Sunday, March 28, 2010

Antelope Island 50 mile Buffalo Run report 2010, March 27th I am #1!

Wow, talk about my body rebelling! I mean this is the 3rd year I have run this course, and it is not the most difficult of 50 mile courses. I felt like shit run over by a tractor, dried out, and then beat to death with a muddy carpet!

But that is all part of the fun of ultra running! The thing that made me mad was that I was really faithful on following Elena's dietary, electrolyte, and fluid replacement recommendations, and I still felt horrible. It was a stressful week at the CJC, maybe that was part of it. My week started with Monday, being a day spent with a client in crisis, Thursday, some tough therapy sessions, and Friday, my boss having some heart issues that I was trying to help her with. Although I made sure I got sleep Thursday night, Friday did not go as planned. I had planned on leaving work at 5pm, getting my race packet from Striders , and then sleeping on the Island.
This did not work out because I was tied up until after 8pm, and so I finally left Lindon around 9pm. I stopped into Walmart to get some last minute food for my drop bags, and a meal for my 2am feast before the race. Elena is telling me to eat 200g of carbohydrates 3-4 hours before the start of the race, which means I have to wake myself up and eat, and then go back to sleep. I bought a hoggie from the Walmart pre-made food section, a Coke, and some other random stuff high in carbohydrates. I then went to the parking lot, and made a bed with my thick subzero sleeping bag that my parents gave us for Christmas a couple of years ago. I have been really glad to have these bags, because they make the back of my van very comfortable and I just sleep at the start line for races! This was especially important because the Island closes at dark, so camping on it was not an option.
The weather on Friday was scary. It was snowing, and the temp was freezing. I was worried, and I ended up packing a lot of warm weather clothes even though the forecast was nice for Saturday, I don't trust Utah because the weather often changes different than the weatherman predictions.
I ended up driving to the gate of the Island, and parking just off the side of the road to sleep. I was quite bushed, and I woke up without my alarm at the right time to eat, and then went back to sleep until 4:30. When I woke up that hoggie didn't feel right, and I thought I was going to hurl. I went and got my race bib. I have been the first person to register for two years in a row, making my bib number 1 for the second year in a row! It is funny to be number one, when that is the only time you have had that number as a finisher :) I drove to the start line where I spent 30 minutes in slow motion getting dressed, and then taking my drop bags to the start line.
Then Jim Skaggs, gets on the half working megaphone with whatever is on that hat of his (is that a Beaver or some kind of inbreed alien?) tells us where to run.... go that way for a while, and then turn that way, and then..... clear as mud...j/k. And then we start. The temp was cold, but not as cold as I thought it might start out. I was feeling horrible for the first 2.5 miles, and then I started to feel a little better, just having those indigestion burps that come up like rotten eggs, and make you want to hurl. I don't know if it was the sandwhich or the Village Inn lunch that I had eaten with another intern at the CJC earlier on Friday. Or maybe just the stress. I started doing better around the backloop. I still took it a little slow, because I always approach the first 13 miles of this course more conservatively and make up a lot of time later, at least that has worked in the past. got to Elephant Head, and I made that loop pretty quickly, and then picked up a lot of time down to White Rock Bay (around 19 miles) I did have a bit of trouble the last mile down to White Rock, but it was a psychological weird thing. I got to my drop bag, and stripped down to a tank top. It helped with the nausea to be more on the cool side. I saw my friend John Bozung taking pictures as I prepared for the next phase. I never take Advil in a race, I am too afraid of it effecting my kidneys, but I decided to take 400 mg because I had a muscle in my calf tightening and poping. That was a really strange feeling. It didn't hurt, it just popped for about a mile, and then it stopped. I walked up to mile 20, and then I ran again. I was doing fine until I hit mile 25, and then started to lose energy. I got to mile 27, changed my pants (I have a bad bladder leakage problem I wish I could figure out how to fix. So far I am working with a urologist and the medication he tried made it worse, and then my last appointment he was in surgery, so I won't get to have any other ideas until I go in this Friday. Yes, I know that is really probably TMI, but if you are a female you should know about this problem. It causes major chaffege, and it rather embarrassing.) I fueled up and was doing better for a couple of miles but then my energy bonked 3 miles from the Ranch.
I came into the Ranch feeling like I was going to pass out. I was mad, because I was not going to have another DNF, especially not on my easiest course of the year! When I got there, I figured out my blood sugar was low. I ate a whole PB&J, cookies, oranges, and I don't know what else! I ate a ton, went to the bathroom, and felt a bit better. I was still dizzy, but just took it slow back to the Lower Frary aid station. At this point I figured I could walk the course at 3 miles per hour or less, and still finish in under 12.5 hours. So I walk/ran, and then when I got to the aid station, my energy was gone again. I had been drinking water at a rate of 5-10 oz every 15 minutes consistantly throughout the course. I was doing 2 scaps per hour, and eating 30-60 grams of carbs at all the aid stations. I suspected at that point, that maybe my body was needing smaller amounts of carbs more frequently, instead of eating it all at once since I was eating enough, but crashing, and my urine was starting to smell like acetone.
