February 2006 Archives

History (or is that Herstory?)

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Runnin Turnip asks, "how long did it take you to get up to ultra-running?"

Um, I don't know that I want to answer that, as the answer will tell y'all exactly why I'm injured :)

I met Johnny 10 ? years ago, and he got me hooked on hiking, rock climbing and backpacking. At that point, I was 17 (yes, young, I know!) and at a healthy weight (135 pounds), after battling disordered eating throughout high school (trying to starve myself - was never diagnosed with anorexia, and I don't think it was full-blown, but disordered nonetheless - got down to 118 pounds). Through the years after I married Johnny, I continued hiking, rock climbing and backpacking regularly, even as my weight steadily climbed (and climbed). I was proud to be an active 200-pound woman.

Six-and-a-half years into our marriage, we were surprised with Ash. After being married for so long with no conception, we figured we were barren - and happy with that! While pregnant, I took walks and tried to stay at an "okay" weight, i.e. not dangerous. I ended up at about 235 pounds by the time Ash was born. After I had him, I quickly dropped down to 196 pounds, and stayed there until December of 2004, at which point my running saga begins...

It was the holidays, full of rich foods and family gatherings - the combination of which led to much over-eating! Food was my friend, my comfort, my constant, non-judgmental, ever supportive companion. After a particularly celebratory week, I started to feel incredible discomfort in my right torso. The pain didn't go away, and would get worse when I ate. I had noticed throughout the year that I couldn't eat pizza at night anymore, because the pain kept me awake, but I figured it was some sort of indegestion with the tomato sauce (the only tomato-y thing I ate). But during this week, everything I ate was causing indegestion and pain - I was getting no sleep! The pain intesified to the point where I couldn't walk anymore. I could barely hold myself up, and nothing was staying in my body - everything was coming out one way or another. Horrible! I developed a fever, and spent the weekend in bed, without eating anything. I went to work on Monday morning, and a friend told me, "Gallstones." What?! What are gallstones? She told me to go to the doctor immediately, and so I did. She was right. I have gallbladder disease, including a large gallstone. This means I have to watch my saturated and trans fat intake, in addition to watching my portion sizing - for the rest of my life.

Well, this completely changed my life - no more pizza, french fries or ice cream for me! January, February and March of 2005 were the most miserable months of my life. Breaking that addiction felt impossible, but I knew that if I had my gallbladder removed, I would stay addicted. I knew that I needed to change my life, and let me tell you, there is nothing like the threat of imminent pain and emergency surgery to keep you from reaching for those french fries!!!

After the first 30 pounds melted off, my body felt like it needed activity, so I started running. Johnny and I had spent some time previously running, but it never lasted for long. It was around March of last year, and I couldn't even run a half mile! But I was out there! Plus, I started yoga. My body began to feel grateful for how I was caring for it.

Then, a coworker mentioned that she ran in the mornings, and would love a partner, and that's when I actually began a regular running routine. Paki and I would head out three times a week for about two miles each day. She did such a great job teaching me patience (which I still have issues with!). She also taught me that it's okay to walk when you run - and in fact, walking can really help! In the process, our relationship went from being coworkers to being friends. That's one of the things I love most about running - the community. I have made so many friends through running!

In the meantime, Johnny really began training for ultra running, and so we had two runners in the house. I decided that a race would make a great, fun goal. I ran my first 5k race in August ? it was a trail run. I ran my first 5 mile race at the beginning of September (with Paki), and did a 7 mile trail race at the beginning of October ? when I finally decided to go for Pemberton 50k.

Here?s how my weekly mileage went as I trained for Pemberton:
Week of...
Jul 18........12.00
Jul 25.........5.50
Aug 1..........9.61
Aug 8..........8.20
Aug 15.........8.30
Aug 22........14.80
Aug 29........13.60
Sep 5..........3.20
Sep 12........10.85
Sep 19.........9.60
Sep 26.........9.40
Oct 3.........14.50
Oct 10........11.60
Oct 17.........4.60
Oct 24........17.20
Oct 31........10.00
Nov 7.........20.75
Nov 14........19.00
Nov 21........22.40
Nov 28........27.21
Dec 5.........21.10
Dec 12........32.45
Dec 19........24.80
Dec 26........34.35
Jan 2.........31.00
Jan 9.........32.20
Jan 16........23.90
Jan 23.........4.55
Jan 30........33.30 (race week)

There really wasn?t any cross-training in there. As I upped my mileage, the yoga stopped. Most of the running was done on the local river path, which is half packed dirt and half pavement. I did some running on dirt roads, and the rest on local, steep, rocky trails. The most vertical I did in one run was when I did Wasson Peak ? 3300 vertical feet. Mostly, I focused on overall gains around 1200 to 2000 feet ? since Pemberton was 1600.

As my mileage increased, so did my appetite - so much so, that even eating low-fat foods, my gallbladder was hurting! My weight continued it's downward slide, and I now average 137. The week after the race, I was down to 133, but with being injured, it's creeping back up - part of my panic!


(Obviously, I have weight issues that I have never fully resolved. Intellectually, I know I should be happy at whatever weight I am - as long as my gallbladder and the rest of my body are healthy and I can keep doing what I love - running. But I still have issues with the number on the scale, with the size number on the clothing. I went from an 18/20 to an 8/10. And I really, really want to keep it that way. But then, I wonder why? Why do I care about that? I read some blogs where I feel so happy and proud and "damn straight!" that the authors don't need to be "stick-thin" to participate in incredibly awesome athletic endeavors (marathons, triathlons, and even Ironman!). Then, why, pray tell, am I so hard on me?)

Okay, anyway, this was supposed to be about how long it took me to get into ultra-running. The short answer: not long enough. In analyzing my weekly mileage, I really only took three months to go from a recreational runner to ultrarunner. And now I'm paying the price :(

Once I heal, I plan on getting my mileage back up there - I'd like to maintain a base mileage of 20 - 25 mpw, and in prepping for ultra races (yes, I still want to do ultras!) I want to get up to 50 mpw. My life this year probably won't allow for that much mileage, but (depending on how well I heal) I will probably be able to do the Soul Run 50k in October. My big goal is Zane Grey 50 miler!

Considering Options for Action...

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"Communications will lack clarity for much of the day, and that could be profoundly frustrating for you. It's better to spend your time considering options for action rather than actually acting." My horoscope for the day; it made me laugh.

Considering options for action, rather than actually acting?! Do you know who you are talking to?

