Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bowl of Cherries

My life is a bowl of cherries.

Total lie there but I'm pretending like it is. Fake it til ya make it, ya know? But seriously, who doesn't love cherries? This photo shoot did not last very long because I kept eating them. Ha. But they were delicious! I'm totally craving some right now.

So…I had a bad weekend. No, not bad…disappointing. Didn't do the Old Goats 50 Miler which I'm sure you know. And spent another $670 to fix my car for a total of $1120 (there went race fees and a new bike – damn it). It wasn't all bad though. I did get tickets from work to Sundayss Nascar race…woo! With great seats…woo! But…friends bailing on going with you because it's supposed to rain…boo! And actually raining and cutting the race short…boo!

Anyway, I had kind of a meltdown on Saturday. Spent a good 15/20 minutes bawling my head off while parked outside the dealership. There was enough crying going on to supply Raging Waters with water for a week. Ok, slight exaggeration. We'll say a day. Yeah, that sounds right. But at least I got that out of my system. I am not one of those women who cries prettily. We’re talking puffy red eyes, blotchy face, and headaches. Not a pretty picture.

I have been a little pissy the first few days of the week but no more crying. Really, what do I have to complain about other than the not running. It's not like I had to deal with this or this. So I'm telling myself to snap out of it. I have decided to be less of a presence on Facebook and Twitter until I straighten my head out. I don't want to be a whiner and I found myself doing that on Monday. On my blog, that's fine. It's my blog, after all, I can whine if I want to. If people don't like it, they don't have to read it. But I don't want to clutter up timelines with negativity.

Another reason I've kind of been off Twitter and Facebook is that it's hard for me to see people running and racing and not want to do that. It makes me want to push myself to start again. Which I did on Monday. It wasn't bad. I only did 1.2 miles of running w/a little bit of walking. My foot twinged but not bad and it didn't get worse. It was okay the rest of the day but when I woke up yesterday, it was sore again. So no run yesterday or today. I may try again tomorrow. I may not. I'm just playing it by ear.

I will be back on Twitter by Friday though. I know a lot of my friends have some big races this weekend and I want to support and follow them. Especially:

-Heidi (@heidiruns) who is doing her 1st 70.3!
-Dani (@nanyob) who's doing her 1st marathon!
-Trent (@hhflyingmonkey) who is doing his 1st 100 miler!
-Joshua (@bayou) who is capping off a HUGE race month(2 50Ms & 2 26.2s) w/a 100 miler!
-Naresh (@iamarunr)who's running the Barkley (the race that eats its young!)!

If you get a chance, please wish them luck and send them some fast vibes. Run it fast!

And if you have some delicious cherries lying around…send them my way. I could use a bowl. :)

(edited because I cannot believe I forgot to include Naresh!)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Luck Ran Out

Last Friday, I confessed on twitter that I have not been running 100% since last September.

*I ran with swollen, achy toes on my left foot from Sept thru Jan.
*I ran with a beat up ITB for a month or so after my bike crash in Oct.
*I ran with a sore groin after I pulled it before my 10K (end of Nov-end of Feb).
*I ran & rode with a sore arm/shoulder since Jan (still an issue).

But now I've hurt my right foot and I think my luck (or my stupid is as stupid does ability to run thru injuries) has run out.

My foot most likely was stressed already and I tipped it over the edge playing xbox with my niece & nephew last weekend. In the last round I played (where I was jumping and dodging obstacles), I knew I'd landed wrong and I thought I'd actually hurt my knee because it was the one that had the sharp pain but it was fine. It was my foot that started hurting later and when I woke up the next morning it was still achy. I probably, no, definitely should not have done the 30K that day. I was kind of basing it on the other stuff that I'd already dealt with…that it wouldn't be pleasant but that I wouldn't do any more harm than I had already. Only my foot got worse. I took a week off from running and it got better. Yay.

So, of course, I tried running on Sunday. This time I played it “smart” (ha!) and listened to my body. I quit after a quarter mile when my foot felt worse with each step. I walked home, crying. My foot was achy the rest of the day but it felt better again on Monday. In fact, this morning I woke up and there was no pain and I thought maybe, just maybe I could run tomorrow but then I started walking around and it started hurting again and feeling warm. Sigh. It's just not looking good for Saturday.

