Well I guess I am pretty predictable. I went out and ran my little legs off this morning. I managed to finish ahead of WV, unfortunately I was the only one to chick him today so he won the bet. Luckily for me I still scored breakfast out of it. But I had to pay up on the bet I lost (to run a 3:25 full this year) so it was a wash.

1:35:35 for 13 miles today. About 7:21 pace, a hair faster than my current half marathon PR pace. I'll count it as an unofficial PR :) Good way to end the year.

1757 miles this year, about 600 more than last year. Official 5K, 4 mile, 5 mile, 5.25 mile, 50k, and 50 mile PRs this year. Not too shabby.

Hope everyone has enjoyed reflecting on 2007 and is ready to jump into 2008 with vigor. I'll be literally jumping into 2008 by taking a dip in Lake Erie. If I take the plunge it will be my second annual polar plunge. As an added bonus at my new trim weight I will even look good in my bathing suit for this one!

Happy birthday to my hubby. He turns 33 today. Hopefully he will have a nice birthday this year. We're hanging out with friends tonight and having everyone over for games tomorrow. Should be a good time.

Happy New Year Everybody!

2007 Race Reports

  • Winter Buckeye 50K

  • Chili Bowl 5K

  • Youngstown Half

  • Spring Classic Half

  • Bedford Pancake Run 5 Miler

  • Flying Pig Marathon

  • Cleveland Marathon

  • Blossom 5.25 Mile Run

  • GMR 190 Relay

  • Flag Day 5K

  • Summer BT50K

  • Shot in The Dark 4 Mile

  • Twilight Trail 8K

  • NERC Cross Country Series 5K

  • Punxsutawney 50K

  • North Country Trail Marathon

  • Akron Marathon

  • San Francisco Marathon

  • Running With Scissors FA 60K

  • JFK 50 Mile Race

  • Reindeer Run 5K
  • Last Race of 2007?

    The guys in our running club have a tendency or running out of things to talk about on Sunday's at the bagel shop and once that happens it's time for the betting to begin. I've only been suckered into one bet which I lost. I'm not tempted to ever bet away a free meal again. But this is their way of keeping each other motivated to run well throughout the year.

    Today is our New Years Eve Run. Approximately 13 miles. I had told Daisy we would be taking this run easy today since we both ran 21 and 22 miles respectively on Saturday. Well the bagel shop betters have another plan. They have made the bet that 3 women will beat WV back to the cars today. Then they realized that most of the fast women may not show. Leaving them to grab me and ask all about how fast I can run 13 miles. Of course not clarifying that they meant to propose that I beat WV today. So now the pressure is on, should I encourage this behavior and race my little legs to death today, or should I be smart and stick to my original plan of an easy day?

    *Note that last night was girls night out and our three potentials for helping to win the bet all consumed copious amounts of appetizers, desserts, and red wine.*

    So I may come back today with an unofficial 13 mile PR or I may come back having been smart and taken it easy and enjoyed a talkative run with my gals to end the 2007 season. Either way I bet I'll have had fun!

    Christmas with the Hansens

    Paivi seeing if she likes pretzels. Girl went crazy the other night when we made tater tots, would not leave us or our plates alone.

    Amenti pretending to be a glass of milk.

    In retrospect this was a bad idea. In my defense I thought it looked so nice. Now I know though that my kitties just cannot resist windowsills and now I lost the glass frame on the left and all the glass panels in the frame in the middle. Got to love coming home to shards of glass everywhere.

    Our mini tree and our collection of holiday photos. I started running out of room by Christmas but managed to get all the photos on there.

    One of these socks doesn't quite fit in. Monte climbed in the sock basket as I was folding and made it all the way through the trip upstairs before finally bailing.

    I was excited about this gift. We had a good photo of my sis at one of her Crew meets in Cleveland that I got blown up and framed for her.

    Other gifts I was excited about giving this year included a family photo album for David's grandma with photos from the past 4-5 years, necklaces for both moms, a mug with a photo of me and the FIL after the Cleveland marathon, and disc golf equipment for David. I had a lot of fun giving the more personalized gifts this year, what can I say I am a photo hound and love sharing the photos as much as I do taking them! I have one more gift I am excited about giving but won't be giving it until mid January when we go to Phoenix.

    My mom got us all "the claw" AKA window scrapers that keep our hands warm.

    This cute puppy thinks he is a cat!

    Mom and Dad got us a digital thermostat, with installation! Can't beat that!

    We made out like bandits this year as usual. I got my Advanced Marathoning book from David, smart wool socks from my parents, a new watch, new kicks, two sweet new necklaces from my siblings, Scrubs season 5!, Lots of new long sleeved tops (thankfully both my mothers have good taste, as I do not, they hook up my wardrobe every year!), a deep fryer for David, and quite a few new games to add to our collection. Spoiled rotten. Hope you all were able to enjoy the season and were treated to some fun goodies. I am not big on the commercialization of Christmas but sometimes it is just plain fun to shower and be showered with goodies from your loved ones.

    I'm off for my first 20+ miler in a while. My legs are still a wreck from Sore Bodies Thursday so this could be an interesting run!

    Holiday Pies

    My First Pies!

    Realized after making the dough that we have no roller pin. Had to improvise!

    My snowman didn't fit so I had to eat him

    Finished product. They tasted great! Who knew baking was so easy?

    Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas. We certainly did!

    5 Days Off

    I have not run formally since Sunday. Decided it was about time I gave myself a break. Only workouts this week have been a 1400 meter swim and an hour of sore bodies class (and boy is my body sore!) I am glad I took the time off to recover but I am so ready to run again. Even if it is just a slog. My butt has been dragging by 4 PM every day this week. It is obvious that working out each day keeps my energy high and makes me a more productive person!

    I asked for the Pfitzinger book for Christmas so hopefully by Tuesday I will come up with a plan for the year! So far it is looking like a lot of long events again. I've been asked to pace the 4 hour group in Tampa in February. I'm signed up for Winter Buckeye 50k and Boston, and I plan on racing Cinci again. I've got a half iron on tap in the fall, and I'm even thinking of travelling in December next year for a more arid 50 miler! No real rest for the crazy :)

    Hope everyone has a great weekend! I know I will. Lots of family time and I will even squeeze in a trail run tomorrow morning!

    Reindeer Photos

    A 5K in December? Oh My!

    Haaaay Who's ready to run a 5k PR?

    *Note that both of us in addition to Daisy, Salty, and JT ran 5k PRs!

    *Edited to add links to the race reports in case you missed it! These were from December 1st. Obviously on this rest week I have a lot to talk about with the candy and old race photos popping up :)*

    Thanks Daisy for the fun photos. Apparently sometimes I should be scaring myself. But all I know is I have a helluva lot of fun!

    Candy Making

    Enough with all the training talk. Bring on the holiday Candy :)

    Making Turtles

    No Bud Light was used in the candy chocolate. It was for turtle roller consumption only. We upgraded to Merlot for light painting.

    Molds, and Buckeyes, and Turtles Oh My

    Painting Lights (The lights are made in a mold and we use white chocolate for the tips and green or red chocolate for the lights, then we "paint" them with edible sparkles to make them shine) They look great and taste great too!

    No Lights

    Well we got half way to Columbus before the snow storm hit. The roads were terrible but we made it down and had a nice lunch and chat with one of my dear friends from my younger life. Lights were out of the questions as by that time it was slushing. Thankfully the slushy ride back was better than the snowy one there. The run this morning in the rain will be interesting. And the drive home in 50 mph winds and snow should be even more interesting.

    Run yesterday went great. Legs are feeling peppier. Still think I will bag the 20 this morning and go for a more reasonable 12-17 though.

    The things we do in the name of endurance, fitness, craziness...

    Worn Down

    But no worries I'll bounce back. My energy levels are fine but my last 3 workouts my legs have been ticked off. Just that zapped feeling. I can't figure out if it is because I pushed too hard on my Wednesday swim or if three workouts was one too many Wednesday and the good nights sleep Wednesday night was not enough to recover for a spin class and hard bodies the next day.

    Today I just have an easy 4 miles so hopefully I will be fully recovered and ready to roll Sunday for 20. But if not I am not worrying about it. I'll just half the run. I think I'll be fine in time for the winter Buckeye 50k whether I hit that 20 this weekend or not. Hell last year I think my longest run was 13 between JFK and the 50k.

