June 2006 Archives

...tomorrow morning at 11 a.m.!

That was quick. I think it helps that my doctor's husband is a general surgeon. She asked me a few questions, had her assistant track down the sonogram taken of my gallstone 18 months ago, placed a call to her husband, and presto! I'm in to see the surgeon tomorrow. This will be a consultation, but he already told her that he won't need an additional sonogram - having the one that shows I have a gallstone (which rarely go away) combined with the pain I'm experiencing means there's no worries - he'll be taking it out shortly.

Surgery is scheduled next Friday, July 7. Woo hoo!!!

Bear with me over the next week or so as I say farewell to a piece of my body. It is so tied into who I've become over the last 18 months, I don't think I can say goodbye in just one or two posts.

I would not be an ultrarunner today if I had not developed gallbladder disease...
Jan. 1, 2005:
Jan. 1 2005, Angie has lost a little weight

April 2006, 65 pounds later:
Mama and Ash

Jan. 1, 2005:
Jan. 1 2005, Angie has lost 10ish pounds already

Feb. 4, 2006, at Pemberton 50k, 65 pounds later:
Coming into the mid aid station at Pemberton

Jan. 15, 2005: I've lost about 10 pounds from gallbladder disease:
Jan. 15, 2005, Angie has lost a few more pounds

June 10, 2006, at Sugar & Spice 32 mile Ultramarathon, 70 pounds and 850+ miles later:
Angie exhaustedly recreates her finish

Jan. 15, 2005:
Jan. 15, 2005, Angie is beginning to lose weight

May 2006:
I lost this much...

I am glad that I am healthier, that I am a runner, that I have learned to take care of myself, that I have broken my food addiction. I am the same person I was 18 months ago, yet I am so different.

This is a day for reflection; a beautiful, patient, wise woman in my life is moving away. I am grieving because she will no longer be in my life. She has seen me from the beginning of this journey. She helped me learn that I was a valid and worthy person at 200 pounds; that I am a valid and worthy person at 130 pounds. She facilitated my recovery from PTSD, and taught me how to be strong, how to utilize the resources around me, how to live and have hope for the future. She taught me how to listen to my body, to hear what it was telling me, to not be afraid of the messages it was sending me. She taught me that it's okay to love, to cry, to care, to dance, to move, to express myself. She taught me that everything in life ebbs and flows, like the moon and tides. She helped me discover my voice, my passions, my integrity. She says I did all the work, but I could not have done it without her. Thank you Monica. For everything. Namaste.

I fell asleep last night with a smile on my face, in anticipation of a run the following morning. Finally, the spark is returning. With his uncanny knack for telepathically knowing when Mama is planning on running, Ash woke up 15 minutes before my alarm sounded. Thankfully, I was able to get him back to sleep in his own bed before I got ready for the run (although he still woke up when I left).

Paki and I headed out for a beautiful run. She had much to talk about, and my legs felt great, so we kept going and going and going...before I knew it, we were back at her house - 50 minutes later! I was not expecting that. I was thinking 2ish miles, 25ish minutes. It felt GREAT.

The doctor appointment in tomorrow - I sure hope she can refer me to a surgeon and I can get this puppy taken out soon! I wrote a little about my fears surrounding it to a friend this morning, here's an excerpt:
I’m hoping they can get me through the whole paperwork/doctor referral/medical system thing quickly. I’m assuming the doc will want a new sonogram, since the last one identifying the gallstone was over 18 months ago. Once they confirm the diagnosis, I’m thinking she’ll refer me to a surgeon. I’m hoping the surgeon will be able to see me quickly, but I’m afraid they are going to say, “well, you seem to be controlling it fine, and you are in no danger, so we can fit you in...in December.” Yikes! I can’t wait that long! I’m worried they’ll think something along the lines of, “well, you’ve already waited this long, another few months won’t hurt.”

... At first, I didn’t want to have my gallbladder removed. I hate hospitals, and didn’t feel comfortable removing a part of my body, especially since I was able to control the pain through my diet. It was hard, but I was finally able to break my addiction to fatty foods. I felt like I couldn’t control myself through willpower alone. But now, I’ve lost 70 lbs, and even eating low-fat, it’s aching. So now I feel like it’s better to remove it – even if I can’t eat fatty foods again after it’s taken out (some people can, some people can’t – it can cause diarrhea), I still look forward to ridding myself of the pain! I feel comfortable monitoring my food intake, and I think I can handle the possibility of eating fatty foods again – I don’t think I’ll end up obese again. Plus, I have the running now that I love. So the gallbladder disease really helped me change my lifestyle, and now I’m ready to handle that lifestyle on my own...

