Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Ragnar Northwest Passage Relay - Did I Run It?

I know you all have been holding your breath wondering if I was able to run the Ragnar Northwest Passage Relay. The relay kicked off almost two months to the day after I fell and tore the shit out of my hamstring on May 11. I'm happy to say, I ran all of my legs - 5.2 miles, 2 miles and 5.7 miles, all for a grand total of 12.9 miles! 

No, I did not feel like myself. No, I did not have any hamstring pain, but other stuff felt "off." Yes, I was happy with how it went. No, I did not tell my PT I was doing it. Yes, I averaged about a 10:30 pace and yes, I walked quite a bit. I was teetering on that edge of wanting to do what I wanted to do, but not wanting to further injure myself. I think I accomplished that.

I'm competitive by nature, so it's tough for me to hang back, let people pass me and not be able to show up how I would have liked. But the truth is, I was just glad to be there at all. This was my 8th relay. Here are the others (linking to my race reports):
Seems like these days Ragnar has taken over the relay world, and the smaller relays don't exist like EPIC and Wild West. That's too bad cause I really liked them. Ragnar is efficient and like a well oiled machine, but in my opinion in lacks some personality and character. Also - it's getting super congested.

These relays are a funny thing. I mean who thought, "Let's put 12 people in two vans and have them run for 25 to 35 hours, through the night and no one will die??" Honestly sometimes it seems so dangerous what with people running on roads all night, driving hundreds of miles in vans in unknown territory..but I've only heard of a few deaths - a guy in Maryland in 2010, a man hit by a drunken driver in 2011 at the Vegas Ragnar. There have probably been more, but not to my knowledge.

This is the first time our team has flown to a relay. It was fun having a new adventure in a new place. We rented a house on Whibdey Island (northwest of Seattle), where the race ended. 

We flew Alaska Air. Anyone else think their mascot looks like Bob Marley? (yes, I know it's an Eskimo)

Image result for alaska air mascot

The first night at the house involved  a lot of drinking because that is a good idea before an endurance event. The house we stayed in (Langley, Washington) was an Airbnb and was awesome. It was on the final leg of the relay route, so that was nice too. Interested? Here's the link to it. 

Cute courtyard for cocktails

I was in van #2, which means we start later. We hit the road heading toward Bellingham and started around 2pm. I was runner 10 out of 12, so my first run wasn't until about  5pm when it was nice and hot. These days, my injured self usually starts out walking but there was no way in hell I was going to grab the baton and walk out of the starting area like some gimpy ass. So, I took off, running until my problem child leg wanted to take a break. I was psyched with how the first run went. It pays off to have very low expectations because then you are never disappointed. That is my new life hack.

My second run came at 3am. It was only 2 miles, but I'd been cramped in the van all night and the run kind of sucked. It was dark (duh) and mostly on sidewalk (ewww) so I was terrified of falling on some damn sidewalk crack. PTSD. Plus I didn't want to break my mother's back. She already has osteoporosis. 

My third run came at about 2pm and after a huge plate of eggs Benedict (EB). I wasn't sure how all of that would play out. Turns out Ragnar frowns on crapping in someone's yard or on the side of the road. Which is too bad because that always makes for a good story. I did not, however, feel the urge to unload the EB. Despite some major hills and heat, the run went well. One major complaint about Ragnar - not even ONE free beer at the end.

Then just like that, we were done. 

My BFF, Erika, next to me in the pink did her first relay!

Usually we are in the masters division cause we are all well over 40, but our friend's daughter, 21, joined us, so we were in the mixed division.

32 hours with 11 runners. We placed 74/195 in our division. 

I was just a bit happy to be done.

We spent the next day eating our way through Langley - I might have had a few raw oyster shots with vodka.

Monday was spent hanging out in Seattle and after a delay, getting into Denver at 3am. I'm old so I'm still recovering - not from the race but from lack of sleep. And vodka And oysters.

We saw the gum wall in Seattle and it literally made me gag. We heard it is the second most non hygienic tourist attraction in the world after the Blarney Stone.

I'll give you $5 if you guess which piece is mine.

Overall, I'd say this relay ranks up there in my top three that I've done. I gotta say I don't love running on the road, so I missed the trails, but the scenery was lovely, as was the weather.

Deception Pass

And when you hit Bush Point, well you have to point at your....

