Monday, November 25, 2013

Secret Santa Sock Swap

Wanted to pass along the info for Third Time's a Charm Runner's Secret Santa Sock Swap.  I participated last year & it was a lot of fun!  Plus, we all know I have an addiction love to buy socks and I LOVE to give people gifts, so this is right up my alley!  It's fun, simple & easy!!  Let me know if you sign up!  I just did!!

(I used a lot of exclamation points in this post, so you can tell I'm all giggly and excited about it!!!!)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wildcat 50k Race Recap

Going in this last weekend (ok, 2 weekends ago...yeah, it's taken me that long to get this finished) I kept thinking of Wildcat 50k as just a run and not really a race because my goal was to just finish the miles.  It's a great run, put on by a great person for a great cause, not to mention being surround by some really great people all day.  This was going to be my third year in running this course.  If you want to read my previous race reports you can do so 2012 and 2011.  Even though it's outdated, my slideshow is worth reposting to give you an idea of the trail that I ran on.

You can also see a bunch of pictures from the race director HERE or just check out the event facebook page:  Wildcat 50k for lots of other info on the race.  I tend to stress the type of course that this event is run on because it's not easy & very challenging.  I'm fairly certain that I could run a flat course in a much faster time.  However between my lack of training on trails (a gravel country road is about as trail-ish as I ever get) and trails with this type of elevation and incline, not to mention stairs thrown in there mid course, it really impacts my performance.  On one hand it's nice to challenge myself and change things up, even if for 1 or 2 races a year.

So going into this race time was not a goal or issue.  Mostly because I just wanted to run and also because I can't expect a good finishing time (at least not compared to my best known paces which are often completed on flat courses).  Run & have fun...I can do that.  The weather was absolutely wonderful that day.  It did start out chilly.  I was prepared with plenty of keep me warm layers.  In fact, even though I knew I'd warm up once I got running I had a hard time taking off those extra layers in the beginning.  In a effort to embrace comfort and not take myself too seriously I left the layers on to start with even though after 3ish miles I had the first one taken off.  As the weather warmed that morning so did I & I eventually ended in a tank top & my capri/skirt bottom.  Wonderful November weather!

Prior to the race I had told several people that I was hoping to complete the whole distance which includes 5 laps of the course.  I was actually pretty skeptical if I would run it all simply because my legs tend to have funky days and just don't cooperate like they should.  So should this be a funky leg day I knew that not finishing was going to be ok.  I'm all for pushing myself, but at some point I do stop & say ENOUGH.  However race day ended up NOT being one of the days and as I completed my loops my legs felt really good & strong.

I think having run my previous 2 - 20 milers had really helped my legs to prepare for this 50k.  Thankfully, unlike those long runs the weeks before, my legs held up the entire time.  Previously at about 15-18 miles my legs started to really give me problems & hurt.  While I certainly began to have some aches & pains they were more indicative of having run 20+ miles and yet the pain was never so bad that I wanted to stop or not finish or even walk.  I would think in all normalcy what I felt was completely expected.

When I came back from each loop I made a note of what time the clock said.  Here is what I had written down:

Loop 1:  1:09:30
Loop 2:  2:17:17 (1:07:49)
Loop 3:  3:26:50 (1:09:33)
Loop 4:  4:40      (1:14:10)
Loop 5:   5:52:50 (1:12:50)

The above times are not only reflective of my running time, but also the time I took a break in between each loop.  Kind of like my transition times.  I also made mental, yet vague notes of how long I had taken a break in between each loop.  Each break was a little longer than the previous.  At first, just grabbing some hydration, then hydration plus fuel.  The next loop I know my break was several minutes longer due to the needing all the previous stuff, plus to get some drugs Ibuprofen into my body.  I was seriously like a drug addict rummaging through my stuff trying to get my next fix.  Not a pretty sight.  But I was also trying to avoid coming to a complete stand still and loose the momentum I was flying high on.  While I desperately searched for my drugs it was suggested that I just stop if I needed said drugs so bad.  Uh, heck, no....that is just stupid talk.  Finally getting my fix I headed back out.  Normal aches & pains, yes, but not bad enough to stop me from finishing.  Mentally I was doing very, very well.

