Adventures In Running

Monday, December 27, 2010

Learning about Christmas

One of the hardest things I have experienced the last several years has been being along most of the Christmas season. Christmas is typically a very family oriented time of year and it is bad enough having no little children in the house, but being alone just plain stinks.

This year I have been able to successfully avoid holiday depression and have learned a lot about the Christmas and the birth and death of our Savior. I think it was truly a blessing that I was asked to write the Christmas program for church. I started doing a lot of research on the topic back in early November and was able to immerse myself more in the actual meaning of Christmas than worry about missing the family celebrations that seem to surround the season.

While researching Christmas topics, I read about a book that Charles Dickens wrote for his family called, "The Life of Our Lord." This was basically his way to teach his children about Jesus Christ and I obtained a copy of the book and am going to make it part of both my Christmas and Easter celebrations in the future.

I also took the time to dig out my copy of "The Story of Christmas: Story Book Set & Advent Calendar." Jennifer received a copy of this as a Christmas gift many years ago and I was thrilled to find a copy for my own. There is a little ornament for each day in December up until Christmas and each ornament is a mini book that contains the Christmas story. Twilight and I read these stories aloud as I hung the ornaments on the tree.

I had never really read the entire story of "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens and took the time to read that while I have been laid up in bed for the past week or so. Another book that will become part of my Christmas celebrations since it points out how we often overlook the joy and meaning of our lives while focusing on the negative in life.

My Amazon Kindle is one of my all time favorite geek toys in the world. Amazon often offers free books and some of the free books I have been reading this past week have made me appreciate much about the holiday:

  • The Christmas Story from the Family Reading Bible – it is always educational to see how other religions view Christmas and gain knowledge from their perspective
  • The Case for Christmas: A Journalist Investigates the Identity of the Child in the Manager – a fascinating look from a journalists perspective as he tries to find if Jesus really was the Savior and if the Bible stories are true
  • 25 Days, 26 Ways to Make This Your Best Christmas Ever – steps to take each day in December to better enjoy the holiday season and make Christmas more meaningful in both secular and spiritual ways
  • Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas – made me appreciate Christmas carols and hymns so much more. I never knew that The 12 Days of Christmas had spiritual meaning behind each days gifts.

And – not to forget the best – lots of time spent reading Old Testament revelations about the birth of Christ, the stories in the Gospels of the New Testament about Jesus, and the scriptures and story of His birth in the Book of Mormon.

While I have been pretty miserable for the last 10 or so days as I have struggled with illness, I am really grateful for the opportunities I have had to learn and understand even more about the real meaning of Christmas.

Illness impacts training

One of the benefits I have found since taking up marathon running is that I am rarely ill for more than 24-36 hours. Prior to that, it seemed like the cold or flu would hit and drop me down for days on end.

I have been steadily running 5-6 miles daily for my short runs and working my long runs up in anticipation of The Goofy Challenge in January. My daughter and I are planning to drive down from near Savannah, Georgia to DisneyWorld on January 7th for a couple of races. Jennifer has been diligently training for her first half marathon event and I will be pacing her and enjoying the challenge of watching her complete the DisneyWorld Half Marathon on Saturday, January 8th. Then, on January 9th is the second race, the DisneyWorld Marathon. By completing the 39.3 miles in two days, I will be able to have said I completed The Goofy Challenge. This is going to be my last marathon for a year while I take a break to try and focus on building up my base speed.

Everything was going well with my training until December 16th. I came home from work and started feeling miserable. The next few days I felt worse until finally, on Sunday I had to go to an InstaCare and get seen by a doctor. I had not been able to run since the last Wednesday and my face hurt, my ear hurt, I was coughing like crazy, had a sore throat and could barely sit up without wanting to pass out. I was diagnosed with ear infection, sinus infection and bronchitis and put on some medication.

Just as an indication of how lousy I felt, I not only missed the Christmas program I had written for church, but was too ill to go out and celebrate my son Kevin's 20th birthday on December 20th.

The medication helped some, but not as much as I hoped and it wasn't until last Thursday that I finally hacked my way through a pitiful 3 mile run. Eight days without running during the time I should have been doing my last long runs was not what I had planned. I did manage to get 10 miles in on Christmas Eve Day, but was already starting to wonder if the antibiotics were actually working.

Back in bed on Christmas Day and back to the doctor the next day. Now I am on a stronger antibiotic and hoping this one will actually kick the illnesses out of my system. At this point in time, I can only hope for the best in the races and just plan on having a good time and finishing.

Christmas Program 2010

I was asked to write the Christmas program for our choir's Sacrament Meeting presentation this month. The following is the basic program:


 

Choir Number: He Who Built the Starry Skies


 

Narrator 1: The Christmas season is season for giving. Gifts are abundant at this time of year and our hearts and souls are open to the spirit that guides us to give more freely of ourselves, our time and our talents to those we love and those who are in need. Let us listen to some of the words of our prophets as they speak about the gifts of the season.


 

As President Thomas S. Monson said, "If we change but one word in our Christmas question, the outcome is vastly different. "What did you give for Christmas?" prompts stimulating thought and causes tender feelings to well up and memory's fires to glow ever brighter. Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit. Enemies are forgiven, friends remembered, and God obeyed. The spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world's busy life and become more interested in people than things."


 

Narrator 2: Henry B. Eyring expressed the message of why mankind is more open to giving to those in need when he said, "God sends those messages to us with more confidence at Christmastime, knowing that we will respond because our hearts are more sensitive to the Savior's example and to the words of His servants."

Christmas is a time for giving. Someone once said he couldn't think of what to give for Christmas. The next day in the mail he received an anonymous list which read:

Give to your enemy forgiveness,

To your opponent tolerance,

To your friend your heart,

To all men charity, for the hands that help

are holier than lips that pray,

To every child a good example,

and to yourself—respect."

Narrator 1: Often, when we think of Christmas, material gifts and presents under the tree come to mind. Stores and the media constantly ask us to spend, spend, spend and we often tend to express our love by going into debt or giving only physical items. However, the true meaning of Christmas is not in the material gifts, but in the gifts that we can give without taking out our wallet or putting ourselves into financial debt. These gifts we should really give are the gifts that were given at the first Christmas.

Elder Mark E. Petersen talked about this day. "This was the first Christmas. There were no tinseled Christmas trees, no family gatherings, no children at play. But there were carols, the greatest ever sung. The angels of heaven joined in a great chorus rejoicing at the birth of God's Son. Now the redemption of the world could take place. Salvation could come to all mankind. Death would be overcome, for this little child, when he became a man, would bring about the Resurrection. All mankind could then live again."

Narrator 2: President Monson, in one of his Christmas messages asked, "I wonder if each might profit today by asking himself, what gift would God have me give to Him or to others at this precious season of the year?"

He then suggested, "May I answer that question and in all solemnity declare to you that our Heavenly Father desires each one of his children to render unto him a gift of obedience so all will actually love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our minds, and all our strength. Then, I am sure, he will expect us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

But He asks us to be selective and choose those gifts which will last. Said He:

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

"But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matt. 6:19–21).

Open your hearts to the gifts God would have us give as we think of the peace of that first Christmas night.

Choir Number: On This Still, Silent Night


 

Narrator 1: What a precious gift was the birth of our Savior. This is a birth that was foretold many times in the scriptures as ancient prophets spoke of the coming of the son of God.


 

In Isaiah we read, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

How can we show gratitude for this the knowledge and blessing of having the Savior in our lives? Spencer W. Kimball suggested, "One of the things we can give at Christmas time, that no one else can give, is our thanks. There is so much to be grateful for. I give my thanks to our Heavenly Father and to all of you. This is a time when we ponder our blessings and when we also prepare for the new year, for which we should make new resolves and set new personal goals. This partial inventory of our collective blessings should help us to be ever more grateful and ever more determined. Please do the same within your families. Count your blessings, and express your gratitude to your eternal partners, to your children, and to your parents for all that they do."

Narrator 2: When we think of Christmas, we often think of lights. There are lights on our homes, lights in our windows, lights on the trees.


