Saturday, February 28, 2009

2/28/2009 Back to Work

I head back to work tonight for the next 4 nights. Yuck! That damn "needing money" thing is always getting in my way! It's hard to live life when you are stuck at work all the time. ha It's not that bad in all actuality. I get the days off that I need for my races and I really do like my job, believe it or not.
So Aubrey and I got out and ran a little 4 miler yesterday just to loosen the ol' legs up a bit. I'm still a little stiff after Cross Timbers but I felt decent. I took today off except for a good strength training workout and I plan on running a little in the morning if I don't get my ass kicked tonight. There's always a chance that will happen on a Saturday night. We'll see what happens. Peace!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

2/25/2009 Ready to start Ramping.......again.

Ok, the legs are pretty much back to normal after the beating they took at Cross Timbers! I've had to work the last two nights and it was tough getting around that ER in a "timely manner," believe me! ha By the end of each night I could really tell that I had run one helluva tough course . I am off for the next 3 days so I'm anxious to actually get out and do a little bit of leisurely, relaxing, Zen running. Not worrying about anything else, just putting in some mileage and enjoying myself. That's the plan!
I got a call yesterday from Shanna and she is still wanting me to go and run the Jemez Mountain 50k with her in May. We decided last year that we would go back and attempt the shorter distance since we FUBAR'd the 50 mile so badly. I was hoping she'd forget! ha I'll let ya know how that's going to progress. Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

2/22/2009 Cross Timbers Race Report

The Cross Timbers Trail Run can be summed up in just a few words. Very TOUGH, very TECHNICAL, and..............wait for it............very OUCH, Baby, YEAH! I had a blast!
I got there Friday and got the tent set up despite the 20mph winds coming off the lake. The race start/finish was at the Cedar Bayou Resort and I camped just down the hill from it. I checked in and met Teresa McCoul, the race director. I found her to be an organized, high energy woman who really knows how to put on a good race! The only down part of the whole thing was the lack of porta-potties. There were "pit toilets" and that was it. I've included a couple of pics of those nasty, primitive crapholes and I think it beats Tony's "toilet on a pedestal" anyday! ha Okay, so they made a really good spaghetti and salad supper, and I drank a couple of Shiners to cap it off. I met a couple of guys that I really enjoyed talking with the whole evening as well. Michael and Stanton were their names. Michael was slated to run the 50 mile while Stanton was there for the 1/2 marathon. Stanton is training for Buffalo Springs Ironman 70.3 here in Lubbock and Michael is an experienced adventure racer and ex-Army. Ok, so I hit the hay around 10pm. Around midnight or 1 the wind HIT! It was so noisy in the tent that I was awake every 30 minutes or so. That part sucked! I went ahead and got up around 5am and started getting ready. The race also includes a 5 mile, a 1/2 marathon, and a full marathon, not to mention the 50 mile. The 50 milers started first at 6:30am. It was cold and windy from Hell at race time and would stay that way! Anytime you came close to the lake shore the wind would try to take your head off! Anyway we took off right on time and that's when the fun began!
I really didn't know what to expect from the course itself but had been told that it is the "Toughest Little Trail in Texas." I haven't run ALL the trails in Texas but I would have to agree that it is one tough, freaking trail! The trails boasts 10,900 ft of elevation gain/loss. Lots and lots and lots of climbs, and I don't just mean inclines! I mean leaning forward, hiking-type climbs up rocks and roots. I remember looking up several times after a grueling climb and having another one looming straight ahead. I also remember growling every time I saw one, especially towards the end of the day. haha I think there were more roots out there than at Rocky Raccoon and that's saying something. In some of the gullies, as you traveled downhill, you would have rocks covered with fallen leaves that you had to find and navigate. Really tough, guys!! The course is set up so you run 10 miles out and 10 miles back from one side of the start and then 2.5 miles out and 2.5 miles back from the other side. You do this twice so you know that all the hills that you just busted your ass climbing would be waiting for you to do it all over again!
I kept my fueling very even throughout the day, drinking Clip2 and using gels every couple of hours. I also tried some Sport Beans which I really enjoyed and will probably use them again. Also since it was cooler, my stomach wanted something more solid from time to time and I kind of picked at stuff at the aid stations. The aid stations were phenomenal and the volunteers more than ready for you. Fantastic job on that part! Back to the course, there is an area where you come out into the open right by the beach and have to run about 50 yards through deep sand. Gaiters would have been nice at that point but oh, well. On the other side of the lake on the 2.5 mile out and back, the vistas of the lake are spectacular! You are running right along the bluffs and cliffs of the lake! It's really special, just make sure you watch where the Hell you're going! Along this route I ran into Michael who had taken off like a shot from the very beginning! He was having some ITB issues and had decided to drop once back at the start/finish. I hated that cuz he was smoking that course!
So one weird thing for me was that my legs actually woke up and felt BETTER during the second time around. I felt like I was able to run more than I did during the first go around. Not sure why and I can't prove that in my splits since I didn't pay attention to them that much. Also, my calf never even once gave me any issues! I wore the Zensah sleeves and I really think that they made a difference. I ended up running it in like 12:13 or so. A decent time from what I heard and I think once again that it will land me pretty squarely in the middle of the pack. Results aren't posted as of yet. Even after the race my legs felt ok. I was tired for sure and was REALLY happy to get off of that course.
I had planned on drinking a couple more Shiners at supper but ate 3 veggie burgers that Teresa grilled for me and some cheese puffs instead. The burgers and cheese puffs were, I swear, made in Shangri-La! After supper I retired early. I decided to put my mattress and sleeping bag in the back of the Xterra cuz I was NOT going to deal with the wind in that tent again. I slept like a baby from 8:30pm to 3am! I woke straight up, broke camp, and hit the road. I made it home by 9:30am and was able to have breakfast with Kelli and the kids who were just getting their lazy asses out of bed. ha
Ok, so in essence, the Cross Timbers Trail Run is phenomenal and it's everything that a seasoned trail runner would expect from a course. It can and will chew you up and spit you out if you let it! Teresa did an amazing job directing it and the volunteers were all fantastic! And I so loved those veggie burgers!! And I think she is going to get us some porta-potties for next year!! Yeah!

