Wednesday, December 30, 2009

No Resolutions Just Goals

I don't really do New Year's resolutions but, I do love a good goal. My first goal is always to be the best wife and mom I can be. Love my family. On the running front; my goals this year are to finish my 1st 100 mile race (Rocky Raccoon 100miles) it would rock to finish under 24 hrs but, I will take any time as long as I finish. Don't care if I have to shuffle, walk or crawl to the finish as long as I cross that line. Secondly I would like to run the Boston Marathon faster than my qualifying time. Guess that means speed work and hills are in my future, yuck! And double yuck! Beyond that I would really like to run a marathon with my good friend Cathy (a marathon virgin) and well I sort of have it in the back of my head that I would like to try out a 24hr race. I think that pretty much sums up this year’s goals so far, I am sure I will add to them as the year gets underway and progresses.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Adam Fitzgerald: A Journey From Hospital to Hope

I just read this on one of my favorite running sites and all I can say is wow! If you are looking for some inspiration this is your guy, if he can do it so can you :). Happy Running.Adam Fitzgerald: A Journey From Hospital to Hope


I have the best support crew in the world. Both of these pictures are of my husband Doug and my daughter Chloe. I am truly blessed to have a husband that supports my training and my off the wall goals like running ultras. He wouldn't think of running one himself, he says they are too far and he wants to run for the rest of his life but, he is super supportive of my running them. He listens while I plot out race plans, figure out gear, try and fined nutrition, etc... and is always willing to help me out with his two cents if I need advice. He is a great runner but, he likes to stick to 10K's or under. Chloe my daughter is also a huge support. On most of my 5K's she runs with me (in the jogger) we have even managed to win a couple together, that is tons of fun and she loves starting in the back of the crowd and running by people as we try to get on pace (I find this part of the race annoying but she loves it). She is such a trooper. I hope she will someday run some of these races with me. At our first 5K (she was 4mnths old) we met a lady who had just run a marathon with her daughter (daughter was in her early 20's) and I kept thinking that must have been the best marathon ever. I have to say there are days when I do feel guilty, I am a Mommy after all, guilt is our

middle name:).

I worry that the amount of time I spend running is taking away from the time and energy I should/could be giving to Chloe but, then part of me knows that the running makes me a better mom. Running gives me an outlet, a place to just go be happy and work out any issues. On many of my long runs I end up thinking about how lucky I am. I don't think life has always been so easy for me I have had my struggles but, I have really come to a place that makes me happy. I adore/love/cherish/treasure my husband and daughter. I love that while running 30 miles my mind wanders to how happy I am and how lucky I am. I guess the bottom line is: I am one lucky girl and running makes me the best me I can be.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

These Aren't Your Mom's Tights

Well first I apologize for the picture being sideways, it isn't like that when I upload it but, for some reason it keeps rotating once it gets into the post, annoying :).

This week has been great. I went from last week where, I had to work for my miles and thought my legs were going to fall off or go on strike to this week where, I just had time for some great runs. Last night I made it to 81 miles so I knew going into toady's run that I could make my goal of 90 miles for the week but, I thought my legs were going to be tired. So as I set out on my 9+ mile run I wasn't sure what to expect. The temp said it was 36 feels like 31 so, I put on my new compression tights (seen above, I would have taken a picture of me in them but, dang they are so tight they might as well be see through :)). I almost have to wrestle with the suckers to get them on (sorry in advance to my pacers for Rocky if you have to help me get them on, it ain't going to be pretty but, I do promise to shave). As I headed out on my run I felt like a million bucks, dang my legs felt fresh, my ipod was going and I had on my favorite hat, come on does life get any better? Oh and the first song up was: Cotton Eyed Joe, now you know I was running down the street singing at the top of my lungs, in the tightest tights you have ever seen, with a hat that has a pom pom on top and a jacket that is nearly neon green, it was AWESOME. My poor neighbors. I ran the entire run feeling like I was flying it was great. Runners high from start to finish. 9.3 miles in 1:17 at the end of a 90 mile week, all I can say to that is Yipppeee and I love my tights oh and well of course the song Cotton Eyed Joe (seriously you have to check out the song and the lady tap dancing to it, for some reason that really cracks me up when I am running).

