Thursday, December 13, 2012

One more Isle du Bois mention

A Dallas Morning News blogger, Suann "Honeybee" Lundsberg, wrote the following post about Isle du Bois.  I even got a mention and my picture so thought I'd share.  :)

Dallas Morning News ~ Isle du Bois

Monday, December 10, 2012

Isle du Bois 2012 ~ Look! No Blood!

Isle du Bois.. Island of the Trees.  A perfect name for this beautiful location in north Texas.  Isle du Bois State Park is located 10 miles east of Sanger, TX and is on the southern shores of Ray Roberts Lake.

 I earned my IDB tattoo last year in the 50K, (read about it here) - so this year was all about being deliberate and careful and keeping falling to a minimum so I ran the 18K.  Isle du Bois has some great single track with beautiful views of Ray Roberts Lake.  I can honestly say I enjoyed every single second of running!  There are no steep long climbs, it is tame in the way of elevation.  The tricky part of running IDB is the footing.  Lots of rocks.  Big rocks, baby rocks, pointy rocks and round rocks.  And just when you think you've come out of a rocky section, there are some roots to keep you alert.  Have I said yet that I LOVE this trail?!?  It's one of my favorites. This year had some great weather - A chilly and overcast 40 degree start, with highs in the 60's and lots of beautiful sunshine later in the morning.

Endurance Buzz Adventures puts on Isle du Bois and does a fantastic job. As always, they give you the option when registering for the race on receiving a shirt or paying less of a race fee and not getting the shirt.  My suggestion to anyone - GET THE SHIRT!  These are awesome, highly coveted bamboo tasc performance shirts.  And this year we even got long-sleeved.  Love my shirt!

My lovely trail girls (Nancy, Beth, Peggy and Melissa) picked me up in Norman at 4am for the drive down to Pilot Point, TX and we had a little trail runner train of cars with Matt and Cindy in one car and David Sooter in another all following each other. It's only two hours from Norman and a straight shot down I-35.  We arrived early enough to score a close parking place near the start/finish. After picking up and admiring our shirt, we hung around the heaters and talked to all of our Texas trail running friends that we only get to see a few times of year at races.  I truly love the trail running community, just good people.  :)  
Mel, Peg and I before the race

Beth, Peg, Brance, me and Mel

Rex Pace and his beautiful family before the race

We had some time to kill so we sat in the car to stay warm.  Soon enough it was time for the 50K'ers to be on their way.  Their race started at 7:30 am and the 18K started at 8:00 am. After sending Nancy, Rex and Cindy on their way we got ready for our race to start.  Peggy, Beth, Melissa and I all kept pretty close together during the first few miles and I loved getting to joke around with them.  Usually we spread out almost immediately in a race so it was fun and felt more like a training run to have them nearby.  
On the trail. Deep concentration! :)

This race flew by for me and I think it's because my brain was so occupied with choosing my footing wisely that the miles tick away fast.  I love this trail but had forgotten some of the sections from last year, so it was like rediscovering an old friend.  I leapt, climbed and hopped over and around rocks for 2 hours and 17 minutes and actually felt sad when I saw the finish up ahead.  The RD, David Hanenburg, stands at the finish line and gives every single runner a pat on the back and their finisher award personally.  (just one of the many things that make him and his races great)  I was so excited to tell him and show him that I was intact so I ran across the finish and said "look, no blood!"  :)  What a relief.  I think I have now beat that scary little demon down that had me scared of running this course again after what happened last year.  David gave me my finisher award which was some local honey from Nature Nate's.  YUM!

The great part about running the shorter race?  Hanging around in lawn chairs eating delicious vegetarian soft tacos, chips and salsa and cheering in all of the inspiring ultra runners. David, Nancy and Cindy all did awesome in their 50K and it was so much fun snapping pictures and cheering them in.  All of us that made the drive down from Oklahoma had a great race and so much fun and I do think it will be an annual event for us.  
David Sooter finishing his 50K

Oklahoma girl, Lori Enlow winning the 50K womens race!

