Sunday, September 22, 2019

I Forgot How Hard That Was - Harvest Moon 70.3 Race Report 2019

Last weekend I did my first triathlon (1.2 mile swim, 56 miles bike, 13.1 mile run) in five years. It hurt like hell. I don't know if it's cause I'm five years older or just a pussy, but that took a lot of mental and physical fortitude.

Since the Dirty Thirty 50k in the beginning of June, I switched gears from trail running to full triathlon mode My workout life became swimming, biking and running. I returned to the pool full of its pubic hair, used band aids and senior aerobics (hey, pussy posse! Remember me?). I rejoined the cycling world putting in miles upon miles every weekend, usually followed by very hot runs that turned into death marches. I put in my time and had no clue how it would all shake out.

I look happy, but I had just made my third trip to the porto potty
 and was fearing how my colon would hold up

Race morning was too early, as most race mornings are. I spent lots of time literally choking down my calories because I cannot eat that early. I gagged on my jelly and butter sandwich. Plus, I had spent the entire day before volunteering for race set up, which involved lots of heavy lifting and walking and time in the baking sun. This was not a smart idea.

It was cold at the Boulder Reservoir. 46 degrees to be exact. The very last thing on the planet I wanted to do was get in the water and swim 1.2 miles. I was literally shivering as we waited on the beach in my sleeveless wet suit. I hate being cold more than I hate almost anything except vomit. Vomit wins.

This is my friend Jeanne. We are the same age and very well matched for paces on the bike and run
My goal is to beat Jeanne.

The swim went not that well. By the first buoy I was gasping from the cold and could not catch my breath. I told myself to get my shit together, to take deep breaths. I did the breast stroke for a second and got on my back to catch my breath. I thought, "Just go because the sooner you get this done the sooner you will be warm." One buoy at a time. Made the turn around and headed back to the shore.

Here I go with my cone head

Swim: 1.2 miles 40 minutes

This is how you get beach waves in your hair

I started the bike and waited about 30 minutes before I started eating. Then I ate every hour. 3 gels, one Honey Stinger waffle with peanut butter, lots of water and some Nuun. Also, 4 salt stick tablets, which I taped to my bike so I wouldn't forget. The bike for me is a dance of holding back to save my legs for the run and pushing enough so that  I feel competitive. The route was two 28 mile loops. I felt strong. But, the whole time I dreaded the fucking run. It was hot, almost 90 degrees. I was already tired and how exactly was I going to squeeze out a half marathon? But I knew I would.

Bike 56 miles 3:08 

I swapped out my biking shoes for running shoes and my race helmet for a visor, then hit the road. To me, one of the most despicable feelings in the world is when you get off the bike after a few hours and attempt to run. Your legs are made of jello and your mind is mental mush.

I knew the run would be a grind to be taken one mile at a time. Thankfully, there were aid stations about every mile. I had given up eating at this point, but when I approached aid I'd yell "ice, water, coke!" I'd dump the ice in my (non existent) cleavage, pour the water on my my head and drink the coke. Seemed to be a good combo. I slogged through those miles mentally ticking each one off as I went.

Finally - the finish line chute and Ken are in sight!

Run 13.1 miles: 2:17

It felt good to sit down. I tried a beer, but no go.

Then I was completely surprised to be...

1st in age group with a total time of 6:13.

Getting up on the podium block was the toughest feat of the day.

That is some serious sweat on my ass

I truly forgot how tough longer distance triathlons are. Now...more training for the running races I have in my future:

  1. Bourbon Chase Relay in Kentucky: October 17
  2. A brand new trail 50k in __________  Stay tuned for where this will be.

  • It's at the end of November
  • It's not in this country, or on this continent
  • It's hot as hell
  • The country is bordered by three different countries 
  • Its coast is on one gulf and one sea
Can you guess??? If you do I'll send you some gum. Really, I will. I just got a bunch of thirst quenching gum for while you run. 

Thanks for reading, friends!


Thursday, August 15, 2019

A Different Kind of Race + Taint Talk

I seriously ghosted every single one of you for the past six weeks. I am a douche.