Oh and one note about the pants: I did try them last week for recovery instead of my socks and they didn't work as well as the socks so they are definately going to be just for running for me. They were great.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Avocado Pesto Tomatoes

Yummy. I am that annoying person you invite over for a meal that has an allergy so it is impossible to cook anything (sorry to all that have invited me over) so, this year for my neighbors annual party she had me make my own appetizer. I decided to try out a new recipe. You can see here the finished product. Basically I hollowed out 60 cherry tomatoes, let them drain. Made the filling by blending avocadoes with pesto and a bit of cream cheese and then filled the tomatoes. They were fun to make although not sure I would ever make that many again and they were tasty little bites. If you want the recipe let me know. I love trying out new recipes. Generally when Doug is home I try out one new recipe a week. Thank goodness Doug and Dylan will eat almost anything, they are real troopers. So far Chloe is hit or miss on my crazy concoctions.

All Compressed

So a few months ago a friend of mine; Heather was trying out some compression socks and after one use she was sold. I was talking to her after her marathon and she was raving about how awesome they were so, I looked up Compression socks and found a pair. I chose hot pink because I thought they were cute :). Mine weren't the same brand as Heathers I had to go with a cheaper version but we thought they would do the same thing. Guess what folks: THEY DO. They rock. My socks are: Recove Socks and they are amazing. I put them on after a 30 mile run and the next day I can't even tell I ran. Absolutely no muscle soreness. I have no idea how that is possible. Ok Heather tried to explain it like a trillion times but, still not sure on the exact science of it all but, I can tell you they are amazing. I hadn't used them for running because I only had one pair that is until Christmas (we celebrated early here). Now that I have a few pairs (thank you Mom and Santa) I have been able to try them out for running, they are wonderful. Oh and here is an odd side note: my left leg is usually 1in in circumference smaller than my right, meaning my calf and quad are smaller but somehow since I have increased my mileage and started using the socks they have balanced out and are now within 1/4 inch of each other and for the first time in forever my calves aren't all knotted up all the time. Folks, you have to try out a pair of compression socks don't think the brand matters so find yourself a good sale and get a pair, they are amazing.

Edit: I found out more info on the sock and well I may have been incorrect when I said the brand didn't matter.  See below this is directly from Recovery Sock. 
Technical Features

A few of the functional components The Recovery Sock® offers include:

Graduated Compression Technology (GCT)

Unlike other compression socks, The Recovery Sock® utilizes a Patented GCT ( Patent # 6,092,397). GCT means tighter compression in the foot and ankle area and a gradual decrease in compression as it travels up the leg over the calf. GCT causes an upward flow of blood helping to get un-oxygenated blood out of the leg, replacing it with fresh oxygenated blood. This is not only speeds recovery after workouts, hence The Recovery Sock®, but also enhances workout and race performance. Athletes in long distance competitions, especially marathons, have found them particularly beneficial.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Found: One set of runner's legs

So as I posted before last week was a horrible week for me running wise. It just took all of my will power to make myself get out there and get my miles. I had to walk some miles, I had to shuffle some miles and really I didn't feel like I truly ran any of the miles. Then I finally got a day off; Friday. Saturday's 16.1 miles made me want to jump for joy. My legs were back. Oh did it feel good to just run. I was able to hold my pace between 8:30-9:00 min/mile the entire way and the last few miles were sub 8. It felt great. I wish it were easier to just adjust days off and take a day when needed earlier in the week but, I know all of you know how it is. You get your miles when you have the chance. I have to work around when Chloe is in school or Doug is in town to watch Chloe or she is asleep so sometimes I find myself running when all I really need is a day off. I think I really learned to push myself last week and I am so happy to have my legs back. Love a good run.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Does TOYF = JM's (Hope Not)

Say What? Somehow since I can't decipher any of the texts these days because of acronyms, I thought this was funny. Oh the things I think of while running for hours on end and nibbling on energy blasts. So my question is: Does Time on Your Feet = Junk Miles? I wonder because some say that for your first ultra (ok this isn't my first but it is my first 100 miles) just get time on your feet, and others profess that junk miles are worthless. If those two statements were to simultaneously be true then Time on Your Feet couldn't be the same as Junk Miles, right? But somehow I think they are actually differing points of view on how to train for an ultra. Up until this point in my Rocky Training (100 mile race in Feb) I have been pounding through my mileage, and feeling great. So no Junk Miles so to speak and really using a mileage based training plan not Time on Your Feet. This week however I feel like this:

I meant for this to look like I was running in sand. Boy are my legs  just fatigued. It is hard to get in my mileage must less be motivated to run at all this week. Oh don't be disheartened I have still managed to get in over 40 miles in the past 2 1/2 days but, dang have they been tough miles to get. And I keep wondering if they are considered junk miles. I have had to walk, I have shuffled along at a pathetic pace, I have walked some more, shuffled, walk, you get where I am going with this cadence. It ain't pretty folks. So are these miles useful? I am after all getting the Time On my Feet even if it is at some subpar pace. Upon reflection (you have a lot of time for that when running slow and trying to get in 70 miles for the week) I think I am so zonked because of last week’s training. I had two runs that were over 26.2 miles in length and a 20 mile day; I think that somehow just zapped my legs more than I thought it would. So for the first time in this round of training I have to really work to get my miles and you know what: I have no idea if these miles will pay off physically but they will mentally. I really have to gut it up and get out there and I think that is great for training. There is definitely going to be a point in 100 miles where I don't want to run and I think this week is helping me train for just that. So instead of being totally bummed about my running this week I am going to see it as the perfect training experience for what is to come. Oh and one final thought: What is a junk mile? At this distance I think a mile is a mile is a mile, it is about getting there. I have 30hrs to cover 100 miles; I am bound to walk at some point, so I think this is all good training.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What Was I Thinking?

I have read plenty of ultra blogs now where the person runs back to back ultras and somehow their bodies are fine with it. They just go out and run 100 miles one weekend and hit the trails for another 50-100 the following weekend. I have no idea how you get to be that good. What I do know is that I am sitting here typing this and I am exhausted, not even sure my rock'in pink recovery socks can save my legs. And all I did was run 83.9 miles this week. I began my week with a 27.2 mile run which was ok but it was in the rain so it wasn't my most favorite run and so the week went, then came today, Sunday, The White Rock Marathon. Why did I sign up for this race a second time, why? Last time there wasn't food or water at the end and there wasn't this time either, last time parking was a pain and this time I had to ditch my car in downtown Dallas and run to the American Airlines Arena to make the start. So that was my morning I began my race stressed out about my car and getting to the starting line and then by mile oh lets be generous and say 5 I realized that the almost 60 miles I had already put in this week really had my legs tired. But, you know what I think this was a great training experience. My legs were super tired and I just had to keep on keepin on and I think that is what the 100 miles will feel like. I just got in my groove running about a 9:30 min. per mile pace and kept on going. The spectators were awesome. I am always in awe of just how many people turn out to cheer others on, it is really great. And well the Dolly Parton’s Hills aid station was once again my favorite, everyone needs a good laugh at mile 19.5 and if men dressed up like Dolly don't make you laugh nothing will. So I guess all in all it was a great training experience but if I say I am doing this race again would one of you please kick me. I think what it comes down to is I really like the smaller marathons where there are tons of local runners and everyone is social and just jogs along telling their story. I really miss that at these big races.

Errrrrrrrrr Garmin

This little beauty was a gift from my brother last year for Christmas. Yes, I have a wonderful brother and no, he doesn't need anymore sisters, I asked last year and he said he was good. At first I loved my Garmin. She showed me my pace, could yell at me if I was over or under my pace, could change up screens so that I had just the data I wanted. Oh how I loved her then...a trip to VT in the winter happened and apparently my little Garmin 405 doesn't care for cold weather, she went nuts, freezing on a stupid compass screen, going haywire during runs, turning off, etc... She did make a semi come back that is until summer hit and I began to sweat (I really just glisten) and somehow sweat hitting the electrodes on the back of this sucker send it into a tizzy, we are talking denying a pregnant woman chocolate kind of tizzy. So I call up Garmin and they told me I am not the only having this problem and to wear a sweat band under it. Oh so now you can spot me I am the ding dong wearing this watch with a bright blue sweat band underneath. They also recommended I download all of the updates and get them on the watch, which only took my trusty IT guy (wonderful husband Doug) oh about half of a day. And still today I head to my marathon with a little dew in the air and Garmin freezes on me, and then the dreaded compass appears. Not to worry folks I found out today if you hold the two buttons at the same time for like an hour (slight exageration)  it powers the watch down and when it came back up I was ready to rock and roll. But today marked the third race where my Garmin has gone haywire during the race, I find that super annoying. My recommendation is get another model this one is just too aggravating.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Oh my babies, ok they are really my running shoes but, had to post this obnoxious photo of them all lined up. And sadly pairs B and C are missing from this photo. This is my current set of shoes. They are all the same shoe: Mizuno Wave Rider 12.
Over the past 1 1/2 yrs I have bought 6 pairs of them. Each pair is labeled with a letter. I then track the mileage of that pair on my running log. When a pair reaches its expiration it gets donated. well except for the A's I keep them around for short tread mill runs. Currently D,E and F are in rotation. You only really need two pair in rotation if you ask me but, I just got F's because I wanted to break them in before crunch time and well poor D's are almost at their life end. With me anyway. My awesome friend Liz picks up my nasty old shoes and takes them to a donation site. I really wish shoes lasted longer. They seem to go so fast. Well so this answers the question that people like to ask about how many shoes I go through. The answer is a lot. Especially with my mileage so high right now. I think some folks who run in motion control shoes rotate brands they wear but since mine are neutral I don't really see the purpose and well I love them.