Okay, so I did have a few posts a week or so ago where I considered my options and intentions prior to acting. But then I realized I was injured, and now I have to consider my options all over again! Do you know how frustrating that is?!

Also frustrating: our apartment complex sold off the back lot, which was our access to the river path. Johnny went out for a run on Saturday morning. When he came back home two hours later, the entire thing was cordoned off with "NO TRESSPASSING" signs everywhere. ARGH! We moved to this location precisely for the easy access to the river path! Okay, so now maybe people's bikes and other sundry items will be safer, since the vagrants who litter the path will no longer have access to our homes, but still.


And I'm getting sick. Yuck.

Okay, I think I'm done throwing my hissy fit.

Nope, not done.

What in the world am I supposed to do while I heal? Obviously, don't run hills. Okay, I will not run hills. But what can I do? Well, I can run up to three, flat miles. So I just keep doing that? For how long? I'm going to lose all the fitness I gained training for my ultramarathon!!! I can't do that! I can't! I like my toned body! I like being able to run longer distances. Now I won't be able to! I've been doing yoga, but me being me, I have to push things, so I end up pushing myself in yoga, making my hamstrings tight, which defeats the purpose. Tight hamstrings = pain in my knee.

I'm going to stomp away in disgust now. Maybe later I can consider my options for acting. All I want to do right now is throw a fit. Yeah, like that's productive. *sigh*

Sunrise Sabino Run

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Wispy pastel pink clouds streamed across the sky as I drove the 20 minutes from our mid-town home to Sabino Canyon. I sang along at the top of my lungs to KT Tunstall, smiling and feeling good to be alive.

I met Mike's wife, Kiera, and her friend Lisa at the trailhead. I first met Kiera two years ago at a mid-town playground where Ash and Haiden (the same age) liked to play. We lost touch, and then I stumbled across Mike's blog, and we all got reacquainted!

We decided to go for a 4.3-mile trail run (i.e. hike-run). We started at the trailhead on the east side of the parking lot, and I led Kiera and Lisa over to the Phoneline trail. We hiked up the cheese-grater rocks up and over to a cutoff trail that took us down to the floor of the canyon. We were having a great time with easy conversation, and I felt great. No pain in my knee, my lungs felt good, I had fueled and hydrated correctly and all was well.

As I launched myself down the cutoff trail, which can be steep and rocky, I started to feel it - the tightness in my left knee. I kept running, because it felt so good to be moving over the terrain. I tried to ignore it for as long as I could.

We made it down the cutoff trail, and managed to find our way across the dry streambed, up to the first tram stop and over to Rattlesnake Canyon. By this time, the tightness had turned into pain. I kept running, because it just felt so damn good - except for my left knee. I started to whimper and pout. Kiera and Lisa just let me know to take it easy and slow down if I needed to. We wound up and over the little ridge that separates Rattlesnake from the tram road, and I decided to run the last little distance from the ridge to the tram road. At the tram road, I had to stop running. I was too worried about injuring it further! I was bummed. We walked out the last approximately three-quarters of a mile. They both said, "We need a cool-down, right?" Right! It took us one hour to do about 3.5 miles, so it wasn't exactly super fast - but it did include a decent amount of hiking and vertical elevation gain - which gave us a great workout.

I made sure to stretch once we got back to our cars. I needed to get back home, and so had to pass on Kiera's offer of coffee. ("Mike makes a mean cup of coffee") But I stopped at Starbucks on the way home. Of course, since I hadn't had any coffee yet, I promptly dropped my cup. Yes, all of it spilled out. :( They gave me another cup, and I didn't have to pay for it, so thank you Starbucks! I got coffee for Johnny and Ash's favorite vanilla milk, so I came home bearing gifts, which were much appreciated.

Once home, Johnny crawled back into bed, and I iced my knee. Whew, that felt so much better! It looks like I shouldn't run more than three miles at a stretch until I heal up. I also need to make sure I am stretching every day (not just every other day, like I have been doing).

As Requested: Details

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Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. Elizabeth Stone (via backofpack)

Let me give some background.

First, Ash has been staying at home with his daddy for the last two years. Johnny wanted to be a stay-at-home dad, so we took turns. I stayed at home the first year; Johnny took on full-time duties, coincidentally, on Feb. 23, 2004 - exactly two years (to the day!) prior to Ash's First Day of School. Surprisingly, I think I am taking it harder than Johnny - even though he is more affected than I am!

Second, a comment was made that my mom did the same thing, and I turned out fine. See, that's the problem. My mom did do the same thing; I did not turn out fine. I won't go into what happened, but I still deal with symptoms of PTSD. So, this whole experience has been a little frightening for me!

Okay, now on to the details. He woke up at 4:30 that morning, and was exhausted. No amount of cajoling could get him back into his bed. The day started with fit-throwing and loud screams. I chose to go into work late, so I could be present for his first day. Other than that, we did not make a big deal about it. After taking forever to get ready, we took him to school. Once we got there, he was uncharacteristically quiet. But he quickly ran out to the playground and hopped into a "police car." Johnny and I spent some time with the teacher, getting to know her a little better. We let Ash know that Daddy would be back to pick him up after lunch, and then we left. At that point in time, Ash was too involved with putting gas into his police car to want to kiss us good-bye!

I went to work and was biting my fingernails the whole morning. Everyone knew that this was a big day. I was a little teary-eyed throughout the morning, and kept reminding myself of why we chose this preschool - parents were encouraged to stop by all the time (and required to put in volunteer hours), we met and liked the staff and the way they treated and interacted with the children. I reminded myself that it would be good for Ash to get social interaction beyond his Dad and I. At 1:30, Johnny hadn't called me, and I was anxious to find out how it went. Johnny answered the phone quietly; Ash was asleep in his car seat! (He never sleeps during the day anymore.)

Johnny told me in hushed tones that after a difficult morning, Ash finally started crying for his mama and daddy at 11:45. His teacher picked him up to soothe him, and Ash just cried himself to sleep on her shoulder. (This from the child who kicks when you pick him up - even for love - and who hates to sleep. And who also has only twice in his life been so scared that he fell asleep to remove himself from the situation (both times on a rowboat - the motor really freaked him out.)) His teacher held him in her arms until Johnny came to pick him up at 1 p.m. Ash stayed asleep through the teacher and Johnny's discussion, Johnny putting him in his carseat and then driving home. Ash ended up sleeping all the way until 2:15. Wow.