I'm a believer that the best writing comes from a desire to write not an obligation. And, I just haven't been feeling it. Never fear - I'm still out here doing my thing. Since the Dirty Thirty 50K I've kicked my triathlon training into high gear to get ready for the Harvest Moon 70.3 in Boulder next month.

But last weekend I did a trail race just to mix things up. It was the Cirque Series - A Basin. You've likely never heard of this series. Neither had I. I thought maybe I was joining Cirque du Soleil and I'd have to contort myself to the point of seeing my own taint - but NO! This is a newer series that goes to more extreme locations and makes people run up idiotic mountains with steep drop offs and bipolar weather.

I'm into that kind of thing (better than the taint business. Did you know a taint is basically the same as a perineum? There is this add for medication that comes on during the 6 o'clock news that actually uses the word "perineum" ((there is some side affect - like gangrene of the perineum? Who first discovered that?)) any way, I am always yelling at the TV "IT'S A TAINT"!! Or, that's what the Urban Dictionary would say).

Speaking of the Urban Dictionary. Here is a funny side story that has nothing to do with a taint or the race. My parents, who are 80,  were recently at a concert in Boulder at this famous place called Chautauqua, you know it if you live here. So the eighty year olds were wondering what Chautauqua meant, so my dad Googled it. Somehow it immediately took him to the Urban Dictionary (a foreign land for my dad) and he found out Chautauqua actually meant "liquid shit." He shared this with all of his octogenarian friends, who rightfully questioned if that was the true meaning. Turns out it really means "an adult education movement," but that is so...YAWN compared to liquid shit. I love my dad.

Moving on. So, this race was at the A-Basin ski area, about an hour outside of Denver. A-Basin is located at 10,800 feet which means you can't breathe for (liquid) shit. It was only 7 miles, but the first half was extremely uphill (as in you are climbing up the ski mountain to the top of a peak). We ran (if you can call it that) up to almost 13,000 feet. Here's what it looked like:

View on the way up
Just a little stroll along the ridge

Hello. Can I please take your baby home and raise him with my Golden Retriever?

Can you see me?

As we came down, we actually encountered some trees, which can be rare at 10,000 + feet.

The whole race I was thinking how I just did not want to come in last because the average age was probably 30 and everyone's bodies were perfect and boobs were taut and muscles were tight (don't look at my 52 year old gut).

But I won my age group (50 to 59) because there were only four of us and that is why I like getting older.

A fun and adventurous day. If you're in Utah, Colorado, Idaho or Alaska and are looking for a thrill, check out the series.


Friday, June 7, 2019

2019 Dirty Thirty 50k Race Report

It's 4 a.m. and I get a whiff of something horrible in the SUV. Turns out it's Jeanne's egg and ham sandwich that she is eating prior to the start of our Dirty 30 50k in 2 hours. Who eats that before a race? Apparently Jeanne. Normally it might not have smelled so bad, but I had that pre-race queasy stomach. Nerves mixed with curvy mountain roads of Golden Gate Canyon. Let's not throw up before this thing even starts.

The race starts at 6 a.m. We live over an hour away and wanted to be sure to get parking and poop time. Plus, there's always the last minute debate about what to wear and the application of "taint paint", i.e., anti-chafe stuff to hidden body parts.

I knew this was going to be a long day. 32 miles takes a minute to run even if you're not attempting to climb up and down technical trails going up to almost 10,000 feet. Just the course elevation profile was enough to make me shart.

Image result for dirty 30 elevation profile
So, yeah, that's 7,250 feet of vertical for my first ultra marathon.

Before I moved from the lowlands of Maryland to Colorado I had no idea about measuring things in feet. Who gives a shit about feet? But once I got here I realized that's how people talk about the hills and mountains. For perspective:

  • The famous Heartbreak Hill in the Boston Marathon = 91 feet of vertical
  • The vertical gain from base camp to the top of Mt. Everest is about 10,000 feet

Those are two extremes, but you get the idea. 7,250 feet of vertical over 32 miles was gonna hurt.

