Friday, November 28, 2008

Running Holiday

Rebecca's leg continues to bother her, so we decided to hike Mt. Helena Wednesday night, instead of joining the running group. My lungs are in recovery mode, so I loaded up my Nathan pack and ran the 3.5 miles to meet her at the trailhead. It was COLD and I was glad for my cozy Pearl Izumi pants. We hiked 4 miles, finishing in the dark. The picture below is near the top of the Prairie Trail. Rebecca offered to drive me home, but my legs wanted to run. Planning ahead was good - I definitely needed the reflective vest and headlamp for the return trip. About a half mile from home, I got a little woozy, and realized I'd been out for almost three hours without eating anything. How did I forget that?
Steve and I both had Thanksgiving off for the first time in years, and we (Steve mostly) cooked the entire meal, including what I consider to be the infamous Green Bean Casserole. Really, who dreamed this up? While the turkey was cooking, I hit the trails for a short, brisk run. By brisk, I mean 25 degrees and frost covering the ground. But, it was sunny and I met a couple gorgeous dogs who really wanted to run along the way.

After our very yummy dinner, we put up our new tree, only the second one in 11 years of marriage. Sorry to say, but we got an artificial. I really wanted to decorate a tree without suffering a major allergic reaction, and I have to say, it looks pretty great. Quite a process putting it together though!
Today, before starting the ridiculous amount of notes for work, I braved the wind for what I hoped to be a tough, hilly run. My legs were tired from the previous two days, but I managed to run most of the uphills and tried to pick up the pace for any of the flats. I ended up with 7 miles and major windburn. Tomorrow is a rest day, with a long run of 15-16 trail miles planned for Sunday. Safe travels to my family!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Unbeknown to me, my lungs have been engaged in an internal war for several weeks. An asthma flare-up was creeping up on me and I ignored all of the symptoms. In fact, I remember Danni asking me (a long time ago - end of summer) if I was sure my asthma was under control. I was tired, not sleeping well, suffering the dry cough syndrome, struggling to run even a slow pace. Just stress, I said.

Dumb, dumb, dumb. This past week, I paid the consequences. Major asthma problems and a lung infection resulting in physician admonishment, albuteral shakes and lots of the not so fun drugs called steroids. The lesson here is that stress definitely take its toll on the body, but is not always the sole responsible party. The second lesson is that I'm not always so good at taking care of myself.

Sooo, the plan, and we all know how plans/resolutions/goals tend to dissolve once one feels healthy again.

1) Drink more water.
2) Get more sleep.
3) Set limits at work.
4) Take time to eat. Might help if I follow #3.
5) Take time to run, walk, something every day. Also helped by following #3.
6) Make sure to refill my Singulair prescription ON TIME. Definitely helped by following #3.

There it is - doesn't sound too hard, right? We'll see...

On to the fun stuff! A couple weekends ago, Steve and I took in the Banff Film Festival in Great Falls. The place was packed. I always find this amusing. Great Falls is not the outdoor mecca like Kalispell and Helena, but it seems to draw a bigger, very enthusiastic, crowd for the festival. Maybe it's because there's just nothing else to do or an excuse to escape the never ending wind? I have to admit we were spoiled living in DC, where the National Geographic Live Center showed FIVE nights of film. Maybe we'll need to travel to all five showings throughout Montana? It was fun. We stayed overnight so Steve could help out with a Paramedic Refresher, and I braved the wind for a 5 mile run (also pre-curser to the crud).

Add to that a little shopping, where Steve found me a North Face Primaloft Winter Jacket on sale cheap. It's like a down sleeping bag - I never want to take it off! He also got me this to solve my "on-call while running" issue. We saw the new Bond movie, with enough action to keep even me alert, and ate way too much good food.

The next afternoon, Rebecca took me out hiking on some new trails. It was fun doing something other than running, we had a lot of time to chat, and a good workout with all of the hills. Fun times. Pictures are of Rebecca on the trail.

My last thought goes out to my parents. Thank you for all of the long conversations the last couple weeks. This is gooey and sentimental, but discussions with you both are at the top of my always favorite list.
Happy Turkey Day!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Drinking Dilemma

Here's the problem...

This summer, I carried one or two 20 oz. hand held bottles of Heed. If I needed more, I'd use my Fuel Belt two bottle carrier (not the most comfortable) and one hand held. I'd average 20 0z. every 5-6 miles.

