50 Miles – Preparation

I haven’t posted in a while. No excuse really. I’ve run a few races…I’ve tried some new stuff and carried on with some old stuff.  I’ve learned things that I could share. I’ve just been lazy on the blog! I apologize.

Tomorrow I pack for my first 50 mile race and on Thursday my hubby and I will hop into the limovan and drive 16 hours to West Yellowstone where the pre-race stuff takes place.

AM I READY?
Let’s take a look at the physical part of “ready.”
I’m heading into YT50 in a similar physical state as I headed into Icebox 480. The distance is new and the preparation is, well, shoddy.
My weekly mileage has been about 15-30 miles with long runs ranging from 10-14 miles. I DID manage to do a trail marathon and a 20 mile long run in the past month as well as three runs of 10/15/10 in a row.  For me this is GOOD.   Recovery post marathon and 20 miles? I rebounded to normal the next day.
Before the Icebox (and even Chippewa) experiences, I would say that I had no chance at YT50.  While the outcome is guarded due to the new distance, I know that I am stubborn.  Unless something busts, I WILL FINISH THIS RACE.

Preparation for YT50 has been pretty mental. I’ve been picking up motivational quotes, funny quips, reasons NOT to quit, things to cycle through my head.  I picked a good race to run as the scenery will be beautiful and I plan smack the negativity out of myself and reach for the sheer thankfulness for the opportunity to run 50 miles with such a gorgeous view.

10 miles from the finish!

10 miles from the finish!

What gear/food/aid am I using?
YT50 has aid stations approximately every 10 miles, some of which only have water/heed.  I use the “just get to the next aid station” strategy and 10 miles is pretty long, especially when there isn’t anything there to get to! Luckily my hubby has agreed to be a portable aid station (he’s amazing isn’t he?!)  I’ll have an aid station approximately every 5 miles on the course versus every 10.

GEAR
Nathan Vaporshape – to carry water and supplies
SPOT Gen3 tracker – so mom, daughter and friends can track me back home
Camera- to take pictures of the pretty stuff
Blister kit (sterilized needle, blister Band-Aids, duct tape)
Trail Toes (lube!)
Headlamp, tail lamp, reflective vest (required)
Bear spray (required)
Ibuprofen

Bear spray?!

Bear spray?!

NOURISHMENT
Electro-bites (salty-vanilla) – these are amazing, if you haven’t tried them then get on it.
Hammer gel (Banana)
S-caps (hopefully won’t need with the electro-bites)
PB/J on white (in the portable aid station!)
Vanilla wafers (in the portable aid station!)
Chicken broth (portable aid station!)
Bananas (portable aid station!)

CLOTHES—tough, lots of temperature changes…
Tights
Shorts
Long sleeve
Short sleeve
Singlet
Wind/rain coat
Hat/gloves
Visor
Sunglasses
Socks
Altra Intuition and Lone Peak Shoes

PLAN
I don’t really have one other than to run slow, eat/drink every 40 minutes, enjoy the scenery and not quit.  I’ll let you know how that works.

How can I NOT love running with this view?

How can I NOT love running with this view?

 

GOAL
Finish smiling. Experience and learn.

I’ll add a link to my spot once I get it live. Live tracking will also be available on the Yellowstone-Teton Facebook page:  Yellowstone Teton Races

I leave you with this final thought (from the interwebs):

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Embrace the Heat

Yesterday was hot. A warning flashed on my weather app exclaiming excessive heat. I didn’t really need the warning. I could feel it. Just walking out the door caused my clothes to cling to me and beads of sweat to form on my head. Temp? 93 ͦ with a heat index of 105.  It felt kind of like walking through warm soup.

thermometer

 

I did what any sane person would do and threw on a tank, some shorts and running shoes. It was time to embrace the heat and go for a run.

There are a lot of ways to run in the heat. I’m sure you’ve read a thousand articles on how to run safely in the heat. I’m not going to give a bullet list; I’ll just let you know how my run went and how amazing it can be to get out there on a hot day. If you’re one of those who does yoga in a hot studio, thinks a steam room is relaxing, or does any other hot activities…I’m sure you can handle a hot run. You just have to smile and do it.

I filled my handheld amphipod full of cold water and also stuck a couple salt tabs (S-caps) into the zipper pouch and then let my hubby know I was taking off.

