Sunday, October 6, 2013

Baker Lake 50K-Race Report

This event has been in my running plans for a couple of years. One of the coaches at the Y ran it in 2011 and raved about it. The problem is, the first weekend of October is jam packed with events. I struggled deciding between the Portland Marathon (because so many friends had signed up) and Baker Lake. I have run Portland before and the roads just pale in comparison to the trails for me.

Concrete Washington is about a two hour drive from where I live. The scenery on the way there is beautiful all on its own allowing a preview of the run to come with enough time to be fully awake, have a bowl of oatmeal, and settle into the zone.

It poured the week leading up to the event, but race day was perfect. It was like the clouds emptied out just for this run. I started out at a comfortable pace and found my rhythm. The views along the way are magnificent. I had to stop once in a while to take it all in. Even though the event sold out, the trail did not feel crowded. It was just the right mix of solo running and enjoying the company of other runners.

I had my new hydration pack and really thought I had been sipping frequently. When I reached the aid station at the half way point, I handed my pack to a volunteer to fill up. He proceeded to tell me my pack was too heavy and then loudly chastised me because I had not been drinking enough.  Oops. I had some boiled potatoes in my drop bag and graham crackers with Nutella (introduced to me by my friend Sonja). I felt fueled enough and I wasn't thirsty so I hit the out house and went on. Sonja was at the aid station when I arrived so we decided to run on together. I'm always better at drinking and fueling when she is with me because she has a timer on her watch that beeps every ten minutes. We lost each other around mile 20 and just about mile 26, I started having some stomach issues. After the aid station, I relied mostly on gels. I have decided that I need a more solid form of fuel because the sugar in the gels goes right to my stomach.

The last five miles was a big push for me, but I made it and I'm so glad I chose this event.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Timeless Message of Girls on the Run

I am so thankful to be part of Girls on the Run-as a girl, as a mom, and as a runner. I'm blessed to be able to experience the positive effects in the individual girl's lives and to observe that extend to their family and community.

A new season is starting and I will miss the girls who have 'graduated' and moved onto 6th grade. I'm hoping the Puget Sound area will grow enough to be able to offer Girls on Track for middle school and junior high when girls are really trying to figure out who they are uniquely and also trying to fit in- whatever that means.

At the beginning of every new session, I ask the return girls what they like most about being a Girl on the Run. Usually, they say the games and snack time and hanging out with their friends; and I think-isn't that what I love about being a Girl on the Run? Playing outside, 'fueling up' after a great run and being with my friends.

Next, I ask them to share a little about their favorite lesson with the new team members and it is during this time when I know that while running may not always stay with them, the message of making choices and transforming those into the best actions and outcomes will ring true.

At different points in my life, I have come back to: plugging into positive messages through visualization or meditation; reminded myself to own the choices I have made; sorting out emotions and understanding that all emotions are part of the human experience and it's healthy to feel them all; celebrating gratitude and catching myself if I start to take things for granted; putting negative self talk in the trash; fueling for health and "running my own pace" as that applies to the broad scope of life; standing up for myself and being assertive in a constructive, respectful way; and giving back to my community.

Empowerment- that's what I want for all girls.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

STP-205 miles in a blog post

To fully appreciate this weekend, I have to rewind to 2009 when I attempted STP the first time. I was also training for 3 marathons in 90 days, had just recovered from a bout of vertigo, and was following the Cascade Training Plan for STP, which by the way, is over kill. As a novice rider and aspiring Ironman, I naively thought that this was a good combination-marathon training and double century training. Not to mention all the swimming (In reality, Ironman training does not include a full marathon prior to the event). I ended up hurt from over training and went camping that weekend instead. SO STP has been that thing-sort of hanging over me since then. Every year, I have hesitated. This year, I decided I have to face my thing.

Cascade is the bicycling club that organizes the event. There are pros and cons to this club. The older-experienced riders can be some what condescending and flat out rude to people who are starting out. I think they just have forgotten where they came from. Note to self to always remember I was once a beginner. Riding in packs of 20-30 people does not appeal to me. I prefer to pedal in peace and not listen to other riders calling out "runner up", "car back", "on your left", "on your right", "cheerio". I do understand this is a safety measure, but hearing it every five minutes over the course of 100 or so miles-yeah, annoying. However, my good friend Heidi likes the club. The Pros: folks to ride with (admittedly friendly types too), accountability, showing up for a ride and not having to plan out the route, advice and support. I didn't join the club, but I followed the long ride portion of the plan and managed to be fit enough to ride the entire way.