Lately, I've been using my Nathan pack, taking only water and Endurolytes if needed. On my recent 12 and 14 mile runs, I drank around 30 oz. Way too little. I'm not sure if I remember to drink more regularly with the hand helds or if Heed just works better for me.

The reason for using the hydration pack is that I'm always on-call and have to take my phone EVERYWHERE. I also tend to explore new trails with no particular time limit. Which means I need some kind of pack to carry phone, water, gels, map, etc. The pack is extremely comfortable, I don't mind using it at all, but I'm having a hard time adjusting to running without Heed.

My question?
Will I eventually adjust to just water? What's your hydration system preference? Especially for those of you who prefer sports drinks over water? I'm looking at one bottle packs that also have storage, but want one with minimal bounce. Any recommendations?

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Just watched "Run for Your Life," the story of Fred Lebow and the New York City Marathon. Interesting movie. Even Steve, the non-runner, was intrigued.

Bought and love the Pearl Izumi Alpine Pant. I'm not a fan of traditional running tights, and wanted something warm for the cold, windy days. Wind and rain resistant, fleece lined, with vented knee panels. A big thanks to Melinda at Big Sky Cyclery for finding them for me. This is probably not a purchase for those of you who run in shorts at 40 degrees. You'll be sweltering. If you are like me, cold most of the time, you'll find them cozy enough to sleep in.

Congratulations to Deb and Rebecca for finishing the New York City Marathon last week!

Great having a visit from Danni this week. She was sweet and took me to dinner at On Broadway. Good food, relaxing place, and so fun to catch up. Thanks Danni!

Friday night, I checked out Sommeliers with a couple fellow therapists from work. First wine bar I've been to in awhile, and fun to get to know co-workers better.

As for my own running, this week was not so consistent due to work and socializing. I managed a couple fairly fast 3 milers and this morning's solo 14 miler on muddy roads. Perfect weather for me. 45 degrees, overcast and misty. Despite the gradual uphill for the first 7 miles, I felt ok. I didn't push the pace, kept my heart rate low, and just enjoyed the quiet solitude.

Grizzly Gulch

Lime kilns along the way

Of course, this week was hugely important as far as elections are concerned. But, I've decided that this is not the place to reflect. I can say, however, that my thoughts were with one particular family in Anacostia who I worked with a few years ago, and the many conversations we had learning about each other and celebrating diversity. I would have liked to have seen them this week.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A "me" day

It's Saturday, and I should have been doing paperwork. Instead, I played hooky. I got up early, made Steve breakfast before sending him off to work, hopped in the car and drove to Bozeman to exchange a pair of running shoes. It was a beautiful day for driving, exploring, and with a new pair of shoes, running! I've been looking at the the Brooks Adrenaline ASR's primarily for winter road use, but also trails when weather allows for it. I finally made the purchase and took them out for a combination road/trail 12 miler, my longest run since Elkhorn.

The Shoe Review:
My favorite trail shoe is the Cascadia, and I went into this run knowing the experience would be different. The Adrenaline has a higher platform and more stability. It's also a lot less flexible (responsive?) than the Cascadia. But, it felt cushioned enough for both the road and the trail, and stood up well even for the rocky sections. It seemed to have enough traction, but I'm curious to see how it does in wet and/or muddy conditions. The shoe does seem a bit more narrow, even at the heel, so I don't think I would have needed to do any special lacing. I was worried that my big toe issue (the dance bunion thingy) would be a problem, but nothing was aggravated. No blisters, no callous pain flare-up. The Cascadias are still my favorite trail shoe, but this one works as well. How's that for loyalty to Brooks?

The Run:
I'm trying to use the heart rate monitor. My heart rate is usually out of control running up trails (like in the 180's). Based on my MHR and RHR, I should be doing recovery runs at about 150 AHR. So, I tried to keep it under 160 today. I did fairly well, except for the occasional big hill, but I was sooo slow. For 12 miles, with only 2,000 feet elevation gain, I averaged a 12:30/mile pace. I want to get faster!!!!! I know, patience, patience, patience.

Here are some pictures from the run. The views were spectacular, the sun was warm, my Nathan pack weightless, and I got to run in shorts and t-shirt the first day of NOVEMBER!
Hazy, sunny day

Diretissema Trail

Rocky mess above the trail

Dump Out Trail

More of Dump Out Trail - for me, the "Always Seem Lost" Trail

View from Dump Out

End of the trail portion for me - wish you were here?