Monday, May 31, 2010


I got tagged by Lisa.  So here are 7 very random -- and fundamental -- things about me:

The oddest job I ever had was selling cocktails in an airport to people waiting for their luggage to come around on the conveyor belt.

I met my true doppelganger while at work at that job.

I hate bananas.

I have absolutely no depth perception.

I lived on a sailboat in the Caribbean for 10 years.

I got busted for shoplifting a pack of gum when I was 5 years old.

I also had a major crush on Paul Lynde around that same age.

Sunday running

My longest run this week is supposed to be 5 miles.  Yesterday I went out and did 6.5.  Certainly, this over-achieving will NOT last.  This run, though, it was hard to stop.  I ran about a mile on the roadto get to the 06 fire road, gateway to trail-o-rama.  I am elated to put the pavement (mostly) behind me and get back to wonderful, wonderful trail running.  While I was busy not running, the snow melted and the ground has reappeared.  I feel completely rested and everything just came together and felt . . . correct.  

This was what I'm lately calling a "recovery" run, which by my definition includes plenty of dwaddling about, pee stops, little bits of walking and sightseeing and lollygagging for a sip of water.  And pictures!

This may or may not end up in next winter's woodstove.

Looking down 89 and the Truckee River towards Squaw.

Mule's Ears poking through the ground!!

Amidst all my dwaddling, I did 5 110 meter hill repeats.  I am planning to take hills very seriously in the near future.  This was a nice little introduction.   I really liked it (once I was done, anyhow).

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Activity resumes

So it finally stopped snowing (although we still have a huge pile that's several feet high in the front yard), Tom came home from Europe, I figured out my next race venue, yesterday it finally warmed up to a temp reminiscent of spring, we received the last of the parts for the tandem, and thus . . .

We took the big purple beast out for its maiden voyage!
(pardon the crappy backlit iPhone shots)

Since this huge thing is like a boat, we decided to have a proper christening party, complete with champagne poured over the front tire for luck, then poured down our throats for the intoxicating effects!  The bike shall hence be referred to by the carefully considered name I came up with in the driveway 20 minutes before said ceremony La Bamba.  Thus fortified, we hit the road.

And, omy, a tandem is a different beast all together.  Tom did a great refurbishing job, and everything worked well and smoothly.  I had some issues with my seat (and am today still having issues with my seat as a result . . . ) but other than that it ran smoothly.  We rode about 25 mostly flat miles, and let me tell you that thing hauls ass.  We had our friends Andrew and Jane with us (they rode regular bikes) and it was hard to go slow enough not to completely smoke them.  We kept up a pace of 20 mph with little to no effort, and reached 26 mph using the tiniest bit of muscle.  I think if we put the hammer down hard we could reach -- and maintain -- some pretty significant speed.  At least on the flats and downhills, apparently uphills are a tandem's huge weakness (I can relate!).  Tom and I both really enjoyed the experience, and think we'll really put La Bamba to good use this summer and in the future.  We have always batted about the idea of bike tours, but our paces are so different it would be a little challenging.  This bike solves that problem, plus it'll be really nice to be able to talk to each other, etc., over some several-hour ride.  Plus, as the Stoker in the back seat, I can probably surf the net, watch videos and even cobble together a blog post on my phone while riding.  We plan to throw some knobbies on there, too, and hit some of the more gentle mountain bike trails.  A very cool new member of the family.  I think between the two of us we now have six bicycles!

We finished the bike ride, had a bit to eat and then decided we'd all like to spend the night outdoors.  We  headed over to Jane and Andrew's, had a lovely soak in their hot tub, then drove all of a mile to Prosser Resevoir (however you spell it).

It got pretty darn cold pretty darn quick, as evidenced by the liberal use of fleece, hats and down coats.  I think we're going to completely bypass spring this year and head right into summer.  I'm ready for that to happen.

Even though it was just a little chilly, the venue and the view were fantastic . . .

