Thursday, June 28, 2007

Track Workout

I haven't completed many track workouts this spring or summer. Today I hit the track. It was cool out this morning, only 58 and man, the dew point lifted out of the 70's. The humidity broke.

Today's workout was a mile warmup, a 1 mile, 2 mile and 1 mile repeat. Head down hard, go fast, lift feet quickly and RUN HARD. Ugh. Run hard it was! I was flying down the track. I turned up my iPod so I didn't have to listen to my all out gasping. Then, 1 mile cool down. Left me drained.

Well, not too drained. Off to the trail to give Topaz his run. Slow and easy, only a few more miles.

Now I'm off to travel around the state a bit. Heading up to Lusten for a few days for some Superior 100 training. I want the boys to see the Red Rock Loop; I'm hoping they'll want to hike it. I imagine they would rather swim in the pool, but you never know :)

After Lutsen I head back home to get Tyler on a plane leaving for Orlando for the Life 2007 conference with his youth group. He is so excited. I asked our youth pastor if they needed another chaperone. Unfortunately, they do not. Tyler leaves Sunday so I will have another run at the Buck Hills.

Head up to Lake Vermilion to spend some time at the cabin and celebrate the 4th of July. Looking forward to some fishing, some swimming, just relaxing.

Then it is off to Rochester as my Mom is scheduled for surgery at The Mayo. She is having a very aggressive, serious surgery for the removal of cancer. She was diagnosed three years ago with Stage 3 Ovarian. Had surgery, chemo, and we thought, cancer free for 3 years. With cancer, you just don't know. Here some of the cancer hadn't been removed. It's been growing and didn't die with the chemo. So another round of surgery and chemo it is.

Hopefully, all goes well, and I'm at Afton 50K. After the race I'll either head back to Mayo, or head up to the cabin. My schedule is open.

Have a great 4TH OF JULY holiday!!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

More Heat and Hills

Well, I made it through a second session. Now this workout is a weekly ritual. You know, once I do something more than once it is a forever.

Today was the Big Lake 8K as well. The Big Lake 8K was my first race ever..it took me over an hour to finish and I ran the whole thing. I've run every once since and was going to run today..until last week. I opted for the Buck Hill workout instead. It serves me so much better than the 8K.

AND IT WAS SO MUCH FUN :) Really. It was.

Today's temperature was forecast to hit 92, but I don't think it reached 85. Still, it felt warmer, more humid and there was no breeze today. It was hard. But fun. Fun hard. Hard fun. You got it.

I pulled into the lot a bit early so I could potty and look at any other runners on the hill. I didn't see anyone else. Gee, I wonder why? Pretty soon Paul and Pierre pulled up and then right on their tail, John Storkamp and Kevin Martin! What a nice surprise. I wouldn't have been surprised if I would have heard my cell ring, but Ozzie was playing too loudly in my car and I didn't know John had called to let me know that he and Kevin would be there at 12.

You've seen both John and Kevin here. John won the Ed Fitz 100K last year, when Scott, Kevin and I ran it together. Remember, "run until they are bloody stumps", yeah, that was John's mantra. He finished and won in 8 hours. He also won the on foot division of Arrowhead 135 last year and will be crewing/pacing Pierre at Badwater this summer. Woohoo.

Kevin is the new ultra runner turned super fast. Afton 50K last year was his first, then Voyaguer in 1230, and Ice Age in 9 hours this year. Smoking!

We ran our warm up of 2.5 miles, headed back to the lot to get our water and stuff and made camp at the base of the hill. The heat was on!

I was thinking 2.5 milel run, 10 repeats, 2.5 mile run and 2-5 more repeats. I thought anything over 10 repeats was gravy, but had to do at least 12.

Awesome wicked fun.

Pierre wasn't feeling so hot. He had a bad cold and a sore leg. He had just gone through a session of acupuncture this morning. He has been having trouble with this leg for two years now. Imagine what he could do with two healthy legs?

I told Paul that I was pretty stiff and sore this past week. I had made the mistake of running hard on Monday, as I felt pretty good. Tuesday I ran, tired, finally Wednesday I took off and was feeling better on Thursday. Tomorrow I am planning on biking and lifting, no running, or so she says so now..

Pierre didn't think he'd made it for 10, he was feeling pretty bad, the cold left him no energy. But, tough dog that he is, he sucked it up and did 12 repeats anyway!

