A Tale of Two Fifties: Mt. Hood 50 & Fat Dog 50. Part 2. Fat Dog 50 Race Report. I’m a Chubby Puppy!

TL;DR: I finished Fat Dog 50. It was cold and wet and the course is hard yet beautiful.

The Fat Dog races are serious business because they run through the wilderness and parts of the course are incredibly remote with no easy exits. I knew that when I signed up (and it was one of the main reasons I did), but it hit home after we attended the mandatory race briefing the night before the start and I had my photo taken because, if I went missing, they needed to know what I looked like. The director, Heather, is a no nonsense lady who has every single base covered in her events. She takes everyone’s safety seriously. We were in excellent hands with her and the co-director in charge of the course marking, aid stations, and our mandatory items, and everything else.

Fat Dog 50 2015 prerace pic

The stormy afternoon the day before the race turned into a dark and stormy night. The thunderstorms and pouring rain eventually transitioned into showers by the next morning and then tapered off to a leaky faucet sky. There were still spurts and random bursts of moisture, but nothing I wasn’t used to from my years of living in western Washington. Of course we sometimes get downpours, but they don’t last long and we seldom get thunderstorms. I had hopes that the weather forecast would hold as predicted and we would only have small sprinkles during the rest of the day.

I hoped in vain. This was the north Cascades after all. Turbulent, unpredictable weather is to be expected.

My husband and daughter dropped me off at Manning Park Lodge to catch the school bus that would drop me and the other 50 runners off at the trailhead where we would begin our 50 mile journey through, out of, and back into E.C. Manning Provincial Park. I did a quick check of my pack to make sure I had all my mandatory and suggested items: rain jacket, lightweight windbreaker, gloves, whistle, hat, headlamp, hand torch, extra batteries, two emergency blankets (yes two are mandatory for good reason), midweight long sleeve layer, extra socks (not mandatory, but advised), hand warmers (not mandatory, but I am happy I had them), bear spray (also not mandatory, but advised if you are worried and I was slightly worried as Manning is full of bears and if I were to meet one, I’d like to have a can of bear spray with me). I was wearing my lightweight layer and I had everything I needed and I had a change of clothes and shoes and socks waiting for me at the Skyline aid station at mile 30. I would not be pulled off course for not having my gear. I was as ready as I would ever be.

It was raining again when I hopped out of the warm truck. “I wish you were staying with me,” said my daughter. “I love you,” I replied as I gave her one final hug and kiss. She was warm and snuggly and part of me wished I was staying with her too.

“Don’t screw up!” My husband yelled out the window. The other runners laughed at me as I ran for the shelter of the lodge. I was laughing too. That was my plan: not to screw up. I had no other goals. I was on my own with the other runners for the rest of the day. I was planning on the trip taking 13 to 14 hours, depending. 13 at best. 14 at worst. I’ll just cut the suspense right here: it took me 14 and a half hours to finish Fat Dog 50.

I immediately met some other runners as we stood around talking. We were discussing the weather the night before and the people tackling the 120 mile event. A lot of people were forced to drop during the night due to hypothermia. The conditions on the peaks were terrible. There were reports of snow, sideways rain and sleet, gale force winds. The director almost had to call the race due to aid stations almost falling down from the wind. But, despite the weather, the race was still on. People were still making their way through the park.

I felt like I was doing the baby event of the weekend, although 50 miles is a long way. It is nowhere near as far as 120 miles. I can’t quite fathom going that far, although I know I want to someday. Thinking about the people out there doing 120 miles inspired me as I thought about going 50 that day. I was excited to tour 50 quite a few of the trails in Manning Park and although the weather wasn’t ideal, I was still looking forward to the day.

During the ride out to the start, I talked with a runner from Calgary, Tony. It was his first 50 mile and we discussed Canadian races and Washington/Oregon races. I know what I want to do in Canada now! I ended up doing quite a bit of the race with Tony and he was great company.

