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Mother Nature…..You Rock!

10 May

So I’m running along the river today and 3 miles in I get to a set of stairs. It was a flat run up to that point so I decided to run up and down them an ungodly number of times.
I stopped to snap a pic (OK, it was more like a stop to catch a breath) and was amused by what Mother Nature rewarded me with ( a nice butterfly cloud at the top of the stairs).
Apparently it doesn’t take much to brighten my run :).

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Flyin’ Through Zion….Morning, NUUN, and Night

30 Apr

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I had the amazing opportunity to run the first Ragnar Trail Relay at the Zion Ponderosa Ranch, Utah with Team Nuun .

Our team included:
Megan Fay
Megan Killian
Mickey Witte
Caitlin Vose
Sean McManus
Dana Kracaw
Julie Rohmann (who unfortunately got injured a few days prior and had to drop out)
Mike (a speedy guy we were lucky to pick up to take Julie’s spot)

In case you don’t know about the trail relay, here’s the rundown:

-8 member teams camp out together in Ragnar Village
-Each member, in turn, runs 3 Scenic Legs . One is 3.8 miles, one is 3.9 miles and one is 7.2 miles. (120 miles total per team)
-You run day and night until each runner has completed each leg

So it’s like a normal Ragnar Relay, but centrally located.

So, here’s how it went:

We (my son and I) were the last of the team to arrive at Zion (on Thursday, April 25th). After quickly unloading the car and setting up camp, we made our way to the on-site restaurant/grill. Now, I don’t want to bitch and moan….. every restaurant has a bad night…. But here’s the thing, when we got there, we were the only group of diners, but they had trouble deciding where to seat us. Ok, whatever.

So we wait to order and our server is the grumpiest guy in the service industry I have ever come across (think Soup Nazi from Seinfeld).

Now, I won’t go into the whole ordeal (I will mention that this restaurant is NOT vegan friendly), but lets just say that it took forever to get our orders taken, re-taken, and delivered to our table. Take my advice, plan to make you own meals at your camp site. You can thank me later.

Not much was going on that night. Most teams didn’t arrive until Friday morning.

The relays began anywhere between noon and 7pm on Friday. Out team start was at 4pm, so we had time to explore the area, so that was nice.

Here’s some important info. If you are camping, request (if you can) camp spot 3 or 4). Those spots are right by the the bathrooms, showers, and pool/hot tub). Of course, there were porta-potties everywhere, but it was nice to be close to real facilities. Plus the bathrooms have a bunch of outlets to charge phones, watches, etc.

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Finally, 4:00 arrives and our team begins! The order was, Dana, Megan K., Mike, Mickey,Caitlin, me, Sean, Megan F.

The trail order went: Green trail (3.9 mile loop), Yellow trail (3.8 mile loop), Red trail (7.2 mile loop). So first runner runs green, second runs yellow, third runs red, etc. I was sixth so I ran red first. I was really happy about that spot because I could get the 7 out of the way in the cool evening air.

I started my run at dusk, so I was able to enjoy the scenery for a bit before having to turn on my headlamp. Even in the dark, it was an amazing experience to be running through the trees…..occasionally coming across another runner to visit with momentarily.

The run was fantastic…… Until the last bit that was a severe uphill battle to get to the finish. Oh.My.God. It was crazy. Uphill switchbacks for like 1/2 mile. Also, each loop merged at that 1/2 mile point. Noooo.My.God! We have to do that 2 more times. Well, alrighty then.

I finished my leg and hung out by the fire for a bit. There was a pretty good band playing, so it was nice to just sit and relax.

Around 11:00 I had a shower and tried to get some sleep, but between the excitement of the run, the noise, the lights, and the fact that the ground is……well, the GROUND, I didn’t get any sleep. My next leg was going to be around 2:45am so I wandered back to the exchange area around 2-ish to wait around there.

I began my second leg (yellow trail, 4 tough miles) around 3:45. Holy crap it was a tough first half. Uphill and uh…. More uphill. It was so cool to be running through the night though. I loved it. I was able to catch up to a guy and a girl running together, so I tucked behind them and shared their light and ran most of the way behind them.

I cleaned up and went to sleeping bag until 8:00 or so. Then got up to see how everyone had done on their night leg. I was excited to do a day run so I could enjoy my beautiful surroundings. That came at around 11:15 or so. Woohoo!