I guess you're supposed to have a race strategy. Here was mine: Power hike the really steep/technical climbs. Run the flats and downs. Eat 150 calories an hour. One gel every hour then supplement with "real food" (i.e. candy, potatoes, chips) from the aid stations. And most importantly, do not stop. Keep moving forward no matter how slowly.

Mentally, I broke the race down by aid stations: Mile 5, Mile 12, Mile 17, Mile 24, Mile 29.

It's 39 degrees at the start. Being cold is my least favorite feeling after being nauseous (foreshadow) and needing to poop desperately while stuck at a train crossing (not that that has ever happened to me).

I wore my tooth for the occasion

We start out at about 8,000 feet and I quickly realize I have no clue how to pace myself. I want to work hard and push but I don't want to burn out over the course of such a long day. I basically go by perceived effort. When my heart rate gets high, I slow down. After the first big climb of the day, I hit Aid #1 in 1 hour and take a shot of Coke. I don' know why. It was there.

I quickly head out towards climb #2. I'm feeling solid, but it's still way too early to really tell. I play leap frog (and hopscotch and four square!) with these two twenty something girls from Michigan. They smell good, which is a weird thing to say, but when you're behind people for miles and miles you notice these things. At least it wasn't farts. I find out it's essential oils: Peace and Calming from Young Living (better than farts!). I spend some time thinking I might want to get some. I have a lot of time to think. I'm happy that at 52 I can hang with the twenty somethings (and later I would pass them and not see them again!)

I also think a lot about the next aid station and what I need to eat.  I notice that one the downhills my stomach is sloshing, which means I need to eat and I probably need more salt. I reach into my pack for a Salt Stick tab and realize the valve on my hydration bladder has been leaking onto my tabs and they are disintegrating. Shit.

Aid Station #2 (12 miles) in 2 hours, 47 minutes . Feeling really good. I grab an orange and some potato chips. I dip boiled potatoes into salt. I grab a couple of pickles. I'm in and out in about 3 minutes. I take note of this sign.

Spoiler: For once it will NOT be me!

Coming out of Aid 2 is a short but enormous climb. There are so many huge boulders to climb over it is tough to even know where the trail is. Then we are awarded with a nice down for awhile. That's when I fall gracefully into a bush. My only fall of the day! At this point I'm already thinking about Aid 3 at 17 miles because I'll be more than half way done. DONE. But I'm not even letting myself entertain the thought of being done yet. Just got to stay in the present and not get ahead of myself.

I cruise into Aid 3 (17 miles) in 4 hours, 21 minutes. This is the Cadillac/Thanksgiving of all aid stations with perogis, turkey roll ups, pickles, candy, fruit, peanut butter and jelly. But it was also incredibly over stimulating, crowded and hectic as this is the only place on the course where spectators can be. I had planned on eating a lot but just wanted to get out of there. Probably a mistake. A volunteer filled my bladder and I thought it was full, but it wasn't so that was also a (rookie) mistake.

Here comes the third climb of the day. It's getting hot. I need a boost, so I decide to listen to a music for a bit, something I never do on the trail. After two songs, I was over it. Trail running and headphones just don't go together. I am approaching mile 20 and fading a bit. I'm tired. I've been out here awhile and I still have so far to go (and the steepest climb of the day). I don't buy into my mind trying to psych me out. Instead I stop looking at my watch completely and press on.

As I come into Aid 4 (24 miles) in 6 hours, 20 minutes, I'm told this is the last chance for food on the course. I drink some Tailwind but don't fill my bladder because I thought I still had a lot of water left. I'm a stupid idiot fucker. I grab a bunch of boiled potatoes, pretzels and pickles and head out towards Windy Peak.