This is Prosser just after sunset.  It is so awesome to have such cool sights and places just minutes from home.  I've done a lot of running around here, but never camped.  I think this might be a future destination for those not infrequent nights when at 7pm we're like, What should we do tonight?  It's that close to home . . .

We woke up this morning to the weirdest sound ever -- it sounded like a dragon was breathing just a few feet away.  We poked out heads out of the sleeping bags to find . . . a hot air balloon!  Definitely an interesting way to travel!

So after this posts I'm off to resume running on a regular basis.  Today is the first day of my training cycle, and I'm all for 5 miles in the woods!

Friday, May 28, 2010


Oboy.  I just laid out my training schedule for Boggs Mt. and it's . . . extensive.  I've got some serious milage planned.  I'm a little overwhelmed with some of these numbers.

I start out next week with a 22 mile week.  Some 20-odd weeks later this milage peaks with a 54 mile week.  My monthly milage will leap from a 100 mile month (this is a milestone I just reached) up to a 170 mile month. This just boggles my mind!  I don't want to think about it too much.

Traditionally I run about 80% of the miles I schedule myself for.  80% of 170 is still a completely ridiculous  number for me to comprehend at the moment.  Running 5 days a week, back-to-back long runs, serious weekly milage, I've got to figure out nutrition, motivation, time management (seriously, will I have to get up before 9am to make some of this work?), gear choices, food choices . . . ahhhh!  My mind just wants to split open.

My body just wants to do this (maybe without the hail):

UltraRunning from Matt Hart on Vimeo.

I start on Sunday.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Yeah, that's snow falling. I'm so fed up with this fucking weather I can't even get irritated with it.

The Next Step

As I sit here surfing the web, watching the snowfall (!true!), I've come to a Decision.  The Decision!

Here's my next Big Thing:

Boggs Mountain 50K, on October 30.  I haven't yet registered for it, but I will.  I've been looking at the maps, the elevation profile . . . 

 . . . (that's 4400 feet, seemingly about average for a 50K) and trying to put together some kind of training plan.  I think I'm going to start with this one and then modify it to my needs.  I don't know what those modifications will be, but I know I've got to change it around to fit my weird, weird schedule (I do know to keep the two long runs back-to-back), and I know that I should probably incorporate dictated hill work and perhaps (but realistically, I doubt it) some dedicated speedwork.  I've spent some time reading about training for ultras, and race strategies for ultras, and it's all Walk! Slow Down! You'll Run Slower Than You Think! and I'm all Yay!  I Can DO That!

The training plan I've picked is for 26 weeks, yet the race is something like 22 weeks away.  I'll just lop off the first 4 weeks, I guess.  Week 5 starts out at 22 miles/week.  Excepting the last 4 weeks, this is a little lower than the milage I've been doing, so I think I'll do just fine with that as a starting point.  Knowing me, I'll skip enough miles anyhow.

I'll put the schedule into play beginning Monday, and will undoubtedly get off my ass and into gear.  

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My return

Yeah, I'm still here.  It seems that when I stop running, I stop blogging too.  I've really barely run at all in May, except for the big races and the little Truckee Running Club races I do.  My gut has been telling me to take a break, and my body has been wiling to go along with that.  I think I've run only 2 or 3 times outside of racing.  I'm sure I'm losing fitness and gaining weight, but eh.  I'm just a little burnt, I guess.  This seems to happen to me about once a year and I can't help but think that it's actually a good thing to just take a break.  Just not too too long!

To that end, I think by the end of this week or the beginning of next, I'll be back at it.  I have no concrete plans, but think the resumption of my running will coincide with the picking of my next race, which I do believe will be an Ultra.  This choosing will probably kick me into gear, as I function much MUCH better with a training plan and a goal.

That's the plan, anyways.

I'll be back soon!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bishop High Sierra 20 Mile Race Report

Oh, wow, really . . . um, yeah.  This was simply a great run, my new favorite, and I feel like I've found a cool new place to be.   I think I will look back on this as a transformative event.  Yup, this was a good one.

