Saturday, December 31, 2011

Closing out 2011 with 26.2

New Year's Double Marathon
Dec. 31, 2011
4:08:28, 1st Age Group, 7th Female, 27th Overall

As much as I like to tell everyone, "I'm not racing" or "I'm not going to stress over this marathon," you all know I'm trying to convince myself more than you right?

Fact: You put a chip on me, I'm racing.

Fact: The marathon and I have an abusive relationship. I can run an ultra stress free, but the marathon scares me. He's been so abusive. We fight. Some days he wins. Some days I win.

Fact: I will worry myself sick before a marathon. Literally. My stomach revolts.

I put in lots of miles the week of this marathon. Why? Because I'm training for Rocky Raccoon. Yes, Marathon, take that you bastard, I'm cheating on you. Have been since November. Deal.

Friday, my stomach goes south. This morning, my stomach is not happy again. I'm chewing papaya enzyme like it's going out of style. It's helping.

I decided to run what I thought I could run and see how long I could hold on. I may have started out too fast, but honestly, I think my calories were down. 90 calories every hour, just isn't enough.

Wheels fell off about 16. I was still pacing to finish at a sub 4, but I really didn't want to fight for another 10 miles at this pace.

I saw Ninja at about 21 and he said, "You're cutting it close." I told him, "It's not happening today."

At 22, a volunteer told me, she thought I was first in my AG and one of the top 10 females. That was just the kick in the ass I needed to keep going. I said, "Thank you for kicking me in the butt. I really needed that."

I knew by now a sub 4 was out of the question. While part of me wanted to just walk it in, I thought, eh, let's run it out and see how I place. The concrete was really killing me. I have gotten so used to trails. This stuff was pounding on my hips, my feet. I really was longing to be on the trails.

I crossed the finish line at 4:08:28. Good enough for a 1st place age group win, 7th overall female and 27th overall.

So it wasn't my sub 4. But I'm not calling this a win for Marathon. I ran the best race I could run today.

2011 Stats:
4 marathons
2 ultra marathons (my first ultra followed by 2nd ultra 7 days later)
1 30K
2 trail half marathons, 1 road half marathon
2 sprint triathlons

Total milage
Ran: 1,724
Cycled: 403

Friday, December 23, 2011

2011: A Year in Review

A big year with a lot of twists and turns, both running wise and personally. But I have to say, 2011 has been good to me. Here's a quick recap.

5K - Sub 24. Well, I got close, 24:29
Maration - Sub 4. Again, I got close, 4:00:06. Stupid 7 seconds.
70.3 - The triathlon and I broke up in September. So I totally bailed on this one.

January - Kicking things off right
Started the year off right with a New Year's Day half marathon. Paced Mama C for a near PR. "You can cry when we're done."

February - Cowtown love
On a stupid hot and humid and windy Texas day, Mama C and I tried for that marathon PR. While we came up short, one thing is for sure, that woman has got more drive and passion than anyone I know. I am honored to have paced her for 26.2 and to call her my friend.

I also competed in my first duathlon. I did ok with a 5th place AG placement.

March - The month of the triathlon
In my usual fashion, I didn't train for the St. Paddy's Day Tri, but ended up with a 2-minute course PR. On a whim, I did the Tri Cowtown and ended up with a 5K PR. Who PRs a 5K during a tri?

I also came the closest I have ever gotten to WINNING race. I ended up 2nd overall female at the Boopa's 5K. I'll do this race every year in loving memory of Jayden and Lisa. Lisa was co-owner of Boopa's Bagels. Her son and her were brutally murdered in a domestic violence situation. No matter what, Lisa always had a smile on her face when you walked into her shop.

April - Seven seconds of separation
This was supposed to be it, my big sub 4 marathon. I ran a damn fine race. I knew I was cutting it close to come in under four hours. Well, I missed it by 7 seconds. Stupid marathon. I'll be back, you bastard.

May - Trail time
I ran my longest trail run, went through water waist high. Had an abosulte blast! I think this was the start of what was to come.

June - The heat is on
The start of the hottest summer in Texas began. So I ran a 5K. It sucked. So did the rest of the summer.

July - Longest bike ride
Still thinking I was going to do a 70.3, Mel, Beans and I hit the road to Stevenville for the Firecracker bike ride. It was hot, hilly and undulating. The best part was the fish tacos and beer at Fuzzy's afterward.

August - Race across the sky
I had the pleasure of crewing and pacing at the Leadville 100 Trail Race. Leadville, I'll be back, but this time, I'm running you.

I also ran my first trail half marathon in Seattle. Here, I earned my nickname, Honeybee, when at mile 10, a bee stung me on the ankle through my sock.

The day before I ran Cougar Mountain, I got my 5K PR at the Auburn Good Ol' Days 5K. Had the pleasure of running my good HS and college buddy, Peter in for the last bit.