Recently heard in our house:
"I'm not a hippy, I'm just a caveman."
Johnny, referring to his big hair and bushy beard

"You are my pet daddy."
Ash, referring to how Johnny is not his *toy* but his *pet*

On a different note,Michelle tagged me...here goes:

4 jobs I've had:
Fabric store clerk
Housekeeper at a ski resort
Summer camp counselor

4 movies I watch over and over:
I <3 Huckabees
Sound of Music
Moulin Rouge
The Wiggles (courtesy of Ash)

4 Places I have lived:
(Just four???)
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Saranac Lake, NY
Tacoma, WA
Salinas, CA

4 TV shows I watch:
(Don't have TV currently, but when I did, I watched...)
Amazing Race
American Idol
Weather channel

4 Places I've been on Vacation:
Bellevue, KY
Big Bear Lake, CA
Mammoth Lakes, CA

4 Websites I visit everyday:
runners world forums

4 Favorite Foods:
(Ones that I can eat? Or ones I just love?)
My mom's tacos and burritos
Hummus and pita
Chocolate brownie zbars
Life cereal

4 Places I'd rather be right now:
Barnes & Noble
The mountains

4 Favorite Bands/Singers:
The Posies
KT Tunstall
Hot Hot Heat

4 Bloggers I'll tag:
Sarah in Oregon
Kim in Ohio
Matt in SoCal
Jessica in SoCal

Zero mileage week


So, how’d the hike go? Well, it didn’t. I woke up Saturday morning to a head cold, and Ash wasn’t feeling so hot either (although Johnny maintains Ash just has allergies…). We spent a miserable few hours trying to figure out what the heck to do while moaning and groaning about the heat. If it were cooler, we could just go hang out downtown or out in the wild somewhere. Finally, we decided to take turns watching Ash so Johnny and I could each get a little bit of a break. I enjoyed my break by reading a novel (start to finish, woo hoo!) and resting my weary head. Johnny took his break the following day by hiking up to Linda Vista Saddle in the heat, whew. We also decided to buy a bike for Ash. He’s been tricycling everywhere lately, and we figured it was bike time. Ash loves it! I’ll have to post pictures…

We had a blast last night at a birthday party for Mike’s son. And, no, Mike did not shave his beard as of last night, even though he got 100 miles last week.

Also over the weekend, Johnny was able to finalize plans to crew and possibly pace a friend at the Hardrock 100 next month. He is very excited – he loves the mountains of Colorado and wishes we could live in Silverton. He knew he wasn’t trained to do a 100 this summer (even though he wanted to) so he’s doing the next best thing. He’ll get to spend close to a week up in the mountains, while Ash and I stay home. So it’s a big deal, yay for Johnny!

With the gallbladder and cold, I got zero miles this week. I’m not sure how I feel about that. On one hand, I think now’s the time to rest. On the other hand, I’m afraid of losing fitness. But if I’m going to get my gallbladder out, I’ll be out of commission for at least two or three weeks, and then start back up slowly. So will miles right now have any training benefit anyway? Well, maybe not training benefit, but I’m sure they’d have mental benefits. Any other benefits? I don’t know. Am I hurting myself or future training plans by not running? I don’t know.

That being said, this morning is the first time since S&S that I actually feel excited about running and/or training again. The spark is finally beginning to come back. So I’m planning on going out tomorrow morning with Paki, even though I’m still recovering from the cold. We’ll see.

PS Weetabix is a popular cereal in the UK that I had heard about via books, movies, etc. So when I saw it in Trader Joe’s, I just had to pick up a box. It’s sort of like original shredded wheat (the big biscuit kind), only it’s more flaked than shredded.

PPS Don't forget to congratulate Jack for finishing his first 50 miler and Olga for making it through this year's brutal Western States Endurance Run (100 miles)!

Okay, that’s it! I’m done with my “no-running” experiment. I decided this week because I’m still fatigued from S&S and also from my gallbladder, I was going to take it easy and not run (unless Ash happened to wake me up on time and I felt like going).

Well, that was a load of bull.

I still feel just as cranky and just as tired as I do when I wake up early to run. The bad part? My body hurts EVEN MORE!!! A crick in my neck, my knees feel stiff and sore and my head, oh my aching head… Not to mention the disappointment scrawled across Paki’s face as I walk into work having missed our morning run together.

Of course, my gallbladder is still aching, and the gas is getting much worse. I’m down to eating about 150 calories about every hour or two, to keep the pain at a minimum. I can’t *wait* for the doctor’s appointment. (Thank you Michelle for the info on the surgery!) On a good note, I’ve discovered Weetabix. Yummy in my tummy!