I ate well the night before -- no clams! -- predictable but tasty pasta and salad at the pre-race dinner proving to be a much better choice.  It was an interesting crowd, these ultrarunners (the race offered distances of 20 mile, 50K, 50 mile, 100K).  I wasn't particularly sociable, but struck up a few conversations and mostly just soaked up the vibe.  I liked the vibe!

Up at 4:30, a quick bite to eat (no egg mcmuffin, but a ham and cheese thing plus a pepsi), and I'm at the start by 5:20.  Ok, here's the thing, wow -- I don't know what it was about this venue, this race, this distance, this vibe but from right here I just feel like Yay! this is the right place for me to be, here on this start line with these people doing this thing.  Even though I haven't done it yet, I know I'm going to find a home in running ultras.  This 20 miler, while not an ultra itself, is my introduction.  I'm aware of this moment.

It's a little chilly but is obviously going to be a nice sunshiny day.  The vibe is mellow, and I'm feeling pretty mellow, and that mellow feeling stays the entire day.  I know that I have no run strategy at all, and will be running by feel and won't be paying any attention to time or pace.  I have no goal at all other than to start and finish the run.  Someone says Go! and I do and looky, first goal met!  The race has started.

We run out of the campground and on to sandy fire roads, and that's pretty much my trail for the next 5 hours.  Right from the start, I'm all comfy and happy, no foot cramps no calf pain, I'm slowly running along and the scenery is some of my favorite stuff, wide vistas of high desert.

The first five miles are pretty flat, providing a great warmup.  Long about mile five, though, things start ratcheting up.  Remember the elevation profile?

It scared me.  It just looks so . . . dramatic!  oh! 2500'!  In reality, it seemed a lot more gentle.

Well, gradual anyhow.  I definitely slowed right down but kept moving up, forward, up and on.  Slowly.    I passed some people, some people passed me.  Some people passed me walking!  Walking superfast!  I tried walking some, but found I couldn't keep up my pace, and anyway running (such as it was) felt much more the comfortable thing to do.  I am so surprised to discover this!  With little determined pittypat steps I forge on ahead, up up up.

And, oh boy o boy oboy! have I told you about the best part of these ultras?  The aid stations!  Ok, so 2 weeks ago I was all gaga over the oranges at the Reno Marathon, so you can imagine how I reacted to this:

Seriously, folks, I think I spent 5 minutes at each aid station just grazing strawberries, potato chips, pineapple, watermelon! coke!  Way in the back center?  Those are chocolate-covered strawberries!  Is it wrong to want to sign up ASAP just so someone can fill my water bottle while I eat hot-off-the-griddle blueberry pancakes?!?  To hell with HammerGels, this is the kind of stuff I want to "fuel" with!!

I do manage to tear myself away from the 12 mile station, and then things go downhill.  Literally!  The long climb is over, and I am happy stretch out and lengthen my stride.  It's so nice to be in the desert, especially the desert in bloom!  Lots of little bright flowers poking out all over . . . 

A fellow runner snapped this picture of me around mile 14 . . .

. . . and I'm feeling loose and happy-like.  In fact, right about after this snapshot it gets kinda surreal as I really start getting into it.  The gentle, gradual uphill has become a gentle, gradual downhill.  I guess this could translate into a faster pace -- and it did! -- but for me, this day, it translated into my personal "holy grail" . . . effortless running.  As long as I can remember, I have had recurring dreams of running along like a horse, unconcerned with breath or muscles or effort or reason and the memory of this state is probably what propelled me through the misery of first learning how to run.  I've run like this quite a few times in the years since, but on this day on this downhill it all coalesced for a long time, and the last 8 or 9 miles flew by with me in a state of total distraction.  Or, total attention.  Effortless running, in any case, in lovely surroundings and I'm just a happy, blissed-out runner.