I took a handful of dates and started on the last 11.5 mile stretch. I felt horrible, but nibbling on dates, did help keep my blood sugar more even. I had to stop a couple of times to regain my equalibrium, but I just kept an even walk/run pace. I got to the aidstation at mile 44, and was not feeling great, and my husband and kids where there to cheer me on. It was glad they were there, but it was funny because my body was so off at that point that hearing them yell actually made me more puky! It was like I couldn't handle any extra stimulation at that point. My husband was really nice and peeled me a whole orange, so I could carry some food with me and keep my blood sugar up. I felt week, but made it to the Bridger Bay campground at mile 45.8 where John Bozung was there and gave me some Enlighten strips. I have not been a believer in them as being more special then Scaps, but I am wondering if because I hate drinking electrolyte drinks, and get most of my electrolytes from scaps, if it is not all absorbing fast enough. I might actually have to try to have some of those on the next race, and see if I stay more even!
The last 4 miles was hell! I was having major breathing issues. I seem to have this problem on dusty trails. At the end I feel like I am drowning in fluid. The funny thing was, my legs felt just fine the whole race, but between my energy dips, and lung issues, running was hard. So I was slow the last 4 miles, but I made it in 12:08 and was happy to be done with this one! I was more happy that I didn't listen to my mind and DNF.
So I think I am learning a few things about my body from this race. I need to eat carbs every 15 minutes, I need a faster absorbing source of electrolytes with teh scaps. I think the biggest thing that made it harder was that my last race was at the end of October, and my training has not been great in the winter. So this is like waking my body out of hybernation. After I had a tough time on Bear last year, I ran St. George marthon 1 week later, and felt fine, and did a fight the next week, and then ran OV 50 the next week. OV 50 was my easiest course all year. I did a PR on that course even though I felt like I was not putting much effort into speed because I was only out to have fun and finish that one! I took off 25 minutes of that course, and probably could have taken off a lot more time if I would have actually been trying :)
I am sure my body will adapt now. From this point on, I have at least 1 50 mile course, event, or activity planed until the end of October, and I think my body will do better. It seems like the closer the runs are, the better my body adapts, and does not crash. A winter full of grad school, and fewer long runs made this a hard course. But it was still a great day, and I am glad I finished! This is my 3rd year running Buffalo, and I wasn't about to break a streak! Plus, my main goals are to finish Wasatch 100, and finish the two courses I DNFed last year. So finishing this race while feeling so horrible was probably a good psychological test of toughness when it comes to how I might feel on Wasatch!
After the race I sat down with Colleen Ford, and a couple of other people (sorry I didn't catch their names) and ate Jim's famous buffalo stew, and drank a Coke out of my finishers mug. I then drove out to the local Walmart and parked, and took a nap for an hour an a half. I woke up tired, and nauseated, and drove to a 7-11 where all I could think of to get some of the carbs, and fats I needed was nachos and cheese and gatoraid. When I am that bushed, my normal healthy eating habits become non-important. After eating and drinking enough to get my blood sugar and electrolytes back to normal, I drove toward home, but got really tired again and pulled off 9 miles from the Lindon exit to sleep. I slept for another 1.5 hours before I could be awake and alert enough to drive the last 17 minute stretch. I don't think I have ever been that wiped out from a 50 miler. I usually can jump in the car and drive home no problem! It was strange!
I got home and work up a few times and took scaps and ate figs throughout the night, and slept until 12pm. Then I decided I needed some fats and protein, and couldn't find anything in the house, so I went to Sonic and after eating 3/4 of a burger and a milkshake came home and puked. The only time I have ever puked after a race! Maybe it is because normally I hate fastfood, I don't know, but then I have felt better since then, and my legs actually are not very sore at all. They were only a little sore last night, and hardly any soreness today. Just my body trying to adjust back to normal. It took until this afternoon for the acetone urine smell to start to go away, so I know my body is metabolizing more normally finally.
I am not sure what is causing the acetone, but the research I did on it makes me thing my body either wasn't utilizing carbs because I was eating too much and then having too long of a space between eating again. It was never more than an hour, but I think I need to eat 15 grams of carbs every 15 minutes. Maybe my body will adapt more now that I will be running longer runs closer together, that probably has something to do with how well my body metabolizes.
I think part of the fun of racing, is that there is no hard fast rule about how to fuel in an ultra event. The same thing doesn't work for everyone, and you have to find out what works for you.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Priorities, priorities, priorities.....

