Finally…some distance!

24 08 2008

At long last – was finally able to do a “long” run for the first time since Burning River.  “Long” meaning 15 miles…laughable, I know, but I’ve been getting some “issues” straightened out.  Today I headed out with my friend Jill for a truly enjoyable 15 miler up at Daley Ranch in Escondido.  I’ve run here a bunch of times by myself, as it’s one of the only real “safe” places to go trail running alone.  Of course, even alone, I’ve nearly stepped on rattlesnakes, but we’re not going to go there today…

I met Jill at 6:30 am in the parking lot.  She had already completed 5 miles before I arrived (I’m jealous of those early morning miles in the dark!) and we headed out immediately onto the trail.  Great weather (overcast for most of the run) and great conversation predominated throughout.  I’ve only recently realized how fantastic it is to have company on long runs.  I trained alone for years through my first marathon and my first year of running ultras; I sort of just accepted the loneliness and convinced myself that I was stronger for training like the Lone Ranger.  Of course, this was probably just to cover up the fact that I was dying to meet some training buddies!  Denial’s always fun, isn’t it?

I’m very grateful now to have made some new training friends…Jill, you rock!  Thanks for today!

Ultra Jilly in front of the old tank, Daley Ranch

Ultra Jilly in front of the old tank, Daley Ranch

One inspiring moment today happened when we met a 73 (!) year old runner on the trail.  I think his legs were waaaay more buff than mine will ever be.  (What’s up with that?  Different genetic material?)  We traded some running stories and had a couple of laughs.  Jill and I left and I immediately said, “OK, that guy officially qualifies as a bad-ass.”  Seriously.  He was just running up a steep incline that I’d probably choose to powerhike.  Did I say 73 years old??!!  Let’s hope I’m still WALKING at 73.  Geez.

Sometimes I take the scenery here in San Diego County for granted, having lived in southern California now since 1994.  Even a little trail run like today’s at Daley Ranch has spectacular dramatic beauty – nothing like you’d see back in Ohio (that’s just a different kind of beauty, reserved for those who like rolling corn fields).  Check out the view from the top of Stanley Peak, looking out over the clouds.  Mount Woodson and Cuyamaca Peak were visible in the distance.  Too cool!

early morning from the top of Stanley Peak, over the clouds

early morning from the top of Stanley Peak, over the clouds

I felt great during most of the run today, despite some cramping at mile 14 (mild dehydration).  Looks like I’m getting my stomach issues squared away as there were no running into the woods moments this morning.  I have to say that Imodium is a beautiful thing – if any of you fellow ultrarunners have tummy issues, I highly recommend trying a dose of this before a long trail run.  Emailed my coach as soon as I got home, in hopes that he might up my training mileage for next week.  Gotta get over that 20 mile hump for a Saturday run ASAP or else I might go insane!  And I’m just dying to sign up for a new race…am thinking about doing the 12 hour option for the San Francisco One Day.  Let’s hope Coach gives me the green light!



20 08 2008

OK – haven’t written much in a while as I’ve been recovering from my 75 mile effort at Burning River.  If there’s one thing I HATE about ultrarunning, it’s that lovely “recovery” period after a race.  I think I could deal with recovery a little bit better if I had actually finished the damn thing.

I took a whole week off after my DNF, and the blow was softened by a stay with friends in the northern KY/Cincinnati area where I did some official shop time in a tattoo shop in the city (yes, I’m apprenticing right now – anyone want free tats?).  So that was fun.  But, when I got home, the first thing I wanted to do was run.  Luckily my coach is a sane person and realized I probably wasn’t quite ready to go out and do a 50K trail training run over the weekend.  He had me do a couple of 8 milers during the week, and I was slower than ever.  A 10 minute mile felt like speedwork.  Now that’s pathetic!  Reluctantly, he approved me to do a 15 miler over the weekend with my friend Jill up at Daley Ranch.

Saturday morning came and I was feeling enthusiastic and well-rested, ready to tackle my first “long” run since the race.  The first few miles went smoothly – good scenery and good conversation!  But at 8 miles, the familiar feeling of “Oh crap I need to run out into the woods NOW and dig a hole” hit.  After that explosive incident, both the terrain and my state of being went rapidly downhill.  By 12 miles I had to call it quits unless I wanted to leave some nasty souvenirs along the trail.  That night, I laid down on the couch at 8 pm to watch the women’s marathon on the Olympics and immediately conked out.  Woke up the next morning in my bed at 7 am with no recollection of getting up off the couch and going to bed.

My coach threatened impending doom if I didn’t go to the doctor on Monday morning to check out what was going on with the tummy drama.  Evidently, this sort of exploding stomach isn’t exactly “normal.”  I spent a couple of hours in the doc’s office waiting, only to be told that there’s not that much she can do since it’s IBS and I’m vegan so I’m just going to have more issues than most people.  Ahh.  That’s comforting.

In any case, I’m feeling better now after a couple of more nights of 10+ hours sleep and was able to do a half-hour of cardio and an hour of weights at the gym yesterday morning with an easy 8 mile run in the evening.  Hopefully, I’ll get that 15 miler in this weekend!  Can’t wait to get back to normal – whatever that might be!

DNF is a four letter word…

5 08 2008

OK – prepared for months and months, and just proudly achieved my first DNF at the Burning River 100 this past weekend.  Bummer!  Goes to show you that ANYTHING can happen during a 100.

I’ll post a full report later with all of the gory details (maybe even some nasty foot photos for those of you who like watching trainwrecks!).  The short version is that things just went awry early on in the race.  I started puking at 18 miles…we’re talking full on projectile vomiting after only a few short hours.  This has NEVER happened to me before.  Luckily, I met a very cool new trailbuddy along the way who helped talk me through the pain.  (Thanks Rob!  You rock!)  It took me 7-8 miles of walking, but I was able to get the stomach back under control.

I felt great through the 50 mile mark.  It was when nightfall hit that things started to get weird.  I experienced my first sleep deprived hallucinations around 60 miles when I started seeing random tigers and gigantic bugs in the woods.  I can deal with hallucinations, though.  It was the BLISTERS that took me out of the race.  Think HAMBURGER and you’ll know what my feet look like.

After some serious consideration and a lot of tears, I dropped officially at about 75 miles around 3:15 am.  It’s still 25 miles farther than I’ve ever run before, but I’m still bummed!  Thanks to all of you well wishers and wonderful friends – to my crew and my pacer Jesika.  You guys are the best.  I’ll be back for more punishment soon.

Again, more details to follow.  Just wanted to post something tonight to give everyone an explanation!