September - More trails
Dashed through another trail half marathon in Seattle and really fell in love with this trail running stuff. Got to run my first race with Jeff in Seattle. And met his beautiful new baby boy.

It was September that I officially broke up with the triathlon. Realizing that my passion was running, I decided to focus my training in one discipline. Between traveling a lot and the hot summer, I could not devote the time on the bike, my weakest link.

October - Disaster strikes
It's not always fun and games, but one thing is for damn sure, I have the best friends in the world who are my rock when I can't be. Thinking I was going to throw away Long Beach and not go, I asked K2 to join me. She dropped everything and came to Cali with me and ran that marathon with me. It was still a disaster, in fact my personal worst, but I made it through with a little help from my friends. It's not how hard you fall, but how gracefully you recover.

The highlight of October for me was crewing and pacing Jeremy at the Cactus Rose 100. And being there to witness he and Reece complete something epic.

November - Ultra Madness
The one thing about me, if I fall, I'm gonna get up stronger than before. I ran my first ultra, Rockledge Rumble 50K.

Seven days later turned around and ran 12-hour Ultracentric. I felt on top of the world. Placed 3rd female at Ultracentic and 5th overall. I think I found my nitch.

December - Big decisions
I'll close December with a full marathon on Dec. 31. Maybe I'l sub 4 it, maybe I won't. One thing is for sure, I'm not going to worry myself sick over it. Those days are done.

I made a big decision, I chose my first 100. Zion 100 in May. I have my days where I think just one foot in front of the other, you can do this. Then I have my days where I start freaking out and looking at the calendar and what races do I need to do to prepare and what should my training look like. This will be the most difficult and challenging adventure of my life. But you know me, I'm always up for a challenge.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. I had an amazing year. I feel truely blessed to have such an amazing group of friends who support and believe in me. I am one lucky girl. At the risk of missing someone, I'm gonna call out a few of you...

Bojana - You have been there through the best and the worst. We can solve the world's problems over a can of tuna or sushi. I love you.

Bemadthen (Lisa) - You always know how to make me laugh so hard my stomach hurts. You can't NOT smile around Bemadthen.

Beans - Dude, you know you're a good friend when you loan me your shoes when I forgot mine. Shafer 1.5, Thanksgiving orphans, Ruth Chris, Speedway, BNSF track. Beans and Rice. Rice and Beans.

K2 - Whine and wine and marathons. You are an awesome friend.

Ribs - My Ribsy. My mentor. "Love you forever, ever and ever. Love you with all my heart."

The weekend trail gang: Josh, Reece, Chris, Erich, Ninja and others - Northshore is always a blast with you all.

Jeremy - I think you are the reason I'm doing this insane ultra stuff. Thank you for inspiring me and all your advice. I miss our weekend runs.

Mel - I'm super proud of you and all you have achieved this year. You are a rock star and will go far. I look foward to the day you kick my ass in a marathon. It will be soon.

Mama C - When I grow up I want to have the drive and passion that Mama C has. You are an inspiration.

To everyone else who has been there for me, thank you, thank you, thank you.

In closing, I want to leave you with my favorite quote as of late. "Anyone who every gave you confidence, you owe them a lot," Audrey Hepburn. Each one of you has given me confidence to move to me that next goal. And I owe you a lot.

Wishing you a great 2012. See you on the trails!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Review of Scoott eRide Grip Trail Shoe

I've been searching for a light weight trail shoe with a decent sole that could withstand some pretty rocky trail here in Texas.

John, who runs Run Break, said he knew the perfect shoe and asked me to review the Scott eRide Grip IM.

Not knowing Scott even made trail shoes, I serached the world wide web to see what I could find out about this shoe. I was pretty shocked when I could not find much information about this shoe and no reviews.

John said that he's been impressed with them and has become a distributor because he can't find a lot of folks who carry them.

I was skeptical at first. This was not a shoe that looked light. I could not find the weight of this thing on the Scott website or any website for that matter. But it looked super cool.

I immediately took them out of the box and they fix perfectly. They are quite comfortable and more flexible than I thought they would be.

They have a great sole with some good grip on them.

According to Scott, this shoe has an "Ergologic Ride™"

Run more naturally:

1.) With its mild Rocker Shape and lower heel height, the unique midsole design promotes a healthier body position and running form.

2.) EMG Testing at the “Human Performance Lab”, University of Calgary*, indicates that the eRide-Technology is more energy efficient than standard designs.

3.) eRide enables a midfoot strike while providing a more cushioned and stable platform. The unique shape smoothly accommodates heel, midfoot or forefoot strikers.

4.) The rocker heel shape effectively creates a lower profile heel, minimizing heel-strike.

5.) The mild rocker geometry creates a smoother transition between phases of the gait cycle and more efficient propulsion.

6.) The minimalistic sole design is lighter weight and puts the foot closer to the ground, while still providing necessary cushioning, protection and traction.

