Friday, May 27, 2011

Slap that Butt

I was checking out my homepage on Facebook when I noticed a friend had posted a link to a video called "Slap that Butt Workout".  Naturally, I was intrigued.  After carefully making sure it wasn't FB spam-virus-shit I watched it.  The workout consists of two sets of 8 minute intervals.  Each minute has 45 seconds of intense repeats and 15 seconds rest.  To simplify, and because my watch only does repeats of one length, I opted to do 1 minute long repeats without rest.
I do my own interval workouts on an almost nightly basis, so I was excited to try some new stuff.  Halfway through the 16 minute workout I was dripping sweat.  Good sign!  I repeated the workout the next morning and was pretty sore for the next 5 days.  This is one website I'm going to explore a lot more.  I am still doing the above mentioned workout, and after my race this weekend I think I'll add a few more of her workouts.

Dude, that lady is in crazy good shape, and she knows how to flaunt it.  It's soft porn for workout freaks. Despite the, um, interesting camera angles, there really is some good material here.  I challenge you to try it too!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Muddiest Win in the City

Me and Race Director Roger Michel
I've placed in all sorts of positions.  In races, that is.  But never first, until Soaring Eagle 50k.  It's fun to win, but in ultras it's pretty low profile to win, even to win a high profile race, which this was not to be honest.  I  like to punish myself after what I feel like is a bout of poor performance, so I entered the Soaring Eagle 50k the week after doing Yakima Skyline Rim 50K (the toughest 50k in Washington I promise).  Races are a mix of punishment and pleasure, and the challenge of experiencing the edge.  I love racing.  I'd race every week if I didn't have other responsibilities and training priorities.  I love how races push me to run harder than I normally would.

Evergreen Trail Runs puts on a bunch of races throughout the year in the Seattle area, ranging from 5 miles to 50k.  Check out their website at:

I had no idea what speed of runners were behind me, but after the first loop I decided that I was going to do all I could to keep my lead.  The race consisted of 3- 10 mile loops plus a 1 mile loop at the end of the race.  The last loop, as expected, seemed really long.  The course was incredibly muddy, especially the beginning few miles, which we repeated several times.  You can see from the pics of my shoes that I got a little muddy.  Wish I'd worn shorts instead of tights. I got way too hot from mile 2 on... but by the third loop my body temp had evened out and the tights were OK.

I might try to get a few more Evergreen Trail Runs in this season.  We'll see... they're close by, well organized with good aid, friends, but it seems like almost every weekend of mine is scheduled this summer.  Maybe see y'all at Taylor Mt? 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Capitol Peak 50 mile: my first long race of the season

Going up the grunt: a 1 mile section of trail with approx 1,000 feet elevation gain.
I looked forward to Capitol Peak 50 miler with a mix of (in this order) fear, excitement, dread, awe, pleasure, and disbelief.  I have done this distance twice before, both in 2010: I ran the Capitol Peak 50 mile in April and White River 50 mile in July. I have also done about ten (or more) 50k's in the past 14 months, and a handful of 30k and under races.  Which all equated to me feeling like I should be ready to conquer Cap Peak, yet...

Two days before Capitol Peak I couldn't resist going to a show in Seattle, as it was James' brother's band and would be sure to be a lot of fun.  I knew the possible danger of going out a few nights before a big race, not only could lack of sleep damage my performance, but also poor, um, hydration could too.  All said and done, I opted to suffer from both the aforementioned maladies and took the day between the show and the race to recover.  To put it mildly, I felt horrible on Friday.  I comforted myself with the thought that it was only a 50 MILE RACE, WHAT THE F%#K WAS I THINKING?!?!  This was no time to express pre-race remorse though.  I sucked it up and drank water, took some vitamin "I" and tried my best to eat well.

On my way to the race on Friday, I dropped James off at the airport.  He had a running tour to lead the following week in TN and NC, and wouldn't be able to make it to Cap Peak.  I stayed at RD John's house (thanks John) with Wild Bill and Canada Joe as housemates for the night before the race.  Wild Bill does the t-shirt design and printing for many of Rainshadow Running's race shirts.  Joe is from Toronto, Canada and is also a race Director, and as we found out, shared some funny food similarities with me.  I was looking around John's fridge for salad dressing, darn none, when Joe came out and asked if I saw any peanut butter in there.  No, I don't see any.  Joe said, well I usually have almond butter and honey on my bread, but... What? I have almond butter and honey in my car, I said, what are the chances of that?   I spent the rest of the evening cooking potatoes for the race the next day.  Then I retired to bed, to sleep as much as possible before having to get up at 4am.

By race morning I was feeling a lot better.  I woke up just after 4 am and rushed around getting my "stuff" ready for the race: get dressed, coffee, drink more water, pack belongings into car, make sure drop bags are all ready, and follow directions to the start while eating some yogurt. All this morning rushing around took longer than I expected and I left just before 5am to drive 30 minutes to the start.  Race begins at 6am.

I was able to get the best parking spot in the house, oh yeah, thanks to bringing the potatoes for the aid stations.  Hmmm, these potatoes are worth their weight in gold.  I searched all over my car for my list of times that I had painstakingly made telling me where I should be during the race at what time.  I comforted myself with the thought that perhaps losing the list was a gift of sorts.  I will just run by how I feel.  This is usually the best way to run anyway, but knowing me, it's good to have a little extra motivation to keep me pushing my pace throughout the race.

