Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Weekend

Chub and I had some good battles this weekend. Overall, I would call it an even tie.

On Saturday I was busy running errands all over the greater Portland/Beaverton/Vancouver area and almost ran out of time to squeeze in a workout. But I let some other tasks go and managed to get an hour on the trainer and then a short brick barefoot run. Win!

Today, despite a late night at the Nano Beer Fest with Jenn and her husband last night, I still managed to get up early for a run in Forest Park. It was my first time running there, and apparantly it's a very popular place on Sunday mornings. Not exactly the quiet solace I was hoping for...I'll look for something a bit more remote on the weekends I think.
After the footwear fiasco at Hagg Lake last weekend, I invested in a pair of trail running shoes. The Adidas Adizero trail runners. I know what you're thinking: "wow, those are really low key and not flashy at all." I'm pretty sure you could spot them from the moon. These ones are made by Adidas, so even though they were comfy in the store, I was a bit apprehensive. My experience with Adidas is that their gear looks good but generally doesn't meet expectations when it comes to function. There was plenty of rocky, muddy terrain for a good test run this morning. And I was pleasantly surprised. Lots of sticky grip, lightweight, and springy.

I also have a pair of these on hold. The New Balance 100. They are even more lightweight, and will probably be the ones I go to when it's not very muddy.

But back to the run. It was a gorgeous morning, the trails were fun, but I felt like garbage. Ken and I were both up and down all night with sinus pain, and it just kept getting worse all morning. Headache behind the eyes, burning sensation in the nose, and achy teeth. When my teeth started throbbing in time with my heartbeat, I found the next turnoff to the main road and called it a day.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chub Wars

Me vs. The Chub. It's on.

3 months post Ironman and I've managed to pack on 9 pounds. Seriously. I swore up, down, and all around that I absolutely would not gain 10 pounds someone so kindly insisted that I would, hmf. And most definitely not the 15-20 lb that seems to find its way onto some post-Ironman bodies. So before I gain one more pound and cross that threshold, I am declaring war on The Chub.

Round 1 - After the craziest busiest several weeks at work, I managed to get out of the office an hour early today. I was tired and wanted to eat comfort food, change into my comfies, and curl up on the couch with some newly acquired yarn. Instead, I put on my Vibrams and headed out for a run. Me = 1, Chub = 0.

Round 2 - Instead of going for a swim, I am curling up with said yarn and a frosty glass of homebrew. Me = 1, Chub = 1.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hagg Lake 25k

I've been intrigued by trail running for awhile. But have been too lazy/too busy/[insert lame excuse here] to get my self to the trails. Except for the packed dirt/gravel at Lacamas Lake, which doesn't really count, as I discovered today. I went into this race knowing that I was unprepared...HUGE understatement. Thankfully, I was having too much fun to really notice. I get it now. I'm totally hooked after my first one.

I woke up this morning and went through the normal pre-race routine: get dressed, mix fuel bottles, load gel packets, pack gear. Except when I got to the "pack gear" part, I was a little stumped. I put on a pair of normal running shoes, but they were too clean for a muddy trail run. So I put on an older pair of running shoes, but the laces were elastic and I knew I would step right out of them in the mud. I finally settled on my racing flats, solely because they had laces that tied and didn't stretch. I quite possibly had the most ill-equiped footwear out of anyone there. I was tempted to ditch my shoes and run in socks, but I promised my Mom that I wouldn't go that far barefoot.

Fast-forward to the race site. After signing in, Ken and I sat down at a picnic table in the sunshine and soaked in the warmth. We watched the 50k runners head out and waited for the 25k countdown.
Ken said that it looked more like a group of ambitious campers, than a group of runners. I guess we're both used to the atmosphere of road races. This was much more mellow and relaxing.The start.

The race started with a 1.5 mile out-and-back on a packed gravel road. Packed gravel = not so bad, right? Except that I was walking within 5 minutes due to the incline. I seriously thought about turning around, running back to the parking lot, and leaving. Except that I had already purchased a hat with the race logo on it. So I kept running. Er, walking. Finally we hit the turnaround and headed downhill. Okay, this isn't so bad.