Paul, Kevin and John were completing their repeats pretty quickly, they were at least 2 ahead of me most of the day. Paul headed off for his 2.5 run after 10 repeats and Kevin and John were going to stick around for me to finish two more. I told them to go ahead, I was fine. I did two more, wondered if I'd ever be able to do another repeat again and headed out for the 2.5 miles. It wasn't as horrible as last week. The 2.5 was a welcome diversion from the 10 repeats.

Back to the hill, I eeked out two more and called it a day! Pierre and I finished at 12, Paul at 14 and Kevin and John at 15. This was their first session, too. Sheesh again.

It was so much fun to have all the company during the workout. Granted, I can't carry a conversation as I'm climbing the hill, I'm sucking wind, but still, it was nice to nod and give a thumbs up as we went by one another. Except for John. He could converse the whole way. I could hear his voice carry in the wind when he was 1/2 a hill ahead of me. Wow.

We grabbed our supplies and headed out to the lot. I was ecstatic to have completed 12 hill repeats. Paul and Pierre had to leave quickly but Kevin, John and me were able to hang out, visit and take pictures for a while!

I had a great time, thanks guys! Next week it's 14 (maybe even 15).

Tomorrow I'll post the pictures. I'm tired.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

He's giving me the Herding Eye. Come on. Let's RUN!

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Western States

Wow. Today is the day. The big one. The race that 3000 apply for and only 400 gain entry to. The one I applied to two times and have not had the luck of the draw. I keep thinking..next year, I could be there..right now. Am I going to apply? I don't know. Depends on my fragile mind after Superior 100.

I'm looking at Kim Holak and Bev Abbs. Kim is from Duluth, MN. I have to cheer for her! She had an awesome run at Western last year in the horrible heat that took so many out. She finished 7th woman. Unreal. Today could be her day. She is fun to watch at the races. I see her at most of the local ultras. She always smiles as she passes by me on the out and backs of Voyaguer and at Ice Age. She's awesome. Go Kim Go!

I love to follow Bev Abbs. I follow all of her races. She's strong and fast and always finishes at the top. I hope to meet her some day at one of the races. I believe she is running Vermont in a few weeks. I'll have to say hello to her there. Go Bev Go!

As for me, today Topaz and me went for 8 in the wildlife refuge. I saw 13 eagles but alas, they were too far away to get a good focus on. I then biked a few hours. Slow and easy. Now Troy and I will head out for a graduation open house. Lots of those on our calendar this summer.

Have a great SATURDAY!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Water Break!

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Summer Schedule

Summer! What a beautiful season. I'm enjoying my summer vacation very, very much. Today I've been off a total of one week. Oh no! It is going by too quickly.

I'm switching out my schedule a bit. I've decided to run long runs on Thursday and Friday, if I even need back to back long runs at this point. My hill workout will be Sunday. Off to Buck Hill. God knows I need a hill workout. That is the one place that my running schedule has been lacking. Big time. I've done a half dozen Monticello pavement hill runs but that is it. I've never done hill repeats other than the baby hill on the Blue Hill Trail.

My endurance is good. I don't know if Thursday - Friday long runs are necessary right now. Friday is probably good enough, at least for this week it was.

Topaz and I headed out for Afton State Park early this morning. I had a map that Jason created for the Afton 50K race, I didn't even get lost! It's a miracle. I can't believe that Afton doesn't have any deer flies. There were no bugs at all. I only saw 4 other people and two other dogs on the trail, they were all camping/hiking. There were a few fisherpeople, otherwise just Topaz and I. I carried two hand helds and refilled at the pump. I carried a few gels and that was all I needed.

5 hours later we headed home. It gets to be a long morning. It takes me 1.5 hours to drive one way. I may go back next Friday, the gravel roads around home are getting B O R I N G.

Tomorrow I'll run just a few miles, bike in the afternoon..and Sunday I'll hit the hills with Pierre and Paul. Oh boy, 15 repeats is on the schedule :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Trader Joe's

Yesterday the boys and I went over to Maple Grove to run errands. They only came long because I told them I'd buy them lunch. We like to go to Barnes and Noble once a month and then go out for lunch at one of the zillion restaurants in Maple Grove. Yesterday we went to Champps. I had to drop my bike off at Erik's for new tires and make a few other stops. I couldn't talk them into grocery shopping at the new Trader Joe's.

The girls at Leanness Lifestyle are always shopping at Trader Joe's. I was excited when I saw that one was going to be opening in Maple Grove this spring.

Marilyn, Robin and Angie told me of their favorites at TJ's. Today I needed to pick up my bike, so I left the boys at home and after getting my bike, checked out TJ's.