    The crazy VTC competition has had me swimming laps, running circles, and even getting on the dreaded trainer and spin bikes. Spin class kicked my a$$ yesterday. I have some serious bike work to do guys. It was ugly! On a positive note my arms and legs are getting more tone and I can now easily do some of my strength exercises with heavier (for me) weights. I'm getting excited! 2008 will be the year of no arm flab and a six pack :)

    This week was actually a back off from last week and here's what I've done:

    Monday- Rest
    Tuesday- Run 5.5 miles 8:15 pace
    Wednesday- Easy morning run 4 miles, swim 1600 meters, Easy 5 miles, had to back off the pace because of dead legs ~9 min miles
    Thursday- Spin Class 50 minutes, Hard Bodies Class (60 minutes) Stairs and Suicide drills about killed my legs

    Friday- 4 easy miles
    Saturday- 10 miles trail
    Sunday- 20 miles trail

    Last week was just nuts:
    Monday- Swim 1600 meters
    Tuesday- Run 2.5 miles treadmill, swim 1100 meters
    Wednesday- Swim 1600 meters, run 5 miles ~9 min pace
    Thursday- Swim 1400 meters, Hard Bodies (60 minutes)
    Friday- Run 4 miles easy, Pilates/Yoga Class (60 minutes)
    Saturday- 10 miles trails
    Sunday- 18 miles trails

    I guess the run mileage is a good sign, I'm hitting 40+ without even trying to. Don't really need the miles right now but it will be good to know that my new slightly higher base plans are achievable.

    Going to see I am Legend tonight with Daisy and her man. Should be fun!

    Have a great weekend!

    Busy Busy Busy

    Looking back at this month a year ago I was a bit depressed and just generally down. I think that's one of the major reasons I love having a blog. I was looking to see if my SIL helped with our annual holiday candy making day last year and while finding that I also found details about how post JFK I was just generally down last year. Recovery took forever and the winter had me singing the blues.

    What a difference a year makes! I am in such a better place this year than last year. Mentally and physically. My recovery is going swimmingly. I've hit 40 miles the past two weeks with no issue and even added in a lot of swimming, one bike session, strength training, and yoga/Pilate's! My outlook has been great. I've just generally been excited to face each day and have been riding a high since JFK and Reindeer Run.

    Candy making day went great. We started late again but we still finished by 10 PM even though this year we had to add in Christmas to the mix since my SIL and her fiancee would not be able to get back up to Cleveland on the official date. Since we celebrated so early I have most of my shopping already done. Two gifts arrived today which I need to wrap and then I just have one gift left to purchase and one gift left to make. I think I can handle that :) We sent out over 90 holiday letters this year, I still have a few I'd like to send but addresses are MIA so I may have to settle for being done on that front. Already passed out 7 boxes of candy. Only 15 left. This one may be tricky as some of our friends are not on my regular weekly "route" but there's still plenty of time.

    Work has been nuts. I have been working my butt off, hopefully it will pay off and the clients will be pleased. We will see.

    I'm trying to get a new website started for my running club as well as get all the addresses in order to send out banquet invites and requests for runner of the year votes. This task may take me a bit more time than I would like it to.

    Meanwhile I am trying to keep my mileage up to compete in our tri clubs virtual tri competition and the USAT virtual competition. I'm slacking on the bike, and realized yesterday I need to take it easy as this month really should be a recovery month. That competitive girl within is so hard to shut down sometimes though!

    This weekend I am looking forward to getting down to Columbus to see some buddies and going out to see the holiday lights at the zoo. I can't wait! It's so nice to have a weekend day to just relax :) Don't worry though I'll follow it up with a 20 miler on Sunday ;)

    I lost my contact on N. Marginal

    Got out tonight for a windy frostbitten run with my pal B. It was a bit windier than I like but we made it through a comfortable 45 minutes in it. I had a bit of trouble with the wind on the way back and eventually lost a contact to it. At first it shifted, then it froze, then it fell out. Thankfully it was my right which I have a spare of :) I'm running low on contacts, hopefully I have an eye check up soon!

    Workouts have been going well. I felt the starts of something sickish yesterday with a sore throat and sinus drainage but I feel better today so hopefully I can keep on trucking. I've been focusing more on cross training with the CTC Virtual Tri competition going on, but still trying to keep my run base up to stay in shape for the Winter Buckeye 50K, managed to hit 40 miles last week without really trying. I've swam 3 days in a row this week and plan on making tomorrow a 4th so that has been good, although my skin is not as happy about it. I got on the trainer once. Hopefully my ladies will have a group trainer gig to get my butt back on the bike again. It's so much easier to run! :)

    I'm super busy at work right now and trying to get some stuff together for my running club, as well as get holiday letters written and sent, and gifts bought and wrapped. Time's a bit tight but my workouts are keeping me sane! I have plans underway for 2008. Major thoughts are on the CTC Beast series, Boston, and another spring marathon. Hopefully I'll get a plan lined up soon! Right now I am flying by the seat of my pants and that is okay by me.

    Hope everyone is having a great Wednesday!

    A VR Plug

    After spending over 3 hours, going through two separate malls, spending 30 minutes at Dicks to find out how much the last pair of (ladies) mittens in the entire store cost, and finding they only carried youth mittens at Marc's I had pretty much given up all hope on finding my father in law a pair of mittens to use while running for his Birthday. Apparently mittens are not fashionable right now. I was resolved to getting a gift card to one of the local running shops when thankfully my buddy SH from the local running store Vertical Runner was at our Sunday morning run and informed me that yes their store did indeed carry men's mittens. A 30 minute drive later and I left with a pair of extremely nice men's mittens. Dad loves them, unfortunately I bought the wrong size. But hey it's the effort and thought that count right?

    Thanks Vertical Runner for rescuing the day! ;)

    It was on this trip that I was offered Free Roasted Chestnuts. Thank goodness I waited until I was in my car before biting into one as I promptly spit it back in the cup. I tried really hard to chew it all up but uggh, the taste and texture did not agree with me!


    So I have been doing a lot of thinking about being pretty consistently top 10% of females every race I do. Doesn't seem to matter the distance or even event, tris, ultras, marathons, 5ks you can pretty much bet on me being top 10% exactly in women. I've decided that enough is enough I want to break into the top 10%, enough of being exactly 10!

    So with that in mind and a good fartlek workout on Wednesday I signed up for the Reindeer Run 5k in Lakewood this morning. I had no idea what pace I ran on Wednesday but I figured it was decent and if the weather played along I'd give it one more go to achieve sub 20.

    Salty picked me up this morning and I was nervous but I felt good. My left hamstring is a bit sore and my quad was a bit out of sorts but considering I ran a 50 mile race two weeks ago I felt pretty good. Got in a good 30 minute warm up with Daisy and Salty and threw in some strides to remind my legs what fast feels like.

    It was cold this morning but the sun was shining and there was hardly any wind. I'd been told this was a fast out and back course, no hairpin turns. If I was going to break 20 this was the day to do it. Lined up with Daisy and JP. I wanted to cling to JP as long as possible as she has been consistently running 19:50s this year. Unfortunately she told me beforehand her goal was to cling to Salty who was going for something under 19. Yikes. So I decided I'd just go out and see what happened.

    The bell went off and we made our way around a slight curve before the crowd thinned down. JP didn't seem to be too close to Salty so I decided to just stick with her, she is a smart racer and if I could keep on her for 2 miles I'd have a shot at sub 20. I felt pretty good. Breathing was good, none of the residual exhaustion from JFK which I had Wednesday in the later Fartleks. I had Daisy right with me but there was no talking this morning. In a 5k there isn't much room for error.

    The first mile seemed to take forever but I just kept my eyes on JP and tried to literally follow her footsteps, keeping my foot strikes in line with hers. No looking at the watch except at the mile markers today. I tried to tune out time and just run strong. First mile 6:14. Sweet. I was happy and wasn't worried that it was about 12 seconds faster than the overall pace I wanted. I knew if I just held onto JP my pace wouldn't falter.

    The second mile brings your around the only turn and the sun made it a bit hard to see. The roads were a bit messy here but we navigated it fine. JP and I went back and forth with a gal I knew from Tri swimming here. I just stuck to JP like glue knowing I needed to keep with her through 2 to have a shot at sub 20. Mile 2 6:23.