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Then I ran out into the hot box. I smiled, feeling the sun shining and waved at a bird because…BIRD! I chose a route that had two drinking fountains. One was at 1.66 miles and one was at 3.12 miles. I knew that I would then be able to refill my handheld on the way, at the turn around and again on the way back.

Part of the route also had trees that offered a bit of shade…not much but a bit. These trees also offered lots of gnats and other bugs that gave a source of protein for the run as I inhaled them while sucking air. Yum! Many also died as they drowned on my sweat laden face and body.

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Every half mile I chugged a bit of water as I was dripping more sweat than considered lady like and by the time I hit the water fountain I was pretty soggy. The fountain happened to be located at the top of a nice hill and I was grinning when I hit it feeling pretty powerful. I filled my handheld and poured it over my head to cool myself a bit, had an s-cap with some water and continued on my way to the downhill towards the brewery and dog park where another fountain would be located.

This is where there was no shade and I distracted myself by thinking about what a really strong friend had said to another. “Remember that we’re the lucky ones that even get to attempt these things. There are people that would kill to be able to take 3 steps on their own, let alone run 100 miles. If you can take one more step, take one more step. To not take that step is an insult to everyone who physically can’t. Do it for them.”—Edward Sandor

Obviously I altered that to suit me. It’s a powerful quote though and carried me through the hottest, most boring part of the run (Thanks Ed, many runners can use this!)

Soon enough I hit the downhill near the brewery leading towards the dog park. Sweet downhill! Cruisin on the cruise control. I love downhill’s so I grinned the whole way down.

Suddenly I hear the beep of a horn and there is my hubby. Like a knight in shining armor he hops out of the limo van with cold water. A rolling water stop in the middle of the hot box. OH IT WAS LIKE AN OASIS IN THE DESERT. Delish. I drank and put some on my neck and continued on, with a bit more spring to my step.

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He was there again at the parking lot of the dog park, water in hand. I drank and had one more s-cap and turned around to head back glancing at my watch. 3 miles in the hot box. I still felt good. Hot but good. I was kind of like a wilting flower that kept getting watered. Hubby said he’d meet me at the top of that big hill I ran down so I took off towards it, knowing it was nearly a mile away.

I reached the top of the hill and there was no hubby so I ran back down and up again because “why not?”

Wait! THAT FELT GOOD! What? Hill repeats in a sauna?

I did it again and Hubby showed up. I had some water and told him to park so I could do repeats and then get a ride home.

I ran up and down the hill. I felt so amazing. I felt so exhausted. I felt so strong. I couldn’t breathe. My stomach hurt. I was sweating so much my eyes burned. I wanted to quit. I didn’t.  Finally I dry heaved at the top to the point that I was done and so I jogged down and ran to the van smiling and proclaimed with a puffed chest of pride “I’M DONE AND I FEEL FANTASTIC”

Seriously. I did. I did a bit over 6 miles with the last 2 being hill repeats.

I got a ride home with no regrets.

What was safe about this run?

Access to water. Electrolytes in the form of S-Caps. Mental attitude. Support. Willingness to walk/slow down and take a drink if needed.

What if hubby hadn’t shown up? Easy. I wouldn’t have done the repeats. I had a full handheld at all times. At the turnaround was a refill and another available at the fountain on the way back. I was willing to slow down or even walk at any time and was near a populated area except for a short stretch on the way to the dog park.  I do stupid things a lot as a runner. I think running in the heat can be safe and rewarding—it can feel downright amazing. Similar to running in the rain, or freezing cold, or a blizzard.

Have fun out there!

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Success! Devils Lake Dances with Dirt

On Friday the hubby and I loaded the limo van for the trek out to Devils Head Resort located in Merrimac, WI. This was the start line of the Dances with Dirt-Devil’s Lake race and also where we were to rest our weary heads for the next couple of nights.

I texted a friend who was already out there for a weather update so I would pack properly and received a friendly “it’s hot and humid, hope it rains.” I decided on trying out my Fusion singlet which was made out of some crazy amazing tech fabric and had vents throughout. I also grabbed my Altra hat in case it did rain to keep the rain out of my eyeballs. I searched and searched but for some reason couldn’t locate my Dirty Girl Gaiters which made me want to cry so those didn’t make the trip. Also along for the trip came the trusty Altra Lone Peak 1.5, some Tailwind, amphipod handheld and waist pack, s-caps, Fitsoks, Ms. Garmin and some cinnamon raison bagels for the morning.  I dug around and only found one clean pair of running shorts and those were tossed in last minute. They kinda matched which was good enough.