In Big Lake there is one grocery store. If I go to Elk River or Monticello, there are two. Oooh. Lots of choices.

As soon as I walked into Trader Joe's I knew I was going to love it. Mostly organic, mostly fresh, great ingredients for my favorite salads and smoothies.

I found from Marilyn's list : Just Chicken. It is just that. Cooked up chicken in a package that is refrigerated. Lean, cut up chicken, just ready to top a salad or soup or sandwich. Not canned, not frozen, just cooked and ready to be reheated if wanted. Or eat as is. I also found chile-lime and terriyaki chicken, sliced. Also from Marilyn's list: frozen shrimp stir fry. Just shrimp and veggies; lean, low fat, frozen, drop into pan and fry up. Yum.

I came home with 4 bags of TJ's produce. Apples, bananas, full stemmed strawberries, low fat french vanilla yogurt, low fat feta cheese, bags of veggies, frozen berries, chicken, shrimp, tuna steaks, olive oil, raw almonds, cherries, oh yeah..all of my favorites, all in organic. Can't beat it. The prices were CHEAPER than the organic items my grocery store carries in the two aisles they offer.

While I'm off this summer, this will be a once weekly trip. When I go back to work it may be twice a month. Definitely a spot I will be visiting frequently.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Pierre Ostor. Frog Dog

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Paul Hasse..Marathon Dog

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Top of #10. And I need nipple covers. Or something.

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Repeat 10, View From Top

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Run To The Hills...Run For Your Life...

Today the above Iron Maiden song was ringing through my ears.

Oh Yeah. It was all about heat training and hills. For Vermont for me. For Badwater for the other two.

Earlier this week I had been emailing Pierre Ostor. You know, uber ultra endurance athlete of biking and running fame, finished Badwater, finished the Grand Slam, is the director for Arrowhead 135 and finished that as well. Yeah, Pierre. Well, come to find out he and Paul Hasse. Oh, you now, another uber ultra endurance athlete. Finished Leadville, Badwater (in 35 hours no less) and oh yeah, won FANS two weeks ago with 131 miles. Well, now that their credentials are out of the way, Pierre and Paul were running hill repeats at Buck Hill in Burnsville today. Pierre is running Badwater..135 miles through Death Valley and Paul is pacing/crewing for him. Buck Hill is a ski hill area in Burnsville.

I joined in on the fun. Of course, as they are training for heat and mountains, they asked me to arrive at 12:00, for a couple of hours running in the hottest part of the day. I did just that.

I must say, I was afraid. I was afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone. Afraid of running with these two. I remember when I first these men, each of them a few years ago. They are extreme athletes. They are tough. They are fast. They are experienced.

They welcomed me, so I decided to feel the fear and do it anyway. Step out of my comfort zone. You know.

Before I met them I told Steve about it. I told Steve I wasn't so sure about this. He looked at me quizzically; I thought wow, this is where he is going to tell me enough is enough. I couldn't read the look on his face. I was wrong. This is where he told me 'come on, this is what you wanted, someone to train on hills with, why wouldn't you go, at least once a week you tell me you wish you had someone to train with' Well, being afraid of them didn't seem like a very good response.

1130 sharp..a bit early..I was in the lot awaiting Pierre and Paul's arrival. I had a container of Heed, a few gallons of water, a few gels. I forgot E Caps, I had ice. I walked to the ski area and looked straight up. Good lord almighty. It was already 85F and the hills looked scary.

1145 and they pulled into the lot. They gave me a welcome and a description of what we were going to do. A 2.5 mile warm up around Burnsville, 5 hill repeats, another 2.5 mile run and 5 more hills. I was nervous. I filled my bottle and off we went.

It was hot. We ran the 2.5, came back to the lot and carried our supplies to the base of the hill.

OK, this is it. Pierre went off like a shot, up up he went. Paul showed me that he runs to the first pole, then walks up the hill. Well, how difficult can walking up a hill be? You know? I fell into step behind Paul and after a short while was totally sucking wind. I mean, I was panting. I was out of air. I was in agony. I had doubts about finishing 5 and there was NO WAY I was finishing 10. Hello, wtf had I been thinking? We reached the top, Pierre was already 1/2 way down, we turned around and ran down the hill. Running down was easier for me than climbing up. We reached the bottom and I was drained. Totally spent, or so I thought.

