Thursday, August 30, 2012

Animal Racing At The Happiest Place On Earth

This Sunday, I'm running my 15th half marathon at the Disneyland Half Marathon here in Anaheim, California! I'm as excited about this as my soon to be 7 year old nephew would be about going to Disneyland. :)

Races are kinda of like trips to Disneyland, don't you think? I mean, there's big crowds. Sometimes people in costumes. And the race itself is like an E ticket ride! Um, please tell me you're old enough to remember E tickets? In case you don't, when I was a kid...oh, so long got a pack of tickets when you entered Disneyland with A-E tickets. The E ticket rides were the best rides (like Space Mountain) and there weren't that many. I kind of miss those old tickets but it's better now.

Anyway...I'm super excited because not only do I get to race at the Happiest Place On Earth, but I get to race with Beth and Teal (@LifeisaRun) and we get to meet for the first time! Woo! I cannot wait to meet them!

So, since this is my Year of Animal Racing, I decided I needed to join the spirit of the Disney Half and dress up as Minnie Mouse. My favorite character is Tinkerbell but since she doesn't fit the Year of Animal Racing...Minnie it is. I found a cute skirt and some fun accessories to wear for the race:

The outfit includes a skirt, ears, gloves, a necklace...and a tail. (I used diff instagram filters but they are the same red) I did a twitter poll to ask if I should wear the tail and of course the answer was Yes. I should have known. Never ask Twitter anything! They will always make you do it! :) It's okay though. This is all about the fun. :) I am going to have try it all out in a test run though. To make sure it all stays where it should.

I already tried on the ears:
How do they look? My coworkers wanted me to wear them all day but I said no. ;)

So, I'm all set! I have my outfit planned. I have plans to meet up with Teal and Beth on Saturday (hopefully). And I have plans to have fun on Sunday! Oh, and maybe run a little. :) But I have a 17 mile trail run planned for Saturday so I'm not sure how fast I'll go on Sunday. Plus, I plan to take pictures. :)

I know I'm going to have a fun weekend! I hope you do too! What do you have planned?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Law Of Relevance

This is the Universe's Law of Relevance:
"No matter how scared, or tired, or ill you are; no matter how lost, or confused, or desperate you become; no matter how lonely, depressed, or cranky you feel... if you just do what you can, with what you have, from right where you are, IT WILL ALWAYS BE ENOUGH." 
God, I hope so.

After last weekend's marathon and how easy it was...and how good the 12 miler was the day after...I was feeling really good about my prospects for Javelina Jundred. This weekend...slightly less so.

Don't get me wrong, it was a good, solid weekend of training. Just not as effortless as last weekend was.

I guess that's to be expected, right? If only Wonder Woman had amazing recovery powers like Wolverine! ;)

When I first looked at my plan and saw the 22/20 back-to-back long runs, I was nervous. It's less than I've done at a 12 hour but not the same. At the 12 HRs, I did a lot of walking and this would be all running. And not rested. Which is the whole point, I guess.

So Saturday, I was supposed to do 22 miles and I decided to head to Bonelli to get some fun hill time in. Well, guess who forgot to eat before her run? Good thing I had PB&J crackers and a few Honey Stinger waffles with me. Just in case. And boy did they save my hide. I felt really good when I started and attacked the hills the best I could. But then around mile 14, my energy crashed. Big time. I was shaky and I needed food. I'd eaten about 6 of the PB&J crackers which is about 200 calories but I obviously needed more. So I stopped for like 5 minutes and sat down and ate 2 waffles. And then walked for about a half a mile and finally I felt like I could run again. It got a little better but it was still a slog fest. I made the mistake of going by my car at mile 21 and I decided to call it. I felt guilty but not too much. As soon as I stopped, my calf started cramping (and would the rest of the day). I obviously really got nutrition wrong on this one. Argh.

Since I only did 21 on Saturday, I had to do 21 on Sunday as well. Up until I'd gone to bed on Saturday, I was thinking the Sunday 21 might not happen. But I got up, got dressed...ate...and then headed out. And what do ya know? I felt pretty good. Woo! This time I had a bottle of GuBrew with me and a couple of small Luna bars in my skirt pockets. Just in case. I bonked again but not as bad as Saturday's. And it didn't happen until around mile 18.5. I ate one of the Luna bars and it seemed to help. Sunday's 21 was quicker. Yay!