We made it to Devils Head Resort at about 8:15pm and stopped at packet pick-up to grab my shirt and bib. There were a lot of people camping at the start/finish area and the hubby ribbed me about not camping to which I just scowled and noted that we had a hotel room with a bed, flushable toilet, shower and A/C.  We hadn’t eaten dinner yet so we checked in and inquired about food. That’s when we were told about the pasta buffet that was priced at $18.50/ea. and ‘just down the hall’ and ending at 9pm (it was 8:30 at this point).

I wasn’t very interested in paying $37 for some potentially cold (or bad) pasta so we found the bar and ordered a pizza instead ($22). We then headed outside to eat it on their patio area near the fire.

It wasn’t good. The pizza wasn’t good. Well, maybe you would love this pizza…if you like pizza that tastes like sugar then you would like this pizza. We didn’t. We tried to give it away to the couple sitting near us and couldn’t offload our sweet pizza and so guiltily dumped it in the trash and trudged our hungry tummies up to the room to nosh on the few snacks we had brought along before falling asleep.

The room was decent. I don’t have a picture but it kinda reminded me a of a dorm room. It was at least clean. I fell asleep and soon enough it was time to get up and eat my bagels before the race.

YAY RACE MORNING! I was finally…after being in injury pit…going to run in a trail race! YES.

I wish I could explain how excited I was to be at the starting line of DWD! The anticipation of taking off onto the trail with a hoard of other people excited to take off onto a trail…ah, sweetness.

 

 

just before the start!

just before the start!

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Here’s GO TIME!

start of race

Start line-!

go

Ready set GO!!

The race? This course was hard. I felt really out of shape but couldn’t help but think throughout—WOW! I’m RUNNING! Once and awhile I would look around and think “PRETTY!” and then crash…onto my butt or my knees. Oops. I fell a lot due to being distracted by all the cool stuff to look at.

The hills felt brutal to me, but I didn’t walk much. Maybe that’s why they felt brutal. If I was doing the 50K perhaps I would have walked on the uphill’s a bit more, but even on the 2mile stretch that went up, I only merely slowed a bit rather than walked. I couldn’t justify actually walking if I was only going a half marathon in my own head. I know that sounds dumb. In reality though, I felt really proud that I was able to run those hills even if the ‘run’ was incredibly slow and labored.

For some reason I convinced myself going into the race that after the 2 mile up, there were no more hills so imagine my surprise when the WORST uphill came well after that 2 mile uphill. As in a steep never-ending up. I was running happily along on a gravel two way trail and then there was a turn to the right onto single track that went steeply uphill…and felt like it would never, ever end. It just went on forever. I knew that this was the end of me and I was only a touch over 6 miles in. My chest was going to explode—I knew it. All over the trail. Boom!

Suddenly, I reached the top and it curved around and I was in awe. The view was AMAZING. As in I had to slow to a turtle trot and just LOOK. I then slowed to a walk so I wouldn’t fall off the edge of the cliff looking and just stared. It was beautiful and I wished I had my camera. I knew I had to come back and bring the hubby. I jogged on and there was an aid station on a rock overhanging the bluff. SO GORGEOUS! I stayed for about 5 minutes just staring out and drinking water and then I knew I had to move on. I made a note to hike back up with hubby so I could enjoy this.

Mile 9 something aid station. On the way back. Hubby was there cheering!

Mile 9 something aid station. On the way back. Hubby was there cheering!

mile 9

Mile 9 something, about to cross the road and head back into the single track- Hubby asked “How are you doing?” I answered “Hot, but AWESOME!”

The rest of the race was just in happy mode, seriously, that climb to that view just put me at ease with the world. The downhill crept on me suddenly and I was still in that whoa euphoria so I decided to go ahead and blast down it because YAY RUNNING! About ¾ mile in I slid on a moss covered rock that I thus far had done great at dodging and slid for a bit on my bum. I’m pretty sure I left a piece of my butt on the trail.

I slowed a bit after the butt slide but kept going. A bit later I took a forward dive and rolled sideways banging my hip. I laughed and continued on. Soon enough there was a guy jumping up and down yelling that I was only 260 yards from the finish. I grinned and ran. Turning the corner I could see the finish line.

Soon my hubby came into view yelling! YAY! And then I was done. I had done it. I felt like I was back. Finally, I really feel like I’m running again. There is something truly special about a hard trail race.

