Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goals for 2012

"We all have dreams, visions and secret goals we keep hidden out of fear of failure...or the belief that they are out-of-reach or impossible to achieve. Never give up on your dreams! Life is a series of challenges, not difficulties. Hard times are our best resources, and there are no failures; only lessons."
I firmly believe that a lot of great things are going to happen for me in 2012. I have a vision for this year and it's bright and successful.

I'm setting my goals high and I intend to achieve them. My biggest goal for the year is to complete my first 100 miler in the fall of 2012.

In addition, I have a goal of adding more races for the year. They include:

A group run, 50K 1/21 in Southern Oregon
My first 100K Pacific Rim 3/2012 in Washington
Peterson Ridge Rumble 40 miles 4/15, Sisters, OR
The Siskyou Out Back, 50K 7/14
A 2nd time at the Mt. Hood 50, 7/28
Then finally my first 100. I was considering running Rio Del Lago, but I may be leaning towards running Javelina Jundred for my first. 10/27-28

I would also like to start swimming in again, as cross training.  Swimming was helpful with elevation training, so it would be a good idea to start that up again + I really did enjoy it.

I've been reading the book Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald, so I would like to get down to whatever that number is. It will probably be a good idea to eat more fruits and vegetables and cut out a lot of sugar.

I would also like to purse my dream of becoming a running coach. I believe I would be good at it and helping other runners gives me great joy.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Runner Profile Elaine Stypula-

I aspire to be like Elaine. How about  you? What are your hopes, dreams and goals?
Elaine Stypula-
By Andrew Harding

"Winning the lotto for Western States set the stage for her to enter the Grand Slam of Ultra Running: Western States, Vermont, Leadville and Wasatch.

Elaine was the first female from Michigan to finish the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, and the 34th female slammer since its 1986 inception. Her accomplishment is even more notable since she did it as a single mother of 3 girls: twin 16 year olds and an 18 year old attending college, in addition to holding down a demanding job as a lawyer.

Elaine has not been involved with ultrarunning very long. Her first ultra run was just about two and a half years ago with the 2009 Rocky Raccoon 50 miler. Elaine wanted a new challenge after completing 10 Ironman triathlons and over 30 marathons. She also liked the adventure and learning associated with running outside in different venues throughout the country.

Elaine showed her determination and endurance three years ago when she was attempting to qualify for the Boston marathon. After missing the 3:50 qualifying time by a few minutes at the Detroit Free Press marathon and the New York marathon, she came right back and ran the Philadelphia marathon under the required 3:50 mark- three marathons within five weeks to accomplish her goal.

Elaine showed the ability to do tough races back to back within a short time. Leona Divide followed one week later by the Miwok 100K. She demonstrated her tenacity with Ironman Lake Placid, her fifth, one week after completing the Vermont 100. At the Vermont 100, Elaine set a 100 miler PR (just over 22 hours), was first in her age group and fourth female overall. Her time was the best she had ever had at Lake Placid.

Elaine does all of her races without a support crew and had pacers in only two of the races (Leadville and Western States). She also overcome some physical problems during the year, which included severe stomach discomfort that required a gluten free diet, and pleurisy, that she developed at the Leadville race. She was only able to do two short runs between Leadville and Wasatch.

She had very fast aid station transition times, was very smart with her calorie/salt/electrolyte intake during the races, and was able to come on strong in the second half of all the races. In addition to being very discipline about her training and diet, she as smart enough to seek out advice from qualified experts.

Only two weeks after completing the Slam, Elaine emailed me, "Do you know what race you are doing next? I signed up for Rocky again. But I am already itching to do something new."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Book review for An Accidental Athlete by John "The Penguin" Bingham

This book was a lot of fun to read, I really enjoyed it.I read it in 2 days.

John Bingham didn't become a runner until he was 43 years old. He was overweight, uninspired and smoked a pack and half a day. He overcame excuses, such as "I'm too old or too slow" and he turned himself into an athlete.

