Sunday, January 24, 2010

Northwoods Snowshoe Race

Last Saturday I did the Northwoods Snowshoe marathon. This was going to be my 2ND attempt. Last year I tried and had failed. This year I was not any better at snowshoeing if fact I probably had gotten in less snowshoe time but I knew from the start I was under the gun and every second was going to count.
My daughter Kaitlyn came up to Duluth with me and we were going to stay 3 nights and try to get in some other activities.
Friday night at packet pick up it was great seeing so many running friends. Kaitlyn's camp friend went to school in Duluth so we picked her up and headed to Pizza Luce. We were very excited because they have Vegan items on their menu. We loved their vegan pizza, it was fantastic.
Anyways about the race. Knew I was seriously under the gun and I really wanted to finish and get the sweatshirt. This race has always been very strict about the time cut off. Last year I ran the first 1/2 of the marathon with Wayne, We did the first half in 3:45-which was even split for the marathon cut off, he only did the 1/2, I had gone on but quit when I was told later I wouldn't make the cut off. I am still mad at myself for not actually being dropped, who knows what would have happened maybe I could have made it.
From the start I had to push. I am such a slow start on all races and in snowshoes my slowness is worse. Wayne was off from start and I would not see him till the end. I ran alone most of race but was happy I remembered my i-pod.
The first hour I was on the nice groomed trails, then we went off into what seemed endless. The next section starts on nice firm road the goes off into deep sugar snow. It was like one movement forward one involuntary movement sideways and on and on. Sometimes to the side of the other runners tracks I was able to run on top of the snow, but then eventually I would break down into the deep. Actually this would have been very nice had I not been under the gun. It was very beautifully out there. Every walk even on this first loop was full of knowing this was the walk that could make me fail. It took me 2 hours till I got back on the groomed trail for another 1/2hour. The 1/2 took my 3&1/2 hours. I had a 1/2 longer to get the 2ND 1/2 done.
I felt like toast, took me 10 extra minutes on the first nice part and by the time I got through the worst of the sugar snow section I had used up all my extra time. Approaching the hour before the end cut off I secretly wished they would just cut me but I still pushed. I made that last cut off -I must have been within minutes or seconds but had to get the the last hour done in the same time I did the first loop. I had resigned myself to being OK with a DNF but still pushed harder than I cared to. I ended up finishing with 2 minutes to spare- 7:28. Had I known I would have two minutes left I certainly would have used them. I am very happy it was the last year because I will never have to do that race again!! No- just kidding. I am not happy it is the end just happy I don't have to do it again because I certainly would if they had it.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2009- Good year!!

So.. year in review
I started the year needing 8 marathons or higher races to finish my 50X50 before my 50th b'day. I competed it with one to spare. I had some very good races some not so good but I consider the bad ones just opportunities to do better next time.

Northwoods snowshoe marathon- Jan 2009- This on did not count in my total, I was not able to finish in the allowed time. This was a bad start to the new year. This year I will try it again. It is kind of fun not knowing if you can finish or not, challenging to say the least.

Land Between the Lakes in Kentucky- I needed to get in a 50 mile run before my first trail 100 miler in April. Flew down with other MN runners. The time limit on this was very challenging- 11 hours. I got lucky with this one and was able to make the big cut off that allows runners to get to do the final lap and go on to the 50 miles. the highlight was the runner who also had a strong family connection with diabetes with whom I talked with for a long time and the great cabin overlooking the lake with great friends and meeting new friends.

NcNaughton 100 mile- April 2009- ouch, another DNF!! This hurt, three races this year and two not finished. I ended up being stupid and not changing my upper body clothes during the late night and ended up getting too cold to continue. Stupid Stupid Stupid!!! I called it quits at like 73 miles.

Trail Mix- April 2009- 50K, the week after McNaughton, I felt just fine, had to get those last 30 miles in, had to try to make up my lost races to add to my 50x50.

Chippewa-thought I would be too sore from Mcnaughton so had signed up to volunteer- I enjoyed it very much. it was much colder being a volunteer than running it.

Superior 50K- May 2009- I slept in my car and woke up race morning to snow on the car. You just never know what the weather is going to be like that time of the year. I always love it up there. Drove home after the race, That was not fun.

Med City Marathon- May 2009- I usually am out of town Memorial weekend but when found out I was not leaving I decided this would be a good one to do to get ready for Fans. I had my best marathon with a PR, 4:18, previous fastest a few years prior at Wistlestop at 4:19.

Fans 24 hour- June 2009- I had a great race and a great time despite the cold and rain. I had a great race got in 106.99 miles and was 3rd women, 6th overall. My daughters were great kept me going. they made it so easy.

Big Horn 50 mile- June 2009- The most unbelievable beautiful place I ever was. It was like running through a postcard. Barely made the cut off, still had ankle issues left over from Fans two weeks prior. Totally worth the snake threat.

1/2 Vouageur marathon- July 2009- I had to skip Afton this year and give my ankle more rest, it still was bothering me alot. It felt good having 3 weeks without a race. I had my best 1/2 vouageur time this year- Everything was perfect. Laughed a lot.