1/2 way up the second hill repeat Paul asked if I was breathing hard. It was difficult for him to hear me breathing as 35W, a major freeway is below us. Yeah, I'm sucking air and I'll be damn lucky to get 5 repeats, I told him. He said I should slow down then, no rush, just get in the repeats. We checked our pace. I told him to go ahead, he didn't have to stick with me. He was fine sticking with me, he stated. OK, up and out.

Man! After 5 I was like, ok, I don't know about another. We got down to the bottom of the hill and Pierre is already across the lot on going out on his 2.5 mile run. Shit. I'm hot and slow. I fill up my bottle with ice and water, Heed was tasting bad to me, water was all I wanted and I couldn't get enough. Paul and I took off. OH MY GOD. My legs were tight and screaming. My calves were going to pop out of their skin. My quads were sore. It sucked! I hated this 2.5 mile run before and in the middle and oh man, are we going to do this at the end too? We'll, I'm probably done, because my legs are dead and this 2.5 mile sucks. Eventually we catch Pierre and run back to the lot. 2.5 miles later and it seemed like 5. For real.

I tell Paul that I will try another, but I don't know. Now that we are done with the run I'm feeling a bit more positive. We reach number 6. I tell Paul I can do another. I ask him about 2.5 again at the finish. Are we doing 2.5 at the finish? He says NO. Oh, wow, I'm thrilled. I can do 10 then, I can, I can!

Repeat number 10. I'm all smiles. One more to go. I'll be finished in time to catch Tyler's two baseball games in Big Lake. Game one begins at 330. I don't have time for a shower, but I'll make it.

I did it. I did 10 hill repeats with the big dogs. If I want to run like a big dog, I gotta run with the big dogs. Yeah.

This is now a key workout for me. I'll be there each week. Running with the big dogs. Paul guarantees that as I get to 25-30 repeats, I'll be finishing Superior 100.

Oh Yeah.

Run For The Hills...Run For Your Life..

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Heat Training :)

It has been wonderfully warm in Minnesota this week. I mean perfect temps and dew points. I so love it. 90F, bring it on, everyday.

I've been running 5 miles in the early AM with Topaz on gravel road. The deer flies totally kicked us off the trail so to the gravel it is. It is too warm for Topaz to run after work with me. He enjoys the early morning 65F.

After work I've been running asphalt in the heat. 8 miles last night during Troy's practice before his game. It usually takes me 75 minutes but last night it took me about 85. I wasn't used to the 90F.

Tyler played ball in Monticello tonight. I brought him to the field at 530 and ran until 645, for his game start. It didn't feel quite as oppressive as yesterday. Still 90F, but it felt easier.

I enjoy sitting field side, watching the boys play baseball, not chilled at all. I still have my winter coat in my car along with down blanket..just in case I become cold at a game. I guess the boys don't call me a freeze wort for nothing.

I'm recovered from FANS and ready to hit the ski hills in preparation for Vermont. Obviously I have no mountains to run upon, ski hills will have to do.

3 days of work left before summer vacation. Yeah, I'm counting.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

My First Flat

What a beautiful weekend!! Tyler and Troy both had baseball games on Friday. Mom and I stayed in Big Lake to watch Tyler, Dad and Steve headed to Sartell to watch Troy. Both boys lost, Grandpa and Grandma didn't get to see winning games this time around, but we were able to enjoy a nice warm evening watching ball.

Yesterday I ran 10 miles with Topaz on the trail. I feel pretty good, about the only complaint I have is that my feet feel tired. The deer flies have hatched too; I'm allergic to them and I swell like a pumpkin. I hate them. I wore my screen but poor Topaz, they were relentless at him. After 10 miles of running I was planning on walking a few, but couldn't handle the flies. I went for a 2 hour bike ride instead.

I love my bike. I bought a Fuji road bike 6 years ago. I've never changed tires or done anything with it other than an annual tune up at Eriks' Bike Shop.

After my ride I spent the rest of the day sitting at the pool, total relaxation. I didn't do much of anything else, other than grill ribs.

Today is another perfectly gorgeous day. 85 and sunny; nothing better! Topaz and I headed out for another 10 miles on the trail..the deer flies were even worse. We won't be going back to that trail for a while. Man. He had to stop a few times, lay down and chew at bugs on his stomach. I tried spraying off onto his coat but it didn't work. I'll have to check with my vet to see if there is something we can use, otherwise it is back to the gravel roads until the flies die off.

