Thursday, March 22, 2007
A quick trip to Michigan
Before heading off on our mini vacation (during which time I will have minimal access to a computer), I thought it would be a good idea to make a record of recent revelations:
- Always try to eat a little something before heading out the door in the morning. Even if you think you're going for a short run, you seem to always turn it into a couple of hours or more. (where "you" refers to me and not the reader who is undoubtedly much wiser than this writer)
- Do not top off the gatorade in your water bottle with water even if you've just emptied the gatorade bottle and would have to go downstairs to get a new bottle then open the new bottle and pour just a little bit out of it to fill up your water bottle. Diluted gatorade just doesn't cut it anymore, especially when the supposed short run turns into the unexpected long run.
- Running partners make life oh so much more enjoyable. If they offer to accompany you on a run, say yes! Even if you're grumpy and do not believe you are fit for public consumption, a few miles with a running partner will set the world right again.
- Sunrises are glorious. Sunsets are spectacular. Running at sunrise and at sunset all in the same day is marvelous way to start and end the day.
- When bored with the same old running loops, turn onto a street or path you've never been on before, then the next new street or path, and the next. Seeing new sights and/or getting lost does wonders for alleviating boredom. It is conceivable I will have run on every street in south Boulder by the time I start out across the country.
- Running through the changing of the seasons is a marvelous past time...and watching spring blossom forth even makes one forget about the 61 consecutive days of snow ground cover we had.
- Not changing your clothes between runs when you run three times in one day saves a lot of time and laundry - but one might want to minimize one's public exposure during said day.
- When running 100-180 miles per week, one should try to remember to eat and sleep.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
The day started with a rather empty feeling: my sons left for college last night, my dad is gone, and my husband's work day is going to extend into the evening (parent-teacher conferences). So I set off on my run feeling rather blue. That was to soon change.
As a rosy sunrise filled the eastern sky, I met up with the Boulder Road Runners and an enthusiastic birthday greeting from long-time running buddy Patti. After a few miles with the Road Runners I continued on to higher trails.
Blissful solitude in a magnificent venue.
The day turned golden.
Ready to sail on through a new year.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Last of my sons' spring break days
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Planned day off
I've got 110 running miles and a drive to Petoskey, Michigan planned for the upcoming week. The trip, which starts Friday, should be interesting. I'll try to get most of my running done before we hit the road. While on the road, we're hoping to see migrating sand hill cranes in Nebraska, and do some first-hand investigation of questions I have about the Wisconsin portion of this summer's route. And in Petoskey, snow permitting, I hope to be running along Lake Michigan on some of my favorite trails.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
180-mile week - made it to 157
- It takes me 6.5 hours (+/- a few minutes) to run 30 miles in a day.
- I seem to prefer a slightly longer run in the morning and a slightly shorter run in the afternoon rather than splitting the runs into 15 and 15. The morning/afternoon run mileage worked out to be: 14/16.5, 16/14, 16.5/13.5, 17/13, 16/2, 19.
- As the week progressed, most of my runs felt a lot like the last four miles of a less than stellar marathon; hopefully this sensation will dissipate as my training progresses.
- I began to include walking within my run: walking to cool down when I was overheating, walking while I was drinking or eating, walking on the occasional uphill, walking on downhills when my legs were so tired I didn't trust them on the trail. I'm thinking it might be a good idea to experiment with planned walking breaks (for example, run 17 minutes, walk 3 as Annabel and Caroline did in their Long Run from Boston to LA in 1984); it might help minimize that end-of-the-marathon feeling.
- Two of my worst runs were the first afternoon and the second morning due to temperatures in the 70s. I'm no where near acclimated to heat right now, but must get there before heading off across the plains this summer.
- Ice is a wonderful thing. Spraying my legs with cold water, sitting in an ice bath, putting ice packs on sore spots - all make my legs very very happy.
- Finding food to eat in between the morning and afternoon runs is very tricky. I only seemed to be able to get one meal in during that time span. I'm not sure that was enough but I was having trouble tolerating much food prior to the second run.
- My stomach was the body part that was most troublesome throughout this experiment. Ginger chews were quite effective at settling it down - and it almost always needed settling during the second run of the day.
- Foods to avoid between runs 1 and 2: nachos, large salads.
- Foods that worked well between runs 1 and 2: eggs, fig bars, potatoes, rice, soup.
- 1.5 hours was not enough time between runs; 2.5 hours was adequate; 4 hours was really sweet.