    I did the math and knew that meant I could run a 6:40 my last mile and still go sub 20. That made me extremely happy. The pace still felt good. I had to step it up a notch to hold onto JP. I let her pull a bit ahead but anytime the gap opened up I pulled myself forward to close it. We could still see Salty in the distance so I knew we were doing well. I kept telling myself that 6:40 was very doable. The pace started to feel difficult but I knew I could hold on for one mile. I didn't feel beat and knew I just had to keep my head together. I figured I had slowed down a little bit because the pace felt harder. I assumed the lactic acid was starting to take it's toll.

    I was shocked when we came to a man shouting out the 3 mile split and my mile was 6:07. Holy crap I thought. Just hold on and you've done it. It seemed like a long .1 miles and I knew since there was no actual 3 mile marker that I needed to keep pushing in case mile 3 was actually farther ahead. I didn't have much of a kick but I held my pace and tried my best to push a bit harder. I looked up at the clock and saw 19 and what I thought was a 5 and pushed it over the line hoping I had made it. I looked down at my watch 19:28. Holy crap! Ecstatic I gave out a holler.

    10 years later and I finally got that 20:03 monkey off my back. It feels damn good. I have no idea if I was in the top 10% but I am so pleased with the day. Official time was 19:23. 5th overall, 1st in age (by 2 seconds!). I had no idea my swim pal was so close. All my gals pr'ed or had exceptional days including age group or overall awards for Salty, JP, Daisy, and JT! It feels so good to go out on a bang like this for the year. PRing in distances from 5K to 50 Miles. Now I just need to take down that half and full marathon next year!

    I am so glad Salty convinced me to go out to this race. Thanks girl!


    I've got a post brewing but to tide you over until then check out this little Interview I did for the New Balance blog. It was fun working with another blogger and answering some Q/A. Nice way to reflect on all the years I've been running!

    The New China Cabinet

    My grandparents used to keep all kinds of fun knick knacks in this cabinet. Now it is home to our fine china and some other nice pieces we've received along the way. Let's just hope the kitties leave it be!

    Back to Life

    Well my biking plans were foiled by the realization that it is hunting season. I was kind of looking forward to trying out some trail riding, but it is probably better that I didn't trash my mom's bike. Instead I did some strength training and played some Wii on Friday :) Not aerobic but I didn't want to run two days in a row yet.

    Yesterday we spent most of the day at the hospital but I broke out for a 30 minute run. I'm not ready for winter that is sure, the cold wind was not fun! My legs feel good. I climbed the stairs several times yesterday and other than some quad pain I think I'm pretty much back to normal. Hopefully my whole system will be feeling fine in another week or so. I want to keep effort light just in case my immune system is still catching up.

    Despite eating like a horse the past three days my weight has stayed steady. I guess going into JFK and Thanksgiving light was a good thing as now I am right where I want to be. Now I just have to work on some toning during the winter!

    I'll break out the trainer tonight to get some points in for VTC. We'll see how the kitties react to the noise. I'm ready to get over to my gals JT's for some trainer action followed by a light run soon.

    KT should be heading home from the hospital today. She managed to get off the IV yesterday and is taking all medications orally. The steroids are definitely not helping her mood but thankfully she won't be on them long.

    Dad and I are heading back to Ohio in a little bit. I'm looking forward to snuggling up with my kitties and my hubby. Even when he's gone two days I miss him. It's nice to be in love :) First I have to go pick up a maize and blue outfit for Trisaratop's little one as I could not bring myself to go shopping on Friday. I hate shopping to begin with, I don't know how anyone can deal with those mobs! So it is off to the stores and then we are loading up the awesome cabinet my Grandparents are passing down to us and heading home. Pictures later!

    Thank You

    Thanks for all the well wishes for my sister. She looked good last night. They've upgraded her to jello and popsicles, it's a start. The doctors all seem great and want surgery to be a last ditch effort to get this under control. This is something she will have to live with forever and they really don't want to go down that road if they don't have to. The pain meds seem to be working as she says her pain level is at a 2. I'll probably go back up tomorrow to see her again and then Sunday it's back to my reality.

    Right now I am debating putting on all my warm clothes to ride my bike to my cousins since our triathlon club has started their annual male versus female virtual tri camp and I don't want to let my girls down with a 0 miles day. No pool access and I think I should avoid running two days in a row for a few weeks still so that leaves me with riding my moms bike as the only option. Should have brought my trainer because it is cold outside! I am not ready for winter.

    An Unusual Thanksgiving

    This year is going to be a bit different. My baby sister has recently been diagnosed with Crohn's disease and unfortunately she has had a major episode this week and is in the hospital to try and nip it in the butt. My dad is up in Lansing with her so my usual partners in crime for the Turkey Trot are out of commission. My legs are stir crazy so I will probably get a short run in around the hood. We'll go to my aunts like usual but KT and dad won't be there. Then later we will drive up to Lansing to see them and take dad some food. Moms upset because she couldn't go yesterday due to prior commitments and she would rather be there. I was all excited to try out a cute Pumkin Pie recipe where you put crust leaves on top but she was so stir crazy she did most the work for me. Everyone is just a little on edge worrying about KT.

    I guess the point of sharing all this is to state that this whole year I have been very thankful for my health and my body. This has been a trend at my weekly yoga sessions and throughout the year. I am just so grateful that my body allows me to pursue the things I love most. I need to remember not to take my health for granted. My sister has spent the last year trying to figure out what is wrong with her stomach. I am glad they finally know but scared at the same time. Crohn's doesn't have a cure and I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to be in her shoes right now.

    So on my short run this morning I will think of my sister and of friends who can't be out enjoying a run, and I will be grateful that I am blessed right now and can.

    I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and a wonderful day with your families.

    Making It Look Easy

    I love checking out my race photos. I do try to smile for photographers out on the course, who wants crappy race photos?

    I'm very pleased with the way they came out. Might have to buy them again this year even though I look like a walking Nike advertisement.

    2007 JFK 50.2 Mile Race Report-Final 8.4

    Part 1 Here

    Part 2 Here

    I was looking forward to the road. Not only did it mean a change in terrain, but it meant I had less than 9 miles to go. An hour and a half if things went well. Funny how you can feel relieved that you only have 90 minutes left to run.

    I chowed down on the jelly beans as I walked up the first and only significant hill on the roads. Bad idea. There were a lot of weird flavors in there! Thankfully I had some water to wash them down with. No company this year so I just wound my way to the top. The sun went behind the clouds again and I threw on my orange shades so I could pretend the sun was still shining on me. They also helped as it was a bit windy and my contacts were getting irritated.

    I looked forward to the first countdown mile marker and was a little dismayed to see it had taken me a bit longer to get to 8 down than I anticipated. I had thought I actually had 90 minutes to finish 8.4 but when I got to 8 I had 80 minutes to get in at 8:40. I definitely didn't have much breathing room. Last year I ran something like 10:20 pace on the roads. I just kept trucking running many of the hills I had walked last year.

    LW past me as I chose to walk one. She looked great and went on to finish her first 50 in 8:33. Not too shabby. One gentleman who had been going back and forth with me on the towpath finally made his last pass. He commented that it kept getting harder and harder to catch me.

    I looked forward to the aid at 6 to go. Some girls were standing ahead of the aid station to refill water and I asked them if there was soup. They said yep so I was happy. I asked for the soup as I jogged into the aid station and then noticed the hot chocolate and went for that instead. It was so good. Grabbed another cup of cola and moved on. Less than an hour now. I had gained about a minute so I had 60 seconds to play with.

    Between 6 and 4 to go I passed two more women. One was struggling. It was her first 50, she said she had hoped to finish sub 8. She said she ran a 3:16 marathon and she thought 8 would be doable. I told her that might have been ambitious but if she could hold onto 10 minute pace she would finish under 8:40. I pulled ahead on a roller but I saw her finish shortly after me.

    Somewhere in here I saw a guy and his son holding up signs. I thought oh how nice of them to come out and support. Then I read the first sign "Go home JFK Runners and stop clogging up our roads. You Jerks" I said Thanks for coming out, glad you are having a good day. Some people are just ridiculous. What a waste of their time. I secretly hoped some crazed runner would sucker punch the guy. What a lesson he was teaching his son. Just so readers are aware the race travels on 10.4 miles of road total. 8.4 at the end which are open to traffic. So these people were really just wasting their time, the race does their best to accommodate the town and if they have a problem they should take it up with their city or their town not with runners who paid money to come and race. Not to mention that all those people will be bringing money to the hotels and restaurants in their city. Okay enough of a rant.

