Monday, August 22, 2011

Am I really doing 100 miles?!

I'm as ready as I could be this year for CC100.  I've put in some really big mileage weeks, I've done my cross training, trained at elevation for 4 weeks over the summer (2.5 weeks in Silverton, 1 week at Tahoe, and some other misc time in the North Cascades, Eastern Oregon, and Mt. Spokane).  Elevation training was just a side benefit of traveling to some really cool places this summer to race, crew, play, and work as a guide for a running tour.   

Overall I'd like to have put in more high mileage weeks in June and early July.  Due to some rookie mistakes (racing too much, racing through injuries, racing on roads for 50 miles, and not icing/massage soon enough) I had to take off 3 weeks in June and I felt like I got a slow start to training in July.  By late July I'd put in a good 85 mile week, then a 125 mile week, and then another 85 mile week before I started my taper around August 12.  That following week was about 38 miles, and this week will be about 20  miles, with the biggie on Saturday, August 27th at 10am.

Back to being "ready." Part of why I love racing is the challenge, the extremes, the adventure.  I actually enjoy the feeling of my body slowly being broken down and coming through it feeling cleansed.  I can't think of anything I'd rather do for 24 hours.  I'm especially excited to run through the evening in to the night and see the day begin.  I am looking forward to sharing the experience with some of my best friends, my crew and pacers James Varner, Brandon Williams, and Al Coyle. Thanks for your support guys!  I'm also looking forward to running with many good friends who will be racing as well.

More about 100 mile race preparations later, but for now let's just say that I'm making lists to remind me to make lists.  Yikes. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mt. Spokane 25k and 50k Picture album

Click on the picture to view the album, enjoy!
2011 Mt. Spokane 25k and 50k test run

For more information on Rainshadow Running races and Mt. Spokane, visit Rainshadow Running

Broken Coffee Filters

Candice runs down the trail with Mt. Spokane (5, 800 feet)  in the background
 After a few tries with broken coffee filters and gritty coffee, I happily found myself sipping coffee out of a wine glass in a camping chair next to James, overlooking the road with the sound of a small stream bubbling and a roll of toilet paper enclosed in a plastic bag at my feet.  Camping is fun.  We were camping in the truck outside of the Mt. Spokane State park because we had gotten there a little too late to find a more scenic place to sip my coffee in the morning.  But I didn't mind, the sun was shining and we had a nice 18 mile run ahead.  

I had several days off mid-week and James needed to do some work at Mt. Spokane, so we headed East for some adventure: camping, running, mapping, photography, and a little relaxation.  Bringing the Canon Rebel along insured that we'd have some good photographs to share with runners and help promote James' Mt. Spokane race which is scheduled for October 8, 2011.

James cruising on the trail
Who says runners can't do ballet?
Top of Mt. Spokane, 180 degree views

That guy can run!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Juicing Away the Weekend

Peaches, oranges, lemon, strawberries
I've been doing a little juicing this weekend.  A lot actually.  I made them with a Champion juicer.  Just finished up a 85 mile running week, and since I was taking Saturday off from running I decided to do a 2-day juice fast that includes only fresh raw juices, adding chia seeds to some of the juices and drinking kombucha.  Here are the mileage weeks I have done for running the past few weeks, thanks to coach James for the help in determining weekly mileage and the day-to-day running plans like adding multiple big mileage days in a row and really long, easy runs to get used to time on my feet (12 hour plus).  

Sat, July 23 to Fri, July 29:      85 miles, included back to back long runs: a 13 hour run 
                                              Saturday and a 4 hour run Sunday.
Sat, July 30 to Fri, Aug 5:       125+ miles, included WR50 on Saturday July 30th and a 
                                              19 mile run Tues on TRT at altitude, 24 mile Wednes on 
                                               the TRT at altitude, two shorter runs Thurs(TRT), and 
                                              13 miles Friday(TRT).
Sat. Aug 6 to Fri, Aug 12        85 miles (this week was the beginning of my taper for CC, 
                                               next week will be significantly fewer miles).  I ran 2-3 hours 
                                               most days this past week, with a 17 miler on Saturday in 
                                               Tahoe before we left town. 

Carrots, parsley, celery, apples

beets, carrots, celery, ginger, kale, beet greens, apples

Saturday, August 13, 2011

2011 White River 50 Mile Race Report

Finishing, hand in hand! Picture courtesy John Wallace III
 What an incredible sunny day we had for my second White River 50 mile race!  White River is like a big reunion of ultra runners.  This year James and I decided to run it for a couple of different reasons, despite needing to be at Lake Tahoe (LT), California the very next day to lead a running tour on the Tahoe Rim Trail for 5 days (more posts to come about the TRT).  James is planning to put in for the Western States 100 mile lottery next year and needed a qualifier race, hence WR.  I wasn't going to race WR because of the TRT tour, but upon realizing that I needed the race for the ultra series and for a good training run for CC100, I signed up as well.

