Saturday, March 31, 2007

ALL DONE ! Alicia, Jeff, Julie, Jason, Tom

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Too Much Fun:) Jeff, Tom, Alicia, Julie

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The Rain has Stopped! We took a Break! Jeff, Tom, Alicia

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It's Raining! It's Pouring! It's Fun! Alicia, Greg, Marie, Matt, Jason, Brett, Maggie

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Ribbon Directions and Maps from Bohdan-Jason

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Re-Connecting

Today was a super fabulous day. I had been looking forward to Bohdan's Fat Ass run for weeks. A 'fat ass' run is one which offers no aid stations or awards. For my friends, our 'fat ass' get together is a group of friends getting together for a long run through the woods, good conversation and usually some food afterwards. It's all about socializing, connecting and having a super good time.

Today was all that. I haven't been together with these friends since January 1 when we ran the Murph. It's been way too long. Between basketball and tournaments and what not else I haven't made it to many get togethers. Today I felt like I was attending a coming out party! Coming out of the winter doldrums, into the bright spring sunlight of friendships.

I left home by 530 so that I would arrive to St. Croix Falls, WI prior to the scheduled 800 run time. As I pulled out of the garage I realized it was pouring outside. Gee, the last time I ran with these guys on Jan. 1 it rained the whole time too! Oh well...

As I was driving along I noticed someone riding a bike, along the highway, in the pouring rain. He looked happy and I was suprised by that. I thought 'ugh, he must be wet and cold, but he looks happy...' there was no opposing traffic so I steered clear of him, giving him some room.

I arrived Bohdan's by 750 and hung out while others arrived. Tom and Nancy, Jeff, Maria, Alicia, Jason, Greg, Larry, Kate, Matt, Brett and Maggie whom we had never met before. It was nice to meet some new faces that were interested in running the trails with us. Bohdan went through the directions, gave us maps, told us about the colored ribbons...and we were off.

Oh my! Pierre pulled up. On his bicycle. Yeah, the happy man, riding through the rain. Pierre Oster (Race Director of Arrowhead 135 and a friend of mine), rode his bike from White Bear Lake, 68 miles. He left at 330 AM and arrived Bohdan's a bit after 8 to run. Yeah. He was going to go in and warm up a bit, but I did see him running along the trail later on. Before he left to ride back home for 68 miles. Isn't that something? Ride on, Pierre!

So, off we went. The trails were wet, muddy in spots, the river was high. I had such a great time. We spoke of our future races. I and Maria are going to McNaughton, most of the group will be running Trail Mix 50K the week after, I'll be volunteering as I need 8 hours of volunteer work for Vermont 100. Most of us will be running Ice Age 50. Alicia, me, Tom and Nancy are heading out to Vermont. It was wonderful to re-connect with my friends.

Some called it a day after an hour or two, there were distances for all. After 4.5 hours a group of us headed back to the house for a refill of nutrition, some a change of clothes and we headed on back out for another out and back on single track. It was beautiful and wonderful. Jason is an ecologist and was pointing out cool plants and such to us. One was a skunk cabbage or something like that and it smelled like a skunk, but was beautiful.

After we had our fill of running we headed back to the warmth of Bohdan's home. He had the sauna at our disposal, offered a shower, and plenty of food.

It was wonderful to hug my friends good bye and say "see you at Trail Mix" knowing I would again be seeing everyone shortly. The winter is over and we'll be connecting more often.

What a fabulous day!

I have the bulk of my training in now for McNaughton, tomorrow is only a couple hour run and then I suppose it is time to taper a bit. I'm as ready as can be. I've run McNaughton in 29 (05)and 27 (06) hours. I'm looking to run 25-26. We'll see :)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Tranquility of the Trail

All week I've been hoping that I would be able to run a long run on the trail. It's been months since I've run over 10 miles on trail; all of my long runs have been on asphalt due to the ice and snow on the trail.

