Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Boston Energy

... Boston Energy was in the air on Monday... I got nothing done at work and if I was to have my internet time audited by IT, I'd probably be fired since I spent the whole day with the BAA. website up, tracking my friends and friends of friends and watching some AMAZING elite performances.  The most important finish to "see" was my friend Kelly... rockin' a chemo induced bald head and a T-shirt that read " Hey Cancer, you picked the wrong bitch to mess with" she finished in 3:45:45.  I don't think I could run a 3:45 marathon right now and she does it 3/4 of the way through chemo for breast cancer.  She is truly BAD-ASS!

I was so hyped up that I destroyed my hill repeats that afternoon.  I've been running repeats on Ogg Rd on and off for a couple of years now and that hill always seems to kick my ass.... except for Monday.  Monday, Ogg was MY bitch.  I'm really hoping that it wasn't just the emotion and energy from the day, but all of my hard work paying off.  I've been running short hill repeats in the mornings a few days a week and then Ogg repeats once a week in the afternoon.  I'm picking up a treadmill tonight that I'm borrowing from a friend so I can spend hours doing walking training on an incline. 66 days to Western States! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ultra love

Before I get to writing up 2 more race reports... yes I am woefully behind... I must give a short shout out of congratulations to my wonderful friend Christy.  She and her most FABULOUS guy got engaged recently... and this makes my heart very happy. 
You might ask what this has to do with running?  Well.... my ultra "career" would not be where it is today if it wasn't for the hard work and dedication of this woman.  Christy has seen me through all of my big ultras.. she has been a training partner, a tireless crew chief, a patient pacer and a rock to lean on... she also has the amazing ability to read my mind and ignore my whining.  She has driven countless hours and eaten crappy food, gone without sleep and put up with hours of bitching and moaning... and for what???  She doesn't get the belt buckle or the medal or the finishers sweatshirt but she deserves all those and more. 

She has put up with the worst of me... Leadville 100 of 09 springs to mind.  We are just a few miles from the finish and the 30 hour mark is closing in fast, I am hurting and more pissed off then I have ever been in my life... helpful people keep telling me "you're almost there" but they've been telling me that for an hour and I'm at the end of my rope.  Christy has been pacing me from Fish Hatchery, got me over SugarLoaf Pass, got me in and out of May Queen before the cutoff and got me to make up time around Turquoise Lake.... and when she gently suggested that we might want to pick up the pace a little bit I turned to her and snarled "f*ck off".  Not a shining moment in my life... instead of punching me in the head like I deserved, she simply kept walking with me and ignored it... and she got me onto that red carpet before the 30 hour cutoff. 

Heartland 100 of 2010 also springs to mind... Christy has not been able to run or even walk or sit or lay comfortably for months.. ever since she fractured her back.  She and her wonderful guy Dave still volunteer to come out and crew for me.. I cannot imagine the amount of pain she was in, but she never complained, never let on that she was hurting.  Dave was there helping out side by side with her... together they got me to yet another 100 mile finish. It was only appropriate that they told me of their engagement the night before an ultra. 
 I owe Christy (and Dave) a debt I can never repay.  I'm not entirely sure how I got so lucky to find such an incredibly caring friend, but I thank my lucky stars that I did.  I wish nothing but a lifetime of love, joy, devotion, health and riches for my incredible friends, you deserve nothing but the best!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

3 Days of Syllamo- Day 3..PHEW!!!

It's a darn good thing that this race was only 3 Days long.. otherwise I may have never finished writing these reports up!

Getting up on Day 3 wasn't actually hard, since everyone had slept like crap and was awake well before the alarm went off anyway.  You would think as exhausted as we all were, sleep would be easy.... nope.. even if you take an Advil before bed, those aches and pains announce themselves every time you move.  We had to pack up the cabin before we left since checkout was at 11 and we wouldn't be able to be back by then.  It's such a shame to rent these beautiful places and not get to enjoy them at all.  I never even stepped foot onto the gorgeous rear deck that overlooked the would have been the perfect place to spend an evening sipping beer and rocking on the porch swing.  (Maybe when I'm 80.)  We spent a few minutes at least taking pictures to document and prove just how pretty our cabin and the surrounding were and off we went.

In my head I was planning on a nice, easy day... a relaxed pace with no time goal in mind.. just a finish.  My legs were feeling tired (DUH!) and I figured there was no way I'd be able to push the pace.  The RD Steve posted some prelim results for the overall which got me fired up since he had listed a certain woman ahead of me, whom I had finished well in front of on Friday and I had dropped in the first few miles on Saturday and had never passed me after that.... I pointed this out to him, and he said they were just prelim results, but it worked to get my competitive juices flowing.  The trick this morning was to stay out of the way of all the fresh, rarin' to go folks that came out just for the 20K race... Get in front of one of them at the start and they just might run over the top of you as you creak and hobble your way to the trails.

The race starts on the pavement before it dumps you onto the single track, so there was plenty of time to get things a bit warmed up before we hit the uphill.  Once we hit the single track, I ended up behind a couple of people that were talking up a storm.  Now, most of the people I have met during trail running are wonderful, enjoyable people whom I love getting to know... but every once in awhile you meet someone that just rubs you the wrong way.  And here I was stuck behind 2 of those people.. and they were talking to each other.. loudly.  I had to get the hell out of there.. uphill or not.  I eased around them and headed uphill at a pretty good clip trying to give myself a little space.  Wonder of wonders... my legs felt fairly fresh and strong, so I went with it!

I ended up behind a woman who I had met the year before.. we were on the same search and rescue crew so we had a bit of a chat about that.  Her birthday was the next day and we chatted about how last year her guy had planned a big surprise party for her, that she ended up being late to since search and rescue ran longer then the race would have! Margaret and I played tag back and forth a few times, but she was on fresh legs so by the time we hit the unmanned station she was ahead of me and would remain so for the rest of the race.   I continued to push as hard as I could, marveling the whole time that my legs were feeling so remarkably good.  Margaret was my rabbit.. as long as I kept her in sight, I was happy.  If she started to get too far ahead of me, I pushed harder... it was a fantastic mental boost.  We passed quite a few guys, and the question of the day from everyone seemed to be, "How much further??".  Stu Johnson and Paul Schoenlaub had run all 3 courses a few weeks before and Stu had warned me that he thought the 13 mile course was actually closer to 14 miles.  I was mentally prepared for it to take longer, but apparently that wasn't the case for quite a few folks.

I admit to being really ready to be done running by the time we started dropping lower and lower and I could hear sounds from the road.  Margaret was still just in front of me, and when we hit the pavement I gave it everything I could...admittedly it wasn't a huge amount... and she held me off to finish 1 second in front of me.  I was darn glad to be done.  Darn glad that no one had gotten hopelessly lost this year, darn glad that I was able to finish all 3 days, darn glad that I have the ability to be able to run in the woods with wonderful people for 3 days.

I love this race.. I love the WONDERFUL volunteers that devote so much time and energy to making sure we remain hydrated and sated, I love the RD for deliberately picking the hardest courses possible, I love the beautiful surroundings and the fantastically cold, leg refreshing river.  Can't wait for next year.... I am determined to have a good 50 mile race next year.. determined.