The only casualties from the runs was a blister on my big toe on Sunday and a sore ankle and shin. I could tell I was tired on Saturday when I started kicking my ankle. That's the only time it happens. And it's always the right ankle I kick. I wonder why that is? But other than that, I was good to go.

So, I am pretty happy with how the runs went and how well my legs did. I really need to get the nutrition dialed in though. 100 miles is a LONG way to go on a few hundred calories! But really, considering I ran a marathon last weekend and capped off a high mileage week with back-to-back 21 milers, I can't be too upset. Okay, I changed my mind. I'm still feeling good about my prospects for JJ100. :)

Here's my stats for last week:
83.4 miles running (7 runs including the Leading Ladies Marathon)
72 miles riding (4 bike commutes)

Oh, and I lost 6 lbs last week! I'm not sure how that happened. I apparently didn't do as good a job refueling as I thought. I wouldn't mind losing a few more but not in big chunks like that! That's too many missed burritos and pancakes and that's just...tragic. ;)

Anyway...I feel like I'm complying with the Law of Relevance. I AM doing all that I can with what I have and from where I am. I have to believe it will be ENOUGH to make my goals/dreams happen.

It has to be.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Comfortable In My Own Skin

The camera and I...we have a love/hate relationship. I LOVE to take photos. Having a camera in my hand just feels right. I love the challenge of capturing the perfect moment or landscape. It makes me feel alive.

But being on the other side of the camera? That fills me with fear and dread. I swear, I cannot take a good picture for the life of me! Ok, I  guess they aren't all that bad. But the ones I like are few and far between. Of the ones from the Leading Ladies Marathon, I thought these sucked the least.
At least I'm smiling.

I guess I see the flaws when I look at pictures of me before I see anything else. I always think I look like a goofball or chubby. Or I look like I'm on drugs if I'm wearing my glasses because I usually have crossed or droopy eyes or something like that. Seriously. Maybe I'm just too picky.

It's bad enough when I have my picture taken by someone else but when I try to take my own picture...oh, boy. There's usually at least a dozen rejects before I find one that I half way like. There were 16 photos taken this morning before I liked this one.
I admire people who are able to post photos of themselves on twitter and instagram. I'm envious of their comfort in their own skin and wonder if I'll ever get to that point. How do I get to that point?

I know part of it is that I still have that fat girl lurking inside of me. I told someone recently that I was through with love. That I was getting too old to find that happily ever after. And tired of looking/hoping. But honestly, I know I haven't given up because I sometimes do look at wedding dresses and wonder...what if? So anyway, today, I was looking at an article on wedding dresses for plus-sizes and it was only after I'd started going through them that I remembered I'm not a plus-size anymore. And it made me wonder when I would get past THAT.

Remember how I said that I was more tomboy than girly while growing up? I still am that way a lot. I cut my own hair. I don't wear makeup except maybe tinted moisturizer, chapstick, and maybe eyeliner...when I remember. I never, ever wear heels. So it's not that I want to be supermodel beautiful. I just want to be comfortable in my own skin and not cringe every time I see a photo of myself.

Funnily enough, running has helped a little with that. I can't hide from the photographers on the course, after all. And I have been liking some of my race photos lately. And I even got in line to have a finish photo taken at the Leading Ladies Marathon. I think it's because running makes me feel so good. Better than I've ever felt before and that's translating itself into the photos.

If only I had that feeling all the time...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Leading Ladies Marathon Race Recap

I ran the Leading Ladies Marathon in Spearfish, SD on August 19, 2012. It was my 6th marathon and I think it's my new favorite!

This trip was a quickie so I flew in the day before the race. I also had to keep my runstreak going so that meant I woke up at 3 on Saturday to run an easy 5K before getting ready to head to the airport. I was tired and I did a lot of napping on my flights!