Next year we're thinking about Ragnar Napa or Ragnar Niagara - anyone done either? We tried the lottery this year for Napa and didn't get in.

Until then...

Favorite relay you've done?

Raw oysters, yes or no? Despite the fact that they have the texture of a loogie and taste like you are eating sand from the bottom of the Pacific, I like them. I learned they are a great source of phosphate!


Monday, July 2, 2018

The Flight From Hell and I'm Running!! (sort of)

It seems like everyone has a nightmare flying story. It may not be as bad as being sucked out of a window or landing on the Hudson, but chances are you've got one. I had (one of) mine flying back from Phoenix last week. What was supposed to be a 1 hour flight turn into 7+ hours. How does that happen, you ask?

We were delayed from the get go, leaving Phoenix almost an hour later due to Frontier crew showing up tardy style. I'm happy to say Frontier is now the new Spirit Airlines, leading the industry in crappy, soul sucking service that nickles and dimes you for every peanut and ice cube. And, then they love to delay and cancel flights just as icing on the cake. They should charge you for that too.

In the air we go and I'm still certain we'll touch down just after lunch time. That's why we brought no food! Because it's supposed to be an hour! That's why I wasn't too desparate to pee before we left. Because it will be one hour!

We approach Denver and that's when the fun began. The "flight deck" (FD) came on saying a huge storm was right over the Denver airport, so we'd have to circle for 45 minutes. That turned into at least an hour.

Finally, I guess the FD got clearance to land, so down went into the turbulent, stomach tossing stormy weather. I am a nervous flier. I do fine until things bounce and dive and shake. Then I sweat, and in this case, start cussing. Loudly. I had one hand on Emma's thigh, one on Ken's. I was digging in. With every drop of the plane, I dropped a nice F-Bomb or at least a "shit!". I've flown a ton and this was some of the worst, if not the worst, turbulence I've been in. The only thing keeping me going was that we had to be close to ground, right? Wrong.

I opened my eyes to look out and we were still high, high up over the Rockies. We continued to swoop and shake as the FD came back on. "Well, folks" the captain said in his best official voice, "We started to land in Denver right as they closed the airport. They told us to circle for another hour while we wait for it to open but we don't have enough fuel for that. So, we're going to land in Grand Junction." Sighs and chatter all around the cabin. Another F-bomb from me.

  • Fact one: I never like to hear the words "we don't have enough fuel for that" while I'm in a plane in the air
  • Fact two: If you don't know Colorado geography, Grand Junction is at the opposite end of the state.

20 minutes later and we're on the ground in Grand Junction. This is a small airport with no gates, so we are stuck on board. Someone throws up in aisle 21 (my only phobia greater than turbulent flying is vomit. Aviophobia + emetaphobia = Beth having a panic attack). Finally we can get up and pee and the aisles are full. I'd really like a beer or a whiskey or something. A stranger gives me a stale Twizzler.

They guy in yellow shirt's expression is how I was feeling

It has now been about 5 hours since we left Phoenix and I am starving. In true Frontier fashion, there are no free drinks or drinks even offered (well, maybe some water during hour six). Not that I'm partial or anything, but I think Southwest would've had free drinks all around. If a nothing else, that would make the passengers more relaxed and happy.

We hang on the ground in Grand Junction to learn they've closed the airport. Again. WTF with this storm?

Finally, we are on our way to Denver. We land pretty smoothly and the entire plane erupts into applause. I do too. Problem is, we're not done yet. We taxi to the gate only to wait on the tarmac for about another hour (no gates available). The kid in the row next to us throws up. Get me out of this f&cking prison already! It's now been 7 hours.

Well, we make it off the flight. It's now 7:30pm. We were supposed to land at 12:30pm. Could be worse! (my favorite expression). I could've had a connection to make! I could be traveling with a screaming baby with crap in their diaper. I, myself, could've had explosive diarrhea! God is good after all!

Moving on. Guess what? I'm running again.

Well, let's just say I'm doing a version of running. I finally got the okay a week ago to give it a shot. The plan was to walk 2 minutes, run 2 minutes up to 16 minutes. So, I donned  my cute running stuff, fired up my GPS and headed to the local lake. The anticipation and excitement was building as I broke into my first run in 7 weeks.

And, if felt like shit!

A pensive runner in her habitat.

