Pikes Peak, Week 6

I hiked my first 14er in Colorado this week. Woo Hoo. It was great training but I was also pretty dizzy once I reach 13,000 feet. Talk about zombie.

The view from the Barr Trail on Pikes Peak

I tried to keep up with Roger from the start of the trailhead and lost him 30 minutes in. I made friends at mile 5 with Jim from Colorado Springs. He’s training for Rabbit Run 100. It was a good day of meeting new friends and hiking with old ones (not old people, ha).

The hike was arranged by Whitney and Kathleen and included many people from Grand County. The dinner before was fantastic and I asked Roger if he would pace me the first, hardest section of Leadville. He’s thinking about it. Once I get his okay, then all the planning will be just about finalized.

But let’s talk about Week 6

Monday – Recovery Day
Tuesday – Breakthrough trail run – 10 miles.
Wednesday – Off (I wasn’t feeling it. Didn’t bike either. An off training day)
Thursday – 5 miles
Friday – Travel to Colorado, Running at 5,500 in Littleton 4.5
Saturday – Running at 5,500 in Littleton, 3.5, walking around Colorado Springs, CO
Sunday – Pikes Peak and 2 extra miles at the end 26 miles
Total Miles: 49.1

It was a good week. However, from talking to runners training for the 100 mile run in Leadville, I’m feeling a little behind. I haven’t done hill repeats and I’m not doing speed work. I haven’t run much at night and I haven’t done loops on Kearsarge like I promised myself.

I have some work to do. I have 3 big training weeks coming up and 2 weeks of recovery. Hiking Pikes Peak really made me question my ability to finish Leadville. Although I felt good this morning after the Pikes Peak hike/run and ran 10 miles today. I just have to do the hard training days, do the weights and core work and just freaking do the hill repeats.

My problem is that I don’t enjoy the workouts. I just want to run and hike and explore. I want to see new places and push the limits of what I think I can do. Stupid hill repeats. I’m going to do them. I will.

Hills, I will destroy hills.

Leadville Training, Week 7 Recap, Mount Washington, Baby

Here’s how the week played out.

Monday started out great – recovery day. 

Tuesday was a nice, short 4 mile run.

Wednesday’s run was fantastic with a 15 mile scheduled run and I finished 14 miles on a mixture of trails and roads. The bugs in the woods are terrible. If I wasn’t for wearing headphones with ear buds they would’ve been in my ears. The small, buzzy’ing black bugs really liked to bite the back of my arms. Grrrrrr

Thursday was a little longer than scheduled but again, a nice post-14-mile run that was about 7 miles. Since it was the 4th of July I packed in so many fun things that it felt like a super, big training day: swimming in Lake Winnipesaukee with Kendra, Adam and Toby-dog, and a fun swim in the Merrimack River with Kyle and Pants. Such a fun, fun day. 

Friday was another recovery day preparing for what was supposed to be a big mileage weekend. I’m trying to not be disappointed as I write about the weekend because I think part of the ultra running life is learning to go with the changes that happen in a long training plan and just not dwelling on it; keep moving forward to the next big training day. 

Saturday was hot and humid at 6am. I had to run 30 miles but after 4 miles in I had to decide to go left for the big loop that would bring me back for water/electrolytes at mile 15, or go right and 8 miles would bring me back for water/electrolytes or stopping – I went right. I was dripping from sweating and just felt off for the entire run.

At mile 8 I called it quits for running outside and went to the Y to run in A/C. The real feel was 84 and I was very low energy, and a bit dizzy. I ran 2.5 miles on the treadmill and did about 200 stairs and wanted to quit. 

I sat on the stretching floor for about 5 minutes trying to figure out what to do. I wanted to go home. I debated. I could do some weights which I seemed to have energy for or more treadmill or just sit here and decide. For the record, I don’t usually ponder for so long what to do, I usually act. I usually just go home. But this time, I decided to make use of the time and do weights. This is huge for me. I just couldn’t run. 

Then I proceeded to have a good rest of the day with Winnie, Kyle and Pants; and get over myself.

Sunday was a hike with Bob and Mark to Mount Washington. Originally the plan was to run 20 miles. At the beginning of the week it was unknown if I could even be able to go to Mount Washington since I didn’t have anyone to let out Winnie during the day. I couldn’t take her because it’s one of the hardest hikes in the White Mountains. On Saturday Jeff texted me and said his plans changed and he could let Winnie out. Whoo Hooo!!! It was on. 

When I arrived at Pinkham Notch Bob mentioned something about two loops. Wait, WHAT? Their plan, which wasn’t communicated, was learning mental fortitude for Leadville – they would hike to the top, turn around and do it one more time. I had no idea. But I should’ve known because these guys are ultra runners, they think like me however, this one caught me by surprise. I thought it was one run/hike ascent of Mount Washington. I said I would try. 

The hike was amazing and since I hadn’t hiked it since 1992, it was new to me. Although, I did remember all the rocks on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail and how hard it was. However, being in the best, freaking shape of my life made the hike so doable and so enjoyable. We had to take Lions Head trail to the top of Mount Washington because the top part of Tuckerman’s was closed due to snow. Being on top of the rock pile is one of the most amazing things in the world.