This is a directive from my dietitian of all people :) Make a list and prioritize, my life. Like what is important, how important is it. So I actually did that last night, and I took a bunch of sticky notes and wrote on them, and then lined them all up and organized them to see how everything I am doing relates to each other. It was actually quite helpful. It was also a bit depressing. I don't know if I link knowing how much I actually need to get done. It is huge! But I am organizing, so for the next year my life is going to be about writing programs, establishing a new career, writing, and running. And yes, all of that relates to eachother, however, if I tried to tell you I doubt you would get it, so if you really want to know, come look at my presentation board full of sticky notes and you can see a linear model of my brain process.

So on a personal priority my goals are to complete the task and organize my schedule with sleep and nutrition being a high priority. Otherwise, I am not going to feel great and fall back into nasty habits. Running is up there as well, and it also relates to wanting to weave it in to my new business model.

I might have bit off a lot, but I am breaking it down. On Saturday I am running the Buffalo 50 miler, I am getting ready for that right now. Actually I was doing some homework, but now I am getting my car stripped out to make a bed, then I will get drop bags ready etc. I love the adventure of my life, even if sometimes it is daunting to look at everything I sign up for!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What Does Developing the Mind of an Ultrarunner Mean?- Explanation of Music Play List

Today I decided, life is pretty amazing. It is amazing how the pain we experience in life, leads to healing of others' pain when it is similar to our own. When we heal from our own pain, it becomes a gift. We can not help but develop compassion and that compassion stands alone in healing others' pain.

That is my thought for today. Life is full of pain, I think that is why I like running, it teaches you to view pain differently. Before I started running ultras, I think I tried to avoid pain all the time. Not physical pain, but emotional pain. When you train for endurance, you have to face pain, and sometimes the deepest pains are the fears you hold of yourself. I do not believe it is the fear of failure that holds us back, but rather the fear of succeeding so much that we move up to a new level of understanding. An understanding that we do indeed co-create our own reality. We can not blame every life situation on our circumstances. Instead we acknowledge what has contributed, but also how we contribute to staying the same.

Yesterday as I was sitting through several counseling sessions, I realized how much of my ability to sit with others has been molded through developing an ultra running mind. Here are the common pitfalls I have had to undo.

" I am not good enough to succeed" can not co-exists with a successful finish
" I am bad" can not be together with the distance you are going
" I am lonely" does not resonate when you and only you can push yourself through
" I am sad" yes you may be, but sad will pass, along with tired, discomfort, and wanting to quit. Everyone wants to quit, but unless there is a real danger, quitting is not an option.
"I am a failure" there are no failures, just learning moments. We learn from every race, every moment.

You can not think negative of yourself and become a true ultrarunner. It will not work, even if you are successful in the short term, you will breakdown. Your body, mind and soul respond to the thoughts you feed it. Does this mean you are done with bad days, hard times, and shitty internal phrases? Probably not, but instead of locking them in, you ride them out, and know that they, like pain, will pass.

I created a play list today on this page. You will notice a wide range of emotional tones in the list. It is not consistent, some is happy, some is angst, some is sad, and all the way in between. This is a look into the human mind, my mind. Where I have been, where I am, where I am going. Sometimes I feel great, sometimes I don't, but giving up, quitting, and becoming a victim to my past is not an option. Don't make it an option for you either. I love my life, even on days that I don't.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Remembering to not run!