After the 10 mile run I went for a swim. After Mom and Dad left for Rochester for her appt. at Mayo I went for a bike ride. I had two bottles of HEED on board, had my sunscreen on, helmet, was enjoying the beautiful day..when 37 miles into my ride and only 3 miles from home I h heard PFFFFFFFFFF coming out of my front tire. Instantly, it was flat. Well, shit. No cell. I wasn't thinking I'd ever need anything out there other than something to drink. I began to walk my bike up the hill, was thinking I might just ditch it and run home. I had on run clothes and my Inov 8's so I certainly could. I was heading for the ditch so I could hide my bike..when I saw a biker guy coming down the shoulder toward me. Well. What do you know? I told him I was going to ditch my bike and run home as I had a flat. He recognized me and introduced himself. He told me that he could fix my flat.I told him I was only 3 miles from home but he told me it wouldn't take him that long. Only a few minutes. Before I knew it, he had my wheel off, the tube out, a new tube in and used a CO2 tank to fill it up. Holy shit. It only took two minutes. I felt like I needed to give him money or something..what if he got a flat not? He told me he was only a few blocks away from home. Boy, good Samaritan or what? So, I got back onto my bike and made it home. All sweaty and hot, I quickly changed into another swim suit and jumped into the pool with the boys.

I LOVE SUMMER.

When I go to Eriks' Bike Shop this week I'll be purchasing a tube kit. Or whatever that was called...

Now I'm grilling a turkey. After dinner Troy and I will head to Pirates III.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Topaz and his Sympathy Limp

I'm feeling pretty good. I wasn't as swollen as I usually am, post 100 mile run. Per Lisa's tips I took a few cold baths. They suck. They suck big time but the result is worth it. Each day I've soaked in the cold tub and the swelling has been minimal. Then yesterday I decided I didn't want a cold bath and wala, instant swell. My calves were so big I could barely pull on my jeans this morning. Crazy.

I enjoyed Monday immensely. I had the day off, it was the first day of summer vacation for the boys, we lounged at the pool all day long. It was a sneak peak to my summer vacation! Lovely. Topaz ran around and around the pool and the trampoline all day long. I'll have to post pictures of the trenches he has run into the ground. He doesn't stop. He runs round and round and round all day. Monday evening when we returned from baseball he was limping! His front leg seemed to be sore.

Tuesday the boys kept him inside while they were out doing their fun and by evening his leg seemed quite a bit better. I'm glad that I hadn't taken him on a super long run or I would have been feeling quite guilty about his leg. Today he isn't limping at all. After work today I'm going to take him for a walk of 3-5 miles on the trail. I've only walked since FANS and last night went to the gym to lift shoulders/back. I had no energy!

I don't have a race until June 24 and that is an 8K! The Big Lake Run Club puts it on, this was my first ever race and I've never missed it since. Then I have the Afton 50K on July 7 which I'll take easy and then it's the Vermont 100 on July 21. Guess I have a little break here for a while. Once I'm recovered from FANS I'll hit the track and the ski hills.

I really enjoyed running FANS, it was a great time. It's not like it is a cut throat competition. I had a lot of fun talking with the participants. Even those that I was competing against. While running through the night I finally came upon Sue Olsen. I told her how in awe I was of her at this race, what a great runner I felt she was. She told me that I was probably going to win her again. I told her no, I didn't think so, that she was still a whole lap ahead of me and at 22 hours I just didn't have the umph left to pass her again. She asked me if I knew who Carolyn was and I told her I didn't, that I thought she was the gal that took first place last year. She told me no, this was a different gal. Then I wished her well and I moved along.

Pretty soon Carolyn came upon me. She asked if I was Julie Berg. I told her yes, I was. She told me she was Carolyn from TX. Oh, you are the lead woman? Yeah, she said, if I still am, I haven't looked at the leader board for a while. She told me she read this blog and felt like I was a friend of hers, and then she trotted along. How cool is that?

Isn't that nice? To be able to talk to my competition..no cut throat, how can I win you thoughts..just nice conversation. That's what I love about ultras. We're all on the same playing field..having a wonderful day at the lake!

Monday, June 04, 2007

This year I didn't forget to take pictures of the course! I brought along my camera for loop two. Good thing I did it early, as the rain came later.

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Crazy Dogs Having Fun! Maynard, Ed, Don

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There are two public beaches on the course. Lots of walkers, bikers and dogs

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Much of the pathway looks just like this. Lots of green.

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Cedar Avenue Concrete Bridge. It hurts after a while!

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The unavoidable stretch of concrete on the course

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It really does grow during the night!

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John Taylor coming up the 15' hill. Pretty much the ONLY hill on the course!