Races like this are so different from road races. I know there are people out there competing, but I am not one of those people! And the rest of the runners are really laid back and just plain nice. I don’t know what it is, but the difference between road and ultras is big and I like it.

It took about 30 some minutes to get to our start and then we had some time to kill until our 9 AM start time. It was raining again. Soft, gentle rain. I still had high hopes for the weather to clear up a bit and just be overcast. We all did. Or we all said we did.

FD2015018

About 5 to 10 minutes before the start, Heather had us cross the road to the trail and line up. Fasties at the front, middle of the packers, then those who wanted to take lots of pictures and time. I went to the middle. Heather gave us a few last minute instructions/small pep talk and then we were off.

FD2015022

The first section of the trail has lots of smaller climbs and descents. It reminded me a lot of the Columbia River Gorge trails. And we sort of were running along the mountains beside a river valley. Parts of the trail were rocky, but it was mostly nice and soft. The trail was cambered and I was ready to move on to a new section, which we did after we came to the first aid station. At the aid station, volunteers put bright safety vests on us. We would need them for the road section. But first we had a short out and back that only the 50 milers had to complete. Our mission was to run to the turn around, grab a page from a book that was waiting for us and bring it back to Heather, who was waiting for us at the end of the out and back. I have to say, this little mission was pretty fun. It started to rain a little more during this section.

Then we were on a trail again for a short ways before we hit the road for roughly 3 kilometers. The road section was all downhill and it was nice to make up some time on this section. Another Calgary runner, Chandra, came zooming up to me. She said she had to make up time on the downhills too.

We came to the next aid station and set off on the Skagit River and Centennial trail sections. The trail along the river was really nice. There were some roots and downed trees and branches from the storm to navigate, but in general, this was the nicest section of the day. A few parts were more technical than I thought they would be from the course description, but everything was very beautiful.

And then the storm rolled in. I pulled my rain jacket out and put it on when I realized this was not just a passing shower. The rain was coming down hard and there was also the rumble of thunder. “Good thing we aren’t on the ridges,” I announced to no one in particular. In fact, by now the runners had spread out quite a bit and I went through long stretches where I was completely alone. Oh, I knew there were runners in front of and behind me, but I couldn’t see or hear them. I only knew they were there. I occasionally said “Hey-ohhhhh!” or sang a little song to the river in case a bear thought the coast was clear to come out. I wanted the wildlife to know I was there.

By the time I got to the Shawatum aid station around mile 20, the rain was coming down hard. I was soaked except for the parts of me covered by my rain jacket. I stopped to fuel up at the aid station and put my hand warmers in my gloves. It was hard to leave the cover of the aid station and head back into the storm. I took a deep breath and left the aid station with another runner, Tony.

I was worried about the rain not letting up and then not being able to continue on. This is when I started debating the wisdom of continuing on from Skyline if the weather hadn’t let up. I didn’t think it was a great idea for me to go up on the ridges of the last 20 miles and risk hypothermia. The weather conditions were perfect for getting chilled and then progressing to hypothermia. I knew I had dry clothes and shoes at mile 30, but I also knew the last 20 miles were exposed and remote.

The 10 miles between Shawatum Aid and Skyline Aid Station were more technical than I expected. I was walking more than I thought I would be based on the course profile. Even though the profile looked great when I glanced at it online, in reality there were lots of opportunities for the overgrown brush to trip me up. I was sloshing around in my shoes too (the Altra Olympus do not drain at all), so I did a run/walk and occasionally chanted out loud: dry shirt, dry pants, dry socks, dry shoes. I tried to stay on the bright side through the storm and look forward to what was ahead of me.

Fortunately the rain let up by the time I got to Skyline aid. I was really relieved with this weather development. The volunteers got me my drop bag and let me change in a van so I didn’t have to subject people to a show, although I heard that it would have been nothing that hadn’t already been happening all day. It felt good to put on dry leggings and a dry shirt plus put on dry socks and new shoes. My “new” shoes had gotten a little wet during the storm despite the volunteers best efforts, but they were nowhere near as wet as the ones I had on.