- By the end of the week, drinking gatorade and eating gu during the runs had lost a lot of appeal - but I absolutely must learn to tolerate this.
- I need more upper body strength. By the end of the week my arms, shoulders and back were oh so tired.
- The area I need the most improvement in is sleep. Monday I left for my run at 4 a.m. in order to make it to the train station in time to pick up my sons at 7 a.m. All but Tuesday morning I was out the door by 6:30 a.m. and wasn't going to bed before 10 - and, in fact, went to bed after 11 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. And there was no napping during the week. I think the lack of sleep is a reflection of the fact that I've got a life outside The Run right now; hopefully time to sleep will be more readily available this summer.
- My worst overall run was Friday morning: I was way too tired and my legs were really stiff. We had gone to the dinner theater the night before (special spring break treat for the family while my sons were home) - and I only had 45 minutes between the end of my last run and when we were sitting at the tightly-spaced dinner theater table. What I was doing Friday morning could barely be called a run, and I was so fatigued I couldn't even get a coherent sentence out. Thank heavens for tolerant running buddies. AndyE and Joe just plodded right along next to me, keeping the day cheery. By the time I got home, though, my right ankle/achilles area was extremely painful and I decided I'd best spend the rest of the day icing, keeping it elevated, and resting. I did go out for a short two miles just to test things out later in the day and was encouraged by the improvement.
- After Friday's scare with my ankle/achilles I decided to end the experiment and keep Saturday's run to one longish run (19 miles). Again, Joe and AndyE joined me for the middle miles - but I was much better company this time around...all the icing and off-the-feet time Friday afternoon and evening worked wonders. Today was a great day on country roads, moving smoothly and singing and chatting along the way. A lovely morning.
- One example of how my non-running life is taking up some time during this week's experiment: today's morning run finished in a neighboring town where my family and I spent the afternoon at the K&C RV lot - and we ended up buying the motor home we're going to use on the trip. WhooHoo!
Thursday, March 15, 2007
180-mile week - 7/12ths done
- 5:10 a.m., woke up, said "how can I do this," got a drink of water, went back to bed.
- 5:30 a.m., pulled off the covers and said "let's get this done."
- 6:25 a.m., went out the door to do a bit of a warmup before meeting up with the Boulder Road Runners.
- 30 minutes into my run I realized I'd have to really hustle to get to the BRR by 7; picked up the pace and said "Where'd this come from?!"
- 46 minutes into my run, did not get to the BRR in time; kept hustling in the direction I figured they went in.
- 75 minutes into my run, I spotted Patti and ran back in with her - pace getting faster along with the conversation.
- 1 hour 36 into my run, left Patti, slowed it down a bit, and started devising a route that would finish up with 15 miles for the morning.
- 2 hours into the run, energy flagging, I ate 3 bites of a cliff bar, followed by 2 gum drops with a gatorade chaser - it must be a miracle combination cuz energy levels rebounded in force.
- 2.5 hours into the run, I started devising longer routes vs. short cuts. Maybe it was the cool misty almost snowy morning (along with the cliffbargumdropgatorade elixir) that was working its magic.
- 3 hours and 25 minutes into the run, I decided to rein myself in and headed for home.
- 3 hours 37 minutes, 17 miles, and feeling like, yes, this is doable!
Week-to-date miles: 107 done, 73 to go
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
180-mile week - day two
Today's first run (16 miles) was another hot one, I kept getting slower and slower, and doubts about my sanity became more and more persistent. Coach Mark has never been a big fan of my plan to do a 180-mile week prior to The Run. But I can't imagine launching into Day 2 of the real deal and having these kinds of doubts surface. I definitely need to get the "Oh my gawd what the heck am I doing?" questions out of the way now! One good thing about the morning run: my younger son (Paul) came out on his bike and met me half way through the run. Delightful!
The second run of the day commenced about 2.5 hours after the first one ended. I was a bit worried about the shortness of the gap, but it's the price I had to pay after sleeping in this morning to catch up from yesterday's 4 a.m. start time. During the interim between the first and second runs, I did have enough time to spray down my legs with icey cold water and to eat decently - and then even had about 20 minutes to stretch out on the couch, legs propped up, and read the newspaper. Still, when I first set out on run #2, the machinery wasn't too happy. My tummy was especially unhappy, once again. About an hour into the run, I popped a ginger chew which settled things down quite well. Also about an hour into the run, my legs started aching. (They waited until about two hours into the run yesterday afternoon and this morning.) Again, the doubts surfaced. Then....things just started coming around. A slight wind picked up, the temperature dropped a bit, I headed off on some trails I hadn't been able to run since mid-December, evening quiet began to descend...and I found myself at peace. An hour more of running during the sunset, and another 30-mile day in the books.