To top it all off, my car is giving me grief. I took it in for routine maintenance and an oil change on Saturday ($75) and ended up spending $375 more for 2 new tires. Which should have been the end of it except when I drove home on the freeway (for the 1st time since the new tires) on Sunday night, my car was shaking so much I thought my teeth would rattle right out of my head. Short staffed at work means no time to take off to get it fixed so far this week. So...IF my foot feels better by Saturday, do I risk driving down there…on narrow mountain roads…in the dark…and pray that my wheels don’t fall off? I could probably take tomorrow morning off to get it looked at but I don’t know who to take it to: the dealer (more $$) or the tire place (free, maybe, but prob caused the problem)? Frankly, I am so frustrated and tired right now, I just want to kick my car and ride my bike forever.

Anyway…I've pretty much given up the idea of running the Old Goats 50 Miler on Saturday (there’s still 5% of me that thinks I can run it – I'm a dreamer, what can I say, and I really wanted that stupid Goat bling). Maybe I'm giving up to easily. Maybe I'm not made of steel like I thought I was. I just don't know. Part of me thinks I COULD still do it (if I get my car fixed tomorrow). But part of me wonders if I SHOULD do it. Really, the biggest thing that's looming over me is that I cannot do so much damage to my foot that I can't walk (needed for work) or ride at all (needed for my sanity). I seriously CANNOT take another 2 to 3 weeks of running (needed for my soul) down time. I have been going nuts but trying not to be too negative. The only time I let myself cry is on the bike. So the wind can get rid of the evidence. :)

So that's where I'm at 3 days before my 1st 50 Miler is scheduled. I know no one but me can determine whether or not I should do it. But I wish there was a Magic 8 Ball I could ask for the definitive answer. Why has no one invented that yet?!?! Sheesh. It's the not knowing that's hardest. The hoping that won't let me rest. The NEED to not be a quitter. Honestly, those are the things that kept me running thru the other injuries so I probably need to tell them to SHUT UP. But how do I do that?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Smile From Across The Pond

Today, I got the most amazing gift. I knew "something" was coming but wasn't expecting it today and didn't know what it was. I was feeling a little low this morning and when it arrived, it brightened my day considerably!

In January, I wrote this post on Run It Fast: Inspiring Women of 2011. In it, I listed Chrissie Wellington as one of the women who inspired me. Not only does she inspire me with her amazing athletic abilities but also her work with charity and the joyful attitude she shares with everyone.

I'd told Rowena (@rowenanews) how much she inspired me when Rowena mentioned she was going to get to meet her in person. Well, unbeknownst to me, Rowena got to meet her twice and the 2nd time she met her she did this:

Woo! An autographed copy of Chrissie's book! Is that not cool or what?!?! Not only that but Rowena told Chrissie about me and she showed her my blog and my photo. Even better was the note that Rowena wrote to me. I started crying when I read it because I really needed to hear what she said.

I know that I came off sounding positive about my race on Sunday but there was a patch where I was in a dark place. I was really frustrated about another race not going as planned and seriously doubting my abilities. I know that my foot issues aren't a reflection of that but I was still mad. Mad at myself for going past the 1st aid station. Mad at my foot for hurting. Mad at the running gods for throwing another challenge in my path. Frankly, I am ready for the "growing" to be done and to just have a nice, easy...FAST race.

So around mile 9, I felt like screaming and kicking something. I felt like crying. I even had a moment where I thought about dropping out of the running world. I mean, really, what could I possibly share with anyone that was worth anything? Except be a lesson in what not to do. I was going to shut down my twitter account, shut down the blog, tell Josh I couldn't do anymore Run It Fast posts, and stop racing! Total pity party. But after a bit, I felt better and even got to a point where I was laughing at myself. When I got to one of the checkpoints, I told the guy that I was going super slow so he could see my number and it wouldn't be a blur. He laughed. And then I joked about it with a couple near the end and reminded them that fast is relative. They said I had a great attitude and I smiled wryly to myself thinking if only they'd seen me a few miles ago.