 

The Prophet Samuel foretold how light would be a sign of the Savior's birth when he said, "And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day."


 

"Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign;.."


 

"And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you."


 

As President Henry B Eyring said, "There is another glimpse of heaven that becomes easier to see at Christmastime. It is of light. Heavenly Father used light to announce the birth of His Son, our Savior (see Matthew 2; 3 Nephi 1). A new star was visible in both the Eastern and the Western Hemispheres. It led the Wise Men to the child in Bethlehem. Even wicked King Herod recognized the sign; he feared it because he was wicked. The Wise Men rejoiced because of the birth of the Christ, who is the Light and the Life of the World. Three days of light without darkness was the sign God gave to the descendants of Lehi, heralding the birth of His Son.

We remember at Christmastime not only the light that announced the birth of Christ into the world but also the light that comes from Him.

Such light will be visible in our heavenly home. It will bring us joy then. Yet even in this life you have been blessed with a part of that wonderful experience, through the Light of Christ. Every person born into the world receives that light as a gift.

That light is easier to discern at Christmastime, when we are more likely to pray to know what God would have us do and more likely to read in the scriptures and so more apt to be on the Lord's errand. Our worship of the Savior and our service for Him brings light into our lives and into the lives of those around us."

Narrator 1: The humble songs of our Primary children express so perfectly the story of the birth of Jesus. We would like the Primary Children to come up and join us on the stand at this time.

Coralyn: Softly play Away In a Manger while the children come up.

Once children are quiet – Narrator 1 continues…..

Narrator 1: The story of the first Christmas is given to us in the book of Luke: And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.


 

Children: Once Within a Lowly Stable


 

Children: Picture a Christmas


 

Primary children are excused.


 

Coralyn: Softly play Silent Night while the children are seated.


 

Narrator 2: And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.


 

Narrator 1: And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it
wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered
them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.


Congregational Hymn 207 – It Came upon the Midnight Clear


 

Narrator 2: In order to feel the real spirit of Christmas, we need to try to follow the example of the Savior.


 

President Howard W. Hunter suggested, "This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again."

Narrator 1: President Monson also suggested that "Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit. Enemies are forgiven, friends remembered, and God obeyed. To catch the real meaning of the "spirit of Christmas," we need only drop the last syllable, and it becomes the "Spirit of Christ."

When we have the spirit of Christmas, we remember Him whose birth we commemorate at this season of the year. We contemplate that first Christmas day, foretold by the prophets of old.

If we are to have the very best Christmas ever, we must listen for the sound of sandaled feet. We must reach out for the Carpenter's hand. With every step we take in His footsteps, we abandon a doubt and gain a truth."

As we give of ourselves and think of others during the holiday season, it is calming and easier to think of those in need when we remember the humble circumstances into which the baby Jesus was born.

Choir Number: JESUS, JESUS, REST YOUR HEAD


 

Narrator 2: Think for a moment and ask yourselves, What is the best Christmas present you have ever received?

President Gordon B. Hinckley expressed this best gift so well when he declared,

"He came as a gift of His Eternal Father. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

On Calvary's hill He gave His life for each of us. "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Cor. 15:55).

We honor His birth. But without His death that birth would have been but one more birth. It was the redemption which He worked out in the Garden of Gethsemane and upon the cross of Calvary which made His gift immortal, universal, and everlasting. His was a great Atonement for the sins of all mankind. He was the resurrection and the life, "the firstfruits of them that slept" (1 Cor. 15:20). Because of Him all men will be raised from the grave.

Christmas is more than trees and twinkling lights, more than toys and gifts and baubles of a hundred varieties. It is love. It is the love of the Son of God for all mankind. It reaches out beyond our power to comprehend. It is magnificent and beautiful.

It is peace. It is the peace which comforts, which sustains, which blesses all who accept it.

It is faith. It is faith in God and His Eternal Son. It is faith in His wondrous ways and message. It is faith in Him as our Redeemer and our Lord.

We testify of His living reality. We testify of the divinity of His nature. In our times of grateful meditation, we acknowledge His priceless gift to us and pledge our love and faith. This is what Christmas is really about."


 

Choir Number: Remember Christmas


 

Closing Remarks: Bishop Anderson


 


 

Hymn 203 – Closing – (Choir and Congregation) Angels we Have Heard on High

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gerbils and Crappy Air

Usually I do my long runs on Saturdays (because I have a lot more free time on Saturdays than workdays) but decided to do my long run on a Friday night this week since I have several things to do on Saturday.

Right now the Salt Lake valley is experiencing an inversion. The air quality is deteriorating and they declared today a "red burn" day which means we should cut down on driving and avoid burning fuels and exercising outside unless it is impossible. So – I burned lots of gas driving out to Kearns to run at the Olympic Ice Oval.

I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived to be told that on red burn days they only charge runners $1 to use the track, on yellow burn days it goes up to $2 and on green burn days it is the normal $3.

The run started at 3:30 and I had figured correctly that there would not be many other runners that early. I started out in my Vibram Five Fingers and did the first six miles in reverse direction from the way the track normally flows. The Oval was built for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake and has the speed skating track surrounded by a four lane running track and the 'short track' oval inside the larger oval as well as a hockey rink. The building is cool, but unless you are on the ice it is not cold, so we are always able to run in shorts and t-shirts (I usually use a long sleeved shirt). The running track is slightly less than 3.5 laps per mile. I wanted to run 16 miles, so knew I would have to run 56 laps. I have purchased a lap counter that I carry to help me keep track of where I am.

After 6 miles, I switched to the normal flow of the track. A few more runners had shown up by then. No skaters yet on the main speed skating track. The last time I had run here was prior to the Vancouver games and I was able to watch Apollo Anton Ohno and other skaters prepare for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic games. After 7 miles, I switched over from wearing the FiveFingers to Crocs and used them for the remainder of the run. It is nice to have my long run done for the week. Now – if only I was still asleep in the middle of the night.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Much to be thankful for

Today is Thanksgiving Day in America and I was able to celebrate today with my son, Kevin and my father, John Miles. We had a non-traditional meal of giant steaks, large baked potatoes, and lemon meringue pie. Kevin wanted steak – and he got steak. I bought three steaks that were each about 1 1/3 lb. in weight. Between the three of us – we only finished off 1.5 of the 3 steaks. Of course, that allowed me to meet my goal of lots of leftovers for my favorite college student.

Thanksgiving is an often forgotten holiday in between the craziness of Halloween and the over spending of Christmas. I wish we could place more emphasis on it. I love getting out my Thanksgiving decorations. I love the idea of being grateful for all the many things we have been given. I think we all need to show more gratitude and have less needs and wants (including myself).

Some of the items I am grateful for today are:

  • My wonderful daughter, Jennifer and her husband, Jeremy.
  • My awesome son, Kevin.
  • My cool grandkids, Elise and Brad – and getting to know them this last year.
  • A great sister who is also my best friend.
  • A father who is still healthy and strong.
  • Lots of brothers, brother-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, mother-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.
  • A great job and some supportive co-workers.
  • Twilight – the wonder dog.
  • A good relationship with my ex-husband.
  • Good friends.

Since this is my running blog, some running things to be grateful for are:

  • Finishing my 50 mile race.
  • Marathon running.
  • The ultramarathon community.
  • Running friends.
  • Being able to have a good supply of running gear.
  • Being able to run.
  • A strong body.
  • Potential.

There is so much more, but I will call this good for now. I am most grateful for a loving Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ, and the knowledge that they know me personally, love me, care for me, and want me to be able to do better each and every day.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Snow + Mud + Slush + Ice = Fun

Saturday morning I met Leslie Petersen at the Pipeline Trail up Millcreek Canyon for a beautiful fall run. We ran together for the first three miles and caught up on all sorts of things – especially the miracle recovery of her dog as they were taking him in to have him put to sleep. I have never been up the canyon this late in the year and was surprised at the amount of snow and ice at the start of the run. Luckily, I had on trail shoes, but didn't think to bring my winter pair with the hobnails. However, the ice wasn't too bad, so I made it through okay.

