Guess what?! Winter is here…and it’s here to stay for a while. Unless you live in the south [or some other mythical place, you poor thing] where winter doesn’t include snow and ice you’re waging a daily war with the weather. Are the trails snow packed? Are the sidewalks sheets Read more…
After months of very inconsistent running and weeks of thinking “oh, crap…can I still run?” I finally got myself outside and onto the trails for a long run. I met up with a few friends – Cheryl and Sarah – at the Centennial Trailhead with big plans to run along the Boulder Skyline [check out this interactive map for route details]. Our game plan was to head up and around Sanitas then plow our way up to Flagstaff, Green Mountain and Bear Peak…maybe even South Boulder Peak. The only goal we had was…to have fun, smile and not actually die on the icy, snow-covered trails. Spoiler Alert: we may not have gotten to the summit of every mountain but we did have a blast and no blood was shed!
I’ve hinted to this race…there are links in my sidebar, it’s come up in online conversations, it’s on my calendar…but let’s make this officially internet official! Last month I registered for the Arizona 200M in June. I spent the months after RRR100 eyeballing races trying to figure out what I wanted to do with 2015.
If I learned anything during RRR100 [aside from the fact the pain eventually stops getting worse] it was that I need something more than just a distance to make a race worth it for me. At RRR100 I had the motivation of it being my first hundred…that I was running exactly one year after my first ultra experience at the same race [crewed RRR100 in 2013 for Nick!]. When things got crappy, that helped. No way was I quitting – I couldn’t recreate this scenario next year, it had to go down THIS year, right now!
In the midst of documenting the process of screwing my trail shoes [for traction on ice] I had an “aw, crap…left that in the car” moment which lead to a quick scamper down the stairs and across the parking lot, sans jacket. As I was bouncing down the stairs I randomly noticed how happy my legs were. They wanted to flouncy about, they wanted to run across the parking lot, they wanted to move.
For the last month or so being intentionally active has been rough. I still lack the endurance to bust out a 3 hour run and somehow that gave my brain the right to veto shorter runs because they weren’t badass enough. While fighting my own internal battle of “to run or not to run” I was also wiggling my life schedule around to find time for strength training, yoga and spin classes.
Disclaimer: This post reviews the UD Jenny and UD Wink packs, both of which were given to me by Ultimate Direction [one through an unaffiliated giveaway, one for product testing]. While they did not require a blog post in exchange for the product I really love the packs [and the company!] so I want to share my thoughts and experiences! Aside from product I am not being compensated for this post and all opinions are my own!
When I first started running it was shorter distances on roads and I was rarely concerned about carrying along water, food or gear. As I started signing up for longer races my solo training run got longer and I needed a way to drag along water and snacks. In the past I’ve strapped on a Nathan Fuel Belt on longer training runs, regularly filled the SPIBelt for shorter runs + races and made good use of handhelds. This all changed when I decided to take on ultra running. I spent the days before the Bear Chase 50K concerned about how I would survive with just a handheld. In the end it worked out perfectly; the aid stations were wonderfully stocked and my Ultimate Direction handheld was great for gauging my water intake between aid stations.
The past few months have revolved around running…but I haven’t always been the one with a bib pinned to my shorts! I have discovered that some of the best motivation and inspiration to get yourself outside for a run is to help others do the same. And the best way to do this?! Volunteer at a race! You’ll get to watch runners take on new distances, push the pace, turn an ultra around and just enjoy life. It makes you want to get out there yourself…but it’s also a reminder that running without fully recovering is a bad idea!
Just over a month ago I roped Marissa into volunteering at the Tommyknocker Ultras in Woodland Park, CO. I was a volunteer at this race by default – I had been working with Human Potential behind the scenes and I wanted to watch their first official race unfold. Since racing a 50K the weekend before Run, Rabbit, Run 100 would have been a terrible idea I showed up to volunteer instead. I knew the Race Director and most of his core crew personally so when I arrived with Marissa in tow the night before the race they didn’t hesitate to put us to work. Our first task? Rock hunting.
I pinky promise this is my last [really long] post about the Run, Rabbit, Run 100 miler…seriously, I promise! In my defense I’m in full blown sit-on-my-butt-and-eat-ice-cream recovery mode so there really isn’t anything more interesting going on in my life. I have already written the basic recap of the race, from the night before to the night after. You can read all of that over here. This post is all about the nitty gritty details – the stuff that doesn’t fit nicely into a chronological recap, random thoughts I had along the course and an update on my cranky tendons.
As always – if this post leaves you with questions, ask ‘em! If I don’t have a good answer I’ll make one up…or I’ll shoot you a link to the next best resource. And if this ultra chatter is boring you I promise my next both will be full of mountain photos completely unrelated to running!
Full Disclosure: I went into this race rather under trained — my “peak weeks” of training were spent off my feet with a bowl of ice cream in hand and included many visits to the PT for work on my left Achilles/Soleus. Two weeks before the race I was cleared to run again but if I took it slow, didn’t go far and stopped every mile to give my body TLC. Then the week of the race the PT proclaimed I was no longer injured, just under trained! I went into the race with ONE goal — finish with a smile. Spoiler: mission accomplished!
It’s been a week since I took on the Run, Rabbit, Run 100 mile race in Steamboat Springs, CO…and I’m still alive to talk about it! Since everyone I see in real life is getting sick of hearing my stories about the race so I guess it’s time to write a legitimate recap. How does one recap 100 miles? I have no idea, but I’ll start out with some stats + spoilers for anyone with a short attention span, because this is going to be a doozy!
On Friday morning I started the longest run of my life – the Run, Rabbit, Run 100 in Steamboat Springs.
On Saturday evening I finished the race still running with a big ol’ goofy grin on my face.
I walked away from the race a smarter runner. I played it safe from the start. I was hyperaware of my body and addressed niggles as the popped up, not hours later. I ate consistently and consciously, without puking. I kept moving forward with purpose. I ran across the finish line.
So, it’s here. Race week has arrived. The Run Rabbit Run 100 starts in less than 24 hours! And I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. You’d think that with the lack of actual training on the trails I’d have every other part of the race day prep mastered. Not true. Not even a little bit true. I spent a good portion of last night sitting on my bed staring at 4 mini totes nicely labeled but not even sort of packed…a pile of clean clothes was tossed on my pillows, a stack of half finished lists were scattered across the bed, two cats are crawling all over me and a half packed duffle bag was hiding behind me.
Rather than check the weather repeatedly I’ve decided to pack everything I own. That’s a valid compromise, right? It’s a good thing I drive an SUV…the list of things I need keeps growing! Yea, yea, I know ultras are all about making due with what’s available, which I can appreciate, but what if I need it before or after the race?! All this insane list making keeps me sane…or at least speaks to the tiny part of sanity I have left.