So I was in a much better place at the end. It WAS a good day. Still...when the RD emailed the link to the results last night, I had no desire to look at them. I finally did today and was really surprised that I wasn't last. Or 2nd to last. Not that it matters. Rowena didn't say I'd inspired her because I won a race. Josh didn't give me another Run It Fast assignment today because I bring home hardware from a race. And a twitter peep didn't ask me for advice because I'm going to the Olympics. None of that matters to them. They only care that I run! Why do I keep forgetting that?

I sometimes don't get why people think I'm inspirational but I do appreciate when someone lets me know. It makes me feel good to know that I've contributed in some way to another person's running/training. If someone inspires you, you should let them know. It just might make their day when they need it the most!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mesquite Canyon 30K

I "ran" the Mesquite Canyon 30K today. I did more hiking than running though. :(

When I woke up this morning, my right foot was sore. I think I messed it up playing xbox with the kids. The outside edge of the foot is what was hurting. I may or may not have done some awesome jumping karate moves while playing Adventures. No, there are no pictures. Ok, there are but no way am I putting those up here!

So, I was kind of hoping that it would feel okay once I warmed up and decided to go ahead and run. I did my usual pre-race routine and headed over to the race. The plan was that the family would come over around 11 and then we'd have a picnic after and enjoy the day in White Tank. It was going to be clear and 80ish so a good day to be out.

When I got to the race, I saw a Run It Fast shirt and figured it was @Bateluer so I introduced myself. Luckily, it was. Lots of fun to meet another Run It Fast Club Member!

The 30K race went off at 8am. I felt pretty good. The first 5 or so miles was soft dirt/sand trails and I made it to the 1st aid station at 5.5 miles in an hour. I had to decide there if I was going to keep going because the next aid station wasn't for another 9 miles and it wasn't near a road. My foot wasn't happy but I thought it probably wouldn't get worse so I decided to keep going.

After the aid station, we really started heading up and the next 3 miles were uphill and really rocky. I didn't mind the uphill but the climbing over the rocks did a number on my foot. When I could run again, it wasn't pretty, more of a shuffle.

I was trying to not make my foot worse because the Old Goats 50 Miler in 2 weeks was hanging over my head. I wanted to finish this but I didn't want to mess up my chances for running that. I decided it would be okay if I hiked and I resigned myself to hiking a lot of it and it being a long, long day. The rest of the 30K was spent hiking the rocky parts and running/shuffling thru the dirt/sand sections. The views were pretty, the weather was warm, and there was a cool breeze so it wasn't a bad day to be on the trail.

I was really happy to get to the 2nd aid station because I ran out of water. They filled my water bottle for me and I was on my way. They had great support and food at the aid stations. All my faves were there but I didn't eat much, just grabbed a couple of cookies each time and made sure my bottle was full.

There was 1 more aid station before the end and it was near a road. I could have dropped then but I was just a couple miles from the finish so I kept going.

Finally, I could see the finish and my sister and my niece were waiting for me and then I saw Robert at the finish taking pics of me. Then I was done.

Gotta say, it was a weird feeling. Not tired, not satisfied, a little disappointed, but happy that I finished it. After I got my glass, I introduced my family to Robert, we talked for a little bit then left to meet the others at the picnic area.

So once again, not the day I wanted but not a bad day. Any race that lets me spend some time on the trails for experience and lets me see my family is a win. For sure.

I've been icing my foot since and using BioFreeze on it and my ankle which I whacked on a rock. I'm going to take a couple of days off from running and let it get better. I'm a little worried about it. Hopefully a couple of days will fix it. Cross your fingers.