So to drag this post out even more analyze my times listed above I must say I'm very pleased.  No, I realize those are not blazing fast paces.  You do have to realize that this is a very challenging course.  Nobody runs their fastest times at Wild Cat Den.  Nobody.  What I'm even more pleased with is the fairly consistent pace that I kept.  In past races my times & my paces tended to slow waaaay down.  Almost to more of a shuffle.  However on this day I felt I had a good solid pace the whole day.  I did at times have to really slow down or walk, but only during times of a steep incline.   I do remember on my last loop though I was heading up a hill.  Another group of runners joked as I pass "make room for the real runner".  I actually hate when people label me like that so I tried to counter with "hey, we're all runners, just going at different speeds!"  They laughed then said "yes, but look at you tear up that hill" and that is when I realized that on my last loop going up a pretty steep incline I was still holding a fairly good & consistent pace.  There is a 5ish minute difference between my fastest & slowest loop.  But that could also be reflective of my transition time.  I know in the end your finish time is your finish time.  It doesn't matter if you were taking a break or running.  But when it comes to analyzing your pace it does make a difference.  My mental vague notes told me that my shortest break was 1 minute, my longest was 4 minutes.  That right there can make up the difference between my fastest & longest loop.

Ok, enough analyzing.  You can tell I don't get to talk running too much because here I just run my mouth non stop, even if you just don't care.  It's my blog, right.  Anyway, I know when I started my last loop I was super motivated to just get it done.  The faster I finish, the faster I can stop and take a break for good!  This was probably my shortest  break as I grabbed some fuel and hydration and consumed it on the go.  (I'm telling you I can eat & drink just about anything on the go!) 

I forgot to look at the clock when I headed out, but remember what the time said when I came in (4:40).  While I couldn't recall my Wildcat time from last year, I knew my 50k PR is 6:09.  Doing some quick math I knew if I ran this last lap in less than 1:29 that I'd have a new PR.  More motivation to not slow down and stay consistently on pace.  The thing about me & my pace is that I tend to run solely based on feel.  I run with the Nike+ GPS on my phone, but once it's on it's in my belt & I don't look at my stats.  The tricky thing about doing this on longer runs is that my sense of pace can be funky.  Sometimes I feel like my pace hasn't changed at all, but in fact it has.  While it's greatly improved, it's not perfected.  Mentally (a lot of it does seem to be this) I worked to stay focused, on task and keep moving at a good & manageable pace.  It was tempting to check my phone there toward the end to see if I needed to push myself harder, but I resisted.  I came out of the loop and when I saw the clock I let out a big whoop & hollered, adding in some leaping and jumping, taking note of my finished time: 5:52:50. 

I was on the verge of tears because I was so proud of myself.  Ok, a new PR is freaking awesome, but I pushed myself and kept focused and had such a great run.  Every bad run I've had recently (which is a lot mind you, for a lot of different reasons), every day that I have to work SO. HARD. to continue my streak, every mile I've had to push myself to keep working at my 2013 goal, it all paid off right then and there.  Such an awesome feeling!!

Ok, I know.....shut me up.  Let me share some pictures from that day.
The crowd that showed up to run.  Doesn't matter if they ran 1 loop or all 5 (actually there was a handful of people who ran 50 miles that day!) they are all one great group of runners!!

 Just getting started

 I was saying "I'm eating trail mix on the trail"!

 Apparently I like to show off my tough muscles.

A very special to Larry Sandhass for putting together one of the best 50ks in our area.  Special thanks as well  to Larry,  Mark Stegmaier Photography & Phil Pancrazio for taking pictures through out the day & posting them free of charge for our enjoyment.  Everything about this race is top notch and wonderful !  I could write a whole other post about the many other details & happenings of this day, but I'll spare you.  If you ever get the chance, come on out & run the Wildcat 50k!

Monday, November 18, 2013

6 Things

So there is this trendy little thing that has been happening on Facebook where you list some things about yourself & then if people "like" that status you assign them a number that they have to then do themselves.  I've seen some variations, like shocking things about me, fun things about me, things you never knew about me to just plain things about me.  Trust me, unless you haven't been on Facebook at all for the last few weeks you know what I'm talking about.