    Just before 4 to go a younger guy went flying by me. I commented that he looked great. He said his shins were killing him. I told him it didn't look like it but he ended up pulling over at 4 to go to talk with his crew and I didn't see him again. At 4 to go I took a cola and some broth and moved along. I was ready to be done. My head was drooping again and I head to focus to keep my posture good.

    I passed one more lady going up the only other big hill which I believe ended at 3 to go. At this point I didn't want to walk any more but I didn't want to push pace. I had 2-3 minutes to play with and I didn't want to hammer and end up with a stitch or cramp and not achieve my goal. My quads and calves were definitely worn out by now and were getting that painful close to seizing feeling in them.

    I made myself a bargain that I could walk through the aid station at 1.5 to go if I didn't walk any hills up until then. So at 1.5 I took a cola and walked a few seconds then I made my way down hill toward the 1 mile to go marker. A nice spectator took my cup for me as I didn't want to litter. It felt good to be closing in on the finish and I got my final boost of energy. I was very careful here as you cross some highway ramps and I didn't want my day to end by getting hit while not paying attention.

    With about .5 miles to go I spotted SG and he ran with me to the finish. This pumped me up as we chatted about how DM did (8:14!). The volunteers at 0.5 to go shouted hey we keep seeing you all over to SG and I told them he was out picking up hot ladies. He laughed and said he still had one ugly mug (SH) to go back for. I let SG know I might get loud at the finish so he pulled up and let me hammer in. I knew I had my goal now it was time to try and finish under 8:35. I sneaked in just under at 8:34:58 pumping my fist in the air.

    I was glad to be done. The day was long and that towpath just really takes it out of you. On a trail the hills let you walk a bit and you get to change up your footing, but on that towpath you just grind it out. Very tough, much more so the second time around. I'll have a special place for JFK because it was my first, but I don't think I will be joining the "500" mile club anytime soon. 50 might not be my distance. Only time will tell I guess.

    Thanks for all the well wishes. I definitely think I had some outside support helping me to chug along later in the day when I would have much rather walked. I am really happy that I exceeded my super secret goal, mostly because I think that means that I have a sub 3:25 marathon in me for sure. Originally I had thought I might go run a marathon in December depending on recovery, but I think I am going to take it easy. My body has earned a break. Took two days off and tonight I will do yoga. Tomorrow I will probably swim. I'm just going to play it by ear. Everything is feeling fine other than my toe. My right knee hurt pretty bad when I got done but has since been fine. I'm already walking down the stairs semi normal again. I'm glad as I really hoped the higher mileage training would result in a quick recovery this time around.


    15.5 AT 2:58 (11:29 PACE)
    26.3 Towpath 4:15 (9:44 Pace)
    8.4 Road 1:21 (9:40 pace)
    Final Time 8:34:58 (10:16 pace)
    Place 159 out of 1079, 25 out of ~250 women, 5 out of 36 Age group

    2007 JFK 50.2 Mile Race Report-C&O Canal Towpath

    Be sure to read Part 1 here

    I tried to fall into a groove as I headed onto the towpath. I was a little worried about the shoes since I had stupidly washed my trail shoes in the machine after running with scissors, I figured they'd be fine for 15.5 miles but I wasn't sure how they would hold up for 50.2. With 1,000 plus runners though odds are you are going to miss your crew every now and again and it definitely was not the end of my race if I had to wear my mizuno ascends since they are pretty lightweight and feel more like road shoes than any other trail shoes I've tried.

    I quickly fell into a comfortable pace and just tried to assess my body as I moved forward on the towpath. I was very happy to get off the path so quickly and was hoping I'd have a good day on the towpath as well. DM caught me within the first mile of the towpath. She went flying by. I had looked at the first mile marker and knew I was somewhere under 10 minute pace and I did not want to go any faster so I encouraged her and watched her go.

    The runners were pretty spread out now. I just focused on myself and enjoying the view of the river. I noted that the trail seemed to have more leaves on it than last year and I wanted to be sure I didn't lose too much focus and take a spill on the trail.

    It wasn't long before I was heading into the first towpath aid station. I saw SH ahead of me and called out to him as I grabbed some fruit and a sip of gatorade. The aid station timed perfectly with my 1 minute walk break so when the watch went off I told SH I was sure I'd see him again. He was limping, said he stepped on a rock, I laughed and told him I thought I'd probably stepped on 300 of them on the trail as I pushed ahead.

    The pace felt comfortable and for some reason I decided to keep track of the towpath miles and my approximate pace. I knew as long as I kept to a 10 minute pace I'd have a shot at 8:40 so I was looking to do 4:20 on the towpath (26.3 miles). Well mentally counting down miles is probably not the best tactic. It works fine when you are doing what you want but can start to get to you when you slow down or you start to think about how many miles you have left. I did my best not to play too many mind games and mostly just watched splits to make sure they stayed below 10 but there were many miles where I noted how many miles I had left on the towpath and later miles where I noted how many miles I had left to the finish.

    I didn't find too many running buddies this year. I passed many trekkers and would give an encouraging cheer "Great Job," "Looking Good," or "Have a great race." There were a few runners I went back and forth with, a few pulled away, but most fell behind me. I passed quite a few women which surprised me. One gentleman I passed was not impressed by my encouragement and retorted "It will be a good job when I finish standing." Guess he wasn't having the best of days. I remarked to a runner near me that I'd still encourage everyone because it's better to make 20 peoples days and piss off one guy then not to make anyone's day. I ran with him for a bit and he pulled away when I had to take a walk break. I was doing really well with my 20/1 plan again this year and didn't want to mess around with it. During the early walk breaks I would try to eat a peanut butter cracker. Later I just made sure to sip some water while I power walked. Many of my walk breaks fell in line with the aid stations which was good but discouraging when you started to look forward to more walking.

    Around mile 25 I caught up to TJ Hawk. I didn't even know he knew me but he talked to me for a bit commenting on how I was having a great year and that I looked strong. He asked me my goal and I replied that I would really like to break 8:40. At 25 we were at 4:25 and he remarked that I was right on target. It was nice to be half way done and know that 8:40 was still possible. I still felt strong here and I pulled away after the aid station.

    One of my goals was to make it through the entire race without taking any pain meds. I remembered having to pop ibuprofen before I even got off the trail last year and I have just made a decision this year that I don't want to mask my pain. Surprisingly other than the regular residual soreness of 25 miles of running I wasn't feeling too bad. Nothing was standing out other than my left big toe feeling a bit numb. It was cold and I had had the same pair of shoes on for the entire day so I figured that was pretty normal.

    At the mile 27 station I again kept an eye out for Rootsrunner as I thought he might be there. I didn't see him and figured that I probably was just running the wrong pace to catch them at all during the day. I thought that his other runners must be near to me but wasn't sure at all. So I was pleasantly surprised to see him under a big bridge around mile 28. At that point I was feeling good still and the shoes felt good I told him I'd just get the shoes at mile 38. But he encouraged me to take them now in case I missed them again. I got the shoes on and grabbed a piece of Mojito Mint Orbitz gum to chew on for awhile. I thanked them and moved along. They let me know that MT and the other Second Sole runners were right behind me. It was nice to know that everyone was running so well.

    The next 10 miles were a bit of a struggle. I was keeping pace but the miles seemed long and I just wasn't feeling very perky. The towpath just seemed to stretch on forever and I kept myself occupied thinking about the aid station at mile 38 where I would get to refuel. I had starting hitting the soup at mile 27 and was excited to have some tomato soup at 34. It tasted great and surprisingly goes well with mint mojito gum :) I took my first swig of cola at this station hoping that the caffeine would improve my energy.

    One of the ladies I had gone back and forth with for awhile commented that this was her first 50 and it was much harder than a 50k. She said all her friends on her team were ahead of her and she couldn't understand since she normally ran with them. I went for empathy but didn't really know what to say to her. She eventually pulled away from me for good so she must have started to feel better!

    I kept trucking along on my 20/1 plan which was pretty close to a walk break every 2 miles, actually a little farther as I was still managing sub 10s. When I finally arrived at mile 38 I was excited to take a brief break and refuel. I still was feeling down so I grabbed some extra energy. I took a few apple slices, a pb and j, a cup of cola, and some soup and started walking.

    I ran a little ways and saw Rootsrunner and asked for some caffeine as I was still not perking up. I grabbed a can and ran with it for the next two miles. Right after I left them the sun came up and my energy levels seemed to increase dramatically so I decided I didn't need it. I noted that I had been letting my head hang to the side, something I haven't done since high school track which is a sure sign I am tuckered out and I was glad I was coming around.