Asphalt running isn't the best way to train for a trail 100, but what's a gal to do? That's what makes running McNaughton a bit tough for a Midwesterner. We've been covered with ice and snow all winter and the trail is just showing some melt now. Oh well..

Friday after work Topaz and I headed out to the trail. It wasn't too bad. There was still a few miles of snow and ice...the footing was treacherous in some areas. I held onto branches and slid on my butt down the hills, hoping that I wouldn't injure myself. Luckily, I didn't.

I had to rearrange my schedule a bit this weekend as Steve had a pool tournament on Saturday. I decided I'd run 10 early Saturday before he left and long on Sunday while he was home.

Yesterday the trail was in even better condition. A bit more of the ice/snow had melted and the footing wasn't quite so bad. I was able to run 10 miles without falling and was able to run most of the way..except for about a mile of ice through the dense tree cover. I kind of slid my way through that stuff.

Last night, after midnight, Steve arrived home stating that they won all of their games yesterday do they were again playing today, and guaranteed at least third place. Well, that meant waking up at the crack of dawn (well, not dawn) so that I could get in a good 8-9 hour run, roughly 50 miles and be home by 1.

Topaz and I arrived the trail at 4 am. It was crazy foggy. I couldn't see a thing and my headlamp cast an erie glow onto the fog. It was nuts! I wasn't sure how this run was going to turn out. Would I be able to run the icy portion over and over again without twisting an ankle? Was Topaz going to be able to run 50 miles? Were the ponds going to be melted so that he could get some water? I had Heed and a couple of bananas in the car..I guess I was set.

The trail was still icy in spots. I just walked when I could feel the coldness of the snow arrive. I couldn't see it really, it was so foggy that I couldn't see the ground in the darkness. When the sun rose I could really see how foggy it was. All of the melt was creating a blanket of fog and the wind was pretty light first thing this morning. The fog just sat there.

After daybreak I stopped at my car and dropped off my lights, refilled my Heed and tried to get Topaz to drink from a bowl. No go. He doesn't drink from a bowl while we are running for some odd reason. He will lay in the pond and drink/cool off but no drinking from a bowl while running. Whatever. At least the ponds were thawed so he could enjoy them.

Topaz found that he likes HammerGel. Each time that I unzipped my pouch he was right there for some. I figured he needed some nourishment as well and shared with him.

There weren't many people on the trail, I was out there from 4-1 and only saw 4 other people. It was so beautiful, and so quiet. I realized that I've been running long with cars and traffic and my iPod blaring. The tranquility of the trail was just what I needed!

By 30 miles my legs were beginning to fatigue. My legs haven't run that distance on trail since my 42 mile birthday run. They are used to road. It's funny; when I am running trail all summer, and then begin to train for Ed Fitz 100K, the road hurts. Today the trail was tiring me out.

On and on we went, Topaz was gaining speed and energy with each loop. He certainly was bred to run the landscape all day long. He just didn't slow down. He became excited each time we came across deer so he could do his deer hop and go flying through the meadow. I guess he's truly an ultra dog.

9 hours and I was ready to call it a day. The sun was shining, the temperature hit 60F, it was a beautiful run. After stretching out for 10 minutes in the lot, it was time to come home.

I had to make a pit stop at the gas station for a 12 pack of Diet Pepsi. For some reason I crave that stuff while running long.

Back home, I placed a 24 pound ButterBall Turkey into a cooking bag and popped it on the gas grill. Good eating!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Run Club=Fasties

Originally I thought I would bring Topaz out to the trail for the scheduled 1:30 easy 8/2 run today. But, alas, eventually I realized that I needed to pick up Tyler from baseball at 430 AND deliver the boys to youth group at 615.

I realized I could make run club if I could get the boys to youth group earlier than scheduled. Topaz and I took a 5 mile spin around the neighborhood so he could stretch his legs too.