I ate some food and took a quesadilla to go then set off into the wild with Tony again, who was great company. I had expected to be alone, but it was really nice not to be. We immediately started a long climb. I was feeling peppy because the rain had stopped. Oh, it was misty and cloudy, but it wasn’t pouring and we were in the trees anyhow. It was nice. I was also buoyed by knowing I was going to get this done after all. Once you leave Skyline, you either have to finish or you have a long hike out with volunteers from the two remote aid stations between Skyline and the finish.

Our climb through the forest eventually turned into a climb above tree line along eery looking mountain ridges. It was amazing, but really hard work. Every time I looked far ahead to see where I thought the trail was going, I saw locations that would require big climbs. I’ve been on enough trails in the Cascades to know that if it looked ridiculous and hard, that would be where the trail went. And it was.

The weather was still misty and overcast. The valleys were covered in clouds, but the peaks and ridges were above the cloud layer. By this point I had waved good-bye to Tony and set out on my own.

At first it felt cool and fun in a new way to be all alone. I wasn’t too worried about bears at this point since I was loud enough as I scampered along. And then it was twilight. And I noticed big cat prints as I went along. And I thought stupid, stupid, stupid girl. You should never have forged ahead. Now you are all alone in cougar country during prime hunting hours. You are going to be some cougar’s dinner. I picked up the pace and looked around. I wanted to stop and take photos, but I also didn’t want to take the time to strip my pack off and dig my phone out. So I kept going. I eventually passed another 50 miler a little before Mowich Aid.

I didn’t stay long at Mowich. I just got some broth and salt and vinegar chips and left. I realized I hadn’t been eating enough, but at this point it was too late for me. I needed to just keep moving. I wanted to get to Skyline II before darkness settled in for good.

I was still alone between Mowich and Skyline II. I tried not to think of cougars and to focus on getting to the next aid station. I really regretted going ahead. I should have stayed with my new ultra friend. I was already behind schedule since it had taken longer to get through first 30 than I thought it would. I thought the first 30 would take me 6 to 6.5 hours, but it actually took me 7.5 hours! Which is kind of crazy because the course looked so flat on the online profile and photos, but I was not able to run as much of it as I thought.

At any rate, I should have taken out one of my candy bars and eaten it between Mowich and Skyline II, but I didn’t. Big mistake. I was beginning to bonk, but I was so tired and distracted by the thought of cougars I didn’t really realize it until later. About a mile before Skyline II I met up with a 120 miler and his pacer. “Do you want by?” they asked. “Absolutely not!” I answered. I was happy to trek along behind them as we descended into the forest. I had to turn on my headlamp.

When I got to Skyline II, I was a bit of a wreck. I ended up sitting at that mini aid station in the middle of nowhere to change my socks and put on a mid-layer. Then I ate some more chips and a mini candy bard and set out because I had gotten cold. Again, I should have eaten more. I was a little disappointed to learn that the climb was not over once I left the last aid station. I still had more climbing to do across ridges and small peaks.

I was so tired. Looking back I know it was because I hadn’t eaten enough. I was on top of my hydration, but not fuel. I gagged down a couple gels, but had forgotten about the candy bars I had been hauling around all day. There were other people out now and I hiked with a woman for a ways and was thankful for her company. I really did not like being out there alone at night. When I go back to do Fat Dog again I am getting a pacer or someone to go with me. I could see lights from other runners in the distance and hear them at times. Another 120 miler and his pacer passed me.

And then I saw a glowing tent up ahead. I tried to figure out what it was. Had someone hiked up for their runner? When I got there I was met by a guy who had hiked up to spend the night as a surprise to all the runners. He told me that it was downhill from here. Maybe about 4 miles or so to the finish. I was told I needed to sit down and eat something because the descent would be harder than I thought. I sat in a chair (he hiked up a chair too!) and pulled out my snickers bar. It was seriously the best thing that had ever happened to me in a race. I felt like I could continue so I did.