Nancy Shidler about to start her 3rd and final loop

Nancy finishing her 50K strong

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rocky Raccoon Training (or lack thereof)

The last month has been physically challenging for me.  Not because I'm out running insane mileage, or breaking any land speed records or even spending lots of time at the gym. I've had tummy troubles and it's kicking my butt!  Rocky Raccoon 50M training has been sorely lacking and even though I still have 65 days left to train, it's making me nervous.  I have an endoscopy scheduled for next week to try to determine what the heck is going on in there--doctor thinks ulcer, hiatal hernia or gallbladder.  Hopefully once I know what is going on I can move towards better treating it.  Until yesterday, I'd been resisting acid reducers and trying to heal it with natural remedies like apple cider vinegar & honey shots, probiotics and digestive enzymes.  I also stepped up the raw veggies since eating raw increases your digestive enzymes.  Coffee, chocolate and fatty foods just KILL lately, so only a tiny bit of coffee in the morning and have had to let go of the chocolate for now.  : (  
I gave in and started taking some prescription meds yesterday.  Maybe that, combined with the natural things I'm trying will get me over the hump.

So here is where I'm at..  I'm running when I feel good enough during the week, which is only about 10-12 miles.  The past couple of weekends I've just did one long run and ran 15 miles each time.  Does anyone have any suggestions as far as where to go moving forward?  I am behind in my training and am not sure how hard to push to try to get back on track.  My body adapts rather slow to increases in mileage so I need to take is slow.  Looking at my training schedule, I feel SO behind!  I'm really hoping that the worst is behind me and I can start back to my regular running soon.  This weekend is the Chili Trots Trail Run out at Lake Thunderbird and I'm going to run the 30K. I had a great-feeling 5 miles last night, so that's a start! December 8th Isle du Bois 18K (last years 50K race recap) and I can't WAIT to get back on those beautiful trails.  A lot of friends are going--some running the 50K so I'll stay and cheer them in.  Going to be a fun couple of weeks if my stomach will just calm down.  :-)

Because I have no fun running pictures lately, I'll leave you with a picture of my new birthday kayak.  Ain't she purdy?!?


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ready to Rumble! Rockledge 30K

I always look forward to Rockledge Rumble.  It's my favorite time of year for running, and it's a great excuse to make the drive to Dallas, TX to stay with one of my best friends Holly and run a fun race with her. It's almost a tradition now after running the 15K in 2009, and the 30K in 2010.

Holly and I made it to Rockledge Park Saturday morning and picked up our packet, which as usual had a great shirt. A long-sleeved Patagonia baby blue shirt that I can't wait to wear on my next run.  :)  The race has a new race director that just took over this year and she did a great job.  I missed the post-race rice & beans that they used to have but the quesadilla and Tecate was pretty darn yummy.
Dallas skyline at 5:45 AM

It was warmish out, about 64 degrees and a little muggy at the start.  The forecast called for a high near 80 degrees and strong winds.  The start wasn't windy, but we'd certainly see some wind later on.

The Northshore trail is GORGEOUS.  I love this trail.  It's got a great mix of everything.  You start out on a short stretch of pavement, then run along the bluffs beside the lake before ducking into the woods for some tight, twisty single-track.  A few more open sections, some cool lake views.  Lots of rocks, some roots.  It's just a beautiful trail.  I somehow end up feeling really beat up at the end, even though it's not extremely hilly..I think it must be running on the rocks that does it.

Holly was dealing with some ITB pain so our game plan was start slow and stay consistent throughout the race and that's what we did.  We set her Garmin to intervals.  5 minute run, 1 minute walk.  She did okay with the pain the first 14 miles or so but then started really hurting.  Trooper that she is, she kept on plugging away!  The wind wasn't much of a factor when we were on the single-track in the woods, but the second we popped out onto the bluffs to make our way in to aid station 2/finish line, it made itself known.  Crazy strong wind that felt like it was going to blow you right into the lake.  I had to hold onto my hat to keep it from flying off for about a 1/2 mile.  As windy as it was, it did feel kinda nice since it was much cooler than it was with the humidity that you felt while in the woods.  I took one 12 oz. hand held bottle and didn't need much other than that.  Just some Sports Beans and I ate some potato chips and brownie bites at the aid stations. We finished in 4:51:41 and had a blast!

The only thing that marred the day was a situation with mountain bikers on the trail.  A LOT of mountain bikers on the trail...although most of them were very courteous and nice, there were a few that were riding MUCH too fast and yelling at runners.  I was surprised at just how many MTBers there felt like we were jumping off the trail constantly to let them go by.  And later in the race there were so many that I was running paranoid because they'd fly up behind me so fast that every little noise had me looking behind me expecting to see another one.  I'm sure it was no fun for them either, but not a good situation to have so many bikers on the trail with hundreds of trail runners on the same day and I'm glad no one was hurt.  The aid station workers were pleading with them to slow down and the runners were too.  As far as I know, there is only this one trail race at the Northshore trail per would be nice for the MTBers to give us this one day to enjoy.  I know when I show up to my local trails and see there is a MTB event going on I leave and go somewhere else so that I am not in anyone's way.  C'mon bikers.. it's ONE DAY out of the year!
Rant over.  :-P

The volunteers were fantastic as always and it was a fun day..I'm sure I'll be back next year.  The only thing about this race that might keep me from returning would be the MTBer situation..but the lure of those beautiful trails, spending the day running with my Texas friends and the post-race beer and food will win out I'm pretty sure..  :)
Quesadilla and cerveza time!

