Sunday, December 8, 2019

Base building and testing Week 1

Okay, not sure what to call this week, but it isn't recovery anymore, so let's just start calling it the Base building because that is what my coach has named it.  My coaching program started Monday, but I don't think this is the official start of my training per se.  I think this week was all about testing to see where I am at with recovery and getting some base ideas about my heart rate and pace.

Naughty Peanut the Elf.  
Monday:  Girls on the run miles.  We had 25 minutes of running on the plan, so me and gals that stuck with me on and off got 2 miles in. I can't believe we are already at the end of this semester:(  This season has flown by too fast and I will miss the girls terribly.

pretty boom boom
Tuesday:  Threshold Lactate test.  Okay, so I kind of thought I knew what this was and when I looked it up, I was assured it totally was what I was thinking.  Basically, you run your "hard" for a prescribed amount of time, and your coach can get all sorts of useful data from it.  While I was sort of worried my hard wouldn't be my normal hard since I am still in recovery, honestly it didn't go as horribly as I thought it would.  I just did the marathon relay a few weeks ago before my 50 miler, and was around a 9:30-9:45 pace for 6.5 miles, and i think I maintained a 9:45-9:50 during this exercise.  My coach had me run easy for 10, hard for 30, and then easy for 10.  I am excited to hear what interesting data she gleans!

our very naughty cat Elvis

Wednesday:  Easy 30 minutes followed by core work out.  I decided since I am HORRIBLE about keeping up with strength training that i would make Rockin Robin do the work out with me and hold me accountable.  Unfortunately, I had to do my running on the mill thanks to hubby having to work late.  Post running we got the work out done and who would have thought something SO simple would kick our asses (literally) so hard!  We did lots of very simple core exercises that I have done for years but for some reason our cores must be really out of shape because we really struggled!

silly string party!

Thursday:  5 miles with NO walk breaks.  Coach really wants me to eliminate my walk breaks.  She thinks they are a mental crutch, and i am sure she is right.  I started them to try and get through the horrible humidity and heat of KS summer and to let my injury riddled body heal, and I have to say this summer was very tolerable doing my runs this way (and I had an injury free year).  I am sure I don't need them per se, but I am going to miss them.  This was our last day for GOTR practice and we planned on a nice long running time since we had no lesson, and then some fun time post run with ice cream and awards.  We got in four miles together and when time was up, we went in and celebrated and i didn't get that final mile in.  Oh well.

Friday:  Rest day.  Ahhhhhhh.

Saturday:  Longer long run day and Girls on the RUN is SO much fun 5K time!  Coach said I could use my run/walk intervals, but to try and keep my heart rate down for this one.  I had planned on getting up early and getting on the road so I would be done in plenty of time to get cleaned up and head to the 5K, but I slept till 7 am and then didn't get on the road till 8:40 am.  Rockin Robin joined me for 10 of the 14 miles and I did a change out of dogs at 10 miles, so that Boom boom got his 4 for the day as well.    I felt like everything went really well but my heart rate was pretty high (see picture above).  I was suppose to be mainly in zone 4 and I lived in Zone 5????  Will be interested to see what my coach says.  I am wondering if I am still not totally recovered from my first 50.  Here is a snap shot of a long run pre 50 miler where I nailed the heart rate without even knowing:

This is more like it!

Post running we headed out for our girls big celebration, the final 5K with their running buddies.  All of us coaches were absolutely BLOWN away by how amazing they all did.  All of the girls met and exceeded our expectations.  We had some speedy girls who even broke the 30 minute mark.  We danced, we laughed, we took pictures, and we had FUN!  I have NEVER been more proud of a group of girls.  We will loose most of them to middle school next year and that breaks my heart BUT we have a great group of younger girls who are going to recruit friends because they had SO much fun!