The first part of the descent was harder than I thought. My husband, daughter and I had hiked up this section on Thursday before the race and it hadn’t seemed so bad. But my legs were fresher then, so…What else can I say about the descent? I was happy to have it done with and see the turn to go to Lightning Lake and the finish. I was happy and tired and ready to be done. I forced my legs to run and I finished in 14 and a half hours. My husband and daughter were waiting for me, although since it was 11:30 at night, my daughter was sleeping in her chair, wrapped in a blanket. I wanted to be sleeping too.

fatdog50finish

Looking back, I see where I went wrong with not eating enough, but I also see where I went right and toughed out un-ideal conditions and my own fears. I love Fat Dog and I hope I get to go back next year for the 70 or maybe even some day for all 120. The course is gorgeous and tough, but that’s what makes it worth doing.

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A Tale of Two Fifties: Mt. Hood 50 & Fat Dog 50. Part 1. Mt. Hood 50

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” – Charles Dickens

Weather-wise, that is.

Let’s start with the best weather and the first 50.

On July 11, I did my first 50 mile event. Leading up to Mt. Hood 50, I didn’t really feel nervous. We (me, my husband, and our daughter) decided to camp on the shores of Timothy Lake and my husband invited his dad and brother-in-law, which gave them all something to do over the weekend while I ran. They set up camp on Thursday and I drove out on Friday, got there in time for dinner and to realize I forgot my pillow and extra sleeping pad at home.

I had a really hard time sleeping the night before the run since I was sharing a pillow with an eight year old and our air mattress was losing air and then…just as I was complaining for the umpteenth time to my husband about not being able to sleep, he tells me “Sssshhhhhhhh.” Now, my husband does not cut me off like that, so I shhhhh’ed because I knew something was up. And then we clearly heard it. Was it a bear? Was it a two legged animal? What was it?? My husband peeked out the screen of the tent and saw it: a nice sized black bear. A bear was wandering through our campsite on its way to the lake! After that, me and my daughter could not get to sleep. Every sound was a bear. Even though that bear had definitely gone. I think I got around an hour and a half of sleep that night.

I woke up bleary eyed and upset. I literally cried to my husband that I couldn’t do it, I didn’t see how I could actually go 50 miles when I felt like I did. I was really emotional about it because I was so tired. Everything came bubbling to the surface. And then my husband told me: You can still do this and do well. It’s just a trail run. You will be fine.

I decided to believe him and as I drove to the start I thought: You can do it. You can do it. You can do it.

The start was a little dicey. I was still waking up. Not sure I could do it. Everything felt harder because my mind was so tired. But, I eventually settled into a rhythm and arrived at the first aid station. The energy there was contagious. I tried the oreo dipped in espresso trail butter (exploreos and if you get the chance have some). I was perking up thanks to the volunteers and the extra caffeine.

Mt. Hood 50 consists of two out and backs. The first is a north bound 28 mile out and back and the second is a 22 mile out and back towards Warm Springs. Supposedly (and this was actually the case for me), you can count on spending the same amount of time on both.

The trails were easy to run. I was making great time. My legs felt good. The weather was AMAZING. We have been having really hot weather, but it cooled off for the weekend and it was in the 50s to 60s.

MtHood50Photo1

I ended up running with one woman for quite a ways and then we fell into a group of women during the first out and back. They were all great and it was nice to just join the lady train and cruise along. On our way back as we came by Timothy Lake, I spotted my husband on his kayak and got to shout back and forth with him about how things were going, etc. It was nice to see him and to be feeling good, to let him know that he was right, I was doing this.

When we came through the start/finish/transition to the second part of the course, I switched my shirt and grabbed a hat along with taking some pickle juice and food and refilling my water and using the bathroom. Then, unluckily, I knocked a contact out of my eye. Luckily, I was fairly close to my car and had a spare. I lost some time and added over half a mile, but at least I could see and at least it happened where it did. Once I was back on course, things were good.