It is a very humerous story. He talks about running his first mile, getting faster at running a mile, his trip to the running store, first races and races that followed.

"It turns inspiring, poignant, hilarious, and heartbreaking, An Accidental Athlete is the story of the unexpected joys of running-the pride of the finisher's medal, a bureau-busting t-shirt collection, back-of -the-pack strategizing. And one man's discovery that middle age was not the finish line after all, but only the beginning."-An Accidental Athlete.

About John Bingham:

To order:

Quotes by John:
"As I've gotten older, I've had to learn to negotiate with my body."
"My brain said I didn't have anything left. My will said there is always something left. You just have to know where to look."
"The gift of self-discovery is one of the greatest gifts that comes from living as an athlete."

Book review for Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons by Bryon Powell

Relentless Forward Progress A Guide to Running Ultramarathons by Bryon Powell

I read this book with a highlighter pen. You might be wondering why someone who has experience running ultras already is doing reading this book, but I've been learning that you never quit learning to run and I learned from the book. I really enjoyed it.

The book starts out talking about the ultramarathon, what it is and why you should run one and when is a good time to attempt one. The book goes on to talk about training pace, what your weekly mileage should before attempt to train for an ultra, the 10% rule, speaks a lot on speed training and how and why speed trainin
is not necessary for an ultra, recovery, tapering, cross training, burnout, over-training, heat and cold training, altitude training, course specifics-road running, trail running, running up or down hills, has training schedules for a 50K through a 100 miles and talks a little about each distance, it even talks about staying safe on the trails, hydration and electrolytes, fueling, nutrition, injuries, feet care, choosing your first ultra, race day strategies, bare foot running, ultramarathon gear and other extreme adventures. The book also has a lot of neat passages from experienced ultramarathon runners.

You can order his book here:

The idea of not breathing bothers me, but 130 degree heat doesn't

When I was a little girl, I would often look in the newspaper to see if this mysterious place called "Death Valley" had made it again as the hottest spot in the United States. I remember seeing that it was 120, 125, 130 degrees and I was always so fascinated by Death Valley. I'd even look it up on maps to check it out. I knew then that someday I would visit. Yea, it's that special. 

The Badwater 135 mile Ultramarathon has become my destiny, I feel it in my soul that I will one day run the extreme adventure. It's 135 miles in around 130 degree heat and it goes from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney. I've been coming to terms what I have to do to make my dream come true. Not only do I have to complete the minimum requirements of running 3 100 mile races, 1 being in the previous 12 months from the race, I have to complete and additional extreme sport adventure, such as The Grand Slam. The Grand Slam is completing the Western States 100 mile endurance run in California, The Leadville 100 in Colorado, the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run in Vermont and the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run in Utah It is to be completed in one calendar year, the same year. For more information about qualifying, go to
I have been told that I can run the Badwater course solo and still get a belt buckle. Here is a course profile:

I've got to admit, that I had a slight freak out when I saw that not only did I have meet the minimum requirements, but the much harder additional requirements and that is still not a guarantee you will ever be accepted. Tough standards. I'm good, making plans to make my destiny come true. What is funny, prior to learning of the Grand Slam and that the Leadville 100 was a part of it, I was just telling my husband about Leadville. I told him that it starts at 9800 or so and goes up to 13,000 ft in elevation. I said now honey, I don't want to do it.I am just telling you about it. But you know since I mentioned, I may want to do it someday, just beware. I had said the same thing about Badwater. Now I read its part of the Grand Slam and a part of qualifying for Badwater. Now I have Leadville on my mind. Yes, that will happen. But you know, I don't mind the heat, but something about not breathing bothers me.
Life is about taking risks, adventures. Live it! Go for your dreams.

So to come back down to earth, to reality on where I am at right now. I'm training for my first 100. I didn't get into Western States, but am running my plan of Rio Del Lago, in September, 2012.