I fandangeled my way into bringing the boys' to friends homes who would bring them to youth group so I could at least join run club and then run a double by myself.

There were about 10 of us tonight. As I pulled into the lot 3 of the runners were finishing a loop, ready to begin miles 6-10. These guys also finished first on their second (our first) loop. They are so fast, crazy fast. You know what, they are in their 50's too, late 50's for a few. Good deal.

Well, I didn't do an easy 1:30 as scheduled. Even with stopping to re-tie both of my shoes, and a bit later, stopping to remove my jacket I still finished in 39:05 for the first 5 miles. Yeah, that is fast for me. No wonder I had a side ache and I was breathing deeply!

After visiting for a few minutes the chill began to set in and runners were heading home. I was ready to begin round 2. This time I did take it a bit easier. I placed my iPod in my pocket and was on my way. The second five miles was finished in 43 minutes.

My 1:30, in reality, was 2:32 with the earlier Topaz run. Oh well, a little extra never hurt anyone!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Workout That Kicked My Butt

Last week when I looked over this weeks training plan I didn't give much thought to the workouts, it was more of writing down the workouts into my calendar, figuring out how much time each would take. I spent a bit more time looking at the long weekend runs and figured out how they would fit into my schedule along with pool tournaments, baseball tryouts, etc.

I didn't give much thought to today's workout other than how would I be able to pick up Tyler from baseball at 430, would I have to leave in the middle of the workout? The workout content didn't really cause me a second thought.

Until I began the workout and was sucking air!

Today: On the treadmill power walk for 10 minutes, in incline 2 to warm up, run for 10 minutes on incline 2 easy. (easy for me is 75%-133HR). 3 minutes hard effort 90% (160 HR) on incline 6, then 2 minutes easy on incline 2. 8x3minutes hard, 2 minutes easy. Finish with easy run for 10 minutes on incline 2. Stair master for 15 easy and leg weights #2.

OK, no problem.

I don't think I have even run on my treadmill at an incline 6. Never ever. I sure felt it today! I was sucking air and sweat was pouring off in buckets. To keep the HR at 160 I had to decrease the pace every once in a while, all the way down to 5 MPH! It's a bit disheartening to see that a workout of 1:20 only gets you 7 miles. But I made peace with it! At some points I was at MHR and brought the pace even slower.

So, onto the stairmaster, thank goodness it was easy pace. My hamstrings were tired! 1.5 more miles..and onto legs.

BB Squat: 120x10x1; 155x15x3
Press: 100x10x1, 220x15x3
Extension: 85x10x1, 120x15x3
Laying Ham Curl: 50x10x1, 90x15x10 and time to call it a day.

Oh...stretching...I actually looked forward today! It felt wonderful and I did 9 minutes instead of the scheduled 5 minutes :)

Leggies. Are. Tired. In a good way!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Another Weekend Swiftly Passes

OK, now that the dead of the winter is passing, time is going by even more quickly. I try not to wish away days, time goes by quickly enough without me wishing it would pass. Granted, I do wish for warmer temps and grass and robins when it is -30F and the wind is chilling my bones. Warmer days are here, time can slow down now.

Saturday's training called for a 5 hour rolling hill run. I'm getting stronger on the hills. This route no longer kills me. I can stretch afterward, and function without tiredness and pain.

I couldn't leave Topaz behind for the whole run. I took the waist leash along and we headed out for 2.5 hours on the road. He did fine, was able to run lose in the field areas and did fine on the road. I didn't want to take him any longer than 2.5 on the asphalt. It was his longest road run. I just don't want to chance injuring him. I brought him home, made sure he had water and told the boys I'd be back in 2.5 more hours. Refilled my HEED, grabbed my iPod and headed for the hills. 5 hours: 30 miles. Woohoo!

Sunday called for 2 hours of power walking. I've never included power walking in my training. That could be the reason why I have such stiffness and pain in my hamstrings during the 100's. I had a hard time holding back, with Topaz urging me to run for a whole two hours..but I persevered and walked quickly.