The terrain changes as you head out towards Warm Springs. It gets drier and the trees are different. You are headed towards the high desert. The change is slight, but noticeable. Also you climb. I hiked quite a bit and a low moment between the Red Wolf Aid Station and the turn around. The volunteers were amazing. Whatever I wanted, they got me. They just took my pack and refilled it, handed me food and ginger ale then encouraged me as I set out. I was doing really great at staying hydrated and fed. I did not feel over or under nourished at all during the entire 50 miles. My mind was getting tired, but my body was doing good. I was getting in and out of the aid stations fast too.

During the last 11 miles, I got the normal aches and pains of doing distance. I was cheered up by a to-go popsicle at the turn around. And then I got to Red Wolf Aid a second time and was cheered by the fact that I had just a short ways left to go. It sunk in that I was going to make it. I had slowed down quite a bit, but played a game of run/hike fast. I was really tired, almost falling asleep as I went. I slapped my face a little a couple times and talked to myself.

Around mile 48/49, I started getting emotional. I was running again during these miles.

MtHood50Photo2

And then I heard the finish. I came off the trail and onto the road and I took off. I just went for it.

MtHood50Finish

I was crying. I got a hug from Renee, one of the directors and I held onto her and cried for a moment or two. I am not a crier, but the relief and joy and just plain exhaustion got to me and I let my emotions out. It felt so amazing to actually see this through and to accomplish this.

I loved all of it, even the bits were I was tired and hurting some. It felt good to be alive and running/hiking through the woods, meeting other people who like the same thing I do. I just had a great time and I am still really pleased about how I executed my nutrition and pacing and hydration.

The next day I volunteered to help woman the last aid station in the 50K. And wow, I am so happy I did. I ended up working with an amazing woman and her daughter. I had the greatest time helping the runners as they came through. There are stories out there that I would not have gotten to witness had I not been there. I saw every single person come through, from first to last and they all had different stories to tell and I was privileged to witness and help them on their journeys.

I can’t say enough good things about both the 50 mile and the 50K. They are popular events and it’s clear why. The directors and volunteers are going to make sure the course is good and the aid is good and set everything up for participants to succeed.

I did end up with nasty blood blister that got infected after not being able to really get it clean after I ran. I ended up on a week of antibiotics and lost an entire toenail, but that all healed up in time for me to feel a little crazy one day and sign up for the Fat Dog 50, which is a tale for another day.

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Checking in

I’ve been keeping my blog over at Runner’s World the Loop up. But not over here.

I’m training! Here’s my most recent training post:

http://community.runnersworld.com/blog/the-power-of-gu

I have 16 miles on schedule for this Sunday, so I’m enjoying my rest day today. Looking at Tejas Trails races and about to nap. I love napping and I don’t get to nap every day, so I take advantage of the days I can. It’s my not so secret training weapon.

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Forever Optimistic? Or Forever In Denial?

I like to say I’m a realist. Just yesterday my boss told me I wasn’t allowed to be so pessimistic. I had to remind the boss that half of what comes out of my mouth is sarcastic, but I also preferred to think of myself as a realist. I know how things work. But lately I think I might be wrong about myself. Have I been telling everyone I’m a realist, or putting up a pessimistic front, when deep down I am an optimist?

I’ve been injured off and on for years now. ALWAYS WITH THE HAMSTRINGS. I haven’t blogged here (or even much anywhere) for a while, but I have kept up more over at Runner’s World the Loop. Around mid-April/May I noticed that my hamstrings weren’t just inflexible, they were actually tingling. And my feet were tingling too. And my glutes. It was all very weird, so I went to my doctor and then I ended up getting and MRI and seeing another doctor and a PT and a chiropractor. Nobody knows what is going on, but my back is totally fine (a physiatrist told me with a back like mine I can go do what I want), but I have been dealing with this bizarre nerve/muscle/whatever it is issue for a while.