I've done Windy Peak twice before this. It involves climbing 1,300 feet in about 2 miles. I guess it's pretty but I'm always in too much pain to notice. It is also strategically placed at about mile 28 of the race, so let's all give the finger to the race director (Love you Megan). On the way up WP I started getting crazy nauseous, which never happens to me. Then I realized I was dehydrated and was out of water. It would be one huge peak and 3 miles until the next aid station. I felt like shit summitting the peak and it took awhile because it's steep, technical and rocky. Even coming down is kind of treacherous with lots of loose rock.

windy peak golden gate canyon state park header
Pretty but painful

I came close

I hit Aid 5 (29 miles) in 7 hours, 54 minutes. I chug some water and Tailwind, and haul ass out of there towards the finish. There are a couple short climbs before I begin the descent to the end. A volunteer tells me I have 1.25 miles to go and it is at this point that I finally let myself believe I am going to finish. I can hear the crowds and the music. I'm getting so close. My goal was to finish in 8 to 8.5 hours and it's been 8 hours, 15 minutes. I cruise into the finish, spying Ken and Emma waiting for me.

Finish lines are weird because they are the ultimate combination of everything. I feel disgustingly sick, totally elated, extremely fatigued, super emotional and significantly proud. I cry for all of those reasons.

Glad to get 4th in my old hag age group (50-59)!

No race is complete without learning some lessons for next time if: 1) there is a next time, and 2) you are open to learning. I'm still processing the day, but here are a few takeaways:

  • I hate the bladder. I prefer bottles. With the bladder it's too hard to know much you're drinking and to get enough fluid. Personal preference. I did not pee the entire race. I have just ordered this vest
  • Keep Salt Stick tabs away from water. Duh.
  • Don't even attempt music.
  • Eat more.
  • Learn to suffer better. Don't be afraid of it. It comes with the territory.
That's all folks. That's enough, right? Thanks for reading this long, drawn out report. But, if I can run for 8 hours, 22 minutes, you can read this whole thing. Ha. Now onto half ironman training...mixing it up!


Monday, May 20, 2019

The Ass Kicker Run: Boulder Skyline Traverse (5 peaks, 18 miles)

As I sit here writing this, my quads are burning. As in, the type of burning that doesn't let you sit down on the toilet seat without grimacing. This is the reward I get for the ball busting run I did on Saturday with Jeanne, my trail wife. It was the last big run before taper starts for the Dirty 30 50k coming up on June 1.

I really don't know why it's called the Dirty 30 (probably because there is dirt and it's just over 30 miles and it rhymes). I like to think there's some dirty hidden surprise I will find on the trails when I run the race. Like your dad's old Playboy magazine. I'll let you know how that works out.

Before I tell you about the nut busting run from Saturday - let's review the weekend long runs I did to prepare for this dirty event:

12 miles, 15 miles, 18 miles, 20 miles, 21 miles, 22 miles, 16 miles, 18 miles

All of these were done on trails with significant vertical. And, all of them were done with a longish run the next day (8-10 miles). My weekly mileage was 45-50 miles.

Moving onto the testicle busting run.

For our final hurrah, we chose the Boulder Skyline Traverse. This is a run known to locals, but not one that you'll probably find in many guide books. It is a point to point, that can be done north to south or south to north. The ascent and descent are fairly close regardless of which way you do it. We chose to start on the south end. In total our ascent was 5,823 and the descent was 5,858. All in all, you run up and down 5 mountain peaks over the course of 18 miles. I am not sure, but that might be why my quads hurt.

All I can say is thank God for my watch because it has a navigation option that is spot on. Without that I would have ended up in a bouncy house in someone's backyard. Or a brewery. Then maybe my quads wouldn't hurt so bad.

After leaving a car at the finish point (Mt. Sanitas Trailhead) we drove down to the Mesa Trailhead in south Boulder. I tried to shove some oatmeal and a banana down my throat. But, early morning eating is not my forte. After leaving some turds in the pit toilet (cause inquiring minds wanna know) we were off (7:45 a.m.). We started climbing immediately, which meant some power hiking. That gave Jeanne enough time to tell me about her in-law's bed bug infestation. The things you learn from friends on long runs!

The up was relentless. We veered into Shadow Canyon, which is a never ending trek over boulders and streams to the top of South Boulder Peak. In total - 3,000 feet of vertical over 3.5 miles. On the way up we caught up to a  woman hiking solo. I thought she was talking on the phone. Turns out she was yelling things to herself so that she would keep going. I know I have done that. "Keep going and you can wine later!"

How is this a trail?

