Friday, September 30, 2011

5 months of Updates in 5 minutes. (I ran a lot.)

Greetings from the land of Ultra training!

I have a serious problem: I have way too much to say. Unfortunately, when I get that way, I opt to shut down and not say anything. This does not make for good blogging. Hence, the no-updates-in-many-months that has happened here. And then I got so far behind I dreaded sitting down to try. goes!

I spent most of April recovering from my first Ultra. I was positive I was "broken" - but it turns out when you pound on your body for many miles, it just takes time to recover. Lesson learned.

May 1: BMO Vancouver Marathon. Less than a month after my Ultra, I ran a hilly course in Vancouver and set a PR, and finally accomplished my first Sub-4 hour marathon. (3:58:16! Yay!) Not bad for my 9th marathon (plus an Ultra) in 11 months. Vancouver started me on the "I have too much to say, and I'm too emotional to say it" train, as I ran the event after raising money with Team in Training. No matter what your cause happens to be, running for something beyond yourself is a life-changer. Every. Single. Time. I'm so thankful. And the bonus for Vancouver was that is where my husband grew up, and his sister still lives there. She's a fabulous sister-in-law, and it was awesome to get to spend time with her. I also had my 15 seconds of fame by making it onto one of the National Canadian news stations (you'd think I could remember the name!) when I was at a victory party for one of the politicians. Very interesting and fun to see how the Canadians do it. Vote, I mean. Also, being in the Lululemon mecca of the world was fantastic!

Great idea. Hilarious that you can see through.
No one was in there!
With May also came the last days of school for 2 of my 3 daughters. And then started a summer of fun and craziness with all three girls at home. I can't lie - I just enjoy them being with me. Sure, it makes me even more thankful for my breaks for sanity...but they're fabulous little girls and I am very blessed. Plus, they completed the Mother's Day 5k with me, my Mom, my sister, my sister-in-law, and her daughter. So much fun!

June 11/12: My first double-marathon weekend. My darling friend Lauren and I drove to Iowa, met up with a new friend from the KC area, and started off the weekend by running Marathon to Marathon (started in Storm Lake, IA - ended in Marathon, IA). It was such a nice event. Hot and sunny, but Iowa is gorgeous. Dairy farms, fields as far as you can see, blue skies. After we recovered with some McDonalds french fries and Coke ( recovery food ever) we drove around 3 hours to Viborg, South Dakota. We spent the night at the church camp where the race started from the next morning. There were probably 12 women in the bunkhouse, but most of us had already run a marathon that morning, so we were all early to bed. Woke up Sunday morning, ran Swan Lake Marathon. Yet another beautiful event.

July 15: Lunar Trek 40 mile Ultra in Scandia, KS. Coach Scott and I drove up to this one. The 100k started at 9pm, and all other distances started at 11pm. A bad storm came through, so the 100k got started around 10:20pm, and I took an early start with them so that I'd have company. I messed up a lot during this event. So much. I got caught up in the fact I was trying to get through shoe-sucking mud, standing water, and hills - and thus, paid less attention to nutrition, etc. I had been testing out my gel flask, as it is so much cheaper than buying the Hammer gels individually. This event proved to me that was not a smart idea, as I think in that 40 miles, I had the equivalent of 3 gels. Whoops. It was one of the best learning events I've ever had. I finished, but could have finished feeling much better.

August was a very fun month. On the 20th, I successfully completed my first Pikes Peak Ascent. 13.32 miles, with 7,815 feet of vertical gain. It was one of those events where you just can't believe the beauty that you're seeing. I got to see many Wichita friends, including Mr. 2slow4Boston and also got to meet Jill from Colorado. She's awesome. I had a killer headache when I was finished, but all things considered, it was an absolute blast. (Plus, the first time I ever head the term "marathon" was when my Dad took us up on Pike's Peak when I was young. He told us that people run up the mountain...I said that was crazy. Looks like I grew up to be crazy...)

Rock Mountain High! 

August 27: North Face Endurance Challenge 50k, Kansas City, MO. Ohhhhh my goodness. I had a blast during my 3rd Ultra. I got to run with my friend Lyle, and my new friend Karrie, and we had a wonderful time. Lots of laughs and fun. However, holy hills! It was quite brutal in that regard, but it was perfect as it gave me more chances to practice walking hills, in preparation for the Heartland 100. Amazingly beautiful course. I have no clue where I was running, but I wish I could figure it out. They did a fabulous job for their first road race in the series.

Finishing with my youngest daughters!
I <3 Dean!

Last weekend I ran the Bob Ardrey Marathon in Salina, KS. It was the inaugural year, and there were some hiccups. (Of the first place males who ran it in 2:34, 2:36 and 2:36, only ONE of them intended to run the marathon. The other guys were running so fast they didn't have a volunteer on the course to tell them where to turn. Crazy.) The run was freaking fabulous. I don't know that it would have been possible for me to have had a happier run. I got to run the first 3.5 miles with my husband (he was running the half) and after we split off, I was solo to the end. I am a dummy and forgot my Garmin charger, so borrowed my Mom's stopwatch so I'd sort of have an idea where I was, pace-wise. I walked the hills (and there were lots of them!) and took it easy. Came in at 4:28, and it was the perfect end to a big running year.

Well...the end until next weekend. On October 8, I start running at 6am...and I won't be stopping until I hit 100 miles. The Heartland 100 is already so close, and I'm in shock. And terrified. And excited. And so very thankful. My body has handled all of the miles so well. I get some aches and pains, but nothing that a little voodoo medicine can't help. I've relied on Epsom salt baths, on using arnica gel when I get an area of acute pain, and recovering smart. I found a perfect balance for me. All while being vegetarian and not keeling over from lack of meat.

Looking back on this year, I'm just so thankful for everyone who has helped me log miles, kept me company, and have been so supportive. And yes, the year isn't almost over. But this 100 miler has been in the works for seemigly forever. I'm honestly a little sad it is here, as I've enjoyed the journey so much. I'm blessed, I'm thankful, I'm healthy. My husband and daughters are supportive and amazing (and I adore that my husband has been hammering out 1/2 marathon like they're 2nd nature!). I have the best running friends a girl could ask for. The support system we have between all of us is truly incredible. It is loving and kind and without competition or drama. Not sure how I got this lucky in all arenas, but it is humbling. I will complete this 100 miler thankful every step of the way. And, I'm forever indebted to each person involved in getting me across the finish line. The support necessary is huge.

I'll see you on the other side of 100 miles! Happy running!