Sunday, September 30, 2012

Get out of my way, gnats!!

What?  You talkin' to me???
I did a short 4.5 mile run to the Redman storage facility today to help sort some race stuff from last weekend. 
It wasn't far and I needed more time on my feet so I thought a quick run was a good idea...

....until I hit the lake...

....and the dam road (no, that's correct- it's a road on the dam, but today it was a damn road, too).

I have my Gymboss timer set to intervals of 3 min run and 1 min walk.  The first couple times it would beep for me to walk I would stop and immediately get swarmed by gnats.  Buzzing in my ears and in my nose and up inside my sunglasses and the little buggers even tried to get into my mouth and take the super expressway to the stomach. 

So what's a girl to do?  Do NOT stop to take walk breaks and just keep on running. 

At least it made me run faster... right???

Todays lesson:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Alone with my thoughts

That's the way every trail run is lately.  Just me and my thoughts.

I used to run with music EVERY time my feet hit the trail/pavement/sidewalk/road.  But lately I've been secretly enjoying listening to my own heavy breathing and nature (and also the mundane ramblings of the random thoughts in my head).  And there are plenty rattling around up in there.
Today I hit the trails with 4 girlfriends for an 8 mile run.  It was lightly raining when we started and the temps were cooler than usual, although the humidity was so thick it made it hard to breathe.  I managed to stay with them for, oh...about a half mile before I could no longer keep up.  I never mind being dropped off the back, tho.  In races or in training, I truly cherish the quiet alone time I have on the trails.  I don't have to keep up conversation (which always makes the breathing that much harder) and I don't have to worry about holding anyone back.  So I said goodbye and slowed my pace down to just slightly faster than a crawl... and settled in for the long miles ahead. 

The trails were hardly wet from the rain so I glided effortlessly (um... make that effortfully) through the twisty turns of the trail.  I hadn't run this particular set of trails in well over a year, so it was neat to get to see them again.  It was almost like running someplace brand new, and I relished the new scenery before me as I twisted, turned, climbed, descended and sailed along.

There were lots of nature visitors on the trail: deer, squirrels, and of course; turtles.  I saw a few just in the short time I was out there.  I almost stepped on this little guy as I bounded down a hill.  He was trail colored and easily blended in.  Watch out, little guy!
But hey, I get it, little dude.  I'm a trail turtle myself. ;)
I really enjoyed my run.  Cut some corners, jumped on another trail, ran by the lake and ran from imaginary zombies trying to eat me.  All in all a pretty good run coming in at just under 7 miles.  By the end of the run, the rain had really picked up and things were getting sloppy out there.  We changed out of our wet, soggy clothes and headed to lunch. 
Can't wait to run out there again!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rough Creek Half Marathon

So when the name of the race is Rough Creek and they warn you about the Rusty Crown over and over and over again... it probably means something. 

I drove down to Glen Rose, TX this weekend to run a little half marathon called the Rough Creek Half.  It was touted as being a fairly flat and easy race... except for 3 miles of the Rusty Crown.  The meanest, nastiest, soul-suckingest traverse of a mesa.  In retrospect, that 3 miles was fun, but at the time I didn't know it.  And I didn't know it right after the race either.  Only time has allowed me to realize what fun the Rusty Crown was.

The race itself was a pretty small field.  The full marathons and the 40 milers started a half hour before us little half marathon runners.  When we started I placed myself at the back of the pack (where I rightfully belong) and started nice and slow and easy.  The first couple miles were really nice and easy  And then I saw the Rusty Crown looming in the distance...
and then I got close and saw just how steep the climbs were
 It was actually fun in a torturous way climbing this thing.  There was no running uphill.  There was only walking/slogging/crawling and clawing your way up.  And that's what made it so fun!  It was 3 miles (from mile 3-6) of the course. The pic below is at the top of the first climb, heading back down.  I think we climbed to the top and then turned and came back down up and down and around that thing no less than about 10 times.  Each climb tougher than the last.
only halfway through the Rusty Crown... are we done yet? 
ruh roh... the biggest hill is right ahead of me.  I don't know if this picture makes it look as steep as it actually was, but it was STEEP.  I lost a calf muscle somewhere mid-climb.  I was on all fours slipping and climbing up this bad boy.  It was a beast, but I felt like jumping and shouting for joy when I reached the top
a woman behind me climbing on all fours getting up it
Running because this is an official race photo.  I wanted to pretend I was at least trying to run on the Crown.
Ahhhh...after finishing the Rusty Crown- a cheeseball hambone picture to show just how happy I was to have conquered it!!
I finished in 3:38.  Not exactly a speedy time, but considering the Rusty Crown had me doing three 25 minute miles, it's not so bad.  I was trashed after the Crown, but the rest of the course was flat and fast.  I had fun the rest of the time.
My finisher medal.  Pretty sweet, eh? hee hee
Overall it was a fantastic event.  This was the first year for this particular event and I had a ball.  They had yummy vegetarian tacos and fruit after the race, and I ate one and then headed off to Dallas to spend the evening with my sister who was in town from Virginia. 
This was my toughest half marathon EVER, and I'm pretty darn proud of this body for finishing and not collapsing somewhere out on the course to be wolf food.  Woot!!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Welcome to my blog

I decided to start this blog as a way of recording my new foray into trail running and all my adventures associated with it. 
This month I did my first ever trail race:  The Do Wacka Do in Erick, OK.  It was a 25K and it crossed a canyon about a billion times.  It was the hardest and most amazing thing I've ever done.  It was harder than my Ironman and just as amazing (maybe more).  I enjoyed it so much I thought I would chronicle my running adventures in a blog. 
I'm not a fast runner, I don't have a runner's body, I don't win...well, anything, but I LOVE being outside and moving.  Moving fast, moving slow, sometimes not moving at all and then moving again later.  I'm an endurance junkie.  I love to go long.  I love to be out there all day.  I love the feeling of challenging myself in ways I didn't know I was capable of being challenged.  Of feeling muscles burn and fatigue, of feeling so exhausted and mentally drained that the mere thought of what to eat seems like the hardest thing I've ever had to contemplate. 

I love to suffer.

I hope you'll enjoy my blog and my adventures.  Some will be interesting, some will be boring, some will be muddy and pointless.  But they'll all be mine. 


Below are some shots from Do Wack Do
 before the race with the best trail running friends you could ask for
 one of the many up and downhills of the canyon
 finishing my first trail race!
My finisher arm coolers and my sticker.  Yay me!!!