So how is training going? I had a slight set back about 2 weeks ago, noticing a sore spot that wasn't going away on its own on the back of my leg. As a long distance runner for many years now, sore spots either go away on their own or they don't. This one wasn't. After my 16 mile run on 12/11, I felt the discomfort on the back of my leg. It wasn't painful and I didn't feel it until the later part of my run. So, I moped for awhile and decided to not run my 10 the following day and to take a somewhat unscheduled rest week. This week, I've been icing, stretching, running slower, and walking a bit. It really seems to have paid off. I feel good. 

I've also did something I haven't been doing, I asked for advice from other, more experienced runners than I. As a runner, you should never quit learning. I learned a lot. I learned, it would be beneficial to only run 4 days, combining a run with another, learned cross training is great, learned it will be fine to deviate from my schedule a little, that running a 50 in the 16 weeks leading up to my 100 is more than fine, adding a race for training and combining the two long runs should happen every now and then, it's a good idea to just not run if you are hurting-bodies need to heal-REST is not a bad 4 letter word, Pacific Rim is not boring, if I can't run between the hours of 3AM-6AM, run when exhausted, it's better to show up on race day a little under trained than over, that Rio Del Lago is hot and I should either spend time in a sauna 14 days prior or dress in layers in the warmest part of the day and doing a lot of walking in between some of my races is a great way to recover.

Speaking of races, this is what I want to do this year (so far) Pacific Rim 65 mi 3/17/2012, Peterson Ridge Rumble 40 4/15/2012, Siskiyou Out Back 50K 7/14 and Mt. Hood 50, a second time 7/28 I was told to do some of them as a training run in which I replied, I do that anyway, I get in when I get in and nobody is allowed to rush me. 

Happy trail running!

Monday, December 5, 2011

My best running story

In 2009, I made the decision to run the Forest Park 50K for the 2nd time. The first year, jokers moved the flags, so almost everyone was getting lost. The 2nd year for training, I went out with my map every weekend; I was not going to get lost again. The start of the course is a hilly trail with lots of rocks. I was strong, ready, well trained. I was really cramping up the last 3 or so miles, this was before I discovered Salt stick caps. I was on the downhill the last mile, on the rocks of Lower Macleay, I got distracted by a little boy, cramped up, my bad knee went out and I bit it on the rocks! My knee injury is an old volleyball injury from when I was a teenager, my knee pops out of joint. 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. My limping turned to walking, then jogging, then running, then sprinting! I yelled out to the crowd, “This is my playground!!!” (A joke with my family.) I finished strong, but then almost threw up at the finish! Nice! I came in at 6:00:12. What a great day. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

How is training going?

"Success doesn’t always come easy. Success doesn’t care about your background or the color of your skin. If you want it bad enough and are willing to work hard, you can do anything you set your sights on. Success will come to you.

For the past 2 weeks, I ran 26 miles then 32 miles.

It was a challenging two weeks. Here is why:

Both my daughters came down with this nasty flu bug and had to stay home from school. I was able to get my runs in, but couldn't necessarily be away for long. I didn't get up to the forest as often as I wanted. I thought that I was going to catch what they had and did find myself feeling ill at times, but I fought it off.

I also had to re-adjust my schedule because we left town for the Thanksgiving Day weekend. We left for Portland on Wednesday and returned on Sunday. I moved a couple of runs around and it worked out fine. I was even able to run up at Forest Park on Saturday with a good friend of mine. I haven't run the Wildwood trail in at least 10 months, so it was a real treat for me. I confirmed that the Redwood trails are more challenging than my beloved Forest Park trails. It was also a fun to see all the other runners and hikers out enjoying the trail, it's rare to find another human on my normal running trails.

In addition, I dealt with a tender spot on my right Hamstring. I took it easy somewhat, did some stretching and rolled out on my foam roller. It is okay now.

The Western States lottery is officially closed to new applicants and I should find out if I got in on Dec. 10th. If not, I am still run Rio Del Lago next September.