This is the funniest thing. I am laughing at myself because I can't run until after 9am tomorrow, and I keep having to remind myself. I am forgetting not to run today. I get ready to go put on my workout clothes and 5FVs and then a big STOP!!!! Oh yeah, I am not supposed to run today. This has happened at least 3 times. Why? I am being sent by my dietitian to have my resting metabolic rate and body composition measured. In order to get an accurate reading I can't exercise for 24 hours before, and I had to not run a long run on Saturday.

So I started thinking... It is funny that I can't connect the words exercise and running together. They are two different things to me. Running is running, and exercise is exercise. I don't have anything against exercise, but a run doesn't feel like much exercise until I have been out for at least 3 hours. Otherwise it is just a run, and running is what I do. It has become a habit. So much of a habit that I almost forgot to not run!

Wouldn't it be great if this were true of all of America? Moving should be a natural part of life, and weather that is running or some other activity, we need to move! The problem is the word exercise for some reason has become a synonym for punishment. Something we dread doing. Perhaps it stems from the approach many of us were raised with. I was reflecting on this yesterday....... go back....... still going..... to 6-7th grade. Springville middle school gym class.

Hey, I was homeschooled and so exercise was not pushed on me as a punishment until 7th grade. Sure, I had other dysfunctional messages going on at home, but not about moving. Oh wait, so lets go back even further. When I was 7 and 11.3/12th years old I attempted a 50/20. This was a yearly thing that started at "This Is the Place" monument in Salt Lake City, and ended at Pioneer Park in Provo. I had watched my dad do this, and finish it, and even though I was young I remember him getting a medal for finishing that 50 mile walk in under twenty hours. I was just 6 when I saw all those people getting medals. I saw my dad get one, and I almost started crying. Yes, even as a 6 year old, the sense of accomplishment I felt for him, and the longing to complete it myself was strong. So the next year I begged and begged and begged, and did I mention I begged my dad to let me do the 50/20. He reluctantly agreed, and I think he thought I might make it about 5 miles and quit. Guess he didn't know me, even then, I never quit!

So in the months leading up to that event we walked down the Provo Canyon trail. I lived in North Provo down by where there are lots of fancy shops and restaurants now, the Riverwoods. But then it was Edgewood Dr, and there were a few houses and lots of field. We walked on the trail, and on the day of the event I was bubbling with excitement. We started out, and I walked. We past the 5 mile mark, and I still walked. Sometime my dad started asking if I was really going to go on, and I did. I walked into the night, I walked past aid stations. My dad stopped at lots of gas stations and bought me treats until it started making me sick to my stomach to think about eating. So I just kept walking, even though I was sick as hell! I made it 30 miles, and I think I was sleep walking at that point, and at mile 35 my dad couldn't walk anymore. He wasn't prepared for me not to quit after 6 miles. I was really sad, and they had to force me to quit. But I was also tired, and couldn't fight much. The next day I felt this overwhelming sense of depression when I realized I would not get that medal. I did not know what an ultramarathon was back then, and until recently it didn't occur to me that a week before my 8th birthday, I had walked more than a marathon.

So that was how I approached physical activity, it was not a punishment then. So back to Jr. High. I am sure that outside of school these teachers must be not as mean as I remember them, but I have to write this how I remember it. Should they someday run across my blog, and read about how awful they are, please remember that this is from an 11-14 year old perspective, and peer influence to hate gym teachers was high. Also Jr. high is probably the worse teaching job I can imagine being placed in. I wonder if instead of serving jail time, a judge ordered a Jr. High teaching sentence if we would see more reform! So here I was. A big 7th grader in middle school! I had been taking Orchestra class since 5th grade, but beyond that, I was homeschooled beyond that. I thought it was torture at the time to be a homeschooled kid, who didn't get to sit in class with her friends, but really, I am not scared. My mom is a great homeschool teacher, and she is an Amazon Woman. What other grade school kid has an Amazon Woman for a teacher!

