25 April 2012

NYC 26.2

I got in. I wish I hadn't applied Adi someone who wanted it could have gotten a spot. Sad i'm not going to do pinhoti 100.

Six and ten day races

Wow. Wayne and I were completely blown away by Pete stringer and others at the transcendental races...

Why Don't I Care About the NYC Marathon Anymore?

In a moment of stupidity, I signed up for the lottery for the NYC Marathon. Even worse, my boyfriend (who has a half PR faster than me) agreed to pace me in the Brooklyn Half to qualify me in case I didn't make it.

But now, waiting for the results of the lottery,

I don't want to get in.

It seems sacrilegious; the NYC Marathon used to be my favourite race. Yes, it used to be. But now, I prefer trails. I prefer the chill helpful amazingly fun kind community of ultrarunning. I prefer to spend much less on a race - for four times as much distance. I prefer the beauty I see in nature. I also don't like road running, don't like the "OMG I was off by three seconds per mile!", don't like the energy, the vibe as much. Of course b/c it's NYC, it's a blast - the people are what makes it awesome (the crowds of diverse people, the music...). But honestly, if I get my choice, it's Pinhoti.

But if I get in...the entry fee is more than any race I've ever done. To throw it away...no, I'll just instead run it in a tutu as a speed workout for whichever 100 I want to do! 

My backup 100 choices are:
  • Cajun Coyote, which I did last year and loved, mainly b/c the RDs and volunteers were freaking SO MUCH FUN!
  • Chimera 100 Miler, which is supposed to be hard but beautiful!

23 April 2012

What's in your hydration pack?

So I head out for a day on the trails - water, gus, some chewy chompers, maybe some pretzels or cookies if I'm getting fancy, endurolytes, tissues if I remember, maybe lipbalm. And I'm set - right?

Well, not exactly. Lately I feel like I am lacking with my equipment out on the trail. Iliana fell and bloodied her knee and broke her finger and I had nothing to help her. It struck me that I should carry more band-aids and duct tape for such incidents.

So I again reached out to the Ultra List and asked, what's in your pack? Here are some fantastic responses:

  • 2nd skin, lighter, safety pin, rolled up garbage bags, lube, hand warmers, espresso bonk bars. --Lynnor
  • Iodine, lighter, dryer lint (fire starter), compass, small flashlight, drum liner (poncho alternative), buff, phone. --Joe Lea
  • Crazy glue, band-aids, whistle, moleskin, antiseptic. --Karen
  • Alumninum blanket, fire steel, water proof matches, compass, whistle, bandana, huggies wipes, flare gun, rocket launcher, anthrax, bull horn, silver bullet, Victoria's Secret lip gloss. --Lisa Marlene (I'm pretty sure she was kidding about SOME of these!)
  • Bandanna. --Micah Hoernig
  • Matches in a baggie; a survival knife; pepper spray; sometimes borrow asp from a police friend; a baggie and baby wipes; KT tape; duct tape. --Deb
  • Change of shirt & jacket; cell phone; cash. --Robert Self
  • Epipen, duct tape, ankle support, pepper spray. --G
  • Map of Frozen Head State Park. --Peter Frisk (hahaha Barkley Marathons!)

Some other things that are useful:
  • Heat emergency blanket
  • Ibuprofin
  • Mini first aid kit
  • Phone
  • Water purification tablets/method

21 April 2012


The main reason I do plyometrics is because I adore the looks people give me...no, kidding, but that's always funny! 

I do plyometrics once a week and tend to do it around a park which is always nice. This is one of the rare occasions I'll run with my ipod (though I don't always do it with my ipod) and I generally enjoy this experience.

Here's my routine:

  • High knees
  • Butt kicks
  • Squats (while walking)
  • Grapevine
  • Skipping
  • Leaps/bounds
  • Sprints
I do these for as long as I can stand -  maybe 50 meters, maybe more, maybe less. It was a lot less when I started and when I'm sore....and I do three sets of these. YAY! And I run in between each ones.