I'm most sad that I have to drive home tomorrow. I don't get to see the kids nearly enough and they are growing sooo fast! Maddie is almost as tall as I am and Max is hilarious! I didn't get to see my oldest niece because she's spending spring break with her best friends family in Florida. I'm going to have to come back soon!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I Am A Cheetah...And A Mt Goat...Sort Of

Live out of your imagination, not your history. ~Stephen Covey
This morning, just as I was about to get in the shower, the shower curtain moved by itself. I stopped and looked at it and thought maybe it was my cat waiting to attack me. But then Spike walked up next to me and he was looking at the shower curtain too. First thing that went thru my mind was Psycho. Second thing was a ghost. Then a mouse. Then a REALLY BIG spider. All in the space of a few seconds. I almost didn’t want to know what was on the other side of the curtain but I pulled it back anyway and…nothing…the shower was empty. Whew.

Yep, I have a vivid imagination. I don't know what caused the shower curtain to move like that. I'm gonna go with ghost though. :)

I think my vivid imagination has come in handy for running. Oh sure, it's caused a few issues: imagining myself falling off a mountain, fending off a mountain lion, getting lost for days in the woods…even though I don’t run in the woods!

But on the whole it's been a good thing. It keeps me entertained on long runs so I'm never bored. I think you also have to have a good imagination when you sign up for a race. Some part of you has to imagine that you could finish it or you wouldn't sign up for it. Maybe at the time you sign up, you aren't ready but you will be.

They say that visualization is good for runners who race. It can help you get ready for a race and help you complete it when the going gets hard. I use it a lot while I'm running or sometimes at night when I feel overwhelmed or anxious about an upcoming race. I visualize myself running through the cheering crowds (there's always a stadium full) and crossing the finish line. The problem I had in the beginning was that I always visualized myself looking like I was in the first mile and that it would be easy. When it wasn't like that during my first few races, I was disappointed. Then I learned that racing is supposed to be hard and it's supposed to hurt. So I started visualizing what that would be like but that I'd still be running strong through the pain. That helped a lot.

So, um, as you know if you've been reading this blog...I am not the fastest runner out there nor am I the most agile trail runner. But I still have fun when I'm running on the road or on the trail. You know why? Because I turn on my imagination and become faster, smoother, lighter Runner Lisa. The Lisa that is so fast you can't see her. The Lisa that is so light and agile she can leap huge boulders with a single bound. Well, maybe 2. I do have short legs, you know. ;) Still...

When I'm running intervals or tempo runs and I want to run like the wind...or at least try to, I imagine I'm speedy like this --------------------->

(When I took this pic, I imagined the cheetah was looking at me like I was lunch. What do you think?)

And when I'm on the trails and I want to be fast and quick over technical sections, I imagine I'm this...

And while I'm not there YET, I will be one day! (Cross your fingers some of that happens this weekend at the Mesquite Canyon 30K!)

Have a great weekend and Run It Fast!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

3 Weeks Out

It's 3 weeks until the Old Goats 50 Miler and I am just a little bit freaked out right now. I know I can run 50 miles. But 50 Miles with 12000+ ft elevation gain...yeah, that's a whole other story.

I've been trying to get some hills in. I think I did a good job of that at last week's 50K. Hopefully, this weekend helped too. I just don't know.

I ran 25 miles on Saturday. I was a little bit tired. I had wanted to do 3 repeats of the Euclid trail but only ended up doing 2. :( It was a good run though.

It capped off my highest mileage week ever! 92.21 miles. I never dreamed I could run that many miles in one week. The 50K last Sunday and Saturday's run were a big portion of that but still. I think my legs did pretty well with this week. I'm really happy with how they are doing and I think I'm getting stronger. I just hope it's in time.

Today's run was a blast. I decided to run up to the top of Lower Monroe Truck Trail. I didn't make it all the way to the road last time and I wanted to do that today. I had planned 12 or 13 for today and figured that would be enough to get up there. It was a really pretty day. Clear and sunny with a high of 85 predicted. I started at 7 so it was still cool, especially in the lower portions of LMTT.

