Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Running With The Boys

I normally perform my speed work on Tuesdays. I know, Jenn Shelton would disapprove that I run upon a schedule. However, since running Voyager 50 Mile Trail Run on Saturday I thought I'd skip it this week, if necessary.

Yesterday I was still a bit tight in the calves so thought I'd pass. Today while running with Topaz for our morning 5 I was feeling real good and decided I'd go for a speed workout today. I had the mind battle going on: you may be tired from V, therefore a crappy speed workout, that will crush your ego and make you sad; yes, but any speed work is better than none, just go give it a whirl and see how it goes. OK. You win.

Off I went.

I was surprised to see action at the track. The 3rd and 4th graders were on the football field practicing and the Strength and Training workouts were taking place on the track. I recognized many of the guys as Tyler's friends. I stood around, watching, then heard hellos and how ya doing Julie. I'm fine, came for my track workout, how long will you guys be? Oh, about an hour. Dang, I was thinking to myself. Oh well. I sat down and watched a bit. Pretty soon a real good friend of Tyler's yelled to the Coach "Can Julie Berg run on Lane 8, we aren't using it" Coach said "Why don't you move over and give her Lane 1" Sweet!

In speaking with Coach I realized S&T work outs are scheduled on M,W,F; I'm usually at the track on Tuesday, that is why I haven't seen them out there before. He told me he had no problem being there and was welcome to work alongside with them. I then was reminded that he graduated from Proctor. I remembered Scott Jurek graduated from Proctor. Bingo! He ran with him on the track team. Small World.

So, the workout was fabulous. I'm so shocked. I ran 800s again with the thought that I could quit at any time but on the other hand I would then feel my ego deflate so I thought I'd try to hang it and it would be OK if I were slower than last week. I wasn't! I can't believe I wasn't tired or slower with the race on Saturday. What is up? I ran a 1 mile warm up, (being sure to tell the boys it was a warm up) and a 1 mile cool down (they were already gone) and 8x800. My fastest was #3 at 327 and slowest #5 at 345! I'll take it.

Having other people on the track really helped. I was thrilled! It was a great workout and it is amazing how it makes everything well within the world for me this afternoon. Makes me want to set a goal time at Lean Horse. Isn't it funny how a good workout can make everything dandy.

The scrambled tofu I had post run #1 may have helped as well! I'll have to post a picture/recipe. My first try with tofu and I loved it. It was so good I think I'll eat the leftovers in a wrap this afternoon.

From now on I believe I will be hitting the track on Wednesday instead of Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

From Hand..


..To Plate..


Sad Garden.

My vegetable garden is not producing the bounty that it normally does. I am guessing that it is due to the cool summer (which totally sucks by the way) and the lower than average rainfall that we are having. I can do without the rain, as we have a well, and I water freely. However, the cooler than average temps are really the pits.

Today I was finally able to have a salad from my garden that consisted of more than just spinach, lettuces and strawberries. I was able to actually pick some of the tiny carrots and baby beets, zucchini and yellow squash. The only reason I have zucchini and squash is because I begin them from seed early in the winter. When I plant them in May they already have nice vines.

My tomatoes are a delicacy for the deer. The two little fawn are so damn cute but come on, leave my tomatoes alone! My cucumbers are just plain old sad. The leaves are curled up and just beginning to flower. The raccoon have about destroyed by corn stalks, the birds love my peas.

Oh well, today I did get a bit of variety. More will come!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Voyaguer 50 Mile Trail Run: A Perfect Day :)

I must say I was a bit apprehensive about running Voyaguer 50 yesterday. I fretted it over it a bit as I don't have all of the long distance running miles as I have had in the past two years. I didn't run the Afton 50K as I went up to the lake with the family, I didn't have two 100 finishes prior either as I have in the past. I was also concerned about all of the lifting I have been doing, maybe the effects would show up on the trail. You know, I had to have something to worry about.

Before I left the house yesterday morning I took a look at the weather forecast for Carlton and Duluth. Duluth showed thunderstorms and Carlton showed showers. Great. The power lines become orange mountains of lard when they are wet and you know how I enjoy running in the cold rain. Not.