It felt like I had never run before in my life. Nothing hurt, I just felt out of shape, stiff and awkward. Oh, the humble road back after being sidelined. I went the next day and did further. And, it was slightly better. Then I went to the trails on Saturday and Sunday, run/hiking for four then five miles. The trails felt a ton better on my body - maybe it's the surface, maybe it's using different muscle groups, I don't know. But, oh-so-slowly my confidence is returning.

The Ragnar Relay (Northwest Passage) is in ten days. I have the shortest legs (no I'm not a midget) with only a total of 13 miles. I think I can swing it. Washington is one of the few states I have not been to (others are Alaska, Hawaii, Alabama, Mississippi). We're staying on Wibdey Island, which I hear is amazing!

Tell me your nightmare flying story

Favorite airline? Southwest. We're taking Alaska Airlines to WA and I hear that's great too

How many states have you been to? 45


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

My New Boyfriend and Current Running Status

Long time, no blogging.

Well, still not running over here. Turns out the PT wants me to be able to do single leg squats on my "bad leg" for two minutes before I can attempt a run. Hell, I couldn't even do that before I got injured. You go try it before you call me a pussy.

It's been almost six weeks. For the love of God! Personally I feel completely healed, but better not to rush things. Ever heard of the saying, "Better safe than sorry?" I just made it up.

Don't worry. I'm filling my time just fine. There are trips to Vegas where you pose with Michael Phelps at the pool (he was not, by the way, super excited about this photo but I was).

He was drinking water. I was drinking vodka that looked a lot like water

Then there are dinners at Giada De Laurentiis' restaurant (also in Vegas) where you balance things on your nose because why not? I'm not sure Giada would be proud, but she wasn't there and she got money so....if you go, get the bucatini. Tell them nose girl sent you.

Not sure the couple sitting beside us were too amused

And of course, lots of this:

If you can't run, lay down
Sometimes I wear rompers:

Yes, I've been cycling a lot. And walking. But not much more. I still have a Ragnar Relay (Northwest Passage) in about three weeks, so that could be a shit show, but oh well.

It's a shock at first when you can't run, but then life goes on. When I am running and training I feel so consumed inside a running bubble. Now that I've popped the bubble, life looks a bit different. It really is okay, but I'll be glad to get back at it. It helps to find other things to keep yourself occupied with, and I don't think it's the worst thing to step away for a bit (yeah, you can tell I'm six weeks out - I have successfully gone through the stages of  injury grief and have arrived at acceptance. You didn't want to see me when I was angry and sad).

I can say this - if you are injured - three things to remember:

1. It gets better and your mental state will improve
2. It is temporary
3. You are cool even if you can't run (because maybe you see Michael Phelps or wear a romper)

Tomorrow Emma and I embark on a college tour to San Diego (SDSU and Univ of San Diego), then onto Tucson for Univ of Arizona. My children are all leaving me. It's okay. I have a romper and a trick I do with my nose and I know how to ride a bike.

Most famous person you've met?  Greg Kinnear (went to high school with him), Michael Phelps, Dean Karnazes, Deena Kastor, Michael Franti, Aaron Neville, Linda Ronstadt

Where did you go to college? Recommend it or no? James Madison in Virginia. Loved it!


Monday, June 4, 2018

16 Reasons I LOVE Being Injured

Hi, my name is Beth and it has been 24 days since my last run. (Injury details HERE and HERE)

That's pretty crazy for this girl who never goes a day or two without a run. The good news is that after my PT session two weeks ago I have been on a fast as shit route to healing. I can't believe how quickly I began to feel better after ten days on the couch. The bruise the size of a Montana is gone. The swelling in my thigh, which gave me a wicked thigh gap, is gone. I am no longer hobbling when I walk and wincing when I sit down on the toilet. In fact, all pain has completely vanished.

I rode my bike four times last week for a total of 70 miles. I felt amazing.

My two missed races came and went: The Bolder Boulder 10k and the Dirty Thirty 50k. On both race days I got on my bike and reminded myself I could do something even if it wasn't running. Life goes on.The pity parties have ceased and the look to the future has begun!

Being injured is GREAT! So FUN! Majorly MAGICAL!  Here's why I love it:

1. Way less laundry for Ken to do.

2. Lots more time to watch the cat perfect his skills, like opening doors (this is just a picture; the videos were classic and so you should be following me on Instagram).