Sunday:  Easy long run. The goal for this race was time and fun.  Well, don't I always have fun on a run????  I had one hour of easy with no walk breaks.  Not going to lie, was pretty sore from the day before and the work out from Wednesday still. Robin and I got on the road in the afternoon and enjoyed the gray, cool overcast run.  Post a little break I got my mat out and got to work doing strength training sess number 2 of the week, a repeat of session one.

Ah, my first week of being coached again.  I will admit seeing some prescribed paces and heart rates kind of gave me some PTSD from hard core PR training and 2 x week speed work for years.  After being very honest with my coach about my feelings, we agreed to not think about specifics just yet and just chill and see where I was at.  I appreciate her listening to me and my concerns and voicing her opinions back in a way that I didn't get defensive and say screw this.  I have had a whole year of not being told what to do when and while i miss it, I really, really like my comfort zone too :) 

Have a great week!!!!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Recovery week 3 or the start of the in between and a little bit of runfessions

Happy Thanksgiving week!!!!  I think no one in this world is sad about having a 4 day weekend (even though we will probably do some work Friday, just not all day).  Enjoy some random pictures, some runfessions, and some details about my third week of recovery/first week of the in between. 

First I had a massage to get all of the tightness out.  I needed one sooner, but word is out that my massage therapist is the and I couldn't get in till this week.  I haven't had any major issues post race, unless you count my black toe nail.  Lots of things felt tight and maybe a little off but nothing was majorly sore.  I was happy that even though she went over everything with a fine tooth comb, nothing was too angry with me, and for once I didn't even have to have any cupping!  Again, she said I felt very balanced and again this makes me very happy.

Stella selfie!  Not sure why she sat there and posed for so long!
Running was just eh.  I had planned to run with the girls that stayed for our impromptu Girls on the Run practice Monday (didn't have one on the schedule just wanted to stay for girls that wanted to run), and I to stay at the shop instead due to a work emergency calling my hubby out.  Then had a run planned for Tuesday morning, and instead slept in and then was super busy at the shop all day and couldn't leave. Finally got out on the road Wednesday night post some more work stress and I was slow, but my body felt much better overall.   I didn't turkey trot this year due to predicted bad weather (we got ice pellets and a tiny bit of snow), but I did get out Friday morning for #optoutside for a quick muddy 5 miler with Boom.  I honestly think this is the first run I have had in a LONG time where I felt mostly normal.

I decided to run again on Saturday and Andrew decided to come along on his scooter.  Stella did NOT like it when he passed and pretty much pulled like a sled dog with rabies any time he got ahead of us so the run was NOT fun. 

love the Christmas lights in our little town

We had another two day a week practice weeks.  Andrew was SO excited to wrestle this year and I runfess that I had high hopes he would move up to the next level or level 2.  He has been wrestling for going on four years now, started when he was four, but honestly the first two years I feel like didn't really amount to much learning.  Last year the light bulb went off and he really started being able to sort of execute moves and listen to the coach.  As with racing, he was always a very cautious wrestler, always letting the other person make the first move.  Anyway, I have to as always reel in my expectations of where he should be and focus on where he is.  He is and probably will be in level 1 another year.  I runfess I have made peace with that because it won't hurt him to have another year of the basic moves.  I am on the fence about how many meets to take him to.  We have several right here with minimum traveling involved, and while it won't hurt anything to enter him and let him wrestle, I really need to think about how much to bash in his confidence with losses.  Let me explain that statement, no I am not being a negative nancy.   He moved up to 8 and under this year and with his size could potentially be wrestling some pretty tough 9 year olds (due to the age cut off there could be 9 year olds in the 8 and under division, it happens).  There is always the potential as well that he will meet kiddos that have just started wrestling that would be more on his skill level, but doubtful.    Stay tuned for more :)

first run in my new salomon vest.  LOVE IT!
I am going to close with another runfession.  I runfess that even though I had a plan already in place, I was super nervous about executing yet another training cycle minus a coach.  I have a blogger i regularly follow whose 50 mile plan I used for my first 50 miler, Heather Hart at Relentlessly Forward Progress.  She had posted she was taking clients, so I reached out, and while I probably shouldn't be spending extra money right now, I signed up to be a client. I am SUPER excited to be coached by someone who does ultras on the regular and understands my goals.  She is the mother of two boys so she understands how busy life can be with active kiddos in the house.  I am SO excited to see what she cooks up for me.  I have been SO blessed to have so many amazing coaches in my life that have ALL helped me achieve some major goals.  I still am keeping the 100K in my mind for fall, just need to find that race that fits.  I have a couple on my radar, just need to make decisions.