Finally, we reach the summit of Boulder Peak I took a GU - I was a bit late as I try to GU every hour or so.

About 8,549 feet
We head down with our sights set on the next one - Bear Peak. This is a pretty well known hike in Boulder - in fact it is the run that Dave Mackey was on when he fell and had a rock crush his leg - leading to the eventual amputation of the leg. But now Dave is out there crushing it once again, running ultras everywhere and even being given the distinction of Leadman.

It's a pretty short jaunt up to the top and we get there at about the 2 hour mark - but only 5 or so miles in. 2 hours to go five miles! I am proud of that 24 minute mile!!

Top of Bear - 8,459 feet

From Bear Peak looking at Green Mountain

Next, it's onto Green Mountain. We took the saddle from Bear to Green. It was crowded going up a it was no mid morning. I love listening to people's conversations on the trail. Overheard two ten year olds.

Boy 1: I ate so much cake and pizza
Boy 2 : Dude! Did you get a sugar rush?
Boy 1: Yea man and I almost barfed.

Sugar rush? At ten are you really looking for a rush from things? What's next Fireball?

Top of Green - 8,150 feet
We topped Green and I quickly ate half of my turkey/cheese sandwich and we headed down towards Flagstaff Mountain and hopefully away from the crowds. We cruised down for quite awhile through shaded single track trails of pine needles before summitting Flagstaff.  There is no actual ta-da! summit on this one, so we just guessed it. We dropped down into the city of Boulder, stopping at the park to refill our water. There were birthday parties going on and I strongly thought about stealing some pizza, but ate the rest of my turkey sandwich instead because I am not a thief.

We were at about 14 miles at this point and headed towards our final summit. We actually had to run by my car, which was a huge tease because I really wanted to just get in it and drive away. But we had one more trail to conquer - The bitch - Sanitas.

I've hiked Sanitas multiple times, but never tried to run it and never after already climbing a zillion feet. It is a very rocky, VERY steep trail. As in, you gain 1,300 feet in about 1.5 miles. It hurt a lot and felt never ending. Plus, it was once again crowded. We reached the summit and were rewarded with a gorgeous view of the Boulder Valley and more crowds. Snapped some photos and headed on down to the car.

Finished product:

18 miles
~5,900 vertical gain
~6 hours (total time with stops)

I can't recommend this run enough if you come to Boulder. But plan for it to take most of the day. You see a vast variety of terrain from the views are awesome - not just of Boulder but you also get views of the Continental Divide to the west. However, hit me up if you want to do this route because it is very easy to get lost. There are some pretty good directions HERE.

Where'd you run/race this weekend?

Favorite run fuel? I do lots of Roctane GUs mixed with real food like a sandwich. I also really like my Nuun and Saltstick

Would you do this run with me?


Friday, May 10, 2019

Hey Future Self! Are You Listening?

In eighth grade the teachers told her to write some letters to her future self. That was four years ago, and this week, as a high school senior, my daughter got those letters back. I'm not crying. You're crying, as they say.

Her: One of the biggest thing I learned is you need friends who make you happy.

Me: Have you ever had a friend that sucked the life out of you? Or a friend that was selfish and self centered? Or the kind who stabbed you in the back or was all about the drama? These people can make us miserable, yet we hold onto them sometimes for fear of letting go of the past or because we don't want to be lonely or because we think we don't deserve better. Well, we all do. Deserve better.

There is no shame in letting a friendship die or in walking away from someone in order to take care of yourself. I've done this a few times. It's hard but it's worth it. My life would not be what it is without my core group of friends who always have my back and who would move a dead body for me and dig the grave if I asked them to. You know who you are!

Her: I have always felt so pressured to be the most athletic person that I could be because people were always asking me, "Do you run with your mom?" I realized that I have no shame in not being interested in sports because that is just the type of person that I am.

Me: I felt a bit bad reading this wondering if she felt pressure from me. I never meant to pressure her, but I know the value of moving your body and in finding a team of support. I know just by my running all the time she probably thought I expected that of her and that she disappointed me if she didn't do it. That was not at all the case, but I can see where the 8th grade brain thinks so. I'm glad she learned self acceptance along the way (and I bet she starts running one day, just wait and see).