Needless to say, I was heartbroken. He was so terrified, he cried himself to sleep in his teacher's arms. He refused to do storytime or circle time; apparently, he put his hands on his hips and said, "I don't want to do circle time. I don't want to do story time. Only my daddy reads me stories." He drew instead. He was also complaining that the kids on the playground were pushing him, although his teacher said she didn't see that happening.

When I got home, I chose to treat it as though it was just another day. I asked Ash the same question I always ask, "So what did you do today?" He told me, "Oh, I just went to school and played. We played on the playground. I pulled a gate into my head and it hurt, but it's all better now. The kids pushed me and I pulled a gate into my head, but I'm all better now." (He did pull a gate into his head; he's slightly bruised. But as he said, he's all better now :) )

After Ash went to bed, Johnny and I discussed the day. Johnny said that Ash told him - out of the blue; like me, Johnny was attempting to keep it cool - "I like my new school, Daddy. I got really sad because I missed you a lot, and I cried on my teacher's shoulder, and I was sad. I missed you," to which Johnny replied, "I missed you too. I was sad and I cried too." They hugged, and went back to playing.

First Day of School

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Oh, my breaking heart!

Today was Ash's first day of preschool. He'll be attending twice a week, for four hours a day. My baby is starting to grow up! Last night, I just wanted to gather him in my arms, and cuddle, cuddle, cuddle. I cried myself to sleep. I'm so scared. What if he meets bad kids, bullies or bad adults? I know I have to accept that he will meet bad people, and then teach him how to deal with them - how to stand up for himself, how to stay strong, how to keep himself safe. Don't get me wrong - the preschool we chose is one I felt the most comfortable with. But still! He's always been watched by family. I'm not ready to let him go!

Oh, man, I'm going to be one of those mothers-in-law, aren't I. *sigh* (mothers-in-partnership? how do you say it if your child and their life partner aren't married? I don't want to pressure Ash to get married.)

I ran yesterday at lunch. It hurt. Not my leg, though, which is good. I got a major side stitch that I couldn't get rid of. Paki and I shortened the loop to 2.25 instead of 3.25. *sigh* I'll trade with you, Rae! Ok, maybe not :)

I'm tired. I've been staying up too late watching the Olympics and reading. And crying. *sigh* At least Mercury is sextile with Venus tonight, which is supposed to bring emotional happiness and calm. I could use that right now.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!

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I just read Rob's comment to my last post. (For some reason, it didn't come through to my e-mail, so I am just now getting it.)

Let me clarify.
1. Ice Dancing Naked Russian Girl (geez, I wonder what kind of hits I'm gonna be getting now!): her costume was some sort of red fringe, swirled around a nude bodysuit sprinkled with rhinestones. She really did look naked. But the costume wasn't nearly as bad as last night's from the Ukrainian couple - fringed pasties. Seriously.

2. The meaning of "No matter how far into a situation you have traveled, it is never too late to make a different choice": to me, it's the idea that I may make a choice about a situation and decide to take a certain path, only to realized a day, a week, a month, a year, 10 years later, that the decision I made is one that doesn't line up with my values, my integrity. It's a reminder of grace. A reminder that as every second passes, I learn more and more, and become more knowledgable - which means I may learn something about a decision I made that could make it a decision I can no longer stand behind. It means evaluating each situation as I come into it, making informed, thoughtful, intentional choices based on my values and integrity, but realizing that I don't know everything about a situation as I make those choices.

On to training: I've been in discussion with a few people re: training, and at this point, I am keeping Soul Run open. I am not committing, but will play it by ear. I will maintain a base mileage of 15 - 25 mpw, and focus on getting stronger in the next few months. Come summer, I will see how things go, and perhaps up my mileage. We'll see. The important thing right now is maintaining my base mileage while getting stronger.

Feathers are Flying!

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Ice dancing is fun! The couple from Israel just finished, and the feathers from her skirt floated in the air between them. I loved their performance. Anyone else find it just a little strange to watch the brother and sister team from Great Brittain do the cha-cha and rumba? Hello, two dancers later Dick Button is talking about how the Israeli team was going through it too fast, it's "supposed to be a slow, sultry dance." Who wants to watch a brother and sister perform a slow, sultry dance???! They did do well, though. Someone needs to teach the Japanese girl how to shake her hips. She couldn't shimmy and sway if her life depended on it. The poor Lithuanian team, who fell! They came out of retirement to fall at the Olympics? At least it's their fifth time around. The naked girl from Russia knows how to shake her hips! And they have some great lifts. And he's cute. And Dick Button just said "twizzles" - that's funny. The woman commentator (I can't recall her name) doesn't like the Ukrainian team for some reason - I thought they were cool! And the woman from the Ukrainian team has awesome abs. And what' with all the guys wearing shirts open to their waists? They look like J.LO in Versace or Jersey wise guys.

Okay, anyway, I ran today! So it was more of a jog, but still. It felt great. I did about 2.2 miles, down around the River Path up to Trader Joe's. I received a few strange looks as I stretched while I ground the coffee. Stretched my quads, hip flexors, calves. Wandered the store in my running outfit (overdressed as usual; should have worn a short-sleeve shirt), and noticed I wasn't the only one in exercise clothes! I think they get a lot of exercisers who stop by on their way home, since the store is right along the river path. My left knee didn't hurt at all, although the top of my left foot hurt - I think from the 90 minute yoga class I attended yesterday. Darn it!

I wanted to keep running today. I wasn't ready for it to be over! I had a hard time getting my breath, but once I warmed up, it was awesome. It was a glorious day, beautiful winter sun, great breeze, beautiful views of the Santa Catalina mountains. I remembered reading on someone's blog (can't recall whose) about their plan to run less miles each day, in the hopes that it would leave them wanting more - leaving them hungry for miles the next day, and then the next, and so on, thus getting more miles. I'm hugry for more. I will probably go out for another 2 to 3 miles tomorrow, and again later in the week. Yay! I'm scheduled to go out on Sunday with Mike's wife, and I'm looking forward to it - as long as I take it easy, I feel like I'll be fine! I'm still stretching, and yoga is becoming part of my weekly routine.