My friend Anna leads this series of plyometrics for NBR and they are killer but great:
--2 sets of 10 each:
1. Single leg hops: On one leg, 1) hop up and down; 2) hop forward and
back; 3) hop side to side.
2. Double leg bound: From a squat position with both legs, jump
forward as far as you can.
3. Alternate leg bound: In an exaggerated running motion, bound (which
looks like a combination of running and jumping) forward from one leg
to the other.
4. Squat jumps: With hands on hips in a squat position, jump straight
up as high as you can. Upon landing, lower back into a squat position
in one smooth motion and immediately jump up again.
5. Depth jumps: From a standing position on a 1-foot tall box, jump
onto the ground and land in a squat position. From this squat
position, jump straight up as high as you can.
6. Box jumps: From the ground, jump with two feet onto a 1-foot tall
box, and then immediately jump into the air and back down to the

19 April 2012

When I Grow Up, I Wanna Be....

I met up with an athlete friend of mine today and he told me what could be some terrible news, but with a smile on my face. "They laid off my entire department. Everyone. Come June, I'm out of there." He worked for a giant bank (no surprise) but was delighted - he had been sick of the changes at his bank, and now, he gets to focus on training, on doing his athletic business.

"I wish my ultrarunning could become a career," I told him.

"Maybe, someday, it can. This is my dream," he told me.

(I hope he got a good severance too, to help him fund his dream!)

In the midst of all of this, my boss has asked us to brainstorm what we'd like our department to look like. It's more of a business plan, but I'm calling it "My Dream." I'm reworking my role here, hoping to make my job even more interesting and useful and something new and fun, hoping to get it nearer to my dream, but it will get there eventually....or I will.

What is my dream job? What's anyone's? I have a bunch of ideas and nothing that I'll be accomplishing this year. But at least my job is interesting, challenging, lots of learning, making a difference in the world, and I like most of the people I work with - all of these things are HUGE for me.

Remember when you were little and people asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up. Maybe you said an astronaut (but then you realized physics was too hard) or a ballerina (but you suffered from arthritis at the age of 17) or a cop (but then you realized cops don't always want to help people) or a lawyer (but you realized the barriers against women lawyers are insurmountable) or the president (that's a stainless steel, not a glass ceiling, for women) or a doctor or, or, or...

What did you become? Why?

When I was little, I said a writer or a poet. I still want to be that.

What's your dream job?

18 April 2012

Put Things Into Perspective

Work has been stressful. My asthma is bad. My running has been exhausting. The house is a wreck. There's too much to do, not enough time to do it.

This guy was sitting in front of the health food store, right after I left my pharmacy with my $50 birth control. $50 for a stupid Nuvaring so I don't menstruate out of control!? (And the birth control part is an added bonus...this is all actually on handling my period, the reason I'm on the pill.), asks me for money. I shake my head no. I'm cranky. I just spent $50 on medicine, not to mention $30 earlier today to go to the pulminologist. Why isn't getting healthy free and easy? The guy yells, "You're really pretty." I don't feel pretty. I'm cranky. I'm stressed about money. I have to finish cleaning my house. I have to --

I buy my milk, bananas, bread. I feel like I'm missing something but I'm not sure what.

"Stupid Republicans, like I want to be on birth control," I mutter to my mother on the way home.

And I get home. Fifty dollar birth control...

And then a good friend calls me. His mother is in an irreversible coma, the result of a stroke. He is dedicated. They are waiting...waiting for the inevitable.

And I feel stupid.

I feel stupid worrying about my expensive birth control, annoyed at the mess in my house. 

I'm glad I have my mother. And my father. And my grandmas, my sister. Very glad I have my Wayne. Glad to have Luna, my friends, my family. 

I stopped feeling so self-absorbed and instead feel glad.

Live each day with meaning.