I pretty much did everything you are NOT supposed to do the day before a marathon. I had a 2 hour layover in Denver and got to South Dakota at noon. Since all the walking at the airports wasn't enough, I decided to go see Mt. Rushmore too! Holy moly, that was awesome. It was another one of those "wish I could see it but will probably never happen" items on my to-do list. But thanks to running I got to see it in person! :)

After I left there, I took the scenic drive through the Black Hills Forest to Spearfish. It was a gorgeous drive. I got to the expo, got my shirt & bib, and then did a little shopping. Oops. ;)

After that, I went to the hotel to check in and made the mistake of resting for a little while. I had planned to go to Deadwood for dinner but ended up just getting Subway and calling it a night. Probably for the best because I planned to get up at 3 on Sunday...which is 2 my time. Luckily, I did not sleep thru the alarm! I got dressed, ate a couple of mini bagels, and drove over to the race to catch the bus to the start. This is the third marathon where we did that and it's a little mind boggling - we drive and drive and you think "hey, I have to run this far back!". Then you block it out and you don't think about it! I had some PB&J crackers on the bus so a total of 390 calories before the start. Not a whole lot but I figured I could eat fruit and stuff along the course.

There were a couple of buses going to the start and luckily I got on the one that 2 fellow Run It Fast Club Members were on: Michelle #124 and Diane #159. It was so fun to have a mini RIF meet up. We took a few pics, the RD gave us a few last minute instructions, and then it was time to race!

Me, Diane, and Michelle
Without a whole lot of fanfare, the small band of Amazon Warriors set off on their 26.2 journey at 6am on Sunday morning. Oh wait, it was about 200 women. No, that's right. Same thing. ;) We started off on dirt and with an uphill for about a mile and then the fun downhill started. I fell into a comfortable pace which happened to match another runner's and we ran together for the first 10 miles.

Talking with Amber and looking at all the scenery was a lot of fun and made the first 10 miles fly by but I realized that I was running faster than I meant to. I'd planned on running 10:30ish miles and we were averaging closer to 10 min miles. I told Amber that I needed to stop for the port-a-potty at the aid station after 10 miles and then try and slow down so I would see her at the end. She said okay and we split up at the next aid station. My stomach was a little gurgley but it wasn’t too bad. I ended up not taking in any food or gels throughout the race and just relied on my bottle of GuBrew. I think that worked out okay because I never bonked. Wild!

Miles 11 & 12 included the pit stop and then an out and back on dirt with a hill so my pace for those 2 miles was 11:34 and 11:18. I also started taking photos so that helped slow me down. This is the stream that we had keeping us company for most of the run. I loved listening to the water on the run.

 This is the out and back. It was so green there and not a cloud in the sky. Incredibly beautiful!

When I was coming back down, I saw Diane heading up and we high-fived each other. That must have given me a little kick because mile 13 was 10:06. Oops! I hit the half way point around 2:16/2:17, I think. I seriously did try to slow down but I FELT like I was running easy so the next 7 miles were an average 10:02ish pace, with mile 20 being 9:33.

With just 10K to go and still feeling awesome, I just ran how I wanted although I did try to keep it around 9:30. I started playing Reel In The Runner and would pick a woman ahead of me and try and catch her and ended up passing quite a few women including Amber, who said "You must be feeling good" and I answered "Yes, I am." and I smiled. I swear time sped up during this marathon because the miles just kept zipping by. It could have been the distractions: the views, the water, passing by Bridal Veil Falls (which I missed taking a pic of :( but didn't want to go back), and seeing the little critters including a little ferret that was spectating as we went by. He didn't have a cowbell though. :) Anyway, the last 6 miles were: 9:29, 9:30, 9.26, 9:12, 9:25, and 9:19. Oh, I did stop one more time somewhere in there for one last pic:

And then sadly, I was back at the park. :( I was on the path to the finish and almost done. The avg pace for the last .46 (per my garmin) was 8:58. I kinda, sorta got a little excited at the end and picked it up a bit. :) Not that I wanted it to be over but just hearing the announcer and the crowd always gets my feet moving faster. The announcer dude called out “Here comes Run It Fast, bib #60 Lisa from Alta Loma” (the Run It Fast part made me laugh) and I was done with marathon #6! The men at the finish line gave me my medal, took my chip, gave me a nice warm scented towel to clean up with, a bottle of ice cold water in a Leading Ladies Marathon koozie, and a rose. This is the awesome medal we received:

The medal is based on the painting The Lead Mare by Sarah Rogers. It's beautiful. I love the colors and it fits in with my whole Year of Animal Racing!

