Sunday, January 20, 2013

17 miles of mud and miserable shoes

Yesterday's long runs was one of my worst runs to date. My original plan was 15 trail miles because that's all I had time for if I didn't want to run in the dark and I really didn't. That trail in the dark freaks me the hell out. I mean, it has bobcats! At some point Friday night I realized if I ran to the beginning of the trail I could add 2 miles and I didn't mind running 2 miles on the road in the dark. The two miles ended up being 2.5, because I took a back road rather than the highway, which would bring my total to 17.5 miles. Yay!

The run started out great. I was listening to Another Mother Runner podcasts and loving life. The first section of trail is 5.5 miles. It was sort of muddy, but not bad. I was moving at a good pace and still happy. I got to Oak Ridge, which is where blacktop intersects the trail I had stashed a powerade the night before so I stopped to drink some of that and text Rick to let him know where I was. BTW, I have a funny story about the powerade stashing for later. After I left Oak Ridge it got MUDDY. Like, your feet weigh a couple of extra pounds muddy. Less than a mile into this part of the run I fell. I had to sort of walk down a rock as it's too big to go around. Due to the muddy feet I just skied down it. I landed at the bottom in a super deep squat, which hurt like hell. I hit one hand on the rock pretty hard and one shoulder on a rock next to it. I took stock and decided I was fine. I kept getting texts and thought it might be Rick so I stopped again. It was his hunting buddy trying to find out if they were going hunting.  I called the house to yell at dh to turn on his phone. I told him about falling and got a little weepy, b/c it still hurt and I'm a wimp.

I kept running and it just kept getting harder. The mud was so thick. I had to keep stopping to get it off my shoes because it was just weighing me down. My goal was to get past the road where it's easy to bail. The road is about a mile long and I can walk up it to blacktop and have Rick pick me up. I was determined to finish though and didn't want the option to quit. After you pass this road you are stuck. I got past it doing fine. About a mile later I fell again! This time it was just me not paying attention. I was actually on the smoothest part of the whole trail. I was looking around and suddenly I was flying. I turned my body and landed on my back. With my hip on a rock. OUCH! First I stopped my garmin :lol: and then layed there taking stock. Anything broken? No? Can I get up? Yes? Any blood? Nope. Ok, I'm good. But I'm tired. So I start crying. Good grief this sucks. Why do I run again? I quickly realized that's not helping me at all and jump up and start running again. By that time my feet hurt though. I got new trail shoes last week. At first I was a bit concerned they were too small, but after a couple of runs and wearing them around the house and running errands I thought they were fine. They weren't. They are way too small. They smashed my toes together sooo bad. They also rubbed a blister on my big toe.

With 4 miles to go I sat down on a rock to take my shoes off for a few minutes to sort of check out my feet and see if maybe I could lace them different or something. My toes had been smashed together for so long that I had to peel them apart! The last 3-4 miles of this trail are the hardest on the whole thing. Or the first 3, depending on how you run. Anyway, it was going to be hard. Lots of rocks and climbing and my feet were in so much pain. I decided to go back to the road and walk up it and have Rick pick me up there. The mileage would be the same but the terrain would be slightly easier. With 3 miles to go my feet hurt so bad I contemplated taking my shoes off and going barefoot.

When I got to the road I called Rick to tell him I would be at the top at noon, which is the time he was originally going to pick me up at the end anyway. I had called him when I turned around and told him what I was doing, but didn't make myself clear. I got to the top and he wasn't there. Hmmm. I had heard a bunch of sirens as I was walking up the road so I immediately freaked that something happened to him. He called right then to ask where I was. Ummm, at the blacktop?? He said, no, I'm driving down the dirt road and I didn't pass you. Crap. He's on the wrong road. He misunderstood what I told him. He's pissed. There was a fire and he needed to go help with it (volunteer firefighter) and now he's stuck on this really rough road and still has to come find me. He finally found me and we drove to the fire, which is actually on our way home. They weren't letting anyone through because the house was really close to the road and there was so much smoke you couldn't see through. DH jumped out and went to help with the fire and I drove home. I couldn't go retrieve my powerade bottle because that area was blocked off, but I promise I'm not just going to leave it. I do not litter!

Anyway, if you got through that novel thanks for letting me whine. I ended up with 17 miles for the day. Long, hard, painful miles! Next weekend I will do as many as I can before Adam's basketball game on Saturday.

Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 50K is in three weeks. At this point I don't know how I will possibly finish, but I've done it before, so hopefully I can do it again!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

WinterRock 25K

During the fall I kept hearing rumors of a 25K in January on the FlatRock trail. Eventually I gave up on the idea as I hadn't heard anything for a while. Then in December I was looking at Facebook and what did my happy little eyes see? An announcement from Epic Ultras that they were having a 12K and 25K called WinterRock. I could not have been more excited! I didn't care where it fell in my training schedule, I was doing it.

Yesterday was the day and I was really excited. I ran on the trail three times in a little over a week and felt very confident. I mean, yeah, the trail was hard, but I knew I could do it. I  underestimated the trail and overestimated my ability to run on it. I'm pretty conflicted about how I feel about the race. On one hand, my time was great. The first time I did a 25K there my time was 4 hours 30 minutes. Yesterday it was 4 hours 13 minutes. Obviously I'm really happy I improve my time so much. It was way harder than it should have been though. I've had a much easier 15 miles on that trail. Yesterday was just all kinds of hard.

I could come up with lots of reasons as to why it was so rough. Some of them are even valid. It was my fault though. I didn't eat enough Friday and definitely didn't eat enough Saturday morning. No food means no energy. I'm trying to lose weight and start eating healthier like I used to. I did a great job of that this week, but I forgot to take into account that I would be running a really tough race and needed some fuel.