15 April 2012

Traprock 50k - where rocket scientists kicked out of North Korea, raw penguin eaters, and the only person to grow up on a science base in Antartica

A few years back, I was visiting a friend in Hartford when I met two super rad guys while running, Steve (aka Pretty Boy) and his friend Kevin (aka Goat). They  mentioned wanting to start a 100k or 100miler in CT bc they were disappointed at the lack of one in their state. I encouraged them and told them I would come up and run it for sure. I ended up visiting them a few other times when I journeyed up to Hartford.

They started the Traprock 50k two years ago, and racing Umstead and other races interfered - and I'm glad I was finally able to do it this year. I convinced my boyfriend who has only done one 50k to do it as a good training run for Bear Mountain 50 Miler, and Mary and Erin jumped into it too. Unfortunately, Mary woke up sick and couldn't run, but the three of us started the 50k, along with Jess who ran the 17k version of the same course.

Wayne and I started out running about 10 meters and then, like everyone else, we walked up an incredibly ridiculous and steep and rocky hill. My asthma was NOT behaving and this made every single climb horrible. Instead of my usual two puffs before I run, I ended up taking 18 puffs or so the entire day. Pretty horrendous.

And then we had some ups and downs and Wayne hammered the ups and the downs and really anything with rocks. My goal was to have asthma attacks, tell stories, and push it on the flats and fall on my face or trip multiple times. We make a good team, as you can tell.

As the ultra started, I was reminded of why I love ultras. The camaraderie, the jokes, the chill atmosphere, the fun. This is what's lacking in a lot of road running so I feel like I could never go back to just running marathons. That's not for me.

Then we hit the stairway to heaven. Rocks, uphills, rocky "stairs" at times tumbling down...Someone began shouting about why has the good lord put this stairway here as we climbed it the first time, to everyone's laughter. And then when we got to the top, someone was singing "Stairway to Heaven." Yes, this was my kind of race...fun, good atmosphere.

The first three miles are HARD, lots of ups, lots of ups, lots of rocks...but once that's done, you know the rest 7 or so miles of the loop aren't quite as wicked. So that makes you have a smile on your face when you reach the top. Then another mile or so and you hit the first aid station (Mmmmm strawberry Heed, mmmmmmm), then you do a "lollipop" loop which was appropriately marked with giant cardboard lollipops. That's about a mile, you hit another aid station, and then up, and a few more miles ups and downs and then the "rock n roll aid station" which was sans Elvis despite some who sang in hopes of that. We got to see Mary there twice, which was nice...

And then a few more miles back down, down, down the same way we struggled up, to the start/finish/aid station. I sucked down coconut water, joked around.

It was nice because there were a few spots where you got to see people going in the opposite direction.

And then we did one loop and another. I ran the whole thing with Wayne, despite him being faster and my asthma and other issues making me slower. Some days are just not my days, but I'm glad my hamstring behaved.

After, I sucked down some more coconut water while the Goat narrated the finishes. When I came in, he announced to everyone that I was the RD of the Burning Man Ultra and that everyone should run it. He announced that this one guy finishing was only here because he is a rocket scientist who was kicked out of North Korea after his nuclear rocket failed to launch. Some other woman was "known for eating raw penguin" which was news to her. I helped him with our friend Erin, and invented that she was the only person to ever be raised in Antarctica on the science base and she wears black all the time because it helps her stay warm, as is a habit in Antarctica. So yes, it was very fun.

The race was a blast - besides the crew I came with, I got to see my RD friends, Chippywich, Scott, people from the Jay Challenge (I swear, that race is so special - I constantly am running into people who ran it, even in Argentina - that was my 1st and 3rd ultra). It made me happy to be part of such a fun and amazing community...despite the bruises from falling, the blister on my big toe, and the dirt everywhere!

12 April 2012

How do YOU prevent injuries?

Injuries suck.

That said, I have to admit, since I started doing ultras, especially since I started doing 50 milers and 100 milers, I have a lot less injuries. 

"Wait, back up? Your knees are supposed to be destroyed. C'mon, I got shin splints training for a 5k last autumn." I've heard this before. But it's true.