By the way, almost all of the aid stations were staffed by men and a lot of the spectators were too and that was kind of fun. :) For snacks after there was fresh fruit and fruit “pizzas” (homemade frosted sugar cookies) with the fruit forming smiley faces on the pizzas. All in all, they treated us like rock stars there and it was a great feeling. I also got to see Michelle get her 3rd place award for our age group. Woo!

So... I totally negative split this run! How cool is that? I also never once thought about walking and my legs felt really good during the race. I felt like I wasn't leaving it all out there but ran nice and easy and enjoyed the views, the sound of the stream/river, and best of all...had a lot of fun. I think this marathon felt the best of all the marathons I've done so far! Which is kind of crazy considering I didn't taper for it at all. In fact, I even did my Big 3 on Tues/Wed/Thurs and ran 14, 10.5, and 12.3 miles back-to-back-to-back. Then ran 5 miles on Friday and 3 on Saturday. I had a lot less than ideal sleep and did a lot of walking on Saturday. Oh, and did a crappy job of hydrating on Saturday too. With all that and not eating much before, I was NOT expecting to feel so good during the run and thought for sure I would finish between 4:45-5 hours. To say I am happy with the result would be a huge understatement. I even felt good enough to do a 12 miler today (Monday) even with doing more walking on Sunday in Deadwood and then the whole airport thing in reverse.

I am one seriously happy runner girl today and I'm treating myself to a massage tonight. :)

Thanks for reading! Hope your weekend was as fun as mine!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Contrary Coyote

When I was little, my great-grandmother used to make my dresses for me. The dresses always had full skirts and usually ruffles and/or lace. They weren’t delicate because she knew I was going to play in them but they were cute and I loved them. And I loved to twirl in them. I’d throw my arms out and spin around as fast as I could to see how much my skirt would flare.

I used to fight with mom over them because she would tell me they were getting too short and I would argue that they weren’t. But of course, they were and they were passed down to my sister. My great-grandma died when I was seven and that’s when I stopped wearing dresses. I became more of a tomboy and wore pants or shorts from them on. All the better to play tag football or dodgeball, right?

This anti-dress mentality continued until just a few years ago. Oh sure, I wore dresses for special occasions (graduations, weddings, etc.) but I wasn’t happy about it. And I would declare up front: no pink or purple and no ruffles or lace! No way, no how.

But that all changed once I lost the infamous 150 lbs. I wear skirts almost daily now. It’s much easier for me to buy a skirt with my short legs. Best of all, now that I’ve lost all that weight, I can buy skirts in the Junior department. They’re cheaper (which means I can buy more running gear!) and they hit my legs at just the right height. That means I don’t have to look for a Petite department which always seem to carry “old” clothes anyway. What’s up with that? I’m still young! Aren’t I?

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I also love to wear skirts when I run. I love that they give me a little extra coverage and that they usually have pockets for me to stash stuff. But you know what one of my favorite things about running in skirts is? That it makes me feel like that little girl whose great-grandmother used to make dresses for her. It reminds me that running is play. And sometimes when I’m running and I see my shadow and I see the hem of my skirt flip up, it makes me smile. It makes me feel like the little girl who was scolded by her mom for not being a “lady” in my dress but who didn’t care because she was having too much fun!

Of course, we all know now that running around like heathens doesn’t make us less of a lady. Maybe if I’d been told that when I was younger, I wouldn’t have rebelled against “feminine” attire all these years. Or it could just be that I’m contrary and I would have done it anyway.

Here’s the thing... I love how my skirts make me feel: strong, sexy, fast, and flirty. <--Feeling this way makes me feel good and makes me want to run fast and far. It's not about being seen.You know? Because that's what I sometimes don’t always like about wearing them.... the attention they get. I saw a post in a forum today from a woman who said she gave up wearing skirts because of that. I don't want to do that! I want to wear my favorite pink skirt with the slit, the blue skirt that flares in the back, my black adventure skirt with 7 pockets.I like them!