I am sort of much better, but it acts up every now and then. So I am headed to see another PT to get a second look at my running/lifting. I have identified the things that bother me: and those things involve lifting. Specifically things that load my hamstrings. So I wonder if a nerve is getting pinched by overworked muscles. Anyhow. After taking some time off, I started slowly getting back into things. I managed to do some fun things this past summer, like long hikes, Hood to Coast with my Internet friends from the Loop (now we are all real life friends), and an ultra around Mt. St. Helens. All on 15 miles a week average.

Now I am working back in to running, but cutting back on Crossfit. I’m over 20 miles a week for a few weeks now and working back up to 30 miles a week. Unless anything goes wrong. I fully expect another shoe to drop at any moment (that is the realist part of me), but I am enjoying every day I get to get out there and I keep thinking I am going to get better (that is the optimist part of me – or else I am in denial). Because I totally signed up for a marathon in June 2015.

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The Crossfit Open is over. I made it!

I always keep marathons in the back of my mind. I am a marathon runner after all, despite my long break from the marathon. I am in Marine Corps Marathon this October and I have been going back and forth about running it, but I am more forward than back on actually doing it. I will just have to commit even though I am a little afraid. Doing things that are uncomfortable or scary always seems to help me become a stronger person. I did actually go to the trouble of looking at training plans, so I think I am tentatively on my way. The part that holds me back is the strength gains I have made recently. Not running long distances = much more strength for me. And I am really enjoying being stronger/weighing more. I have put on 15 pounds of mostly muscle and I love it! I finally have a butt and when I flex my arms, there is actually muscle there to see. 

I finished up the Crossfit Open. It was intense. All the workouts were intense! I blooped about the first one, 14.1, but neglected to finish up the blooping. There are 5 workouts over 5 weeks in the Open and they are named in chronological order, so 14.1, 14.2, 14.3, etc. 14 is short for 2014. I’m going to write a brief recap of them all (except 14.1 because I already did that one).

14.2

Every 3 minutes for as long as possible complete:

From 0:00-3:00

2 rounds of:

10 overhead squats

10 chest-to-bar pull-ups

From 3:00-6:00

2 rounds of:

12 overhead squats

12 chest-to-bar pull-ups

From 6:00-9:00

2 rounds of:

14 overhead squats

14 chest-to-bar pull-ups

Etc., following same pattern until you fail to complete both rounds.

I easily got through the overhead squats in under 30 seconds, but struggled with the chest to bar pull-ups. Although I did realize that doing regular kipping pull-ups was not that difficult for me after all. I don’t really have a lot to report on that one. Just that I started pushing myself to do more workouts Rx’ed after this.

14.3

WOMEN – includes Masters Women up to 54 years old
Complete as many reps as possible in 8 minutes of:
95-lb. deadlifts, 10 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
135-lb. deadlifts, 15 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
155-lb. deadlifts, 20 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
185-lb. deadlifts, 25 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
205-lb. deadlifts, 30 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
225-lb. deadlifts, 35 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch

Aaahhhh! I loved this workout. I got through the 20 reps of 155 pound deadlifts with 20 box jumps. And then could barely manage to budge the 185 pound deadlift off the floor. My hamstrings were toast! But I had so much fun on this one. I went all out and it was great.

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You will notice the crown. Well, my crossfit box is the best. We had an in house team competition/throw-down. The owners gave each week a theme and the theme of the 14.3 week was dress like your partner. I had so much fun with my partner DD. She is also a runner and encourages me to be braver at all things Crossfit.

14.4

WOMEN – includes Masters Women up to 54 years old
Complete as many rounds and repetitions as possible in 14 minutes of:
60-calorie row
50 toes-to-bars
40 wall-ball shots, 14 lb. to 9-foot target
30 cleans, 95 lb.
20 muscle-ups

In 14.4 I learned to do toes to bar. The row was easy, but I ended up taking forever on toes to bar. But also, I got toes to bar for the first time! So who cares how long it took.🙂 I was pleased with this one, but frustrated that I didn’t get many toes to bar. I got 16 or 17 I think.