Why? Well, I've been running since I was 13 - that's 19 years. I know my body. I know when to replace shoes (which can go a lot longer for me than for most). I know when to take a day off, even when I don't want to. I strength train, which has made a lot of my less-utilized muscles not have to freak out and strain the others. I cross-train. I stretch. I eat during and after running. I sleep a decent amount. I drink lots of water, eat very well (including chocolate, which is key to lifelong happiness).

But it seems like ultrarunners are injured a lot less than road runners. I hear a lot more pain stories from my local road running club than my ultrarunning friends - some of whom quadruple or more the others' mileage. Why? I think it's experience and we got all the minor injuries out of the way earlier, but I decided to ask ultrarunners what their secrets are.

I reached out to the Ultra list and got some great responses:

  • Drink lots of whole milk, and to keep from getting sick, eat lots of habaneros. --Lazarus Lake 
  • Running within your limits, whatever they may be. The older I get, the more restrictive these limits become. --Dan Baglione
  • Plenty of rest days, plenty of sleep. --Julian Jamison
  • The top three things are: 1. I've found that ice is one of the best approaches, but I apply it for far longer than most, often for 3-4 hours at a time. (Never use a gel pack - they are the work of the devil. Only use ice in a plastic bag.) 2. Massage is critical IMHO. I use the stick, the foam roller and other body parts (knee to calf, elbow to quad). 3. I believe that minimalist running and good form are significant factors.--from Jonathan Savage who maintains an awesome wiki on injury prevention
  • Form and building my base mileage with LSDs. --Chase Williams
  • Whole chocolate milk and habaneros have healing powers. --Naresh KN
  • You need fat in your diet. --John Price
  • Understanding the difference between discomfort and pain. Generally, discomfort can be overcome with training: that same generalization leads to the idea that pain is a hint to find out what has gone wrong, fix the problem, then continuing. Rest. Rest is good for me (us?). And looking back - understanding that all the stuff I did last week, last month, and especially the last few years is intended to be remembered and used. Run gently out there. --John M, who also reminds us that naps, naps, and chocolate chip cookies are good too
  • The biggest thing that I face personally is when to back off...I have a hard time telling myself that it's okay to take a few days off. I have even more of a hard time doing something else, like core work or upper body for those days. Mainly because I don't get the same "fix" from anything other than running. Really letting myself take a couple of days is hard. --Vinny Capp
  • Another vote for LSD/RGOT. [FYI, that's Long Slow Distance and Run Gently Out There.) Lots of slowish miles on dirt.--Mark Swanson
  • Step 1: Run a lot (Read: whatever it is you're trying to do, be it run, ross train, or pogo stick, do it consistently, keeping in mind that making drastic changes in mileage, running days/week, weights lifted, or hops on said pogo, are all forms of inconsistency.) Step 2: Rest when you need to (Read: most people have a very funny definition of need, but if you can master the primordial art of listening to your body rather than listening to other people's bodies, you'll know when to rest.) Step 3:  adapt as necessary (read:  if you successfully apply Steps 1 and 2, you will necessarily proceed to Step 3, which will mostly be accomplished involuntarily by your body's magical healing/rebuilding/repairing/adapting abilities, but can - and should - be augmented by the application of the second ancient lost art of common sense) Should you successfully complete these 3 easy steps, you'll remain injury free, and you'll turn into a rather impressive runner to boot...-john nevels (who is apparently feeling a little snarky this morning...)
  • Rest is greatly underrated...YMMV. --Patrick McHenry