Before I did Pemberton, my goal for this year was to get stronger. Run a base weekly mileage of about 20 miles a week, and focus on strength training and yoga. Then I ran Pemberton and had so much fun, I wanted to do another ultra this year!! After writing out my intentions and goals, I sat down this weekend to plan out my training schedule. I wanted to use Neil Cook's plan, but as I reviewed it and planned it out on my calendar, I realized I would be running 35-40 miles a week from March till mid-September. 35 - 40 miles a week through a move (our lease is up at the end of May, and we'll be moving somewhere larger - a 623-square-foot, one bedroom apartment is quickly becoming too small for us!), through the hot desert summer, through Johnny's student teaching. That's one major weather change, and two major life changes. It's scary enough to think of this year without training! There's no way I can support the emotional me, the professional me, Ash, Johnny's school AND Johnny's training while maintaining that sort of mileage, let alone trying to get stronger!!! I don't have that kind of stamina yet. So I had to run through my intentions again (thanks Liv for the link to that goal-setting plan!). Yes, again! This time, I decided that I can maintain and even strengthen my fitness without needing to commit the time it would take me to do 35-40 miles a week, by doing what I first thought for the year: 20ish miles a week, yoga and strength-training.

*sigh* But that means no Soul Run 50k in October. I think taking care of me and my family through our transitions this year is more important, and I'm deliberately choosing that over doing another ultra this year, but I'm sad about that. I know I have time, ultrarunning is ultimately a sport one grows into, but it's so much fun, I want to be able to devote more time to it now!!! Since I can't, I will work on strengthening my body. I think I have a long ways to go to really get as fit as I'd like. So I think it's a good thing. A little bittersweet, but I think I can live much better with this choice than choosing to do another ultra this year. I'll still be training. My very first running partner, Paki, has decided that for her first time ever, she wants to do a half-marathon! Woo hoo! She's chosen the PF Chang's Rock'n'Roll in Phoenix in January of next year as her first, so we'll have fun getting ready for that. We're also doing a number of the local 5 - 10ks, which will be fun. You know, I think in the long run, this will make me a stronger ultra runner. Teach me patience, strengthen my body, and prepare me for the longer runs that I want to participate in. I'll also still be running,hiking, and doing many of the TTR runs, which are pretty wicked runs! So adventurous weekends await this year. Just no ultras. (At least at this moment. Disclaimer: Angie's mind is NEVER made up, until she actually does or does not do something. Angie's motto: no matter how far you've gone into something, it is never too late to make a different choice.)

Feeling Much Better

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After further research, I feel much better. I'm not currently bruised (like psbowe, poor thing!), I can jog about 5 miles before it sets in, and I've been resting it. It is such a relief to hear it is a common injury that many many people overcome - it won't stop my running! Yay!

In retrospect, I see how I should have been stretching all along - my left leg was often tight, and the knee often clicked, or popped. Also, I did a decent amount of running (and the race itself) in my Masais - which don't have nearly enough support and cushioning for my feet (I do pronate, significantly on my left side). I need new shoes, and I need to implement a regular stretching routine. I think by adding regular stretching, I will be able to gradually up my mileage.

I will begin running again next Saturday, at Sabino. I will stretch every day, with three days a week of yoga.

I'm excited - Johnny's parents have decided to help us out by assisting us with preschool tuition for Ash. The place we have chosen to enroll him is a community center that requires a family membership. That means bonuses for the whole family! Fitness center, pools, whirlpool, splash park, playgrounds etc. I'm very excited at what this means for my fitness and strength training. I'm also excited to see Ash beginning preschool! It will be two half days a week. By this fall, he'll be up to five half days a week, when Johnny begins his student teaching, and I begin working half at home/half in the office. That'll be three strange, stressful month! Oy!

*sniffle*sniffle*

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So I realized last week when I couldn't finish the run at Sabino Canyon, that I probably hurt myself at Pemberton. Remember how my left knee just sort of shut down? I couldn't run? Especially the downhills? That happened last Saturday at Sabino. That's when I decided I needed to recover better. Remember yoga 2x/wk for the next 2 weeks, with one run on the weekend? Well, I don't think I should at all.

*sniffle*

You know that phrase, ITB syndrome? Yeah, I keep hearing it bandied about the blogosphere. It finally made it through my thick skull that ITB syndrome is a problem with your knee. The outside of your knee. And it gets worse on downhill running. And you have to stop running. So I googled it this morning. Uh-huh, I'm sure you know the outcome.

*sniffle*

Do you remember when I was doing those weekly tempo runs on the River Path in the early mornings with a faster running partner? And I felt pain in my left leg but pushed through it? Yeah, I shouldn't have done that. So when I got to Pemberton, and started feeling the pain in my left leg after pushing it on the first loop's downhill, I ignored it. I pushed through it. And then the pain moved from the outside/behind portion of my knee all the way around the outside to the front of the knee - new territory. So when I tried to run hills at Sabino last Saturday, it flared right back up, and I couldn't run the last easy downhill. It hurt all the way around my knee again.

time-to-run.com says:
Symptoms:
Initially, a dull ache 1-2 kilometres into a run, with pain remaining for the duration of the run. The pain disappears soon after stopping running, later, severe sharp pain which prevents running pain is worse on running downhills, or on cambered surfaces pain may be present when walking up or downstairs. Local tenderness and inflammation
uh, CHECK! on all those

*sniffle*

jeffgalloway.com says:

How does it get injured? As long as the leg muscles are resilient, and you're not doing very much more training than you've done in the recent past, the leg system will stay in its track and adapt to slight increases. When you push your main running muscles too far, the primary running muscles get too tired to move you ahead and stay within the natural range of your foot and leg. In other words, your legs start to wobble. The further you go when wobbling, the more you will injure the area. You may not be able to pinpoint what caused the problem, but here are the most common causes.

1 Running too fast, on a long run, or race, than you should have on that day ( i.e., trying to stay up with running friends that are going too fast for you). Most runners are running too fast on long runs, even though they feel fine at the beginning. OOPS

2 Not slowing down the pace, from the beginning of a long run or race: when you increase the distance of the long run when it's hot and humid, or the course is hilly when your muscles are already tired when you feel the first signs of irritation of what could be an injury OOPS

3 Not taking walk breaks, as you need them, from the beginning of all long runs OOPS

4 Not increasing the frequency of the walk break as the long run distance increases OOPS

5 Not increasing the frequency of walk breaks when you're more tired, or feel the symptoms of injury OOPS

6 Not increasing the frequency of walk breaks when the temperature and humidity are high

7 Doing too many of the following within a 2-3 week period: long runs, races, fast runs. …

8 Wearing the wrong pair of shoes or ones that are too worn out‹particularly in the midsole (a shoe expert can help you determine).OOPS

9 Doing side-to-side sports: tennis, basketball, rollerblade

10 Not doing the maintenance training during the week, i.e., just running once between long runs, or not at all.DOUBLE OOPS

11 Skipping a long run and trying to keep up with your group on the next long run

12 Not taking enough days off from running‹especially after the first signs of injury um, sort of OOPS for last week - but maybe if I do it right I can help this week around???