I headed out at 330 AM, a bit tired as I was totally Godsmacked at the Myth Friday night. Fabulous! I had plenty of time to make my way to Duluth, arriving around 630 for the 700 start. Lots of visiting friends and visiting the bathroom. The beans Friday were making themselves known. Yikes.

I saw Uncle Al Sauld, but where was Debbie McKenzie? Debbie, we missed you. Were you golfing, instead of running?

I wore a new top yesterday, one that has a good sized pocket in the inside, in between my boobs. I decided I'd stash a few gels in there as I can't stand the way my race ready shorts fit and I didn't want to wear a belt or pack. Sadly Voyaguer doesn't have gels on the course. Or Heed. I had gels in the small inside pocket of my shorts as well as my bottle pocket. I also had gels in two drop bags with a Red Bull in each. I have never tried Red Bull while running before but figured if the RockStars (Helen, John Duke..) use it then I should try it.

So the shirt, it worked great! I looked like I had a third boob but who cares? The gels fit in there perfectly along with an 11 hour pace chart. I was hoping to finish in 11 but didn't really know what might happen.

Off we went, leaving the High School in Carlton, up the street, onto the asphalt bike path and into the woods and rocks. This first 4 miles is a bit like the Superior Hiking Trail. I like it on the way out, hate it on the way back.

I found myself with Matt Long, Kevin and Paul; listening to their conversations as I ran along. It was a really nice morning. The sun was shining and it didn't look like rain. Happy days.

It was great to see so many women running the race. I never looked at the entrants list but I think I will to see how many women ran. Alicia registered in the morning and was number 137! Lots of runners for a 50 mile.

Over the swinging bridge, before the first aid station. Be sure to smile, click, they take your picture, have it developed and it is ready for pickup at the end of the race. Cool.

Wayne was working the aid station, refilled my bottle with Ultima, the race drink, and off I went.

OK, rant about Ultima. You know I favor Heed but drink Ultima at Voyaguer because it is there and I didn't feel like dragging Heed in drop bags, having to take the time, etc. Well, I noticed this morning in my race bag there is a sample of Ultima. Get this: 10 CALORIES per 16 ounces. TEN!!!!! 3 grams of Carb. WTF is up with that? This is more of an Scap in drink form. I can't believe it. I can't believe I haven't researched this and just drank it, thinking it must be relatively near Heed's 130 calories/35 g of carb per bottle. NOT. Dang. More work for me next year; dragging along powder. No wonder I feel totally wiped out at mile 40. I am mistakenly thinking that I am consuming 1000 calories/350 grams of carb when I am getting like nothing. Wow. Eye opener. I'm glad the sample pack of Ultima was in my packet.

I kind of think I must be reading the label wrong? How could this me an energy drink?

OK, enough of that business.

I ran along, feeling great, strong no worries. The clouds looked friendly, it was warming up, it was going to be a super fine day. Indeed.

About 2 hours in I approached the power lines. Crazy 300 feet hills of orange mud hills over and over again with a few rivers thrown in for added entertainment. The hills were actually in pretty good shape. A few slippery spots but not too bad. It's been MUCH worse!

As I crested the top of a hill I heard Kevin yell "ICEBERG". I gave him a pump of the arm. It was the last time I was in front of him.

I wore my Garmin Forerunner 50 and as I was running through the river I saw that it still had the footpod signal. Cool.

Out of the powerlines, no damage, all good. Onto the bike path for a bit and then an aid station 15.5 miles I believe. I had gels here so dropped my trash and refilled my boob pocket. Sweet.

I wasn't really running in a pack anymore, I was hanging out on my own, totally enjoying the scenery.

As I was running a downhill section deep in the woods I was thinking about how I was really in a zone. Really running hard, feeling good, listening to Ozzy now. As I was thinking about how great this all was a man was at my side. I about jumped out of my skin. I felt bad because I was not paying any attention at all and I should have had one ear bud out so that I was at least paying attention to other races. I apologized, he apologized for scaring me, I said I should have been listening for runners, it was embarrassing. This is why some don't like us to wear headphones while running. I totally broke the rule. Oops. The man was running really strong and was a good 40 minutes ahead of me at the turnaround.

Before the final section before the turnaround I began to see the front runners approach. Andy Holak was first and ended up winning the race in 7:16! Good job, Andy. 7:16. Just floors me! I believe Dusty ( Scott Jurek friend and pacer) was next, and John was next. Woohoo! Not too much later and here comes Helen, looking as strong as can be! Helen took first woman in 8:07 I believe! Incredible. I can't imagine.

