Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ten Days and Counting to AT100

This journey to 100 miles has been an interesting investment worth making.

If I were to die today, without ever making it to the starting line of the Arkansas Traveller 100 Mile on October 3 - 4, 2015 this has been worth it!
In every way possible I'm a better person than I was six months ago.  There isn't much one can do that creates that kind of growth as a person.  For this growth and recognizing this growth, I'm grateful.

Things I have learned:
-Most things that are exciting or worth doing are hard, very, very hard.
-If something isn't working change it.
-If something is working, don't change it.
-Plan plans and know it won't go as planned.
-One can do solo 50K training runs, in the woods, at night!
-Time alone in the woods, at night, is precious.
-Meditation is a very useful tool to use for race prep.
-People say ultra running is 90% mental and then 10% mental.  The mental part is hushing the negativity, meditation helps me do that.  It teaches me to see it, instead of own it.
-When one may think friends are no longer interested, those friends may just be distracted.
-Six months of focus is very hard to maintain.
-Having a  goal that scares the tar out of you can help drive needed focus for training.
-Running isn't an addiction.  Addictions don't make you a better person.
-Running brings out the gratitude in me.
-Have faith in the training if the training is done.
-Things can still go sideways, its an ultra, anything can happen!

Now its taper time.  I wasn't prepared for how emotional I am.  Most of these emotions are good ones, gratitude for all those who put time and heart into this with me.

Craziest things done in training:
-Hill repeats on the Cork Screw at 2:30 AM yelling at the deer that is snorting and blowing at me.
-Showering out of a water jug in order to change clothes and nap before driving home.
-Solo 50K training runs.

Most epic:
-Solo 50K on the Appalachian Trail.
-Visiting the top of Flat Side Pinnacle for the very first time.
-Star gazing after runs with friends!
-Fun, fabulous training runs while renewing friendships!
-I did this!  Scatter brained, never finish what I start, I trained seriously, no excuses for 6 months!

Back to if life ended today, this has been worth it.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Resurrecting the ice bath!

I haven't had one of these in years!
Anything to recover.  Listening to a podcast the guy talking suggested using compression wear to add just a bit of protection from the cold.
It works!
4 bags of ice, too much, the pain was real!
3 bags of ice is hard but doable.  This really is helping recovery!  

Remind me not to complain in the winter!

Friday evening it was a pleasure to meet Andi out in the Ouachita National Forest, at Lake Sylvia and the trail parking lot.  We drove out to Electronic Tower to do some loops on the hilly gravel roads.  It was so very hot!  On my way through Little Rock at 4 PM the car thermometer read 106 Degrees.  OUCH!

The plan was to take it very easy and get 25 miles.  Well......   We walked and we walked and we walked!  The sun went down, but the humidity and heat never become bearable!  So we just walked and walked and walked.  I was very pleased with our pace while we were moving, walking anywhere between 13 and 17 minute miles.  We had a few slower miles uphill.  Overall it went very well.  I'm sure it will do us good to have that walking workout.

Saturday - 25 Treadmill miles making a 50 mile weekend
It was too hot to wisely do all of this outside.
This workout was on the treadmill in an air conditioned house with two fans!
I programmed part of the AT 100 course map into the iFit. Having each segemt being between aid stations.
Run 4.73 Miles at a 13:30 pace in 1:03.51
Run 3.86 Miles at a 13:07 pace in 00:50.39
Walk 2.88 Miles at a 17:58 pace in 00:51.33
Run 8.01 Miles at a 13:53 pace in 1:51.12
Walk 5.52 Miles at a 17:48 pace in 1:38.37
Overall running pace 13:36 in 3:45.42
Overall walking pace 17:50 in 2:30.07
Rest, food, church and sleep are in order.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Full Moon 50K 2015 Edition

Full Moon 50K 2015 Edition

or A Glorious Splat! 

Photo by Tia Stone

Photo by Dan Belanger 

Photo by Joe Jacobs of Arkansas Outside

What a cluster.  There were two cut offs.  One the radio people were given, one in the runner's email pre-race brief.  

We were cut off according to the first time, 2AM, instead of the time in the email to the runner, 2:15AM.

My inquiries about the decision making and the one enforcing the cut off (not the race director) have been ignored.

I will probably not go back unless these questions are answered.  

Gear Used for Appalachian Trail Adventure

Gear Used for Appalachian Trail Adventure

Hoka One One Bondi 3

This is a road shoe.
It functions perfectly on the trail giving a smooth ride and no rubbing blisters.
Can be purchased locally by the trained staff at Rock City Running.  
Hoka One One Bondi 3

Orange Mud HydraQuiver Vest Pack 2

I love my hydration packs but there is a problem with storage room.  I'm gluten free, during a race, let
alone during an all day solo event, I need lots of room for fuel.  So giving this a try was the next option.  I used this with one other water bottle put into the left front pocket, it fit perfectly.  I was carrying 70 oz of liquid.

