Christmas Goodies!

I had an excellent Christmas! Among other things, I received a new gym bag (with an odor-proof shoe pouch), a pull-buoy, swim fins, a new swim gear bag, and an assortment of workout clothes. I'm hoping to get to the Master's swim sometime this week to use my new toys. I know my family doesn't thing workout stuff makes good Christmas presents, but I was thrilled.

As much as I love travelling to see family, I am always happy to be home again. I didn't get much running in, due to temps in the negative teens, snow (measured in feet, not inches) and freezing rain. I don't like running on the road when conditions are slippery and visibility is low. I don't care about falling so much as getting hit by a vehicle. I did attempt a run at my parents' Christmas tree farm, but the 15 inches of snow on the ground and drifts up to my waist made it difficult. Snow shoes would have worked better. But I did burn 315 calories in 1 mile. That's impressive.

I also like being home because it seems there is a shortage of fresh fruits and vegetables where my family is. Other than some veggies and dip on Christmas Eve, I didn't see much of anything green, unless you count the green frosting on the thumbprint cookies. My family lives on ground beef, and not the 95% lean kind. It was very clear that my body is not used to a diet that high in fat. I will probably be starving all week. I haven't gotten on the scale to see what the damage is yet, but when I bought some dress pants on Saturday, they were a size 6 so I don't think I did too bad. It's always fun shopping when you get to go down a size.

Now that I'm back home with my grocery store, a gym, a trainer in the garage, and milder temps, I have no excuses. With my first ultra right around the corner, it is safe to say I am motivated by fear. But in a good way.

I'm looking forward to running after work today. My back is sore from all the driving, my hamstrings are really tight and I think a slow jog is just what I need. I'm planning on 4 miles for sure, 8 if I'm feeling OK. I fell on the stairs last night, so I'm hoping my knee is OK as well. I hit the stairs hard enough that I cracked the grout between steps. I have so many bruises from the fall, I kinda feel like I was beaten with a stick last night. But I didn't drop the bonsai that I was carrying, and that is important. I'll have to post a picture of my newest hobby.

I'd better finish my lunch of carrots, a clementine, yogurt and bran, and an apple. See a theme here?


Merry Christmas!

We are leaving here in a matter of hours to head back to God's Country for Christmas. Which means no internet and lots of food. But it's no longer hunting season (at least not with high-powered rifles) so we are planning on running, hopefully every day other than Christmas.

Safe travels and Merry Christmas!


Alternate Chili Run

Yesterday was the Alternate Chili Run at Wyco Park. It was a single 10 mile loop on bridle trail, single track trail, and just a little bit of pavement. This is pretty much the same course as the Psycho Wyco in February.

It was warm and windy, but luckily there wasn't much wind through most of the course. It was muddy. Some areas were a little slippery and one guy lost a shoe, but really we had great conditions. It looked like a good turn out, too.

I started off running with the Medium pace group and John started with the Extra Medium pace group. I wasn't real comfortable with the pace, so I ran ahead and did my own thing. I ended up leading a group through the Triangle. I thought that was pretty good since I had only run that section once and it was in the dark. A couple of guys caught up to me there and one was Bob, one of the Nerds I ran with last Saturday.

I stuck with Bob and two other guys for most of the run. I like running with those guys - they're a little faster than me so I have to push myself and they're good conversation. We ran together for most of the course. Hopefully I'll get to run with them again.

We hit the pavement section and another group caught up to us. I was falling behind at this point and was just praying to get off the road and back into the woods. It was interesting - you could tell who didn't have much trail experience once we hit the trail again. I passed most of the group and caught back up to the guys. The road runners are much faster than me on the road, but I make up for it on the technical trails. I guess my trail feet are better than I thought.

We made it to Horse Hill and narrowly avoided making a wrong turn. I told the group I didn't like Horse Hill anyway and Fester's Wander was a much better trail. Once we started on Fester's Wander I took off into the hills and I heard someone say "This is a better trail? Holy Crap!" I just smiled. I said better, not easier. Those are two very different things when I'm judging a trail to run on. Fester's Wander is tough, but that's possibly my favorite trail.

Bob and the guys passed me at the Archery Range and I had picked up some out-of-towners and one local. When I talked with other locals, I felt like I was preaching the Trail Nerd gospel. "We have runs out here every week, you should come join us!" "There's a race in February, you should come out for that!" Shameless, I know. I can't help it - I don't understand why you would want to run on the road when there are these beautiful trails just off the beaten path.

The last part of the run was Three Hills and then just a little bit back to the cars. I swear all the hills in Three Hills were bigger than the last time I was out there. By the end, everyone around me was tired. I had just finished my water, so the timing was good.

As I headed back to the car, I realized that I had only ran 1/3 of the Psycho Wyco and I would be doing another 2 laps after that. Wow. I thought I could handle a second lap, but it would be much slower. A third lap seems, well it seems rather psycho. But now that I have done a full loop, I'd be willing to try it again on a weekend. I'm at least getting familiar enough with the park that even if I did get lost, I could eventually find my way out.

That is, if the cougar doesn't get me first.

Happy Trails!