Post race

Holly's "trail tan"

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Whispering Pines 50K Race Report

Whispering Pines was my goal race for the year...the biggie in my mind that I really wanted to do well at.  I wouldn't say my training was perfect and ideal, but I got most of it done despite the very hot Oklahoma summer and fall.  (if you can call temps in the 80's & 90's "fall")

Peggy, Melissa, Beth and I took Friday off to head to Tyler, TX.  We stopped in Paris, TX for lunch and to play and take pictures.  They have a cool little Eiffel Tower there and lots of cute historic houses.  We made it to Tyler and found our very cute cabin we'd reserved at Whispering Pines RV and Cabin Resort.  As soon as we threw our stuff in the cabin we headed 10 minutes away to Tyler State Park to check out the park and the trail.  Tyler State Park is GORGEOUS!  Tall pine trees and rolling hills.  The only worrisome thing was the and humid.  VERY humid!  We walked about a quarter mile of the trail we'd be running in the morning and were all pouring sweat just from that.  Yikes!
Eiffel Tower...Texas style!

My girls!

Me enjoying the view from our cabin

Our cute lil cabin

American Beauty berries were everywhere along the trail.  Pretty!

The beautiful trail preview on Friday night

Love me some tall pines!

After a delicious dinner at BJ's Brewhouse in Tyler was headed back to the cabin and turned in early.  Saturday morning we made it to the park early and picked up our SUPER AWESOME Whispering Pines race shirts made by Tasc.  LOVE all of the Endurance Buzz Adventures shirts made by Tasc Performance.  Soft bamboo, v-neck, women's specific shirt that fits perfectly and the designs are always so cute.  We set up our drop bags and chairs and got ready to go.  For the 50K the course was three 10-mile loops. Peggy, Melissa and Beth were running the 25K and they ran a modified loop and one full loop.

I struggled a bit from the very first mile.  Couldn't catch my breath and felt like I was sweating a LOT more than normal.  I had on my Nathan Intensity hydration pack and felt like I did good with staying hydrated (but apparently not..) and eating.  I brought some homemade date balls and would eat one every hour, nibbling a little bit at at time.  Best trail food I've found yet! They hold together, even with me cramming them in my pocket repeatedly and the taste is perfect.  Slightly sweet, but not overly sweet like gels.  They have all healthy "real food" ingredients and the dates give you an instant boost of energy.  I did bring some potato pancakes in my drop bag and had one before starting my second loop and those worked well too.  I'm feel like I made huge progress on figuring out the nutrition aspect of racing ultras for me.  Still gotta work on the hydration part...

Can you tell I'm having fun? :) 

So the first loop was uneventful other than it was humid and I was working a little harder than I normally do for being that I'd ran less than 10 miles.  I came into the start/finish, got a high five from David Hanenburg, the RD and grabbed a potato pancake, filled my pack and drank a few small cups of Coke.  I started noticing on the second lap that something didn't feel quite right.  I had an overwhelming urge to pee but could hardly pee at all.  This went on for a few miles and then I started peeing blood.  I called my friend Nancy and asked her what to do...should I go out and walk the third lap and try to drink TONS of water?  Should I ask the medic what to do when I got back to the start/finish?  Should I stop?  She is a very experienced ultra runner and also has a medical background and she said STOP.  No ifs, ands or buts.  Just stop.  That there is no race worth permanent kidney damage over.  And I knew she was right but damn it was hard.  Although tired and hot, I wanted to finish so bad. I had drank approximately 150 ounces by the time I finished the second loop which is a lot for me, I don't usually have to drink nearly that much for a 20 mile run.  So strange that not only was that not enough, but I was peeing blood!  I only took one S! Cap and maybe I should have taken more, just not sure.  I felt like I was hydrated pretty well going into the race.