Monday, March 12, 2007
180-mile week - the first day
The first run of the day was planned to be 15 miles and it went pretty well. Out the door by 4 a.m., dark dark dark outside, the occasional blindness by high beam encounter, a bit of misdirection through an area that has seen a lot of recent development, but a generally pleasant run. Due to a combination of timing and route issues, Kendall picked me up at 14 miles (with a cup of coffee awaiting me - yayy!), and we went off to the train station to get our sons. Double yayy!
The second run of the day was a bit more challenging...all part of the learning experience.
- After picking up the boys, we took them out to breakfast. Mistake #1: all I thought about when ordering my food was replenishing from the first run. I should have also been thinking about preparing for the second run. Instead I ate too much, probably ate some things I should have avoided, and I should have stuck with one cup of coffee vs. three. The second run started about 90 minutes after finishing breakfast - so all the mistakes I made with food choices had no time to correct themselves. Consequently, my tummy was rather unhappy throughout the second run (though a ginger chew did help settle things down considerably about 6 miles into the run). Note to self, bring lots of ginger chews along on The Run.
- Run #2 started at 11:15 a.m. (I was targeting a 3-hour run, to be finished at my massage therapist's table at 2:15). And the temperature got into the 70s today. It's been months since I've run in temperatures that high. Although I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, I definitely overheated. However, this is not a new situation for me so I played it conservatively based on experience and slowed way down, ducked into a couple of buildings that I knew had drinking fountains and got real cold water in me and on me, and found shade where I could. I drained both of my water bottles (vs. this morning when I only drank about half of what I carried with me). Unfortunately, the gatorade I had with me was watered down a bit; I definitely could have used the full strength stuff on this run. I hope we have a string of hot days leading up to the Real Run. I've got some acclimatizing to do!
- Because I ran so slow going to my massage appointment, I only got in 13 miles. To get the total mileage up to 30 for the day, I walked home from my appointment (by the most direct route). Walking was a concession to the heat as well as to not undue everything that Magic Fingers Beggsy had just fixed. Though I do not generally count walking as part of my mileage, I figure it's a pretty realistic scenario for what will be transpiring this summer....more of an ultra approach to the run: walk the uphills, walk when drinking/eating, walk when you need to, run when you're able.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
110-180-110 - first 110 wrapped up!
So just what made this week go so well? Perhaps it's as simple as what my dad used to tell me: "If you just put your mind to it, you can do anything." I'm finally putting my mind to it instead of just my legs. This week was an exercise in pulling together the total package: miles + stretching + icing + eating + rest. I need to remember this.
Now on to the big test. 180 miles. 30 miles per day (split into two 15-mile runs) for 6 days. A dress rehearsal for the planned weekly schedule during The Run. Tomorrow, the first 30-mile day, should be quite interesting. My sons are arriving home for spring break from Knox College, via train, tomorrow, at 7:15 a.m. To get in both of my runs - and given that I would like to spend some time with my boys - I'm thinking I'll run toward Denver from Boulder. Which means leaving Boulder by 4 a.m. Hmmm. Drat that daylight savings time switch this morning. I'd better get to bed!
Saturday, March 10, 2007
110-180-110 day 6 - A very good day!
- Slightly overcast (perfect running conditions);
- The new (to me) trail that avoids a stretch of busy road worked out beautifully;
- AndyE met up with me at mile 7, ran the last 8 miles with me, and was wonderful company;
- The view behind us as we climbed out of Boulder was exquisite, as always;
- I ran this segment 12 minutes faster than I ever have before;
- The route included a portion of a route from my early days of running (before Boulder had quite so many trails) which took me past a school house that was built in 1911 - causing me to smile and think to myself "That was the year my dad was born" every time I run past it,
I now have 106 miles on the books for this week.
A mere 4 miles tomorrow then it's on to the 180 week!