Certifibly Psycho

Today I registered for my first ultramarathon, the Psycho Wyco, hosted by none other than everyone's favorite Nerd, Bad Ben himself. The race is aptly named, of course. It's a 50k at my favorite park here in Kansas City. If you're thinking about it, I would sign up soon. It's been capped at 250 entrants and I bet it will sell out.
I wanted to run this last year (the 10 mile version) since it was on my birthday but John thought I was nuts. Now, he has an ultra under his belt and we're both signed up for the 50k. Funny how things like that change.
Here's the truth: this race scares the hell out of me. I've never done a marathon, let alone an ultra. I know Wyco park and it is not an easy place to run, even if it is in Kansas. And I suck at running. I like to say I'm a mid-pack runner, and that may be true, but I'm horribly slow and if I'm in the mid-pack it's only because everyone else is horribly slow, too. It's like saying "I'm healthier than the average American" - the bar is set so low it doesn't really mean anything.
Tomorrow is the Alternate Chili Run out at Wyco and I think it will be a good way to gauge where I am right now. It's a 10 mile fun run that is on the Psycho Wyco course. There are some sections I've never run on, so that will be fun to see the rest of the park. I wish I had a dog to run with. I'd love a permanent running partner, but my pace and John's don't work well together and I would prefer someone who was silent. I know there is a husky rescue close... This could be trouble.


A Little Consistency

Wow, I managed to run four out of the last five days. It's about damn time I started being more consistent. I think it was signing up for Boise. It was really warm yesterday (%0 degrees!) so I did 8 miles at the airport. Now I'm staring out my window watching the snow fall and dreading my evening on the trainer. Gotta love the Midwest.

But I have to say I'm proud of my mileage since Thursday. Here's the totals:
Th: 5 miles
F: 0 miles
S: 8 miles
S: 6 miles
M: 8 miles

A whopping 27 miles in 4 days of running. I know it's nothing earth-shattering, but that's pretty big mileage for me. I've been worrying about the 50k, too. You can't fake a 50k and I don't want to drop out after the first lap (about 13 miles). My base is better than it was last year, but that's not saying much. I suppose when approaching your first ultra, a little fear is the correct response. Especially since my longest run is a 1/2 marathon. What on earth did I get myself into?

The plan tonight was 90 min on the trainer, but I think instead I'm going to do 60 min and then go for a 30 min run. I haven't done a brick in a long time and the trainer will be more tolerable if I know I'm running outside afterwards. I love being outside but I do miss the long days of summer.


Rough Weekend

My weekend went from good to bad to worse to pretty OK and back to good. Nall, a friend from college, came to town Friday night, so I didn't get to bed until 12:30 but I managed to get up and meet some of the Trail Nerds for a 7:30 run.

We ran for about 90 min, and for the most part, it was great. We started at the Midland trail head and I've never run those trails before. But then about 20 min into the run, I started having intestinal distress. Not good, especially since we were in the middle of nowhere and this was the first time I was running with these particular Nerds.

We made it into Shawnee Mission Park and thankfully, there was an open porta-potty. The rest of the run was uneventful, but the ride home was uncomfortable to say the least. The "intestinal distress" was back and I barely made it into the bathroom in time. Geesh.

To sum up Saturday, I spent most of the day sleeping or in the bathroom. I managed to rally for the Boulevard brewery tour, but two 5 oz samplers later, I was begging John to take me home. We ordered Oklahoma Joe's BBQ for dinner and even that didn't look good. That's when you know you're sick. Oklahoma Joe's is the most wonderful BBQ in all of Kansas City and that's no small feat.

While the guys went out Saturday night, I went to bed. I felt bad going to bed, but I really felt awful. But when I woke up on Sunday, I felt fine. We went out for breakfast - no problems. I even put in a 6 mile run through the neighborhood and was fine. I think I caught a 24-hour stomach bug.

Tonight I'm heading to the airport for 2 laps. It's supposed to be in the 50s today so I want to take advantage of the weather. I hear there's a chance of snow this week, so if I'm lucky I'll be screwing my shoes and running in the snow by the end of the week!


Bite the Bullet

I finally signed up for Boise 70.3 and made it official. I need to look at other races and register since a lot of entry fees go up Dec. 31. On the application, they asked a lot of mandatory questions you had to answer, which seemed like a complete waste, like local newspaper and TV. Here are some of the other mandatory questions and how I responded.

  • Other athletic accomplishments and athletic background: -Concrete canoe paddler (I thought about putting in 3-time conference champ in the slalom/distance race, but I didn't want to brag.)
  • Significant Personal Achievements: -swam with alligators
  • Please share significant information relating to your Ironman 70.3 Boise training and participation: -a beer every Thursday night, ice cream on Sunday
  • Interesting facts about you: -I hate spiders

Is this necessary? I know they read interesting facts sometimes as you cross the finish line. But I always seem to be in a group and they never even get to my name.

Anyway, it's 27 weeks to the race, which gives me 12 for base building, 14 for skills, and 1 for taper. My main goal is to have a better base overall and figure out how to avoid stomach issues on the run.

Speaking of base building, we ran at WyCo last night and it was cold! I had some seriously fresh lungs when we were done. Obviously I need to run in temps below 20 degrees more often. I wish we had snow though, I don't mind the cold temps as much. I'm hoping for a quick 4 miler tonight, before Nall comes in to visit, and about 10 miles tomorrow with some of the other Trail Nerds. Consistency is hard this time of year, but the only way to base build. And a guilt-free way to enjoy a Christmas cookie or two. :)