I'm surprised how good I feel. I'm not tired, don't feel any aches and pains, feel fully recovered and today is a day off. I hit 90 miles this week and had a day off this week. Included in that 90 are miles on the stair stepper, elliptical and walking. I have begun to stretch, 5 minutes every day, after my workout. I am not a stretcher, but am learning. I was told I will have injuries eventually if I don't begin stretching, and to begin with only 5 minutes a day. Just do it! So just doing it I am!

Here's to Monday and another week of training :)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Run Club and Free Treadmills

Yesterday wasn't quite as nice as Tuesday, but no hats or mittens were required. There was a nice big group of runners for Run Club, 15 were present! I guess we are all crawling out of the woodwork now that the dead of the winter has passed. Thank goodness.

I decided to run 10 miles, 2 loops of 5. I ran the first loop with the club and was even able to run the last part with Brenna Carey, Cross Country star of Big Lake fame. She graduated from high school, but was always at the top at State and has an awesome running record. It was fun to talk with her and learn all about her speed workouts.

Second loop was a bit slower, just finishing up before dark. The chill set in and I couldn't wait to get home and hop into the hot shower. It felt good to run with run club again, it has been a long time.

On another subject, I bought a treadmill from Sears 10 years ago. I was trying to become sober and thought walking may help to get rid of my post pregnancy pounds. I had no intentions of ever becoming a runner but you never know what the future may hold!

I purchased a Sears Pro Form and bought the extended warranty. Each year the Sears maintenance man comes out and does a check on the treadmill. They usually install $300-$500 worth of labor and parts each visit but there is no cost to me as I renew the warranty every 3 years for $200.

Yesterday I had scheduled a maintenance visit. He came out, fiddled with the treadmill, told me he was going to install a new motor and bed - the mill has 6000 miles on it. He went out to his van to look up the parts. He came back into the house and said "well, good news and good news. Because the treadmill is 10 years old, we no longer have the parts. We'll be replacing your 10 year treadmill for a brand new one. Sears will be calling you in 5-6 days to talk about your requirements and the options you would like on your treadmill. Typically it will come in at $2000-3000. No cost to you" My jaw dropped. I looked at the boys and asked if they heard that..the treadmill would be FREE..yes, it was confirmed...FREE.

I was just beginning to wonder if I should look into purchasing a new one or if it made sense to continue purchasing the extended maintenance. I don't have to wonder about it any more!

10 years ago this treadmill cost me $1100; certainly not top of the line, but it has served me well!

Today: 40 minutes stepper, 20 minutes row and RT: Back and Chest. Then off to a County Planning and Zoning meeting.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Shorts Run :)

Yeah, Baby! Yesterday the temperature soared to 62F. Fantastic! I forgot that Tyler had guitar lessons, or I forgot that it was Tuesday, or something..

No trail run..but a nice run around the lake while waiting for guitar lessons to be finished. I put Topaz on this waist leash and again, it worked fine. A whole new world opened up to him. Listening, watching and pawing at water draining into the run off collectors, laying in the soft snow upon the lake, looking with curiosity as the trains blew by us. 10 miles later we were back at the instructors home and Tyler was waiting in the driveway.

It was warm! I wore shorts upon my stark white legs. It felt good to have the restricted warm pants off.

Tonight I have lined up rides for the boys to youth group so will be able to make run club, for the first time in months. It will be light outside, it will be warm outside, woohoo!

Last night the Orrock Town Board elections were held. I will begin serving my 4th term as Supervisor this month. I'm sure looking forward to it.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Last Snow Shoe Run?

This morning Topaz and I headed out for three hours of snow shoeing. It was 26 to begin but by the time we finished the temperature had raced to 49F! Woohoo :)

Amazingly, there were no cross country skiers out on the trail and it looked as if no one had been out since I forged through the trail a week ago. I hate that the trail is closed to everyone but xc skiers, especially since they don't even use it. So I used it again.