Day 1 6:00am- met Heidi, Marki, Christine and Joyce at UW parking lot start line. 6:30 rolled out. By the time we reached Seward Park, I was having fun and thinking that cycling is an ok sport. I conserved on day one because I wasn't sure how my body would feel on day two. I completed only two training back to back rides, but also did a lot of trail running, which is hills and elevation-actually more elevation in 13 miles than the entire distance of STP. There is one big hill on day one and it's really all about shifting low and spinning your way to the top. Grateful for spin classes all the way up that hill. The event is well supported. There is food/water/bathroom stops and gas stations all along the route. We made it to Centralia, the half way point, by 4:00. I was staying in Olympia (driving back with my bike to a nice hotel) to fuel and recover with a warm epsom salt bath and a comfy bed. I highly recommend this over camping out.

Day 2 6:00am-met Marki in Centralia. Heidi and Christine had decided to ride an extra 10 miles on day 1 and to sleep in an extra hour. We thought Joyce had dropped. Her training plan consisted of a 52 mile ride and several 10 mile rides during the week. More on this later. This day was all about rollers-so much fun. I was extra hungry so I ate a whole Larabar at mile 25 and two tacos at the 43 mile mark. I was a bit nervous about the bridge crossing the Columbia river in Longview. There had been a car accident earlier in the morning (no injuries) so traffic was backed up and bikes were backed up waiting to cross. The bridge is not too steep but waiting to go up was creating anxiety in the crowd and riders were falling over-I guess forgetting to un-clip. I lost my friends about half way. I practiced eating on the bike like in a triathlon, so I didn't need to stop so much. I am amazed at the different types of bikes that cross the finish line-mountain bikes, tandem bikes with four people (how do you bike fit that), recumbent bikes, and those retro type bikes with the basket on the front and a banana seat. I noticed several kids, Moms and Dads pulling a trailer with kids, a bride and a groom on their honeymoon, riders with beer jerseys (gotta find one of those), all walks of life, all body types, all ages. Ok, back to Joyce. We had a pasta dinner the night before the ride and Joyce was explaining her training plan of one long ride of 52 miles and 10 miles daily in her neighborhood with a hill. Whoa, and I was worried I had only one hundred mile ride finished. Joyce finished the ride and I think how most all endurance events are a little bit of training and a TON of determination.

That's my STP adventure. I crossed the finish at about 3:00 on day two. I am grateful I faced my thing. I learned that I do enjoy riding-especially when that's all I have on my 'to do' list that day. Already considering the one day ride next year!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I'm a runner...I'm a RUNNER...I'M A RUNNER

It has taken me a long time to say that with confidence. My running journey began after both my girls had started school and I had to do something about the "baby" fat. I was a closet runner (treadmill at the gym or early morning so no one would see me) all through training for my first 5K. The more I ran, the more running started to feel like freedom and independence and rebellion. Freedom from the daily grind and my desk job, independence because I could do this for myself and rebellion from all the junk I had started believing about myself-I'm not good enough or fast enough or athletic enough. That was in 2003. Fast forward to now, I have completed 9 marathons (including an ultra), a half-iron distance triathlon, participated in a Ragnar relay and find myself addicted to trails. There's a saying, "the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" and I say, why not run it?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Funny twist of fate...I ended up joining a team for RAGNAR and passed on the free LS entry. I have done a 70.3, but never an all night running party (I mean relay).
This is a whole different kind of endurance. 12 runners, 2 vans, 200 miles, 28 hours of running, 2 hours of sleep.
I'm glad I did it for the experience. I'm not sure I would do it again. I love running. The waiting around was exhausting.
I love the running community-what a testament to the sport when you can hop into a van full of strangers, bond over bagels and bananas, support each other logistically, work toward the finish line together, and at the end talk about plans for the next adventure.