We split up after a while since Leslie wasn't planning to run much more than six and my body appeared to be recovering from donating blood a week ago and I wanted to do the entire portion of the trail.

I ran to the overlook without needing to take a drink. About 1.5 miles before the overlook it started to snail (snow + hail) and I was enjoying running in that. At the overlook I drank most of my handheld bottle full of water and decided to see if I could do the entire run without taking in my emergency Gu. I learned a lot on the 50 miler, most especially that the body can handle a lot more than we give it credit for.

It was so nice to be back on trails and enjoying nature. The views were totally different than in the summer since you could see much farther without all the leaves on the trees. What could be better than to start the day out with a 9+ mile trail run?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Notes from Get-Fit Guy’s Podcast: How To Run Faster

  1. Lose weight
  2. Increase your cadence (more steps per minute). 90 steps per minute is ideal.
  3. Use a treadmill (also allows you to focus on proper running form)
  4. Run hills (allows you to achieve high intensities without as much joint impact)
  5. Plyometrics (once per week). Hopping onto raised surface, explosive jumps.
  6. Consistency (running a minimum of every 48-72 hours)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Your Monday Laugh

Ok – so I am technologically advanced in a lot of areas. But when it comes to TV's – I rarely watch mine, so am pretty dumb there.

And – if I need another excuse – I've been stressed between work and training for ultramarathons this summer and fall.

Now for the laugh…

Background: I hardly watch TV. I've probably not turned on my TV since the last Biggest Loser finale show. So, I decided it is stupid to keep paying for DirectTV when I never use it. Sometime in September I cancelled my DirectTV subscription. The company sends you a box, you pack the receiver and remote in the box and mail it back. Ta Da! The first box they shipped to my house was stolen. I requested another box be sent to my office. Stupid company sent it to my house and I was in a rush to get the receiver mailed back, so shipped it off as soon as I could.

Since then, I have watched a couple of shows on the computer, but didn't have any antenna hooked up to the TV, so didn't bother with that. I did try to play the Wii one day with no success. And I tried to watch a movie on my DVD player when I was recovering from the 50 mile race. No luck with both of them.

My brother-in-law put up an antenna in my attic on Thursday night, so now I am trying to get the TV to work. I asked my son on Friday night to get the Wii and DVD player hooked up. A few minutes later he calls me into the bedroom.

Stupid move #1 – I am missing the Wii AVI cable. Apparently I threw that in with the stuff I shipped back to DirectTV.

Stupid move #2 – My son pointed out that I still had the DirectTV receiver on my dresser. Apparently I shipped back the DVD player instead of the DirectTV receiver.

OK – now that you have all had your laugh, I am crawling back into my technologically unsavvy hole.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pony Express Trail 50 Mile Race



October 15, 2010 was the big day. The Pony Express Trail 50 Mile and 100 Mile races. I had been training for this all year and had a score to settle after my DNF in 2009 at the Buffalo Run 50 Mile race. I really wanted to finish a 50 mile race before I turn 50 in November.



Thursday afternoon my sister came by and we loaded up her van with all my accumulated race supplies and headed out to the Pony Express Trail. We camped for the night near the pet cemetery and visited with Davy Crockett and some of the other runners and crew. This is probably my first race where the Race Director hand delivered the goody bag.

We painted some motivational messages on the van and my daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren sent some messages from Georgia that Marcia would rotate out. Marcia also added some messages of her own during the race.



Lookout Pass on Thursday evening. This was right above where we camped and where the race would start the next morning.

Spent some time going over race plans and directions with Marcia and then we set up the van so we could sleep in the back for the night. The sky that far from civilization was gorgeous. We laid one of the sleeping bags in a clearing and stared up at the sky. I had no idea there were that many stars out there. We even saw some shooting stars.



A little before 5 we walked over to the trail and cheered on the early start 100 mile racers. Some of them were already walking - only in a ultramarathon will you see that. Introduced ourselves to Jim Kern and then went back and finished getting ready. As I put on my designated racing shoes, I realized the laces were too tight and had to adjust them. This should have given me a clue. I noticed a week or so before that the insoles had worn out, so had placed my heat fitted insoles in the shoes. I've run with these insoles before with no problem.

We drove the half mile up to the starting line and Davy gave a little speech and someone joked about singing the national anthem and at 6 a.m. the 50 mile early start was off. The first half mile is a steep downhill, so held myself back. Jim and I ended up visiting and running together for the first 16.6 miles, so it was nice to have a companion. We ran with headlamps and flashlights for the first 6 or so miles until it was light enough we could run in the dark. I think we were all enjoying the cool of the morning because we knew it would heat up soon. One of the support crews flew a UFO to entertain us (a remote plan with LED lights) and that was fun. (If you expand the picture, you will see me to the right of center with some blue flashing lights and lots of reflective gear on).



Marcia was going about 4 miles ahead at this point and mainly pulled over so we could strip off layers of clothes and get sunscreen sprayed on us. It was nice that Jim and I were maintaining the same pace. I wanted to hold off using my iPod as long as I could, so enjoyed getting to know Jim and hear about his running history. At one point we could see these red and green signs flashing in the distance and I wondered if Marcia was waving the signs, but it turns out she was just over a rise and the wind was catching the posters and fluttering them to let us know where she was.

About mile 10 we hear this yell behind us and it was Davy Crockett bounding along looking strong. He started an hour after us and had already caught up. Within a matter of minutes, he had zoomed by and disappeared in the dust. That was pretty humbling. It does help that he set the course record for the 100 mile race that day.

At mile 14, Craig/Jun also passed us and gave me a hug. He looked fit and strong. He had run this race the previous year as his first 50 mile race and was now going for the 100 mile race. What I wouldn't give to be as fast as these guys! (But then again, I'm not sure I have the motivation to give that much).



After a long uphill we pulled into Simpson Springs and reported in our numbers. I grabbed new water bottles and Jim stopped to fill his bottles and that is the last I saw of him. I was glad my brother-in-law had taken me out on the trail a few weeks earlier so I could see the sights like the Simpson Springs cabin and such because I didn't really want to sight see during the race.

Shortly after Simpson Springs, the course takes another turn back to the west and you enter one of the toughest sections of the course. Not necessarily physically, but mentally, because the road goes on forever and you know you have to reach the mountains and they never seem to get any closer. When I stopped to get supplies at mile 19, I mentioned that I hadn't seen anything of Jim for quite a while and was a bit concerned. There was nothing I could do, but I knew that Davy had a rule that if we got up to 5 miles apart, Jim would have to drop out.

About mile 21, Marcia passed me and Jim was now a passenger. He had to DNF at mile 19 when he stepped on a rock and felt a pop in his foot. I felt bad for him because I know how devastating my DNF was and because he was using my crew for his crew, he was stuck with us all day. But it was nice having an additional crew member. I got really spoiled. Marcia said that his ultrarunning perspective would help them determine when they needed to stop sooner and what items I might need.

I was maintaining a 8 minute running/2 minute walking routine for most of the initial portion of the race - except for walking the uphill into Simpson Springs. At this point I was on the long straitaway where you could see the road ahead of you for miles. It was already seriously hot and I was doing the best I could to take in fluids and foods and keep cool. I was enjoying the new posters my sister put out and it would make me smile each time she drove by with a new message on.

I think I passed the halfway point at 5:49 and marathon distance around 6:15. It was about the 25 mile mark when I started to seriously suffer. I could feel my legs still somewhat heavy from St. George 13 days earlier and the heat was zapping my insides. Took some Immodium to settle down the intestines, but the stomach was now bothering me. Nothing serious, but I couldn't tolerate the thought of eating many foods. Some things would appeal to me for a short period of time, but often I would start to eat something and then spit it out because it started to gag me.



Starting around mile 25, I just focused on getting to the 50K mark and then trying to regroup. I was seriously down and concerned about my ability to finish for a while during this period, but would shake myself off and turn on some music or books on my iPod to help me take one step at a time.