    As we neared the end of the towpath Rootsrunner's friend LW passed me. She was feeling good and looked strong. I passed her going through the aid station and let her know to grab some extra grub as we were about to climb a big hill. I grabbed a handful of jelly beans and took an electrolyte pill as I had noticed my face was salty, I would have given someone quite a bit of money for a wet washcloth to wipe my face. Took another drag of cola and some soup and made my way onto the road.

    I finished the towpath miles in 4:15:47 and was ecstatic to see my overall time was 7:13:50 meaning I could run 10 minute miles the rest of the way and finish under 8:40. I knew the race wasn't over yet but I felt good and I knew 10 minute miles were doable.

    In general on the towpath this year it just felt a lot lonelier. I didn't run with many people and it even seemed there weren't as many cheerleaders along the way. Although there were a few that were fantastic! I am guessing it gets more crowded the slower you go as there are more people running 9 hour+ than under. It was cool at one point I passed a few trekkers and cheered for them and the one remembered me from last year. Another gentleman was really kind stating that he wished he could run as fast as me and hoped that I'd have a great race. All the friendly faces I did see more than made up for any down points I had when I was alone on the trail.

    It was hard to encourage myself to keep up the pace when I wasn't feeling great. I think last year was easier because I didn't know what was ahead whereas this year at every point I knew exactly just how far I had to go and I knew in order to meet my goal I couldn't slack.

    2007 JFK 50.2 Mile Race Report-Appalachian Trail

    This may be a long one folks, or it may not, it will be hard to surpass the report from last year. You can only do your first 50 once and let me tell you the second time around is definitely different!

    So here's the first entry of (hopefully) 3.

    Started the morning off right with a 4:30 AM wake up call. I actually woke up at 4:20 on my own and hopped in the shower. Helped MT get her stuff around and we headed to the gas station to try and locate some food. Got back to the hotel and thankfully the staff was up early and I was able to score some milk for my cheerios. Had my tea and cereal and then we were off to the start.

    Missed most of the pre race meeting this time around while we waited in the bathroom line. We cut it close with a last minute porta potty stop but were lined up and ready to go a few seconds before the start. Timing worked out well as it was cold and standing around at the start would have sucked. I didn't have my watch ready when the gun went off so I figured I would be about 20 seconds over for the day from what my watch said. I had a super secret goal to hit 8:40 and I knew it might be close at the end of the day and I didn't want to take the watch for granted.

    Took us about 20 seconds to cross the start and we were headed towards the Appalachian trail. MT and I were running together and our goal was to jog up the first 2 mile hill like I did last year. I didn't want to waste energy but I also didn't want to get stuck behind slower trail runners once we hit the rocky single track of the trail. We both were feeling good and made good time up the hill. Somewhere a little over 20 minutes. As we hit the top and moved onto the trail I took the lead. We wound through a mile or so of Appalachian. It seemed like we had placed ourselves well as there wasn't much jockeying going on. After a mile or so of trail you hit the first aid table around 3.5 miles. I grabbed a sip of Gatorade and we moved onto the paved section of the AT. This is a long rolling uphill to get you back onto the real trail. This year it seemed a lot longer. I had remembered hitting the steepest parts of the path pretty quickly but you do some rolling miles first and then you walk up to the top. Most everyone was walking here. I knew there would be plenty of time for running later and we power walked to the top and onto the trail.

    Met some nice guys through here. A few Cleveland locals and some Michigan fans. Met a birthday boy who swore to us when he got done he would be eating three birthday cakes :) I swear it's the people that make these races so much fun.

    We got to mile 5.5 or so in around 56 minutes which I thought was similar to last year. We hopped on the trail and other than one guy who went flying by "on your left." It was pretty easy going. At times I felt like I was holding back but I figured better safe than sorry. I wanted to feel like I was running strong but not putting in a "race" effort. I am still not quite sure how one should feel if racing a 50 but I figured I shouldn't ever feel like I was pushing pace. The group thinned out as we headed towards Gathland at mile 9.7. The trail was a bit rockier then I remembered but I reveled in how amazing it was that I could run over this terrain and how fast my brain must be processing all the "information" the trail was throwing at it. I also find it neat to think that although over 1,000 people would run this race, all of us were likely to take a different approach throughout the day ending in none of us running the exact same course. Kind of a cheesy metaphor for life. Hey I was on the trail in the cold, it's okay to be cheesy I guess.

    We picked up a couple of runners from Wyoming who talked more than me (I know hard to believe). They talked about all kinds of things entertaining us on our way to Gathland. One was a taco store manager. He rattled off Taco John's slogan ad for us as he almost bit it. I guess that's why I should keep my trap shut on the trail, but I felt comfortable talking and staying focused on the task at hand. These guys were wild, talking about running on drugs and crazy goth hashers they had met. Definitely an entertaining duo.

    Made it to Gathland and after smiling for the photographers had my bottle refilled and grabbed the only nutrition I could find which was a cliff bar. I grabbed one for myself and one for MT as we headed back up the trail. The hill wasn't as steep as I remembered but still a good chance to walk and eat. I was fairly certain we were going faster than last year and I felt great so I was excited. Most of the way here was clear and we could run at our own pace. Once again there were sections where I felt I could run faster but the way wasn't clear and there weren't any real good opportunities for passing. We weren't talking much through here. Tried to stay focused. I pulled ahead on the downs and even ran some of the shorter ups that I normally would walk. I felt strong and I figured I should take advantage of my high points during the day.

    I knew we were doing well when we passed our first trekker long before the switch backs. Last year we had seen our first early starters heading down into the switch backs so I figured we were doing well. As we headed into a rockier descent I knew we were less than 2 miles from the bottom of the trail. I was stoked. I took it easy on the decline only passing one older gentleman. I got to the switch backs and felt so much stronger than last year. I actually was held up this time as a long line of runners were moving slower than me. I just took my time around corners so that I could jog to catch up on each straight away. As we neared the bottom I saw my girl DM leading the pack in bright pink. She looked great, but I think she was very happy to be off the trail.

    I passed DM getting off the trail and called out to Rootsrunner to try and switch out my shoes. In the mass of people I never found him and just assumed he must be up at the next aid station. I cruised through the last section of trail and watched two runners tweak their ankles. Thankfully I made it through the trail unscathed again this year. I glanced at my watch knowing that to have a shot at 8:40 I needed to be off around 3 hours. I was happy to see that coming out of the aid station I was at 2:57. I was excited as I grabbed an orange slice, a piece of banana and headed onto the towpath.

    I'm Done!

    50.2 miles in the bank. I did great and I don't feel too much worse for wear. I don't want to spoil the end for those that like the anticipation so I'll leave the details and finish time for the race report. Now I am headed out for Mexican and Margarita's!

    Thank you so much for all the well wishes, you guys must have been driving me on today!

    On my way out

    I'm half packed and I have 30 minutes to get wholly packed. But I slept for 10 glorious hours last night and it was so worth it!

    Thanks for all the well wishes! I hope it goes just as well as last year. I know one things for sure I am going to have a blast.

    See you guys in 50.2 miles ;)

    Taper Madness and Race Wardrobe

    So for those that are curious I did have somewhat of a method to my taper this year. Last year I really didn't as I hadn't had a single week over 50 miles due to ITB problems.

    I don't know where I picked up this little principle from but this is what I went with this year. Three weeks out I had my highest week of the training block. I hit 60+ miles and did my longest long run of the season (60k-40 miles). Two weeks out I was supposed to aim for 80% of my highest week but bailed on an easy 5 miler and was a little bit short. I did my last long run which was 19.5 miles (about half of my longest long run). 1 week out I did 50% of my highest week at 30 miles with my longest run at 10 miles (half the previous weeks long run) (are you seeing the trend?). And now we are at race week and I am aiming for the whole week to be 60 or less, which equals not a whole heck of a lot during the week :) Hence the taper madness!

    I need to pack tonight. I will try my best not to pack my entire running wardrobe this time around. Although it is tempting we all know that when it comes down to it there really are only so many options you actually need come race day. My packing list last year was extensive. This year I am going to try and be a bit more minimalistic about it. JFK is a very well supported run and Rootsrunner will be out crewing for some friends so I am sure any issues that arise will be taken care of and I don't actually need to carry around a pharmacy in my waist pouch. And though I am tempted to take a camera this time around I am going to nix it as I know that would be the factor that would seal the deal on me falling on the AT and busting the thing. I just need to decide if I can get by with the pockets in my handheld, shorts or Capri's, and a lightweight jacket or if I still need the waist pouch. I am tempted to leave the pouch at home as I know it will make my lower backs life a lot easier. But maybe I will just throw it in my "crew" bag in case of emergency.

