Monday, January 11, 2016

Athens-Big Fork Trail Marathon and Blaylock Creek 17 Mile Fun Run - Jan 9, 2016

Of Brain Farts, Goof Offs and Truth Telling

Not my photo

January 1, 2016 was my first day caffeine free in about four years.  I have been self medicating for a concussion received in a horse riding accident with caffeine.  It has become ineffective in this use and it has been hard on my body.  So the hope is that with out using energy shots to self medicate I can use then in races and they will help and I will be healthier the rest of the time.
The week has been interesting to say the least.  I left the stove on when I went to bed.  Showed up at a party a day early, one other big deal thing but I don't remember what it is. 
Well, Saturday was another Brain Fart!  Athens-Big Fork Trail Marathon starts at 8:00AM, I showed up at 8:20AM thinking it started at 9:00AM.  Yup, brain fart for sure! 

The night before was spent in a wee dinky hotel in Mount Ida.  Thunder was the white noise provided for the whole evening.  The drive to the race was slower than expected as it was still raining and the roads are winding.  At about 3/4 mile from the race start I knew my mistake when I saw a sheriff's vehicle at the first turn off of the main road onto the side road.  About a half mile from Big Fork Community Center I saw two runners.  Upon seeing those runners I knew what had happened.  

I signed in, pinned on my bib number, and knowing I would not make the marathon cut off, grabbed my adventure camera to have fun out there on the way back from the fun run turn around. 

I met some guys out there doing some epic stuff!  They started Thursday on a known loop out there.  
They knew the weather was going to be cold, they knew it was going to rain, they knew about the mountains and the climbs, they went anyway.  That is badass! They backpacked the Eagle Rock Loop possibly backpacking 26.7 miles.

I had set this as my next key race after the Arkansas Traveller 100.  I had it so smartly worked out.  If one has a huge goal you have to think beyond the goal, plan beyond the goal, have a plan for after the goal is met or the date is passed so as to have something to focus on after that goal.  Athens-Big Fork Trail Marathon was that goal, making the cut off to run the full marathon (being at Blaylock Creek by 10:30 AM).  Starting the race 30 minutes late made this goal not workable from the starting line.  So the next goal would be to worked on was getting to Blaylock Creek in under three hours which would improve my two other attempts.  

After not even making that goal the next thing to do was have fun on the way back, so that I did.  I greeted other runners, took pictures and just generally enjoyed the trip back at a leisurely pace. 

Blaylock Creek turn around aid station

This is how shoes become real! 

Now to the goof offs and truth telling.......

After the Traveller I still hit a funk, even with a goal.  The summer was spent out in the woods, running, thinking, praying, focused training, then that was gone.
I have never really gotten back on track.  I'm still 10 pounds heavier than Traveller taper weight.  I haven't done consistent core work, yoga, push-ups any consistent cross training since the Traveller.   This is not how one meets a goal.

The mountain never lets you lie to yourself.  If you get cocky, it will humble you.  If you lie to yourself, it will make you face the truth.  Facing the truth is exactly what happened.  I have a choice.  I can stay in this middle land of not quite in shape, not quite getting to running weight, not quite meeting goals or I can get back on track and get things done.  Its time to write down workouts, dates, training plans, menus and get back on track.

The mountain will tell if once again I'm lying to myself or if I'm finally getting squared away.

My watch time: 7:13:14.  My official time:  7:43:14

Take Aways:

Meditation works!
I was able to note discomforts and then let them go.  Not once, out loud or in my head did I complain about discomforts, just note and let go.  Thank you meditation!

Until I get this brain thing figuted out, don't hesitate to have friends or family check and double check my schedule.  Its the smart thing to do to get help when it is needed.

I need to carry a lens cleaning cloth in a small ziplock bag.

Nutrition and hydration were great.

Catch snowflakes on your tongue whenever life gives you the chance!  Its fun to play! OUT THERE!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Old And The New

I found some old running blog posts on a different blog.

My first trail race and 25K Sylamore Trail Feb 2009

My second half marathon and my PR - Andrew Jackson 1/2 April 2009

My introduction to AURA, the running family that would so profoundly change my life!
Catsmacker June 2009

First Full Moon experience, 25K July 2009

On signing up for my first 50K

Running of first 50K, Bartlett Park Ultras 50K Aug 2009

First encounter with Mount Nebo Aug 2009

Now on to 2016

I did not properly prepare for Athens Big Fork Trail Marathon that is upcoming this weekend, January 9, 2016  I'm up 12 lbs from my pre-Traveller taper weight.
This is day five without caffeine.  I'm going off the energy shots, like 5 Hour Energy, to be able to use them as a tool on race days, especially the 2016 edition of the Arkansas Traveller 100.
I use energy shots to boot, re-boot my brain or prevent it from "sundowning" in the evenings.  I have been doing this since the concussion May 2012.  This has been the only  way to get through computer work and anything where I have to do math, write numbers, dates, letters or remember anything!