Onto the final section before the turnaround. At 25 I had a Red Bull and more gels. I slammed the Red Bull, it was tasty. No aftertaste, no burping, just numminess. I emptied out my used gels and refilled with some more. Up and out of there.

I saw Doug Hansel at the turnaround and told him to get going. He is so much faster than I, he had no business running my pace! I decided to take out my pace chart and saw, much to my almost horror, that I was on pace for 10 hours. Oh oh. I needed to slow down, didn't I? Then I saw Julie Treder and was even more concerned. She's usually a good piece ahead of me too.

I didn't feel bad so figured I'd just keep running as I had been. I knew I would eventually slow down. I might as enjoy it while I was feeling strong.

Out of the zoo and uphill forever. It's so much fun to see the rest of the runners running into the turnaround. Lots of good jobs and high fives.

At Becks Road I ran out with Connie, Kami, Julie and Doug. On the way up the hill, Steve Q passed us. He exclaimed "road section, I'm faster here" or something like that. He was too! He zoomed right by us.

Steve posted on his blog that he felt it was time to beat me at this race. As we entered the woods I told Doug to take off and quit hanging with me. You should have seen him fly! He zoomed out of there and ended up finishing in 9 something! Wow.

I was feeling strong and fast so ran hard down down down the path, passing Steve, but saying "you can still beat me"! I didn't feel like I was going too fast, but who knows. Again, figured I might as well spend what I had.

At mile 35 I couldn't believe how good I felt. I had a drop bag, slammed another Red Bull and realized I hadn't been grabbing any solid food. I had depended entirely on Hammergel, two Red Bull and Ultima. I was calculating each Ultima to be 130 calories.

My shorts were really bothering me. I was SO wet! I was sweating like crazy, more than usual. Well, I never used to really sweat much running these things. My shorts were soaked and clinging to my thighs. This was causing horrible chafing. I looked at my legs and the girl that had been telling me how great and strong I looked gasped. Ooh, raw. I grabbed a glob of Vaseline and rubbed it onto the chafing. Ouch.

It was only about 65 so I don't get the sweating so much. Maybe it just took 5 years of ultra running for my body to begin to work correctly.

Each aid station I looked for Vaseline thereafter and lubed up. Thank god each aid station had some! Pain I tell you. Pain.

Back over the power lines. Now I was back with Connie and Kami. I thought I recognized Connie from Superior 50K, she won. At the awards ceremony she told me she had ordered some of my Foot Potion and loved it. If this was Connie, I had just mailed her out two MORE canisters of Food Potion Wednesday! I didn't ask her if she was Connie until after the race while we were showering, yes, it was Connie! I could have saved her the postage.

The rivers felt good on my feet which felt hot for some reason. There was a very light shower, but nothing much, more like a mist now and it actually felt good. The power lines were in great shape, they had dried out were actually tacky.

Mile 39.5 aid station came and went. Onto the final 10 miles. This seems like it is all uphill at first. I was so happy I made it through the power lines unscathed, then it is miles of uphill grinding. I was now on 1020 pace. Still thrilled but worried that I hadn't peed at all the whole freaking race.

Mile 44 aid station is coming up and I see Kami is missing it. I yell out to her so she turns around to make it. That would really suck, to miss the aid station at mile 44! Ugh.

Now I'm just trying to get to the finish. Everything is tired, I keep telling myself this is how it is supposed to feel..hard. If it was easy there would be more than 130 people running and I probably wouldn't be here. So suck it up and get it done.

Final aid station. Wayne is still working, tops off my bottle and I'm out of there. Wrap this baby up. It begins to pour out as I'm running over the bridge. Downpour. I know that the next section is my nightmare on the way back. Now it will be wet and slippery. I tell myself to be happy..you are now at the last section, you made it. Enjoy the final miles. Ok, Ok.

I let Kami go ahead, I could not talk anymore. I just had to grind this out. I recall that it took me 39 minutes to reach AS1 so it will probably take me an hour to get to the finish. Hmph.