Hope your Turkey day was wonderful, stress free, and yummy!  I should have a plan in place by next week as far as what training is going to look like and i am super excited.  Have a great week!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Recovery week # 2

Another week of recovery.  Wrestling starts this week and I can't wait to see all of my favorite wrestling parents!  Enjoy some random photos from the week.

I forgot to mention in all of my recaps that I did do something new to me, during a race, which is a big no no.  I have never had painkillers during a race, but I know many who do take advil or Tylenol during races.  I try to stay away from anything in pill form, but sometimes, you just have to try. I had read a race recap of a blogger I follow and she pretty religiously on race day pops pills.  My mom had advil just in case, but I had not planned on using it.  Suddenly in loop 2, I got some weird aches and pains.  My groin started hurting and my lower back started aching.  I decided to go against the nothing new rule and try a round and see what could happen.  I am happy to say that it totally helped me and my aches and pains went away, and that even though I continued to use them throughout the day every 4 hours, I had no ill effects from them at all.  Whether the help was a placebo effect or real, I am not sure and I totally advise you to try any type of painkillers in practice versus a race for the first time to make sure you suffer no ill effects.  I also in no way recommend taking pain killers during a race of any kind because you need to do what is best and right for you, and in this case i was lucky that it worked.  Will I try it again during a race?  Maybe.

I did try and power walk with the girls Monday during practice.  This was their last big work out pre 5K and I wanted to be there more than just a cheerleader.  I tried power walking and my body said "uh, nope!".  I settled for an almost power walk and had several girls hang with me throughout the run.  I have scheduled a massage and I am hoping that helps with the tightness I am still feeling.  My energy levels are much better, but still not where i want them to be.  Probably does not help I started my period a few days into recovery either.

As the week went on, the desire to run got greater and greater. I decided to try on Saturday with a super duper easy 4 miler.  I warned Robin I had no clue how fast or far I could go, and that would entirely depend on my body.  I was winded, a little sore, and super slow, but I felt like going 4 miles and I did.  Stella was SUPER happy to be back out, sprinting back and forth from me to robin and ebby, and barking and biting me when my watch beeped.  She was even super sassy when I tried to sit down and get a selfie of us.

I was SO glad to be out, even if it was for a little bit.  You don't realize how much running is a stress relief until you don't do it for two weeks.  

I went again on Sunday for a very short distance.  I decided to be brave and take both Boom and Stella.  While they both pulled like sled dogs and went way faster than I wanted, I was able to let Stella off for a while to relieve the pulling power.  Not brave enough to let them both off yet.  I wanted to do another 4 miler, but I listened to my body which quickly told me 1.5 turn around 1.5 back was the best plan.  I wanted to be able to run with the girls on Monday for Girls on the Run anyway, so short run was perfect.  

Last week of official recovery in the books.  Training doesn't start till mid December, so going to continue to keep it light, slow, and cautious.  I have a massage coming up and I have several issues to address that I hope she can make a little better.  My lower back has started bothering me again and I don't like that.  I also have several options when it comes to working out/lifting and I need to get back to that.  I know Crossfit/lifting is what gave me a phenomenal year in training so I need to get back to it!  Have a great week!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Recovery week #1

I am honestly enjoying recovering and not missing running....yet.  I am sure I will start itching to run next week, but my body has made it very clear that running is not in the cards right now.  I am happy to oblige it and be a little lazy.  I really enjoyed being pampered and resting at my parent's house, but was also ready to get back into the swing of family life and see my kiddo and hubby and other red pups.  I drove back on Wednesday thinking my body was recovered enough and boy was I wrong. I tried to make good time, stopping twice for gas only and getting right back in and going as soon as i could, and that really made me tighten up and be sore for a few days.  Of course little man loves our walks to school, so even though I really didn't want to walk, we did Thursday and Friday and I am sure that helped loosen some stuff up.