Our plan: no taper for the race, car camp Friday night where the race starts, race the next morning and after finishing the race drive as long as possible so that we could arrive at LT by early Sunday afternoon (15 hour drive).  I ran the race on the heels of a 85 mile training week and with TRT tour in the back of my mind.  I had no room to get injured or to recover; I had to play it safe.  Ha, who am I kidding?  Just running the race wasn't playing it safe, but I was up for a good challenge.

Another interesting bit of race info, James planned to run the race pretty mellow.  His only goal: to get under 11 hours.  So I said, let's run together!  We have run a few of the same races, but it's always every man and woman for him/herself.  This would be a fun opportunity to actually run shoulder to shoulder, stride for stride, assuming that we both could keep up a 10-ish hour pace.  I figured it wouldn't be too difficult for either of us.  My biggest challenge was my lack of taper.   James' challenges would be to not go out too fast and to hope he didn't get "dead legs" feeling that he sometimes unexplainably gets.  Additionally, we had a big scare just 4 days before the race when James had to go to the emergency room after choking on food and not being able to eat, drink, or swallow anything including his own saliva for 30 hours.  The doctor diagnosed him with a esophi-something-something-itis.  Basically, it's inflammation, swelling, narrowing, and sometimes scarring of the esophagus.  Most likely caused by allergies to foods.  Since he's been having this problem for 10 years, just never this bad, it's important that he finds out what he's allergic to.  James was on a liquid diet for 4 days before the race and was only able to eat solid foods the night before the race.

One thing is for sure in racing: there is always something, often many things, that seem to go wrong before and during a race.  There are always excuses for not performing well, dropping from a race, or not starting it at all.  So we toed the line Saturday morning despite many "setbacks," determined to have a fun day (hopefully) together.  The morning was brilliantly sunny, but shady and cold at the start line.  James and I started out very conservatively.  I had a little piece of paper with our splits based on a 10 hour pace, and despite taking it easy, we reached the first aid station 9 minutes early, a big deal since it was only 4 miles!

The race course is simple: two major climbs and two major descents, ending with a 6.5 mile mostly rolling/flat along the river.  Listed below are our splits and some description of that portion of the race. In parenthesis are the splits for running a 10 hour pace.  We ended up running 10:23.

Camp Shepard mile 3.9 in 36:31 (45) pretty flat until Camp Shepard.  The first climb really begins around this aid station and last until approx mile 14.  Sometimes gradual sometimes not.  About 10 miles worth of climbing.
Cruising and joking through the first few miles, picture courtesy John Pearch (thanks for making us look fast)
Ranger Creek mile 11.7 in 2:25:05 (2:23:00) trail climbs more steeply for 2 miles after Ranger until the alpine meadows out-and-back.  This is where people started passing us, but by the descent to Buck Creek, mile 27, we'd passed a lot of the people who had passed us.
Smiling up to Corral Pass, picture courtesy Brandon Williams
Corral Pass mile 16.9 in 3:31:46 (3:25:00) There's some really sweet single track bliss in alpine meadows with incredible views of Mt. Rainier, an out-and-back section.  Seriously, MR looks HUGE!  Be sure to smile for Glenn Tachiyama, here are his pics of James and me! You get to see how the competition stacks up at this point.

Ranger Creek mile 22.1 in 4:33:52 (4:25:00).  From this point on (except for my bonk up to Fawn Ridge) we began to pass people.  Our steady pace was paying off.  It was around this descent that I began to feel the dreaded achilles pain and crunchiness.*

Buck Creek mile 27.2 in 5:27:11 (5:24:00) Feeling hot, we were about to start the second and last major climb of the day at the peak of the heat of the day.  A few miles from Buck Creek I began to feel very nauseous.  A ginger chew and a few miles down the trail revived my tummy, and I was able to pick the pace back up after Fawn Ridge.  James ran ahead of me for a few miles during my bonk, but he waited for me for 6-8 minutes at Fawn Ridge.  I lost 17 minutes off our goal time in 4 miles, yikes! 
Getting hot at Buck Creek Aid Station.  James et moi, picture courtesy Brandon Williams
Our look, "OMG it's Brandon Williams!" Picture courtesy Brandon Williams
Fawn Ridge mile 31.7 6:38:52 (6:18:00) From Fawn to Sun Top was pretty smooth, except for I began to bonk hard on the last 1/2 mile to the top.  I got shaky and really needed food, luckily I was close enough to the Aid Station to power up that last stretch.  Smile again for Glenn Tachiyama right before Sun Top Aid Station.
Almost at Sun Top, Photo courtesy Glenn Tachiyama
Sun Top mile 37 in 8:08:51 (7:24:00) By this point, we were 44 minutes off target time, but being that we still had a descent, we'd make some of that up in the next section.  I pigged out as much as possible up here.  Oh boy, the food was good! I'd been having hunger pains for 45 minutes, but I'd been in too big of a hurry to slow down and chew my food and I didn't want to eat gels.  Bad idea, I know. I had peanut butter and jelly squares, green cantaloupe, watermelon, sprite, coke, water, and probably a few more things.  Only a half marathon to go, 6.5 miles of it downhill, my favorite!  Tummy was a little sloshy on the downhill.