Another aid station (this one with popsicles!) informs me that it's 3.7 miles to the finish.  There's a crowd (train?) of about 6 runners just pulling into the station, and a woman who I have been playing leapfrog with take this as a kick in the pants and head on out of there.  I realize I've got a LOT more gas in my tank and I raise my head and lift up my elbows and just motor the last couple miles.  I pull the leapfrogging woman along with me as we drop our pace by several minutes and I run the last 5k in just over 30 minutes, which is ridiculously fast for me.  I pass another couple folks and really bound across the finish line.

I can so run a 50K.

Almost immediately after finishing, I actually pony up some $$ and get myself a 40 minute massage.  This turns out to be a fantastic idea, because this time I totally sidestep the back problems that usually follow a long run.  Either I'm getting used to these distances, or I need a massage after every run over 15 miles.  Hmmmm . . . !

Afterwards, there's even more food, cool chats and lounging about in the sun.  I finally get myself moving and drive the 4.5 hours home.  I feel great.

I continue to feel great, and think that the trails are so much easier on my notquiteso young body.  I've not suffered any undo aches or pains, nothing even close to the gimpy day I had after the marathon.  Happily, a lot of the snow has melted around home (though there is still 3 feet in the front yard) and I think it's time to get back on the trails.  Yay, yay yay!

I think I'll be taking on the next distance within the next 3-4 months.  I just can't not do it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How to get a passport in 1 day ...

I had a variety of plans for today (I was gonna Run! Yoga! Be an excellent person in so many ways!) but it all got tossed when I woke up to find Tom in a bit of a bother. He's due to fly to Switzerland for business on Saturday morning and just this morning discovered the unthinkable ... his passport expired earlier this year. Um, ooops!!! I'M the one who's supposed to do things like this, not my super organized partner ... what do we do now??

An Internet search and a phone call finds an expediting service which, for $400+ will get him a fresh passport by 3pm tomorrow ... in LA. That won't work. I find the number for the State Department and listen to the appropriate message, which states they'll be happy to get him a "fast" passport, just use this automated service to make an appointment, first available one is ... May 25. This, alas, isn't going to work either. What to do, what to do.

I have the address for the closest regional office, in San Francisco, but can't find any kind of number where I might talk to a human. Everything says we'll need an appointment to even get in the building, and no kind of assurance that once we're there there will be anything we can do.

We decide to throw caution to the wind, scramble to the car and embark on the 3 1/2 hour drive to the big city. We get to the State Department and indeed the sign says you need an appointment to get into the building. Oh well, we go anyway and get in! The woman behind the desk tells us we have about 20 minutes to get his application in and do we have the photos? No! So we go running through the city streets trying to fund Walgreen's for the pics. Seriously, at this point it feels like we're on the Amazing Race! I've always thought we would do well on that show, and we do well with this task and are back at the passport office with a couple minutes to spare. The woman tells us they don't issue same day passports, but she will help us out. I don't know if she decided to do this because we just drove 200 miles to get there, because we were friendly and polite (I think this behavior is underrated and really, really helps), he was travelling in less than 48 hours or maybe it was just our lucky day, but she processed the application, told us to come back in an hour and a half and, sure enough, success!!!

Thank you very much, San Francisco Regional Passport Office!!

Now we are drivin back home, hours and hours spent but objective achieved!! Moral of the story, check your passport well in advance of international travel and, failing that, live within driving distance of one of these regional centers (there's not many of them).

Tom's feeling very relieved!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Still here

I've stayed true to form and done my usual vanishing act after a big race (at least this time I got a race report up before said vanishing, a big improvement!).  It seems like for a week or two I just don't care.  I can't really be bothered to run or blog or do much of anything.  Apathetic is the right word.  I've been very apathetic as of late.