So here’s the new plan: Wake up with Ash each day except Saturday (sleep-in day). Go running with Paki twice a week. That gives Johnny four sleep-in days a week, which should help him feel more refreshed and recovered. I’ll feel better because I’ll be on a regular schedule of getting up in the morning (which I really do prefer; I’ve always been an early bird rather than a night owl).

I think we’ll be heading up Mt. Lemmon tomorrow to go for a family hike – something we haven’t done in ages! I’m looking forward to it.

That's it! I've had enough. Pooey on the gallbladder. I made an appointment with my doctor next week to discuss having it removed. I was getting so sick and tired of the constant dull ache today that I was seriously considering eating a large pizza with extra cheese to send my gallbladder into emergency mode, so I could make a trip to the ER to have it removed. *sigh* After expressing this wish to Paki and my boss, I realized I really shouldn't. I keep trying to convince myself that I really really shouldn't.

Needless to say, my running has suffered. I'm glad I'm in recovery mode! The miles aren't crucial right now; resting is. Perfect timing to have the gallbladder removed; I'll have plenty of recovery time before OP50.

Speaking of OP50, I am seriously considering changing my training plans. Instead of one 16-week cycle culminating in the Soul Run 50k followed by a 16-week cycle culminating in OP50, I think I will take more time off now, in the hot hot summer. Get my gallbladder taken out, take a rest season for the first time since I started training. Then I can begin training for OP50. My thoughts are to do two cycles, both leading to 50+ mileage weeks. Hopefully, the second cycle will have close to 75 mpw during the monster month of mid-Jan to mid-Feb. It will also hopefully include a very cool marathon as a long run. (Here I go again, promoting races on my blog! This one is put on by a fellow blogger with whom I am planning on running around Lake Superior with - 135 miles in 5 days. Okay, that's a total tangent. Back to the marathon - it's Jess's first shot at being an RD, it's in SoCal, it's trails, and it's put on by a fellow blogger. Run it!)

During this rest time, I think I'll focus on hiking steep trails on the weekends with Johnny and Ash, maybe throw some backpacking in there, and then do nice, easy runs with Paki two mornings a week. Maybe start doing spinning once or twice a week, and really focus on yoga. Of course, during recovery from gallbladder surgery, I'll have to really rest, not just cross-train rest.

Thoughts? Ideas? Advice?

Beautiful Morning Run


I scheduled a run at Sabino with Kiera this morning, a nice recovery run on trails and roads. Ash is still on Kentucky time, which meant he fell asleep yesterday afternoon on the couch at 4:15 p.m. while I clipped his toenails, and did not wake up until 4:15 this morning. Yikes! Because I was up so early, I went ahead and made my 20 oz half-caf coffee and ate a zbar before my run.

My warm-up consisted of wild dancing to the Offspring with Ash, then speeding over to Sabino Canyon to meet Kiera on time (I was two minutes late).

We headed out for a nice 3.5 miles. It was a beautiful morning. The trails and roads were crowded; at one point we almost had to elbow our way through a group of 10 people strung out across the tram road! Goodness. Other than that, the run was at a nice pace, with great conversation. It was a relaxing morning, overall.

My legs are recovering well, but my gallbladder has been achy. (That didn't keep me from eating a half of one of Kiera's famous scones this morning, though, mmm.) I think it's just cleaning itself out. I stretched last night, and used the foam roller, which felt great. I hope the post-race blues pass soon, and my spark comes back. This morning was encouraging toward that end.

Johnny went out running this past week - first time in awhile! He even posted to his blog. Johnny, if you are reading this, happy father's day and we love you! You are an awesome father, and I am proud to call you my husband, my partner.



I took my first recovery run this morning; it went well. Paki and I met early this morning, and ran about 1.5 miles, then walked the remaining .75 after my right hamstring got tight. Overall, it was good.

My recovery hasn't been very "good." It's consisted of hardly any sleep, long car and airplane rides, one looong walk around Newport/Cincinnati on Monday, drinking hardly any water, no stretching and no antioxidants until Tuesday (oops). I'm trying to correct this: I stretched last night, I ran/walked this morning, I stretched this morning, I've been trying to down at least 64 oz of water daily, and I've been taking my antioxidants each night since Tuesday night. I'm not getting much sleep still, but hopefully we'll get back into the swing of things over the next couple of days. Of course, PMSing doesn't help things :(

Check out dirty girl gaiters - since she donated the gaitors to S&S, she asked to put one of the pictures I took on her Web site, too cool!