13 Running on a surface that is too soft or is slanted, i.e. a beach, soft grass, or a paved surface with a slant.OOPS

*sniffle*

All those goals I wrote about earlier this week? On hold. My only priority now is to heal. I don't want to lose what fitness I've gained from training for Pemberton (what fitness, you injured yourself, silly!). I'm so sad.

*sniffle*

Please, help! Advice! I need to find a foam roller and figure out a stretching plan, that much I know...

*sniffle*

Yoga, Olympics and 2000 Visitors

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So the week I decide to take care of my body by going to bed at 9 p.m. and rising at 6 a.m. to do yoga, the Olympics begin. So, not only am I going to bed at 10:30 every night, but I'm not keeping up on my Google reader account! I'm so far behind!

Good news is, I'm still rising early (what's early for me anyway, I usually try to sleep through Ash's incessant pounding on the bed which begins at about 5 a.m.) and I did yoga on Tuesday. It felt so good! I haven't had a practice for about six months, so the last time I did yoga I was about 20 pounds heavier. I realized that all the running I did this winter in preparation for Pemberton really made me stronger! I was amazed at how differently my body responded this time around. It's on the schedule for tomorrow morning, as well. I'm excited!

Congratulations to someone from Spring, TX (my guess is DirtRunner) for being my 2,000th visitor!

Why does it matter?

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First, I want to thank Runner Susan for creating my new, awesome header! I've been playing around with the colors and size of my blgo, and will probably continue to do so over the next few days...(PS Susan, how'd you get your three-column layout?)

I'd like to address a comment I received on my last post, in regard to goal-setting. Someone asked, "why does it matter if you win age group awards? Especially at ultras, it's more about participation and personal challenge than actually racing somebody." I really thought a lot about this comment - it helped me think about my intentions behind running.

To me, placing in my age group is not about racing anyone. It seems to me to be as arbitrary and as artificial a goal as completing a random distance (50k) in a random time (8 hours). Like Rob's recent post, why stop at 26.2? 50k? 50 miles? 100 miles? Why finish within 8 hours? 12 hours? In the top three of my age group? One of the things I enjoyed most about Pemberton was the game of it - can I, in my current state of fitness, actually train in only four months to complete an ultra within the cutoff time? I liken the idea of placing within my age group to the same thing. If I look at the times of the women in my age group for the previous years on a race, and set my goal to see if I (who finished last in my first ultra) can actually make those times, I will have a huge, fun driver to meet my goals. It doesn't take anything away from participation or support in the race. The very reason I chose ultras as an expression of my phsyicality was precisely for the support - I know that everyone cheers just as hard for the last person in as they do for the first. Andrew Holton, the winner of the 2006 Pemberton 50k, didn't leave the race staging area until I did! My goals of placing in my age group have nothing to do with racing, and everything to do with participation and personal challenge - it's just another arbitrary number to see if I can reach. Hope that clarifies!

Thanks to everyone for reminding me that the most important thing in regard to running is having fun! Also thanks for the links and offers of help.

It's so hard for me to step back and be patient. I was researching training plans this weekend, and realized that I need to recover in the next two weeks, and then plan smart. I don't want to plan smart! I want to run 50 miles a week starting next week! (Okay, that's an exaggeration, but you get the point.) I also discovered that there are five phases to training: Base Building, Strength Building, Speed Building, Taper/Race And Recovery. In preparation for Pemberton, I was only able to complete Base Building. So my goal this time around is to work my way through each phase in the intended amount of time - which means I need to start with the Recovery part from Pemberton!

I've been wanting to add yoga to the mix, so I've decided that this Recovery period will introduce yoga two times a week for the next two weeks, with one 7.75 weekend run each week. During this time, I will plot out each of the upcoming phases of training for the next few months. I'm chomping at the bit (as usual), but I'm also so excited! (That's the other good thing about ultras - they teach me patience!)

Where do I go from here?

| 10 Comments
I was mulling this over today. I didn't run much this last week - and I had nightmares, felt sluggish and ate too much. I attribute this to the lack of running. I got out to Sabino Canyon this morning, and it felt great! At least for the first 4.5mmiles, anyway. Then my left hamstring/knee began to hurt, just like it did at Pemberton last weekend, and I had to walk the majority of the final 1.5 miles. I didn't like that. It worries me. I don't want to be injured - not when I've just discovered how much I enjoy running long miles!!!

I have a few ideas in mind. I want to do the Soul Run 50k in October. Ultimately, I'd like to complete the 2007 Zane Grey 50 mile race within the cutoff time (15 hours? Can't recall right now). That gives me seven summer months to train for Soul Run, and it gives me just under 14 months to train for one of the wickedest 50 milers in existence. I think that's a good amount of time. I'd like to do that. The problem is, I don't know how!

Training for Pemberton was spur-of-the-moment. Johnny made an off-hand remark about how I could do it, and that started my brain working on it. It was like a puzzle, or game - can I increase my weekly mileage fast enough, safe enough, in enough time??? I did! But now I have so much more time to prepare - and I don't know what to do!

I want to add upper-body and abs strength training. I want to add yoga. I want to add speed work (more so than anything else). What should my base mileage be? How often should I strength-train? Do yoga? Do speed work? Where do I go from here?

I will be researching these questions in the next week. With how busy we are, I want to schedule this out for the next few months - or for the next 14 months, if possible! I have to take Johnny's ultra-marathon training into consideration, as well. Plus, he graduates in December, and we'll have some big life changes ahead. Will he find a job as a teacher here in Tucson, in January 2007? Will we be moving in Dec. 07 to another place where he might find a job? What direction will our life go then? Will I get to go back to school?

I decided on my way over the the coffee shop (where I am currently sipping a scrumptious non-fat, decaf mocha) that I wanted to outline my intentions in regard to running. What's my point? What's my desire? Where do I want to be? Then I can choose the training schedule/regimen/etc. that fits.

What do I truly desire? What is truly important to me?


  1. I desire running. On trails.
  2. My recovery runs have been on pavement this week - 10 miles - and it HURT. The "pretty" shoes I wore to work this week didn't help. All "pretty" shoes are now going to Goodwill. I desire running so much, I am becoming a sensible-shoe woman. Not like my "pretty" shoes were stillettos (sp?) or anything. I always kept the heels below 2.5 inches. But even 2.5 inches is killing me.

