Wednesday, May 30, 2007
One week to go!
Say hey! My first-born son, Devon, is graduating from Knox College this Saturday and we're heading out there tomorrow. That should about do it!
Next post: PJ's Run Eve.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Time's a flyin'
Something is afoot!
Eight days and counting - counting fast.
Today's activities (down to the nitty gritty - infinitely more boring than running):
- a short run,
- a massage, including a brief self-massage tutorial,
- did a final review then printed out the day-by-day maps and put them in notebooks (one for the motorhome, one for my mom, and a third - not in a notebook - will come with me, a page at a time, while I'm running)
- helped Kendall in the library as he tries to get everything wrapped up for the school year
- did a load of laundry
- sent off a press release to Wisconsin
- coordinated a rendezvous with AndyE for the last 9 miles of the first day
- settled on a rendezvous date for Kendall's relief in Nebraska (yeah Lysa!)
Day after tomorrow: leave for Devon's graduation!
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Wrapping and Wandering
In any case, I was in a wandering mood for this morning's run - and wandered my way up Skunk Creek on the west side of town. What a glorious day on the trails! The air was filled with a chorus of bird songs, flowers were blooming in a myriad of colors, and butterflies of all sizes and colors were flitting about. A most excellent "last" run on Boulder's trails.
Next up: the Bolder Boulder tomorrow, final preparations on Tuesday and Wednesday, leave for Galesburg and Devon's graduation on Thursday, return on Monday, finish packing on Tuesday, then RUN!
Friday, May 25, 2007
Flurries still flying
- great run in the morning on one of my favorite loops with two of my favorite running buddies (Joe and AndyE): up South Boulder Creek trail and down Bluestem - spring flowers galore, blue sky, vivid mountains, and a whole bunch of cows to meander our way past.
- a second run in the afternoon to get postcard stamps....there should postcards from all across the heartland arriving in mailboxes this summer!
- got our bedroom closet cleaned out. That was not on the list, but finding one particular piece of running equipment was on the list and it was being very elusive. Found it! Along with binoculars, a belt, and a beret that had all gone missing over the past, oh, decade...
- located our noodle (a tubular thing people play with in swimming pools) - all cobweb covered on our back porch, hosed it off, and will cut it down and use it as a foam roller to keep my IT band and back in check this summer.
- Got all the cold weather running gear washed and stacked and ready to be packed.
- wrote a generic press release to have available whenever anyone asks for one (so far, just one person in Wisconsin has asked - but now I'll have it!)
- got our permanent license plates for the motorhome (somethingorother "OWL" - I like that owl bit),
- bought reams of printer paper so I can print out copies of the daily maps (one for the motorhome, one for me on the run (one page at a time), and one for my mom so she can keep track of me as she fidgets away in Petoskey
- and, perhaps most importantly, he found where the fuel goes into our motorhome - neither one of us could spot it and he actually had to resort to the manual. He even offered me a dollar if I could find it - but no luck for the buck.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
A flurry of activity
Lots has been going on. It's rather entertaining to see the range of activities and issues swirling around in just the past couple of days:
- Household items ranging from dead car to busted pipe to remembering to pay the property taxes before we leave.
- Devon's graduation details ranging from which vehicle to drive to Knox, to changing our hotel reservations from 3 rooms to 2 (including dealing with a busy signal for 6 hours and finally calling Devon and asking him to walk over to the hotel to verify and modify the reservation).
- Run-related communications with folks along the route including: a gang of runners from work who want to run the first couple of miles with me, the editor of the Brush (Colorado) News-Tribune, the South Platte second grade teacher in Big Springs, Nebraska who just sent a book written by their second graders in response to our Creekside second graders' book, a former co-worker who lives near Red Wing, Minnesota who has offered us a place to stay when we pass through her neighborhood, a friend of my running buddy who has offered his front yard for our RV when we come through Mondovi, Wisconsin, a high school friend who called to say she wants to write a story about me. Mind boggling.
- Check-it-off-the-list activity - everything from buying the flags for the bicycles, to letting my relatives know the trip is on, to picking out which towels to put in the motorhome, to updating the gosh-darned lists
- actual running stuff: going over the taper plan details with Mark ("rest - everything" - Mark says I should be "oozing" energy by the time the run starts), to running with various running buddies one last time (and, I must confess, this taper seems to be working - I had the smoothest, most relaxed, but quickest, 11 mile run I've had in a very long time today)
- and actual non-running stuff (yes, there is a life outside of running): volunteering in the Creekside Library, volunteering at the Creekside fun run (ok - that is running-related, but I wasn't running - instead all the grades came out and cheered eachother on as they took their turn running around the field, wearing official race bibs, pouring water over their heads at the aid stations and picking up their goodie bags at the end - very fun stuff), and celebrating my brother's birthday this evening.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
- We had to have our old van towed into the shop. This could be it for Old Reliable.