It was a 3.8 mile run in the sun (thank goodness for copious amounts of Nuun). I just enjoyed the ride and my surroundings and visited with other runners here and there.

There were two more runners after me, so I had time for a shower and time to break down camp. We were going to stay until Sunday, but I was at my end with the nature sleeping 🙂 .

Our team finished around 2pm. It was such a great time! It was my first Ragnar experience, my first trail race, and my first experience with night running………but it won’t be my last!

Thank you Megan F. for having me on your team. You are Super Woman for running your legs with zero sleep.

Thank you Nuun for the tasty hydration.

Thank you to all the great people at Ragnar for putting together an amazing race.

Thank you Dana for being such a beast on the trail. You are an inspiration.

Thank you Megan K. for rocking your runs (even when getting a bit lost) and for your company on the ride home. Hope you had a great time in Junction.

Thank you Mike for being willing to run on such short notice….and for being a rock star on the trails.

Thank you Sean and Caitlin for being cool team mates even though I didn’t get a chance to visit with you much.

Thank you Mickey for being an animal on the trails. I kinda want to hate you for being able to camp out, run like a beast at 6500 feet, and still be ridiculously good looking…. but you’re too fucking nice!

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A lovely Easter Day.

1 Apr

We had such a good time yesterday at Tabeguache that we had to head up there again.

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We decided to see what Holy Cross trail was all about. This is what we found. Kind of apropos this Easter afternoon.

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If Easter is your thing, Happy Easter! If it’s not your thing, Happy Lovely Spring Day!

Tabeguache Trail

31 Mar

Today was a perfect day for a hike/run so A and I hit the Tabeguache Trail this afternoon for a few miles in the sun.

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Half Marathon Completed

17 Mar

So I ran the Moab Half Marathon yesterday, and I gotta say it was a fun experience. I was a bit nervous going in, but as the morning progressed, I was more excited than nervous.

As this was my first half, I fluctuated between having high expectations, low expectations, and no expectations. My high expectations were kind of what made me nervous to begin with, so I ditched those. That was a load off! On to the lower expectations. I decided on a doable pace and that was the new plan.

Everything went smoothly yesterday morning. I got my bib, found the park where the busses were loading up runners, etc.

My daughter came with me so we planned where we would meet and when. Then began the hour wait in line for the bus. It was fine though because there were lots of funny, relaxed runners around, the weather was perfect (I had been worried about wind, the one condition I never train in, I hate wind, hate it), and I was properly fed (and bathroom’d).

So I finally got on a bus and we’re driving up the canyon (the race was along the Colorado River on Hwy 128) and I’m thinking 2 things. First, there are a lot of rolling hills so far, and second, we have been driving for quite a while.

Finally we get to the start. There are people dozing on rocks, reading books or magazines, enjoying coffee, etc. I head up to the start to find the pacers. It’s really crowded, but that’s ok because it is 10x warmer in the crowd.

After what seemed like forever, the race began. I kept a close eye on the pacer and set out to enjoy my run. The mile markers came and went. At one point I reached mile 5 without even realizing I had passed mile 4, so that was nice.

The rolling hills continued and I must say, the downs really weren’t worth all the ups. Anyway, I kept running along, keeping an ever watchful eye on the pacer, when the 8 mile marker appeared. WTF?! I missed the halfway mark when I was going to do a happy dance in my head celebrating being halfway through!

Here I was in this beautiful canyon along the Colorado River and I had missed 8 miles of it because I was so focused on the pacer. So I thought I could either plug away as I had been for the past 8 miles, or I could ditch my low expectations, and go the no expectations route.

I decided to turn off my playlist, enjoy my snacks and gatorade and chat with anyone who was willing to do so. And you know what? I started to see the fun of running this thing. I was able to enjoy the last 2 or 3 miles of the canyon before we started into town toward the park. There were spectators along the route from mile 11 up to the finish and it was fun getting low fives from the cute little kids.

I finally crossed the finish at 2:05:50. I was happy….nothing was hurting…..I was excited to do another one and pumped to continue toward a full marathon!

So for me (at least for this first half), going with no expectations (but to enjoy the ride) worked pretty well (even if it did take me 8 miles to figure it out).

