Marathon #1, crossing the finish Line. I could have at least looked up right? If your able to click on the picture to enlarge, look at my neck and look at how stiff I look. This is my favorite memorabilia. It shows how hard that first marathon was. It is a reminder of how far I've come with my training.
Marathon #2, coming across the St. John's Bridge. I look stronger. I'm still wearing those Mickey Mouse "lucky" shorts and I still have that hat, it's my favorite.
Hagg Lake in 2008. Oh good, I've learned to smile for the cameras.
Hagg Lake in 2010.
Wildwood in 2009. Photo of my knees from falling.
Hagg Lake in 2010. My daughters and husband helped out at the aid station.
As of today, 10-12-10 it is 18 days till I run in my first 50 mile run.
Like always, I find myself thinking back to how I got started.
I started running 3 months after my last daughter was born in 2003. I was doing Body for Life to lose about 20 pounds. I ran for 20 min 3 days a week. At first, well it was just walking up and down the stairs. I then headed for the treadmill. I even ran a mile in 7 minutes, boy was that exhausting!! One afternoon I decided I was going to run 9 miles on my treadmill. I did it completely wrong, stop and go, ran too fast, but I did it. That evening, I had the "runners high" man I felt really good!! A few days later I was out on my driveway drinking a beer and the mail came. In the mail was an invitation from team in training to run a marathon. I thought a marathon, what a good idea! I never signed up with team in training, but some how came across www.teamoregon.com or the Portland Marathon Clinic.
My first "real" experience running was running 10 miles around Hagg Lake. I was so nervous, but showed up with my clip tie Nike shoes. They were neon green and I bought them off of craigslist, seriously no ties. I ran that race in about 2:27, I think. I felt pretty good.
The following weekend, I decided to join up with this Portland Marathon. I showed up at Wildwood for a 10 mile run. It was so muddy, had my silly Nike shoes and 2 huge water bottles that had a screw off cap. I remember keeping up fairly good, but my breathing was absolutely horrible! I sounded like I was having an asthma attack!!! I made it through it.
I kept showing up to the free training runs week after week. I even signed up for the clinics, taught by Warren and Patti Finck. I attended every one and when I ran with the group, I wanted to be in the front so that I can hear the pace group leader give out the good advice, I looked forward to it.I did everything that everyone told me to do.
Every higher mileage was that much more thrilling to me. I always came home saying, "ask me how many miles I just ran!" Oh, yes I did get new shoes. Right after that first Wildwood run, I headed over to a running store and got some Mizuno's and new water bottles.I remember when I ran my first 20. It was at Vancouver Lake. We had to run by our car 4 times! What torture! And it was hot!! I think that torture treatment is what helped me to be able to run runs that are routine. Horrible story happened that day, I almost lost my bowels on the way home! Horrible stomach ache, but luckily didn't. I'm afraid I almost quit the marathon before it even happened. I even took a walk of shame home. Quit for about a week or so, but something snapped inside of me and I started up again. Glad I did, running that marathon became my best physical achievement. I ran that first marathon in 4:37:54.
The next year, I was a little more prepared. I was still in the front, listening to the pace group leader. That year I decided to do some speed work. That was so much fun! Speed work was every Thursday evening, at some track in Portland. It was taught by Patti and Warren Finck. I remember Patti told me and my friend Debbie Freeman that we were strong runners. What a great compliment! Debbie has since run many, many marathons, she is a marathon maniac and than there is me. That 2nd marathon I came in at 4:04:20, that's a difference of 33 minutes! I felt good, but I got injured.
I knew at this moment, I could either A. try for the Boston Marathon or B. go longer. Well with my obsession for distance, guess what I chose? My mom wanted me to try for Boston as well as my Dad. My dad in college could run a mile in 5 minutes. I chose long. I read the book Ultramarathon man by Dean Karnazes and decided that I was going to just go for a 50. I started training with the back to back long runs, got injured, had to cancel out that plan. But, I did train again when I was feeling better and ran my first 31 miles from my house, stopping after 9 miles at my house for aid.
I then ran at the Hagg Lake 31 mile race Feb of 2008, came in at 6:56:50, which was 3rd from last and swore I would never run again. Hagg was hard.
I then ran the Wildwood run in 2008, came in at 6:19:01. But that was a horrible day; some ass was moving the directional flags and everyone was getting lost. I ran with 2 people that ran faster than I. I kept up with them in fear I would get lost. It rained that day 1 inch from the time the race began and kept up the entire time. I was than introduced to the 2.5 hill at Lower Macleay, Firelane 5 and Oil Line rd. I love them all now as they are fun hills. But Firelane 5 and Oil Line during that day were mud balls.I was walking in the ferns down Oil Line, slipping and sliding, and then the cliff! Oh the cliff down to Leif, some guy helped me down! I to this day like to "visit" oil line at least once a year, when it is dry of course.
The next year, 2009, I skipped Hagg Lake, but went for Wildwood again. I trained. I remember going out with my map, was not going to get lost again. I got stronger on the start as well. I was well trained. I came in at 6:00:12. The ending is a funny story. I was really cramping up the last 3 or so miles. I was on the downhill the last mile, on the rocks of Lower Mac, I got distracted by a little boy, cramped up and bit it on the rocks! I started yelling, "Help me, help me" A man ran over, pulled me up. I reached for the fence, had blood running down my leg, and started limping towards the finish, then walking, then jogging, then running, then sprinting! But, I almost threw up at the finish! Nice! What a great day. Oh and I yelled out "This is my playground!!!!" (A joke with my family)
In 2010, I went back to Hagg Lake, I was grumpy, could hardly eat, came in at 6:57:59, tad slower, but the mud was worst that year. I remember telling this poor man at one of the aid stations "don't follow me, I'm grumpy!" Poor guy, it was his first Ultra. I was also very nauseated that year. I had surgery 2 months prior to remove a dermoid cyst from ovary, so luckily I still had my neausea pills and my pain killers. I remember lying on the couch, asked my husband to go get my nausea pills, telling him specifically which ones they were and were not. He brought me another pain killer, so I ended up taking more than I should have, but it was too late when I realized I was given the wrong one. I didn't feel any pain, but nothing happened negatively to me. It took me about 3 days to get over my mood that I experienced at that race.
I wasn't in the mood to train, so I skipped Wildwood that year, was a little bummed, but volunteered at the aid station. I was looking for a race by than, when I heard of the Hagg Dust. I thought, a summer ultra, how perfect. Started training in May, ran it, came in at 6:18:05. It's nice there without all that horrible mud! I swore up and down that day, after the race that I was never going to run again, but that only lasted about 45 minutes. On the way home, I was already thinking about going for this upcoming 50 and I was committed.
So, here I am 18 days till race day. I just ran 49 miles in 3 days. I am almost at the point of tapering. Since August, I've run 3 marathons (including 2 one weekend after another), 1 31 mile race and have improved my speed by 1 minute. I'm ready for the race. I'm nervous, anxious, excited, freaked out, happy, strategising all at once. But like I've said in one of my early bog entries, if I ever had any doubt in my abilities, I wouldn't be succesfull. 50 miles? No problem I got it!