- There's a pipe leaking in our basement. The plumber has been called.
- Lots of packages arrived:
...my new hat!
..."Meditations from the Breakdown Lane" by James Shapiro, 1980 solo transcontinental runner
...a new cell phone battery to replace my fading battery
- And I just finished up the daily maps: a document for each state (ranging from 12 pages for 138-mile Iowa to 26 pages for 374.5-mile Nebraska). Lots of hyperventilating as I put in the route details for the final day on the road.
Monday, May 21, 2007
But then the jitters began to settle down. First there were the calming hands (and voice and psyche) of magic fingers Beggsy, massage therapist extraordinaire. Massage was followed by an easy trot home, snack, and soothing warm shower, then it was out the door for coffee and a chat with an old work buddy - who, for some reason, exudes supreme confidence in my ability to do this. While coffee klatching, more former co-workers drifted in - cheerleaders one and all.
After coffee, I walked from campus to downtown. A downhill walk; a smooth, strong downhill walk. Hmmm, maybe this training has worked. Maybe this taper is working.
Downtown shopping: a father's day present for Kendall; a birthday present for my brother; a graduation present for my son. A joy to shop for something other than The Supply List!
Home again where a spurt of computer time knocked a couple of things off the To Do List. (Yes, there are lots of lists.)
Talked to Deb - the queen of logistics and keeping Paula calm. We drifted to topics other than The Run and I responded to something she said with "I'll see it when I believe it." When I went to correct myself, she said I had it right the first time. Bringing it back to The Run, she's absolutely right. I've always seen this run. It's gonna happen.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Can you hear me now?
Kendall set off before I did and I tried hailing him just as I was leaving. No response.
He tried hailing me from the furthest point on his route. No response.
I tried hailing him when I got up on a highway overpass and could point myself toward where I thought he might be. Fuzzy response. I was at least able to recognize his voice!
He tried hailing me just as I was reaching the top of another overpass and we could understand at least half of what the other person said.
He hailed me again when we were about a mile apart and everything was loud and clear. (When he asked me where I was I replied with "on Eutaw or Lipan or one of those streets" and someone from somewhere hollered out "Lipan" - those talkabout beeps get everyone's attention!)
We met up and walked together for a bit then I took off running while he went back to the house. He tried hailing me from within the house when I was less than a mile away and it didn't work very well at all - but we played with our settings (me with both cell phone and talkabout in hand as we worked out the adjustments - running is not supposed to be so gadgety) and got so we could sort of tell what the other person was saying (he heard me pretty well, I had a harder time but was dealing with a lot of traffic noise at the time).
I figure that
a) with experience, we'll get the settings right for the distances we're dealing with
b) where the talkabouts don't work (lots of buildings), the cell phones will work, and where the cell phones don't work (countryside, farmland, ...) the talkabouts will work.
And if neither work - I got myself the world's loudest whistle today. I tried it out as we were driving home. Note to self: never ever blow that whistle inside any sort of enclosure. Yow!
Saturday, May 19, 2007
One more step towards The Run
And I do believe progress is being made in that regard. I actually had quite a good run yesterday, which tells me the taper isn't totally destroying me. Joe and I went out to a .7 mile loop that we use for tempo running, intervals, and/or pace running. Yesterday was a pace run, practicing our planned Bolder Boulder pace. We rather blew it as every .7 was too quick. But we both felt pretty good while on the loop (actually talking most of the time) and afterward. Progress is also being made in the non-running arena: bikes are in the shop getting new tires, tuned up, and accessorized; we got our RV-specific supplies today (like that special toilet paper you're supposed to use); support and running rendezvous plans with various folks across the country are being firmed up; the list of household stuff that needs to be taken care of before we leave for the summer is getting shorter; and we know just what supplies we need to shop for tomorrow and where to shop for them. There's actually a chance everything will have come together before we leave for Devon's graduation! I hope so, since there is but one itsy bitsy day between the time we get home from Dev's graduation and the day I start running!
Thursday, May 17, 2007
My body gets cranky, my energy drains away, my mind frazzles.