That'll have to change, however, because Saturday is the High Sierra 20 mile "Fun Run" . . . I don't know what kinda thing I'm getting myself into when 20 miles is considered a Fun Run.  Aren't those supposed to be like, 5K's?  The other races going off that day, and the headliner events, are ultras -- a 50K, 50 mile and a 100K.  I chose this race because I thought it might be a good introduction into UltraLand.  I'll just swim in the shallow end of the Fun Run, and get to watch and meet some ultrarunners without having to "dive in" to the deep end quite yet.

Not that the shallow end is all that shallow.  This is a 20 mile trail run, at altitude, with something like a 2400' elevation gain.

Mile 5 to mile 12 is going to be, um, challenging to say the least.  I am not an accomplished hill runner, though by virtue of living and training in Tahoe I'm probably a little more hill ready than I give myself credit for.  At least the altitude won't affect me as much as it might other runners.  Last but not least, I have a 15-hour time cut-off, so even I should be able to haul my slow ass around the course in time, even if I have to walk it.  Well, I know I won't have to walk it, but I'l bet you there'll be more than a little walking from 5-12.  That's a LOT of elevation gain!

I have barely run since my marathon, just a mile or three here and there.  This strategy (train for races by NOT running) seemed to work ok for Reno, so I'm assuming that I'll do just fine in this race, too.  I like to think of it as Building Up Strength more than Not Running.

Monday we received at least 6 inches of new snow.  May I remind you it is the middle of May!  I want to run on trails, in the sun, on the dirt, from my front door.  Until this happens, I fear I'm going to sulk around, bitch at the snow, and avoid my runs.

Ooh, and then maybe 2 months of warm weather!!

::I'm really down on living in Tahoe at the moment.  I will get over this when the snow melts from my front yard.  Loving Tahoe by June, hopefully!  (If there is still snow in my yard June 15, I'm gonna have a big damn fit!)::

Oh yeah, and here's a question.  There has been a bit said (comment section) about my choice of breakfast on race day (though in retrospect I'm leaning towards blaming the clams I ate the night before, I know, I know), and now I'm all Well, what the hell should I eat?  I'm a terrible eater, I skip breakfast every day, hate the taste (even the thought) of food in the morning, but have learned that empty stomach + race day = FAIL.  Conversely, most food + race day = shit shit shit.  I thought I had found a happy medium with a McD's/7-11 egg muffin things, but the consensus is bad bad choice.  I know that everything affects everyone individually, but . . . What do YOU eat before a big race?

Welcome to all of my new followers and subscribers on Google Reader!  I sure appreciate you all stopping by!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Rock n' River Marathon(!!): Race Report

((ok, so this post is really long.  and it has a LOT of pictures of me.  just so you know))

On Saturday, I headed on down to Reno for the race expo.  It was a bit underwhelming and was held in one of those hotel conference rooms that always somehow seem a little creepy to me.  

 I picked up my number, race packet and t-shirt, and scoped the room for whatever schwag I could find -- not much, it turns out.  I did spend some time at a booth that was highlighting those Vibram 5 Fingers barefoot shoe things . . . I even got to try on a pair and then ran around the conference room a few times to see what they felt like. I'm all for the barefoot running movement, I really enjoyed the Born to Run book and think there's TONS of merit behind the idea, but don't think I'm yet ready to give up my comfy running shoes.  Having said that, I AM thinking about buying a pair for general wear and things like river scrambles and tubing trips.  They were super comfortable and reminded me a bit of my childhood, which I spent for the most part barefoot.

I also bought a bright pink hat and some Scape sunblock that was promised to not run in my eyes. I was skeptical, because I've heard this promise before and, invariably, I end up with my eyes all teary -- and then a dark forehead, because I hate the teary eyes.  Anyhow, this stuff actually worked!  It was rather expensive, something like 11 dollars for a pretty small bottle (I looked online for this, is it possible this company does not have an on-line presence?  Really?), but it DID NOT RUN.  Wow, truth in advertising!

I got home and laid everything out for the next day.  Man, it takes a lot of shit* to run (and recover from) a marathon!