My toe has been a saga I was posting on FB till I got some comments that made me stop. I  wasn't posting the pics in the post, more in the comments, but you know people still don't like seeing that come up.  Anyway, I initially thought that I had broken my toe due to the bruising around the nail bed, but there ended up being a blister under the nail.  I was not brave enough to poke a hole through the nail, but I was brave enough to puncture the blister once it poked up the edge of my nail.  I have now punctured and drained it three separate times.  It doesn't really hurt as bad, just the dogs have a knack for stomping on it any chance they get.  The nail bed and surrounding skin around my nail is still pretty bruised, but the swelling has gone down now, and as long as I don't wear a sock, I can wear my normal shoes to work and about.

probably going to gain 10 lbs during recovery but #don'tcare

I coached Girls on the Run on Thursday but did not run, not even close. I cheered the girls on at the top of the hill and that was good enough.  I am trying NOT to get sick but half of them were coughing their guts up and or had sore throats.  Apparently strep is going around at one school and a stomach virus is going around another, so I am praying and taking vitamin C because I know my immune system is beat up.

My "you did a hard thing here's a present to yourself" present. I had noticed several people running with this vest at other races, including Jackie that I  paced at the 100 mile race, and I had serious pocket envy.  I had the tab to Solomon up on my laptop forever and had decided that even though this would mean new bottles and a new bladder, that it was worth it.  This thing is the mecca of pockets and I can't wait to have it. My only concern is fit.  I hope i sized it right, but of course right after I hit the buy now button I saw a post on FB about sizing up.  Whoops.  I should get it Monday, so I will keep you posted.  

Andrew's 2nd grad picture.  I wish I took this good of pictures when I was a kid!

The weekend ended up with some serious cleaning and re organizing.  Since I couldn't and didn't really want to run, I used that energy to get some cleaning done.  We got the deck ready for snow/re arranged and cleaned, cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom getting rid of a bunch of stuff we don't use, and tried to organize the dining room table/craft table/lego creation center.  I took two big bags to the downtown thrift store and have more to give to friends.  If anyone has any great suggestions on how to organize legos I am all ears.  He currently has a lego table in his room that is covered, several of those three shelved drawers full of legos, our kitchen table has legos and he of course wants more legos for Christmas.  I feel like our house went from toy trains and Thomas stuff to lego stuff and honestly I think the Thomas stuff was waaayyyy easier to deal with!  I do love the creativity that they inspire and I love the fact that not only does he make the kits that he buys but then he destroys it and remakes without the instructions some times or just takes the pieces and makes something else entirely.  In a world full of screen time, I will take lego mess any day of the week!

Have a great week everyone!  I will more than likely take another week off next week and just walk and recover and maybe bike if the wind isn't blowing 100 mph.  Stay warm and enjoy the weather were ever you are! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Run Amok 50 miler: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Alrighty, get ready for another the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Again as with my other recaps this this year, most everything fell into the good category.  This year really has been a dream year for me for training and racing, and I am SO grateful that things are working for me as I venture into longer distances and more technical trails.