Friday, March 09, 2007
110-180-110 day 5 quick note
After this morning's 16 miles at the rez with Joe (a gorgeous day - so gorgeous that, when I got home after our post-run breakfast, all I did was go inside and change into shorts then go outside and read - no shower or nothin'), and an easy 3.5 this afternoon with Amie (just to keep the legs limber), I find myself sitting at 91 miles for the week - and it's only Friday!
Tomorrow's run will be a run through (so to speak) of the Real Run's first morning's route. I've modified the mapping slightly to include a trail I recently learned of and I figure I should check it out before the real deal. AndyE is planning on joining me at mile 7, then Kendall will pick us up when we get to the 15-mile point. Tomorrow is supposed to be another lovely spring day here in Boulder. I'm looking forward to it!
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Today I was hungry. So! The morning consisted of:
- running 10 miles (the middle 6 with AndyE)
- drinking most of my bottle of gatorade, and eating several spice gum drops and a slice of dried ginger during the run
- running out of gas for the last ~2 miles
- arriving home 45 minutes before I was supposed to be at the school to help out in the library
- stretching (quickly)
- ice bath (quick - not even taking time to make a hot drink to chug while freezing)
- shower (quick)
- big bowl of cereal with bananas and kashi
- cup o' coffee to take with me to the school
- shelving books
This run was with Jester dog and we met up with Amie about half-way through. She's got a lot of experience with high mileage running so we spent most of our time together talking about how to eat while running most of the day. Ideas range from graham crackers to olives to fig bars to rice to pasta to protein (boiled eggs, chicken, shrimp...). Lots to experiment with. Lots to get figured out before June 6.
Summation of the day:
- 2 runs: 10 miles (bonked at the end) and 6 miles (felt good). Note: for my 110 mile week, I figure I need to average almost 16 miles per day. Today is the first day I ran as little as 16.
- Icing was the best thing I did today. My legs felt great on the second run (and they craved icing during the first run).
- Stretching out on the couch and reading after working at the library and before going on my second run was the second best thing I did today. I felt completely pooped when I got back from the library but quite energetic from my second run on through the rest of the day.
- I ate well early; I ate pizza for dinner. Mid-day, the fruit and cottage cheese tasted great. I'm probably calorie-short today.
- Having friends to run with is invaluable. It's really making the miles go by easy.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
110-180-110 day 3
- Today's runs: two solid runs vs. one solid run and a couple of dinky runs. Early this morning I ran 11.5 miles at a decent pace with AndyE and late this afternoon I ran 8.5 miles with Joe with the middle bit at a fairly quick pace.
- Today's run-related work: Deb and I (with help from a buddy at my old office) got a start on PJ's Run web page! http://pjsrun.home.comcast.net It's still in its infancy but it's rollin'!
- I stretched but didn't ice.
- Eating hasn't been top notch: no food before the first run, decent food after the first run, then just a small snack of leftover nachos about an hour before the second run - where I discovered that nachos are not a good prerun snack for the pjv stomach. And I haven't eaten since the second run; instead I've been nursing a cup of cinnamon tea, trying to settle my stomach.
- I'm tired. Really tired. I think it's mostly to do with going to bed around 10, being out the door for my first run by 6:30 a.m., running 17.5 , 18, and 20 miles over the last three days, and having rather full days in between all the running. Something is going to have to give. I've got to get more rest.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Thinking forward 3 months got me thinking backwards in time as well...
One year ago today, I was hard at work as an IT project manager at CU. Looking at my calendar for the week of March 6, 2006, I see I had nine meetings, one presentation and two runs scheduled on my work calendar. Meanwhile my 2006 running log shows all of 2 miles run on March 6, with 47.5 miles logged for the week including a long run of 14.5 miles. Two of the week's runs were from office to home. Once again I say, there is no way I could attempt this run to Michigan if I were still working. Whew!
Looking at the present, today is day 2 of the 110/180/110-mile week cycle. What did I learn today?
- I learned I can do things right! I had a scant single serving of oatmeal, then ran 13 miles, then stretched, then had a snack (chocolate soy milk and fig bars which my most excellent massage therapist reports as being proven to be the perfect post-workout food), then sat in a tub of ice water (gulping hot coffee), then showered, then checked email, then went out for my next run. Run #2 felt pretty darned good after doing everything right after run #1!
- I learned that if one wants to do everything right after a run, one should allow for at least two hours between the end of the run and heading off for the next activity.
- I learned that if one eats lunch between runs #2 and #3, and run #3 immediately follows lunch, do not expect run #3 to be very fast.