3. More time to post on the Gram

4. Many more chances to sleep in.

5. Don't have to remember to charge my GPS watch.

6. Not as hungry. Saving big bucks on food.

7. Don't have to get insulted when other runners don't wave at me cause you have to be running for that to happen.

8. That extra glass of wine at night won't be hurting my morning run cause you have to be running for that to happen.

9. No unnecessary chafing.

10. More time to clean out my photos. Here's one! (circa 2000....)

4 months pregnant with Emma

11. The refrigerator is really clean. Here's a picture! You'd think with all my extra time I'd find a way to go grocery shopping.

12. More time to look at social media and all the running, racing, PRs and good times I'm not having!

13. Finished my work HIPAA online training way before it was due!

14. No need to shower and use extra soap and water.

15. No crapping/peeing outside because there is always a bathroom nearby when you're on the couch!

16. Not caring that my name is spelled wrong on this bib because I didn't run the race! Hi, my name is Betj and I haven't run in 24 days.

17. Being horizontal you get to find spiders on the ceiling

Why does he have markings that look like a face? So eerie. 

So, there's my attempt at a positive spin. Really, after I stopped being in pain and was able to walk and get on my bike, my mood shifted. I have PT tomorrow and will have the "when can I run discussion" that all PTs love. I am expecting to be able to at least try a short run or a run/walk in the next couple of weeks.

Fingers crossed, the Ragnar Northwest Passage Relay is ON!

Did you race this weekend? How was it?

What's one great thing about being injured?

What's worse, spiders or snakes? Snakes for sure.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Runner DOWN and 4 Words NOT To Say to Someone Going Through a Hard Time

I won't bore you with all the nitty gritty details of this injury. Oh, hell, maybe I will. Because if you are injured you know misery loves company.

So, after three doctor visits and one PT visit, I know I have a severe tear of my hamstring, maybe up to 50%. I was astounded at the bruising, I've never seen anything like that on my body before. Finally, as of yesterday and ten days out from the dreaded fall, I am moving around a bit better and not in so much pain.

Very nice pattern and color scheme. If this were a painting I would call it, "Rocky Mountain Contusion"

I have to tell you - I had prided myself on remaining injuring free for so long with smart training and listening to my body. Then to have this sudden injury that felt very "stupid" and unnecessary was a tough pill to swallow. It took me ten days, lots of wine and Netflix pity parties and many naps to finally surrender to what is going on and to accept I won't run for awhile. One of my favorite races, the Bolder Boulder 10k, is Monday, so of course I'll miss that (but I will get a very expensive t-shirt!). Also, my 50k is out of the question. After many months of training, that's tough, but it is what it is (a phrase I'm not so fond of - sounds dumb - of course it is what it is. What the fuck else would it be??)

I've had a lot of time to think over the past week and a half about why running is so important to me and why it is so hard to fill that void. Why does no other hobby do the trick? Who am I without running?

The thing is - many places of my life feel a bit in flux right now. I am tiring of my job and wondering what my "second act" will be as I get older. My kids need me much less and at this time next year, Ken and I will be empty-nesters. Although in good health, my parents are getting older and are both almost 80.

In all of the uncertainties and stressors of every day life, running is my crutch. It represents strength, perseverance, consistency, predictability, joy, accomplishment. It's my rock and I am lost without it. I don't think knitting, prostituting or playing ping pong would have the same effect.

So, what now?

Well, PT yesterday made me feel like I was doing something. I had dry needling and learned how to tape my leg with the sport's medicine form of duct tape (leuko tape). I can do some very light stretching, strengthening. It's not a lot, but it's something.

My goal now is to be healthy enough to run (slowly) the Ragnar Northwest Passage Relay in mid-July. That gives me about 8 weeks. Our team signed up months ago and if I can do it, I will do it.

In all of the supportive comments I've gotten, one in particular sticks out as not so supportive. I know there are good intentions behind this, but I hate the phrase, "It could be worse!"

Of course it could always be worse. I could have torn both hamstrings while getting robbed and struck by lightening. It can always also be better.  "It could be worse" dismissive and minimizing. Why not just stay, "Sorry, that sucks" and move on?

Believe me I realize that my injury is very minor in the scope of things, but it is MY injury and it alters MY life and I'm allowed to have a response to that. No, I'm not going to sit around crying about it for the next few months, but just because it could be worse - does that mean I can't respond with anger, sadness and frustration?

Well, there you go. That's my update/vent. On the bright side, Heidi and I have had amazing experiences at the hospital (hospice) this week and last. The healing effect that dogs have on people is phenomenal. She is such a gift.