I'm beginning to look to the future - how do I want to train this next cycle? I know I need some strength training...

Whew, we are back in Tucson. It is good to be home.

A few things I forgot to mention in the previous report:
1. KT Tunstall was my companion on this trip. I kept singing the chorus and bridge to "Miniature Disasters" over and over and over for eight freakin' hours. It's a good thing I like KT Tunstall :)
Miniature disasters/minor catastrophes/bring me to my knees/and I must be my own master/or a miniature disaster/will be, oh oh, will be the death of me....and I need to be patient/I need to be brave/I need to discover/how I need to behave/and I'll find out the answers/When I know what to ask/I speak a different language/and everybody's talking too fast

2. No ticks! No insect bites! No poison ivy! No shoes lost in the mud! (Only Johnny got poison ivy - just a little on one of his toes)

3. Only one spot of chafing - my lower back, where my pack rides. Ouch!!! Bodyglide works wonders even post-race :)

4. And here I thought I was one tough chick. Sure, I can run in heat. I can run with rattlesnakes, scorpions and spiny cactus just waiting to poke me. But put me in the woods, where there are bugs, poison ivy and mud, and I'm a nervous mess. I was so scared! All's well that end's well, though.

5. This is the Nikki I reference below (I couldn't put the hyperlink in while I was in Kentucky). Here are the pics her hubby, Gary, took of the course and a few finishers.


7. Uh, I thought I had more thoughts. Maybe it's the four hours of sleep and six hours of plane ride that is causing the short circuit in my brain. Anyway, enjoy a few select pics:
Angie in her S&S 50k Jacket
Runners of the Sugar & Spice 50k
Pre-race snuggles from Ash
Angie exhaustedly recreates her finish

PS the last thing was my splits! I counted my AS time at the end of each split. So the first split counts my first AS stop, second split counts the second AS, and so on.
Start to AS 1 (6 miles) = 1:26.50 (taking it easy)
AS 1 to AS 2 (6 miles) = 1:41.49 (mud)
AS 2 to Turnaround (4 miles) = 57.16 (includes longest AS break at half-way point)
Turnaround to AS 4 (aka AS 2) = 1:00.28 (includes a few minutes of doubling back to Johnny for hugs/kisses/pictures) (total time at half-way: 4:05)
AS 4 (aka AS 2) to AS 5 (aka AS 1) = 1:48.33 (muddy, tired)
AS 5 (aka AS 1) to Finish! = 1:26.35 (Negative split on this section, holy cow! I guess I really wanted to be done!) (Total finish time: 8:21.36)

Update (yes, already!)
I remembered another thing - the official race results from Herb via e-mail to ultralist:
32 mi Tles, hilly trails, nice weather

1 Annette Bednosky 39, NC 5:33:20
2 Karen Clark 38, KY 8:03:31
3 Rhonda Hampton 45, NC 8:03:53
4 Angie Lyons 28, AZ 8:21:36
5 Lynn Phillips 45, KY 8:30:32
5 Tara Weinel 28, KY 8:30:32
7 Donna Creditor 45, IL 8:47:01
7 Gail Gibson 43, GA 8:47:01
7 Carrie Young 45, IL 8:47:01
10 Frances Connolly 45, IL 8:53:11
10 Saori Hanaki 32, KY 8:53:11
10 Mary Jerde 51, KY 8:53:11
10 Kathe Mattingly 45, KY 8:53:11
14 Tonya Siltman 35, IL 9:34:13
Susan Donnelly 43, TN 20 mi
Elisa Mitchell 38, KY 26 mi
Nikki Ditsch 25, KY volunteered
Tamara Smith 49, OH volunteered

Hello all,

What a nice way to spend my birthday hosting this run.
Herb (going camping this weekend) Hedgecock

Redneck Wisdom For The Day:
There must be something to getting two cookbooks
and a breadmaker for birthday gifts.

S&S = Spectacular and Sweet

Are you ready for the results???

Here you go:

8:21 and 4th place

Yes, you read that right. I finished it in 8 hours and 21 minutes and placed fourth.

Pictures will be posted later this week (after we get home).

2006 Sugar & Spice Ultramarathon Race Report Proper:
We arrived at Cave Run Lake Friday afternoon, and had a blast eating popsicles on the beach while Ash splashed in the water. We headed over to campsite E-79 to join the pre-race festivities: a potluck with bread, pasta, bread, homemade chocolate cake, bread, hummus and pita (my contribution), bread, salad and did I mention bread? I had fun getting to know the other runners - quite a few were from the region, and one had run the race last year. Annette Bednosky was really sweet, and asked me about Zane Grey (which she was supposed to do this year, but didn't b/c of her hamstring). Dinner was quite delicious. The RD, Herb Hedgecock, even made sure to bring fat-free dressing for me for the salad! (Johnny had e-mailed him earlier regarding the gallbladder issues.) I thought that was really awesome.