After I laid everything out, I noticed a certain trend towards, well, pink.  Damn that's a lot of pink, from the new hat to the recovery socks.  At least I'll be easy to spot in a crowd!

 We rolled out of bed at 4:30 am, and I tucked into my planned breakfast.  Traditionally this has been a Egg McMuffin from McDonald's, but I figured a little similar pre-made thing from 7-11 would also fit the bill.  I have tried this in the past on a long training run, and it seemed to set right in my stomach and logistically was easier to obtain (since 7-11 is right down the street).  In any case, egg-muffin-and-a-coke and I was ready to go.  *Speaking of shit, I dropped a bit of a deuce (#1 of many) at home, and thought that would be that and we could let the subject rest.  However, my intestines seemed to have a different idea and decided to channel Beth, who knows of what I speak, and to her I dedicate this marathon.  I decided thus right around the time we arrived at the race venue.  My stomach was feeling just a tad unsettled and I was hoping that perhaps I could visit the john and complete what I had started at home.  I actually watched as they unlocked the row of porta-potties at the start (the only time you can be assured of a decent crapper is when you watch them unlock them, then waste no time!), but elected to take advantage of the multitude of heated casinos also present. I thought it might be lucky to "drop my nugget" at the Nugget . . . 

. . . and I was inordinately pleased with my (awful, awful) success!  This pleasure didn't last too long, though, because after a few jogs around the block to warm up, I did have to hit the (still clean!) portapotties for another "tribute", yes, #3.  I hoped that this was the last of it, and turned my attention to the race ahead.  (as a side note, the people you find in a casino in Reno at 6:00 am are just kinda sad).

Let me start off by saying Well Done! to the race organizers.  This was a great race!  The marathon contingent was small, maybe 100? participants, with a much larger showing (couple thousand?) for the half.  There were very few spectators -- I've not yet done a race that had a lot of spectators, so this really didn't factor into it for me.  There were TONS of aid stations, each really well stocked (read: not depleted by the time my slow ass made it around, this is often NOT the case) with water, gatorade, bananas, pretzels and oranges -- all this even at mile 1! (mile 12 on the way back).  The course was very well marked, well-policed, and well-cordoned off when necessary.  The course itself was great, mostly flat and right along the Truckee River.  The volunteers? were awesome! and I was smiling through every aid station because they were so cheerful and supportive.  The whole event was the best-organized of any races I have done.  Just great all around.

So here I am at the start line, hanging in the back with all the slow peeps.  Previously, I had wondered whether I should join a pace group or not -- this turned out NOT to be an issue, as there were (officially) 107 entrants and, yeah, no pace groups.  There wasn't even much of a build up to the (on time!) 6:30 am start, mainly just -- Go!  So, I went.

I didn't have a race plan.  I thought I would try to keep it under 12:00/mile, and that was about it.  I looked around to find someone to run behind (this technique has worked for me in the past), but it was a little tricky to do this so early.

1 00:10:48

Too fast! (a phrase I never thought I would utter)

2 00:11:29

Better, and I pick someone to follow -- a woman with a big ol' backpack on.  Seriously, not just a Camelback thing, but a full-on daypack.  What do you have in there?  I settle in, calm my breathing, and convince myself I can do this!  The weather is perfect, sunny and cool and I feel just fine.

3 00:12:04

So, right around the 3 mile mark, I feel my innards making noise.  I speed up past backpack girl and hit a park bathroom.  I accidentally run into the Men's, but there's no stopping me at this point so I just shout out my incoming femaleness and storm on in.  Bathroom = unoccupied, Bowels = emptied (sort of).  WTF?  I used to have a lot of GI issues when I first began running, but they've mostly been a thing of the past.  I certainly haven't had to deal with this kind of thing in a race in a looong time.  I'm a little worried that this might have an impact on my race, but I don't actually feel poorly, so I hope for the best.  I come out and backpack girl is, of course, long gone.  I decide to catch back up, and after hustling for a quarter mile or so, I do!  I catch up to her, then pass her, never to be seen again.  I'm on my own.