This is an 80-mile week...the beginning of my taper. This is also a get-everything-done week. So, in addition to very little running, I'm spending hours in front of the computer. Put the two together and I feel like, well, not like some finely-tuned athlete who expects to run 30 miles a day for 55 days. Then I look at the calendar and I see that there is one day less than three weeks to go.
Nervous doesn't even begin to describe it.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
The curiosity of second graders
- Is this your job? (Sort of. I do spend about 4-6 hours a day running. ...that got a lot of wow's.)
- Do you ever get tired of running? (Well, sometimes I get tired while I'm on a run - so then I just slow down. But I always want to go for a run when I wake up the next day.)
- How did your shoes get so dirty? (Ah! A perfect lead-in. When I asked them back about different kinds of running, they went more in the direction of "fast" and "slow" - but eventually we got around to roads and trails and I showed them where I'll be running on trails through the various states on the way to Michigan.)
- Will you have TV crews following you during the run? (I had a hard time keeping from laughing on that one.)
- How many seconds will you be running? (It works out to about 1,287,000)
- How will you get across the water? (in reference to crossing from the Upper to Lower Peninsula of Michigan. When I told them about taking the ferry to Mackinac Island from the UP, running around the island, then taking the ferry to the Lower Peninsula, one of the students proudly declared that he had been to Mackinac Island and had ridden a bike around the island...on the very road I'll be running!) (Note: during my answer to that question, Kendall was making swimming motions - and, of course, one of the students immediately thought Kendall was going to swim across.)
- Will you run at night? (Probably not - the plan is to run early in the morning and later in the afternoon. I asked them why I picked those times of days. There are some smart second graders: "so cars can see you better," "because there aren't as many cars," "because the sun is the most dangerous at noon."
- Will you take pictures of us while we're running with you? (Kendall had to inform the heartbroken fellow that they wouldn't actually be running with us.)
- How old are you? (That question was asked by both classes - and both times, when I answered "55" the whole class said "wow" in awe struck voices... Then one class asked my husband how old he is and when he said he wouldn't be 55 until June, one student piped up with "You look so much older than your wife." Of course I had to respond with "Mr Kendall doesn't run as much as I do; running must keep you young!")
- When did you start running? The 1800s? 1900s? (Answer...as I was starting to feel quite antiquated: around 1957 - but then I asked how many of them had gone for a run. When all raised their hands, I pointed out I was just like them, running since I was little.)
- Kendall asked how long I had been keeping a running log - and that has been since about 1978 or 1979. One of the students then asked how many miles I had run since I kept a log. (About 49,500...just a few hundred more and I'll have run the equivalent of twice around the equator. Some eyes got very big at that.)
- Will you keep running when you're finished with your trip? (Absolutely!)
- Kendall then asked the million dollar question: "You've set a very big goal for yourself. Are you a little bit scared?" "Yep."
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Zipping through the list
- making a post-run/pre-return-to-school dental appointment for Paul (younger son who is part of our support crew)
- ordering prescriptions
- writing to runmichigan.com about the run
- follow-up email to the Missouri River Runners about when I plan to arrive in Sioux City
- follow-up email to Running Times about the run
- writing to Minnesota contacts about schedule and route details
- writing to a Michigan friend about publicity possibilities
- getting info for an emergency medical kit
- completing the day-by-day route guide for Minnesota (now only Wisconsin and Michigan are left to do)
Monday, May 14, 2007
At this point, there's nothing more I can do for training - and all kinds of ways I can screw up.
It's taper time!
80 miles this week, 60 next week, 30 the week after, then GULP! time to run!
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Happy Mother's Day!
It has been a bit of an odd mother's day here in the VaughanMiller household. The oddest bit: neither of my sons are here to help me celebrate. Now that is taking some getting used to. But the day has been rolling merrily along nonetheless.
We started the day by calling my mom - the epitome of why mothers should be celebrated: gentle as a butterfly's wing yet rock strong. She kept our home humming and still carries on in fine fashion even though living on her own for the first time in 86 years. I sent her cloth placemats, napkins, and napkin rings in all the colors of the rainbow for use on the new deck she is having built and she has promised me a tea party upon my arrival in Petoskey. Yay!