We got a rundown on the trail conditions, and directions for the first little bit of the race, which was on the road. I joked with a fellow runner, "Okay, you're taking notes - I'm following you!"

We headed back to the campsite, and I spent quite some time prepping everything for the race before heading to bed.

I awoke on time Saturday morning, after a non-restful night of sleeping in a tiny camper with my father-in-law, Ash and Johnny. (Ash wet the bed, Johnny's dad didn't fit in his bunk, I couldn't sleep.) I quickly grabbed my gear and headed up the hill to the bathrooms, where I brushed my teeth, chowed on a power bar and applied sunscreen while the friendly neighborhood cockroach kept me company.

Back at camp, I dressed while Johnny's dad warmed himself by the fire. Johnny and Ash quickly prepped, and we headed over to Herb's campsite. Johnny sprayed me with bug spray, I filled my water bottles, lots of people took lots of pictures, the runners presented Herb with a birthday card made out of hotel paper that we all signed that morning, Herb said, "Are you all ready? Okay, go" and we were off.

The first bit was on hilly road, and most everyone took off. Another runner and I joked, "Isn't this an ultra? You're supposed to walk the hills!" Because I was running my own race, I didn't worry about the fact that everyone was ahead of me already. I walked the ups, and soon we were at the trail.

What a beautiful trail. Undulating through green forest, with glimpses of the lake through the myriad of trees, the trail followed the lake shore for quite a few miles. It was so different from desert running! Green trees, soft dirt, softer leaves, no rocks - and most different of all - the gentle undulation. Where I live, the trails all go straight up, then you turn around and come back down. None of this up-and-down, up-and-down stuff.

While scared of ticks and mud, I failed to realize the final horror: poison ivy. I am scared to death of poison ivy. I am so allergic to poison oak, as a kid my face swelled so huge to an allergic reaction, my eyes were swelled shut! For the first few miles, I thought I was running through solid poison ivy - that it was getting on my water bottles, gel flasks, face and hat. Yuck.

I was quickly passed by the last runner, putting me in last place - as usual. I didn't worry about it. I was just enjoying the fact that I could see two runners about 100 feet in front of me every few minutes as the trail twisted and turned. I was also laughing that you sure could tell it was a woman's race - the chatter up ahead was non-stop! I could hear everyone strung out in front of me as the trail wound into and out of nooks and crannies.

Each aid station was reached via a steep, 400-foot climb. The first climb was a doozy! And then I was there - last one in, but plenty of people still hanging out at the aid station. I topped off my water bottles, and took off, getting awesome encouragement from Nikki, who couldn't run the race due to an achilles injury but was manning an aid station. I launched off down the hill back to the lakeshore, and quickly caught Lynn and Tara - two super-fun, super-nice runners from Lexington, KY, who were friends with Nikki. I stayed with them on the downhill, but decided I couldn't hang with them on the undulating lakeshore portion - I tried, but it was just too fast for me; I knew I'd burn out quickly.

Another pack of runners caught up and passed me, once again, I hung with them for awhile, but couldn't keep the pace. I had to take a bathroom break, and was passed by the two women who had stayed about 100 feet in front of me on the last section. I kept them in sight on this section as well, and that helped me to feel safer.

I was wondering what Herb had been talking about when he mentioned a half-mile section of mud, because I kept encountering muddy sections of trail. I thought, "Wow, if he didn't mention these parts, then that section must be horrible!" And it was. Hog's Pen Trail equaled a half-mile of shoe-sucking mud. I was so grateful for the dirty girl gaitors given out the night before; what awesome swag to use in the race! Of course, I was bummed that the sparkly pink wouldn't be as sparkly once it was covered in mud...

The pace was sooo slow through here. I'm used to rocky desert trails, not ankle-deep mud! I managed to navigate my way through here. It would have been such a great, runnable trail, too, had it not been so muddy. Of course, the flatness of it was probably why it was so muddy!

I was a little tired in here, and felt like it was too early for me to be feeling down, and asking the question, "why do I do this?"