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Start/Finish Lap

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Tent City

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My Home Sweet Home

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Me and Valeria! We've run Superior 50, Voyaguer and now FANS. This was Val's first ever 100 mile! WOOHOO!

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Karen with her 3rd place 12 hour plaque :)

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Award Banquet. I and Hans-from New Hampshire-whom I met at McNaughton both holding our 3rd place plaques. Woohoo!

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

FANS 24 Hour Run

I have ultra- brain. I'm having difficuly putting together sentences and my body doesn't want to rest. My adreneline is still pumping, my endorphis are still flying and I just lay there as I try to sleep. My legs/feet are so achy they keep me awake too. Gee, might as well go for a run. Not. I'm now cooking some turkey roasts, mashed potatoes and gravy for my hungry family that has existed on pizza for the past days. They are tired of pizza! Troy had four baseball games this weekend and I didn't make a one. I feel a bit guilty for that. I really thought I'd catch the afternoon game today but oh my gosh, it's pouring out, my legs are tired and I can't think clearly. I asked Troy if it would mean a lot to him for me to be there and he told me it was fine for me to miss the game. Thank you, Troy. Next weekend is Tyler's tournament and I will be at all games. Mom guilt.

I was nervouse again going into FANS. I was wondering if last year's 100 (116) was a fluke or not. Could I run 100 at FANS again? Could I run over 100? Could I run 116 again. Didn't know. Hoped to heaven I could get 100.

I woke up incredibly happy yesterday morning as the sun was streaming through my bedroom window. Sunshine!

I left my camera and iPod on the laundry room floor when I left for the race. Troy had a friend sleep over, they were downstairs and I didn't want to wake them. 20 minutes into my drive I realized my error. I HAD to have my iPod. If they were ever to ban iPods from FANS, I could not run FANS. I could not bear it.

I turned around the car, thankful that I had some spare time, as I left early so I could get a good close parking spot, and headed home. Sure enough. Both items were waiting on the floor.

By 715 I was at the race start and was still able to get a good parking spot. The forecast was on and off storms for the next 24 hours so I kept my clothing in the car, brought out a card table, a cooler filled with my camera, iPod, a few cans of warm pop-Diet Code Red Mountain Dew and Diet Pepsi. I know, I can use the calories but I just can not stomach the sweetness of the sugar, (I didn't use ice this year-last year it made an absolute mess and I couldn't eat my sandwiches which were floating around in sog), a few peanut butter and butter sandwiches.

As I was setting up I realized I was next to Karen Gall, who was running her first FANS. She was running the 12 hour; setting her sights on 50 miles. She rocked the house. Third woman in the 12 at 57 miles. Congrats, Karen! Her daughter and a friend sat there all 12 hours helping Karen, saying nice things to me, etc. It was nice to have some company. I was feeling very lonely. It would really be cool to have a family member come out one time. You see so many familes out at FANS together; cheering, pacing, crewing; it looks like a whole ton of fun.

On my other side was Ollie Nayes, from IL, who I see at McNaughton each year. I was in great company :)

At the start I was all smiles; it was sunny, dry, beautiful! I was having a blast. Lots of chatting with friends that were running; I began with John Taylor who had just finished Massannutten 2 weeks ago (and McNaughton before that), it was fun to hear about the Massannutten course. Ouch though. No thanks. I spoke with Pierre about his run at Badwater in July. He finished two years ago in 45 hours and is heading on back. He asked if I could crew him but I have Vermont that weekend. I'd like to someday run Badwater and know that if you crew someone there you have a better chance of running the race. My credentials are getting stronger, someday I may have a chance to at being selected.

My plan from Lisa was to run 8/2, with a 5 minute break every 130. Well, the 8/2 went out the window. I could not do it. I did it 3x, I felt like I felt too good to walk. I will try it though in the future. I'm sure it would make my legs feel fresh at the end, but mentally it is very difficult for me to walk flats. This course is pretty flat. Instead I did about a 20/3, walking a portion of the concrete bridge each lap.

Don Clark and Maynard Legacy from the infamous Minnesota Dog Pack were having WAY too much fun. Neither was entered in the race, many of their Dog Packers were, Don and Maynard were taking pictures and being plain old crazy. I loved seeing them all over the course. They hooted and hollered at me and told me nice lies about myself as I passed on by. I told them they were having too much fun, they would never want to run FANS again now. They said I was right!

A few loops into the race I heard JULIE BERG! JULIE BERG! I'd recognize that voice anywhere. Donna Rae Sutherland. I just love her. She and her friend were cheering on the grass for me, she was telling me how great I looked, telling me all kind of fun things. It was great to see you out there, Donna!!!