I called a 10 minute sit down break at the 50K point. I set a new trail PR for that distance during the race at 7 hours 26 minutes. Sitting down felt so good. I really wanted to just have the entire cooler of water dumped on me. This heat made St. George Marathon look like a picnic. Marcia and Jim were helping me to clean up and wash my feet, change shoes, etc. I could feel some serious hot spots on my big toes and wondered if they were from the harder edges of my insoles. It turns out they were. A couple of decent blisters on each one, plus another blister on the bottom of my right heel that had Marcia concerned. We taped my feet up and then Marcia massaged my left foot. I had felt 'cramping' for 10+ miles in that foot and it turns out it was my neuroma flaring up - again I think that had to do with the insole because it had not happened before. The new shoes and socks felt wonderful and I was glad I traded them in.



Rest breaks were now down to every 3 miles or so. I wanted to make sure I got my walking poles for the hills up Dugway Pass. I thought those would help me power walk up the hill better. As I headed up Dugway, I had my head down and was just focusing on step at a time when I suddenly heard a rattle. I looked up and there was a rattlesnake about 2 feet in front of me. He was smaller then me, but I decided to cross the road and give him the right of way.

Marcia and Jim had stopped right before the Pass narrows and I was able to get some more fluids in me. I had been drinking lemon-lime Gatorade Endurance formula, but that wasn't cutting it anymore. I couldn't stand the thought of drinking another sip of that. I had thrown a few bottles of G2 in the cooler and suggested we try that. Since I was able to guzzle an entire bottle down before heading up the pass, that was a good choice. (Few calories, but water and electrolytes were needed).

On the way up the pass I thought it was interesting that I struggled more on the less steep portions and felt pretty good on the steep sections. I'm really glad I had the poles along. My legs were so tired and the addition of the upper body to the mix was very helpful.



One more sit down break at the top of the pass and then I headed down the downhill. By this point in the race I had given up on solid foods. I pretty well couldn't even handle Ensure any more and had spit out all the beef jerky, peanut butter sandwiches and pretzels. I was able to occasionally force down a Gu, but even struggled with that. Water was about it.

The downhill hurt my stomach muscles incredibly. I almost started to cry from the pain, but decided to soldier up and get down the hill as fast as I could and just endure. Up until then, I didn't know how tired my abs and lungs were. Had to battle a bit of nausea, but since I didn't have much in my system, what little I had drank stayed down. I was able to run nonstop for a while and the different muscles used on the uphill and downhill enjoyed getting used (although enjoyed is not what my entire body was doing right then).



At mile 41 I received another boost as my Jeep pulled up alongside me with my son, Kevin, in it. He had come out to cheer me on in my great adventure. We talked for a minute or so, then I sent him on ahead and asked him to walk back and push me along at the next break. I was still running more than walking, but not for more than 2-3 minutes at a time. It really touched me that he had taken the time out to come on this long trip and support me.

With three people in my crew, I was really rocking the spoiling. I decided to try the walking poles again from 43-45 and actually got a second wind that allowed me to run almost that entire section. I think I was smelling the barn door at that time. I sure wish it had lasted longer, but it was a great feeling while it laster.

Miles 45-47 were another struggle, so I tried the poles again and they seemed to help me run more. I would use them to help me count 200 pole plants running, then 100 pole plants walking. It was between miles 46 & 47 that I started feeling some pain and discomfort in my left knee and hips. Not bad for the entire day. I had expected them a lot earlier, so was really pleased that they had held off that long. Plus, I knew that I would finish no matter what at this point in time.

It was a beautiful site to see Blackrock. Unfortunately, you have to go past Blackrock for .6 mile and then come back. I was soooooo tired at this point in time, and ready to be done. I touched the turnaround sign and headed back. It was a long way back. I bawled most of the way and had a big stupid grin on my face. I had requested my crew to come out and join me and we ran the final steps in together. Marcia put my finishers medal on me at my request and then we all hugged each other. What a day. Final time was 13:07. I was next to last, but couldn't care less. I have now accomplished another one of my dreams.







It is impossible to describe all of my feelings about this race. My first marathon was incredible, but my first 50 mile finish is beyond incredible. I pushed my body past its limits and I learned a lot physically, mentally and spritually.

A couple of thanks need to be made:

Marcia - I really couldn't have done this without you. Not only did you sacrifice your time, vehicle, and energy to helping me through this race, but your support over the years has meant more than I can possibly express.

Jennifer, Jeremy, Elise and Brad - Thank you for your support, the care package, and the signs. They made me feel so loved and helped me through some dark spots during the race. (I really like being a grandma - by the way!). Jenn - wish you could have been there, but I know you were in spirit.

Kevin - So glad you were there for me. To have you come out as sick as you were and cheer me on is causing me to tear up even as I write this.

I have an awesome family!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

2010 St. George Marathon

What a difference two years made. In 2008, the St. George Marathon experienced its coldest running in history and I survived the wet and cold and PR'd at 5 hours 9 minutes. In 2010, they experienced its hottest running in history and I hung in there to finish at 5 hours 29 minutes 33 seconds.

During my training this year, I was tempted to PR at St. George, but when I heard that the city was experiencing temperatures this week in the 100's, I threw that idea out the window and just planned on having fun and breaking 5:30. I knew I only had 13 days to recover and be ready for my 50 mile Pony Express race on October 15th. That was the main goal and I had to keep that in mind.

Wednesday evening I went over to Tina's house and she KT taped my left knee and left IT band from mid-calf to upper hip. I was very colorful. She has taped my knee a few times in the past and I was worried on the hills about both the knee grinding and slight IT band irritation. I will have to say – it works! No knee pain, no IT band inflammation. I will be begging her for a repeat taping before the 50 miler.

Thursday I started serious hydration. Downed probably close to 140 ounces of fluids and by evening felt that my hydration was where I needed it to be.

Friday morning, I picked up Leslie Peterson and then my sister, Marcia, picked us up and we started our 'road trip'. We dropped Twilight off for a play date with her doggie cousin Joey and headed south. We had fun visiting on the drive and teaching Leslie all about the musical Wicked. (Marcia and I have a history of playing Wicked on our road trips).

Once in St. George we stopped at the expo to pick up our race packets and shop. This is the first time St. George used the new bib chips, so didn't have to pick those up in addition to our bibs and shirts. The shirts were deep red and black this year – nice. I managed to control myself (for once) at the expo and bought some coasters, sunglasses, and a pair of pilates shorts. While at the expo I saw Clark Hirshi and family, Kelli and Scott Stephenson, Vic and Judy Mason, Tina, and KO Murdock.

The three of us gorged at the spaghetti dinner and then Marcia and I dropped Leslie off on our way to see Tarzan the Musical at Tuacahn.

Saturday morning came awfully early and I got up at 3:30 a.m. Decided I wouldn't need running pants or a watch cap at the start this year due to the expected heat. Vic Mason picked me up at the hotel at 4:15 and we drove over to the start and rode up on the bus together.

This is the first time I have got off the bus at the start and not immediately felt the cold and headed for hot chocolate. That was a bit scary because it meant we were going to suffer in the heat during the race. One new change at the start – they were handing out space blankets, so we each grabbed one and headed for the back fires. We saw Leslie at the fires and I introduced her to Vic and we settled down for the 1 hour 45 minute wait until the start. Poor Vic – he was battling food poisoning and having serious issues.

Saw Rachel, Tina, John & Kristin Wojechowski and some other runners I knew at the start. One long wait in the POP lines and it was time to throw my gear into the trucks.

Les and I were planning on running in the 5:30 pace group area. I could tell even before the start that this leader was a noisy and entertaining type. Not my idea of fun – I like to focus. Later on I also found out she was a lousy singer and songwriter. After the anthem, the race started. And we stood there. And stood there. And took a few steps, then stood there. The race started at 6:45, we crossed the line at 7:00. Thank heavens for chip timing!

Once we started running, we settled down to enjoy the dark and cool while it lasted. I started to run 8 minutes, walk 2 minutes for my plan. We kept remarking how painful the first few miles are. All that training and your legs hurt and are stiff and you wonder how you will ever run 26.2 miles. It took until about 5 miles, but our legs finally warmed up. We built up a few minutes extra time in advance of Veyo Hill.