After talking to ma, Kendall and Jester started their walk and I started my run with the plan to meet up in the CU cross-country property. We rendezvoused right on schedule - just as we were all getting ready to exit the property. But Kendall had a surprise for me. As I approached, he yelled out "He's all yours! He's your dog." I took a look at Jester and he was the grossest looking beast I'd seen in ...well... forever. Apparently he had found a large mound of cow poo and had a jolly roll in it. Yuck! We took him over to the pond that's on the property - but, unfortunately, today was not the day he was going to decide to like swimming. He'll run around at the water's edge, but there's no getting the pooch in there for a full body swim. Rats. Off to home we went where I put on my grungiest clothes then hosed down and shampooed mister Jester over and over again. He's almost presentable.
After dog (and human) showering, it was off to brunch with Kendall's brother, his wife, one of their daughters and her two kids. Very fun being around kiddos on Mother's Day. A most enjoyable outing.
Back to the house and Kendall went off shopping while I hung out hoping for a call from my sons. And yes! They both called. Ahhhh.....
Then I went for run #2 for the day. Sort of a hither thither run just fitting in the miles to get my 100 for the week. Back through the Bureau of Standards trails, over to the grocery store to see if I'd hook up with Kendall (nope), through a couple of neighborhoods, back into my neighborhood, decided to do minute strides which livened me right up, dashed back home, where Kendall had returned, and told him we were going to go deliver the neighborhood newsletter which had just arrived - so it was me running up and down the block and to all the doorways while Kendall rolled the newsletters - a fun sort of relay thingy.
And now it's time for homemade fish & chips. That Kendall is quite the cook. Yum! Like I said:
Thursday, May 10, 2007
One of the aspects of this run that I am most looking forward to is sightseeing my way across the country on foot. Whenever we do a road trip, I play 'scout' and go tootling around the town on my run, looking for the craziest lawn ornament, the most magnificent houses, the best coffee shop, whatever interesting tidbit the locale may offer...
Today being a 30-mile day, I needed to keep the sightseeing aspect of the run in mind (rather than diving inward and focusing only on getting the miles done). Highlights:
- Four deer crossing the street just a block ahead of me
- A coyote hunting for then eating its breakfast
- Fresh snow on the continental divide
- And a plethora of blooms along the trail
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Four weeks to go
As I wrote to the Dead Runners Society today:
"The big question is: Am I really ready? I expect I'll just have to get out there and find out! I do know I've learned a heckuva lot this past year about stretching, eating, icing, sleeping, staying cool, hydrating, and...running. But oh my goodness the butterflies are swirling! "
...Which leads me to a favorite quote by Walter Cronkite: "It's natural to have butterflies. The secret is to get them to fly in formation."
...Now I'm seeing me running through the plains, a phalanx of butterflies leading the way. I like it!
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Quick update on the day
4 turkey vultures
26 pages of day-by-day route instructions for Nebraska (that is one wide state)
Monday, May 07, 2007
The clock is ticking
(a free mile running with pjv to whomever knows where that quote came from ;-))
I've got this list - actually several lists, and the speed of checking items off these lists is quickening. So far between Saturday and today:
- we bought a rice cooker for the motorhome (for some reason this was a high priority on my list - I just can't run without my rice!)
- we've scheduled the de-winterization for the motorhome
- we bought a pair of "talkabouts" (sort of like walky talkies) with an 18-mile range (and were even able to take advantage of a 20% discount at REI)
- we've arranged for automatic bill pay
- we got a set of pots and pans for the motorhome - a camping set so they're compact for storage, but with much better surfaces (easier to clean) than our 35 year old set
- massages are scheduled through June 5th
- we got campground guides for all the states I'm running through
- I'm breaking in the remainder of my shoe inventory and have arranged for the rest of the shoe supply that I'll need for The Run
In the meantime, the taper has started; this week, just 100 miles and one 30-mile run!
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Sleep! The wonder drug!
Nine hours. Count 'em! Ni-ne hours of sleep last night. Marvelous zzzzzs!
So the big question this morning was:
Do I run 30 miles to make up for bailing on the 30-mile run yesterday?
Or do I run enough to get my 120 miles for the week (about a 4-hour run)?
Or do I just take it easy in deference to feeling so off yesterday? I chose door number 2 and decided to go for the 4-hour run for a 120-mile week. Good choice!
The first plan for this run was for me to run to the Boulder Road Runners' fun run with Kendall on the bike for the first part of the run. As I headed out the door my stomach growled and I realized I had forgotten to eat anything this morning. Anymore, I just can't do a four-hour run without eating - so back into the house I went to make a small bowl of oatmeal. That put the kabosh on running with the Road Runners as there was no way I'd make it there in time.
Oh yeah. One month from today - The Run begins!