Rain rain rain. But at least it waited until the finish. It could have been so much worse, it could have been raining through the power lines so be happy. Be happy that you are able to do this, that you don't have any blisters and the only pain is the chafing. That's pretty good!

Ok, across the bridge, amen, and onto the bike path. Run Run Run, onto the road and I can see the school. Thank goodness! Lots of cheering, there is John and Helen, there is the finish line in 10:44. I think. I forgot to stop my watch. Woohoo!!

Celebrate the race!

Even with the rain many spectators and finishers stayed at the finish line to cheer on the runners. I sat down with Helen and John and learned that Helen BEAT John in the final 1/4 mile. I said " Helen is the winner, see her prize...John is the loser that sits and cries", all in fun, of course. John was pretty excited that Helen beat him! Nice stuff.

After chatting for quite some time I went in for a hot shower. Fabulous. Wash away the chill and the dirt.

More visiting, awards and hot coffee. I even received an award for a 5 year finisher. I didn't realize it! I enjoyed talking with Kim Holak about Hardrock. Wow. What an epic adventure. This was her second year and she'd like to go out every year forever. She loves it that much! Amazing.

Eventually I called it a day and packed up for home, hoping to get pretty close before dark. I have horrible night vision.

Back home by 1000 to revisit the day with Steve and the boys. What a great day!

This morning Topaz and I went for a five mile run. Slow and easy. No pain but for the chaffing. Oh man. What is up with that? I slathered Foot Potion all over it so I could run. It felt so much better. I'm down 8 pounds today. This is strange as I used to always be up and bloated with water / salt post race. My body is beginning to act differently during racing. I don't pee every hour, as I used to..I didn't pee during the race once and not until I arrived home last night. I still drink the same amount, at least 24 oz each hour. Yesterday I drank more. I am not eating all of the sandwiches during the race, this may be the weight difference/bloat. I'm not sure. I no longer take eCaps or Scaps because I became so swollen during the race. I found that Heed was enough. I didn't take any salt yesterday, maybe this is one reason I'm not so bloated/heavy the next day? Interesting.

Thanks to the race committee and all of the volunteers that make this race what it is!

Up next: Lean Horse 100 August 21

Friday, July 24, 2009

Book Review: Skinny Bitch

You may be offended by the title, but the authors say this in the final page: "Don't really become a Skinny Bitch. We conceived the title to get attention and sell books. We wanted to spread our message far and wide and thought Skinny Bitch was a good way to do it. We are not bitches, and we have no desire to promote bitchiness.

Soon you will notice that you are happier and healthier by eating a cruelty-free diet. Spread the word and promise not to preach. People become defensive about their diets, even if you are non judgemental they may feel threatened by your righteousness. Your being a vegan shines a spotlight on the cruelty they are contributing to and can make them feel uncomfortable.."

Skinny Bitch was published in 2005 by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. I don't know where I've been. I had never heard of the title until recently. It's been a #1 New York Times Bestseller. Guess I've been under a rock. Or under a piece of beef. Ha. Good one Jule.

I was wandering through Target yesterday morning, looking for a different title, same subject, and saw this title. It intrigued me.

Skinny Bitch begins by letting the reader know you can become a skinny bitch through a vegan diet. The book is much better than that premise, however. It's not all about becomming skinny. Who wants to be skinny anyhow? It's a fabulous quick read. I read the 224 pages yesterday afternoon while sitting at the pool. Rory and Kim speak as foul mouthed girlfriends. You may be offended when they call you a shithead or a fucker; but, really, it does get the point across.

They tell facts about eating sugar, flesh, dairy, governmental agencies, and yes, even pooping. They tell us about becoming vegan, becoming healthy, putting away the dead, rotting, decomposing flesh diet and living in a healthy manner on fruits, veggies, whole grains and good fats.

There is a month of menus, shopping strategies and list of resources.

I enjoyed the book. It is more about lifestyle than changing to a vegan diet but entertaining to read just the same.

The more I read about people who eat a vegan diet, the more it reminds me of people who eat a paleo diet. Both groups tend to eat bushel baskets of fresh, colorful vegetables, usually organic; both eat loads of fruit, again, organic. Both are careful to get those heart healthy fats, eat beans and legumes, plenty of nuts and seeds. It seems to me that the big difference is when it comes to eating dinner..the paleo eaters add a lean meat where the vegan eaters pass on the flesh.