So for this week, I will be running 2, 6, 6, 14 and 8 for a total of 36. The following I am running 4, 6, 6 16 and 10 for a total of 42.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How is training going?

"Your biggest challenge isn't someone else. It's the ache in your lungs and the burning in your legs, and the voice inside you that yells 'CAN'T", but you don't listen. You just push harder. And then you hear the voice whisper 'can'. And you discover that the person you thought you were is no match for the one you really are."
Week 3 of training for my first 100 mile run begins.

In the previous weeks, I ran a total of 14 miles, then 20 miles the next. I called these my recovery from the 10/29 50.
Actual training has officially begun. For the next 2 weeks, I will run 2 4  4 10 and 6 for 26 weeks, next week (Thanksgiving week) I will run 2 4 6 12 8 for a total of 32 miles. I keep missing the trail, so I find myself headed that way 2-3 times a week. 

The highlights of the past few weeks include:

1. Running with my husband, who has taken up running for his health. I don't run with him as part of my daily routine, but make it extra. I didn't include the runs with him in my totals above.

2. While out running with him one night, it was extremely dark as my town doesn't have any street lights where we were running and I seriously just about ran into 3 huge elk! They were in a neighbor’s yard eating from the apple tree. I only heard the dogs barking as was concerned about them. Oops!

3. I signed up for Western States 100 mile endurance run, well the lottery. The lottery will take place on Dec. 10th and only 369 are allowed in. I think it is accomplishment just qualifying to sign up for the lottery. If I get in, I won't do Rio Del Lago in September as Western States is June 23rd, 2012. It was fun to sign up, I was asked all these health related questions, like have I had an operation in the past 5 years? Do I have diabetes? Do I have heart problems? Etc. Who knew back in 2005 when I made the decision to run my first marathon that I would one day sign up for Western States.We'll see if I get lucky. There is only a 10% chance that I will get in. The last time I looked at the number of applicants, there were over 1200, registration for the lottery ends 11/26. .

 "The thing I don't like about Western States is that you show up at the
starting line in the best shape of your life and a day later you are in
Auburn in the worst shape of your life."
- Andy Black, on Western States

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The quitter

"The Quitter"
When you're lost on the trail with the speed of a snail
And defeat looks you straight in the eye
And you're needing to sit, your whole being says quit
You're certain it's your time to die.
But the code of the trail is "move forward don't fail"
Though your knees and ego are scarred.
All the swelling and pain is just part of the game
In the long run it's quitting that's hard!
"I'm sick of the pain!" Well, now, that's a shame
But you're strong, you're healthy, and bright.
So you've had a bad stretch and you're ready to retch,
Shoulders back, move forward, and fight.
It's the plugging away that will win you the day,
Now don't be a loser my friend!
So the goal isn't near, why advance to the rear.
All struggles eventually end.
It's simple to cry that your finished; and die.
It's easy to whimper and whine.
Move forward and fight, though there's no help in sight
You'll soon cross the lost finish line.
You'll come out of the black, with the wind at your back,
As the clouds start to part; there's the sun.
Then you'll know in your heart, as you did at the start.
You're not a quitter. You've Won!!
- by Gene Thibeault

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Safety tips for runners

I've been hearing about a number of runners, both male and female that have been running by themselves in the forest or late at night without protection. This causes a lot of concern for me. A lot of people think that an attack can't happen to them, unfortunately, it only takes one time.

According to Senator Joseph Biden, who pushed for the law to punish violence against women, "the single greatest danger to a woman's health is violence from men." Of course, the vast majority of men -- honorable men -- don't hurt women, and women aren't the only victims of violence. But the fact is, women are physically more vulnerable. We learn early that we must take extra precautions to protect ourselves.

There was a recent news report of  man armed with a knife in Forest Park, Portland, Oregon who was not only harassing people out enjoying the trail, but attacked 2 forest rangers with a knife. The good news, he was arrested.