- I learned that my feet seem to be very sensitive to ice water at the end of the day. Don't know why. Because they were already iced once (in the full ice bath)? Because they've been cold so much of the winter with all the snow? Because they were cold today from running through mud? All I know is I attempted to sit with my feet in a bucket of ice water three times and they weren't happy any of those times even though the water was a tad warmer with each attempt. There weren't even any ice cubes left in the water by the third try, but it was still a very quick dip.
- I learned that I might want to consider getting more sleep. I seem to be nodding off and it's not even 6 p.m. yet.
- I learned (re-affirmed) that I do love a day full of running. Good thing!
Monday, March 05, 2007
110-180-110 day 1
So, day 1, what did I do right?
- I ran what I needed to run (17.5 miles) (I figure I need to average about 16 miles this week.
- I arranged to run with a friend for my afternoon run as insurance against bailing on that run.
- I got a massage.
- I stretched after my last (3rd) run of the day.
- The interval between by 2nd and 3rd runs seem to work out ok (about 2.5 hours).
- I ate before my first (and longest) run.
- When I ate lunch and dinner, I ate well (lots of fruit, vegies, and some protein).
- I spent very little time at the computer and switched chairs for the time I did spend at the computer (my tailbone and back of my right leg have been bothering me after spending so much time doing taxes, financial aid forms, chamber of commerce letters, etc.)
- I treated my feet to foot cream. ahhh...
- I'm going to bed relatively early (as soon as I finish this and it's not quite 10 p.m.)
- I didn't stretch when I got home after my first two runs (Run #1: I ran to massage in a very round about way, had a massage, then run #2: ran home in a more direct way but by way of my old office where I picked up a book from a friend).
- I didn't ice today (I didn't even shower today until 7 p.m. - which isn't necessarily a bad thing...unless you were unfortunate enough to find yourself downwind of me....)
- I went 7 hours between breakfast and lunch.
- I ate too much oatmeal before my first run (resulting in the need for a restroom stop along the way).
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Balancing blinders and eyes wide open
Most of the time, I just think about the next day's run, finding the best route from the Chippewa River Trail to the Mountain-Bay Trail in Wisconsin, which Chamber of Commerce to write to, whether I have enough clean socks without doing another load of laundry, where to take a bicycle maintenance class, how to meet up with running buddies if I want to run 25 miles on Saturday, yada yada yada, and just keep plugging merrily along.
And sometimes my brain fills with trivia. For example, Debby (who's been my logistical/tactical angel for this endeavor) asked me today how many miles I'm running in each state. What a great question! And here's the answer (at least with today's version of the route):
* Colorado: 201 miles
* Nebraska: 374 miles
* Iowa: 138 miles
* Minnesota: 180 miles
* Wisconsin: 289 miles
* Michigan: 238 miles
The mountains will be my backdrop as I leave Colorado, I'll have river crossings in every state, I'll be visiting trails in every state, and I'll be following the Lake Michigan shoreline from the eastern edge of Wisconsin off and on all the way to Petoskey. My husband also pointed out that I'll undoubtedly experience a number of grasshopper encounters along the way. He's always thinking of something ;-)
Friday, March 02, 2007
Down and up
Wind. Ice. Impossible running conditions for the 2 measly miles I managed.
Taxes. Financial Aid apps. Sore tail bone from sitting in front of the computer too long.
Missing my dad.
But. Today was another day.
Only a bit of ice and got in a good run with friends.
The time in front of the computer today was with Deb, another friend, who is helping me with the planning of this grand adventure - and we got bunches done. Lots of letters to Chambers of Commerce along the route. My husband's elementary school is hoping to connect with schools along the way via books that the second graders at Kendall's school (Creekside Elementary) are going to put together about Creekside. We will send these books to interested schools along the route - along with a blank book for those schools to fill out and return to Creekside. And we'll meet with whomever from the school who wants to meet with us as we pass through the towns. Should be fun. Back to the Chamber letters: that's where we're asking for school contact info - along with sights to see, events, route suggestions, etc. that we might want to know about as we pass through the towns.
I gotta tell ya', this is one of the aspects of the run that excites me the most - seeing all these towns and all this territory in an up close and personal kind of way. For example, I'll be passing through Johnny Carson's home town, and the town of the mythical University of Okoboji, and Jesse James' stomping grounds, along the Lincoln Highway (the nation's first transcontinental highway), and the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Not to mention all the corn, cows, and scarecrows I'll see!