In 7th grade I was so excited because my mom decided to let me take half my classes at the middle school, and she would school me in my core subjects (probably for good reason. My kids have been in private and charter schools because the trial with public school for the first 1.5 years of my oldest child’s life was a disaster!) Meet Miss Lewis. Now don't read this wrong, I am all for body image acceptance, but it is bit strange to have gym teachers who are not at all physically fit, overweight, and all they do is bark out orders for you to comply with their strange aerobic moves that they can't even do themselves, because they don't exercise! This was Miss Lewis. Make her mad, she would punish you with laps around the soccer field, and calisthenics. Otherwise, she wasn't terrible. We mostly played games in that class, and one of our assignments was to invent a game and play it in class. But one time I accidently knocked over her mug full of ice, and after being told by my fellow student that she would kill me I stayed silent when she scolded the class trying to get someone to rat the Ice offender out, and as a result of everyone's silence we had to run. Wow! No wonder America hates to move, anyone else taught to be punished by exercise?

Next year, 8th grade. Now I move up to the big Jr. High school, and I started going to school fulltime. I fought my mom so much on it, and started refusing to do any schoolwork at home, that she finally relented and sent me to public school. Ms. Anderson, this was way worse than Ms. Lewis. Ms. Anderson had the same disposition. Overweight, out of shape, and didn't move herself. In fact my most horrifying memories were her showing us how to bend over and do "cherry-pickers" to Bryan Adams "Summer of '69". That song still brings back the trauma of that visual. So we have aerobics, again.... didn't we just love the 80's?....... and Ms. Anderson was even meaner. You had to take everything off that was not a uniform, and if you forgot you got in trouble, and to be honest I don't remember what the punishment was, but I remember for getting in trouble when I realized I had forgotten to take my watch off, and put it in m sock.... which of course she caught me doing!

My worse memory was when we were doing sit-ups one day, and I could not hold in my methane stores. A very loud rip was heard across the echoing gym, and the whole class burst out in laughter. I was mortified. Because of the laughter Ms. Anderson was pissed, apparently humor was not allowed, and so she punished us with a whole hour of calisthenics. Really, I just think she liked to punish us. She would use any little infraction of the rules as a chance to punish the whole class. So really, I can see why people think exercise is a drag when you combine these post-traumatic memories, or like me, in my worse ED days, punished breaking any food rules with "torturous" forms of exercise. I, of course, was even more ashamed, and refused to claim the methane leek, even though I don't know how anyone could have missed that it was my gas leak. OK, I guess I don't have any trouble saying, "Ms. Anderson, congratulations, you were a fat bitch!" Fat, because at that time, that is the label you would have gotten from me for how mean you were.

Luckily, I actually had some very nice gym teachers in high school, who were actually athletic, and actually cared more about students, then they did about punishing them! But unfortunately I also learned how to have an eating disorder by watching a video on it in a high school gym class.

So as I think about remembering not to run. I am grateful for a few things. 1. That I no longer use exercise to punish myself, and 2. That I have to remind myself not to run today. 3. That my mouth salivates when I think about running! Gym class should be an opportunity to teach kids healthy living AND healthy body image. I hope this is changing, I don't know if it is. I hope there is some Ms Anderson that will read this and think twice about punishing kids with exercise, and instead get to know kids, and connect with them. Maybe you will prevent an eating disorder if you do this, and instead of reading something like this in 20 years, you will read about a kid who is grateful for a gym teacher that built his/her confidence, and taught him/her to love moving!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Vibrum KSO Trek review

These are totally worth the extra cost!! I finally found a brown pair in my size. I bought Jeff a black pair for Christmas, and I have never been able to find the treks in my size until last Saturday! I did 10 miles in them on Saturday, and that was my longest "barefoot" run yet! It is getting more natural feeling, but I am afraid I will still have to do some shoe running on the Antelope Island 50m. On Monday I did 7 miles in them, and my legs were feeling that Satursday run. I also pushed my speed the whole time on Saturday, and it was a good workout!  But this morning, it took a half an hour of walking around to stretch out my calf. I am loving loving loving loving it though!!!! Oh, and Jeff has been doing a lot of mid week runs with me between 5-7 miles in his V5F as well. It is nice to have older kids now, who can handle life on the run! Really, I am so used to having to run solo all the time because of having to trade off to watch kids, and too many people assuming that I am fast just because I run far.

But I am finding some people who want to run with me every once in a while now, and it is kind of a fun social aspect that i haven't had with running before! In April I am going down to run the Grand Canyon R2R2R with a couple of ultrarunning buddies. I am really excited about that. Then it will be Timp Trail, and before I know Squaw Peak again. Wasatch is getting closer, excited and terrified, and going to spend most of this summer training on that course!