than usual and I'm doing as little as I can get away with to maintain my fitness.

Regardless, I am ready to do my training run this weekend, at 24 Hours of Boulder, which takes place on a road/trail/parking lot mix of surfaces part way around Boulder Reservoir. Each out & back on the "Certain Death Trail" is a little over 7 miles, and it takes 14 times to make 100 miles. I'm not even thinking about triple digits, just a good long training run with some night running will make me happy. I'll have to see how I feel, because I have no idea what 50 or even 30 miles will feel like at this point.

It's a fun, low-key event put on by the Delman brothers, who do a good job of keeping their races fun and low-key. I always find their events to be well-organized, even though their aid station at Boulder last year ran out of hot food at night when the weather was cold and wet.

I'm prepared this year, I packed my baby food, jello, and other staples, and I'll drive down early tomorrow, me and my eight toenails, in warm clothes that I can strip down to hot weather running gear by mid-morning. The weather forecast is for perfect, gorgeous fall weather and it might get close to 80 degrees! Hardly any chance of rain, which will be a relief after last year's mudfest.

So far this fall, most of my training has been squirrel-powered.
Most of our morning walks have consisted of enjoying the crisp air, with sudden quick sprints. Unlike their squirrel friend on the fence, the Buffaloes are clearly leaning to the left.

I am tired of seeing this. I like the colorful leaves, but not the political signs. Only two and a half more weeks of this. We already sent our mail-in ballots last week.

I'll be listening to my new trance tunes, dancing around the reservoir, looking at the mountains, breathing in the smell of fallen leaves. I can't think of a better way to spend a perfect fall weekend.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Chicken Soup and a Nap

Sunday I woke up to a cloudy morning. The shades of yellow, orange and red leaves contrast with the gray sky to make everything bright and colorful. I needed the visual to wake me up, I was groggy from three busy days at work and I had just enough time to have some coffee before running out the door and down the Spring Creek trail to meet the Fort Collins Running Club for our Tortoise & Hare series 6K.

We had a small turnout for the run, maybe 12 to 15 people, and I surprised myself by running faster than my 5K pace last month. I averaged 7:21 per mile and who knows how accurate the course is, but I know I managed to hold a faster pace and this time I didn't feel my hamstring at all.

I chased Chris down early in the run, he started about 30 seconds ahead of me, I was thinking I could overtake him but he held me off at the end. I did end up with the fastest time of everyone there, even faster than Chris, but he raced the day before. I'll take it, it's not very often these days that I get anywhere close to being the fastest person at a race!

I feel like I'm making progress, but I was tired after the run. I ran over to Gib's to meet everyone for breakfast, then Morgan gave me a ride home. It rained in the afternoon and I took a long nap with the Buffaloes.

I managed to get 61 miles in last week plus a decent bike ride. Only two weeks to the 24 Hours of Boulder. I hope this year's event will have better weather. I don't want to repeat running by the light of a headlamp in a garbage bag with sleet stinging my face and the wind whipping across the reservoir at me at 3 am.

This morning I still have that low energy feeling, like I'm on the verge of catching a cold, or something. I'll bag my plan for a 15 mile run, take the girls for a short one, and then make a pot of chicken soup. I can fill out my ballot which arrived yesterday, take another nap, hydrate, and get as much rest as possible before I go back to work tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A weird start to a great run

I have been busy the past few days trying to run my butt off. It's still there. I guess I have more work to do. Actually the past few days I've had some great runs. I have to go back to work tomorrow for 3 days in a row, so it's a good thing I'm depleted and in need of a rest. If you can call 12 hour shifts a rest. This week is a perfect example of why I live here. The fall weather and colors are at their peak, it's perfect outside every day. I don't want to spend a moment indoors if I can avoid it.

My workouts the past few days have consisted of Across the Years-type running, mostly on dirt and in loops. One of my favorite places to go is Riverbend Ponds. There is a 2 mile loop around the big pond and some of the other ponds, and if you go early in the morning now, you get views like this:

Yesterday I took the Buffaloes there and then finished out a 10 mile run in an absolutely perfect, crisp morning. Afterwards I rode my bike a little over 20 miles and went by Boyd Lake to Loveland. The colors are nice down there, too, and all the cornstalks have been cut down, so the views from the north end of the bike path are better than they were a few weeks ago. I had a 20 mile run planned for today so I had this great idea that I would go out to the ponds and do 10 loops. I could use my car as an aid station and run around the ponds, perfect Across the Years training.

This morning I woke up sort of late, I didn't get out of the house until 9:00 by the time I got all my bottles and gear together. I arrived at the Ponds parking lot and there were only 2 other cars there. I noticed some broken glass in the gravel, which made me hesitate. There have been so many break-ins in the parking lots to many of the city's best trail running locations, some scumbag(s) have decided that this is an opportunity to smash the windows and grab whatever they think might be valuable in the car.

I looked at the pile of glass and realized it wasn't there yesterday. I was pissed, those jerks decided to start preying on this parking lot. Then I noticed that one of the other cars parked there had been there yesterday, too. I figured it was another regular user, like me. I decided to go ahead and start my run, since I wouldn't ever be too far from the car. Whenever I park in those lots with the broken glass, I always feel like there's someone out there watching from a distance, with binoculars, waiting for people to leave their cars, then waiting for the right moment to break in.

I locked the doors and took off up the trail. About 30 seconds into my run, I realized I left my water bottle in the car, so I turned around. I was about to unlock the door and I saw this guy's head pop up from below the passenger door of the familiar-looking car, a dark-colored Toyota Rav 4, which was parked on the far end of the small parking lot. He saw me and his head disappeared again. Then I saw him pop up again, this time on the driver's side, and I watched him. He started the car and hauled ass out of the parking lot, turned west onto Prospect Road, and was gone. Fortunately I was able to get his license plate and an idea of what he looked like, through his tinted windows.

After that I decided I'd run somewhere else, but I called the Fort Collins police and told them what I saw, along with the license plate. I'm so tired of going to these trailheads and being worried that someone will break into my car. I have no idea if this guy was up to anything weird, but he sure acted weird, and I did see him there yesterday, and that was before there was any glass. Yesterday I left the Ponds about the same time I arrived today, and yesterday he arrived about the same time I was leaving.

After I got off the phone with the police, I ended up going to Pineridge, another site of break-ins, but there were a lot more people around. I ended up having a fantastic run at Pineridge and up behind Hughes stadium, I did 20 trail miles and felt so strong, I had a negative split my second half, and I wasn't even tired at the end. I've managed to get 4 solid runs in 4 days and no walking. I feel like I'm overcoming the death march.

The fall colors are superb and I wish I had my camera with me today, because I saw some pelicans on the water along with the geese. It was a perfect day, and a perfect run. What would make it even more perfect is if the person who has been breaking into cars gets busted. Make my day...