I wonder if Americans are finally becoming fed up with all of the hormones, steroids and harmful additives that are being added to our food. The more I read about the governmental agencies and how they have sabotaged us into believe what is healthy the angrier I become. It wasn't that long ago that we were told to eat a low fat diet; all of a sudden there were fat free Snackwells, fat free chips, all loaded with the bad fats and high in sugar. We became sicker and fatter. Low Carb, oh yeah, get on the Atkins band wagon. Remember that one? Forgo the whole grains but would you like some butter with your bacon?

It seems that I am reading more and more about the food we are choosing. I don't know if that is because I am making different choices or if it just the latest fad now.

I received a letter last week from Costco. The letter stated that the beef that I had purchased between April 1 and May 17 of 2009 had been recalled and I could return it to the store for a refund. Oh. Really. Well I believe we ate that between April 1 and May 17. Too late, you know? Most of our beef I buy from the farmer, but when on sale at Costco I'll pick it up there, too. Or I did. Past tense. Damn.

I received a call from the butcher who processed our half side of steer a few months ago. Could be a slight problem there with the beef. Well. Damn again.

This isn't only happening to me, it is happening to all of us, everywhere. It doesn't seem like a fad to me. It seems as tainted food is really threatening us.

I don't know where I'm headed with this but I continue to read, continue to learn, continue to ask questions. I find myself saying that for today I'll forgo the meat upon my salad. A nice mixture of black and red beans will do instead.

After my run this morning I came home and made Troy and my nephew their Friday morning staple: pancakes. This morning I used whole grain flour, almond milk, bananas, almonds and cinnamon. They told me how good they tasted. They spread raspberries that I had pureed on top, never asking for syrup because it wasn't on the table.

Have you read Michael Pollans' In Defense of Food? That'll be the review for next week.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More Heart Rate Training

Thank you for the comments and email regarding heart rate training. I appreciated all the knowledge that you shared with me.

John Maas, you were right on when you guessed that my maximum heart rate was probably 188-190. When I ran hills at Hyland last week..ah yes, back to Hyland. Buck is yet again closed to runners this summer..I topped out at 189. I'm still feeling the hills in my butt.

Last week, and today, while completing my track workout I wore my heart rate monitor and followed the instructions for max heart rate. Both weeks my max was 189.

I ran 800s this afternoon. Lucky for me, I was able to get 7 of them in before the sky opened up to a downpour. It is still raining out very hard. This morning Topaz and I waited for the thunderstorm to finish before heading out to the trail for our run. We definitely need this rain.

So, the 800s. This week I was able to get in 7 of them (from 6 last week) before I lost form and energy. I've shaved a few seconds off of each one and don't feel as wasted post workout as the first three weeks.

Really, though, does this improve anything in the big picture? Who knows. It can't hurt, and for now, it is something new to improve upon each week.

I replaced my Forerunner 50 watch, heart rate monitor and foot pod with new batteries. I can now switch between each function while running. I actually downloaded the information at Garmin Connect. Gee, I've only had the watch for 14 months and am finally using it to its full potential.

Next up: Voyageur 50 mile next Saturday. I'll see many of you out there :)

The Painter

Yesterday morning Topaz and I were out running the trail for an easy run. As we were running up to an intersection of trails I noticed a man standing in the middle of the trail, an easel in front of him, with a large wooden box laying on the ground. I wasn't sure what it was that he was doing.

I slowed down and began to speak with him. He was working on an oil painting of Buck Lake. I didn't realize this little lake that I ran past each day even had a name. Now that we are approximately 8" short of rainfall Buck Lake is even smaller and less of a lake. His painting was beautiful. He had the lake, the trumpeter swans, the sandhill cranes; it really was spectacular.

He told me that his painting was much more relaxing that what I was doing out there. I disagreed. My easy two hour recovery run was much more relaxing than standing in the woods, being bitten by deer flies, trying to paint.

What calms some of us is perceived as stress to others. Interesting. The same activity that is sometimes stressful can at times be calming as well.