Gear: My Trusty Hydration Pack

The hydration Pack I got by accident. I adore my pack, it goes with me on almost every run these days but, the funny thing is, I got it years ago from my Dad and Step mom and I know they had no idea what they were giving me. They just thought that I liked to hike and the pack might be nice, boy if they only knew how much I use it.

I get this question a lot: "What do you do for food and water on your long runs." The answer is my North Face Flight Series Hydration Pack. I posted pictures so I could explain what I love so much about it. The bottom picture shows the chest strap, it adjusts up and down, so the ladies (you know which two I speak of) don't have to get squashed. It has a waist strap too and most of the time I use it but sometimes I don't and it seems to be fine either way. The pack holds about 2liters of water. Then those two net bags you see (top picture) are super handy for nutrition. I can reach into them without taking my pack off, so while I am running down the road I can just reach around back and grab lets say a RC treat. I did however have to search high and low for a water bottle that was skinny enough to fit in one of the net bags. I use that when I want to mix up a drink, oh not that kind, you know Gatorade or Perpetum or something. So what I would say if you are looking for a pack is find one that adjusts down to a woman's frame and that has adjustable chest straps and dang the outside pockets are handy. Oh sorry forgot to mention it does have a compartment in back which has been great for everything from my cell phone to a small jacket.

The North Face Logobutton

Nutrition for the Raccoon

Oh the trials and tribulations of finding the right combination of nutrition for ultra running! This part of running I seriously despise. I find eating gluten free to already be somewhat of a bummer, a lot of the foods I used to love, live for, dream about, I can no longer eat. But, the fact that gluten is in everything makes finding food to eat while running a gigantic pain in the booty. So once I decided to run the Raccoon I knew I needed to figure out a better eating plan. I did some research and apparently someone my size can only digest around 200 calories an hour while working out. I did some trial and error and found out my body really likes food about every 30 minutes. I tried some gels and found out my body finds them to be gut bombs, explosions that go off in my gut and cause me around an hours worth of pain while running. Tried a certain brand of sports drink that is hyped up and found even at 200 calories of it an hour I wanted to gnaw my own arm off after 3hrs. The company said they recommended this drink for long races, all by itself, I am not sure I can take that level of starvation. I tried different bars and found the fiber in them is not a good thing. In fact I would just make the blanket statement that fiber while running far is not good, not good at all, soluble, not soluble, doesn't matter it all = BAD. Talked to my sister and she said make yourself some rice crispy treats, she was right, ok I have to say I was just excited to make and eat Rice Crispy(RC) treats but as it turns out they are great. No digestive issues so far with them. Tried chips, they work great. Plain old Ruffles work wonders for me. So I am beginning to get a plan but I know I have to find some sort of source with protein, so I am thinking of trying RC treats with Peanut Butter on top. Also Ensure seems to sit well in stomach but, I have read other Ultra Runners sites that say it isn't the best option. Ughhhhhh. This nutrition side of things is kicking my butt. If anyone out there has recommendations, I would love to have them. I am going to try some Honey Milk stuff that I got at The White Rock Expo tomorrow, I will let you know how that goes.