Ok, guys, so 3 of my 5 on the Grand Slam done! Party on! Peace!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

2/18/2009 Getting packed

Alrighty then, I think I'm ready. My calf seems to be doing good. There's no pain or anything and the swelling is gone. Just in time too since I head out Friday morning to Lake Texoma for the Cross Timbers Trail Run. I've heard that the course is very Bandera-like which means tough and gritty! I'm up for it! I'm in the best shape I've been in since doing these ultras or at least I think I am! ha I feel good and that's what counts, right? I've been doing lots of strength training over the last couple of weeks to make up for no running since Rocky and it's amazing how much different you feel afterwards. The body makes changes so quickly! I hate doing it but it's what needs to be done. Anyway, I am planning for a little slower time for this race due to the terrain and the "iffy-ness" of my calf. I will be wearing Zensah sleeves just for support. Hopefully I won't look like a big ol' dork!
I, once again, plan on pitching the tent at the race start. It's so much cheaper than getting a hotel. They don't have showers there either which kind of sucks but c'est la vie. I'll just take plenty of wet wipes again. ha Ok, so I'll post a report when I get home. Wish me luck! Peace!

Friday, February 13, 2009

2/13/2009 On the Mend

Alright, it's been a few days now and I've been off of work the whole time, resting. I've kept my leg compressed and elevated and haven't done ANYTHING all week. My leg actually feels pretty decent! I'm surprised, yet happy! I can still feel where it ruptured when I stand up but it doesn't hurt like it did. I've trotted around in the house with it and strangely doesn't really even hurt when I run! Hopefully it won't develop into my Achille's Heel.........literally! I ordered some Zensah sleeves to run in for Cross Timbers and I'm hoping that will be enough support. I think it will be. I'm still flabbergasted as to why this happened. I've never had anything like this before. I do, however, plan on continuing on my merry little way to the Texas Grand Slam finish.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Rocky Raccoon Race Report or Whoo Hoo! 50 mile PR!