The weird part is that I don’t mind attention AS LONG as the guy doing the appreciating is also appreciating my actual running. Is that too much to ask? But the whole leering, lewd comments, staring, and creeping me out thing only pisses me off. Contrary, right? It's like there should be selective appreciation.You should be able to turn it on when, or if, you need it. Like if I'm having a low day. And only from someone who respects you. Hey, a girl can dream!

Look...I’m human. I know it's natural to look. After all, I can appreciate a hot guy who might be running shirtless and wearing shorts that you kind-of-sorta wonder if there might be a chance they could fall off and hope that you are there if they do. Like I saw recently in a picture... ;) But I’m not gonna stare (unless it’s a picture). Because that's just NOT cool.

I don't want to be judged for what I'm wearing or treated differently because of what I'm wearing. I just want to have fun. Coyotes just want to have fun, wear skirts, and not be bothered. Is that too much to ask?

Monday, August 13, 2012

South Dakota Bound

When I was planning my Javelina Jundred training, I was hoping to do the 50 miler at the Lean Horse in South Dakota. And then one of my staff booked her vacation that week so I couldn't take time off to go up there. :( I was a tiny bit upset because I really wanted to add South Dakota to my list of states.

Well, I'm not going to Lean Horse but the stars have aligned to let me go to South Dakota!


This Sunday, I'm running the Leading Ladies Marathon in Spearfish, South Dakota. And it kind of fits my year of Animal Racing because the theme this year is The Lead Mare and the painting they are using for the medal is amazing! I can't wait to see it. Oh, and I got this email after signing up which I think was a wonderful touch:

Love what she said about creating your own adventure! That's exactly what I'm trying to do this year. It's going to be a quick trip because I can't take any time off but the marathon starts at 6 am so I think I will get some sightseeing in on Saturday and Sunday. I'm taking my camera! I AM SO EXCITED. :)

So this is kind of last minute, I know. You know what the best thing is? That I feel like I can run a marathon at the drop of a hat. I love where I am right now in my running. I feel amazing!

The hardest part has been rearranging my runs to fit in the 24/12 that was planned for the weekend. I thought about flipping it but my flight leaves at 5:47 on Sat morning so there wouldn't be enough time. What I decided to do instead is move up next Tuesday's run to Monday to get the back to back in. And Saturday's sched 12 I'll do on Thursday this week. So the middle of the week will be 14/10/12 but then only 6 on Fri and 3 on Saturday. This way all the mileage will be covered for both weeks and it will taper slightly to Sunday. However, this means I won't be racing the marathon on Sunday. I'm okay with it. Mostly.

I did cut way back on my planned bike commutes for this week though so will go into it a little bit rested. I think I need another cut back week because I was a little tired this weekend. In fact, I ran but didn't ride at all. Shocking, right? These are the stats for last week:

Running - 81.3 miles (7 runs)
Riding - 76 miles (4 bike commutes)

That was my 2nd highest running weekly mileage ever! Looking at the numbers, I feel a little rest/cut back is deserved. Don't you think?

One last thought...last night, I had dinner with one of my favorite runners/running inspirations. We were talking about his amazingly packed race schedule and it wasn't just about a lot of races but difficult ones too. I thought it sounded a little bit intimidating... and also a lot of fun. And I thought that while my schedule isn't as difficult as his, I think it's pretty darn good. The rest of the year is going to be a wild ride! I fully expect the Leading Ladies Marathon to be a part of that. :)

Have a great week!

Monday, August 6, 2012

ET Full Moon Midnight 51K Race Report

Saturday, at midnight, I ran my 5th ultra - The Extraterrestrial Full Moon Midnight 51K in Rachel, NV near Area 51!

I was really looking forward to this because I love sci-fi and being near Area 51 is a sci-fi geek's dream. :) I was a little worried about running thru the night because I've never done that before but I needed to do some night running for Javelina Jundred and this would kill two aliens with one stone. ;)

When I signed up for the race, I paid for a bus ticket from Vegas to the start. It's about a two hour drive from Vegas to Rachel and I didn't want to make that drive sleep deprived. I also didn't want to drive home sleep deprived so the plan was to drive to Vegas on Saturday afternoon and then get a room for Sunday. This worked out perfectly because a weekend getaway was just what I needed. I don't really like Vegas because I don't gamble and it's really smokey but I do like to people watch.