As we came into Veyo, I started looking for Marcia. She was going to drive up there and cheer us on. I saw her just as we passed the downtown and enjoyed her cheering and the sign she had made. Vic had planned on a 4:30 race, but she told me he was only a few minutes ahead – which worried me because it meant he was having a really bad day.

On Veyo I turned on my iPod and blasted Rocky songs to get me up the hill. I started noticing that the aid stations were not providing GU like they usually do. I was really glad I had decided to carry all my GU with me and not rely on them. They did have oranges and bananas at a lot more stations this year and I relied on them a lot.

Around mile 11, Leslie remarked that her new compression socks were bothering her knees and I suggested she roll them down a little bit. Hers came up farther on her legs than mine. I thought she would catch up in a few minutes like we had both done all morning, but never saw her again.

During mile 12, I saw a familiar figure up ahead and started working my way up. (It's amazing how we can recognize people from behind. Probably from all the years I stared at Vic's backside while training with him.) Vic and I walked together for about .25 mile and he told me that the food poisoning was causing him to feel miserable and take lots of bathroom stops. I was hoping he would be able to push with me, but he told me to go on ahead.

During mile 14, I had a 5 minute POP break for stomach issues, but felt a lot better after that. The day was getting seriously hot and I was forcing down extra liquids and poured water on my head a lot. The race had extra vehicles out picking up runners and about mile 18 I was actually tempted to hitch a ride for a while – the heat was just brutal. But – I forced myself to continue.

No real pushing on the downhill stretching – I was in survival mode and just trying to finish. It was not as enjoyable in this section as other years.

Finally had the diagonal in sight and looked forward to seeing my sister again. I was disappointed after going through the misters to not see her in the crowd, but just kept on running. About 14.25 I saw her Tarzan shirt up ahead. She had a frosty Gatorade for me and a cup of ice to fill my hat with. What a blessing! That made the last couple of miles much more bearable. I had so much ice in my hat I shared it with other runners and a couple of them said that with that they felt they could finish. Turns out she saved a lot of runners – she had two bags of ice and had been handing it out to anyone who wanted some.

The last couple of miles you could see how much the other runners were suffering in the heat. We just all focused on getting it done. I saw Judy Mason waiting around mile 25.5 and she got very excited to see me and then took my picture. She was very worried about Vic and asked if I knew where he was. I said he was struggling and probably 30-60 minutes behind. That made her start crying, so hugged her and talked to her for a minute or two to cheer her up. Then I told her I had to push to make 5:30 and would come back and wait with her.

It is always so great to turn that last corner and hear the increased noise of the crowds. When we were about 2 blocks away from the finish chute I started encouraging the runners around me. I told them that they needed to run it in and several of them finally started moving. Then when we hit the chute, I started yelling at them to finish in style and push it in. Saw Marcia yelling and waved to her and hit the finish line at 5:29:33. Made my goal. Handed my iPhone to a race volunteer and stood under the misters until I was pretty wet. Got my medal. Another race under my belt!

Vic actually was coming in as we made our way back. Leslie was shortly behind him. They were both within 20 minutes of me and I was proud of both of them.

Tarzan


I love Tarzan of the Apes. I can't really explain it, but I have wanted to be Tarzan when I grew up for as long as I can remember (still do).

I'm not into tattoos – but if I ever got a tatto – it would be something like this:


One of my all-time favorite books is Tarzan of the Apes. I have owned and read the entire series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. But the book shown below I have read probably close to 100 times.


I have Tarzan toys. Tarzan movies. Tarzan radio broadcasts. My online name is usually either Tarzan or some variation on that name.

While my sister and I were volunteering at the Ironman St. George Triathlon on May, she noticed that Tarzan the Musical was going to be playing at the Tuacahn Ampitheater the night before the St. George Marathon. We immediately made plans to see this show.

October 1st finally came. We made our road trip down to St. George, Utah. After our visits to the marathon expo and spaghetti dinner, we headed off to Ivins to find the Tuacahn Ampitheater and see Tarzan. I had my picture taken in a Tarzan cardboard display. I set off to find any Tarzan marketing items. Major score! Since the show was in its final days, I was able to get a t-shirt and cap for 50% off!


Marcia had got us second row seats. They were awesome. We got a close-up of the entire production – but most of all Tarzan! (sigh). I loved the entire show. It was different than I expected, but really worth it. Probably even more awesome outside because the special effects with water flowing over the stage and Tarzan swinging in from way behind the stage and the side sections of the play while they changed scenery were incredible.

Tarzan was cute as a kid and a hunk as a grown-up. I still want to be Tarzan.

Oh – and as a benefit – Tarzan and all the apes wore Vibram FiveFingers!

Ultramarathon History

50K:

  1. 2007 Buffalo Run 50K (8 hrs. 56 min.)
  2. 2008 Buffalo Run 50K (8 hrs. 35 min.) – Current Trail PR
  3. 2009 Sandy to Provo Training Run (6 hrs. 55 min.) – Current Road PR


 

2009 Buffalo Run 50 Mile – DNF'd at 27.19 miles – 6 hrs. 39 min. 49 sec.


 

2009 Logan Peak Trail Run (28 miles) – 9 hrs. 14 min. 16 sec. (toughest run ever)


 

Sandy to Provo Training Runs (35 miles – self supported):

  1. 2009 February Run (7 hrs. 40 min.) – cold weather run
  2. 2008 July 24 run (8 hrs. 56 min.) – hot weather run

Half Marathon and shorter race times

Since I was listing my marathon times in the previous post, I thought I would add my half marathon and shorter race times. It is nice to have a history of these:


 

Half Marathons:

  1. 2004 Provo Half Marathon (2 hrs. 49 min.)
  2. 2005 Provo Half Marathon (2 hrs. 46 min.)
  3. 2006 Provo Half Marathon (2 hrs. 41 min.)
  4. 2007 Striders Winter Racing Series Half Marathon (2 hrs. 45 min.)
  5. 2008 Provo Half Marathon (2 hrs. 28 min. 59 sec.) – Current PR
  6. 2009 Red Hot Pink Chick Half Marathon (2 hrs. 29 min.) – Training Run
  7. 2010 Red Hot Pink Chick Half Marathon (2 hrs. 33 min.) – Training Run

25K:

  1. 2006 Inaugural Buffalo Run (4 hrs. 2 min. 59 sec.) – OK – this is longer than a half marathon

10K:

  1. 2006 Provo Freedom Run (1 hr. 17 min. 21 sec.)
  2. 2007 Striders Winter Racing Series 10K (1 hr. 19 min. 33 sec.)
  3. 2010 Payson Onion Days 10K (1 hr. 5 min. 21 sec.) – Current PR

8K:

  1. 2008 Snowbird Xterra 8K (1 hr. 30 min.)

5K:

  1. 2006 Rock –n-run 5K (35 min. 22.7 sec.)
  2. 2007 Striders Winter Racing Series 5K (36 min. .7 sec)
  3. 2007 Run Wilde 5K (31 min. 38 sec.)
  4. 2007 Wheeler Farm 5K (32 min. 32 sec.)
  5. 2008 Provo New Year's Run 5K (27 min. 54 sec.) – Current PR
  6. 2009 Provo Groundhog Day 5K (27 min. 56 sec.)
  7. 2009 Midnight Moonlight Run 5K (29 min. 10 sec.)
  8. 2009 Cottonwood Heights Thanksgiving Day 5K (31 min. 17 sec.)

Marathon History

Someone asked me one day how many marathons have I run. I honestly couldn't remember because I have done several races and training runs longer than marathon distance. However, I decided to officially determine my marathon finishes.