Well, it doesn't look like I forced her to do this 10k

Her: I think happiness is a mixture of the best thing in life. Great friends, doing what you love and without a doubt loving yourself.

Me: Okay, yeah, she nailed it here. I can't say it any better at 52 then she did at 13.

Her: I am truly hoping that in high school you have a sense of self love because 18-year-old-Emma, you are an amazing person.

Me: And, yes, she is.

Just reading her words really made me think of what I would tell my future self in four or five years.

I would tell that I hope she was brave and kept on even when the odds were not in her favor or when people were critical and judgy. I would tell her she better have reached for those things she wanted even though she was afraid of rejection. I would tell her I hoped that she had remained fearless and continued to do things that took her breath away and scared the shit out of her. There's really no other way to live in this 52 year old's opinion. And, I'm sure I'll feel the same way at 62, 72 and until I croak (<or die very peacefully with a glass of chardonnay in my hand).

What would you tell your future self?

Have you ever written these kinds of letters?

Do you think your kids feel pressured to run or be athletic because of you?


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

If You're Injured, You MUST Read This (or even if you're will be one day so read it anyway)

Almost 11 months ago I was literally crying in my chardonnay.

The dirtiest word in the running dictionary had become my reality. I was injured. Not just "Oh-I-feel-a-niggle-I-better-take-a-day-off" injured, but the real deal.

Not to bore you if you know the story, but I was in the final three weeks of training for a 50k and fell on a very simple short run about 1/4 mile from my house. The result was a full tear of my left hamstring. The result was also that not only was I out of my 50k, I was likely out for the entire summer. And, it all happened in the blink of an eye.

That hurt
Even when I'm injured I'm reading about running
It was comfortable sitting on the toilet.

Therapy dog to the rescue

If you've been running long enough you've been there too. To a non-runner this scenario seems disappointing, but not devastating. But, for a runner, being injured is complex and heartbreaking (to be slightly dramatic) - it's not nearly as much about the physical pain as the mental/emotional anguish. Why is this the case?

  • We identify as runners and if we can't run, well, who the hell are we? 
  • We think we will never recover, or if we do we will have lost all of our fitness.
  • We have tremendous and unrelenting FOMO.

Being injured is time consuming and expensive. Physical therapists, sports med doctors, massages, dry needling, MRIs, blah, blah, blah.

Then.. we need to find something else to do outside of running to stay in shape. Don't make me throw up and tell me to run in the pool or get on the elliptical. I will punch you in the face then puke on your running shoes.

But, I'm not here to be a PITA and tell you what you already know. I'm here to give you hope.

Yes, after my injury I missed several races and countless gorgeous trail runs. Yes, I spent time in the pool and on the bike. No, the recovery process was not linear. I would feel better than worse again. When I started re-started running I felt like I had never run a mile in my life. I cried. A lot.

But, I kept showing up and never gave up.

About four months post injury, things started to feel just a bit better. I did my first race post-hamstring tear (10k). Probably my slowest 10k of my life, but  I was out there and I was ecstatic as hell.. Little by little I clawed my way back

And NOW...NOW...

I am fully healed. I feel fit and strong. Those months of no running don't really matter now and are just a blip on my memory screen. I am up to 40+ miles per week, and did my longest run since May last Saturday (15 miles of trails with 1,200 feet of vertical). I am signed up to the do the 50k I had to DNS last year.

I don't say this to brag, but I do say it to give you hope. When I am injured I NEED faith that I will be back out there, that I will regain my strength. I plead with anyone and everyone to give it to me.

Well, I am giving it to you right now. You are a runner, injured or not, and you will heal. You will be back to your frequent training runs and races. You will feel strong and pain free again. It's going to happen. Trust me. I have been here enough times to be able to say that with full confidence. have to do the work. Take care of yourself. Eat well, do your fucking PT exercises, get in the pool or on the bike. Get your rest. Then...when you get cleared to run again, be kind to yourself and be patient. It will not happen overnight and you will be pissed and frustrated. But, it will happen.