When I was starting out, there were 3 mountain bike boys getting ready to head up the trail. I made it up to the first look out at 5k before they caught up to me. I headed out while they paused for a break and I kept waiting for them to pass me on the trail but they didn't catch me until we were almost at the top of the single track (6.5 miles). But only 2 of them passed me. I made it to the top before the 3rd guy! When I got up there, I said "Woo, I'm 3rd!". They laughed and said I was first in their books. They were easily impressed. ;) We talked for a bit while we waited for their friend to get up there. They asked me about the bobcat down at the bottom of the trail and I was like "Whaaat?". They told me that when I was heading up the trail, there was a bobcat watching me. They thought I'd seen it but I hadn't. I was bummed that I missed it but also a little freaked out too. I really need to pay attention for things like that. They asked me if I carried anything just in case and I said no. I do have a knife that I used to carry with me on my photo expeditions (for opening stuff, etc. not safety). I don't know about carrying it while I run though.

After I left them, I saw my first wild animal on the trail! A little fox ran across the trail and pounced on something on the other side. That was very, very cool. Other than that, all I saw were birds and lizards.

It turned out to be 8 miles up to the top. The view up there was very cool...

Since I'd only planned 13 for the day, I decided to take a short cut on the way back and do Mystic Canyon. That would shorten the run down by 2 miles and bring the total for the day to 14 miles. Not a bad day at all even if I did fall on my backside coming down MC! The elevation at the top was 3471 and I'd started at 1200 and I had a total elevation gain of 2800. I wish it had been more. Sigh.

I was a little shaky when I got to the bottom of the trail. I didn't eat enough or maybe I was more tired from last week than I thought but I felt good after I ate. In fact, I took my mt bike out for a 15 mile ride in the afternoon. It was too beautiful a day to stay inside.

Next week, I'm supposed to do 20 miles on Sat & 10-12 on Sun. I might go over to AZ and do a 30K there on Sunday. I haven't decided yet. It's in White Tank which is right near where my sister and my dad live. I haven't been to AZ in a while and haven't seen the kids in forever so I think I should go. And not just because I'm addicted to racing. Really. Yeah, I don't believe me either. ;) Ha!

Here's one last photo from today's run. This is my favorite. I love the sunlight streaming into the photo.

I hope you all had a great weekend and that you have a fabulous week!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February Recap

My February was a pretty darn good month, I'd have to say. It was jam packed with all kinds of adventure and new experiences. Oh yeah, and a little bit of running! Cycling...not so much. That's probably the only low point for the month.

In February, I ran 232.7 miles and rode 159 miles. <--That bike mileage was my normal WEEKLY mileage last year and I haven't had a month that low since I started bike commuting almost 4 years ago.

But I'm not going to freak out about it. A few things, good things, happened in February that kept that number low. These are the highlights:

*I ran my 1st 50K on 2/4! In the mud! And I survived. :)
*I ran my 2nd 50K on 2/25! With lots of hills! And I survived. :)
*I ran my 1st solo trail run up a mountain in February. And I survived. ;)
*I continued run commuting to work a couple days a week. I may even go to 3 days in March. We'll see.
*I visited Tennessee and got to hang out with friends and make new ones. Saw Graceland and other cool stuff.
*I was interviewed by Ultra Chicks Unite and the site was shared by the head of AdventureCorps so it was seen by a lot of people! (kind of a weird feeling).
*I joined the Run It Fast Running Club! I hope to get really involved in it this year and I hope you'll join me in that.

So...a pretty awesome month, eh?

Anyway, the tapering for 2 50Ks, travelling to TN, and run commuting meant that I was off the bike for a lot of February. I have a feeling the rest of the year isn't going to be much better since I plan on running a LOT more.

This creates a dilemma for me with my life goal. In case you don't life goal is to be less dependent on my car and only use it one day a week. The way I "judged" achieving my goal in the past was to ride more miles than I drive. Last year, I rode 6,500 miles so it wasn't a problem. I may only do half of that this year on the bike. So I'm thinking of including my running miles in achieving my goal. I think that's fair, don't you? My goal for 2012 will change to "more miles human powered than motor powered". What do you think?

I just have to figure out if it's more in the spirit of the goal to count run miles 1 to 1 or to use, say, a 2 to 1 ratio. For example, today's commute would count as 27 miles instead of 13.5? Still have to think about that I guess. Ha. Life is good when that's your biggest worry!

I hope you all had a great February and you have an even better March!