The snow had melted yesterday and refroze during the night, leaving a nice crusty surface on the snow drifts which I could run upon. It held my weight in most of the areas. I wasn't even leaving tracks in most places. Eventually as I came into the wooded areas, and the sun began to warm the snow, I began to post-hole through the surface, making the running much more difficult. I began to walk and catch my breath.

It took us 3 hours to run/walk 13 miles.

I have almost 80 miles in this week and I don't feel exhausted; it has to be because I had some cross training this week and most of my runs were at 75%-80% MHR.

Today it is supposed to be 54F; this may have been the last snow shoe run.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Turning The Corner

Winter is lifting..I can feel it. The snow is beginning to melt and the sun is shining! Yippee Skippee.

This morning was a 4:30 on roads at 80% HR, surging the downhills to 90% HR, 14/1. 14 minutes run; 1 minute power walk.

I woke up to Topaz's beat beat beat of his tail against my mattress. It's Saturday! Me and Mom are going to run long! She doesn't work today! Yeahoo.

Oh Pazzie; I'm running long on roads and there is too much traffic for you and you'd have to be on-leash. Really, it wouldn't be good and what will all that asphalt do to your joints, you know? You have to stay home..but I'll save an hour for you after I'm done.

Poor pup. Very sad as I dressed and filled my bottles with HEED, attached my iPod, found some cash for water on the way.

26F and looking like a sunny day when I left the house, supposed to warm into the 40's. Joyful.

I haven't run from my house into Big Lake, around the lake a few times and back home in ages. I think it has been a few years. I didn't realize it until I came off of 43 and realized that the last time I ran this route Cobornes wasn't there, or Caribou, or the whole strip of stores along Highway 10. I guess it has been a while.

The footing was a bit dicey in areas. The sidewalk around the lake was a skating rink. I went slowly and slid across the ice. Running on the road around the lake is putting your life at stake. Honest to God, some of the drivers TRY to hit you going around here. THEIR taxpaying dollars went into build an all cement sidewalk around the lake. During run club, when we run this, if some of us don't feel like running the cement, and we run on the asphalt road we are honked at and gestured at and one time a guy TRIED to hit Kevin! His freaking mirror hit Kevin. It is crazy. Since THEIR money went into building this sidewalk, made of CEMENT, they think we should run upon it. They don't know that CEMENT is the worse surface for running. OK, so enough of the cement rant; the sidewalk was very icy so I did run along the road for a bit when I had to, but mostly ran upon the cement sidewalk. I didn't want to be hit today.

After running one lap around the lake I stopped into Holiday Gas Station to purchase some water to mix up some more HEED. My $20 bill was all soggy with sweat. The cashier rolled her eyes at me and I explained I was sorry, next time I'll place it in a baggie. She wasn't pleased. I mixed up my bottles and headed out.

The second loop around the lake was much better footing wise. The ice had already melted and was only wet. I was able to use the sidewalk all around the lake. Good deal.

I was 3 hours into the run so figured it was a good time to head the hour run home. Back up 6 miles of Co Rd and into my neighborhood. I recalled that the last time I ran this route, running up the hills to home really sucked. I had to walk the last mile as it was so difficult for me. Not any more. My heart rate was right at 82%, I surged up the hills and ran faster down them, no problems.

As I came into the house Topaz was waiting for me. Tyler told me "Mom, you are never to leave Topaz behind again. He whined at me until I woke up and ran to the door and whined some more. For four more hours!" I told him I still had 45 minutes to run so I would take Topaz out for a while. "Thank God!" Ty and Troy said. Topaz and I ran through the neighborhood and through the field near home. His energy was full, mine was closing in on empty.

45 minutes later and we arrived home. The boys are now sliding down the hill so Topaz is running as fast as he can..up and down the hill, trying to herd them up.