I told John I was planning on getting my iPod at 4 hours, but then told him I had to get it now. We were only 2.5 hours into the race and I needed music. I struggle from the 10-25 mile stretch. Trying to get a feel for pace (of which I have no clue-or I thought), trying to feel my rhythm, it takes me a while. Man, I never took that iPod off, until the short laps during the last 30 minutes. As I came into the start/finish I'd turn it off and listen for my lap counter, but then I'd put it right back on.

After 6 hours I looked at my pace sheet from last year. I was 15 seconds faster than 2006! I couldn't believe it. This gave me great confidence. I was feeling good, I was taking care of my feet, I was drinking HEED, eating gels. I wasn't eating a whole lot of solid food. I was having toilet troubles. At 4 hours I was weighed at was 6 pounds lighter. Yeah, all the poop I imagine. My stomach was in distress, and had been since the start. Nerves maybe? Pressure on myself? Who knows.

At 1:00 Maria Barton came to work her shift as lap counter. It was so nice to see her each lap!

As I was rounding a corner I saw Nancy Griffith, Tom Burr and Jim Stocco. It was so wonderful to see them out there! After hugs and a few words I went on my way. They stayed for 4 loops! Even through the rain. It was a huge lift to see them. Tom told me he thought I'd run 110 miles, based on my 50 mile time. My eyes glittered! I would LOVE 110 miles. Thank you so much. OH, and Nancy told me that Jeffrey Swainhart would be out around 1000 pm to run with me for a few hours. Thank God. I hoped it wouldn't be raining and he might have to bag the plan. I could definitely use some company. I was incredibly lonely. The rain storms were putting me in the dumps. I should not let weather affect my mood. Especially during a race!!

Pretty soon John and Cheri Storkamp drove by, hooting and hollering. They found a spot in the lot. After hugs and chatter Cheri ran the rest of the loop with me. Another little treat, it was fabulous to see them. As we neared my set up I took out my splits from last year. I was 3 seconds off. Crazy.

As I was running through the camp city I spotted Bonnie Riley! I thought she had entered the race, but hadn't. She was pacing Les during the night hours. It was nice to see another friendly face :) During the next few hours I was able to see them quite frequently.

Before I knew it the clock was 1000 and I hoped Jefferey would make it. Sure enough, as I finished up my loop, there he was, waiting. Jeffrey had run out at Afton for a few hours earlier in the day, and hadn't had a nap so he wasn't completely fresh. Thank goodness for me because I had no zip left. I was draggin'. Jeff set the pace and off we went. My loneliness lifted and I had an excellent time running the laps. Jeff reminded me that I wasn't eating very much and my bottle had hardly emptied since our last lap. I was sick and tired of eating and drinking. Blech. He prepared a few bottles for me as I ran and I tried to drink the best that I could. We had an excellent run. Jeff was ready to head on home, he hopped on his bike and headed off into the dark. What a lifesaver for me!

It was taking me forever to pour my water, get salt, mix up HEED, grab gel. I couldn't believe the minutes I was using taking care of myself. Then the feet. Sit down, take off socks, put on lube, sock back on. Shoe. Man. I just wanted someone to help me. I felt like a needy little baby. Good greif. Come on, be self-sufficient, woman!

Every time I began to complain to myself about how difficult this was I told myself this was a baby race. Think about Superior and how you felt at 77 miles at 30 some hours. This was finished at 24; you wish Superior was finished at 24. You'll still be climbing at 37 hours so suck it up chicky and keep on going. Drop the negativity!

As I reached the secondary aid station at 2 AM I spotted Scott Wagner. Another lift! I was SO glad that he was manning the aid station. Now I was running aid station to aid station instead of lap to lap. Just knowing Scott was out there gave me something to look forward to.

I was getting bone tired. So tired than my bones ached. That concrete and asphalt is so hard on my body. During the light hours I was trying to run alongside the sidewalk on the dirt trail but during the night I was afraid I'd fall. The asphalt make my bones so scrunch, crunch, crunch. Ouch. My legs were hurting, the balls of my feet were in pain. I was sick and tired of taking the time to put on my foot goop with all of the rain and such, I had blisters and just kept running. I didn't walk hardly at all-just up the first half of the bridge, and in later hours, the full bridge-otherwise I ran the full race and I was feeling it. But, it hurt me more to walk than run and lord knows, walking was going to take longer.