And if you think this is an isolated case, think again.

When I lived in Oregon, I was stalked by a man and he was scary. He'd wait for me to run by and he would wave, real nut job. I called the police on him once. I don't know, maybe he really thought he knew me? But because of him, I took a self defense course, taught by deputies and it was really good. We learned how to fight back, learned about what weapons are great to carry and in the end we were able to fight the deputies.  That part scared me, but it was a great class and I would recommend it to anyone. I learned in the class the best weapon is your voice, yelling at no! I also learned that if the person is just too overpowering, than become the best victim you can be and his worst nightmare. Get his skin under your fingernails, yank out his hair, because it can be used as evidence. Also, go to the hospital after the attack before going home. But, never let him drag you away from the crime scene.
If you want to see instructions on self defense moves, just go to and type in self defense for women.
If you are looking for weapons to carry, I would suggest a body alarm, pepper spray and a Kubaton. You can buy pepper spray anywhere. I purchased the body alarm and Kubaton at this online store.

Here are some other helpful safety tips:
  • Don’t wear headphones. Use your ears to be aware of your surroundings. Your ears may help you avoid dangers your eyes may miss during evening or early morning runs.
  • Run against traffic so you can observe approaching automobiles. By facing on-coming traffic, you may be able to react quicker than if it is behind you.
  • Look both ways before crossing. Be sure the driver of a car acknowledges your right-of-way before crossing in front of a vehicle. Obey traffic signals.
  • Carry identification or write your name, phone number, and blood type on the inside sole of your running shoe. Include any medical information.
  • Always stay alert and aware of what’s going on around you. The more aware you are, the less vulnerable you are.
  • Carry a cell phone or change for a phone call. Know the locations of public phones along your regular route.
  • Trust your intuition about a person or an area. React on your intuition and avoid a person or situation if you’re unsure. If something tells you a situation is not “right”, it isn’t.
  • Alter or vary your running route pattern; run in familiar areas if possible. In unfamiliar areas, such as while traveling, contact a local RRCA club or running store. Know where open businesses or stores are located in case of emergency.
  • Run with a partner. Run with a dog.
  • Write down or leave word of the direction of your run. Tell friends and family of your favorite running routes.
  • Avoid unpopulated areas, deserted streets, and overgrown trails. Avoid unlit areas, especially at night. Run clear of parked cars or bushes.
  • Ignore verbal harassment and do not verbally harass others. Use discretion in acknowledging strangers. Look directly at others and be observant, but keep your distance and keep moving.
  • Wear reflective material if you must run before dawn or after dark. Avoid running on the street when it is dark.
  • Practice memorizing license tags or identifying characteristics of strangers.
  • Carry a noisemaker. Get training in self-defense.
  • When using multi-use trails, follow the rules of the road. If you alter your direction, look over your should before crossing the trail to avoid a potential collision with an oncoming cyclist or passing runner.
  • Call police immediately if something happens to you or someone else, or you notice anyone out of the ordinary. It is important to report incidents immediately 
I would suggest that you read the book The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker

Taken from the book, The Gift of Fear, I learned about Survival signals. Survival signals are