Despite my lack of planned timing for the race, I was able to keep a pretty consistent pace throughout the 50 miles.  The only part that I felt like I really struggled on was the out-and-back section from mile 23 to mile 29, then back from mile 29 to mile 35.  The trail was often flat and gently sloping down on the way out with a couple of more significant descents.  The whole time I kept thinking, boo hoo I have to come back this way and ahhhhhh the course is different than last year!  I was hoping that we'd have the same course as 2010, mostly because I felt like it accentuated my strong suits as a runner: lots of rolling, gradual hills with a few good climbs and a really nice long downhill section (mostly) for the last 8.5 miles.  The new course, on the other hand, felt like it had a lot of runnable sections, lots of flat-ish running also with some good climbs, but not with the great downhill that last year's race had.

As my mind was comparing and analyzing the two race courses, I struggled to soothe it into enjoying the scenery and the amazing highs and lows that come with exerting one's self for so many hours.  For the first 50k I felt really good.  It was shortly after that point that my right leg began to hurt all the way from my arch to my hip.  The pain came and went, luckily, and I was able to focus my attention on my left leg, which felt great!  My left leg was saying, you've only just began!  Let's run this course backwards once you reach the finish line!  I was able to finish the race in 9 hours 45 minutes, about 10 minutes faster than last year, good enough for 6th place woman.  Not that that means much considering the course was so different, but I did notice that I was also 6th place last year, interesting.

All in all, I am feeling really confident at the 50 mile distance.  Next big race is Sun Mountain 50 mile on May 22.  Bring it on!
Coming in to the finish.  A really nice feeling!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dinner for a 124 mile week

Thank you La Sportiva for the great trail shoes! 
 I just picked James up from the airport today.  He was gone for a little over a week guiding a running tour for Adventure Running Co. on the Appalachian Trail. A five-day, 94 mile tour.  If that wasn't enough, he decided to join some of his friends for 31 miles who were running a 71 mile section of the Appalachian trail.  Yes, this is his idea of fun: running approximately 20 miles a day for 5 days then sleeping two hours and joining friends at 1 AM to run another 31 miles.  Yes.  I may have found my soul mate.  Seriously. 

I thought it would be nice to make a "recover dinner" tonight considering his mileage and mine.  I ran a 50 mile race last saturday April 30th, the Capitol Peak 50 mile.  From Saturday April 30th to Saturday May 7th (aprox week) I ran 86 miles.  And I feel great!!  Thank you Eric Sach of the Balanced Athlette for giving me some really good training advice: 60 % of your running mileage should be easy.  For me on the trails that's 8-11 minutes a mile.  And that's just what I did this past week.  I had a lot of fun running easy on the super-uber-muddy trails of Whidbey and doing a good deal of cross training.  I did about 2 hours of exercise everyday this past week, except for Saturday when I did 4 hours.  Other than running, I also do trampoline workouts, swimming (my absolute fav, I think I was meant to be a competitive swimmer, but oh well), and yoga/core/calisthenics.  My ideal day would be a 1 hour trail run, a 1 hour swim, ad a 1 hour yoga/calisthenics workout with a nice evening walk as the sun sets.

A "recovery dinner" for James means anything with potatoes.  OK, easy enough!  Tonight James and I made burgers topped with pineapple, tomato, and spinach and served with crispy baked yam fries (spiced with fresh fennel and garlic) and cast-iron fried potatoes with curry and pepper.

Happy Mother's Day to y'all!!!!!
Potatoes spiced with curry and pepper
From the Star Store: Turkey burgers with apple and beef burger with Gorgonzola
For the burgers: tomatoes, Bur Oak Acres spinach and butter lettuce, Tillmook Colby Cheese served with fresh fennel and garlic yams
Twice cooked polenta
Of course... beer!
pineapple for the burgers

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tramploline Wednesdays

I have been trying really, really hard to do 2 hours worth of working out every day.  It may average out to that considering my long weekend runs, but it is important to me to be consistent every day, whether it is cross training or running.  The biggest reasons why consistency can be a challenge is because of work and kid time.  I have my kids half the week and that often means that I cannot go off on a run during those days.  Which is why cross training is so important!  On my work days I am often tired and I have to remind myself that I will feel more energized after the workout. 

My cross training consists of the trampoline, swimming, and yoga.  My trampoline workout is usually about an hour long and includes a variety of moves that work as both strength training and high intensity cardio.  When I just can't keep up the intensity, I switch to easier lighter moves.  Yes, I am still talking about the trampoline!  Most trampoline moves include repeated jumps, kicks, and spins.  I set my timer for one minute intervals and switch up every time it beeps.  One minute is usually long enough doing one move repeatedly that I am ready to move on to the next.

I love the trampoline for improving my balance, strength, and flexibility. One of my favs is at the peak (height) of a jump I kick my legs up and out, touching my toes with my hands and spinning so that I do a kick out every 90 degrees or so (see picture at the top of the post).  Each time I spend an hour or more on the trampoline I learn something new about my body and how to move it on the trampoline.  It's amazing.  Spin your hips to spin your body.  Relax while you are airborne to get better air, especially on consecutive jumps.  I feel very lucky to have a trampoline and to have it buried in the ground.  I can just jump right off if I get too much momentum.  A trampoline is a great way to get a workout without leaving home.

Alright enough said, I need to get back to yoga.  And I promise I will post about my run at Soaking Eagle 50k and my first 50 mile race of the year just last weekend, Capitol Peak 50 miler!  I got the 4th Season of Dexter and I'm having a hard time getting motivated to blog when I can just sit on my bum and zone out.