When I got back to the start/finish, I asked David for the medic and told her what was going on.  Both she and David both said that I was done and needed to hydrate and go into town for some cranberry pills and Azo.  We stayed for a few more hours and got to see Cindy Luttrell, David Sooter and Danny Ponder finish the 50K.  My friend Katie ran the 25K, her first trail race EVER and WON IT!  Everyone was so happy and excited for her.  She's our speedster!

The course was beautiful!  It's the perfect course to me..sections that had some hills, some flats, some technical, some non-technical...all incredibly scenic and pretty!  I really enjoyed every second out there, even with the pain.  I loved the race so much that I think it's become my new favorite race.  :)  It even edged out Palo Duro!  I will FOR SURE be back next year for another go around.
The crew--David Sooter, Katie Hudson, Beth McCombs, Melissa Stone, Peggy Wood and I.

EBA had a wonderful post-race meal as usual...veggie or chicken tacos.  I had the veggie and it was DELICIOUS! They had crates of fresh plums too.  

David Hanenburg and his wife Wendy put their heart and soul into these races and it shows.  It's more than just a race, it's an event that you look forward to.  And you come away from all of their events with a happy memory, no matter how your actual race went.  The aid station volunteers were awesome, every single one of them. David H.'s Mom was helping all day too..hard working family!  Thanks EBA for another great event.  You guys rock.

If you would like the recipe for the date balls, it can be found HERE.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Potato Cake Experiment

This weekend is Whispering Pines 50K in Tyler, TX and I could not be any more excited! A long weekend with friends running through a pine forest for hours on end?  The perfect weekend!

I am thinking of trying something a little new with my fueling for this race. As much 'real food' as possible and the least amount of sugar is what I'm aiming for.  Nothing crazy-- I know potatoes work well for me in ultra's so I am going to cook up a big pot of mashed potatoes tonight and put them in the refrigerator.  Tomorrow I'll mix in some coconut milk and an egg or two and form some potato cakes that I will cook in a sprayed skillet.  Tucked into a ziploc bag I think they will work well in my drop bag that I will have access to twice during the race. I'm thinking I can grab one and eat it on the go.  Instant carbs and a little protein with the egg.
Potato Cakes. Photo Credit:

I've already figured out that a banana wrapped in a gluten-free tortilla with almond butter and roasted sunflower seeds works well for me before a long run, so I'm adapting that a little bit and going to substitute a sweet potato pancake for the tortilla.  Too much fiber?  We'll see...  Any thoughts?

There will be oranges, bananas and PB&J's at the aid stations, and I'll take some GU and Sport Beans along in my pack in case I get in a bind and need sugar.

Have a great weekend..and happy running.  :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Amphipod Handheld Review

If you are in the market for a comfortable handheld with storage then scoot on over to Endurance Buzz and check out my Amphipod Hydraform Thermal-Lite review.

Have a great weekend and happy running!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rough Creek Trail Marathon Race Report

The RD, David Hanenburg, warned that the 3 mile section of the course called the "Rusty Crown" was going to be an experience.  And wow, he was not kidding!  If you were not going straight up, you were heading straight down.  But let me start from the beginning..

Rough Creek trail run is held at Rough Creek Lodge which is in Glen Rose, TX.  The lodge and surrounding area is just beautiful.  We got a big break on the weather because it was overcast the entire day with highs in the upper 70's.  Most of the course is exposed with little tree cover so if it had been as hot as earlier in the week with full sun, well, I imagine there would have been some suffering on that course.  But it was perfect, beautiful weather and I came ready to run! The options were 40 mile, marathon or  half marathon.  For the marathon, we would complete two 13.5 mile loops.
Waiting to hear "GO"

Dave and I before the race

Tanya and I at the pre-race briefing

Beautiful church at Rough Creek Lodge

I used my Nathan Intensity hydration vest for the day to minimize aid station time.  I packed Sport Beans, a couple Mocha GU's, some S! caps and water.

At 7am (40 milers and marathoners), David H.said GO, and we went.  The half marathoners would start at 7:30 am.  From the very start I could tell it was going to be a great day!  Beautiful scenery, perfect weather, good music on the mp3 player (the new Mumford and Sons song is awesome) and I felt good and relaxed and ready to take on whatever the day brought.
The first mile

The first 2 miles or so were gently rolling hills, nothing crazy, just rollers on wide trails with pretty views all around.  Coming in to the first aid station which was the Rusty Crown AS, I saw a hill/small mountain in the distance that looked a little like a ski mountain with "slopes" going up and down and all around.  Someone in front of me commented that it was the Rusty Crown and said that they were trying not to look, because if they ignored it that it would go away.  :)   I passed the aid station, just calling out my number as I went by and headed towards the Crown, not really knowing what to expect.