To add storage I used two extra storage packs that can be attached between the water bottles on the back with the ingenious attachment system.  Attach the first pack as shown in the video on the website.  Bungie the second pack to the first pack.

This didn't work out so well as it puts too much weight on the back which isn't the way this pack is designed to work.  I did get some discomfort and chafing because of the extra weight in the back.  I need to go for a run using this pack as designed to evaluate its performance for me.

Locally this system is available at Go! Running in Little Rock.  Tell Stacey I sent you.  

Many ultra runners have tummy troubles.  This spring I started adding this to my hydration pack along with Nuun Tablets to see if it would help with tummy troubles.  It worked flawlessly.  I purchase at The Good Measure in Searcy, AR

Nuun Tablets are my best go to hydration solution.  Its tricky finding something that gives the needed electrolytes without making the tummy rage.  Nuun does that for me.  Strawberry Lemonade is my favorite flavor.

Knowing a water filter would be needed and not wanting to carry the big one made this a treasure of a find.  Its very small, it can be used on a hydration pack, with the squeeze bag, on a water bottle, or with the straw.  If one is out in the wild a collapsible cup may be needed as it would be impossible to fill up the squeeze bottle if the water source was too small to dip the bottle into.  I used a ziplock back to fill from a small water flow to fill the squeeze bag then filter into the Orange Mud water bottle.
These are available at Walmart, Amazon, and outdoor stores.

This is great stuff.  It goes on white like most baby bottom products, but as you rub it in it blends in clear.  It saves the body from the nasty chaffing! Outch!
I got mine at Target.

I'm prone to blister on my toes.  These Nuwool Injinji socks haven't prevented blisters 100% but has greatly reduced the instances of blisters.  

Black Diamond Z Poles
Mine are a few years old.  They are carbon fiber, fold away nicely to attach to your pack when not needed.  I used them the whole way and was glad to.  They prevented some very nasty spills!

Petzl Nao
I was hesitant to purchase this because of the weight.  The strap over the top makes it very balanced.  I don't have to tighten it up to keep it from sliding, so less headlamp headaches.
For the next nighttime adventure I had forgotten to recharge the battery.  I used a portable charger to recharge while driving out to the race course.  It showed a full charge, but didn't have a full charge as after 6 hours it started blinking telling me the battery was going dead.  It needs to be plugged in to a home charger to get the full proper charge.  

Go out, have fun, make your own adventures! 

Appalachian Trail Adventure Solo 50K

Appalachian Trail Adventure Solo 50K

Newfound Gap to Davenport Gap near HWY 40

If you know me you know anything I have to say can become a story.  This one starts with a little girl who always got sick in the car, thus growing up really not liking car rides though liking where cars can go.

Chris travels A LOT for his job.  He likes it when I go with him which seeing that I don't like car rides I don't do very often.  He had an eight day trip to the Carolinas upcoming and once again my answer was "no".  So he baited a hook, one with a barb.

He suggested that I run a 50K on the Appalachian Trail and he knew just the location.  Well, what is a trail chick to do.  So of course the answer switched to YES!

My trail time started at 4:15 AM on the 17 July 2015.  I had planned on a 12 hour adventure.  Chris has hiked this part of the trail, he thought it would take me longer.  He was correct.

This section of trail is very rugged, much uphill, very technical.  Extra time is needed when making a plan to do this adventure.

4:15 AM start 17 July 2015

I was very anxious about going out alone, so early in the morning, bears, people, scary things can happen out there.  When anxiety got too strong I did push ups.  I could distract myself from anxious thinking by reminding myself I had to do push ups and was too tired to want to do them.  
I didn't want to talk myself out of this.  One has leave their comfort zone in order to grow.  Doing brave things grows the "brave muscle".  

Follow the white blazes

With signs of the sun rising comes joy, not that it wasn't joyful to be out there anyway.  

Sunrise - Smoky Mt National Park - Appalachian Trail

The challenge in running in the dark in the humid south, on trail, being able to see.  Glasses fog up because of breath, I can't see without my glasses.  It is a challenge, but not one that is going to keep me off the trails.  The daylight brings sight!  

One of many trail markers

I only saw five other "hikers" all day.  The expectation was that in July, on a Friday, the trail would be very busy.  Nope, not even critters :) 

Not many vistas on this section of trail

14:40 hours:minutes - epic adventure! 
 Chris met me with a cooler full of food, some chocolate milk and V8.  I love the support he gives me.  Thanks for this great adventure Chris.