 

Nearing the finish!

Nearing the finish!

getting so close!

getting so close!

about to cross the finish line!!

about to cross the finish line!!

Done! I did it!

Done! I did it!

From sliding down the hill on my bum!

From sliding down the hill on my bum!

obligatory Garmin data

obligatory Garmin data

After DWD, I had a burger, fruit and a bit of Bells (both thanks to the bib tags- thanks DWD! Awesome!) went to the hotel and took a shower and then returned to try to catch friend, Mark Martinsen at the finish of the 50K. He suddenly crept up behind me and said “WHO YOU LOOKIN FOR?” Ha! He had finished already and won 2nd in his age bracket! Congrats Mark!

With Mark! 2nd place AG 50K! Congrats Mark, you're amazing!

With Mark! 2nd place AG 50K! Congrats Mark, you’re amazing!

I did end up taking the hubby to the gorgeous view. We had a fantastic time hiking the day after DWD in the Devils Head State Park. If you ever get a chance, I recommend you go! The rock that the aid station was on is by Balanced Rock and it is so amazing to see. There are so many trails to hike and run. Beautiful park!

hiking

starting out the hike to the bluff on Sunday morning!

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Hubby and Me at the overlook by Balanced Rock!

overlook

Look at this VIEW!

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!!!

overlook-3

Tell me this isn’t beautiful!

rocks

We ran on these rocks!

trail hiking

This is beyond beautiful.

trail

the trail by balanced rock

All in all, this weekend was incredible and I’m so happy I didn’t drop out after my foot fail.

 

 

 

DWD Conquered.

DWD
Conquered.

 

Trigger Finger

Last night I batted my eyes at my husband and said “there’re only a few spots left in Tunnel Hill!”

The response, of course, was “huh?”

“Tunnel Hill! The race! You know, for my BIRTHDAY!”

“Where is it?”

“VIENNA!”

Italy?!”

“No! ILLINOIS!”

“How far?”

“50 MILES!!”

“Isn’t that really close to Icebox?”

“Icebox is only a 50k.”

“Listen to yourself”

“I’m signing up”

“I know.”

And I did. And I’m excited.

Chalk it up to a trigger finger and hopefully it will be my second 50 mile in 2014 and also make for an amazing birthday memory.

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Problem = Solved

I stared hard at Ms. Garmin’s data last night. It was amusing. It was frustrating. I squinted attempting to change the results but it didn’t quite work. The truth was in front of me and I couldn’t really change it.

Devils Lake Dances with Dirt 50K is scheduled for July 12. This race isn’t really a chump race. It involves a start of skittering up a black diamond ski hill, then shuffling into a poison ivy, bug laden course with the beginning being an uphill trek (after the ski hill no less). It sounds like once you get to the top it’s gorgeous so well worth the climb. The nice hot, muggy weather ensures this will be a glorious challenge. I love it! It’s why I signed up.

What’s the problem?

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That blasted Garmin Data. OK, I didn’t really need to look. I already knew. I mean…it’s MY data right? I’m the one who made the data.  Since my ‘out of boot’ experience…I’ve run 19 miles. My longest run has been…7 miles.  After that 7 miler, I took 7 days off.  YIKES.  I would say I had 7 seizures but really, I had 4 or 5 + 1 fainting spell.  Yeah, it’s been a rough month.  Ms. Garmin says “HEY! SARAH! Perhaps, you should rethink this 50k huh?”

I’ve been going back and forth with myself about Dances for some time.

“You can do this, you wuss! You did IceBox on 15 miles! SUCK IT UP”

“IceBox was in cool weather, had milder hills, and I was doing half’s EVERY WEEKEND”

“SO?! What are you saying? That you’re a chump? Stop making excuses loser”

“Poison ivy sucks”

“When have you been afraid of ANYTHING?”

“OMG INJURY! I’VE HAD ENOUGH of being sidelined”

“excuses!”

See?! I’m driving myself insane. Seriously.

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Yesterday, after my 7 day hiatus from running (that was due to a rather wicked infection in my leg that then led to a lovely slew of seizures) I took to the trail for a run.

I RAN. How lovely it was to run. I ran the first two miles slow. I ran the third mile hard and then I ran home. Getting home is all uphill. I was exhausted after four miles. Seriously.

I bet you want to know where all this is going? Am I just writing all this to tell you I’m chumping out of Dances with Dirt?