How do you fill the running void when you're injured?

Best/worst comments you've gotten when you're going through a hard time?

Do you volunteer anywhere? If so, where?


Monday, May 14, 2018

F*ck! I Fell and Tore My Hamstring. Now What?

I guess I'm ready to tell you this. But it pains me!

I am so pissed off and in the throes of a pity party. Just last week I was telling you how swimmingly training was going. My body was adapting to every thing I was throwing at it. Nothing hurt. I basically felt great and excited for my June 2nd 50k.

On Friday I had a 3 mile run on the schedule as a shake out before a huge weekend of running big  miles in the mountains. I was literally a 1/4 mile from my home, cruising along on a gorgeous spring day listening to Highway to Hell (appropriate I guess) and minding my own business. Then, IT happened. I don't even know what IT is exactly, but next thing I knew I was falling and falling hard. I tried to catch myself with my left leg to stop me, all the while ripping my hamstring then skidding to a halt on the road as I took on some nasty road rash on my palms, elbow and right leg.

It hurt so bad.

I got myself to the side of the road, gasping for air, not know what the hell I had just done to my body. A nice lady in a minivan (I don't know why it matters it was a minivan. she was probably a mom) stopped to ask if I needed help. Truth is, I really did, but I was so shaken up that I just needed a minute to be alone so I waved her off. For the longest time I sat there, afraid to even try to walk. I had my phone with me, so I could have called someone, but thought I could make it the short ways home on my own two feet. MARTYR.

Walking was a disaster of hobbling, crying and wincing in pain. I don't know what I was more upset about - the pain or the thought of what I had done and what that would mean.

I thought if I got home an quickly iced my leg, took an NSAID and rested I'd be fine. No go. The pain was awful and I knew I needed a doctor. So, Ken came home and took me in. An hour and an ultra sound later, it was confirmed there was a tear in my hamstring. Not the worst possible tear, but a tear nonetheless. I was sent home to lay on the couch iwth ice and compression for the weekend. The doctor told me the injury would "declare itself" (<dramatic doctor speak) within 48 hours, meaning we really wouldn't know what we were dealing with until Monday.

A very small sample of the damage

This made for a long weekend of FOMO, reading (I've been devouring a great book called Born Survivors, not uplifting but really good), watching The Crown, Lifetime and the movie Girls Trip, eating, drinking wine and sleeping. Oh and Cheetos.

Today I woke up worse with a swollen thigh and a big bruise on the inside of my leg where the tear is. Another ultrasound confirmed that the tear was a bit worse than originally thought. I'm still in a fair amount of pain with walking and sitting. Humbling to say the least.

The doc gave me an option of PRP (platelet rich plasma injection) but it's not covered by insurance and is $550. Yeah, no. I'm not some elite athlete. I just need to recover like a commoner. Doc said they cannot do a steroid injection on an acute injury or it can cause further damage and compromise the muscle.

So, my race is less than three weeks away. It's likely I won't be participating, but I will if I can. Hamstrings can be stubborn to repair and heal. Once I can walk and do stairs without pain, I can get on the bike. In  the meantime...UGH!!

I've been here before. But, my past running injuries were all overuse and I could feel them coming on. I haven't been injured in years!! This was like running into a brick wall with no notice or mental preparation.

I know there are worse things in life and I'm working on getting perspective. Right now I'm just sad and mad and humbled. But, I do know life goes on.

I don't know why I think it would be better somehow if I had fallen over a root or trip on a rock going down a mountain. Somehow the stupidity of biting it right by my house on a smooth road makes me feel even worse. It could have been easily avoided.

While I say I don't know what happened, that's not entirely true. Right before running on Friday I had watched a video that did a gait analysis of Shalane Flannigan's stride/form. Believe me I was not trying to run like Shalane. I know better than that. But I was trying to incorporate one tip, which was to look further ahead while running to keep good posture. I think I took that to an extreme and it threw me off especially since I was doing this on a downhill.

Lesson learned.

Here's what injuries give us (can you tell I'm looking for a silver lining?) - they help us to slow down. They make us evaluate what we are beyond runners. They give us the perspective to know there will always be another race.

And, they piss us off and make us bitchy, but oh well.

Last injury you had or currently have?

Number one tip for making it through? For me I do what I CAN do. Once I can bike/swim I'll do that. I also try to take advantage of the extra time I have when not running to be productive and gain insight. And I drink wine and talk to friends who can commiserate.