  • My oneaveragerunner's perspective: 1. I run every day. 2. I listen to my running self; on days I fell like running, I air it out; on days I don't, I just run. 3. When I'm in a race, I give it everything I've got. (That said, my last race was pathetic-had a pretty good string of 25 or 30 going into that one though.) Anyway, I get training mileage in, and when I race, I race, even though I'm never better than an average racer. 4. TRX. Cross train/ strength training ojn TRX/ RIP 2-5 days per week. 5. I always have a race on the schedule, usually within the month; I run a lot of races. I think that makes me a lot more durable. 6. Aging and the aging process; I flat-out refuse to participate. --Tim Hardy, who refuses to grow up, just like Peter Pan :)
  • My big thing is recovery.  I used to force myself to get out the door everyday no matter how crappy I felt, but now I'm much more kind and forgiving of myself.  Not stressing out about having to run EVERY day, equals a happier and calmer me with less fatigue and hence less injuries. I also have to agree on the fat topic.  I've stopped caring about eating high fat foods.  Bring it on!  I now buy full fat dairy, I make myself 4 eggs every morning with a generous amount of butter.  I eat an avocado every day.  I eat spoonfuls of coconut oil and almond butter.  I eat lots of red meat now and sausage. I love me some brats!  When I first switched to high fat foods, I thought I would get fat. The opposite happened.  I've lost 3 lbs and 1% body fat.  That never happened when I was eating the lowest fat diet I possibly could.  Oh, and skim milk isn't milk at all, it's basically murky water. --Sarah Jurgaitis
  • For me, three strengthening exercises keep me from getting injured. 1) stand on the edge of a step, go up on your toes, then while on one foot slowly drop down until your heel is below the height of the step.  I work up to 4 sets of 10 for each leg 2) leg extensions.  From a sitting position with a light weight (6 lbs or less) hanging from the end of my foot, extend my leg so it is straight out (parallel with the floor) then lower it 45 degrees, then back up.  I work up to 5 sets of 20 with each leg 3) IT band.  Lie on your side, then with a light weight on your ankle (5 lbs) raise your leg.  I also work the inside on my leg while doing this.  I work up to 3 sets of 10 for each leg. --Kurt
  • I don't know that I have just one item for injury prevention and I really don't know that any of what I do truly works.  I do think some people are just more injury prone than others.  I try to run with good form, eat a healthy diet, vary training paces (uses different muscles and helps to avoid repetitive stress injuries), vary my shoes (again uses different muscles and helps avoid repetitive stress injuries). Run on softer surfaces if I am feeling beat up.  I still do some of my running on roads and I think the variety of working different muscles is good. I don't drink that much milk but when I do I use 1%.  I don't mind the fast I just don't like the taste of whole milk. I also eat LOTS of dark chocolate, get sleep, avoid stress, and see my chiropractor every 2 - 3 weeks.  He likes to work specifically with athletes and he addresses any problem areas although he says it is amazing how well aligned I am considering what I put my body through.  Also, at least 2 - 3 times per year take 3 - 4 days in a row off.  At least 1 - 2 months per year train without a plan.  I also lift weights but not sure that keeps me from getting injured. I've only been so injured I didn't run 2 times since I've been running marathons and over in 8 years.  Started running ultras in 2007.  The first time was after my second 100 miler in 2010 and my medial tendon felt like it was sprained so took about 2 weeks off. The other time was just this year in January with my 3rd metatarsal stress reaction which I think was from running too many miles in shoes that were too light.  I took off 8 days and then cut back on my running.  I've had a few other injuries but was able to run through them and get better fairly quickly. --Andy