I'm using:
DoTERRA Frankincense Essential Oil
Luminosity brain training
Note taking like a mad woman

It has been a very challenging week.  That is an understatement for sure!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

2015 Jacob Wells 3 Bridges Marathon

2015 Jacob Wells 3 Bridges Marathon

Perfect PR conditions = no PR

A few rookie mistakes were made along with some new things to figure out.

Mistake #1:  Going out too fast.  I used the 5:30 pace band from San Antonio again.  I should have printed one out for 5:20.  I tried to go a bit speedier than the pace needed for 5:30 without having the mile splits right there.  I went out too fast.  I run the first 1/2 five minutes faster than San Antonio.  I was 10 minutes slower overall.  I did hit the 20 mile mark at the same time, but was working way too hard to keep it up.  

Annette Blanton cheering me up at mile 20ish - I'm a bit spaced out, I look like I felt

Mistake #2:  Not saving music for the second half of the race.  During the Traveller I just had the music playing in the background so to speak, during the whole race.  I was going to do that again here.  It wasn't a good idea.  I should have saved it for a second half reward.

New to Work Out:
With the harder effort I need to rethink fueling.  The solid food, real foods, I use for ultras may be too much to digest working that hard.  I may need something along the line of a sports gel.  I can't stand them.  They are too sweet, even the unflavored ones.  Just ick.  I will be on the search for a more savory easily digestible fuel.

My 3 Bridges Marathon history:
2013 - 6:32.50
2014 - 6:53.40 = most miserable ever
2015 - 5:30.07 = best year yet!

Bill Torrey posted these fun facts to Facebook:
Here are some interesting facts about the Jacob Wells 3 Bridge Marathon.
We had 398 start the race and 383 finish. There were 108 people from out of state. There were 32 States represented with Missouri leading the way with 14, next was Texas with 13 and Illinois had 11. There were people from Maine to Hawaii and one from Canada.There were 218 women finishers and 165 men. We even had a person from South Carolina that tried getting in after it shut down still come, ran and left a check to support the event. Runners do some interesting things.

Here is my status update after the race:
As I've said before I didn't know Jacob Wells. I knew who he was and we had exchanged encouragement and pleasantries. 
The legacy he has left is amazing. He really is one of a kind in the best ways.
This race today, it was a magnificent family reunion of all of AR running, road, trail, Grand Prix, volunteers, everything. 
The love and good will was palpable. 
Congratulations to those who achieved their first marathon finish line, those who PR'ed, qualified for Marathon Maniacs, those who successfully readjusted plans when things didn't go as planned.
Thank you to the race organization for really nailing it once again!
Thank you to the volunteers, you all are the reason running in AR is so special.
Thank you all for the hugs, the encouragement, the conversations, the inspiration, the example you all are.
Thank you Kristen Garrettt for your life saving hugs and your famous butt rub to get me on down the trail! You are the very best!
What a day of all that is wonderful and right because of the AR running community!

Jacob Wells started the 3 Bridges Marathon in 2013.  November 2014 he died after collapsing at the Mid-South Marathon in Wynne AR.  He influenced so many people in AR running.  His marathon is a labor of love, first from him to the AR running community, now from the AR running community to his memory and example.

This is from a memorial page:
He fought the good fight. He finished the race. He remained faithful. I am sad to report that as much as we desired it, we will not get our miracle. 
Jacob's favorite Bible verse: ... Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon - Time to Rest

Dec 6, 2015  Humana San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon

Why oh why!  Pavement sucks, people are too peoplie but I keep signing up for road marathons.   I guess I will call it brain training so I can embrace it.

Nerves were as bouncy as if I was new to this game.
I was hoping to just do well.  It has been three years since things have gone well in running a marathon.  That is a long time for a dry spell.

The plan:
Shoot for 5:30
Run half a mile, walk a minute for 26.2  from starting line to finish line
Eat something every 20 - 30 minutes
Push when entering the suck zone

This is the first R&R marathon I have participated in, I didn't know what to expect.  They offered water and Gatorade on the course.  I can't stomach Gatorade so I carried a water bottle and Nuun Tablets and a ginger/honey mix.