  1. 2004 Ogden Marathon (6 hrs. 10 min.)
  2. 2005 Ogden Marathon (5 hrs. 56 min.)
  3. 2005 St. George Marathon (6 hrs. 18 min. – knees gave out)
  4. 2006 Ogden Marathon (5 hrs. 53 min. 36 sec.)
  5. 2006 St. George Marathon (5 hrs. 49 min. 6 sec.)
  6. 2007 Ogden Marathon (5 hrs. 58 min.) Grand Slam
  7. 2007 Deseret News Marathon (6 hrs. 7 min. 25 sec.) Grand Slam
  8. 2007 Park City Marathon (6 hrs. 18 min. 47 sec.) Grand Slam
  9. 2007 St. George Marathon (5 hrs. 24 min. 54 sec.) Grand Slam
  10. 2008 Lost Dutchman Marathon (5 hrs. 33 min. 36 sec.)
  11. 2008 Park City Marathon (5 hrs. 24 min. 6 sec.)
  12. 2008 St. George Marathon (5 hrs. 9 min. 12 sec.) – Current PR
  13. 2009 Utah Valley Marathon (5 hrs. 14 min. 45 sec.)
  14. 2009 Park City Marathon (5 hrs. 34 min. 36 sec.)
  15. 2010 Park City Marathon (5 hrs. 50 min.)
  16. 2010 St. George Marathon (5 hrs. 29 min. 33 sec.)

So – I have run 16 actual marathons to this point in time. Now we all know.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Curt Brinkman and the Will to Win

I was reading ksl.com this morning and noticed an article about Curt Brinkman. I have always admired Curt and actually ran in a race with him back when he was at the top of his career. I was saddened to read that Curt had died on September 7th at a relatively young age.

Curt Brinkman was an athlete. Curt Brinkman was also a wheelchair athlete. Injured by high voltage electricity as a teenager, his life was saved by amputating both of his legs. Rather than give in to the monkey wrenches that had been thrown at his life, he chose to use his changed body to its optimum capacity and to inspire others.

Curt became a wheelchair racer. In 1980 he won the Boston Marathon and became the first wheelchair athlete to break 2 hours in the marathon and also beat the entire field of runners.

How many of us whine when we have nagging injuries or feel sick? How many of us just give in to excuses and give up? Curt Brinkman chose not to do this. Maybe we should all be more grateful for the strong, healthy bodies we have and see just how much we can do ourselves with what we have been given.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What was I thinking :)?

On Saturday I agreed to pace Tara Workman Tulley in next weekend's Wasatch 100 race (www.wasatch100.com). This is a race that starts at the Wilderness Park in Kaysville and runs over (and up and down and around) 100 miles of mountains and ends at the Homestead Ranch past Park City.

I met Tara at a Women's Conference the night before she was going to put in a full day's effort on a treadmill (my 3 miles seem pretty wimpy in comparison). She put out a call for pacer's on Facebook and I talked with her on the phone and agreed to pace her the last 25 miles from Brighton Ski Resort over to the Homestead Ranch. I am excited at my first attempt at pacing, but a little scared at 25 hard miles in the mountains. It seems pretty wimpy compared to the people pushing for 100 miles – but is still intimidating to me.

Anyway, since I agreed to do this, I revamped my running plans for the week. Did not push as hard in my 10K today and I had originally thought I might and will adjust my running so that I have fresh legs on Friday night/Saturday when I will spend between 8-12 hours pushing Tara along.

After the event is over, I will enter another blog post to let you know how it went.

My friend Leslie Peterson is also going to pace Tara for 10-12 miles of the race.

My friend Vic Mason is planning to pace his daughter Christy over the same 25 mile stretch that I will be pacing. I hope I can meet up with him for at least a few minutes on Saturday.

It beats actual labor…

Of either the work kind or the pushing out a baby kind.

Today I ran the Payson Onion Days 10K race. A lot of the members of the Fast Running Blog get together each year to run this race and eat an awesome pancake breakfast afterwards. I have missed it the last two years due to being out of town, so was happy that I was able to participate this year.

This is only my third official 10K. I have two previous efforts to claim: the Pioneer Day 10K in Provo in 2006 and the Striders Winter Racing Series 10K in Ogden in 2007. The Provo race provided my previous PR of 1:17 (that's one hour and seventeen minutes). I had just started adding in some running splits and was still mainly race walking then. I remember my niece Cherie was in the race with me and finished long before I did. The other 10K was the next winter and I was alternating running and walking pretty evenly. However, it is a very hilly course and the uphills trashed my time.

I have a dream of doing a sub 60 in the 10K. (Less than one hour). I actually did a training run last year where I ran a 10K in 62 minutes, but I have not really done any speed work this year until the last week or so. I did have thoughts of trying to break the hour mark today, but changed those plans last Saturday (more on that in the next post).

Instead I went into the race with the following goals:

  • A plan – maintain an 11 minute mile pace or better during the race (1:08:02)
  • B plan – maintain a 12 minute mile pace or better during the race (1:14:04)
  • C plan – PR (personal record) and avoid walking at all during the race

I set my Garmin to alert me if my pace went over 11 MM.

Race started and I headed out a little faster than I planned, but within a quarter mile started slowing down to the appropriate pace. I had no idea of the race course contours, so didn't want to push too hard. I did not want to be in a puke zone at all – just run this as a solid tempo run and push myself mentally. The pace was comfortable and I was able to slowly start passing other runners in the second mile. Luckily, every runner I passed after mile one stayed passed. I knew that consistent pacing usually pays off against other runners who start too fast.

I skipped the aid station at mile 3 and then we turned a corner and headed back into town and into the sun. Miles 4 and 5 were net uphill and I had to keep pushing myself when the pace alarm would go off. A couple of times I couldn't get it back down until I got out of the grip of the uphills. Still – I was able to maintain my overall pace goals. In a quarter mile stretch on the new road I passed the yellow shirted guy, pink tank top girl and black shirt girl that I had been following for three miles.

Took a quick sip of water at the aid station near the 5 mile marker. You can tell when volunteers are not runners themselves. They fill the cups too full. I immediately dumped most of the cup of water, took a quick sip to wet my throat, and started the final push into town.

I saw Michele Lowry (female winner) and Lily out running a cooldown during the last mile. The pace was starting to feel hard and I was happy when Kelli Stephenson came out and met me at 5.75 and pushed me in the last little bit. I tried to surge and pass two runners ahead of me, but didn't have the energy. I was able to do a bit of a kick in the finish chute – but not much before then.

Crossed the finish line in 1:05:21. This was 74th overall and 7th in my age group and a 12 minute PR. I beat my A plan (this is a 10:32 mm average) and am more than happy with that.

Next year – that 60 minute mark is going down!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Park City Marathon - 2010

I did the Park City Marathon on August 21, 2010 as a long training run. Overall, I was relatively pleased with my endurance, not very happy about my speed.  At the end of the day, I decided it was time to start pushing speed in my workouts.

I saw Luz in the Fieldhouse this morning and then met Smooth and Teena.  Teena was nice enough to KT Tape my left knee for precautionary measures.  It has been a little twingy on runs, but nothing I was worried about.  I had a wrap for my ankle in case I need it because it has been a bit sore at times lately, but I keep finding that it never hurts when I run, so ended up not needing to wrap it.

The contact was removed from my eye the day before and I debated putting another emergency contact in that morning. (My Recurrent Corneal Erosions flared up again a week or so earlier). I am starting to dreading sleep because that is usually when I feel the skin on the cornea tear. The eye bothered me all day - probably should have put the lens in - but I used medicated eye drops instead.

Anyway - back to the race.  Park City is so low key compared to other races.  They had the anthem right before 6:30 and then we headed out.  I kind of wish they would start the race at 6 to try and beat the heat up there more.  I knew I wouldn't have any speed because I haven't done any speed work or altitude work this year. I had said hello to Mike DeWaal and his wife before the race - he is my mailman from work.  This was his first marathon post heart attack and they were aiming for 5 hours as a long run too.

Shortly after starting out I saw one marathon runner just quit the course and then about 1-2 miles out saw a couple of half marathoners realize they were on the wrong course.  Talked with Ken, one of the bike paramedics and we would joke with each other throughout the race.  I actually geared myself to be in last at the beginning and was comfortable not pushing myself.  I knew I would start passing people after a while.