  3. My family - Ash and Johnny.

  4. Johnny's ultra training.

  5. Time to read

  6. (especially Patricia Rice's "Magic" series - go adventuresome heriones!!!).
  7. Time to blog - read others and keep mine updated.

  8. Keeping up my end of the household chores.

What is my intention in regard to running? Why do I run?

  1. confidence

  2. breaks from my hectic life/family

  3. containment/order

  4. feeling my body move - moving meditation

  5. stress relief

  6. fun

  7. joy in being an athlete

  8. adventure
Where do I want my running to go? What intention do I have with my running?

  1. strength

  2. speed

  3. ease

  4. to go farther

  5. to get better
Ultrarunning is a sport one grows into. Where do I want to be in 5 years?

  1. winning my age group in 50k to 50m distances

  2. looking at 100 milers

  3. training hard
  4. continuing my transformation that began last year with developing gallbladder disease

  5. still supporting Johnny and Ash
Now that I got that out of my system, how do I go about applying it to the action I want to take in the next 14 months? I think it's still a little vague. I think I need to drill down even more. Think things through even deeper.

Any thoughts, suggestions, advice, Web sites, etc. are sought!!!

First Recovery Run after Pemberton 50k

| 6 Comments
I took a run on Wednesday - just two miles to undo the stiffness in my legs that was beginning to really set in. It felt good to be out again. My right hamstring hurt, so I'm glad it was just 2 miles!

I'm so excited! One of my favorite authors left a comment on my blog - woo hoo!! :)

Surprisingly enough, I don't have much else to say today. I want to work on my thank you post, and I want to catch up on everyone else's blogging. Johnny's next big race is in less than a month - the Old Pueblo 50 mile, in Sonoita - just south of Tucson. I can't wait to crew for him at Zane Grey!

Peace out and happy running.

Finishing the 2006 Pemberton 50K

| 13 Comments
----UPDATE----UPDATE----UPDATE----

< update >

Results are up! (Okay, so it's only the top 25. I'm sure they'll get the last people - uh, that'd be me - up soon!)

Official Race Pictures are UP!!!

Angie 1
Angie 2
Angie 3
Angie 4

I wanted to give a shout-out to Tommyboy, part of the Tucson contingent who managed to find my blog...thanks for the well-wishes! Good job on finishing your own first ultra! It looks like you are starting a blog...? I can't get to it though...

Note to self: I want to include my splits...but they are at home, and I'm at work.

Lap 1, Part 1: 1:11:35 approx. 5.3 miles, slightly up, then roller-coaster
Lap 1, Part 2: 1:07:13 approx. 4.8 miles, roller coaster

Lap 1, Part 3: 1:03:14 approx. 5.2 miles, downhill
Lap 2, Part 1: 1:26:00 same as lap 1
Lap 2, Part 2: 1:17:07 same as lap 1
Lap 2, Part 3: 1:17:05 same as lap 1

< /update >

----BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING----
Wow, it was so amazing. I still keep pinching myself. I really did it - I really ran an ultra-marathon. I really made my body keep moving for 7 hours, 22 minutes and 24 seconds. And I enjoyed it so much, found it to be so satisfying, that I want to do more. I want to run faster, longer. I want to get strong.

After reading my post, I realize I left out a few things. Here are those odds and ends (plus a sort of to-do list):

Here's the original race recap.

Here are the pictures.

Pre-race dinner at an Italian restaurant ended up sucking because they doused the pasta in so much olive oil, I couldn't eat it! I didn't want to keel over from a gallbladder attack. So I had them make some plain pasta that I mixed with on forkful of the loaded pasta and took it back to the hotel room...where we didn't have cutlery, oops. I used a cup to slurp it up.

I had absolutely no GI distress during the course of the race - none whatsoever! Wow! That was awesome.

I used Better than Ezra to get me through the race. I don't have an iPod, so it was my "internal iPod" singing a few different songs, mostly off the newest CD.

My average pace was 14:16 a mile. That's the quickest I've ever done a trail run! And it was my longest, wow!

I already know I want to do another one...I am eyeing the fall Soul Run. It's put on by a local bike shop - they have various distances for cyclists, including a 100-mile race, and they also have a 50k for runners. It's in the town of Oracle, which is just up the road, north of Tucson (also known as home to Biosphere 2). I'd get to train on the course, and it would be an easy trip. I think it's in October...so we'll see! I'm sure I'll be trying to get as many people as possible to come and do it with me!!!

I'm not too sore today...woo hoo. I am ready to begin my recovery.

Coming up soon...in honor of the awards season...my thank you post.

I'm also putting out a call for HELP! I want to have my own banner at the top of my blog, and I want to change my template and fiddle with it. I'm having issues doing that...can someone help me, pretty please???

I AM AN ULTRARUNNER!

| 28 Comments
I finished the Pemberton 50k in 7:22:24...smashing my goals in the process!

Doing my best Scott Jurek imitation...My goals for this race: to be the last person to cross the finish line before the 8-hour cutoff time. I was aiming for about 7:40, but would be happy with 7:59:59!

After the crazy week I've had, finding out that someone stole Johnny's atm card information and managed to withdraw $600 from our account on Thursday really didn't faze me much. I was a little worried - they left $26 in our account. That wouldn't be enough for gas/food money to get us home! Johnny's mom was awesome, she immediately got to work figuring out how to transfer money into our account, so we have grocery/gas food for the next two weeks while the bank investigates our claim. I'm positive they will reimburse us the money and bank fees. Geez louise, what's next?!

We woke up at 4:30 Saturday morning, and begin getting ready. Ash usually wakes us up every morning by about 5, but he wouldn't wake up that morning! Totally figures :). We found the Starbucks - it was open that early, yay! - and proceded to drive out to the trailhead. We got there at about 5:35, and not many people were there yet. Even though the race started at 7, I thought the letter I received said they would hand out bibs/shirts starting at 5. I figured getting there about 1/2 after they started would be good. Oops, I misread the paper. They wouldn't start handing out everything till 5:30, which meant I was the first person there! It was freezing cold. I got my stuff, then we all headed back to the car to get warm.

By about 6:15, I was ready to head back out and begin getting ready - sunscreened up, race bib pinned on, water in my water bottles, etc. It was a great low-key affair, with everyone just mingling around. The Tucson contingent showed up, which was fun. They were all so supportive! I was so excited, I was bouncing up and down.