Without further ado, my race report:

I had lunch at home before I left and this was my biggest meal of the day, around 1000 calories. I left for Vegas at 1:15 and made great time since there was no traffic. I reached the Hard Rock Hotel about 4:30 and got my race packet and shirt.

Then I went to find somewhere to eat. I ended up eating at Mr. Lucky's cafe and had pancakes for dinner. :) Then I sat on a couch outside the expo to wait for the buses. As I was sitting there, I looked up and saw a man in a Run It Fast shirt walking towards me. I went over and introduced myself and it turned out to be RIF #87 PJ Johnson. It was fun to meet and get to know another RIFer!

Around 8, the RD gave us the okay to head to the buses and we all headed outside and boarded the buses. I picked the wrong bus. The bus I was on was hot! For some reason, there was hot air blowing up from the floor and it was winning over the cool air from the A/C. It made for a miserable 3 hours but I think I did sleep for 30 minutes. But then about half way to Rachel, the buses pulled over because one of the buses was hit by something and had a shattered windshield. They had to take the runners off that bus and divide them among the others. After that, I couldn't sleep and ended up talking to Wade from AZ who was sitting next to me. Turns out he's friends with RIF #121 Ed and when we were talking about RIF, he said he knew of it because of RIF #69 Nadia! I'm telling ya, running is such a small world!

We finally made it to the start at 11:30. The marathoners and the 51Kers unloaded and got ready. We had to wear reflective clothing and/or reflective tape and wear glow bracelets. We helped each other put the bracelets and tape on in the dark. I had a brief panic attack when my light, which had new batteries, wouldn't stay on. The rules for the race said we had to have a headlamp or carry a flashlight. I fiddled with my headlamp for a bit... OK, I did the highly effective and desperate bang it on my hand a few times... and it came back on. It would be a problem the rest of the night but I figured a work around. Then it was midnight and time to race.

Joyce, the RD, sent us off promptly at midnight and the swirling mass of runners and lights surged out onto the Extraterrestrial Highway. Frankly, if any aliens were out there, I'm sure they'd have thought we were the crazy ones! There were all kinds of costumes from simple antennae headbands to silver foil dresses, cyborg like vests, lots of green tutus, and various other weird outfits. It was fun to see but made me a little sad that I hadn't put together a costume.

The first 13 miles were the most challenging part of the course. It was all uphill with a headwind. I didn't realize this until a couple of days before the race. I had been so excited about running the race that I never bothered to look at the elevation profile.

As you can see, it's only about 1200 ft elevation gain so not too bad but not what I really wanted. Going into this, I was hoping to run easyish and finish between 6:15-6:30. This would be the first 50K where I would run the entire race (at the JJ50K there was a lot of walking because of the mud and at the LJC50K there was a lot of walking the hills and then the end). I was determined to run the entire thing for this one!

I was a little sleepy during the first 13 miles. I could tell because I was weaving a lot. One minute I'd be on the side of the road and the next on the center line. There were hardly any cars out there but we had the whole south lane to run in so I wasn't too worried about cars. Other than the being sleepy, I felt pretty good though.

There were aid stations every 3ish miles and food at miles 7, 13.1, 20, and 25.8. They asked us to carry water bottles and refill them at the aid stations and that's what I did. Other than the water, I had pepsi at the food stations and grabbed a few things to eat. I think I had probably 6 cookies, 5 pretzels, a handful of animal crackers, a quarter of PB&J, and a piece of banana. That's it. I didn't carry any food on me either.

Because we were running thru the dark, you couldn't really see the hill and it didn't seem so bad but the last 3 miles of the hill, 10-13, were the hardest. I think I just wanted it to be over with and get to the fun downhill part. One nice thing about going uphill though was you could see the sky and the stars without having to look up too much. I must have seen at least a dozen shooting stars while I was running. I made a lot of wishes. No, not all of them were for the hill to be over. Just 2 or 3. :)

Finally, I hit the aid station at 13.1 miles and the fun began!

So yay! I was over the hill and I gotta say that running downhill was a big relief. I tried not to pick it up too much because I just didn't know how I'd feel after the 26.2 mark and like I said, I wanted to run the whole thing. The only times I walked at all during the race were at the aid stations where I took food. I walked a few minutes while I ate but then got back to running. (There was one other time but I'll save that for later). I had thought about doing a run/walk for this but decided not too and I'm glad I didn't.