Around mile 4 I passed my first runner.  She was talking about the hills and I mentioned there were about 17 miles of uphills on the course. She then said, "Good thing I am only doing the half." I mentioned she was on the wrong course and she said that she had a brother and other friends also running the half that were up ahead.  After the race I mentioned this to the RD, Jolie, and suggested she post a sign around the corner by the Fieldhouse to let half marathoners know they were on the wrong course. Never saw that runner again.  Hope she got a ride back.

At mile 6 I passed two runners.  Easily pulled ahead of them and then didn't pass anyone again until mile 12.  I was just enjoying listening to an audio book and really didn't pay attention to the mile markers, but noticed they were usually 1/10 of a mile early compared to my GPS.

Starting at mile 14, I was able to pass 2-4 or more runners each mile and only one ever passed me back for good and that was at a pit stop.  Took advantage of any water hoses that people were using to mist people and had my lower body cooled down.

The course was a little different coming back through Park City.  I think they had events with the Tour de Utah and had to keep us out of the downtown area. After Empire Avenue, I found they did a better job of marking the course in the neighborhoods and didn't get off course like a bunch of us did last year.

One bossy little girl was really cute and giving out ice water at her house.  I gratefully took it and then put all the ice in my cap.  It felt good to have that melt over the next few miles.

One disadvantage of running near the back - all the food was gone when I ran by the big barn. PC uses Hammer Gels, so had to carry all my own gels since those made me sick. (I found out later that no one got the deluxe spread they usually have at the barn this year).

Overall - it was a good race.  I like the new disposable chip system and thought the race was well run.  I did like the food at the end - they gave you a disposable bowl with 3 banana chunks, two types of bread and some pretzels.  Now if only the chocolate milk was not all gone (one of the disadvantages of being near the back of the pack).

I had plans to run more later that day, but the altitude and hills took a toll on me.  Just did an ice bath and lounged around wearing compression shorts and socks.

Believe It, Be It – Thoughts on the book

This last week I read 'Believe It, Be It' by Ali Vincent. She was the woman who became the first female winner on The Biggest Loser. I found the book interesting and worth the investment I paid for it. I highlighted several sections in the book, but some of the following really caught my attention and made me think.

When you don't set goals, you deny yourself opportunities to succeed and celebrate. It's important to set realistic goals for yourself and rejoice when you achieve them.

I have always liked to focus on goals and set challenges and/or resolutions for myself. I like her take on the subject of goal setting and also on recognizing when you have succeeded at that goal.

Quit mothering your mom. Rescuing my mom was not the answer to my problems—or hers.

Wow! This statement and the sections around it really hit me like a ton of bricks. I had never really thought of my behavior when my mother was alive as my trying to rescue my mother from her unhappiness with life, but after reading this section, I realized that was exactly what I was always trying to do.

Consistency is key when you're trying to make big changes in your life.

So true! Often we forget that and we try to bite off more than we can chew. A little at a time and consistently attacking the goal will get us where we want to go.

Of course it's hard, because it wouldn't feel this good if it weren't.

People often ask me why I push myself to run the distances I do. Even when I am suffering, it is a good feeling to know I am pushing myself to my limits.

I chose to compete like an athlete. I would give it everything I had. I was determined to follow through and accomplish my goal.

This is what I want to focus on for the next year. I have a few big goals: Getting below 135 pounds. Running a sub-2 hour half marathon. Qualifying for Boston. Getting my body as strong as I can. In order to do any or all of these, this is the focus I need to apply and the attitude I need to have.

Stop seeing the obstacles you face as reasons why you can't do something. See them as a reason why you can. And celebrate your accomplishments on a daily basis.

The statement speaks for itself.

My body is my Olympic solo, my Tour de France, my Mount Everest, my Super Bowl touchdown, my step on the moon.

I had never quite thought of it this way. We learn at church that our body is a temple, but this statement really speaks to me.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Running in Crocs

I have been reading on the Fast Running Blog as various participants have experimented with running in Crocs. It sounded interesting to me, so I was able to get a pair for free (thanks to a wonderful runner)! I was told that you can run longer distances in them right away, compared to having to build up distances in Vibram FiveFingers.

Yesterday was my first day for the experiment. I brought the Crocs along on a business trip to Livonia, Michigan (the hotel people are pretty good about recognizing us by this point in time) and went for a run. My goal was to run eight miles and I figured I could always just walk back if my feet started hurting. No problems whatsoever! My feet felt light and I only had to stop a few times to get small rocks and stones out of the footbed.

Crocs advantages:

  • Inexpensive
  • Stylish (snicker)
  • Lightweight training shoe
  • Not a lot of support, so the foot still needs to be strong

I'll post an update after I've run in them several times. It will be interesting. Even though I am sure I will get comments about my footwear, they will be much lesser in number than those I get when I wear my Vibrams.

Inside Joke

Boss: (In speech at a company party)…."I can't believe I'm crying over software!"

Me: I can!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Goofy Challenge

This week my daughter and I signed up for races in January, 2011 at DisneyWorld. Jennifer is going to be training for and running her first ever half marathon. I am thrilled about the idea of running an endurance race with her. I trained for the St. George Marathon in 2007 with my son, Kevin and am so happy to be having this chance to run with Jenn.

I will be doing the Goofy Challenge. DisneyWorld has a half marathon on Saturday. This is the race Jenn and I will be running. We are planning a nice time of 3 hours which should not be too hard for a novice half marathoner and should not stress my legs too much. For finishing that race, we will get a Donald Duck finisher's medal. Then, on Sunday morning is the DisneyWorld Marathon. Jenn will be supporting me in this race and I will be enjoying a marathon at sea level. For finishing this race, I will get a Mickey Mouse finisher's medal. For finishing the two races in two days for a total of 39.3 miles, I will then get another Goofy medal – hence the Goofy challenged.

This trip will be a combined marathon event and also time spent with the Merkley clan in Richmond Hill/Savannah, Georgia. So neat to already have a race on the schedule for 2011. Plus, it will be my first race after moving up into the next age group bracket.

Bring it on!

There is something worse than labor!

Friday I had one of the scariest experiences of my life. One minute I was feeling fine, the next I was feeling like I wanted to die. From nausea to vomiting to severe abdominal pain, I really didn't know what hit me. Things spiraled downhill quickly and I eventually had to call 911. My blood pressure started to tank and my body was going into shock. They had to turn on the lights and sirens to get me to the hospital. It is hard to describe being blasted like pain like I was and feeling totally out of control. I was terrified that I might be dying. I am usually a pretty tough person, but this was scaring me to my core and a living nightmare. Pain relief was finally given and my body was able to relax.

Many hours and tests later, it was determined that I had a bouncing 7 mm kidney stone that had worked its way from my kidney almost to the bladder. Maybe I should be proud of that, but I'm not. It wiped me out. It humbled me. It made a 100 mile run look like it would be easy.

I sure hope I never have to deal with something like this again.

And, YES! It is worse than labor. Unrelenting pain with nothing enjoyable as a reward in the end. Forgive me for my earlier skepticism.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Making friends while running

There is something about running together that allows you to get to know people on a level that is just not possible in any other way. You see the real person and share thoughts that you might never share if you just hang out together.

Running is also a great way to make friends. Last weekend one of the Vice-Presidents from our Wichita branch came to town for meetings. She was training for her first sprint triathlon and wanted to know some running areas. I made plans to run with her on Sunday and Monday evenings.

Sunday she called to let me know her plane would be getting late, so we put off that run and agreed to talk on Monday. Monday evening I took Lea Ann over to the Jordan River Parkway. We did a 4 mile run. Since it was 5 p.m. and in the mid-90's, the run was pretty hard on her and she couldn't tell if it was asthma or the altitude that was making it hard to breathe.

Tuesday morning we ran again. I picked her up at the hotel and took her down to the Trax trail and showed her some of my favorite runs there. It was much better with the heat not yet affecting us that day.

Wednesday morning we did a shorter run before she flew home to Kansas. I brought Twilight along and took her over to Wheeler Farm. We did 2 easy miles on the trails and I think she enjoyed the nature run better than some of the other runs - even though they were not on roads.