14.5

WOMEN – includes Masters Women up to 54 years old
21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
65-lb. thrusters
Burpees

This workout broke me mentally. I got through the round of 21 and into the round of 18 and all of a sudden thought: I can’t do this. I thought that all the way through until I got to the reps of 6. It was the hardest thing I have ever done to keep going. Harder than running the hot Boston. Harder than running a 50K on a whim. It was harder because I knew I could run a hot marathon and I knew I could run a 50K on a whim. I had confidence. But I did not have confidence in 14.5 until I got through it. It took me 30 minutes to do 14.5. I ended with my coaches, my box-mates, and my husband around me, encouraging me to keep going. It was intense and painful and one of the best things I have ever done.

145 The look of defeat

 

DonewiththeOpen

 

There would have been tears at the end of 14.5 if I had the energy. I have never worked so hard at something before.

I learned a lot during the 2014 Crossfit Open. Some things:

1. I need to practice double unders.

2. I needed to ditch the band. I can do toes to bar. I need to practice toes to bar. I totally ditched the band.

3. Crossfit is really hard. Okay I knew that one, but 14.5 really drove it home.

4. I need to work at upper body strength more.

5. My fellow  box members and my coaches are amazing and so supportive. I really think my coaches are the best. They have helped me come a long ways from when I started.

Two weeks ago, one of my coaches made me a program to train for regular pull-ups. I will get strict pull-ups soon I think. I am so close, but need to build more strength. Before I did the Open, I would have still thought I wasn’t strong enough to even think about it, but pushing through harder workouts made me realize that I am stronger than I think. I really encourage anyone to try Crossfit. I am so glad I actually went ahead and signed up because I have learned so much about myself and it really changed my outlook on fitness.

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Crossfit Open Workout 14.1 and a Cold, Hilly, Rain run

I don’t know if I will ever be able to adequately prepare myself for the feeling of not being good at something. I thought I had prepared myself mentally for struggling through the Open workouts, but I wasn’t prepared for the reality of those 10 minutes I spent struggling to get through 1 round of the workout. Okay, drama time is over. Let’s continue without the theatrics.

Here’s the Open Workout 14.1:

As many reps as possible (AMRAP) in 10 minutes of…..

30 double-unders

15 power snatches (women’s weight = 55 pounds)

I am terrible at double-unders and it is my own fault for not practicing them like I said I would.

My goal was to get through 1 round. It took me almost 7 minutes to get through the double-unders and as I watched the clock tick on each failed rep, I began to wonder if I could actually make it through 1 round. But then I just focused on each rep. And I eventually got through the first round of double-unders. The power snatches were easy for me. I have been going to an Olympic lifting class at my box and that has really helped me. After the first few weeks of the class, I was able to power snatch my old max easily and repeatedly in a Workout of the Day (WOD). So, I’ve improved greatly with the Olympic lifts. Double-unders elude me due to my own avoidance and disinterest. I’m changing that as of now. For real this time.

Here is what I do besides run:

power snatch 1

power snatch 2

power snatch 3

This is not a series of 1 lift, but rather photos of me during various lifts. I feel like most of my lifts were great, but there is always room for improvement. The middle photo shows a power snatch that could use a little work for what the WOD was. I am catching it in the power position, but I think I could have done more of a muscle snatch with the weight at 55 pounds.

I love my Crossfit box. I really do. The members are so supportive and the open is basically a party with some workouts thrown in.

I went for a really cold run in the icy rain on Sunday. It was hilly and my legs were so tired. But I had a friend to encourage me and stick with me through the rain (it was so cold – 33 degrees and pouring and then the wind picked up), so it was bearable and, dare I say (I will save you from suspense – I dare), fun. Now that it is over and all I have are pleasant memories.

The running is still picking up. I am training for that 8K. I don’t know what pace, but hopefully at a decent clip.

I’m already nervous for 14.2 this Friday. I’m sure there will be chest to bar pull-ups or toes to bar and I will struggle again. It’s great for personal growth. Like being the very last one on the Cascade Lakes Relay course. Until you have been there, you just can’t know.