4 00:10:49

Around this time, my right knee goes twang! and I'm now more than a little concerned.  This pain is weird, nothing I've had before, and this is not the day!  I note it and just keep going on.

5 00:11:11
6 00:11:35

I've settled into a rhythm at this point, and the miles are flipping by.  My knee settles down, then at mile 6 twang! there it is again.  Bad.  It's not making me limp, but every time I bend it I've got pretty sharp lateral pain.  Again, WTF?

Around this point the fast half marathoners (who left :30 after us) start passing me, and I'm totally enjoying it!  I feel like, Look at me! I'm running with the fast guys!  who of course pass me handily, but for a brief moment . . . !  I'm generally making a fool of myself, cheering all the runners on, both the folks passing me and the ones I encounter on the out-and-back.  Now the course is starting to get crowded!  Oh, and here I thought I was being all individual-like with the bright pink top and bright pink hat (Tom'll find me easy), but nooo.  I swear, every 5th woman was dressed in hot pink and black, just like me.  Ok, I lose out on individuality, but do I make it on fashionably with the times?

7 00:11:24
8 00:11:08

I'm barely aware that I have run 8 miles.  Though I know where I am on the course, because I've run it in training, it doesn't really sink in where I am until I look down at Gary.  8 miles, gone.  I'm running along the side of the road and find Tom waiting for me there.  My personal cheering section!  I ask him to procure me some ibuprofen the next time he sees me, because the knee is still acting up and I'm a little worried . . .

9 00:11:52
10 00:12:30

I figure out that if I keep my foot straight and concentrate on rolling my weight off of my big toe (I'm usually a little bit pigeon-toed) the knee pain goes away.  I adjust my stride accordingly, and it's the last I feel of the pain.  I don't know what it was all about, but it hasn't twinged a bit since.  Mystery.

At mile 10 I form an alternative race plan in my head.  I decide I've made it this far, I should run at whatever pace I can maintain comfortably (so far I've been running a little slower), for the next 10 miles. I think I can run fast!

11 00:10:50
12 00:10:56

I do, for the next 2 miles.  Then my pace naturally slows, and I let it.  At mile 13 we lose the half folks, and   ::crickets::   there is no one around, I am running on my own.  I run through all the aid stations without stopping, except right here where I fill my handheld again.  In just about every aid station I grab an orange slice and revel in the taste and the juiciness.  This is notable because I generally am not a fan of oranges.

13 00:11:33
14 00:11:18
15 00:11:50

My speedy sub 11:00s have kinda tapered off.  I don't much care.

At the end of mile 15, I find Tom on the side of the trail.  I take the ibuprofen from him even though my knee isn't hurting anymore.  I figure it can only help.  I'm totally cheerful and feeling strong, not at all tired.  I'm completely enjoying the morning and the experience.

I chat for a little, then resume my run for about 100 yards or so, and then am suddenly veering for the permanent (you can tell by the cage? around it) porta-potty right off the trail.  My guts are in knots.  A guy is standing there shaking his head at me, saying "It's not pretty in there." He was right -- it wasn't.  I didn't have the luxury of caring.  Poo #5.  Eeeesh.

16 00:13:22
17 00:13:03

I left what little speed I had back with the poo in that nasty porta-potty, never to return. Here I just feel tired.  My joints ache.  sad trombones

18 00:12:21
19 00:12:01

At 19.5 we have the last turn-around.  I ask Gary and he says 3:49.  For a half a second I'm thinking Oh, I can do a 10K in 1:10, and thus get my secret goal of under 5 hours.  Then the other half of the second passes and that thought flies away.  More oranges, another gel, and I turn around and head for home.  I stop looking at the GPS and run by feel.  I'm feeling much, much better.