It took me a good month to get back into running after the Grasslands but, after that I was back on track. Doug, Chloe and I had taken a trip to Germany and running there finally got me back to feeling like myself. I ran some races, a few 5K's mostly and won in my age group which is always fun and in one 5K won the whole thing, that was super fun since I would not say I am a fast runner by any means. So what happened? I was talking to my fellow running moms and my only real goal at the time was Boston marathon in April and I got to thinking that I needed to do another ultra. Cathy (running mom) said her husband was thinking about doing the Rocky Raccoon 50miler in 2010 and suddenly I knew what I had to do. The next day I signed up for my first 100 mile race. I posted a note to all of my Running Mom friends and asked who could come and help me out. I found a training plan or two and got to work. I couldn't believe that my running mom friends were willing to come help out but, 5 of those amazing women signed up to come and stay up all night and run in the woods with me, if that isn't friendship I don't know what is. My training has been going well, I am up to 80+ miles this week and am starting to feel pretty dang great.

Blisters and Busted Socks

Some of you will think this a bit nuts but, I have/had a favorite pair of running socks, I don't know what it was but I liked to have one pair on in every race. I would make sure the week going into a race that I didn't wear my pink running skirt or my running socks for any runs so they would be clean on race day. And after taking care of said pair of running socks, this is what happens if you wear them to an ultra. My toe came through. I was heart broken but, once again my running moms came through, they recommended I just keep the good sock and use it, so now I wear a mismatched pair but I still have half of the mojo.
Nice picture of me loosing an otherwise good toenail. I would say that only loosing one toenail in 50+ miles is pretty good. The blisters were horrible from the Grasslands. I am now actually trying out a couple of different types of socks and powders to see if I can get around blisters on my next ultra. Keep you fingers crossed for my toenails and feet.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Grasslands 50 Miler - March 2009

So I decided to start blogging about my running adventures and really this all went nuts with the idea of one race: An Ultra. Ok one type of Race. An Ultra Marathon is any marathon over the length of 26.2 miles but really they are usually 30miles, 50miles or 100miles, ok they get longer than that but, well I am not crazy. So after I had my baby girl Chloe (picture seen above) I was walking all of the time, poor kid had colic and I tell you one of the only things that made her happy was the sound of the Treadmill. Some might say it is because she heard it when she was in the womb, others might just say she liked walking. Ok so I began walking, then running, then WAMO! At 4 mnths old the Treadmill died. What was a girl to do but go into her garage dig out that hand me down stroller and insert an old rower friend had so thoughtfully sent and take her kid out for a fun. I was free. Ok so I thought I should probably ask for some opinions on if 4mnths old was too young for a baby to be in a stroller so, I found a group of Running Moms and asked them. They gave me the thumbs up and I was off. But here is where it gets interesting, that group of running moms, they not only got me running 5K's with my stroller but training for a marathon and then suddenly the marathon wasn't enough. My life long dream of an ultra suddenly seemed doable. So in 2008 I looked up some information on running Ultras, found a race: The Grasslands 50miler and began my journey. I told the whole group about my race so they would hold me to it. Then I signed up for three marathons in the mean time to help me train up to the Ultra and found a babysitter I trusted for the days I needed long runs and my Dear Husband (Doug) was out of town. I was off. I had run two marathons before this, but they were back in my 20's and now I was in my late 30's so you can see it had been a while. The first Marathon: the White Rock in Dallas was brutal, there was a 25-30 mph headwind the entire second half of the race, it kicked my butt. The second marathon the Phoenix RnR was awesome, I even ran a Boston Qualifying time, yipppeee. And finally the Pensacola Marathon in February rounded out my big mileage. By March I was really beat but the girls pumped me up and my friend Erin flew in to help me out on race day. I am not sure I had a great game plan for pace or what not I just knew I wanted to finish. I must have been standing under some luck star though because by mile 10 I had run into two amazing running women; Cindy and Lori. Cindy needed a qualifying time for Western States and they had run quite a few Ultras so I decided I would stick with them for a while well that while lasted until around mile 40. They were awesome. The whole dang experience was awesome. It was really hard but it was also so dang rewarding. My husband was able to get out to the race in the afternoon and brought Chloe. So he ran the last loop with me which was great. It was hilarious when he saw Lori and Cindy just in front of us and said: "why don't you just pass them" I am told him as nicely as I could at that point that my shuffling was the best pace I could manage, yes the shuffling was me going all out. Eventually I did pass Lori and Cindy did get her Western Qualifying time. And I got 2nd in my first Ultra 7th over all. And so the journey had begun. Stay tuned it gets better :).

I am sure I feel just about the exact way I look in this picture. :)

This is me coming into the aid station, my friend Erin got the picture and then filled my camel bak, made me eat and drink and sent me on my way. She rocked. When I was confused which way to go she already knew and was pointing me in the right directions. Everyone should take a solid crew person for their first race.