After running back through the event area, we made a right hand turn onto single-track trail. It wasn't terribly muddy at this point. I played with technique, like running in the deep grooves without breaking my leg, and how to get downhill without hitting a tree root and flinging my body to the bottom. No broken bones, so I was at least partly successful. There were a few puddles, and my feet were soaked at about 30 minutes in. I came to a sign that read something like "bridge washed out, detour to the right". And next to it "Hagg Lake race, to the left". It's difficult to describe this section, but I was very muddy and very wet afterwards. I also lost my right shoe. And then my left one.

I reached the part were the route turns back to pavement and crosses the damn towards the first aid station. I saw Ken here -- he was riding loops around the lake on his bike while I ran. Here is a pic of his pretty new bike:
Shortly after the aid station, I saw a sign that marked the half way point. Yeah! I was feeling good. Going slow, but feeling good. The middle section of the course was fun. Lots of uphill, lots of downhill, and a moderate amount of mud. I perfected the "downhill skip", you know, where you sort of skip downhill because it's too muddy to put on the brakes without falling, but if you don't brake you will careen out of control over the edge of the hill. I learned a lot in this section. Oh, and I tossed my headphones in the trash. I doubt if I'll ever listen to music again while trail running. There really is no need.

Somewhere in the back half of the course I remember thinking "huh, they talked about all of this mud, but it really hasn't been that bad". Then I saw a sign that basically said "warning: MUD!". Oh yeah, LOTS of mud. And no way around it. And remember, I'm in the back of the pack, so almost 400 other people have churned and slicked it all up by this point. I saw someone fall, and laughed. I hit the same spot and both feet flew out to the side and I landed with a "squeeeesh" in the thick of it. I got back up, trudged on, and lost my left shoe again. But didn't immediately realize it. I reluctantly went back for it. A little further down the course, the trail narrowed and steep walls were on either side. Smack in the middle was, yep, mud. Deep mud. I fell here again. And lost a shoe again. But it was all so funny, and not frustrating at all.

After winding around several fingers of the lake (there are many, and it is always deceiving how far away from the finish you really are), and rounding one of the final corners, I knew I was close to the end. My body was starting to throb a bit. A sign marked 1 more mile to go. I had a few bunnies (aka pace booty) in front of me and did my best to catch up. To my own suprise I still had gas left in the tank and was able to make a pass. Finally, the finish!

If you look really close, I am the pink dot on the far hillside. This is maybe 1/4 mile from the finish.
The finish line! Final time was actually 3:46. Yes, I am that slow. And yes, I am very proud of that time. It was a hard course!

Ken had made a trek to a nearby store and was waiting with water and beer. I headed into the water to wash off the mud...and stayed there for about 15 minutes. It was like a natural ice bath. We headed out for burgers, beers, and fries (!!!) and now I'm getting ready for a 7pm bedtime. Fun, fun times!

Note: this is a VERY well organized event. Top-notch volunteers, well stocked aid stations, the most awesome cookies ever at the end, and some pretty rad swag!

Friday, February 19, 2010


Number of previous trail races = 0
Number of prior trail runs in training = 0
Number of trail shoes owned = 0
25k muddy, hilly trail race tomorrow = priceless

Another day, another race that I'm underprepared for. I'm trying to think of it as more of a 15.5 mile hike with some running, than as a 15.5 mile race through hills and mud. There is also a 50k going on during the same time, so even if I'm the last 25k-er across the finish line, no one will really know.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Riding for a Different Reason

How many people reading this are currently battling cancer, have had it, or know someone who has? My guess: 100% of you.

This year, I will be joining my friend Jenn and my husband Ken for the 100-mile LIVESTRONG ride in Seattle on June 20th. Sadly, I will be riding in honor and memory of many people. My Mom is a survivor of colorectal cancer, my Grandmother is a survivor of colorectal cancer, my Grandfather had prostate and skin cancer, and my husband's father passed away of a cancer that I can't even spell or pronounce. One of my best friends mother died of colorectal cancer, another good friends mother is a breast cancer survivor. My Mom's best friend died of brain cancer when I was in grade school. Almost every week I listen to a friend tell me about a family member or close friend who was recently diagnosed. The list goes on and on.

Help us raise money for cancer research by logging onto one of our donation pages. No donation is too small, every little bit helps.
My Donation Site
Ken's Donation Site
Jenn's Donation Site