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The 2014 Key West Half Marathon: a Race Report of sorts

In my last post, I mentioned I ran another race after that 5K at the beginning of January. We went to Florida at the end of January and our visit happened to coincide with the Key West Half Marathon. Since I was there, I figured I should run it! Right? Right. My husband is rolling his eyes right now as he looks over my shoulder.

I don’t think this is going to be much of a race report as it was uneventful and I wasn’t racing. I was just getting back into running when we went to Florida, but it was hard for me to run on vacation. Sometimes I have no problem running on vacation, but sometimes I just don’t want to so I don’t. We were just being lazy and doing things around the island, so I didn’t really feel like running. I felt like sitting on the beach:

Angie on beach

Fort Jefferson

I felt like I should probably go for a run, but I never got around to it. I wasn’t worried about the distance even though I was coming off an extended break. I felt like I was in good enough shape to jog a half marathon even if I hadn’t run the week before and my longest run in months was 6 miles.

The hotel we stayed at during the week was sold out for the weekend by the time I got around to actually booking hotels, so we had to move hotels. The hotel we moved to was really great until 10 at night until 2 or so in the morning when loud, drunk people stumbled home. We hardly got any sleep, so I was TIRED on Sunday morning when I woke up. I snapped out of it real quick because I was running a race and that always makes me happy. Plus the race shirts were epic:

Key West Half Marathon shirt front

Key West Half Marathon Shirt Back

Basically, I was ready to run and have some fun along the ocean with other runners. We were a mile from the start, so I let Matt and our daughter sleep in and I ran to the start. There were other runners headed that way too. The weather was cool for Key West but in the mid-60’s, so I went in shorts and a tank top. It was amusing to see the locals bundled up like it was winter. People were wearing tights and turtle necks. Some people had on ear warmers or gloves.

The start was kind of a mess though. Bag check and the finish were in one direction then, when you walked back to the start, you ended up at the front of the start line instead of the back. So a bunch of runners couldn’t get back to the back of the start line and were all jammed up front. Also no one was around to help direct traffic at the start until it was time to start. There were quite a few runners too, so it was a mess. Take my word for it. I managed to scoot back far enough to where I wasn’t right at the front and once we started, the cluster …. at the start was out of my mind. I just focused on the pretty course.

And the course was beautiful! I got to watch the sun come up over the water as I ran along. I forgot my sunglasses and my Garmin, but I had my visor, so it wasn’t too bright. Living in the Pacific Northwest, I forget that there is sun in the winter in other parts of the country.

I have a tiny photo along the course from the Key West Half Marathon website:

KeyWestCourse

 

 

It’s a little photo! I’m in the blue visor. The course ended up being an out and back because of construction, which was fine. I thought it worked well. The aid stations were well supported and had water and some had an electrolyte beverage.

I just ran along at a comfortable pace and I felt fine until I developed a painful blister on my left foot. I was running in my orthotics and I hadn’t run over 6 miles in them ever. I started getting the blister around mile 7 of the race (mile 8 of my day). The blister was very painful at times – so much so that I would walk for a bit when it got to be too much.

I finished in 1:50:19 chip time – a few seconds faster than gun time since I ended up so far towards the front. I ended with 14.1-ish miles for the day. That is my 2014 distance PR so far. HA!

Matt and our daughter were waiting for me at the finish. We got coffee and donuts, then ended up leaving Key West early to head up to Fort Lauderdale. We were over the hotel situation in Key West. I had a lot of fun and would recommend the Key West Half Marathon. I definitely wouldn’t go for a goal there unless you are used to warmer weather. I went from freezing cold rain to the mid to upper 60’s on race day and definitely felt the change in temperature and humidity. Still, it was fun. The medal is interesting and substantial too. At first I couldn’t figure out what it is supposed to be, but it is a bottle stop.

Since the half marathon, I have done a few runs, topping out around 6 miles and am starting to pick up running a bit more. I always have fun doing it, but lately it is hard to get out the door.

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