Sometimes I play these "games" on Facebook, other times I avoid them like a plague.  I actually enjoyed reading lots of fun, interesting, informative information about my facebook friends.  I think I enjoyed every single one, but I refused to "like" the status for fear that I would be caught in an endless trap of talking about myself.  I don't need any help in that department anyway, I'm fairly self centered without any prompting.

However, I finally caved into "liking" someone's status.  It was my best friend Mandy whom after our shopping trip last weekend in Chicago we realized it had been 30 years since we first met & became besties.  (Yeah, somethings you don't outgrow, especially things like your childhood bff).
(Don't we look like sisters.  People have always told us that.)

So, she assigned me the number 6, since I have 6 kids & here is what I posted:

6. I have a brother, he was born when I was 3, but only lived a few hours. I don't remember anything (shocking, I know) from that time.

5. I've always wanted 6 kids. Always.
4. Jim & I had our 1st date on May 15, he proposed to me on July 15, we were married on December 2, all in the year 1994.
3. I was very, VERY rebellious from 6th - 8th grade. I don't talk about it too much because my kids don't know all that I did (nor will they until the time is right, so if you do know, don't be blabbing!) But it's safe to say they can't do much that I haven't already done!
2. I still have my bottom retainer that has been cemented in place since 1992.
1. Always being active I date my running back to 5th grade when I participated in a community track meet. I was an pretty good runner who had talent & potential, but lacked confidence. Just when I started to really excel I had a teammate make fun of me & tell me "You will NEVER be a good runner" & I believed her & gave up trying. Once I was in the Army & had people believing in me & quite often yelling it at me my running took off & I realized the mass of potential that I had wasted. But, not really wasted because even though I can't turn back time I can certainly make every run & every mile count for all the awesomeness that I AM!
Anything fun, shocking, interesting or just plain normal you want to tell me about yourself?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1.  I'm working on a race recap for Wildcat 50k.  I promise it's coming.  It has made me realize that I never wrote one for Howl at the Moon.  I have little to no desire to recap that race for some reason.  For me it could be best summed up as an awful day, even though I ran 44 miles.  What's so awful about that?  I don't know.  And honestly it wasn't so much that it was awful, I just felt so down & defeated from that race that I just want it behind me.  Anyway...WC50k race recap is definitely coming!  I have the post started I just need to find more than a few minutes to sit & write it all out.  To give you a sneak peek I will let you know that it will include words like awesome, steady pace, much improvement, PR, breaking under a new hour marker, etc. etc.  You get the was a gooooood race!  Here is me when I finished:
That's all you're getting for now.

2.  G.O.  H.A.R.D. is coming up next week on November 20th.  I had heard about it for the first time last year (<click to see my post about it) & participated.  This year it seems to be out there all over the internet.  If you are a runner, my guess is that you've heard about this.  But maybe not, so I'm doing my job & promoting it.  You can even join the Facebook event and join thousands of others who are participating.  In case you need any tips or further instructions on how to properly participate please watch this video for some very important information:

3.  Mommy Matters:  Haven't done one of these for awhile.  There is always something going on in the mommy department, I just don't always blog about it.  Anyway, as we were leaving the park after WC50k I received a phone call that my daughter was having an allergic reaction & was being taken to the emergency room.  Oh wonderful & we were over an hour away.  So we mad rush to get home to her & get more details about this reaction.   She just recently started having these reactions, but we have no idea what is causing them.  We had already been to her primary dr. who could find nothing wrong & advised to treat it with bendryl.  At that point her reactions were minor, nothing to be alarmed about.  Over the last 2 months each reaction has gotten worse & just last week I took her to a specialist to start a deeper process of finding out what is triggering this reaction.  They sent her blood off for testing, but in the mean time she had this reaction which was worse & cause her tongue & throat to swell.  Hence, the er visit and over night hospital stay she endured.   Ack!  This has turned from something minor to something very serious.  If each reaction is getting worse.....we don't want to know what's going to happen next time!  Unfortunately while we wait for the tests come back she's like a walking time bomb.  Who knows if or when she might go off.  Ack!!!!

~Ever have a race that you just wanted to forget about?

~Are you going to participate in G.O. H.A.R.D?