10 April 2012

YMMV...No gain until no pain

I don't like waiting. I would have to say impatience is one of my worst qualities, so not running for a week was torture. Well, I didn't not run, I ran and suffered and ran a lot, lot less.

After my injury at the BUS 6 hour, I moped a lot. Instead of heading up to Bear Mountain, my boyfriend and I ate brunch, did home improvements, and I ended up soaking in Epsom salts and stretching and writing while he ran. I was jealous, even though it was raining.

And I listened to Ray K's advice: "Just shuffle. It'll help with the healing process." So I ran 8 minutes Monday, 20 minutes Tuesday, 29 minutes Wednesday, 41 minutes Thursday. Still pain. The shuffle wasn't helping.

Duh. What was I waiting for? I walked over to the new physical therapy that opened around the block from my place and immediately began working with a physical therapist. The usual - electrostim, stretching, heat, ice, massage, ultrasound. I went in again the next morning and he massaged the hell out of my leg. Ow.

But you know what?

Come Saturday, I ran/hiked (albeit slow) 4hours18minutes at Bear. And Sunday, I ran about 3 hours on trails in Connecticut (though I was in a strange mood and kept hiding behind trees, and poor Wayne told me I'm a bad hider, just before he made me cross some raging rapids). No pain. I ran with a bandage, ran slowly, iced after, stretched, but you  know what? It worked. Medicine does, sometimes.

I feel good. I swam (well, didn't drown is a more accurate description for what I do in a pool) yesterday, swam and went on the elliptical and ran this morning, and I'm going to run easy again this afternoon. I have the KS tape on my leg and I feel happy. I feel back to normal.

And you know what? Sometimes, normal is a good place to be!  

06 April 2012

Why Can't I Walk Down the Street Free of Suggestion?

All I was doing was walking home with milk and coconut water and an ace bandage, looking forward to chilling in my house with my boyfriend and his wood workshop/our apartment and maybe doing some writing and reading and icing my hamstring. And the assholes can't let me be. 

They have to whistle.

Have to say something.

Have to show me that they think I'm sexy.

Honestly, I don't need some sleazy men to let me know that I'm sexy. (I know that already.) 

Why can't they leave me alone?

Don't they have mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, sisters, cousins, friends?

Do they think it's a compliment?

Do they think I want to hear it?

Do they think I'll be flattered?

Do they think I want to interact with them?

I just don't understand some things in this world full of sexual harassment.

Why Do You Run?

My teammate Mishka sent me this video, which I actually sent out last year or so. I know I posted it in the past, but it once again brought tears to my eyes...so why do you run? 

I run because nothing else makes me feel more free, more alive, happier in the world.

(And that's partially why I'm in love with a runner. He knows how it feels.)

01 April 2012

Hamstring Hurt at BUS Six Hour

I persuaded Wayne, Mary, and Erin to run the Broadway Ultra Society's 6 Hour Race on Saturday. I figured I'd take it easy, do 10 minute miles, as I just ran a 50miler last weekend. I had been feeling tired, but nothing too terrible. However, things went downhill after a while.

Wayne and I started off, running sub 10 minute miles, talking, joking. I was feeling overall pretty crappy - tired, head out of sorts, not that great. But still thought I'd easily run the 6 hour, just complain a lot. (Poor Wayne.) 

We ran into Ray K who was cruising - and my hamstring started feeling a little sore. And then we slowed down to grab food - I was not feeling great nutrition-wise - and then my hamstring got worse. It didn't feel like cramping. It felt BAD. Nothing snapped. But it was painful.

After 3.5 hours, anytime I tried to run, it was painful. Wayne and I walked two laps of the slightly less than a mile loop, and I kept trying to run but pain forced me to stop. I was limping. I had tears in my eyes but I knew what I needed to do.

I stopped.

"I've never DNF'd," I wailed to Wayne. He held me. "You didn't DNF, you can't in a timed race." He also stopped to be with me. "Also, because I'm lazy," he joked.

I did all the things. Epsom salts. Resting. Elevating leg. Stay off feet. Icing. Even alcohol. But nothing is helping. I feel it ever-so-slightly. No 8 hours at Bear Mountain today. But will it heal soon? What can I do? I'm trying to NOT feel panicky...just not sure what to do. So scared. I know I've been lucky - I've trained smart and cross-trained and strength-trained and those things have helped. But now here is a hurt hamstring.

I'm going back to bed with some ice and my leg up on some pillows and a book. And my cat.

RIP Micah True

The ultrarunning community is very sad at the recent loss of Micah True aka Caballo Blanco. Known well for being the hero of Christopher McDougall's Born to Run, Caballo Blanco took the path less traveled in a very nontraditional lifestyle, including living and training with the amazing ultrarunning indigenous community in Mexico's Copper Canyon.

Here's more on it...