Carrying out the plan went very well.  I struggled with finding joy and fun in the early miles because of the amount of people out there.  It was crowded!  It was especially crowded when the course would narrow to direct people one way or the other.  It was so good to see the 1/2 marathon split.

I did see some AR Peeps!  Belinda moved to San Antonio a few years ago.  Mandy lives in Ar and came down for the Half.  It was great to run with them till the half split and hugs!  they give good hugs!

It was fun to see bubbles out on the course.  How can one run through bubbles without smiling.

I had signed up for this because a marathon that run by the missions was just too good to pass up.  I don't remember if I read this somewhere, I don't know where I got the idea that the race went by the missions, it does, but kind of doesn't.  The closest we got to a mission was seeing the top of one over the trees way across a field.

There is a long stretch on a river trail, a concrete trail.  There was little shade, but beautiful sights.

Everything was going well, according to plan.  I did start struggling about mile 21ish - 22ish.  I know in TX 69 degrees is a nice cool day, but running a marathon, mostly running it makes 69 degrees a  challenge.

When I looked at my stats after the race I was very happy.  Never in my life have I moved 20 miles in 4 hours!  It has always been slower.  So seeing this happen, for me, is a huge accomplishment!

My PR before this race was 5:26.54 achieved in 2012 at the Chevron Houston Marathon.
Today with a 6 minute PR, 5:20.54.  Texas is good to me.

There are many examples of overcoming obstacles and just being strong out on a marathon course.
This guy has a one leg on wheels.  He is receiving assistance up a hill.

This is by far the best sign I have seen at a marathon in some time.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Bona Dea 50K Nov 14, 2015

9 loops on a 3.4 mile bike path around Bona Dea Park in Russellville.  After the 9 loops there is an out and back to make up the last .4 mile.

My original idea was to run 1/2 a mile walk a minute.  Half way through the first round I saw Dottie Rae in front of me.  She has more experience than my children have years of life.  She was doing a run 30 seconds walk 30 seconds run.  I knew she would finish so I decided to follow her example.

So for the first 5 loops after that I did the 30 second walk 30 second run.
The transition became harder and harder, so I went to a 1 1/2 minute run 1/2 minute walk for the next 3 rounds.
For the last round I bumped it up to 4 minute run 1 minute walk.

I'm glad I reserved my energy not going out to fast but really holding it down till after the 1/2 way mark.

I have never been so disciplined in my life for race strategy.  Yes I did change up my run/walk interval schedule, but, I made myself stick with it.  Normally my walking will lag to more and more time and my running less and less.  Not this time.  I made myself stick to the plan.

16 minute PR 6 weeks after a hundred miler!  I'm so happy with that!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

That one moment!

That One Thing!

The question from David at Endurance Buzz:

Could you share the detailed story of ONE specific moment during your Arkansas Traveller 100 adventure that made a special imprint on you?

I'm at a loss on how to give a detailed story of one event.   What an assignment because there are so many and so many are so very important as well.

My family being"out there" has to be one of the highlights of my life!  Kim and Chris, daughter and husband, aren't runners, they don't understand this epic ultra thing we do.  This lack of understanding makes their support a true gift from the heart.   There has only been a few times I have had the privilege of having family at the finish line, on the course or any such thing.  It was a fabulous lift of spirits to see them twice, outbound and back.
My family and friends run the Pumpkin Patch Aid Station at miles 22.1 outbound and 93.7 inbound.  Chris agreed to keep the aid station responsibilities in the family for this year.

They spent the duration of the race near the HAM radio operators listening for news of #100 making it through the next cut off, the  last of these awful beasts being at Electronic Tower, mile 91.4 at 10:15AM Sunday morning.  I made it through that last cut off by 4 minutes.  Elaine Gimblet, my pacer, and I hobbled our way down the mountain to The Pumpkin Patch.  My family was waiting for me out on the road.  Seeing them, hearing their cheers of joy and relief brought a flood of every emotion I had kept reined in tight throughout the earlier 30 hours of barely making those time limits.   My heart soared as I heard the voices I love most cheering me in, crying with me, laughing with me and then telling me to get my butt out of the aid station.  It was a roller coaster ride of the heart for sure from complete desperation to jubilation as I hugged and hung on to those precious anchors for dear life.  It was hard not to show distress, as if being at mile 93 in and of itself doesn't show distress, when Chris happily kicked me out of the aid station with pie and a smile.  I hope they will let me do it again next year!

Photo Credit: Kim Morton

Photo Credit: Kim Morton