Not really. I found a medium ground. Luckily this race has an option to “downgrade”

Dances with Dirt has a 50 mile, 50K, Marathon, Half Marathon and Extreme 10k.

I can’t bring myself to only do a 10k- even if it’s running up a ski hill (Extreme 10K).

I’m going to move my registration into the Half Marathon which sounds like a challenge with my current condition.

The half gains 1,870 feet of elevation. Considering in the past couple months I’ve run up maybe 250 feet, this will be hard.  The beginning of the half runs uphill for about 2 miles and has the beautiful view I wanted from the 50K (YAY!). After that it apparently rolls up and down through the rest of the course with an amazingly steep downhill drop to the finish.  Same poison ivy, same bugs—just a much shorter run, and misses a lot of the course (obviously).  I’m just not fit right now for the full shabang so this will have to do and will likely feel similar according to my current fitness.  Either way—I’m excited and it feels GOOD to be excited again as I’ve been a little down and out.

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THERE YOU HAVE IT. Another brain dump by me. Carry on!

 

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Why I run.

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I run

To feel the wind in my face

To feel free

To see how much pain I can endure

To stay healthy

To ease stress

To punish my body

To heal my body

To punish my mind

To heal my mind

To gain independence when it feels lost

To feel powerful

To get attention

To hide

To burn calories

To gain strength

To gain friends

To win

 

 

Good Bad Good Oh Heck, I Don’t KNOW!

I’ve always admitted to being odd. My follow up to the ortho to check on the status of my foot proved to be no different than most visits I make to professionals in the medical industry. It included wrinkled foreheads and question marks along with a referral to a specialist. I didn’t bat an eye. I’ve been here before.

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Now you’re puzzled to aren’t you? It’s OK. That’s my job!

Let me back up a bit and iron things out a bit. I promise to leave you as baffled as I began. I was born on a snowy day in mid-November…JUST KIDDING.  Really, I went to TRIA to determine the fate of my foot-in-the-boot bright and early on Tuesday morning. The doctor did the smashing around on the foot and deemed that an MRI was in order this time around as he was concerned at the status and his earlier diagnosis due to some reaction he was getting out of my foot.

I, of course, shrugged and said “OK” strapped the boot back on and set up the MRI for 1pm as requested.

The MRI was super exciting as I’ve never had an MRI with my head OUT of the machine. Remember, I have epilepsy so have had plenty of MRIs…of my noggin. This of course means my mug is always in the tube. This time however, I got to just stick my legs in. COOL! I didn’t know there was a clock that counted down the minutes. That was fun. Ok, really, it was a bit boring. But at least I had a different view. The MRI took about a half hour. I then was sent back to the doc to wait for the radiologist to read the results.

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I don’t know if you can see it, but there is a timer in the gray bar at the top! I COULD SEE IT because my head was out of the tube. HA.

This meant it was time to eat. I indulged on a delicious honey mustard chicken wrap from the café that TRIA had in their waiting area. I know you’re interested in my feeding habits, right? Then I waited…and waited. Hubby waited patiently with me. A little over an hour later I was called back to meet with my doctor. The moment of truth had arrived.

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YUM. I was hungry.

My ortho doctor walked in and plunked into his spinney stool. He looked at me for a bit. The first words out his mouth:

“Well, I’ve never seen this before.”

SUPER! “What?”

He then put on his computer screen with a photo of my foot.

OMG ALL MY TOES WERE BUSTED. Well, that’s what I was thinking based on my limited knowledge of imaging.

“WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!”

“Do you want the good news or the bad?”

“TELL ME WHAT THAT MEANS?!”

“Your foot isn’t broken” He moved the image down to where it hurts and pointed to the very non-broken bones.

“Wait, so I can take the boot off and run? Like now? AWESOME!!!! Perfect. OK, so we’re done here, thanks doc!”

“No.” He moved the image back to the glowing top and pointed. “We’ve never seen this. It’s not usual. Something is wrong. Do you have vascular disease? Your bone marrow is abnormal.”

“Huh? So can I run?”

“Blab la blab la blab la bla”

“Do I have to wear the boot or not?”

“I would for now, at least until you see the specialist. I’ll set you up at the front desk at the first opening. Bla blab la blab la blab la”

The rest of the appointment I heard the Charlie Brown teacher talk. All I could think was…if it’s not broken…why not run? HOLD YOUR HORSES SARAH…but why not? HOLD ON A MINUTE…but why not?