Survival Signals
1.Forced teaming
Sometimes someone will say and do things to make you feel "We're in the same boat."  Or,  “We’re on the same team.” The purpose is to establish rapport and to put you at ease. Team spirit can be an excellent motivator. Sport teams, political parties, community service organizations, and neighborhoods all work best when people feel a sense of belonging with each other. It is important to notice when someone with whom you have not chosen to be connected with talks as if you are together. Be careful when people try to connect by identifying you with them as an “us” and to separate you from others who are “them”.  Remember what your relationship with this person truly is and is not.
2.Charm and niceness
People sometimes project warmth, kindness, sympathy, and humor as a way to get others to open up to them. People like this can very enjoyable, but they also might be harmful. When someone is very funny, kind and sweet, think to yourself, "This person is trying to charm me. Is being with this person what I want? Am I being charmed into accepting things that are not okay with me? Am I in a safe place if things go wrong?"  Even if someone is great to be with, notice if that person's behavior seems to change. People who were betrayed by their friends might say, "I could not believe that she/he would do this to me because we have had such good times together." Many women who were attacked say afterwards, "But he was so nice to me at first!” 
3.Too many details
When people want to persuade you, they sometimes give a lot more information than necessary. This can be because they really care about what they are saying, but it can also be because they are trying to distract you or confuse you into believing their story. It can be hard for honest people to remember that sometimes other people will make up convincing details to get you to trust them and that lots of details does not mean that someone is being truthful. Instead of getting too involved in what someone is saying, stay focused on your actual situation. Ask yourself questions like, "How well do I know this person?  Is this person’s behavior suddenly different in an uncomfortable way? Is he or she respecting my wishes?"
Understandably, most people don't like to be labeled as being uncaring, unkind, thoughtless, selfish, paranoid, unfair, misusing their power, or ignorant. Someone might deliberately use negative labels to get you to react in the opposite direction. Watch out for comments like, “You don’t care, do you?” Or, “You aren’t one of those women who think all men are bad, are you?” Or, “You probably think you are too good for someone like me.” Or, “Someone who comes from a family as well off as yours could not possibly understand what it’s like to be poor.’ Or, “This an unfair restriction on my freedom.” Or, “Telling me to stop is abusive.” Or, "You aren't being a good friend." Or, “You screwed up before and you probably will again.” Trying to prove someone wrong by changing your behavior is another way of letting what someone else says have power over you. Instead, make a conscious choice about how you are going to act depending on what the specific behavior being labeled is and what is actually going on.
5.Loan sharking
A loan shark lends one amount and then collects much, much more than was loaned. People sometimes try to build relationships by giving gifts. People sometimes are kind and want to help. There is nothing wrong with this if what they want to do is something you want and if there is no pressure for you to give more than you wish in return. If someone else approaches you and tries to do you a favor, you are not obligated to accept it nor are you obligated to give a favor back. Be aware that this could be a tactic to get close to you. When someone you don’t know says, "Here, let me help you,” and tries to do something you did not ask for or don’t really need, the safest response is to walk away and say firmly, "No thanks!"
6.The unsolicited promise
Promises are important. If you are the kind of person who keeps commitments yourself, you are likely to be reassured when someone makes a promise. However, before you trust your emotional or physical safety to someone’s promise, make sure that this person has a track record of keeping promises. Watch out for comments like, “I promise I will never let you down.” Or, “I promise I will never lie to you.” Or, “I promise I’ll leave just as soon as we get there.” Or, “I haven’t been drinking, I promise.” Or. “I’ll drive carefully, I promise.” Or, "I'll pay you back, I promise." Remember that what someone has done over time is a far better indicator of what someone will do than any kind of promise.
7.Discounting the word “no”
As successful fundraisers, negotiators, and salespeople all understand, “No” can sometimes mean “Not yet.” Asking for more information, listening to concerns, or offering other choices can lead to a good outcome for all concerned so it is important not to let “No” mean more than it actually does. As wise parents know, a child’s “No” should always be respected as a feeling but not always accepted as a choice. At the same time, intrusive or dangerous people will test the boundaries of potential victims by not listening to their “No.” If you are shy or uncertain in saying “No,” even people with good intentions might not hear you and might keep pushing your boundaries. If something is not okay with you or is potentially unsafe, it is important to be strong and clear and to have your actions match your words. "I really do not want to!” Or, “This is really not okay with me.” Or, “Go away! I don't want your help!" If you need help, if possible, pick someone out yourself and tell that person firmly and loudly that you need help instead of waiting for someone not of your choosing to offer.

For further explanation on survival signals, go to:

Be smart, it's better to be annoyed by carrying pepper spray, than the the annoyance of being attacked by someone. Danger never takes a vacation.