Marbeled Blueberry Lemon Butter Cake


The Cake Slice: Marbled Lemon-Blueberry Butter Cake

This month we voted for the Marbled Lemon-Blueberry Butter Cake. I find that the flavor of blueberry and lemon go very well together. Last year was the first time that I combined the two flavors, in Dories Blueberry Pie. Since then, I have created many recipes using the combination of flavors. Very tasty. After tasting a slice of Troy's cake this month, I gave it to Steve to bring to work. It was just too good to have laying around the house. Very dangerous for me. There isn't even any chocolate. What's up with that?

The lemon butter cream frosting is fabulous. I did add a bit of lemon extract to the frosting-it was just too buttery without. The homemade blueberry jam in between the layers is wonderful. The butter cake delivers a very tight crumb. Yum all the way through.

I think I will try this with the raspberries that I picked last week. I think raspberry/lemon would be tasty as well and I have a get together that I could bring it to.

I will decorate the top of the next one a bit more with the raspberries. In looking at the other blogs/cakes I just can't get over how beautiful they make them look!

You can check here for other cakes and here for the recipe.

From Sky High: Irrisistable Three Layer Cakes

Monday, July 13, 2009

View from Wolf Rock


A Dry Crow Creek


BETA IV

It's hard to believe that we have been running a "BETA" run on the Superior Hiking Trail for the past four years! Thankfully this was a ritual that began because Larry Pederson was going to direct the Superior Sawtooth 102.5 Mile Run as a point to point along the Superior Hiking Trail. He wasn't sure how long it would take the runners and wasn't sure how long the aid stations would have to be open. He asked if anyone would be interested in running the first 50 miles to see how long it would take. He didn't have to twist my arm!

Scott Wagner set up a weekend and organized BETA I. Maria and I were the only two that ended up finishing the 50 mile BETA run. We had great aid the whole way as Doug and Alicia had the van filled with anything we might need. They met us at each 'aid station' we would use in the race. It was a great beginning to an annual event.

This year 10 of us took on BETA IV. We planned on a day run (one year we ran a night run of 40 miles through the Manitou River area-hard as hell) from Beaver Bay to Co Rd 6. Approximately 25+ or so miles.

Friday I left home early so that I could run a portion of the trail. I decided on a section I haven't run before. I began at Castle Danger and ran to Gooseberry Falls. Ran back to Castle Danger, filled my bottles and then went in the opposite direction; Castle Danger to Encampment River. It was a great day for a run. Sunny and warm, just how I like it. The creeks were all dry. I took a picture of a creek with a big bridge over it..all it consisted of were rocks with no water at all. Even Gooseberry Falls was a trickle.

While I was running deep in the woods I would find myself in the throes of a panic attack. I could feel the worry escalate as I was all alone deep in the woods and I felt claustrophobic .. from all of the trees I guess. I sat down and took deep breathes, calming myself. It was quite odd. I did get over it and tried to smother those feelings when they arrived later during my run. I never did see another person within those miles and I think that is why I felt so panicked.

After my run I headed toward Tofte where our weekend house was. I unpacked, sat on the shoreline of beautiful Lake Superior and waited for the rest of the crew.

As everyone arrived we congregated on the beautiful deck outside, soaking in the last rays of the day. We ate together and planned the course for the next day.

Saturday was another beautiful, sunny and warm day. We hit the trail at 7 in Beaver Bay, running toward Little Marias at County Road 6. We stopped at County Road 1 to drop water..about 17 miles into our run. County Road 6 would bring us to 27 miles.

We were all going to go our own pace, we left three vehicles at the finish. Helen led our pack, Holly followed and then me. As I came up to Bill he told me that Holly was only a few minutes ahead. I never found her.

I had a great day. It was warm, I drank heavily. 72 ounces of Heed to Co Rd 1 and 72 ounces from 1 to Co Rd 6. If I had been carrying 4 24 oz bottles I would have definitely consumed an additional 48 oz. I conserved my Heed until I reached our refueling points. I was surprised as I came upon our water at Co Rd 1 that there didn't seem to be much water gone. I then realized that Holly must be in back of me. I learned after our run that she took a spur trail and went off course 3 or so miles. Luckily she found her way back and was running in back of me with Tom and Nancy.

Bill ended up hurting his knee and Jim convinced him to walk back to Tettegouche Visitor Center where we picked him up later.

