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.

Monday, November 7, 2011

What happens during a 50 mile run, both mentally and physically and why do it?

“Ultrarunners live in that place where you feel as if there's nothing left, no more energy, no more reason, no more sanity, no more will to go farther. Then you push forward anyway, step after step, even though every cell in our body tells you to stop. And you discover that you can go on.” ~Marshall Ulrich from the book Running on Empty

I’ve tried to Google what running 50 miles does to you both mentally and physically, but only found writings of serious medical studies, never found what I was looking for. I wanted a simple explanation on what happens to someone when they run that distance. I thought, well I should know, I’ve ran the distance 3 times. So I looked deep within me and started writing. This is what I came up with.

Running ultramarathons is a test of character, endurance and strength. It asks you, do you have what it takes? If you’ve properly trained for at least 4 months, you should be able to deal with any problems that arise, both mental and physical on race day. 

“When it gets right down to it, the levels of commitment and devotion required to excel as an ultra-endurance athlete are all-consuming.”

So what happens during a 50 mile race?

Let’s start with the physical problems. You’ll likely experience any one of the following problems: painful blisters; blood gushing from your leg or knee from tripping because you are just too tired to pick up  your feet anymore, you are now shuffling; bruising; bloating and swelling everywhere, your feet, ankles, legs, stomach, face, hands; possible hamstring pulls; feet or leg cramps that either stop you in your tracks or control  your speed; knee pain; ankle pain; dehydration; Leg, hips, foot pain, your arm hurts from holding it up, shoulders hurt; stomach issues like gas or diarrhea; nausea; vomiting; chafing just about anywhere (even on your butt and you'll find blood on your underwear); overheating; freezing afterwards if you don’t seek warmth immediately after; dizziness; hallucinations (why is my dog on the course?, is that a bear?); vision problems; and the most serious  heart pain and feelings of numbness on one side of your body. The pain that you feel at mile 20 is doubled at 30, tripled at 40 and so on. 

Other physical problems: You may not be able to eat, you’re either too nauseated or just don’t feel like it. You're hungry, but it's hard to eat. That certain food you normally trained with now makes you want to vomit; normal terrains are now are hard, an easy hill is now your worst nightmare; moodiness; even a simple IPOD string is the most annoying thing ever; your immune system drops after the race and the chances of getting ill are super high; after you are finished the race, everything tightens up and you’ll walk funny for days.

“The human body is capable of amazing physical deeds. If we could just free ourselves from our perceived limitations and tap into our internal fire, the possibilities are endless.”

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

So how about your mental state?

Your mental state goes. The mental demons will scream at you to quit; feelings of inadequacies may come up; you know longer can do basic math after all, uh what is 25-17? Nope, don’t know; the mileage tests you, you’ve likely ran a 50K going into it, but you have to come up with 19 more miles. How? Unless you are just running on instinct, you can play mental games, I’ll run to the next aid station, I won’t count the mileage, count the loops instead (if it’s a looped course) I’ll run though this song, walk a min or two after it’s over.  

Even with all these negative problems, running ultramarathons is extremely rewarding and it is a gift to be able to do so. There is such a joy and satisfaction in knowing that even with all the physical and mental problems that go on in running such a distance, you crossed that finish line, you did it! What an absolute fantastic achievement, a true test in human strength and endurance. 

“Struggling and suffering are the essence of a life worth living. If you're not pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone, if you're not demanding more from yourself - expanding and learning as you go - you're choosing a numb existence. You're denying yourself an extraordinary trip.”
This is one reward for a running a 50....
But the greatest, is because you never know who is watching you? Who looks up to  you?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.
You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

Children often dream of being something when they get older. One of my children wants to be a singer, another wants to be a teacher one day, a veterinarian the next. The point is, children dream big!

View overlooking the Columbia River and 205 bridge
Unfortunately, when I was a teenager, I never had a clue what I wanted to be. But, I had a talent in the works, endurance, and adventure. I was 17 and I would often ride my bike from my home in Milwaukie, Oregon to the Oregon/Washington border. It was such a thrill riding the 30 mile distance. Once I got to the Columbia River, I would sit for about 10 minutes and I ride back, full speed. I can still remember the wind through my hair, the stretch in my legs. When I was done, I felt absolutely great and couldn't wait to ride again.

Although, my sport has changed to running,the need for that new adventure, that new distance, the desire to push myself to see how far I can go, is still there.

I just ran my 3rd 50 and am still in recovery mode. I have added my recovery to my 100 mile training guide, so I can say that I am officially training for my first 100, the Rio Del Lago 100. I am going to still put my name in for Western States for 2012, but don't expect to get in.

As promised, I am going to document my runs, my training. You can follow me on the dailymile.

But for this week, I am starting out low with runs of 2, 2, 2, 6, 2 for the week of Nov 6, I am running 2, 2, 4, 8, 4.

I am also introducing three new items into my training:

Hoka Bondi B's or my Hoka Polkas as I have nicknamed them.


and the Ultimate Direction Diablo
Now I must say that I took a chance with the Diablo. I wore it the entire distance at the 50. I had only trained with it for 10 miles. You are not supposed to add anything new at a race and I did that. But, happy story, it was great. I never had any chafing on my back like my last hydration pack would give me.

Life is short, what are your dreams? What do you desire to do? What is stopping you? Go out and get it?

I like the quote; "What Would You Do If You Knew You Couldn't Fail?" Why not apply that to your life?

Take a chance, just go for it