Being on top of the world was amazing and I want to do it again – I want to do the Presidential Loop before heading to Leadville. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky. We talked about all our training and they told me about Leadville Training Camp, and what they learned. It’s so great hanging out with people who are going through what you are and have the same joys and concerns about preparing for 100 miles at 10,000 feet. It was a great day. 

I opted out of the second loop. But those two – total rocks stars with 9,000 feet of climbing in 8 hours and 16 miles. I drove home and hung out with Winnie-dog.

An end to a somewhat good training week and remembering where I started.

Pineland Trail Festival Race Report, 50 Mile

I ran my first 50 on May 26. I really didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know how it was going to feel. I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around the course with all the loops and running around fields. My mind at the start said just follow the arrows and course markings, and not overthink it. So I just ran. I started out slow, ate and drank at every aid station and waited for Mark to pace me at mile 27.

I ran most of the first 27 and only later started walking up the steep hills. Most of the inclines were runnable. I fell twice during the first 15 miles and landed hard on my right shoulder. I wasn’t lifting my left leg high enough because of knee and abductor issues. It’s a pattern to fall in the first half of a race rather than the latter. Go figure.

Mark was a great pacer and kept my mind occupied with other things. At about mile 40 I felt confident that I was going to make it to the finish. However, the miles seemed off when posted at aid stations. It was then we realized it was going to be longer than 50 miles; which psychologically was tough. At the mile 42 aid station/drop bag I took Advil and drank coke and suddenly I was able to kick it into high gear. The exhaustion went away and I powered up the hills and opened my stride. I felt great and got ahead of Mark. I passed a few men (which is always fun, ha) and finished feeling great. Marianne and Richard were at the finish cheering me on. Mark came in a few minutes later.

At the finish. Photo Courtesy of Richard Hoebel

What a day. The mud was crazy and the heat sometimes overbearing, but I did it. 50 miles.

Now it’s all about a little recovery and getting ready for Leadville in 12 weeks. My knee still hurts a bit but hopefully it is healing.

It was a great festival and the finisher packet was pretty good. I ended up placing 3rd in my age group and 12th female but the official results weren’t posted when I left so I didn’t get a beer mug.

I came for the finisher pint glass and that is exactly what I got. Race 3 of 5 – finished for 2019. Next up Leadville Marathon in June and Leadville 100 in August.

Leadville Training Week 14 – The week that wasn’t

This week was supposed to be a week where I recover from the 30 miler and taper for the 50. It turned out to be an injury week. My last run was Tuesday morning, a nice 4 miler before work. Later in the afternoon I attempted a mountain bike ride on the trails in Manchester, FOMBA. What a great trail system except that I crashed a few times and had issues clipping out, and injured my left knee.

There was a lot icing and ibuprofen, and perhaps a bit of despair this week. I foam rolled more than I ever have in my life; maybe twice a day. I started swimming on Friday, and on Saturday ended up joining a lane of master swimmers at the Y. That was fun. It seemed by the end of day Saturday it was about 70% healed. I did every type of activity I could except running. On Sunday afternoon I even went on a bike ride on the QR. After 9 months of no biking and swimming, it felt great to be in the aero bars and swim in the pool.

Secret Squirrel MTN Freetown, MA

Sunday was the highlight of the week. I supported Alex at his mountain bike race. I’ve learned how to be an excellent sherpa from Than so it was fun to figure out where he would come out of the woods for a photo op and to cheer him on to Top 10 results. Woo Hoo. After all the races I’ve done and knowing how important it is to hear someone cheering for me, it is truly so fun to do it for people I care about. The mountain biking crowd is so different from Ironman and Ultra running. The race venue was at a park in southeastern Massachusetts, a place I’ve never been and it was great to get out of dodge.

Goal 2 2019 50 Mile
Do it for the sticker!
By the numbers ……

Monday – May 20 – 6 days until race day. 50 Miles. This is my B race. Race 3 of 5 of the dream year. I’m ready. I’m focused. Mark is pacing me and we are celebrating his birthday. Yeah May, Yeah 50 Miles. Yeah to doing things you’ve never done before and crushing it!

Week 14 Recap, Leadville Training

Tapering is tough when you have a long term goal that is 12 weeks away, and want to be fit and ready for your B race. Tapering last week worked well for me this week; and I need to remember this.

My weekday runs were great; some trail, some road. I had a great race on Saturday (mountainous, trail) and recovery run of 7.5 miles on Sunday (flat, road). Sunday was a great ending to the training cycle in preparation for the my first 50 Miler in 2 weeks.

Here’s how the week played out:

I am particularly psyched about the elevation gain/vert 7,850.

Everything is going so well and I just don’t want to screw it up. So this means foam rolling, stretching, walking and just going with the flow. This week’s mantra – Just roll with it. I’m going to be better about figuring out that fine line of planning and going with the flow (see photo at the top). I have so much I want to accomplish. There is so much I want to do and see and feel. Life is good and I’m so happy – Imagine That.