I finished the 27 or so miles in 6 hours, then decided to run back toward the group. I ran another 4 miles up the trail, then back down to Co Rd 6, never seeing anyone! I then walked to the gravel pit where we parked the vehicles but our vehicles were not there. I was at the wrong spot. I walked up Co Rd 6 a while longer and eventually came across our vehicles. As I was climbing the hill I saw Helen up in front of me, then saw her leave in her vehicle. She didn't see me so I removed my pack and sat in the lot, waiting for someone to finish. I became bored so began to walk back to the trail head when I saw Jim and Alicia coming up the hill. They both had a grand time.

Jim, Alicia and I went back to pick up Bill. In our ultra induced brains we passed Tettegouche and ended up at Beaver Bay when Jim let us know that we were where we began our day. We passed Tettegouche. Oops. Back to Tettegouch where Bill was waiting for us.

When we arrived to the house John had arrived, having run the 1/2 Voyaguer. Helen was back and soon Maria, Holly, Tom and Nancy arrived. We spent the afternoon on the deck telling stories, speaking of past BETA's and just enjoying ourselves.

Sunday morning came all too soon and we were all off for our own runs. I decided to drive into Duluth, grab a coffee at Dunn Brothers, drive back out to Lester River and run the Grandmas Marathon route from Mile 19 to 26. I wanted to run the stiffness out of my legs and run upon stable smooth ground. I wasn't the only one running that route; many others were out as well.

Another fine weekend at BETA IV. We are already looking forward to BETA V!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

800s, 1200s, Tempo Runs, Heart Rate Training..Oh My

So this is a little embarrassing. I purchased a Garmin 50 last May. The 50 because the battery lasts a year, versus 8 hours that the other Garmin with GPS last. I mainly wanted it as a pacing tool to use at FANS last year, which I did. Worked great. What good is an 8 hour battery going to do me. Really.

I haven't really used it since. I sprayed mosquito spray on the face and it is now all scratchy, but still readable. I never took the heart rate monitor out of the box or the ANT stick until today..over a year later. Yeah.

This morning Topaz and I ran our usual 5 fun miles on the trail, taking it easy, knowing I was going to try my first tempo run this afternoon. I took out my Garmin box and read the instructions for the heart rate monitor and the foot pod as it has been forever since I used the foot pod. Of course the watch shows a low battery signal. No matter, I was taking it for a spin as soon as I dropped off Tyler at work.

I looked up a quickie heart rate calculation at Runners World. By plugging in my last 5K race pace, last month at the Princeton 5K at 26 minutes I came up with a tempo run at 8:33 minute mile pace. Don't laugh. I'm not real fast. For the max heart rate I did the 220-44 and came up with 176. Ta da. Now this should be my max heart rate. Well, after my tempo run today there is no freaking way that 176 is max for me.

I'll have to try the method of running 3x800, 1 200 recovery and another 400 full boar to figure out max heart rate I guess. (I should have brought this along with me when I ran at the track on Tuesday. Yes! Another track workout; this time all 800s :) I read this somewhere, is this a good enough way to figure max heart rate? At least it is more individualized than the standard 220-age. I mean come on. We are all different. Don't tell me all 44 year olds are going to have the same max heart rate.

I ran the certified Big Lake 8K course this afternoon. Apparently I don't know how to toggle between pace from the foot pod and heart rate or the 50 isn't capable of this feat. I was stuck at heart rate and recalled that 156 heart rate would be 'tempo' if 176 was max .

OK, so maybe the 405 with the 8 hour battery would be a good item to purchase for speed workouts. I'm seeing the light.

The first 3 minutes HR was 150 to 171, then stayed 171 to 173 for the next 36 minutes. I saw 176 as I ran up a hill and I wasn't dieing or gasping so I really don't think it was max. 39 minutes for 8K, not full out, just a quick pace that I was able to sustain..but couldn't sustain for an hour and half I'd imagine. 39 minutes was plenty. Now I have a starting point.

How do most of you figure your heart rate? Do you train with a HRM? I'm never too old to learn.

Heading up north to the beautiful Superior Hiking Trail for three days of long slow running with friends. BETA IV!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

UNCLE

A few months ago I said that I wasn't ready to state that I couldn't train for a bodybuilding competition and train for ultra marathons simultaneously. Not just lifting a few times a week, but really going at the muscle building, diet, etc. I believe it was Keith Krone who stated that if he was training as I, he would have had an aneurysm. My runs were becoming difficult but I wasn't ready to say UNCLE quite yet. I found that by adding calories in the way of even more lean proteins, shakes and by making sure to take in a pre workout shake, BCAAs during workouts and nutrition immediately post workout things were OK, for a while.