We headed up, up, up to the next aid station, and it started pouring rain! Rain! Water from the sky! I realized I was ahead of schedule - quite ahead, as a matter of fact! I was a little worried that I would burn out, or that I was pushing too hard, but I still felt good, so I kept going. Once again, I caught up to everyone at the AS, and quickly launched off down the hill after topping off my water bottles and grabbing watermelon to go (oh yeah, and getting my picture taken, too). Lynn and Tara were cheering me on at each aid station (fun!), and Nikki had traveled over to this AS and gave me cheers too!

Once again, I was thanking the Tucson trails for training me how to run fast, rocky descents. I flew all the way down, and was enjoying a beautiful "holler" (canyon in my desert language) when along came Annette, looking good. I stepped off the trail to let her by, and admired her efficient gait. I want to learn how to do that! It was in this section that I slid down a rock (hell-o, rocks are slippery when wet!), and gave myself whiplash as I tried to not fall.

As I hammered on up to the turnaround, I began to wonder where the rest of the front of the pack was. I headed up, up, up again, and finally came to the second-place woman - who had fallen and was worried she tore her hamstring, poor thing! She decided to keep going to the next aid station. I felt so bad for her. With less than a mile to go, I passed the third and fourth placed women, and a pack of runners caught up to me.

Realizing I was way ahead of my 10-hour schedule at this point, I hoped my family would be at the turnaround - and they weren't! At least Dad's car was there, so I was able to get my gel flasks for the return and also grab a zbar. I sat down in a chair for 30 seconds (ahhhh) as everyone arrived, and decided to head back down the trail.

As I came out from a side trail on to a gravel road that led to the next trail, I heard honking. I turned around and saw Lynn and Tara waving at...Johnny in Dad's truck! My family!!!! I was so excited, I turned right around and headed back up to them. I got kisses and a few pictures, and headed back down the trail. I felt so much better, even though I knew that added a few minutes to my time.

Back down, down, down. I don't remember much about this four miles as I went down, other than I felt full and slow from digesting the zbar. I felt achy and tired, and I remember congratulating myself that I had made it that far. I think it was in here that I fell and got a little blood on one knee. I felt lost in here, and was so grateful for the awesome trail markings. Herb had mentioned at the dinner the night before, "if you've gone 10 minutes and haven't seen a ribbon, then you're on the wrong trail," and he was right. I'd start to get nervous, wait a few mintues, and there was a ribbon, oh, so reassuring.

I climbed up, up, up to the AS (2 and 4), where I found Lynn and Tara, who once again gave me cheers. We talked a little about the trail we just experienced as I topped off my water bottles, grabbed some watermelon and took off down, down, down (sound familiar?). I think Lynn and Tara passed me on the trail; I don't really recall this section much either. I know the mud felt worse this time around. I was tired, achy, and bonking still. I remember realizing that I thought I was going faster than I actually was - a common misstep I make. I knew I still had many miles to go to the next AS, but I felt like I was closer. Dangerous territory. I started feeling like I was ready to be done. I wanted it to be over.

Then I realized the only way it was going to be over was if I ran it. I had to keep going! I could feel that I had reserves in me. I think it was all the heat training that I did. The heat training helped me realize that I could really keep going, even when I felt like I wanted to stop.

So I coached myself. I used a mixture of compassion, reality and firm discipline to keep myself going. I figured out that I could make 9 hours with how I was going, but that meant I had to keep it up for the next 2.5 miles. I took the two ibuprofen I had saved in case I needed them (only two, I didn't want to hurt myself!). I set a time goal for how long I wanted it to take me, and then started hammering away. One foot in front of the other. Keep going. Keep moving those feet up, up, up. Let's go. You can do it.

I did it. I made it to the final AS - before my time goal. Lynn and Tara were there, along with Nikki an dher adorable puppy who would run the final 6 miles with them. When I said, "I think I might actually make 9 hours!" Nikki replied, "Yeah, I think so!" as though it was a no-brainer (at this point, I still thought it was just a chance). Grabbing water and some more watermelon, I took off down, down, down to the sound of an awesome cheering squad.

I had two hours to go six miles to make nine hours. I wasn't sure I could. What if I hurt myself? What if the pain became too great? I did not want to count on nine hours, have it not happen and be heartbroken. I decided my best course of action was to continue running for as long I could. I ran all the ups and downs of this very up-and-down section. I tried to copy Scott Jurek's form (I had seen a picture recently), and tried to focus on quick turnover. I tried to remember to keep my feet up, so I wouldn't trip. I felt like the energizer bunny; I kept going, and going, and going.