I wanted, needed 100 miles. That was my goal. 100 miles. That was what I came to do. One final weigh in, down 2 more pounds for a total of 8, but I assured the weigher I felt fine, and I was on my way to get that blasted 100 mile mark. As I approached Scott I told him this was the one. He wrote it in the book and I contemplated walking the rest of the race. Man, that would be 3 hours though. I didn't think I could walk that long. Plus, it was raining and I'd get even more soaked. If that were possible.

So, I picked up my aching feet and legs and kept on running. I was waiting for the hours to tick by, for the sun to rise, for this race to be finished. I heard many say they were dropping at 100 miles. I just couldn't. I had to keep on going. I entered this for 24 hours. I sucked it up and kept on going. 102 miles, 104 miles, 106 miles...round and round and round. No more food, no more drink just finish this up.

I had 40 minutes left to either do a lap, which would be cutting it very close for me at this slow run pace, or to run short out and backs. I ran the out and backs for 40 minutes. I felt like I was on display. The race volunteers, the spectators, the finished runners are all applauding and congratulating and you are running with everyone in the race on this small stretch. Back and forth. It's crazy; but kind of fun.

Finally. 109.8 miles for 24 hours. Third woman. Woo Hoo. It wasn't a fluke. I did it! Pure Joy.

The 24 hours expired right as I was next to my table! Karen and girls packed me up, brought everything to my car and we met up at the award ceremony. I was able to sit with Greg Allen, E Fisher-Drew and John Drew and Karen and the girls. It was so much fun! Greg received an award for the longest lap-he ran the first out and back then went to his boys baseball games, and then returned for the run! He acheived 50 miles too. I received a very nice stone plaque for 3rd woman in the 24 hour and my 100 miles in a day FANS sweatshirt. Karen received her 3rd woman for 12 hour award. Life is pretty sweet. Sitting in the banquet room, with all of these like minded people, the feeling was incredible. It doesn't seem so crazy to run these 100 mile runs when you are sitting with 21 people that have just done the same, and more! It was awesome. I only need 15 miles at FANS next year to get my 500 mile vest. Woohoo. Guess where I'll be the first Saturday of June next year? Right On.

Pictures will follow. I took my camera on one lap to get photos and took some at the banquet.

Now, dinner is ready :)

Friday, June 01, 2007

Onto FANS

Tomorrow is the FANS 24 Hour Run, held in Minneapolis. I first ran FANS before I had run anything longer than a marathon. I thought it was the most crazy idea I had ever heard of. I couldn't imagine that people would actually run around a 2.4 mile path, around a lake, in the City, for a period of 24 hours. Were they nuts? Who were these people that would ever do such a thing..and why I would ask, why?

Well, I had a 50K, 50 mile dream in my little brain and Larry Pederson and Don Clark make a 30 mile training run around this lake seem like an OK thing to do. Well, at first I knew they were nuts, but you know, I began to hang out with these ultra folk, and well, the idea kind of rubbed off onto me. Before I knew it there was a 12 hour division for FANS and, hey, maybe I'd give it a try!

I couldn't believe the FUN I had. Could I run longer than 26 miles? Who knows? I'd try it. I tried it, and I ran for 10 hours. It was awesome. I decided to stop at 40 some miles and have a massage..and some Coke, because, well, I could. Nobody said I had to run the full 12 hours..I could run as long as I pleased.

I was hooked. The next few years I tried to run 100 miles at FANS. I ran 80 something for the next two years and then dropped at 50 something one year. Oops. That was a tough one. I had to think about that drop from the 24 hour to 12 hour for a whole year. Last year I got revenge (on myself?), and ran the 24, getting 116.8 miles. I was in shock. I suppose I still am. It was a perfect day; a perfect weather day, lots of friends, lots of energy, lots of sunshine, a whole lot of luck and a 50 mile DNF to get back at. Get back at it I did.

This year looks to be cooler (73) and cloudy, 40% chance of thundershowers. That is not a perfect running day for me. It kind of makes me feel depressed, lethargic, etc. Odd that weather can do such things to me. I'm out to prove to myself that 2006 wasn't a fluke. Out to prove to myself (no one else) that I can run 100 at FANS again. Out to prove to myself that it doesn't matter if it is cool and rainy, out to prove to myself that it doesn't have to be a perfect day with lots of good luck, out to prove to myself that maybe I could even beat 116 miles (gasp), now I've said it 'out loud'.

We'll see. All I can do is try..and have a whole lot of fun while doing it :)

Will Run Through Gardens; Topaz as a Blllrrrr

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Crazy Topaz; Loves to Run..Anywhere

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