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Bailed on a run
I had a 30 mile run planned (~6 hours) and 2.5 hours into it, my stomach started going south. I've gotten pretty used to having a squirrely stomach during my 30-milers, but it doesn't usually happen until more like 5 hours into the run. When the tummy started churning today, I just kept on going, walking the hills, trying to get some nutrition in every 40 minutes, drinking every 20 minutes, hoping things would settle down. But no, the stomach stayed queasy, my head started aching, my energy was quickly draining, and at 3 hours and 45 minutes, I called Kendall for an early pick up.
After a day of mostly lazing around, dozing off and on, not eating much, and with a froggy voice, I'm wondering if I might actually have a bit of a bug. If so, it's the first time I've been sick since retiring (last July 28) - no colds or nuthin' since then. I was sort of hoping to keep the streak going. Ah well, I'm off to bed and, perhaps if I actually manage more than 6 hours of sleep tonight, I'll be a new person tomorrow!
Friday, May 04, 2007
- The big one: 30 miles per day, 6 days per week. Can I really do it? The mileage I'm able to handle today (compared to, say, a year ago) is mind boggling. But 30 miles every day?!?!?!?
- Tornadoes. All last night the scroll was going on the TV about the thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes that were following my very route from here to the Colorado/Nebraska border. I've promised that I won't attempt to run through a tornado. But what what our beautiful new motor home? Tornadoes love beautiful new motor homes - such a tasty snack.
- Kendall saying "we'll just play it by ear" when I say that the map doesn't have cross-street road numbers on the route I'm running through the middle of nowhere Nebraska. His ear and my ear do not always hear the same tune.
- The calendar. In 27 days we will be heading to Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois for my older son's graduation. In 31 days we will be arriving back in Boulder from Galesburg. In 33 days, I will be embarking on my 55 day, 1451 mile journey.
- Which leads to: 1,451 miles in 55 days. Can I do it?!?!?
Thursday, May 03, 2007
There's something to this training
Today was reality check time. Just what would the aftereffects be of that 30-mile day? I'm still shaking my head in amazement. This morning's run - six miles with Jester to/from/and throughout CU's cross-country property - was smooth sailing. About half way through, I was leading Jester. And this afternoon's run - another six mile run, this time starting from home and ending at a pizza place where Kendall was guest chef'ing as part of a fundraiser for his school - was some more smooth sailing. Well...the joints and all were moving smoothly - but the wind was gusting so much, the body was getting buffeted all over the place. The one notable aftereffect from yesterday's 30: hungry! The pizza place was an all you can eat type of deal - and I really got my money's worth tonight!
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Gumption Lost. Gumption Found.
As I started running, my predominant thought was that it would've felt mighty fine to stay in bed all day. And as I continued running, I had an ongoing debate in my head about whether/where to turn back. But on I went. And ya' know, about two hours into the run, about the time I reached the rez, I started feeling pretty good. Notables of the run:
- About two miles into the run, I hear "Hello Paula!" - and there was running buddy AndyE riding his bike to class. He asked where I was running this morning and I told him out towards the rez and hoping for about 20 miles. Excellent incentive for not turning around at that point!
- Wildlife including (in addition to my 62 year old running buddy cyclist) a huge dead rat, a squashed snake, a not-shy muskrat, loads of geese and ducks, and an eagle.
- Running on the Eagle Trail - a trail I ran often with the satboys gang when the gang was bigger. We had many a boisterous Saturday run out in this neck of the woods/prairie. Today I headed straight west on the Eagle Trail - something I'd never done before - and found my way to a trail that took me around the northwest corner of Boulder.
- From the northwest corner of Boulder I followed a trail to Boulder's Wonderland Lake neighborhood where I logged hundreds of miles with running buddy Patti in the pre-Satboys days - back when our sons were young and Patti and I would treat ourselves to a Saturday morning run together...girl time away from our male households.
- From the northwesterly part of town, I headed down into the valley floor where I decided to explore a street I'd never been on (or even seen) before - and lo and behold, I came upon the apartment complex that Kendall and I had been living in at the time we got married (32 years ago)...there was the very balcony we stood on while shooting champagne corks into what was then an empty field next door.
- From the valley floor, I continued south (and uphill) to campus - and while I was running through the campus, I saw an old family friend. We walked together a bit while we got caught up on each other's doings. She's an M.D. and is compiling a list of medical kit supplies I should have with me on The Run. Very handy!
- From campus to home, a mere two miles, covered in a very good mood.