I have another co-worker in Michigan that I talk running with and we are making plans to run together either on my next trip to Michigan or his next trip to Utah. It is fun to get to know people outside of the work atmosphere. That is - when it is someone you actually like. :)

2nd Annual Sandy to Provo Self Supported Ultra Run

This weekend was a 3 day weekend in Utah because of the Pioneer Day holiday. Thursday I started debating the benefits of doing long back-to-back runs on Friday and Saturday, or doing a challenging training run on Saturday. I ended up deciding to do a really long run on Saturday.

The plan: Run from my house in Sandy to my dad's house in Provo. Previously done in February, 2009 - with mild winter weather. A little over 8:15 in trip time.

The distance: 35+ miles

The challenge: Heat was going to be in the mid to high 90's.

After arranging with my father to drive me home after the run, I started packing my Nathan running pack for the next day. Included were several packs of Gu/Shot Blocks, S Tabs (salt tabs), emergency running supplies, Ibuprofen, gum, charged iPhone with a couple of good books for listening to, 70 ounces of ice water. In my insulated Nathan hand-held bottle, 2.5 cans of Ensure - frozen overnight.

I wanted to get up around 3 a.m., but had a hard time sleeping the night before because of nerves. I reset my alarm to 4 a.m. and focused on resting and dozing as much as possible. I did my usual job of vaselining areas that are prone to chafing, used a coban wrap in the right ankle for insurance, put on sunscreen and found a bandana at the last minute.

The run starts down 7th East to Draper. When I passed the train tracks in Draper, I switched over to the Trax Trail. I shifted over to 9th East at 12300 South and then ran by the Draper city buildings up to the Porter Rockwell Trail. I alternated between the Porter Rockwell Trail and the Draper Canal Trail to Point of the Mountain. My goal for most of the run was to run 8 minutes, walk 2 minutes and I did not want to push speed much because I knew the heat of the day would be hard on my body for as many hours as I would be out there.

Once the PR Trail ends, I switch over to Frontage roads until Lehi, then over to State Street and then Main Street in American Fork. At mile 18, I stopped at the Chevron in Lehi to refill my water pack, load my hat and neckerchief with ice and get some Gatorade. The heat was starting to build up and I knew that I needed to work harder to prevent dehydration since I hadn't needed a bathroom break until then.

In American Fork I stopped again to eat some mashed potatoes and root beer at a KFC and picked up a cup of ice to chew on for a while. I walked for about 20 minutes after this stop to allow myself to digest food.

Once I got on Geneva Road in Pleasant Grove I knew I would be able to finish the training run, but knew I would end up walking more because the heat was really getting to me. I started taking a sip of water or gatorade in every 10 minute cycle and that seemed to help. The last three miles I ended up doing a lot of run 200 steps, walk 100 steps cycles. I wasn't sweating as much anymore, so knew that my body was struggling with the heat.

Finally - arrived at my Dad's house. He came home with some ice for me, so I took an ice bath and shower and then he drove me back home to Sandy.

The total run took 9 hours exactly. A little slower than the previous run, but I think the heat was the main cause of that. The legs felt strong. No pains or aches.

I didn't sleep well last night. I never do the night after a marathon or ultra-marathon. Today I have mainly been resting, but took a 2 hour nap in the afternoon. The good news, I have a couple of aches, but no stiffness or pain. I am really happy about that because the worry with a long training run is that you injure yourself and not be able to train any more.

BodyBUGG data from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m.:
5165 Calories Burned
79621 steps

Friday, July 23, 2010

A mom for 23 years

My daughter turned 23 this morning. It made me think back to the excitement of 1987 when we first welcomed this little girl into our lives and I became a mother. Let me tell you – being a mother is the greatest occupation and avocation in the world and I am so blessed to have two wonderful kids. Jennifer and Kevin – I love you both so much.

Mixed Emotions

I am doing a big run tomorrow. And I mean BIG. One I have only done once before and doing it unsupported. I am hoping to leave between 4-5 in the morning and run down to my Dad's house in Provo. This is a 35 mile run and it is going to be a hot day, so I want to get out as early as possible.

I am looking forward to the challenge of that many miles on my feet and all alone. At the same time I am really scared about that big of a run. It will be an interesting day!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Is this good news or bad news or both?

I had Lasik surgery on my eyes in 2006 and was very happy to be able to go without glasses. Especially since I had worn them (or contacts) full time since I was eight years old. Starting about two years ago, I began to have to struggle to read smaller text and figured it was just because I was getting older and needing reading glasses. I've been using magnifying glasses off and on as needed and found the last few months that they don't seem to help as much as they used to.

I finally broke down and had a vision exam yesterday. The 'good news' is that my vision is still 20/20. The 'bad news' is that my astigmatism has come back and my up close vision is blurry from that. I ended up ordering some bifocals for computer/reading and will be using them. They will hopefully reduce the eye strain I am experiencing at work. And – no need for glasses for driving, running, distance work, etc.

BodyBUGG update

Some good news on the BodyBUGG front. On Monday I called Customer Support back and asked to speak to a manager. The woman that I spoke with was much more willing to listen and respond than the one I dealt with on Friday. Especially when she heard it had only been three weeks. She spoke with the manager and on Tuesday I got the good news that I will be getting a replacement BodyBUGG. Yay!

Friday, July 9, 2010

BodyBUGG review (and support SLAM)

I have been wanted to purchase a BodyBUGG from 24 Hour Fitness for quite some time after hearing about them on The Biggest Loser. Let's face it – I'm a running/workout technology geek. I like my running toys.

About a month ago, one of my co-workers told me that he had purchase a BodyBUGG and that the BB itself and the display watch were on sale for $250. I liked the discounted price and took the leap. I needed to lose a little weight and it only seems like I get the motivation when it hurts me financially.

Unfortunately, my new 'toys' arrived the day I left on a business trip to Michigan, so I had to wait an entire week to get my grubby hands on them.

From the beginning, I loved my new BodyBUGG. I liked checking the calorie burn on my computer and seeing how many calories I had burned and how many steps I had taken. I really liked that I lost 9.4 pounds in the first three weeks by focusing on exercise and diet.

Was I recommending the BodyBUGG to everyone? You bet. It was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Until this week….

I was back in Michigan again this week for some more testing of our new application at work. Wednesday night I went out for a late evening run to avoid the worst of the heat and humidity. The sky was overcast when I left, but did not look like rain. The weather channel did not predict rain. I knew the BodyBUGG was not supposed to get wet. 5 miles into my 7 mile run, guess what happened? Yep. It rained. Not just sprinkles, but a drenching downpour. I worried about both the BodyBUGG and iPhone I had on me, but I was on a path alongside the freeway with nowhere to seek cover and no way to protect my electronics. As soon as possible, I got back to the hotel and dried off my BodyBUGG and iPhone.

Thursday morning, I strapped the BodyBUGG on. No sound. A few beeps a little later. I decided to charge the BB at work. After a little while, all lights indicated they were green and happy. Still no response when I strapped on the BB. I sent off an email to their support team and got no response. (It turns out this is fairly common). Today I called the Technical Support line. After several attempts to reboot the instrument, put new firmware on the instrument, etc, etc, etc, I was told that I was out of luck because getting the BodyBUGG wet had voided the warranty. I politely complained and she spoke with her manager and came back with the same response. She directed me to customer service, where I was told the same thing. No offers of a replacement, no offers of reduced pricing on a replacement, nada.

This was a hard lesson to learn At $25 a pound of weight loss, I no longer recommend the BodyBUGG. I will sing loud and clear that Apex Fitness is a rip-off and has lousy customer support. And, several people that were considering a BodyBUGG are now jumping off that bandwagon.

All I can say is: "Shame on you BodyBUGG."

2nd Annual Red Hot Pink Chicks Half Marathon is tomorrow

This is the certificate I made up for the 'Virgin' half marathon finishers:


2nd Annual Red Hot Pink Chicks Half Marathon

Diamonds & Titanium Edition


Virgin Half Certification*


Provo, Utah July 10, 2010

Congratulations on completing your
Virgin Half Marathon run!


*Possession of this certificate verifies that the owner is no longer a virgin