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.