    Since I'll have shades I am leaning towards no hat. But I still could decide to do a visor or cap. I'll have to see how the short hair looks in my Wild Bill cap tonight. I don't want people to mistake me for being Wild Bill if you know what I mean.

    Temperatures are looking to be 32-47 and a bit cloudy, which means layers.

    I don't really know what I want to wear this year. Last year I had my awesome pink Wild Bill shirt. But that shirt has certainly seen better days and while I like my blue Wild Bill shirt I don't think blue is the color I want to wear at JFK. I want to look peppy as well as be peppy! I know I will be wearing my orange New York shades that Tony picked up for me so I want to make sure they look good with whatever I choose.

    I am leaning towards my Nike Capri's for bottoms but will pack my pearl izumi shorts as a back up. The main worry with the Capri's is they do not have a liner and since all my shorts do I am not sure which pair of ladies garments I should opt to wear for minimal leg chafing. I'm drawn to the Capri's though as they will protect my leg skin from the wind and on the off chance that I do bite it on the AT they might protect me from permanent scars, plus I survived my last 20 mile run in them with no issues and they look good!

    As for my jacket I'd like to wear the Nike jacket I got in San Fran but as it only has one pocket so I am not sure it will work. It does look good though and I think the weight would be perfect. I've got a back up in the jacket I wore last year, but again it is blue...I could always do a long sleeve instead of a jacket and wear my pink Nike top, but then I lose precious pocket space.

    I'll have to think about the short sleeved top. It will be too cold for my cute tank so I need to decide between a few of my hardcore ultra tops or my few fashionable tops. Hardcore ultra tops give you something to talk about on the trail. But fashionable gets more cheers from the few crowds. Decisions decisions.

    The one thing I do have decided is shoes. I'll wear my Mizuno Ascends on the trail and change into my Mizuno Wave Riders for the towpath and roads. This worked well for me last year and hopefully everything will go just as smoothly with the switch as it did last year too.

    13 hours until my next run. I can't wait!

    Taper Mood and other Randomness

    I swear I am usually a pretty chipper person, but I am admittedly a passive aggressor and a bit over emotional sometimes (okay a lot of the time). Add taper into that and you get a downright cranky lady! And I've only had one day off from running, aack!

    There's been a few kinks in the JFK plans and I am not being rational about it at all. I need to just get over it and move on but I swear taper is making me a psycho!

    I am looking very much forward to the good adrenaline vibe and hopefully some good mood endorphins that will come from tonight's brief run and my only other run on Thursday. In the meantime try to be nice to me so I don't bite your head off ;)

    If you are a runner and have not seen Runner Susan's recent organization effort you need to go check it out. I am so jealous.

    JFK goals are floating around in my head. A lot depends on MT and whether or not we try to stay together. I'm leaning towards sub 9 though which may mean I need to break out on my own at some point if MT isn't feeling it. I'd like to do each section of the course a bit faster than last year and as long as I don't fall on the AT I am confident that I am in shape for it. It would be nice to blaze through the 50 and add another PR to the years tally. With no recent marathon race effort I have no idea what a realistic time goal should be. I feel confident I could run a 3:30 right now which is why I arbitrarily picked sub 9. Marathon*2 plus 2 hours is what they say for JFK and it was spot on for me last year. I guess I will have to privately consider what I think my best marathon effort would be right now to speculate on a best case scenario "A" goal for the 50. I'd rather exceed goal than fall short though so 9 will probably remain the realistic A goal. Indecision at its best. None of this speculation really matters on such a long day, I just need to listen to my body and have fun, but it would be nice to have an idea in mind to compare to throughout the day.

    On that note I need to go run!

    Yoga and Diet

    So I had a few questions/comments that I felt I should address in a full post rather than the comment session.

    Yoga- Specifically is it worth giving up one training hour a week?

    Hells Yes! Doing yoga has made my core stronger, has helped my balance, has kept both hips in better alignment, and has just plain helped me to take a moment and relax and focus on my body and how it feels when it isn't running. For those that are wary of giving up those calorie busting training hours I'd recommend something that mixes in yoga like qualities, like Pilate's or perhaps a fitness class that also takes 15 minutes to address flexibility. Find a class that is a bit more laid back at first, laugh at your inflexibility and (if you are like me) weak upper body, and then work to increase flexibility and strengthen your weak areas. Your body will thank you for it! If you are a bit shy to go to class check out this video podcast available on I-tunes, I haven't had a chance to try it out yet but have previewed a few of the videos and it looks like the teacher does a great job explaining everything!

    Diet- How the heck did I get from 130+ to a consistent 118

    I think a bit of this is trial and error. My body seems to go in cycles. I start a new activity and my body responds by losing weight and buffering for 6-12 months then I gain again. Start new cycle, add new activity etc.

    This time around though I tried a few things that have stuck and I think have been key to my success. First I cut out alcohol for a month and afterwards stuck mostly to red wine and limited my intake. Second stopped drinking coffee and switched to tea. I am a sugar fiend when I drink coffee so I think this was probably a major factor. Third for about two weeks I counted calories. I used some free site and did my best to count every single calorie that was going into my mouth. I calculated my basic calorie needs if I did nothing and what I needed if I worked out for an hour each day. ( I wish Wil would have had up this nifty equation back then I could have been even more accurate with it) I adjusted my portions a bit when I realized I was just plain eating too much if I wanted to lose a few pounds. I cannot count calories everyday so I use those two weeks as a reference and just try to be true to the amount I can eat. I know if I have a harder training day I can eat a bit more, light day I eat a bit less. Fourth I have consistently been waking up in time to sit down and have a bowl of cereal (usually cheerios), a cup of tea, and a glass of OJ every morning. I firmly believe starting my day off with some calories in the bank keeps me from craving junk later.

    Another thing I try to do is eat my meals right after running when possible. I think this is important for muscle recovery, but I also think your body is more likely to actually use these calories at this time then store them for later in your donut.

    Other factors that are probably helping me now: Strength training, 2-3 servings of fruit every day, swimming, take the stairs every day, oh yeah and running a lot

    I'm a big believer in listening to what my body craves. If I constantly have a taste for sweet potato fries, there is a reason for it. I know that a craving for ice cream every night probably isn't healthy, but if I want a tin roof I have it and just make sure to have an extra glass of milk the next day in case I need more dairy.

    Since April I have not varied from my weight more than from 116-120. This month I have been struggling to stay at 118 because of all the long runs and have been low. I'm sure Thanksgiving will get me right back up there though :) Going into an ultra I think I'd rather be heavy than light so this week I will be sure to listen to all my cravings!


    Dishes Are Not Fun

    Slaving away during taper seems uncalled for!

    Paivi does not like dish washing gloves!

    Looking for a Laugh?

    For those of you who have not read Steve in a Speedo's blog you are in for a treat!

    His most recent post is really quite special. It's mainly for triathletes, but I think the runners and non runners alike can enjoy this most recent post too. On top of being hilarious he is just a great guy, have fun reading about his triathlon adventures. His wife Pharmie is awesome too.

    And if you are not into humor maybe you are into photography, he offers up some of that too! Seriously the guys talented.

    Racking up the Miles

    So I haven't been talking about training much and have focused this blog lately more on fun race reports. But I think before a big event like this it is good to go back and look at all I have accomplished this year and hopefully that will be the key that gets me through JFK a little faster than last year and with a little less recovery time.

    So let's do a little comparison:

    Total Miles/Training:

    In 2006 I ran 1091 total miles, I cycled or rode on the trainer 927 miles, and I swam 58 miles (20 all in January)

    This year so far I have run 1483 miles, cycled 166 miles, and swam 18 miles

    New training for this year included weekly yoga sessions for half the year, it has been sporadic lately but still at least once a month.

    We can see a major switch in focus!

    Also good to note is I have not had any serious injuries this year and last year I was plagued with ITB issues in the fall.