~Do you have any allergies?  Or in your family?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Fun

Just a quick stop in to say "Hello!"  I came across some fun quizzes this week & wanted to share.  Normally I'm not big on taking the time to do these things.  I'm sure there are thousands of quizzes out there to waste my time away.  For whatever reason I did do these this week.  I was pretty amused by the results so I thought I would share the fun.

First one is a fitness calculator.  I saw it listed in a story about how a 90 some year old woman just ran the NY Marathon. Or something like that.  I didn't save that article and now for the life of me searching the internet I can't find any article like it.  Ok, so the gest of the story is how someone so "old" can run such a race and then goes on to say how our bodily age can mean one thing, but our fitness age can mean something completely different.  Hence, the test/quiz is to see what your fitness age is via your VO2 Max.  I'll save you all the technical talk on what that is, but in a general sense it's how well your body uses oxygen, most especially in terms of exercise.  (Anyone with more knowledge or a better, yet keep it simple way, of explaining it is more than welcome to jump in & comment).  Here.....just take the quiz!

Fitness Calculator

I was surprised....ok, maybe not really, to find out this:

Later in the week my friend Sarah posted a life expectancy quiz.  No clue how she came across it, but for fun (and because she mentioned me in her post, making me feel all warm & special) I took the quiz.

Life Expectancy Calculator

My dear friends & readers, I am going to be around for a looooong time:

Hopefully I'll still be running & taking my She Runs Everywhere to whole new global levels AND with a fitness age of someone half my age!!

What is your fitness age?

What is your life expectancy?

I'm posting these mostly just for fun.  While you can do something about your fitness age & a to some extent your life expectancy I know that only the one true God has full control over how long you will be on this earth.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

October Rewind

Gah!  Busy, busy, busy.  Go, go, go.  Work, work, work.  Yep, about sums up my lack of blogging.  However knowing that things are going good is more than satisfying & worth it.  And I still think of you all my faithful readers.  You are often on my mind.  Anyway.....


October!  Wow!!  Let's stick with the basics first.

Miles ran in October:  257.29.  That includes 2 - 20 mile runs & only 1 "rest" (only running 2 miles) days.  I don't actually recommend doing this, but I did it & survived.  It was tough, really tough in many ways.  However easy is never a motivation for me to get this done!

Year to date miles ran toward my 2013 goal:  1,620.05.  That leaves me with 392.95 miles left to run this year.  I'm not counting my chickens just yet, but I'm pretty darn close & am pretty sure that I WILL reach this goal.  This also gives me all the more reason to feel like this:

October was a month of all time highs & personal records in terms of miles ran.  I ran 0 races so all my running was just running.  I ran the most miles in a week, 71.70.  I ran the most miles ever in a month (my previous high was 190).  I ran the most miles ever in a year (up from 1,569.26 that I tracked during my 365 day streak).

I also realized I ran every single mile by myself.  That's neither good or bad.  I think it goes hand in hand with what I posted about not too long ago about being bored.  Sometimes I want & really like being alone.  It makes for great prayer time where I just talk with God the whole time (those runs are really awesome, I get so into the prayer I forget about the running & when it's all said & done I'm feeling much closer to God having spent that time with Him).  It has it's down side though, but what I can I do about it besides whine and complain?  Nothing!  Moving on.

Through out the month I kept general track of my miles.  Ok, lie.  I obsessed about it.  But quite often would loose track.  My mind doesn't do that great with numbers & I'd forget what I had just tallied the days/week right before.  Anyway, I knew when I had gone over my previous monthly high.  Yay!  And I knew that I was getting close to 250.  On Oct. 30 I did some calculations for the 100th time that month and realized I was not too far off that 250 marker.  So even though I wanted to slack off the last few days (these days slack off means anything less than 5 miles) I kicked it into gear & made sure I hit that golden 250 mark.  When I finished my run I made sure to note & celebrate with this picture:
 Funny though because when I went to do my official calculation I realized I missed filling in my mileage on a date so my numbers were just a little higher than I expected.  I didn't need to run as much as I did on Oct. 31, but since I did I was able to get a few extra miles in.  At this point regardless of why or how, any extra miles I can bank are good for me & less I have to run as I get closer to the end of 2013.

Well, even though we are well into was October for you?