Skookum Flats mile 43.4 in 9:04:58 (8:42:00)  The downhill section to Skookum was were James and I began to get a little competitive.  We thought I was probably somewhere near or in the top 10 women and so we began to pick the women off.  It can be a little difficult to tell who is an early starter and who isn't.  A large number of people did the early start, meaning they began the race one hour earlier than those of us who did the regular start.  For the record, I dislike the early start option.  It's confusing who you are competing with and a lot of runners do it so that they can get home earlier (you know who you are), but really it is only for people who might not make the cut-off time.  We made up a lot of time on the downhill to Skookum.  We ran 8:45's for 6.5 miles and made up 23 minutes!  By Skookum, we were just 21 minutes off target.

Finish at the Airfield mile 50 in 10:23:?? (10:00:00)  The last section, 6.5 miles along the river, seemed to take forever.  My achilles had started hurting* coming down from the first climb to Buck Creek and I was really feeling it.  It wasn't slowing me down, but I was worried about the TRT tour.  I felt like I was bonking again on this section.  James' pace keep pulling me forward.  He'd pull ahead and I'd keep working my body to keep up.  Everything in my body wanted to walk to that finish.  I knew I didn't have enough calories and that was part of the trouble.  I felt sleepy, wanted to be done, and felt like I was so far from the finish.  This is often the most mentally difficult time in the race.  When you just don't want to run anymore, when that desire is diminished or even gone, you can lose a lot of time.  We completed the last 6.5 miles at 12:15 minute pace, close to our needed average for a 10 hour finish, but we weren't able to make up the 20 minutes to finish in 10 hours or less, but close enough. 

About 3 miles into the last 6.5 along the river a girl passed James and me.  We exchanged disappointed glances, knowing she was a regular starter.  We had checked with an aid station worker at Skookum Flats and she said I was probably in 11th place, so it was a little upsetting to get passed, especially when I felt so vulnerable and weak.  I told James that I could not go after her yet.  We still had 3.5 miles to go.  About 1.5 miles from the finish James had run ahead and I saw him at a corner waiting for me, "She's only a little ahead of you and she looks way worse.  She's walking a lot."  He told me this and I thought, no I really don't want to fight for this.  I just want to give up.  But a part of me was excited and as we rounded a corner, we picked up the pace and breezed past her.  I never saw her again.  We held our place and pace to the finish, hand in hand.  It was our first race that we ran most of the way together and finished together.  What fun to share such an epic journey!  I loved that James helped pull some competitiveness out of me.  It's definitely a "muscle" that I plan to strengthen.    
Coming toward the finish , just 150 meters or so!  Our look says, I thought this moment would never come.  Seriously. Picture courtesy Christine Ballard
Picture courtesy Steven Kelly
Picture taken after finishing, now, off to Tahoe...  Picture courtesy Brandon Williams
A big thanks to our paparazzi: Brandon Williams, Christine Ballard, Glenn Tachiyama, John Pearch, and Steven Kelly.  Without you guys there'd be no pictures!

** Note about the achilles: I've had this achilles trouble before.  I took 3 weeks off in June to recover from my achilles tendinitis, and after WR it was pretty "crunchy" feeling, just like back in June.  Miraculously, I was able to avoid further injury after WR by icing 2x day, self-inflicted deep tissue massage for the calf, ankle, achilles and foot, and an ibuprofen 200mg every morning.  I wore a soft wrap around my ankle to keep pressure from the shoe off the tendons as well (thanks Chris for the wrap).  By the end of the TRT tour, and even after a week of whopping 125 miles of running including WR (my biggest mileage week ever), the achilles was all better.  Incredible considering the mileage I put in the week after WR.  I continue to ice, wear the brace, and massage the area.  Cascade Crest 100 here I come!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tahoe Rim Running Tour: day 1

James at the trail head.  Day 1, checking out the pick up and drop off points for runners
 So James and I are leading a running tour on the Tahoe Rim this week from Monday through Friday.  We'll cover about 90 miles from Tahoe City to South Lake Tahoe on the East side of the lake.  I'll write about each day separately.  We are in charge of making sure the runners are well fed (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks), transported to trailheads and picked up, and running with them each day.  Of course we are in charge of a lot more, but these are the basics anyway.  What fun we are having! Tour is hosted by Adventure Running Company.
Lake Tahoe is an amazing place to trail run.  The Tahoe Rim Trail covers 165 miles  and circumnavigates the entire lake.

there's the 5 of us.  Me, Shawna, James, Mark, and Ray.  

A nice aid station for the runners.  I was in charge of meeting the runners with lunch partway through their run.  

Working for Adventure Running Company

An interesting thing happened while I waited for the runners.  See tadpoles

See Snake

See snake eat tadpoles!  I got a cool video of it that I'll post.

post run icing legs, although the lake is quite warm, so it was more of a nice relief, rather than a cold treatment

Chilling out in our lodge with snacks set out for runners