Steve is at a pool tournament today so this afternoon the boys and I are heading for Famous Dave's for dinner. Not my choice, but both of them decided that is where they wanted to eat. I was hoping for Bucca or Sawatdee; oh well. It's more about spending time with the boys that it is eating!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Enough Already!

It was nice to get all of the snow and all the past two weeks but now I am ready for Spring. I am ready for this depression to lift, I am ready to quit isolating myself and get out and enjoy some warmth!

Winter always depresses me. I become MORE of an introvert and just downright blue. I should probably look into purchasing a bright lamp; it may take care of this. Not only is it the cold that bothers me, but the loss of light hours, no races to run and plan, I become bored, I look for new and exciting things to do and realize I am not enjoying myself.

I wouldn't mind a month or two of this..but 5 is just too many.

Running outside was almost impossible this week. Saturday before the munchkins came for Troy's 11th Birthday I went out for a snowshoe run that became a snowshoe trudge! Nobody had broken the trail yet and it was up to my knees. Topaz led the way, jumping over the snow, jumping under the snow, trying to move forward. It was quite a sight to see. After making the 5 mile loop I figured it would be much easier the second time around; it was, but it was still tough. My heart rate was at 90% working that snow. It took me 3.5 hours to snowshoe forge 10 miles. Incredible!

Saturday afternoon the munchkins arrived. We had a bon fire to roast hotdogs and marshmallows, creating smore's; a treasure hunt in the snow and lots of sliding. I was hoping they would be tired and fall asleep at a reasonable hour, no go. It was 330AM when the house was finally peaceful.

Sunday called for 4 hours of rolling roads. I borrowed a friends pair of yak tracks so I could at least get out on the shoulder of the county roads. They were covered with snow and ice, I was moving slowly but was able to the get the run in. It was actually easier than the 10 miles the day before.

Today and tomorrow I've taken vacation days. Topaz and I hit the roads for 40 minutes this morning, then I did 30 minutes on the stepper and lifted legs at the gym.

I am ready for SPRING!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Snow. City.

Today is day 2 of Snow Days. Yup, no school yesterday and no school today. Yippee!! I don't recall the last time we received two snow days in a row. We are enjoying it.

We have received all of our winter snow in a week. Last week it as a storm of 15" and from Wednesday night to today - it's still snowing - we are at about 20". It's crazy.

Yesterday I couldn't get out of the driveway. I ran on the treadmill for 90 minutes at 80% heart rate. I was surprised at the sweat pouring off of me as it wasn't a hard effort. Felt good.

Yesterday I shovelled my decking, sidewalks, etc. and today went out and did it all over again. Steve plowed the driveway with the 4 wheeler last night upon returning from work. Today I decided I'd give it a try. Tyler showed my how (how in the world does he know-he's never plowed the driveway?) and I was on my way. Two hours later I had it cleared. Man, it takes forever and I became cold sitting on the 4 wheeler. I didn't get it as 'neat as a pin' as Steve does, but at least he won't have to work on it for hours upon returning home from work. I was becoming bored outside.

Before shoveling and plowing, Topaz and I took an hour snow shoe run around the neighborhood. The roads weren't plowed yet, a few people had cleared snow in front of their driveways but mostly it was deep deep deep. Lots of fun! Today is a cross training day. I will head over to the gym later this afternoon for an elliptical, step and weight workout. I suppose a few hours of shovelling counts too.

Troy is a leap year baby. We will have his birthday tomorrow when his 11 year old friends arrive for sledding, bon fire and sleep over. Oh joy. I keep telling myself it is only one night a year I can do it! I will need to shovel out the fire pit and uncover some wood as well. We are REALLY snowed in! He want so have hotdogs and smores on the fire. I'll have to shovel a pathway down to the fire pit and up to the deck. Guess I better get started.

MORE to SHOVEL!

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Snowshoe Run In The Neighborhood

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Fun in the Snow

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