Good:  Organization and crew.  Mom I think was a little nervous as she has never really crewed my races or been at my big trail races but she and my cousin Elane did a WONDERFUL job of keeping me fed, happy, and dressed properly.  Mom and I spent a day with all of my gear spread out figuring out the most logical way to organize that made sense to us.  We only misplaced one thing (my watch charging cord) but after a brief minute or two of searching, mom remembered where it was.  Next time we will make sure it's in the crew box.  Even though the main aid station was less than 100 feet away from our crew tent, Mom cooked me broth and made me nutella tortillas to consume.  She also quickly spread my honey stinger waffles out in the sun, as the first two I tried to eat were frozen and hard as rocks.  She also was good about helping me find any hot spots and lubing those up.  She also had my bottles pre filled according to what I thought I might want the next loop, and her and Elane quickly filled my packs.  I was probably only at her aid station for a few minutes at a time and that was good practice for when I do a race with cutoffs.  I think i probably was only grumpy runner once when they were all videoing me instead of taking my pack from me as I ran in.  Mom got some of that on tape:)

note:  not food I got to eat, food my crew ate at the Friendsgiving dinner

Good:  Nutrition.  I liked my plan and honestly I think it would have continued to work if I had been running longer.  I think my brain knew I only had a a little over an hour to go, so technically i didn't need to force anything down.  If you didn't read my recap, I ate something small every 30 minutes.  I broke my Honey stinger waffles into halves and ate a half every 30 minutes plus every time I hit the aid station going into the 4.5 mile loop and the crew tent, I ate something as well.  I also carried Tailwind every other loop and tried to get through each bottle during that time.  I didn't have any teeth sensitivity issues this time, but I think in the future I will brush with sensitive toothpaste the week before the race and also bring a toothbrush/toothpaste to the race just in case.

Good:  Pace.  I think most of my 6.5 mile loops took me around 1 hour 45 minutes.  I had one loop that went a bit long because I paused for blister prevention, and then I had one loop where I pretty much power walked as fast as I could the entire loop.  I will being doing a race with a cut off next, so I will have to maintain a certain pace the entire time  The good news, it is not technical and while hilly, it's all gravel roads and I can do my 4 minute run 1 minute walk and try to do a better job of pacing.  The technical part of the race was right at the beginning and end was tough mentally for me and I will be happy to not have technical as part of the equation.

Bad: I got my first really big blister during the race which we did attack quickly, but also resulted in a new very big puffy fluid filled blister.   I am very glad the RD took the time to tape me up as I truly felt that the original one could have affected my race negatively.  I have NO clue why suddenly the shoe and sock model that i have worn for multiple training cycles caused blisters, but they did. The trail was technical at the beginning and the end, but mostly nice runnable trail.

Ugly:  My right big toe looks horrendous. I have NEVER lost a toe nail due to a race, so again I am stumped. I  don't remember a specific incident that cause my toe to start hurting, but towards the end, I was sure my toe nail was off of my toe and poking me in said toe.  When we took my sock off post race, the toe nail was still attached but the nail bed was and is severely bruised and swollen.  Time will tell if the nail will fall off but I think it probably will.  I just need it to heal so I can wear shoes and socks again because it is winter.

Once again mostly if not all good for this race.  I had prayed for an injury free training cycle and an injury free race and my prayers have been answered.  Honestly, for my next 50 miler, I am not going to change anything.  The next one will be a bit different with the loop being 25 miles versus 6, but there will be 5 aid stations on each loop and I have already told mom she has to help crew me and that Tony can drive her to the crew points.  We will have to figure out how to do broth on the go, but other than that I think we have a good idea of what we need to do.  Excited to have some down time before starting to run again and excited to try a different training plan with slightly lower mileage.  Onward and upward and more good, good, good!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Run Amok 50 mile race recap

Okay grab a cold one, get comfortable, and get ready for lots of pictures.  I instructed my cousin and mom to take as many pics and videos as possible, as I was worried about using my phone too much since it is SO sensitive to cold and dies quickly.  Here goes the recap starting with packet pick up.

So remember we checked into our dog friendly hotel about 20 minutes away Friday afternoon.  Well, it was 9 miles but 20 minutes away from packet pick up due to having to drive on a very windy country highway (cue my vehicle motion sickness).  Packet pick up was very low key.  Basically I was handed my hoodie and my bib and we went to set up our crew tent area.  We noticed others were already setting up, so we figured we could as well.  Very jealous of the people with the cool tent lights.  Next year for sure!  There was a pasta dinner starting at 6 pm, but we were going to go eat just ourselves somewhere else.