The first climb was steep and rocky and I started to get an inkling of what the next 3 miles had in store.  Here is the Rusty Crown, the trails go all the way around the "mountain", weaving their way up and down it.
The Rusty Crown
I took it very VERY slow and worked my way around the mountain.  It was some of the steepest grades I've probably ever tried to run (or even hike) up and down but in a strange twisted way was kinda fun!  I dreaded each hill but also felt satisfied when making it up the hill and am pretty sure I had a half grimace/half smile on my face the entire time!
On the Rusty Crown

There was one hill in particular, Tanya and I named it "The Beast" and it was impossible for me to climb with just my legs so I ended up bear crawling up the last 1/2 of it.  I'm tellin' ya, the Rusty Crown is NO JOKE!  Challenging but has some beautiful views at the top.  The climbs and descents are rocky and technical and I recommend taking it SLOW.  Fun stuff, though!
People crawling up "The Beast"

Picture looking down The Beast

Straight up!

I was afraid that my legs would be toast after I made it off the Crown but I actually felt quite good.  I went back through the Rusty Crown AS, this time grabbing some Fig Newtons.  My legs were feeling really good and the smooth flat trail felt wonderful.  I made my way back to the dirt road and headed towards House Lake.  The trail here was totally runnable and mostly flat so I tried to make up some time since I was so slow on the Rusty Crown.  House Lake AS is the turnaround point and I got to see and cheer on a lot of runners on this little out and back section.

As I headed back towards the start/finish (halfway point for me) I did start to feel a little tired and achy and wondered how it was going to feel to start out for that second loop.  I tried not to think to much about it so that I didn't mentally bonk.  Coming in to the start/finish I beelined for the bathroom and then headed back out quick, before I could think much about the fact that I still had 13.5 miles to go.

The first couple of miles went fast and before I knew it I was back at the Rusty Crown AS.  Teresa was there and asked if I wanted some Coke.  I said no, just grabbing a few Fig Newtons again and heading towards the Crown.  Funny thing happened though, I started thinking about that Coke back at the AS and was craving it so much I couldn't WAIT to get back and ask for some!  I never drink Coke during a race but it sounded SO GOOD.  I again took it very slow and steady and once again bear crawled up The Beast.  It was THE BEST feeling in the world to be on the road heading down off of the Rusty Crown and knowing I would not see her again till next year.  The second I came into the aid station I asked Teresa for some of that yummy Coke and downed two cups of it.  It was like rocket fuel!  I grabbed a couple of Fig Newtons while one of the AS workers filled up my pack with water.  I headed out knowing I had 8 miles left and I was determined to run it all since it was mostly flat.  Although tired, I really felt pretty good so when I left the AS I turned up the tunes and started running with all my heart.

On the second loop

I kept up a solid pace and when I made it back to House Lake AS I just told them my number and headed straight back out.  I think this was about 22 or 23 miles and I knew that the finish line would be about 27.5 miles so I put my head down and kept repeating the mantra "Do the work" and it kept me moving.  After I got to 26 miles I could smell the finish line and got a little extra kick.  I was really wanting to make it in under 7 hours but I could tell it probably wasn't going to happen.  That's my goal next year.  :)  As I made it onto the paved road and wound my way around to the finish line I could see Dave and I felt choked up for a moment which happens every time I see him at the end of a long race.  It only lasted a second and then I felt just purely happy and had a big smile for him.  After passing him I could see the finish line and there was Larry Flies and David Hanenburg...I flew through the chute and could finally stop.  7:05 finish time and damn proud of it!  Garmin said 27.7 miles. So many times I second guess myself after a race and feel like I could have ran faster or pushed harder and this race I can truly say I left every single thing I had out on the course.  It's an awesome feeling. :)

Smiling at Dave..finish line in sight!

David H. waiting at the finish line to welcome in all of his runners


Elevation profile for the marathon

The post race meal was AMAZING.  Vegetarian or meat soft tacos, watermelon and cake.  I sat down and ate in the screened in pavilion and cheered in some runners.

This ended up being one of the most memorable and fun trail races I've ran.  Endurance Buzz Adventures does a wonderful job and always puts on a race that feels like a great adventure.

Dave and I headed back to town where I rested a bit and then headed out for some BBQ with Holly who drove up from Dallas just to see me.  Great weekend!  Already excited for next years race!

Thank you to Larry, Teresa and ALL of the volunteers and to David and Wendy Hanenburg.  You guys are awesome!