Scott also boasts a new Ion-Mask technology. According to Scott, IM is ...
"Invisible to wearers, the protective layer of ion-mask™ is over one thousand times thinner than a human hair. The technology is molecularly bonded to the whole surface of the product making it extremely durable without affecting the look or feel of the product. Furthermore, ion-mask™ lasts as long as the material itself and is not compromised by everyday wear. Treated articles keep wearers comfortable and dry by repelling water from outside and maintaining optimum control of temperature and breathability. By resisting the absorption of water and dirt, ion-mask™ also helps guard against stains, making products look newer for longer."

I ran 12 miles on these on the trails of Northshore at Lake Grapevine. I would say this trail is a 3 in technical. The shoes did great. They were nimble and flexible, but I would hardly call them "minimal" as Scott says.

The next weekend, I ran a 10-mile race at Isle Du Bois. This trail is full of rocks. And I was glad to have this shoe. The shoe has enough of a sole to keep those rocks from killing the bottom of your feet, but are still flexible. The one thing I hate about the Brooks Cascadias are that they are just too stiff in the sole.

Bottom line:
- It's not a minimalist shoe.
- It's a good lighter weight shoe that has some great tread and good for rocky terrain.
- I don't buy into this whole business of it helping with a midfoot stride. They say that it has a "rocker" sole. Eh, could not really notice that at all.

If you want a decent, lightweight shoe that has some grip and is good on rocks, this is a good choice. If you are looking for a more minimalist shoe, this is not a good choice.

For more information on the shoe (which isn't much), see the Scott website

Also, go visit Run Break for his review of another Scott model. It's also a great resoruce for other shoes and gear.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Buckle Up! The Road to 100 - Zion 100

Zion is a Hebrew word meaning "a place of peace and relaxation".

While there is nothing relaxing about running a 100 miler, there is something oddly peaceful right now about where I am at with my running, which makes this race perfect for my first 100 miler.

I was the girl who would obessive over a bad race and couldn't erase it from my head until I ran the next one. I was the girl who literally worry herself sick before a marathon. I was the girl who was afraid to miss a run or divate from the planned workout schedule. I was a girl who wasn't taking the time to enjoy the journey -- just racing to the finish line.

I think ultrarunning changed that.

I no longer obsess over my pace. What my finish time will be. Will I BQ. None of that matters any more. The journey is the reward.

And it's time for the next adventure in this journey -- Zion 100 May 11-12.

This is the innagural race, which also happens to be my first 100.

There are a lot of things that attracted me to this race:
- Zion! Enough said.
- It's a figure 8 coruse where you only repeat a few miles. I HATE LOOPS.
- The RD is making it VERY first 100 runner friendly. A very generous cut off of 36 hours.
- Pacers are allowed after 32.5 miles. Something very uncommon in a 100. It's generally after 50 miles.
- I need to check off Utah as a state.

So after thinking about this for, oh all of a few hours, I pulled the trigger. I'm in. I guess I better buy a new belt for that shiny buckle.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Isle Du Bois - Isle Du Rock

Isle Du Bois 10 Mile Race
December 10, 2010
Pilot Point, Texas

I think "bois" means wood in French. I think this would have been more appropriately named Isle du Rock. There were just a few out there.

After feeling on top of the world with two amazing races, I got injured. Allbeit a quick injury with a fast recovery, but I was injured. I had to admit (once again) that maybe I bit off more than I could chew -- my first 50K, followed by 54 miles a week later led to a slight knee injury right before Isle Du Bois 50K.

I just started back up running the week of the race. While my knee was pain free, I knew that throwing down 31 miles after being off from an injury was just plain stupid. Not to say that stupid is something I haven't done before. But this time, I had to keep the end game in mind. My A race wasn't Isle Du Bois. This was a training run. My A race is Rocky Raccoon 50 mile. I swallowed my pride and emailed David, the RD. He reassured me that I was making the right decision, but I still felt like a sell out.

I arrived at the race site and found Ninja and Trigolfer. Stacy and Drum had camped there (those crazy girls it was freezing!). Grabbed my bib and immediately went back to my car to keep warm. Got out of my car to see the 50k-ers off. My buddy Chris was running the 50K. We were planning on running it together and I felt terrible leaving her. But she understodd.

I loved this trail. It's rocky and has some long climbs. Nothing steep, but just enough to keep you on your toes.

The race was cup free! Yay! Kudos to the RD David for making this a cup free race! Mama C was working one aid station and said something about only one trash bag for the entire race. ONE TRASH BAG!

I ran a steady even pace. I didn't want to race this thing due to my knee. I really wanted to get the miles in and just see how things feel. So I kept it at a comfortable pace and just enjoyed the day.

This is a great new trail race for the DFW area. Thank you to David for putting on this inagural race. All the volunteers for freezing your tooshies and taking care of us runners. I'll be back next year!