Despite the fact that the race was hard and I didn't really have the energy I should have, it was fun. I got to visit with some fellow crazy trail runners before the race and chatted with some new people during the race. One guy that I ran with for a little while has run Psycho Wyco, so I got to ask him some questions about it. Also, I didn't come in last! The first part of this race is on the road and people took off at a pretty good clip. Libby and I were bringing up the rear when we went into the woods. I actually passed a few people in the first couple of miles! This is a pretty new experience for me. I chatted a little with most of the people I passed and they all said they were doing the 12K. Because of that I was pretty sure I was dead last in the 25K. I had been prepared for that so I wasn't too upset. After the 12K turnaround I was by myself for quite a while. Then I heard voices behind me. I kept looking but didn't didn't see anyone. Finally I saw two people and it was two of the people I had passed. By the turnaround they had caught up with me. They passed me but I caught them at the aid station. We took off from the station together. Within a mile they were ahead of me. Occasionally I could see them ahead of me and it seemed like they were getting further and further ahead. Eventually I stopped seeing and hearing them and assumed they were long gone.

After the turnaround I met a couple of runners still making their way to the aid station. I was shocked that they were there, but happy there were actually people behind me. I ran most of the 2nd half without seeing another soul. I was running without music because I can't have headphones at Psycho Wyco, so it was boring. All I had to think about was how much I suck at running, so I was pretty down for most of it. As I started running down the last hill I knew that even though I hadn't run as well as I wanted to it was almost over! I could go home, take a bath and then snuggle in my warm bed. Taking off my muddy shoes was high on my list of things I wanted to do ASAP. When I got out of the woods and was running up the embankment to get to the blacktop I saw the two people that had left me behind after the turnaround. Huh? How did they get behind me? It turns out they had taken a wrong turn right at the bottom of the hill. The race doesn't take the actual trail at the beginning. Instead of following the blue flags like they should have, they followed the blue marks on the trees, which is what you do all day. I must have gained a little ground on them anyway, and then the wrong turn added maybe a quarter of a mile for them, so I got ahead. Once I got on the blacktop I gained more ground on them and finished ahead. I felt bad for them because I took a wrong turn in a trail race once and it cost me about 15 minutes. Two women that would have finished behind me finished ahead of me causing me to be the last female across the finish line. I definitely knew how frustrated those two were!

Eric was doing his thing with the cowbells at the finish wich is great. There were still some people there and they were cheering as people came in. I went in the shelter to record my time and was seriously shocked that it was 4:13. My watch wasn't accurate as I had accidentally stopped it once so I had no idea how long I had been out there. I thought it was much longer.

 They had hot soup and hot beverages at the finish line. Unfortunately, I didn't get to eat the soup as it had carrots and I'm allergic to them. The hot cocoa was great though! I visited with Libby for a while and then headed home. It was a good day! And I'm even further convinced that the people doing a 101K on that trail in April are just a little bit crazy. No way. Never.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ice, Snow, Friends and Trails!

My last couple of runs have been so much fun! I had planned to go to Wyoming the day after Christmas and probably wasn't going to run while I was there. The weather got in the way of that so we decided to go to Kansas City for a couple of days. When I posted on Facebook that I was going my friend Libby told me to let her know if I wanted to meet up to run. I immediately texted her that I wanted to and we set something up. I am doing a 50K in KC in February and wanted to check out the trail. I've heard the trail can be kinda nasty in bad weather that you should learn to screw your shoes. Boy is that the truth! The course is already marked from another race and it is a 10 mile loop that we will do three times. Libby and I decided to run one loop.

We hadn't been running long when we started encountering ice. Running downhill on ice is just a tiny bit frightening! We went much slower than anticipated due to the icy terrain so we didn't get to do the full loop. My husband and kids were waiting for me so I couldn't really justify spending most of the day running. I'm trying really hard to find a good balance between running and family so with that in mind we turned around after three miles. I was happy with six for the day. I'm now even more nervous about the race, but I think I can do it. I'm trusting Libby to force me on the last loop and once I start it I know I will finish.

A couple of pics from the trail. The first one is part of a parking lot. Thankfully we couldl avoid most of the ice on this part, but others you can't. The second pic is the view down a hill. Pictures never really show how steep it is. It was also much slicker than it looks.

After the run with Libby I didn't run for a couple of days. I had been wanting to run on New Years Eve and was probably going to do a road run. Then I found out it was supposed to rain and snow so I decided to run on the trail. I stupidly thought that maybe the trees would protect me partially from the weather. Ha! I think I mentioned before that I met a couple of nice girls named Amber and Candi at FlatRock. Well, Amber posted on Facebook on the 30th that she was running the next day and wondered if anyone wanted to run with her. I told her she should come to Elk City and run with me and she said yes! Woohoo! She brought Candi with her and we had a great time.

The weather was saying a mix of rain and snow. It was snowing when we started and I was really hoping it would keep snowing and not rain. It did snow for probably the first half of the run, but it switched over to rain. I'm not sure I've ever run in the snow and it was so much fun. I also really enjoyed running with others on the trail. I'm typically alone and it is a lot harder to motivate myself to keep going. We ran over 9 miles and were completely soaked when we finished. My feet were so wet my shoes squished with ever step. I still loved it. I couldn't have asked for a better way to end my year. Soon I will make a post recapping my year of running, but today I really wanted to share my trail adventures.

Some pics of our snowy run.

Me with Amber a mile or two in.

All three of us with the lake in the background. I'm not sure you can actually see the lake behind us but I promise it's there! (sorry Candi for posting a pic with half of your face cut off!)

Happy New Year!!!!!