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

50k Training: What I'm Wearing, Eating and Running

I'm sitting here eating cheese and yawning. What are you doing?

I haven't talked about my training much for this 50k (32 miles) on June 2, but just because I didn't brag out it, doesn't mean it didn't happen (double negative - sorry - I can do what I want on my blog). Actually, I have talked about it, just not on the blog. But on Instagram it's been a crazy party, so follow me HERE.

Suffice it to say that since February I've literally been running over mountains, through valleys and across streams. I've gotten really good at power hiking, squatting behind trees and breathing very loudly. "Fuck" has become a regular part of my vocabulary, especially when I look at an upcoming climb and wonder how I will muster up the energy to get to the top of it. Somehow I always do. I've found a tribe who pushes me without even knowing it (this basically means that they don't slow down, they are tough as nails and I want to be like them so I keep moving forward).

To give you a taste, here's the profile of Sunday's 12 mile run:
That climb up to mile 8 is one we call "Oh, for fuck's sake"

12 doesn't seem so far, but when you add in 3,500 feet of climbing, it's a lung and ass buster. This course is part of the 50k I'm doing, so it was good practice. We started at about 8,000 feet and wound are way through snow and across a stream no less than 15 times. All of this to say, trail running and road running have very little in common except for the running part. Everything else is different (the terrain, the muscles used, the strategy involved on the technical parts, etc).

How I'm fueling:  My stomach has been holding up really well as long as I drop the kids off at the pool before my run (aka pinch off a loaf aka drop a deuce). During the run, I've been inhaling whole wheat tortillas with smashed avocado and sea salt, Bobo Bars, GUs and Honey Stinger Chews. I've been getting really hungry on the run and since sometimes I'm out there for 5+ hours I've had to be careful about packing enough.

Image result for bobo barsGU Energy Gel - Single Serving - Salted Watermelon (20mg caffeine)Image result for honey stinger chews

Supplements I'm taking: Not much. I sometimes take Sport Legs before a run and usually a few Salt Stick tabs before and during depending on how hot it is. I don't tend to drink an electrolyte drink while I run (just water) so I supplement with those. I've also been taking an amino acid (ARO3x Amino) after runs for recovery.

Image result for salt stickImage result for aro3x amino plusSportlegs Capsules One Color, One Size

Miles I'm running: Typically it's been 45-55 miles per week. There's always a speed work out at some point and back to back long runs on the weekend. Last weekend was a 22 mile run on Saturday and a 12 mile run on Sunday. All of my long runs incorporate lots of climbing (2,200 feet to 6,000 feet) and are at elevation (anywhere from 6,000 feet to 9,000 feet). The race starts at 8,100 feet with the highest point being 9,500 feet with a total of 7,250 in elevation gain, so I want to be prepared.

Gear I'm using:

Hydration PackOrange Mud Endurance Pack VL
Trail ShoesSalomon Speed Cross 4
Road Shoes: Nike Women RN Free
Sunglasses: Oakley and Goodr
Socks: Balega (I love the Blister Resist socks)
WatchEpson Runsense sf 810 (I was using a TomTom Spark, but the battery life is too short. The Epson can go for up to 13 hours/GPS without being charged).
Shorts/shirts: Whatever is clean
Image result for goodrSalomon Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoe - Women's-Blue/Blue/Green-Medium-10.5 USBalega Women's Enduro No Show - 7455, Large / Mid Grey/Sherbet Pink

Plan I'm using: I'm using the 50k plan from Krissy Moehl's Running Your First Ultra. I highly recommend this book. It has training plans for 50k to 100 milers and incorporates lots of wisdom about workouts, fueling, injuries and recovery.

My goals for the race: Based on what those in my age group (50-59) did last year, I'm expecting to finish in 7 1/2 to 8 hours. The climbing in this race is no joke and it will be hot. The winner in my age group did it in 7:50 last year, with the first woman coming in at 5:50.

So there you have it. If you care. I've said it before and I'll say it again - one of the best things about running is there is always a new adventure around the corner. It never, ever gets boring. If I'm lacking challenge and excitement in other areas of my life, I know I can find it with running.

What's your go-to fueling during a run? 

Which do you prefer - trails or roads? Depends on where it is. I love Colorado trails but also like a nice country road

Favorite piece of running gear?