Zach and I hit the road about 5am and arrived at Huntsville State Park around 12:45pm or so. We got checked into the park and headed to our campsite. We shared a site with the Crownover family and had a fantastic time. Zach's one mile race was to start at 4pm so we headed over to packet pickup after we got our tent set up and squared away. We got our packets and headed over to the kids' race start where they took off and ran a half mile out and back. One kid was trained for this and he meant business. He was a tad older than Zach and man, could that kid run! He finished in 7:26 and Zach came in behind him, taking second with a time of 8:15, a one mile PR for him! Way to go, Zach!
Later that evening we met Tony, Sergio and his wife, Rick, Wayne, and Kira at Chili's for a nice, gentle supper. Just a caesar salad and potato soup for me, oh, and a big glass of Shiner Bock! Yum! We didn't stay too long and headed back to camp for an early night.
The race, as usual, started promptly at 7am. It was a new course for this year as well so it didn't feel like the same race at all. I felt really good heading out since it was nice and cool with a breeze coming off the lake from time to time. I wore shorts and a long sleeve North Face technical shirt and was fine all day, even in the heat. Once again, the course was absolutely beautiful and serene. I, myself, didn't feel like the roots were as bad this year. Others would disagree! ha Oh, well. I saw Andy Jones-Wilkins and Jamie Donaldson several times throughout the day as well. It's always really cool to be able to run on the same course with such talented individuals! Anyway, around mile 8, I felt like someone kicked me in my left calf with a pointy-toed boot! I walked for a minute trying to figure out what the hell had happened since it was still hurting like crazy. I finally decided, "Screw it!," and took off running again. After a little bit the pain disappeared completely and I ran the rest of the race in relative comfort. I guess I was just able to run through it. My left calf is bruised and swollen now but hopefully on the mend already. I still don't know what it was.
Anyway, I ran the first loop in about 2:55 and still had a lot left in the tank. My mental game was stronger this year I think and that's what made the difference for me. I didn't spend any time at all at the aid stations, just grabbing a fresh bottle of water to mix with my Clip2 and then heading out. I only used Gu this race, no solid foods, save for a few M&M's. I just wasn't hungry out there. The second loop was completely uneventful except I was able to see Zach and my other friends at some of the aid stations. Julie, Becca, and the kids were making their rounds to all the aid stations since they were crewing their husbands in the 100. Their cheering for me was always the extra energy in my step for a couple of miles after I passed them! Thank you guys so much for being there! I love you all! I believe I finished the second loop in about 3:25 or so. When I took off on the third loop, I realized that I had the opportunity to set a 50 mile PR even if I ran the last loop in 4 hours. I was stoked! Amazingly enough I was able to run most of the third loop. I made sure to walk the uphills (of which there were more this year) and then run all downhills and flats. I really felt pretty good! Anyway, I crossed the finish line in 9:50, shaving 35 minutes off of my previous 50 mile PR! After the race I headed back to camp and hit the showers. I stayed in there forever! I had to chuckle too cuz while I was in there Noah and Micah came in with their Grandad Doug for a shower because they were swinging on some poison ivy vines! haha Hopefully the shower worked and they won't be miserable! After my life-giving shower I headed back to the finish line and found Rick there waiting for Tony to come in. Rick had some pizza at his table that he offered so I swiped a slice. Thanks, Rick!! It was the first solid food I'd had all day and it was majorly yummy! Later on that evening we had taco soup at the Crownover's camper again which was just AMAZING! That stuff is like ambrosia after a long race! I headed to bed early and got up early to see some friends after they completed the 100 miler! Before I left camp I talked to Matt who had run an amazing race and finished in 21:22! He was really sore, and his foot was as red as my calf was. He had to use a makeshift cane to get around camp. I also saw Brett who had finished in just under 24 hrs. At the race finish I ran into Tony, his pacer Rick, and Sergio while they waited for Wayne. They had all come in under 24 hours, so big congrats to all those guys! I love how publicly posting your goals on your blog puts so much pressure on you! ha Great job you guys! As soon as I get some pics I will post them but for now this is all there is. Thanks to every one out there, all the volunteers, and a big thanks to Joe and Joyce for another race well run! Peace!

Addendum 7:34pm
I went to work as scheduled at 6:45pm and by the time I got there my left calf and ankle was already double in size. ha I had one of my Doctor friends check it out (in case you didn't know, I work in an ER) and he said that it looks like I ruptured the "muscle belly" of my left calf. He was concerned that I could develop rhabdomyolysis from it if I didn't drink enough water. Luckily, that's all I've done since finishing the race! I'm not worried about it at all. They had me come home tonight and marked me off the schedule for tomorrow night as well so I don't go back to work until Saturday night. I will keep my leg compressed with ice and elevate all week! I plan on running Cross Timbers in two weeks as planned but I'm not running a step until then! Wish me luck!

2/9/2009 Short Update

Ok, back from Rocky where EVERYONE I talked to had an amazing, goal-realizing race! The whole group that I knew that was doing the 100 miler came in under 24 hrs, except for Wayne, but from what I heard he still set a PR! So congrats are in order all around! Good job everyone! It was a fantastic weekend of meeting up with older friends and making some new ones! I'll post a full report in the next day or so, once I can wake up good! Oh, and I set a new PR for myself! I ran this year's Rocky in 9:50, beating my old PR by 35 minutes! Whoo hoo!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

2/4/2009 Ready to Go!

Ok, so yesterday was Makenzie's 10th birthday! Yay! She wanted to go to our favorite Mexican food place so we went to Mi Tio's! It was delicious as always! Thank God I was able to get out and run a little today since I WAY overindulged last night! Everything seems to be a go for this weekend. I am going to run out to Academy tomorrow and pick up some bottles of propane for our lantern and heater in case we need them. I also need to hit the grocery store and grab a few staples! I have to have Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies and Haribo Cola Bottles or it's just not an ultra! ha I am also picking up some veggie stuff for supper with the Crownover's on Saturday night as well as breakfast on Sunday morning! I'm really looking forward to seeing all the friends again that I have met at various races as well! I'd like to wish Tony, of, the best of luck as he strives to go sub-24 in the 100 mile race! I think he'll do fantastic! He's also got one helluva pacer in Rick Gaston, who should be able to keep him moving and motivated. Also good luck to Jamie Donaldson as she runs her first 100 with Drymax as her sponsor! And to anyone else that has specific goals for this race, GOOD LUCK! Peace!