UNCLE. U N C L E. UNCLE UNCLE UNCLE UNCLE. Loud and clear. Uncle.

I no longer wish to train for a bodybuilding competition and ultra marathons simultaneously. I am not sure that both can not be done simultaneously, but for me, I am no longer experimenting with that goal. I am choosing to no longer train for both a bodybuilding competition and ultra running.

As I look back on the changes I have made since beginning this journey in December I wonder how it all began? Couldn't I just lift a few times a week without deciding I should try a show? I has happily building a bit of muscle and maintain it as I was running 100 mile weeks. I guess that would be like me running a few miles a day without deciding I should run a 100! Ha, that would just not be Me.

I learned so much about myself. I learned that I am driven by goals. I love to set a goal and reach a goal, to come short of a goal, learn from the experience and try again. Sure, I love to just run a five mile route with Topaz each day..but I do love to see progress in my times, in my races, just as I like to see progress in other areas of my life as well. I won't get too deep here into those other areas such as mental, spiritual, etc. at this time. Running is physical, mental, spiritual, cleansing, meditative and joyful. That will be another post.

I learned that it is very difficult for me to train for two disciplines that seem at such odds with one another. When I first realized I was having difficulty running long and gaining muscle I went to the forum boards at Precision Nutrition and asked if there were any ultra runners training for a body comp and if anyone felt I could train for both and be successful with both. You can probably guess what the responses were. No no and no. I wouldn't give up quite so easily. I still tried to do both and was able to for a few months. I have built a few pounds of muscle and dropped fat but it has been plenty difficult to do.

I think that after injuring myself at McNaughton it was a bit easier for me to go the bodybuilding route..I never thought I would actually think of bodybuilding first and ultra running as a second, but I did for a while. Then Topaz became sick and couldn't run with me so it was even easier for me to delve deeper into bodybuilding.

As I began to run less I noticed I wasn't as happy. I didn't feel joy as much as I usually did, I felt antsy, like I had all of this time and what should I do with it; I would think about a race and then poo poo it, telling myself I was moving on. I think I was becoming a bit depressed. Not only the lack of endorphins, but more than that. I didn't have goals to reach for weekly, monthly, summer wasn't filled with a morning run with Topaz, an afternoon roller blade with the boys, a night track session or run around the lake during baseball practice, a few weight workouts. I am used to training 2 or more sessions a day. Lifting 45-60 minutes a day with a 20 minute 'cardio session' really was not doing it for me.

I wanted to feel as I do when I spend a day at the ski hill, repeat after repeat..the feeling from a hard track workout, a 25 mile training run..the feelings of joy, of being in the moment, of working hard and feeling pretty darn proud of myself for getting in the hard work.

A few weeks ago when Alicia asked me to join her at Afton for a midnight run I at first thought no, not in my training scheme. I kept thinking about it. I told Steve that they were meeting at midnight and I'd like to go but I probably shouldn't. He looked at me like I had a third eye. Why not? We don't have anything going on, do we? Yeah, like we have something going on midnight on a Friday night. Not. Troy had a baseball game that would be finished at 9, it was perfect timing for me. I would be back home before they even awoke. I told him about the bodybuilding and that hours on the trail wasn't conducive to this. He couldn't believe it. Julie. This is what you love to do. Do what you love to do. I did. I loved it. I missed it. I missed running. I missed moving my body forward, breathing heavily, feeling joy in the moment, laughing, I missed my friends.

As Kevin and I were running down the trail, in the deep woods, in the dark, I said it. I said it and I yelled it over and over. UNCLE. UNCLE.UNCLE.UNCLE.

I am an ultra runner. I love to run. Running gives me such joy, it has become a part of my life, a good part of my life and I now know how much it means to me. I now know how much I missed it and I will miss it no longer.

I know some will say 'oh, so you need running to be happy, how sad.' Well, I have no answer to that. All I know is yes, I love to run and yes, it does make me happy, it makes my soul happy.