So it’s almost race day!

14 Mar

Here it is, almost race day. My first half marathon. I was sooooo excited about this until Monday when I realized, “Holy Shit! I am running a half marathon. 13.1 miles. Who the hell does that!”

Half-marathon fun facts: from runningusa.org

Since 2003, the half-marathon has been the fastest growing road race distance in the United States, and for six consecutive years (2006–11), the number of 13.1 mile finishers has grown by 10% or more each year. No other U.S. road distance comes close to this growth rate during the Second Running Boom (circa 1994).

Since 2000, the number of half-marathon finishers in this country has more than tripled (482,000 to 1,610,000), an increase of 234%.

59% of half-marathon finishers were females (approximately 950,000, a record).

In 2011, there were a record number of 30 U.S. half-marathons with 10,000 or more finishers. This has nearly doubled since 2009 when there were 17 with 10,000-plus finishers; in 2000, there was only one.

There were a total of 43 half-marathons that make up the Top 100 U.S. timed road race list for 2011 with 16 of them from the nationwide Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.

Like the past 5 years, there were more than 30 inaugural half-marathons in the U.S. last year, and 2011 produced the largest debut annual half-marathon ever, Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah, with 14,163 finishers (previous record, 13,835, P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona)

Ok, so a lot of people do this. I have never been one of those people, though, and now I wonder just what the hell possessed me to think that this (and perhaps a marathon at some point), was an awesome idea.

It’s not that I can’t run 13.1 miles. I can. It won’t be pretty, and the pace won’t be particularly impressive, and I will most likely smell like death and regret when I am finished. I guess what I am freaked out about is, I am a creature of habit, and nothing about getting up at 4:15 am on a Saturday morning (well, any morning if I’m going to be honest), and driving an hour and a half away in order to hang around a start for an hour + waiting for the race to start, fits into my daily habit.

I have only run under perfect (for me) circumstances. You know, wake up, have a huge glass of water, a cup of coffee, and a bowl of oatmeal. I mess around on my ipad and then decide if the weather is nice enough to venture out in. If it is, great, out I go. If it’s not, I hang out inside until it warms up a bit.

But this is not so on race day. You run regardless of the weather, regardless of a nervous stomach (or God forbid, a nervous bowel), and regardless of your mindset.

So I am worried. I have run 5 and 10k’s and yes I was a tiny bit nervous, but I knew going in to the 5k, I’d be finished in 26 minutes or so (I can handle anything for 26 minutes). I knew going in to the 10k I’d be finished in 50 minutes or so (and again, I can handle anything for 50 minutes).

But a half marathon is quite a commitment (for me anyway). I am in the 2 hour pace group. I can’t wait to see if I can handle anything for 2 hours. I hope after Saturday I will be able to say, “I know I can handle anything for 2 hours!”

Well, that was quite a rant. Maybe there is something to this blogging thing after all. I feel much better now that I have that off my chest.

Sooooo Lazy!

20 Jan

Wow, have I been lazy! Not on the exercise front, but on the posting front.

No blog posts, no dailymile posts. Too lazy to even strap on my motoactv for my runs.

But run I have. Judging from the time guesstimate of my efforts, I would guess 25-30 miles for the week, but I will log 20 just to err on the lower end of my guess ( I don’t mind running more than giving myself credit for, but I don’t want to run less than I have given myself credit for). That’s what I get for running naked all week!

So, what did I do with my week? Well, Monday was my sweet boys birthday. A day mixed with tremendous gratitude, happiness, and fun…..with a few tears thrown in for good measure. I just ran and ran that morning feeling so grateful for all that I have. My kids are more than I could have ever hoped for, and far more than I deserve! So my Monday run was a lovely chat with the universe and nature (albeit a chilly chat), that needed no bells and whistles of pace, distance or time.

The rest of the week was a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-running-shorts type of week. I got a wild hair to give yoga another shot (and was vividly reminded why yoga and I broke up in the first place), get a bit more serious about weight training,work on speed a bit, and just for the sake of curiosity, track calories. I have never done that before so it was kind of interesting to see how I was doing on the nutrition side of things. Surprisingly, not too bad. I could stand to get more calories in me, but there are just not enough hours in the day!

So I welcome this new week, somewhat refreshed from my “week off”.

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