20 00:13:07
21 00:12:11

For no apparent reason, right at the mile 21 aid station I fall down, scaring the shit out of 2 women pedaling their bikes in the opposite direction and adding a (much, much smaller) matching scab for the left knee.  I get up, brush myself off, say No worries, it happens all the time (it does!), grab another orange and continue on.

22 00:15:18

Poo #6.  Less said the better.

I find Tom again at mile 23.  The end is near, I can feel it, and I know I'm a short distance away from being done.  Whoppeee!  Tom lets me know I have orange bits all around my mouth.  At this point, I'm just glad I don't have shit running down my leg (sorry) so I wave him off with a backwards smile, jam my buds back into my ears and almost run into a cyclist.  Good lord.

23 00:15:24
24 00:13:05
25 00:12:49
26 00:12:55

These miles just blur on by, I'ma cruising, and the next thing I know

27 00:03:03

I've just run a marathon.

Yay!  I'm so happy!

My official time is 5:19, and that's good enough for me.  

Holy nipple presentation, Batman!

I am completely pleased with myself, and think this long distance running stuff just rocks.  I don't know how to say this without sounding like a tool, but this whole race was kind of . . . easy.  I felt like I could have run another 5 or 10 miles, no sweat.  This race confirms something I've suspected all along: I am built for distance, not speed.  I do feel like this is the first of many long distances for me.

Today I signed up for the High Sierra 20 mile "Fun Run" in Bishop in 2 weeks time.  

I think I'm obsessed.

ps @formulaic . . . HA! (emphatically)

Monday, May 3, 2010


So, wow!  I'm a marathoner!  5 years ago, hell, even 3 years ago, I would have laughed at the concept that I would ever even consider a marathon, much less complete one.  I feel a HUGE sense of accomplishment and know that this is something that no one can ever take away from me.

Yay to the Me!

I *AM* working on a race report -- yes, there WILL be a race report this time, I promise, for reals! -- but thought I should at least throw in a little something up here in the interim.

Suffice is to say . . . my first time marathon experience was just awesome!  The venue was superb, I had a blast, and raced -- and finished -- with a tremendous smile on my face.  What a fuckin' cool thing to do!

I finished right about where I thought I would, 5:19 officially and 5:20 by the Garmin (I whooped and hollered a bit before remembering to shut it off).  I could have had a better time for sure with some more training under my belt, but my sub 5:00 will wait for another race.  Oh, yes, there will be another race, definitely by the end of the year.

I woke up this morning pretty stiff, weak and fatigued, but not really in as much pain as I had feared.  Lucky me, I started the day off with an hour and a half hot yoga class (trying to do some of the poses, especially those in the standing series, was really quite funny given the state of my poor legs) followed immediately (in the same studio) by a superb hour and a half massage.  I can't think of a better way to spend a post-marathon day.  I now feel way, way better and whilst I'm still gimping around, I just now climbed the stairs without pausing at every step, a definite improvement.  At other times in my life, I have without question hurt much, much more than I do today.  I think I'll be pretty much back to normal tomorrow.  

Which is good, because my local running group is back in action, with the first casual 5K race slated for tomorrow.  I'll be there, all ready to hobble round the course.  Ha!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I haz a milestone!

A friend called earlier today and asked how I felt about running tomorrow's race.  After a second's pause to consider, I answered "About 80%."

This afternoon I'm continuing my training by getting some rest, lolling on the couch watching Top Chef Masters, trying to hydrate, looking over my scarce running stats of the last month.  I do believe this is the first time I've done this kind of monthly mileage:

Yay me!  Alas, in this graphic lurks the other side of the story, that pesky 80%.  That's 80% of the miles I should have logged for the month.  The percentage was even lower for March.

However, I feel pretty good about what I have done.  I feel like I'm ready to face whatever tomorrow's going to bring.  My goals, in descending order, are thus:

Have fun
sub 5:30, please.
sub 5:00?!?