    Long Race Days:

    2006 I completed 3 marathons (Boston, NCTM, and Chicago), One 50K (YUT-C), JFK 50 miler, and a Half Ironman (Steelhead)

    This year so far I have completed four marathons (Cinci, Cleveland, NCTM, and San Fran), Three 50ks (BT50K (winter and summer) and Punxsy), and One Fat Ass 60K

    Weekly Mileage:

    In 2006 I only ran one week over 50 miles and that was the week of JFK, other than that week there was one week over 40 miles. I had three full weeks which I did not run at all!

    This year I have run 5 weeks that were over 50 miles including one 60+ week, in addition to those weeks I have run 7 weeks above 40, My lowest week was 6.5 miles and no weeks completely off!

    Top Performances:

    2006 I pr'ed in the half marathon at River Run, Ran Boston in 3:31, Did my first half ironman, and my first 50k, and 50 miler.

    2007: PR 5 miles at Bedford, Adult PR 5K at NERC Series 20:17 (second fastest 5k ever), PR 4 mile at Winking Lizard, Ran every 50k this year 20-30 minutes faster than the previous one maxing out at 5:05 at Punxsy, 3:29 at Pig not a PR but probably the hardest I have ever worked in a marathon

    I'm not sure how you compare the two years. Obviously I haven't done any triathlons this year and doubt I would do very well in one with my minimal bike mileage and not much swimming. But I think it's obvious that my running has improved drastically. Not only am running well at the ultra distances but I am also running well in races 5k-5 miles. I am going to have to credit it with a slight drop in weight (down from around 130 to 118) and more running miles. Also smarter training. Now that I am adding strength training and pool time back into the mix I am hoping next year will be even better. But first I have a 50 mile race to attend to and perhaps give one more go at an additional PR in a shorter distance.

    For those wondering here is my weekly mileage the past few months (since I made a conscious effort to up mileage, don't laugh I used to swear by 25-30 mpw marathon training, so this is a move up for me, I know it isn't crazy but it was a good jump for me, I'm happy that I am pretty consistently hitting 40 mpw) with major long runs (20+) or races highlighted

    Starting the week of June 4th:

    43 (23 mile long run)
    53 (50k race)
    42 (50k race)
    35 (26.2 race)
    50 (22 mile long run)
    40 (26.2 race)
    63 (60k long run)
    35 (20 mile long run)
    This week will be 30
    And next week should be 60!

    Since this is all pretty grab bag here's a few answers to comments:

    Hail: Yes I run in hail, unless it is larger than a dime I'm out running. I figure if it hails at JFK I have to withstand it for 9 hours or so, what's a 6 mile run in it? I'm a firm believer that if you dress correctly you can run in pretty much any weather. Hail would require a hat and a lightweight jacket/shell and pants!

    Cycling: I'm not afraid of cycling per se, I actually really enjoy riding my bike. I think I just got turned off it after the half ironman. 56 miles on my bike with no stops for beer and chips is not my style. If I want to exert myself for hours I can run, oh and I can (and have!) drink/drank beer and ate chips while running in a race! I still love a good training ride with friends and I will definitely be getting back into sprints and international tri's to take a breather from run training every now and again, there's just something about triathlons that draws me. Long bike rides while training for an Ironman just isn't one of those things though! I do think I'd like to do a century with TNT down the road, but those are so different from races! You get to stop and eat every so often, no pressure to ride in some crazy paceline. I think I am just a cycling slacker! I suppose when I slow down on the run I will be forced to work harder on the bike :) But let's hope that is quite a few years down the road!

    All right enough rambling. Hopefully the next few posts will be more focused and we can get down to JFK details!

    Another Sore Bodies Class in the Bag

    I figured I should get in one last class before JFK and knew any later than today would have me still sorer than hell for the race. Suprisingly though I am getting stronger and my muscles do not seem quite so angry with me after each visit! Don't get me wrong last Friday I woke up thinking I was having chest pains and it took me until lunch where Daisy reminded me of the gazillion push ups we did for me to remember the cause. But today I did almost all of the exercises (had to bail on a few of the Bosu ball crunches, I swear our teacher is trying to snap my abs in half!) and my arms are fully functional rather than seemingly hard to lift or type! Progress! I was especially happy that I survived all of the plank exercises using the upside down Bosu ball, these killed me a few weeks ago.

    I would highly recommend this type of class to strengthen up for running. I love the music and the fact that I am lifting weights without sitting on some bench where all the guys stare at you! The teacher does a great job of keeping the whole workout varied, mixing in cardio and working pretty much every muscle in the body. I think doing this routine once or twice a week will be key in keeping injury free and getting stronger in the late miles of the marathons and ultras!

    Today was lonely as Daisy had to work and the other regular was gone too. Hopefully the teacher didn't mind it only being me. It was well worth my time! I find it so weird how I can push through so much with my running but can really struggle on some of these weight sets. Not only is this making my body stronger I think it will make me mentally stronger too!

    Looking forward to an easy 3 miler tomorrow then I am pampering myself with a 15 minute hot tub session and some light stretching since yoga class is cancelled.

    Just 8 days until JFK!

    Pool Time

    So I made my fourth trip to the pool since joining the gym mid October yesterday morning. It has been nice to finally add in some cross training. I might be a triathlete yet some day ;) Oh wait that involves getting back on the bike...

    I've mostly been goofing off and just getting in some laps and drills. Yesterday I finally got my ass in gear and did a short interval set. I ended up with 1400 meters and was really pleased with my effort on the set of 7*100. I've never done my workouts in meters so I can't compare to my yard splits but I don't think I have lost too much this summer and fall.

    Warm Up:
    200 free
    200 pull
    100 kick
    50 catch up drill
    50 slow arm recovery drill

    Main Set
    7*100 on a 2 minute send off (1:48, 1:49, 1:48, 1:48, 1:46, 1:44, 1:40)

    Cool Down
    100 Free

    I decided the set on the fly. I wanted a 30 minute work out so I just did as many 100s as I could until time was up. I was aiming for steady effort, not too hard and only pushed it on the last 100, I was very pleased with the workout. It was a great way to start the day!

    Finished the day with a 6 mile run in what looked like it was going to be miserable weather. We're talking all your running buds calling you to see if you are still going weather. But when we arrived the wind and hail died down and other than being a bit slick and extremely dark the weather was pretty good. It will be hard to settle for four easy miles next week at this run as I am really starting to enjoy my hilly paced efforts.

    Left to my own Devices

    David took a week off work last week and Thursday headed down to Cinci to visit some friends and his sister. I had a party on Saturday to go to and couldn't take off any work so I stayed home. David is the chef around here so when he leaves my nutrition goes down the drain. Thursday night became starch night with Pierogies and Sweet Potato Fries, Friday was a whole box of Mac and Cheese, and thankfully Saturday I had the party and got left over hamburgers to hold me over until hubby got back last night! Our fridge is seriously empty and I am seriously broke so I made do with what I had :)

    I think I took taper a bit too seriously last week and didn't leave the house Sunday despite knowing that I should go out and top the week off with 5-7 miles to hit 80% of my max week. Meh I ran 19.5 Saturday and danced for hours Saturday night, that has to count for some miles right?

    I did manage to catch up on laundry and most of the dishes as well as hand sew a huge tear in our good sheets. So you can just upgrade me from domestic dunce to domestic diva now ;)

    The girls have come out of their shells and are running all around the house. They spent their first day outside the office alone yesterday while I was at work and seemed to have weathered it well. Both adore Monte and will sidle up to him and rub against him any chance they get. He doesn't seem to love it but he doesn't run away either and he is constantly chirping and meowing at them to follow him downstairs. We had tons of fun folding clothes and putting new sheets on the bed. Amenti unfortunately found out about the slow drain on the tub when she went on a romp and ended up drenched. She's recovered nicely though and Ihatetoast has pointed out that we may be able to convert her. Check out Just Keep Swimming, and Encore.

    I am going to try and milk this taper. It seems I haven't had a really light week in quite awhile. I am feeling much better prepared for the 50 miler this year and I am hoping that means a quick and painless recovery :) We'll see. I've still got to do 30 or so miles this week and one more hard bodies class before the real light stuff hits next week.

    Not too happy about waking up to snow this morning, nor coming home in the dark last night at 6pm. I'm hoping having joined the gym will help with my regular winter blues this year. If not it may be time to purchase one of those gadgets that emits natural light. I love my sunshine! Now I am off to the pool to milk the ridiculous fee I am forking over every month to get my workout on.

    It's definitely time to clean out the closet.

    They love new places to explore! All three of them got in on the adventure.