I saw a sign that said 3.5 miles to a trail junction, and set a time goal. Make that junction by 3, and you'll have just under an hour to go 2.5 miles. The 2.5 miles to the finish was a guestimation. I figured it was a little generous, but should be about right. After the junction, I thought I'd have 1.5 miles to the road, then a mile on the road to the finish. So I ran to a mantra: three-point-five/one-point-five/one, two, three, four. I repeated that for about 45 minutes, then kept checking my watch and checking my watch. Then I started repeating: it will come when it will come. Meaning the trail junction will come whenever I reach it. I needed to relax about the time!!!

Three o'clock came and went with no sign of the junction. I was severly disappointed, but kept repeating: it will come when it will come. 3:05 and it appeared, woo hoo!!! It brought even better news: the road was only a half-mile away. You read that right, 0.5 not 1.5! Yay!!!

That half-mile was so long. Finally, the road appeared, with beautiful white daisys lining the trail entrance. I grabbed a daisy for Ash and hammered up the road. There were a couple hills, most of which I ran. I ran so fast on this section! I got honked at by either a volunteer or crew, and knew I was so close. I saw the turn into the E-loop, the turn down into the campground, the first two campsites, and then - there it was - the finish line!!! I searched for Johnny's big hair as I flew down to the finish, and crossed the line as I watched Johnny drive away in Dad's truck. Oh, the most glorious and most heart-wrenching finish!

A fellow runner asked if she could get me anything, and I replied, "my family!" I looked at my watch and realized I finished in 8:21 - oh. my. god.

I wandered to the table loaded with goodies, then wandered back to the start/finish line. Suddenly, Dad's truck appeared - Johnny was back! Yay!!! Ash was sleeping, but Johnny got out and took pictures - I re-created my finish. Then, one of the runners informed me that not only did I smash my scheduled time, but I was in FOURTH PLACE!!!!!!

I sat down in a chair with the camera, took pictures and cheered for Lynn and Tara as they crossed the finish line. Nikki made it down without hurting her achilles, yay!

I took pictures of the rest of the finishers, ate a clif bar, talked with Johnny's dad who walked over just as Johnny left to pick him up, took more pictures, watched Dad leave and hung out with Johnny and Ash after they showed back up from not being able to find Dad. Finally, we left so I could shower off the poison ivy I was sure I was covered in, and they could pack up so we could head over to Beatyville to go see more family.

The post-race shower at the campground was crappy, and the drive to Beatyville was long, but the shower and dinner at Johnny's (younger) uncle's house was fanTAStic.

We are finally back at Dad's house in Bellvue, and we are all exhausted. I've been walking backwards down the stairs. All the long car rides have not helped my muscles; neither has sleeping with Ash. My knees hurt so bad. Last night I could barely sleep, and I worried that I really injured them. But today they seem okay. I've eaten loads of (mostly) fat-free foods.

I loved this race, and not just because I bettered my projected time by an hour and twenty minutes :) The course was well-marked, Herb was a great RD, my fellow runners were so much fun and the trails were awesome.

There are almost as many signs and there are trees in Kentucky. Everywhere I go, the signs are telling me, "No loud music," "No littering," "No this and that." I am surprised at the signs; there are so many signs telling me to be respectful of the people around me. Does this mean that the people around here have no respect for each other, hence the signs? They don't seem to listen to them; trucks with loud bass rumble by intermittently and even the playground is covered in cigarrette butts.

I cannot believe the amount of trees. It's all green here. There are tall trees, short trees, big trees, small trees. There's also a plant called "grass." It's short and very very green. I saw a man sitting on some sort of contraption that looked like it cut the "grass." Very strange indeed.

The whole ride from the airport to Johnny's dad's house, Ash was exclaming loudly, "Look! Trees! There are so many trees! It's a real forest! And there's fog!" Now how my son knows and recognizes fog is beyond me.

The air is cool and moist. Water falls from the sky for a long time sometimes - the locals call it "rain." I'm not used to "rain." In the desert, we get monsoons - lightning and thumder roars across the sky, and occainisonally (sp?) buckets of water dump from the sky for about five minutes. But "rain"? Very strange indeed.

I am enjoying Bellvue, KY. You can see downtown Cinci from Johnny's dad's neighborhood, and the Ohio River is just two blocks away.

I received an e-mail from the S&S RD - he said there are insects, ticks and mud on the course. I know what insects are; we have scorpions and beetles and all kinds of bugs in the desert. But I'm not sure about ticks. I heard they are a kind of bug that can burrow into your skin. I'm frightened of ticks. And "mud" ? I'm worried my time on the course will be much delayed if I have to run through this "mud." I've heard it's when dirt gets really wet and sucks your shoes off. I guess that sounds like the quicksand we have in the desert. Hm.