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See how you can’t see the pinky toe? That’s how ALL the toes should look. Apparently this is a problem. It does look kinda cool though right?

 

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Here’s the “impression” from the radiologist (who by MY impression also seemed baffled so don’t take it to much to heart…I’ll report back after seeing someone who knows what they’re talking about)

OK, so I’ll see this specialist person on June 3 and see what’s up with my glowing toes. I took my boot off today because I don’t see the point of wearing a boot on a non-broken foot. I’m listening and not running, though I’m waffling back and forth on that (oh it’s HARD). I have a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. Please understand.

I know something is “wrong” however, please understand I get news like this at every doctor appointment. I have odd stuff all over that can mean nothing at all. I can deal with some foot pain as long as I can run. Running is my anti-depressant, my escape, my stress relief and my hope. I feel kind of lost without it.

There you have it! Here’s to hoping I’ll be back in the game in the blink of an eye…and much more quickly than I thought I would.

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Moving Forward on One Foot

A few years ago I broke my foot and thought it was the end of the world.  Then I dusted off, bought an aqua jogger and hit the “pool running.”  About a month later, I did a stair climb with my broken foot in my boot and managed to place 5th in my age group. I knew from that point forward that “I was possible” and I shouldn’t give up on my goals.

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Coming down the escalator after completing the stair race on my broken foot. February 2012

 

Just a few days out of the boot I walked the Get Lucky 7K. I’m not going to lie and say I walked this race with any sort of grace or speed. Within a mile I was in last place with the sag wagon nipping at my heels. I was angry, embarrassed and in near tears. I had never been in this position before. I called my husband ready to quit. He encouraged me to keep going and I limped forward saying I didn’t want to sounding similar to a two year old child.

My daughter ran the 7k and looped back to where I was and started walking next to me. She became my cheerleader. She encouraged me and we made it to the finish line.

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Finish of the 7K March 2012

Two weeks later, I ran the Running Opener 10K.  A good friend, Melissa, ran along next to me. It felt so good to run. It felt amazing! My cardio still wasn’t quite up to it though and I faltered out and coughed and slowed in the second loop. I was so disappointed rather than being impressed that I was back running just a few weeks off my injury.

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Do you see joy here? Because THIS was joy. I was running again. April 2012

Two weeks after that I ran in Goldy’s 10 mile, my daughter pacing next to me to bring me to the finish line. She decided I could make it if we ran 10 minute miles the whole way. And we did.  She cheered me on the entire time. I was only four weeks out of the boot. Even I was proud and I was honored to have Tianna run me to the finish.

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Finish of Goldy’s. Couldn’t have done it without this young lady by my side. April 2012

So why am I reminiscing? Because I need to.  I feel down. A lot of me is connected to running. My social life, my friendships, my routine, my endorphins. It makes sense that right now I feel disconnected and out of sorts. I feel lost and alone. I am lucky actually that I can look back and see the after.

What am I doing right now? I’m unable to bear weight until at least the 27th and my swim suit is to big (I’m looking for a new one, I promise!) so I have been doing one legged rowing on the row machine, attempting to learn one legged burpees (NOT very good at these), upper body work with weights, a lot of laying leg work, sitting boxing, and ab work. Hopefully I can make a video of some of my master moves here soon, because I’m one of those awkward people so it would fit well with my humor theme.

For now, I bid adieu. Just writing this up has cheered my mood. Feel free to leave me words of encouragement or a joke. I prefer jokes. Thanks!

Eating on the Run and Keeping the Gut in Check

As promised in the previous Running and Eating…Eating and Running here is a follow up on eating while running. I may be busted right now, but I’m still capable of reflection!

I started out running on empty. I lived in fear of eating while I ran. I didn’t want to upset the beast that seemed to live in my stomach.  I’d dutifully get up before the sun rose, drink a bottle of water and hit the streets.  I proudly proclaimed my ability to run on empty up to a half marathon distance to anyone who would listen, secretly wondering how I could learn to run in a group without fearing the poop monster would chase me into hiding.

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This too became a game of trials with many errors along the way.  I first tried fruit snacks because that was what we had in the cupboard.  Within 15 minutes it was an emergency.  I thought all hope was lost.

I gave it another go with jelly beans with the same failed result. Failures occurred with other sugary snacks as well as sports drinks. Was I doomed to be an empty stomach runner? A runner with no endurance? A runner who had to hit the bushes every 5 miles?