Trust me.

Are you injured now?

What has been the worst injury you've had?


Thursday, March 21, 2019

What I'm Doing to Stay Healthy and Fast Over 50 (and a cool video)

I've been thinking a lot lately about the concept of aging. It gets a bad rap. It seems to most people getting older = losing your edge, not being as fun. When you hit 50 oftentimes the message is that the best part of your life is over and it's all downhill from there. And, you are just moments away from shitting your pants, chugging Ensure and spending your evening with Pat Sajack.

NOT TRUE, obviously

I'm wondering if any of you have felt what I've felt. That you're looked at differently for being older. This becomes very interesting when you forget you are 50+ because you feel like 30, but then people treat you in a certain way. Like you won't understand them or you're fragile or you're not cool or you don't get what they're about because you're an old lady.

Getting older is humbling in some ways and so uplifting in others. I'm probably happier and more comfortable in my own skin than I've ever been and I would take 50 ANY DAY over the high school bullshit years. God, those were the worst. I definitely look happier here than I did my senior year of high school while I watched General Hospital and ate a gallon of cookies and cream ice cream from Giant (anyone remember that east cost grocery store)?

Taken at Snow Canyon State Park in St. George, UT this past weekend

But, I still struggle. I am sandwiched between my parents (who both turn 80 this month) and my kids who are both now technically adults (well, Emma turns 18 in 20 days. So on April 10 she can be found smoking a cigar while getting a tattoo followed by buying a lottery ticket and fireworks. Such milestones when you turn 18!) It's a rather unique place to be and one that all feels very out of control.

And, then there's running. Most people say you get slower as you get older. I am fighting that every step, literally. I know that pace and age group placings are not what is most important about the sport. But, these things keep me motivated in my training. They keep me committed and interested. Sure there are days when I couldn't give a shit about how far or fast I'm running. But, I like being competitive with my peers. This, of course, means focusing on how others in my age group are doing because that's apples to apples, right?

So, I did an experiment. After clawing myself back from major injury and finally being solidly healthy (I fell on May 11 at 9:07 a.m. and tore the mother eff'ing shit out of my hamstring), I can now work on fine tuning things. There are two secret weapons I'm using (these are not purely original, but they are tried and true).

1.  I decided to add in a day of speed work each week just to see how it might affect my overall performance. Typically I do "junk miles" where I just go out and do whatever. For the past 5 weeks I've been reluctantly jumping on the treadmill (trying not to do that when it's on like this time). As the weeks go by, I mind it less and less because I see the gains. Here's the workout I do (I made it up, it doesn't come from some fancy running website):

1 mile w/u: 6.0 mph @ 1% incline
1/2 mile: 6.5 mph @ 1% incline
1/2 mile: 6.8 mph @1% incline
1/2 mile: 7.0 mph @ 1% incline
1/2 mile: 7.2 mph @.5% incline
1/2 mile: 6.5 mph @ 1% incline
1/2 mile: 6.8 mph @1% incline
1/2 mile: 7.0 mph @ 1% incline
1/2 mile: 7.2 mph @.5% incline
1 mile c/d: 6.0 mph @1-2% incline

Total: 6 miles

I see results. Just in the past two weeks or so, I am consistently running faster with less effort. I have cut about 15-30 seconds off per mile.

2. I'm focusing on sleep. From some research I've done lately on recovery, the findings seem to be that the absolute best thing you can do to recover (even better than ice baths, stretching, etc) is to get good sleep. I know I'm an over achiever so I get about nine hours of sleep per night. I can hear you gasping. It is the truth! That is unless the dog barfs or I wake up worried that the picture hanging above our bed is going to fall and behead me (<I love the shit we dream up to worry about in the middle of the night). One thing I'm enjoying is that my new Suunto watch tells me how long I sleep and how many hours of deep sleep I get. It is highly satisfying.

Last night's deep sleep
Total sleep time average this week
Hi Pussy!

Sleep duration is measured by an accelerometer - a motion sensor which detects movements from your wrist. An added benefit of using a sleep tracker is that your heart rate while you sleep is a good indicator of how well you are truly recovering. If you are over-training and/or not recovering properly, your resting heart rate could be elevated.