    Running with Scissors- Part 2

    With my gels in my pocket and a cookie for the "road" I headed out and up the hill onto the red "loop." The Red loop at Mohican is actually part of one large loop that is half red and half green. Initially the red loop wasn't even a real trail. You just trekked up this large hill into the woods. If it weren't for Roy's markers I would have been clueless. We detoured around a group of downed trees and eventually found an actual trail to run on. We had a large group at this point with some Ultra veterans. It was fun listening to them all chat. Eventually we all chose our own paces. I pulled ahead with TC and Rob.

    At some point Rob tied a shoe and then came blazing by us never to be seen again. He must have been feeling pretty good! TC and I took our time. At this point the goal was to just run steady and keep our spirits and energy high. TC just lost a kitty too so we talked about our cats and the new kittens and how hard it is to let go of one of your animals. I was worried we would both get emotional but I think it was good for both of us to air our feelings. Sometimes it takes getting it all out to really feel at peace with those types of decisions.

    The red and green trails included a lot of bridle trail. We saw a ton of horses out on the course. One horse bucked their rider so we came upon a lady on horse following the horse that had jetted. We tried to help but the horse was not having any of it. We eventually found the bucked rider and she didn't seem to thrilled to see us. I found out later the horse had bucked her when a runner scared it. We felt bad but TC and I were very careful every time we came upon horses asking if we could pass and which side we should walk on. I don't want to mess around with an animal that large!

    The trail on the red and green was pretty good footing. We traversed some (freezing cold) streams and got our feet quite muddy at points but for the most part we were able to run at a good pace. Lots of hills to walk up but we slowly made our way through the forest. I was surprised at how good I felt. Other than my hips being a little sore I was no worse for wear despite having been on my feet for quite some time. The weather was absolutely perfect. It got a little warm around 1 or 2 but then we would wind our way into the pines and the temperature would drop back down. TC and I just couldn't believe our luck with the weather. The day would have been a lot different if it had rained or been cold/hot. As it was though we were enjoying every minute of it.

    Before finishing out the red loop we ran into a man with an ironman cap on asking us directions. I noted the ironman cap and wondered which race he had done and then looked closer and realized it was "Jetpack." I had followed his ironman journey on Zen and the Art so it was nice to meet him in person. We let him know Mike wasn't far behind us but that there was a large stream crossing about a mile back with a pile of mud and that he'd be better off waiting for him there than trying to cross it as he was in long pants.

    We said our goodbyes and headed on our way to shortly afterwards reach a book and water stop. I had some pbj and refilled water. Took another trip to the ladies room. I think TC was laughing at me a bit as this was my third or fourth trip but hey at least I wasn't dehydrated. We made our way onto the the green loop and last stretch of the run.

    At some point on the red we both just felt a little off so we had some crackers with peanut butter as we climbed yet another large hill. The crackers hit the spot and I felt better almost immediately. I was really happy I had not completely screwed my day by leaving half my food in the car.

    For some reason I thought it would take us around 8-8 and a half hours to finish up but it ended up being a bit longer. We reached the fire tower around 8 and a half hours and I decided to climb it for the extra bonus 10 minutes if you cut a page from the book at the top. TC passed on the book and I told her I'd try to catch her before the finish. I decided it probably wouldn't be soon that I would be back at Mohican and that I would regret not climbing the tower if I didn't. Plus the fall foliage was amazing and I knew the view from the top would be incredible. It was well worth the climb despite being steep and a bit nerve wracking. It felt like the stairs would never end but eventually they did and I got my page and a few pictures before heading back down.

    I blazed onto the trail and picked up the pace to try and catch TC. I couldn't believe how good I felt for being this far into the day. I only came to one confusing spot where I decided I better go straight despite no sign and luckily I chose correctly. It wasn't long before I heard "Hootie Hoo" from TC up ahead of me. I finally caught up beyond a big hill and we made our way to Covered Bridge. We still had a few big hills to climb and a few wooden bridges before we finally reached covered bridge. We met Roy there and we got some free goodies that Vertical Runner had donated. Then we made our way up the last 1 mile climb to sign in. So 9 and a half hours after we started we had covered 60K in the Mohican Forest.

    I drove TC back down to her car at covered bridge and we shared some trail food with BC, Mike, and Kim. Mike, Kim, and I did a finish photo posing in our best Catra fashion. Then it was time to go eat and head home. I stopped at McDonald's for a burger, fries, and Sundae. It was all delicious! I had started the day driving in the dark and I ended it driving in the dark home. I woke up the next morning to surprisingly fresh legs but took Monday off. Was back at it Tuesday and have since gotten in a 20 mile trail run this weekend. Now I can finally taper for the 50 miler coming up on the 17th!

    Running with Scissors-Part 1

    Run with Scissors was Roy's idea for a fun Fat Ass. A Fat Ass event is basically an ultra run that is more of a training run for the entrants. It does not have any t-shirt, entry fee, or awards. There is typically no aid provided. In this case Roy touted "No fee-no awards-poorly marked and inaccurately measured with little aid and numerous cold a** stream crossings as well as the potential for really bad weather." In addition to providing the course markings, some water stops, and some pb and j, Roy set out books in a few locations from which you were required to cut (not tear) a page from with your scissors to prove that you had done the loop.

    This Sunday I made the long trek in the dark down to Mohican Forest. Stayed out a bit later than planned Saturday and I was extremely groggy in the morning. I was running a few minutes late and for the first time in a long time exceeded the speed limit on my way down to the park. It took me about 2 hours and I arrived in the middle of the RDs course explanation. I still had to put in contacts and get my food/gear organized, sign in and buy some scissors (proceeds were donated to a charity of the RDs choice).

    I knew that there would be some local ultra bloggers out and was excited to see Rob pull into the lot just behind me. I later found out he had forgotten his scissors and money and needed to go back home before arriving. I knew that Kim and Mike were likely an hour ahead of us on the course as they had mentioned an early start to be allowed to travel at a more leisurely pace.

    I grabbed my stuff and left most of my food in the car figuring I would grab more after the orange loop. Being a Mohican virgin I did not realize we actually would not be back to the start until the end and that the covered bridge was actually where each loop ended. Big time rookie mistake. Of course I was completely unaware of this for about the first 10 miles or so. During this time I ran with Rob through the Mohican Forest. We ran at a good clip and chatted about life in general, blogging, our families. It wasn't long before we came to the first book and water stop. We refilled our water bottles cut a page out of the book and headed back up hill into the woods. I decided to try some of the luna gummies I got in San Fran. They were watermelon flavor, and they were all right. Not my first choice in nutrition but a step above shot blocks for sure. As we neared the campground I mentioned that when we got back to the cars I'd like to get some of my real nutrition and change into my new montrail shoes for the blue loop. This is when Rob informed me that the cars were going to be a mile straight uphill out of the way of the loop.

    This was not good. I had scoped out the course and knew that once I was out on the red loop there was no looking back. I was either doing 17-20 miles or 37-40 and nothing in between. There was no way I could run 37+ miles on one pack of luna gummies and water. Shortly after this realization we spotted Kim in the distance. I was excited to find her and we soon caught up to Mike too. Rob and I decided to run with our blogger buddies on the blue loop. I was sure keeping up the quicker pace combined with light nutrition would kill me. Lucky for me Kim the trail goddess had tons of goodies in her car and she hooked me up. There would be no starvation for me :) This put my mind at ease and as long as I felt good on blue I was going to tackle the whole 60k (or so) option.

    So we eventually dragged ourselves away from the cars and goodies and back onto the trail. This section of trail was more like forging through the woods. The trail headed along the river and then straight up a gorge towards the headwaters. This was pretty fun. I don't know how you would run through here but we trekked our way up to the top where you had to climb up a series of roots. The trail marker said you had to take the right path here but everyone but Mike went left. I knew I wouldn't live it down if I "cut" the course so I followed Mike.

    I thought these were the pretty views for the day but shortly after we are sliding downhill towards a gorgeous cavern with a trickling waterfall. Literally sliding, I was too sissy to climb down.

    (If you click on the pic to view full res you can see my scissors behind my pink handheld)

    By this time TC and BC had caught up to us so we had quite a big group travelling through the blue. This may be the shortest loop at around 4 miles but it definitely had the most character! We got back to the car and ate some more goodies. This time I took advantage of TCs PB and crackers and trail mix. Had a salt pill and refilled my water bottles. The next loop would be around 21 miles so I took two gels with me.