For a lot of this section, I was alone. The runners had really strung out along the highway and the only time I saw another runner was when I passed them. Like I said, some people had some pretty funky lights going on and a couple of times they freaked me out. That and the cows that you could hear but not see! But it was really nice and I had the best time on this section. I wasn't even thinking of anything while I ran. My mind was clear and I was just taking it all in. Having zero city lights around was wonderful.

I had given up on my light during the first mile because it would automatically turn off after a few minutes. It turned on every time I wanted it to but then would turn off again. It got to be annoying so I actually didn't use my light for most of the run except at the aid stations to see and when a car went by. The moon was bright enough that it cast a shadow and there was plenty of light to see.

Just before mile 20, I saw a runner veer off to the right and stop to take a picture. When I got closer, I had to check it out and saw that it was the Extraterrestrial Highway sign. I tried to take a picture of it but it was hard to get a good one.

After the aid station at mile 20, the half marathoners turned to the finish (their start was our mile 7) but the marathoners and the 51Kers kept going. It was an out and back section and we had the whole road to ourselves this time. It was a slight uphill to the turn around but was also nice because you got to see more runners and encourage each other.

I was still feeling pretty good as I left the aid station but really glad there was less than 12 miles to go now. There was another runner who left it about the same time that I did and we started talking. His name was Cliff and he was from New Mexico and he's doing Javelina Jundred in October too. We talked about the New Mexico races and which ones I should consider running for my New Mexico race and then talked running in general. We ended up running the rest of the race together.

I can't remember what mile we were at but I told him that my stomach was feeling gurgly and I might need to walk for a bit to let it settle. I told him that he could go on without me because I didn't want to hold him up. He said he would stay with me and because of that I kept running. A couple miles later though I did have to walk and he walked with me. I think because he was there that after a few minutes I started running again. Either talking to him distracted me enough or my stomach settled itself because it only bothered me for that little bit. Yay!

I could see our turnaround point in the distance, marked by the flashing lights of a police car, and I remember thinking it's so close they must have measured the course wrong! But then it never got closer! Ha! Some kind of evil running trick, I think. :) But I just kept running and finally it stopped moving and I reached it.

It had started to get lighter as I neared the turn around and once I was on my way back, the sun began to rise. It was a beautiful sunrise. The clouds across the valley caught the light and the color. 

On the way back, I started calculating what I would need to run to hit 6:57. I knew my PR for the 50K was 7:58ish (7:58:28) and I really wanted to drop that by an hour. Cliff and I were still running together and I was managing 12ish minute miles. I thanked him for running with me at this point because I think having him around kept me running so he wouldn’t have to walk. He thanked me as well and said I had encouraged him to keep running too. 

During the last few miles, my right foot was hurting and I think I adjusted my form too much to compensate because then after a bit, my left leg (outside of the knee and groin) was not happy either. But I kept running!

At 5K to go, I was pretty sure I could make my time goal. Cliff said he thought we would make it by 7. I told him I might sprint at the end because I wanted to make it by 6:57. Finally, we got to the last turn and had just a little more to go to the finish at the Little A'le'Inn restaurant's parking lot. I could see the clock and it said 6:57:20 and I hauled butt to make it there before it switched over to 6:58. And I did! Woo! My official time (gun time) is 6:57:59 (Cliff was 6:57:57). Thank god. If I’d missed it by 1 or 2 seconds, I would have been a little (a lot) disappointed.

I was done! My 3rd 50K and a shiny, new PR. And I felt pretty good both physically and mentally. My plan did not include a taper so I didn't come into this as fresh as I could have but I think I did well. I didn't give in to the demons to walk. I stayed hydrated and did great with my Scaps. I should probably have taken in a few more calories but I never felt like I hit a wall. I didn't fall asleep while I was running. And I had fun. The only disappointing part was that I didn't see any UFOs. Unless maybe some of those shooting stars weren't what they seemed! :) Oh, and I forgot to buy a magnet from the Little A'le'Inn so no magnet to add to my collection.:(

But I have a fabulous medal to add to my medal collection:

The medal is pretty big and the moon glows in the dark. Cool, huh? I loved "The end is near" on it. Just what you hope for during a long race! 