I checked the registrants for S&S before I left. Guess who's name I saw. Go ahead, guess! Oh fine, I guess I'll tell you: ANNETTE BEDNOSKY!!!! Holy cow, OMG, I am running with an ultrarunning legend (and the author of the "Greedy" article Olga posted and I elaborated on). Okay, so I'll be running with her for the first 30 seconds before she rockets off ahead of me. Sweet.

Ash missed his Grandpa. He raced through the airport, asking where Grandpa was. Finally, we saw him - Ash dropped his coloring book and marker and ran as fast as he could, shouting, "Grandpa! Grandpa!" Those two missed each other so much once Johnny's dad moved out here to Kentucky a few months ago.

I am tired and dehydrated, but oh, so excited about my race. My body is ready, my mind is ready. I will be taking a twoish-mile run today, and that'll be my last run before S&S. We went grocery shopping today, and prepped for the fun camping trip we'll be having this weekend.

I'm off to catch up on a few blogs before Ash and Johnny and Grandpa come back from the playground. Happy running!

Bottle of Blues


Four miles this morning in over 85 degrees F? No sweat, I've trained hard, I've ran long miles, I've run in the heat. I can do it.

Fast forward 26 minutes, when I've gone a whopping 2 miles at a 13-minute pace, and have to walk because of a wicked cramp.

Johnny and Ash came with me again. Ash fell asleep again (hm, maybe that's how we get him to take naps...). I walked again. A lot. I walked the entire 2 miles back to the car.

It was good, though. Johnny and I got to talk about everything bothering me. How scared I am of S&S. How I want Internet back so I can regularly talk to my running community. How I want to nurture myself while nurturing my familiy. How I don't know how to do that. How my body just wants almonds, sticky white rice and veggies. How I need more carbs. How I need to rest. How I'm feeling exhuasted every day, even without running. How stress builds up lactic acid. How I need to figure out strategy. How I need to relax and let go.

We ended on a sour note, though. We got into parenting, which is one of our hot spots. I'm glad we were able to disucss it, and I'm glad I voiced my opinions, thoughts and concerns. I'm glad Johnny listened, even though it was a frustrating and non-relaxing way to end the conversation.

On to the race day goals and strategy...
Race day = hot, humid, 32 miles on all single-track rooty trails, and either 4 climbs of 600 feet or 6 climbs of 400 feet (I can't remember which way), but total 2400 feet of vertical climb.

A. Finish in 12 hours (cut-off time)
B. Finish in 10 hours (my desired time)
C. Finish in 8 hours (dream time)

- two water bottles; one handheld, one in the waist pack
- start with three gel flasks, which will get me to the turnaround and only crew spot, where I'll switch three empties for three full flasks; one inside the waist pack, one in the flask spot on the waist pack, one in the front in my clip-on flask holder
- race outfit: montrail hardrocks, belaga socks, bike shorts that stick to my legs, waist pack (with napkins, tiny first aid/blister kit, chapstick, eye drops for contacts), either my nice white comfy adidas shirt or my nice orange comfy shirt, favorite vassarrette sports bra, sunglasses, white fleet feet cap
- eat pretzels or boiled potatoes at the aid stations, or whatever else fat-free salty carbs are available
- drink 20 oz water per hour
- swig one serving of gel every thirty minutes
- have duffel bag for turnaround, with extra socks (belaga and wright coolmax), extra shoes (old adrenalines, in case the hardrocks blow out), extra shorts (note: purchase extra bike shorts), extra shirt, extra sports bra, three gel flasks, extra tylenol, etc. (to be added to I'm sure)
- end of the race bag: towel for after I dunk in the lake (my ice bath!), dry comfy clothes, sandals!, clif or Z bar

I've mapped out my splits, but need a topo map of the area so I can figure out where the RD is putting the aid stations and can more accurately reflect my times into and out of the AS. Once I get those figured out, I'll post them.

Just so y'all know that I'm not going AWOL, I'm hoping to catch up on all my bloglines today (Saturday the 3rd), and maybe will get a chance tomorrow, then I'm out of town on Monday for work (June 5). I'm hoping to check back in on Tuesday at lunch (June 6), and then early Wednesday morning (june 7), we're off for Kentucky. Race day is next Saturday, one week - June 10. I don't know if Johnny's dad has Internet, so Tuesday might be my last day until the following Wednesday (June 14)!!! I hope I don't have to wait that long after S&S to give my race report.

Good luck to Mike and RunnerSusan (and anyone else) doing the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon tomorrow!!!


angie's essence...as explored by trail running (and mixed-media art)


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