Pro-tip (I'm not a pro at anything, but I like the jargon): I take two full rest days each week. Old ladies need it.

So, there you have it. My secret sauce for the moment.

Oh, and hey, meet my new team mates! Can you find me? I'm pretty sure my legs are spread wide eagle..not sure why I always do that.

How many hours of sleep do you get per night on average? 8-9

Did you like high school? Why or why not? No. Mostly because I went to my freshman and sophomore years overseas then moved back to the U.S. my junior year. It was tough breaking into the cliques.

How old are you and what's been your favorite phase of life so far? I'm 52. I actually like this phase of life right now.

Treadmill, yes or no? Being outside wins for me - but I do the treadmill if it serves a purpose - like for speed work or when it's icy outside.


PS: Check out the 2 minute video from this weekend. Don't blink or you will miss me.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Rejection Isn't for Pussies

I wish I blogged more often.

In my "real" job I do a shit load of writing, so sometimes my brain and fingers are worn out from thinking and typing. But, here, in this space, I get to do the fun and crass writing, which I certainly cannot do as a social worker. Well, I could, but then I'd have a full time blogging job that pays nothing because I would have been fired from my social work job. Somehow saying the "f" word and talking about poop is frowned on by social services. Who knew?

So, what is the solution? Probably to blog more, but to say less (i.e, shorter and dumber posts).

Here's a shot at that.

First, to be fully transparent, I did not get THE JOB (if you aren't sure what "the job" is, you'll have to click and go find out). It was disappointing, but helped by the fact that I know who was hired is amazing. Also, I am hopeful there may be a job for me in the future as the business expands.

Some other opportunities I've applied for have not worked out either.

REJECTION is tough.

And then this funny guy has to give me the finger. Behind my back no less.
How am I so pale? Do you get really pale when you are rejected?

REJECTION and not getting what you want are a part of life.

We know this. We are told it all the time.

  • Dr. Seuss's And I Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street, was rejected by publishers 28 times (maybe he should stop rhyming. jeez)
  • Michael Jordan didn't make his high school varsity basketball team (maybe he had B.O. who knows)
  • In her twenties, Oprah was removed from anchoring a news show because she was deemed "unfit for television." (maybe she said "and you get a car, and you get a car" too many times)

When rejected, we are told to get back up and try again. But what about our fragile egos? What about our fears of further rejection? What about our desire to just hide out in bed eating Cheetos washed down with chardonnay and watching the Bachelor?< or, maybe that's just me.

Trying again takes guts. But in my mind it beats a life of boredom and complacency. 

The good news is that with not getting what you want, sometimes you DO get what you want. Or some bullshit like the front door closes but the bay window opens up...then slams down on your finger, then the sliding glass door opens up and...

I did have a win for the month as I was accepted onto this team of amazing athletes:

When they say "be the smartest person in the room so you are inspired" - this team will force me to be the least fit and oldest in the room so I will be inspired. So, next weekend I'm off to St. George, Utah for a training camp.

Suunto also sent me this gem to get my training rolling. I'll do a review on it once I've used it a few more times. But so far - this watch does everything including tell me when to poop.

Speaking of getting my training rolling - that little bitch 50k I had to drop out of last year due to ripping my hamstring is calling me back, so...

Dirty Thirty 50k on June 1

Triathlon is calling me back too, so...

70.3 (Harvest Moon) in Boulder on September 15.

And...because friends and alcohol are always a good mix...

Bourbon Chase Ragnar on October 18-19

My race calendar is filling up with good stuff. And I'm going to keep being gutsy and being the best version of me because if not I will get really fat and lazy and make out with Heidi all day long. And then I'll get dog breath and kennel cough, which no one wants.

So for I go into the distance as training once again ramps up!

Answer at least one or you're not cool

If I did shorter but more frequent posts, would you read?

Tell me one race you're signed up for.

Last rejection you've gotten? How did you deal?

Ever tried Suunto products? I've always been a Garmin girl but I'm down for trying this new brand!