The RD went over the aid station and rules, and then brought out a slice of birthday cake, since it was the birthday of one of the runners. Then we lined up behind the line, and waited for "GO!"

I made sure I was in the back, so I wouldn't get trampled. Ian Torrence and Hal Koerner were there, along with a few other fast people, and I didn't want to get in their way! As I headed up the trail, I heard Johnny yelling, "Good luck Angie!"

The loop was 15.4 miles, divided into 5ish mile segments. Two aid stations were out on the loop. The first third was 5.3 miles, going down a wash at first, then up a gentle, rocky ridge, to an uphill roller-coaster (up 50 feet, down 20, up 50, down 20, etc.). The second third continued the uphill roller-coaster for about 4 miles, then hit a flat-to-down BORING section on a dirt service road. The last third continued the boring gentle downhill dirt service road for about 2ish miles, then hit some fun, single-track downhill trail. There was a little bit of uphill, but not much. We did the loop twice.

The first third on the first loop was great. It was really cold, the sun was rising and I could see the runners stretching out along the trail in front of me. I knew this would be the only place I wouldn't feel lonely, so I made sure to soak in the feeling of having people around me. I was able to run a decent amount of the gentle uphill - which I wasn't planning on. I found that I had to keep telling myself to slow down, drop the pace. I wanted to "press the accelerator" so to say, but tried to ease up. I didn't want to burn out on the first loop! It was hard to be patient, but I kept telling myself that I had eight hours to adjust, readjust and make it through.

At the first aid station, I caught up to a woman who had been about .25 in front of me for the first section. She promptly decided to dog my steps for the next four miles. When I ran, she ran. When I walked, she walked. I kept moving to the side to let her pass, but she wouldn't. I was frustrated, but tried to run my own race. I didn't feel like talking, and decided that since she was the one who apparantly wanted to stay with me, she could be the first one to open the conversation - which she never did. She finally passed, thank goodness, and I was left to run alone. Whew.

The second aid station seemed to take forever to reach, even though it was only about 4.8 miles. I hated the dirt service road. It was wide, hard-packed dirt, without much twisting and turning. The desert had been burned a few years ago, so it wasn't very lush. It was getting really hot. Thankfully, they had signage out about 50 yards before each aid station, so I knew when it was coming. I took BadBen's advice, and unscrewed the tops off my water bottles beforehand, to make it through quickly. The volunteers were so helpful and nice! Well, except for the fake rattlesnake in the middle of the trail before the second aid station. Oh, and telling me, "only 20 more miles to go!" Yikes! That's scary sounding! I think the woman who told me that was the RD for the Javalina Jundred, held on this course in October, so she's used to 100 milers - only 20 more to go for them is a good thing!

I left the second aid station with the promise of seeing them in four hours. It got really hot on this section, so I started pouring water on my head. It was numbing. Hot, bright, boring, tough - even though it was downhill! I just kept going, because I wanted to get it over with. In retrospect, I think I pushed it a little too much through this section on the first loop. By the time I came in to the start/finish/middle aid station, I felt pretty out of it. I had been repeating the mantra, "visor, gels, tylenol" for about an hour to help me remember what I needed.

Ash was sleeping, and Johnny crewed for me. Apparently, I was pretty frantic and out of it. Johnny wanted me to calm down, but he was taking too long! I also was unable to screw the tops off my water bottles before this one, because the guys at the last aid station had screwed them on too tight! I took off, after resupplying with more crank e-gels (I love the electrolytes they have in them!) and tylenol. I made it across the parking lot before I realized I forgot to switch my cap to my visor, so I had to run back across, darn it!

Time for the second loop - what a relief! I didn't have to hold back anymore! (Not that I did on the final third of the first loop...) I found it was very very hard to run, even the downhills. Oops. Pushed it to hard on the downhill. I just kept going. Kept my eyes no more than two feet in front of me and made myself jog. I knew it was gentle uphill; I didn't want to see how much uphill or how much farther I had to go to begin the roller-coaster section.

It seemed to take much longer the second time. I managed to eat a gel about 20 minutes before the first aid station, at about the time I realized I had just run farther than I had ever run before. When I made it to the first aid station, I was excited! Smiling, happy. The guy who filled my water bottles told me I had a beautiful smile! I drenched myself in water to stay cool. At that aid station, a woman was sitting down, totally exhausted. It looked like she must have bonked. The woman who dogged me earlier was also there, in addition to an older guy, who I had been following for awhile. We all left about the same time, with me in the back. I love the middle third of this trail anyway, and to be able to do it with a few people in front of me felt good. I walked all the ups in this roller-coaster part, and tried to run the downs - I noticed that my left leg was starting to feel a little funny. Almost numb. Very strange. It was worse on the downhills, but I figured I just needed to stretch it a little. I watched the woman who dogged me earlier catch up to the older guy, and they ran together, talking, for a few miles. Suddenly, I heard pounding behind me - the woman who bonked got herself back together and was running to catch her friend (the woman who dogged me)! She caught up to the two of them ahead, and eventually, the two women pushed on, leaving the older guy behind.

I had been keeping an eye on the time. I managed to memorize the mileage between each trail junction (there were a lot of them), and I also memorized the times I wanted to get into and out of each aid station. By this time, I wasn't so concerned with my actual splits as much as I was with time between trail junction. I set mini-goals: if I could make it to the next trail junction by 11:55, I would be on/ahead of schedule, etc. Most of the trail junctions were between 1.2 - 2.3 miles apart, which made great mini-goals.

We snaked around two grassy knolls, down through a wash, and finally hit the dirt service road. My left leg was really bothering me now. I knew I had about 1.5 L O N G boring miles to the next aid station. I caught up to the older guy. He could walk as fast I jogged, and we pretty much stayed together. I kept feeling the need to push down on the accelerator, but found that I couldn't keep it up with how my leg was beginning to seize up on me. I would pull ahead a little, and then he would. We talked about the races he had done - the 38.5-mile Journey from Here to There (on all roads!) a three weeks earlier, the 50k he was planning to do in two weeks (he says, "you know, I've found that if you do alot close together, there's not much in between training you have to do!") - and we talked about how this was my first. I told him about how a year ago, I weighed 60 lbs more and couldn't even run a half-mile.