Vouageur 50 mile- July 2009- I think I got dehydrated, I sure was sick by the end, but finished. I changed my mind during this race not to do the Superior 100-that I was no way ready. My ankle hurt a lot too.

Paavo Nurmi marathon- August 2009- My last race of my 40's. I thought I would do great, felt rested enough, but I totally sucked and my ankle killed me again - I got a big blister and afterwards I felt totally burnt out like I never had before. I said I was not running anymore and was sad because without running I had nothing else. That was weird, glad I got over it. The party in Hurley after was fun!!

My birthday 50 miler- August 2009. I took off work for my birthday to run my age. I went through West Saint Paul crossed the high bridge down shephard road to ford bridge to Minehaha parkway around the Mpls lakes and back, was home in time to go out to dinner with the family. The I Can't believe I am 50 run.

Superior 50 mile- September 2009- Hard!! I want a re-do there is no way I should have done that bad. It was hot and humid and I do not do good in humidity. I actually feel asleep on Moose mt. I was so sick and sleepy- layed down on the trail- did not worry about bugs or snakes or anything there in the dark.

Arkansas Traveller 100 mile- October 2009- First trail 100 finish. I had a good first 1/2 of the race but got sick after 60 or 70. I refused to quit and walked in the last 16 miles. I really liked this race and want to go back.

Wild Duluth 50K- October 2009- It was so beautiful on the Superior Hiking trail with the fall colors. Great company the whole way, I laughed and laughed. Felt good.

Surph the Murph 50 mile- October 2009- On Halloween, dressed up in costume with great running friends who also surprised me and wore costumes too. I laughed a lot and felt good, better at the end then in the middle. It was a great place to run.

Tuscobia 50K- December 2009- Loved it. You were supposed to be self supporting so even though 50k is not that far, a backpack would have done it, I pulled a sled I made up after getting an idea of how to do it by other runners. Next year I will do the 75 mile option - if they have the race again. It was a fun trip.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My top ten reasons to be Thankful that I am an Ultra runner

10-Getting know muddy while tromping in woods.
9-Calories in calories out.
8-Can blame age related forgetfulness on Ultra brain.
7-Can't have enough shoes.
6-All nighters.
5-See exciting parts of the world like Perryville Arkansas.
4-Training beats housework.
3-Love chocolate gu.
2-All you can eat buffets...aka aid stations.
And the number one best reason to be Thankful for being an Ultra runner is..
1-Men runners have nice legs.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Arkansas Traveller 100

On Oct 3rd and 4Th I ran in the Arkansas Traveller 100. It takes place in the Ouachita (sounds sort of like Witchita) National Forest. This was my first Trail 100finish after having DNF'd on my first trail attempt at Mcnaughton (mile 73 drop) this past April.
I traveled by car last Thursday and Friday with my sister in Law Nancy. Her and my brother Pat were my "crew" for the previous year's Mother Road 100 so it was good to have her come with me. We took the scenic route down thanks to AAA directions. We both had different directions so thought the AAA would be better.
We arrived at Camp Ouachita mid day on Friday, after picking up the packet we went 1/2 mile down the road to the Lake Sylvia Campground -they had free camping in group campsites so I set up my tend and met some really great people. Benny from Indiana, who was attempting his first 100. Janet from Ohio who has attempting to finish her first 100. She had tried the two previous years at AT100 and was back to try it a 3rd time. And Claude from Texas who was doing like his 4Th 100 of the year.
The rest of the day was spent at the 2PM race briefing where my Sis-in-Law kept meeting lots of people to introduce me to, the free pasta dinner which was very good and just getting everything ready. I was in my tent before 8PM. Nancy slept in the mini van.
The race started at 6am -we were in the dark for about an hour. The course sounds like it would be easy- mostly gravel roads with only 8 miles on the single track of the Ouahita trail. However the roads varied a lot. Some were very very rocky and there were a lot of hills. Someone the day before said series of rolling hills. I wouldn't call them rolling hills, there were long climbs some pretty steep, funny there did not seems like that many downs- well there never does in any race.
I felt extremely well through about 50 miles, I may have taken this too fast(for my ability) finished 50 in under 12 hours.
About the same time it started to get dark I started to get very nauseous and sleepy, despite taking no-doZ, those two have been going hand in hand for me. I look a spill somewhere before mile 57 had to get my cuts cleaned up. It would have been worth it however if would just wake me up.
At mile 63 aid station which was a crew station, someone told the aid station guy I was having problems, and they told me I was probably dehydrated from what I told them I was taking, my nausea and my lack of peeing. I am sure I was. The gave me some S caps (they didn't like the amount of sodium in the e-caps) and some rock salt which is absolutely horrible and off I went.
The next 20 miles were somewhat of a blur. I was so sick and sleepy, I did pee alot though and I would stop by the road a few times and just sit- I did not lay down and officially nap I am happy to say. I cannot tell you how I made it through this part. During this part it also started to rain and it continued till the end of the race.
At mile 84 with 16 miles left I got to a crew station. My sis in law had been asking everyone if they saw me and had everybody there looking for me so when I got in to that station there were all these people saying it's 79 it's 79. I am sure they would all be happy to have to not hear from Nancy anymore once I was out of there. Nancy tells me I looked horrible, she gave me a cup of soup I tried a noodle and got very sick in the grass, I sat down and just needed to close my eyes!! She said I should probably drop. No way I told her I did not come this far to DNF. This old runner guy was great he told Nancy I would make it and I asked him to just let me sit there under the canopy till I had just enough time to walk it in. I changed my upper half clothes- put on a fresh garbage bag under my rain poncho and fell asleep. I don't know how long it was that I sat there, probably a 1/2 hour before I was woke up to finish the race. I got up felt horrible and campy but started on my long walk in. It was still an hour and 1/2 or so till there would be daylight.
I did not eat or drink much in the last 16 miles but just kept on going taking tiny bits of water and food hopping to not get sick again. I was getting so tired again and daylight came right in time, I trudged on another 4 hours in the rain, My quads and ankle prevented me from breaking into any run. I was glad to have the layers on I did as it got colder as the morning progressed. I finally got to the finish, It felt so good to be done. I had an hour to spare.
I found out Benny finished his first 100, he had passed my about mile 73 looking great. Janet DNF's again when it started to rain in the middle of the night, bu came back to see me finish. Claude came in 5Th place, he had never told us he was so fast.
I know I have alot to figure out I am going to work on something new because what I have been doing lately has not been working well. I think I had some pretty good arguments back there in the middle of the night why I should give up Ultra running but I can't think of what they could possibly be right now. I am anxious to do it again to do better, or really just to feel better while doing it.
I want to go back next year, The free jacket has the name of the finishers of the previous year on it so it would be nice to get that. The volunteer for this race were fantastic and very knowledgeable. The race director Chrissy Furgeson was fantastic and quite entertaining. I recommend this race highly.