After the finish, I grabbed a towel to clean up a little and then went to get some of the breakfast the restaurant provided for us. Score! Pancakes! I was so happy my stomach felt alright so I could enjoy them.

After breakfast, I got on the bus to get a good seat and changed out my shoes and socks for sandals. I popped into the buses bathroom to change from my running gear to regular clothes and then settled in for the ride back. I slept sporadically but got a little nap in. I wasn't really that sleepy though. I talked to the two women near me for a while and we compared notes. We got back to the Hard Rock Hotel about 10:40. One thing not so good about the buses is that sitting for that long after running made me stiffen up. I went and dropped my gear off at my car and then wandered around for a while. I had a celebratory lunch at Pink Taco at the Hard Rock and had their signature Pink Tacos, which were corn tortillas stuffed with black beans, and topped with chicken, avocado, and pickled onions. They were delish.

After lunch, I took the shuttle down to the strip and walked around for a few hours and had some Ben & Jerry's. I think the walking really helped because when I went for an easy 5K recovery run this morning, everything felt pretty good and only my glutes were a little sore. I finished my celebrating with a 90 minute massage tonight. :)

So that's it! Thanks for reading my recap. If you are ever looking for a unique, fun race to do, I highly recommend this one. Just mentally prepare yourself for the bus rides. The rest was a blast!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Weave A Great Dream

“You have to spin a good yarn before you can weave a great dream.” ~Paul
In 36 hours, I will heading out at the start of the ET Full Moon Midnight 51K in Rachel, NV!!! I cannot tell you how excited I am about this! It will be like going home to the mothership. It’s a scifi geek girl’s dream. :)

I’m weird. I know. I’m okay with it.

The other day, Beth and Teal from @lifeisarun tagged me to reveal 5 things about me. These are the 5 things I chose:

Just a little FYI on them:
  1. The coyote paw print I’m getting after I complete the Javelina Jundred in October! I’m saying it now.
  2. I don’t let my fish issues keep me from swimming in the ocean but I have a problem with how suspiciously fish look at you, all fishy eyed with their mouths opening and closing!
  3. My coworkers hate me because I often remind them exactly how many days til Christmas. Lesson: never tell me your weaknesses!
  4. I was hoping to see Big Foot when my friend Toni and I went hiking in Seattle. It would have been soo cool! Alas, no Big Foot. But I did see a giant troll.
  5. I may or may not have a whip like Indy.
So, #4 above… that’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about this race. I’ve always believed or wanted to believe in magical/mysterious creatures: Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster (I am SO doing that marathon for my 50th birthday!), mutants, and aliens. We CANNOT be the only intelligent life in this universe. Frankly, sometimes I wonder if we ARE intelligent life… but that’s a whole other post.

One reason for #5 (and #1) is that I’m extremely nosy, er I mean, curious about things. I want to KNOW the answers to EVERYTHING. Which is why my nickname in high school was Snoopy and why I wanted to be an archaeologist. And why I’ve always been curious about Area 51. Just what is going on over there? What are they hiding? Maybe I’ll find out during this run! You never know!

Ok, probably not. But still… it’s kind of fun to dream.

This post hasn’t had much to do with running except that I love the quote above from the movie Paul (who if I see hitchhiking, I’m totally giving a ride). As you know, my favorite thing about running is the adventures I’ve had/will have with it. It takes me places and lets me explore and puts me in a position to “spin a good yarn” so I can “weave a great dream”. Any hobby that does that is a keeper.

I am feeling really good about where I’m at with my training so I’m hoping to do some PR weaving this weekend. Wish me luck!

But for now, I’ve got to go because I still have my to-do list and important decisions to make for this race:
  • Headlamp or Knuckle lights?
  • Black skirt or blue?
  • Green socks or red calf sleeves?
  • Bottle or hydration pack?
  • Jeans or a flirty skirt… for the after party?

Priorities, right? Ha! ;)

Have a great weekend everyone. I wish I could tell you about mine but you know what they say… What happens on a spaceship, stays on the spaceship! :)