We made it to the second aid station at 1:15 p.m., with a surprising amount of time left for the last five miles - 1 hour, 45 minutes. I doused myself in water - and I mean DOUSED myself. I was soaking wet! I joked about limping to the finish, but was able to jog for about a mile. Then the leg shut down. I was able to keep up a decent walked pace, alongside the older guy. He was great - we were both keeping an eye on the time, I knew once we hit a trail junction that we only had 3.3 miles to go. He liked knowing that. He looked at his watch and realized that we might break 7:30! His PR for 50k was 7:30 on the flat, cool course at Sunmart this past winter, so he was excited to do it on this slightly hillier and much hotter course.

We shuffled along, excited at our time, and just kept going. His shins were hurting, but he would try to run when I would try. Mostly we just walked as fast as possible. We made it to the 1.5-mile point - so excited! Then we only had .9 to go. We could see the sun glinting off the windshields of the cars. I wanted to run so bad, but he held me back, knowing I couldn't keep it up for long and we wanted to finish strong. Finally, he said, "okay, let's go!" and we ran to the finish. We tied for last place, in 7:22:24!!!!!

I LOVED it. I so want to do another one. I had decided beforehand that I didn't want to do another one until Zane Grey 2007, because I wanted to get stronger, and it's tough to have two ultrarunners in one busy family. But now I want to do one in the fall!!!

I loved the support - the volunteers cheered, "Yay Angie!" as I came into the aid stations, everyone was smiling. I loved being told I did a great job, even when I came in last. I finally found out the name of the older guy right before he left - Clint. I got two blisters, yikes! Because I kept dousing myself in water, I got lots of chafing - my arm pits, my entire sports bra line (especially in the back, it's all welted up), my feet, etc.

My mom's new hot tub was not heated yet, so I took an ice dip! It was so cold, I was crying as I got in. But it felt good.

I am very sore today. I can barely move. Ibuprofen is helping. I feel great, though, it's so exciting! I am an ultrarunner! I am an athlete! And most of all,

"I AM"

Day before my first ultra

| 6 Comments
What I found in the bathroom. Too cute.

(the hotel has wi-fi! woo hoo!!!! and thanks for all the well-wishes!!!!!!)

So we headed up to Phoenix on Thursday afternoon, a day earlier than we expected, due to the memorial service for my late step-grandmother. Ash has not experienced human death before, so this was a new, and somewhat scary, evening for him. They had an open casket, which I found very difficult. Ash had a tough time with the service ? he didn?t understand what was going on. He and Johnny were in and out of the building, since Ash didn?t want to have to keep quiet. He has a tendency to narrate his life, from the moment he wakes up until his eyes fall closed at night. And if he comes upon an experience he cannot narrate, he asks many questions to understand what is going on. As we were buckling him into his car seat after the memorial, I commented on something about how he was talking so well, and he told me,

?I just have so many words in my tummy!?

Brilliant.

So we managed to wind our way north from Mesa to Fountain Hills, and find our hotel. It was 8:30 by the time we got into our room, and about an hour and a half past Ash?s bedtime ? but the pool looked so inviting, we had to go! We quickly changed into our swimsuits and ran downstairs to enjoy the pool and Jacuzzi before it closed at 9 p.m. The Jacuzzi was amazing ? the perfect temperature. I was disappointed that we weren?t staying at the hotel Saturday night ? it would have been the best ending to 31 miles of running. Alas, I had counted on my mom?s hot tub being completed, but it was not. :( No hot tub for me after my first ultra.

We woke up bright and early this morning, even though Ash got to bed very late. Darn it! He was exhausted, and so are Johnny and I ? none of us got much sleep with all the coughing between Ash and I. Johnny wanted a long run, so we all headed up to Pemberton so Johnny could do one loop, while Ash and I hung out.

Start/Finish

I really enjoyed being able to soak in the trailhead, temperature, staging area, desert, etc. beforehand. It was reassuring. Ash and I climbed a ?mountain? and I got to take great pictures of the entire 15.5-mile loop. We played soccer and watched a horse, cyclists and a hawk. Unfortunately, Ash fell asleep on the way back to the hotel room ? and woke up once we got there. Yikes! No nap + exhausted child = pain for the parents. *sigh*

So as I write this, Johnny and Ash are down at the pool, playing in the hot sun and I am eating a huge chunk of multigrain bread (yummy)and drinking Gatorade endurance. I am prepared for the race tomorrow. I have a few logistics left to think about, but overall, I am ready. Ready to go to bed early with Ash tonight, ready to get up early, ready to run 31 miles ? my body is craving it.

Someone asked me what lesson/memory/intention I wanted to take from this race ? and even a week ago, I would have replied, ?I want to do this to say, see, I am strong. I am confident/capable/athletic/not lazy.? But after this crazy week, with all the panic/fear/emotional roller-coaster I have gone through ? i.e. LIFE ? I have decided that what I want to take/remember/learn from this experience is merely, ?I AM.?

Feeling better today. Whew! Thank you everyone for your support. I know I will be able to do this.

Last night, Johnny and I sat down and concentrated on mapping out realistic split times, to give me an idea of what kind of pace I'll need to maintain to finish under 8 hours. I think I can do it - I just need to make sure I keep my pit stops to a minimum and keep them quick. I feel reassured after assessing the timing.

I ran last night! It was about 2.5 miles, at a relatively lively pace. I didn't have my watch with me, so I'm not sure how fast I went, but it felt good. I upped the HR a few times, and then slowed down to feel the recovery - just to see how my body would respond, and it did well. It was a reassuring run - my legs felt strong, my body felt confident and the cold didn't really seem to affect my performance. Thank goodness. I'm so glad I got out! And it hadn't been a full week since I ran - I was off in my last post. I ran last Friday, and then yesterday (Tuesday). So I went three days without running (geez, and it felt like a week! think I'm in withdrawl).

With the memorial service for my grandmother in Mesa on Thursday evening, we are heading up a day earlier than previously planned (going up on Thursday afternoon, instead of Friday afternoon). We'll have all day Friday to relax. Johnny wants to get in a long run, so we'll head out to the race course, and he can get in a two-hour run while Ash and I play. I'm actually really glad that things are turning out this way. Plus, I'll get to check on my neice to see how she's doing.

The hotel we're staying at only has dial-up (gasp!), but I should be able to use my mom's computer to access the Net. If I don't get a chance to log on until after the race (highly unlikely), I want to say GOOD LUCK to DirtRunner and BadBen on their Rocky Raccoon 100-miler on Saturday!!! (and GOOD LUCK to anyone else out racing this weekend!)

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