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I hit the interwebs and read proclamations of gels and GU’s and Honey Stingers and bought every single one.  One by one each caused distress. I got samples at races, and tried them at races and had to hit the porta potty with cramps.  It had to be just me. Everyone else was walking around with a belt full of this stuff.

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I began to fear products in wrappers and looked to eating before the run. I landed on the plain bagel. I ran without problem. I nearly cried.

I added peanut butter. I still had no problem.

My confidence was growing.

I ate a Clif Bar.  Fail. Larabar. Fail. Powerbar. Fail.

Am I broken?

I still needed food for during the run.

I had one gel I hadn’t tried yet. The Powerbar Vanilla Powergel.  I ate it 40 minutes into my run.  I mapped out the bathrooms and kept them near.   I didn’t need them.  It had to be a fluke. All the other Powerbar Gels had failed me.

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I got up the next morning had a bagel with peanut butter and ran.  30 minutes later I had a vanilla gel. I kept running for another hour.  My dear stomach was welcoming this concoction.

This means that I ran on this exact food source for some time until I boldly attempted a cinnamon raisin bagel.  I’m happy to report that this wild move caused no distress or shock to my system.

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Recently I started experimenting again and have eaten salted potatoes (no issues), pretzels (no issues), M&Ms (major issues), honey grahams (issues), bananas (issues), watermelon (no issues), oranges (no issues) and Sports Beans (major issues).

I also purchased Tailwind which has become my main source of fuel while running. I drink Tailwind now on every run as it causes no distress in my fragile GI tract and then toss back PB&J on plain white bread as wanted and seem to have found the perfect system for me.

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There you have it; I gave you my weak spot. It’s my intestines.  If any of you out there have a gut like mine, I bow to you as I know that the search for the perfect food is an ultra-race itself and it takes an awful lot of crap to get there.

 

We interrupt this running story to bring you a fork in the road

On Monday I was dealt a bit of bad news. It seems that I didn’t escape Chippewa unscathed. I’ve been doing what every runner does and ignoring a nasty pain in my foot figuring that it must be a cramp, or due to running oddly due to my busted toe.

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After a defeating limp home on Monday, I finally went to the Ortho doc for an x-ray of my foot. I entered TRIA Orthopedics with great fear in my heart.

The doctor twisted and smashed and I attempted not to leap off the table or kick him in the face. I was a good patient and nodded and answered questions appropriately.

“Have you rolled your ankle recently?”

“Yep, at a trail race a couple weeks ago.”

“Did you know you have a broken toe?”

“Yes, I did that there too.”

“When’s the last time you ran?”

“Today.”

“Does this hurt?”  twist/smash/push

“YES.” *$#%@

“We need an x-ray. It’s likely that this (pointing to the base of the 5th metatarsal) is broken”

I steeled up. I didn’t even cry. I just limped to the x-ray and got pictures of my foot taken and waited for the results.

Soon enough the doctor was back pointing to the fracture in my foot. It seems that when I rolled my ankle at Chippewa, stress was placed on the 5th metatarsal. This stress was beyond what my bone could handle and it busted. My fracture was just beyond the avulsion line, and so was diagnosed as a traumatic Jone’s Fracture.

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I’m in a boot and crutches and have orders to put no pressure on my foot for the next two weeks in an attempt to have the bone start stitching itself together. In two weeks I get a follow up and a game plan.

Why is this important? Apparently Jone’s Fractures are sort of hard to heal. Not much blood goes to the area. If no healing is going on, Jone’s Fractures are treated with bone stimulation or surgery. Hopefully I’ll prove my bionic truth and have some bone stitching going on at my two week appointment.

I admit to going home and making some angry, whiny, why me type statements. I admit to staring at the calendar and feeling frantic. I admit to feeling lost.

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This was my attempt at artistic representation of my tragic homecoming.

I woke up this morning OK. I’m getting a grip, even if I still feel sad. This sucks. It really does. I will, however, run again.  I plan to come out of this boot crazy strong. I’m talking super woman strong. I’m working on a plan for that. I’m building an amazing workout for sufferers of broken feet. This is going to be a best seller (free).  My race plans are being re-adjusted and goals are being re-evaluated. I have to make a ‘new happy’ for now. That’s OK.

This is a little blip of time in the scope of my life. I might as well make the best of it, heal the foot and get mega strong in the meantime. Stay tuned.

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Related post from the way back machine: time off sucks!