Monday, August 24, 2009

In true Ultra style

After Vouageur someone, can't remember who told me, "now don't go thinking you have to run 50 miles for your birthday, this counts". I said something like right as if I had the faintest intention. Well, I thought about it and decided that is exactly what I will attempt to do. I am taking a vacation day to morn my 40's and see how 50 feels. I will head out like at 5am and try to get in 50 miles. The plan is to head to st paul and then river road then to the Lakes and back- hope that is close to 50. I think I will try to find that website that gives milage. I am going to walk a lot I think. I thought I had better post so it not too easy to back down.

Monday, July 27, 2009

50 by 50- DONE!!!

Yeah!!! I made my goal of completing 50 marathon or higher races by the time I turned 50 (insert un-smiley face here-for the turning 50 part) ansd I have one month to spare.
The good news is that my mission of making physical activity and good health a part of my daily life is achieved. After all this is what this goal was about - lowering my risk of death from heart and diabietes realted problems. The early death of my parents and a few siblings have made the risk very real and funny the older I get the more I care.
Vouageur was alot of fun despite everything . My first 1/2 went great. I even got to hear the song perfect day on my I-pod and it was so good- I was all alone going thru the power lines -so was able to sing as loud as I wanted. If fact I re-played two more times if felt so good and so perfect that this song was playing right then. I had a very hard second half. I have not felt so sick since FANS two years ago- when I had the same stomach ache thing. But I hate to dwell on things that don't go well because well- I finished -I might have just dropped if finishing this one was not so important.
It was so good to see so many of my running friends before and during the race. I don't know how I got so lucky to know so many great people. I really do not deserve it.
I owe alot to Rick B who was out spectating, he was very encouraging and helped me alot through the end, even running with me for a while, him in his sandals and all. It helps to be stronger when you are trying not to look like you are not as bad off as you feel. I also hated for him to be wasting his time out there so I knew I better just finish or he would never get home.
I really appreciate all the volunteers out there. Thanks Wayne for taking all the pictures!!!
Now I hae decsions to make- What to re-name the blog to?
I probably need goals too but what?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Humbled at Big Horn

Short version is I finished!! I almost did not, I was seconds from being dropped at mile 34 (where I had to quick leave without even being able to fill my water bottles),and except for the end of race I was the last person making the cut offs. I had my ankle pain come back right from the start so the wonderful long downhill advantage I thought I had were lost. The course was absolutely breath taking. There is no way to see this remote mountain course without doing it. It was so very different than driving through- it was so fantastic!!! Pictures do not do it justice, it doesn't show the largeness of it all.

The long version I had been working on for a few days I decided to can it and just leave it with the short version.
I have not run since the race, I my ankle and up into my shin still bother me. I won't be doing Afton even though I am signed up. Too bad I wasted my money. I had wanted to wait till after Big Horn but didn't know registration would be extended. I was pretty sure right after I wouldn't be able to run for at least a few weeks since it was worse than after FANS and two weeks was not enough from after that.
So what to do after this? I don't know I am signed up for 1/2 Voyageur -I see how I am doing.
Maybe I just need to concentrate on being a better runner before I do any long races. I think someone at Big Horn suggested that but I can't remember who or when or if someone said it even. Maybe it was just me.
This was my favorite race so far, even with me doing so bad.