Who can resist a good photo opp?
For my birthday mom had gotten me a purple pop up tent to use at the track at Andrew's races, so we made use of it and got it set up with our table, chairs, and cooler for the next day.  

crew site
After set up we headed into town to eat at Cracker Barrel and make a Walmart trip for sheets to go over our white comforters at the hotel.  Again, who has white pretty comforters on dog friendly beds???

Harrison Bay

The Awesomesauce group was having a pasta dinner and many people had rented cabins on site for the night.  It got way below freezing so I feel kind of bad for those who stayed on site.  Post dinner we headed back to the hotel to set out flat Michelle and then try and get some sleep.  

Flat michelle and not so flat stella

Usually I have no problems sleeping but a) we had no fan and the temp was controlled by a fancy thermostat so no way to make it override and run all night and b) my mom and my cousin are quite the accomplished snorers.  I think even with melatonin on board, I got 4 hours of sleep, but my watch said 2.  At least I had had several other nights of good sleep to compensate.

not good that i look this tired and the race hasn't started

We were up at 5:30 am to get showers and head out to the race site.  The race started at 8:00 am with many distances starting together and then many other distances starting later in the day, night, and next day.

RD Courtney giving us runners the low down

 The race director explained how we were to do laps, get our bibs marked for each lap, and the course in general.  The course started in the campground before dumping onto a technical section with hills and rocks and tree roots GALORE.  This section then had a brief road section before dumping into a clearing that was hilly grass covering rocks.  This lead to another road section and a giant hill up to the main trail which was a four and a half mile circle around the bay.  You could go either way upon entering the washing machine as they called it.  There were two aid stations, at the start finish where you got your bib marked and at around mile 1ish before you got to the lollipop or the washer.  I had to complete 7 laps plus a marked out and back for my 50 miles.

getting instructions with my cousin Elane

We headed out a little after 8 am to start our laps. We had been told that this was a record breaking number of entries and we could tell as we dropped onto the trail.  

Me starting at the back to be courteous
I got behind many, many walkers (this is a very walker friendly course which is awesome, just new to me) and had to wait until I could get to the road section to pass.  This meant a very long conga line and a very antsy Stella who wanted to pull me to my death by rock to the face.

part of the road section looking at the boats and fog lifting
 It seems that most people started counter clock wise on the lollipop/washer part of the course, but Stella and I chose clockwise and stayed that way till the end when we had to go right to find the turn around. 

the lollipop or washer section

 Lap 1 I was just annoyed.  Constantly having to get off of the trail to let people by, walking on my 1 minute walk breaks and having people pass and then passing them back on my 4 minute runs, as well as talking to runners who wouldn't talk back (ear buds in maybe?).  I have always been taught to say something to each runner that passes, even if it is just a hello, but many people were concentrating or in their own heads and didn't reply.  I did meet MANY very friendly runners throughout the day that gave Stella lots of love. 

flat non technical part of the trail that leads to the lollipop

Lap 2 was much better, less people, starting to see the same people so we could say hi.  Enjoyed the many funny signs and stuffed animals randomly placed on the course.  The course was such a nice mix of technical, hilly, flat and easy, road, and hard that it was refreshing and my body liked it till the end.  

boardwalk section

There were a few bridges and a short boardwalk section that apparently was paid for by race entries. Much of the proceeds from the race go directly back to the park for improvements which I think is awesome!

one of the many awesome signs that made me laugh all day and night

My main concern was with my ability to eat consistently, not have stomach issues, and NOT have teeth issues so I could chew in the later miles.  For this reason, I decided to be sparing on the Tailwind and to mainly fuel with Honey Stinger waffles.  ALSO, every time I came to the crew tent or the aid station, I wanted to eat something.  I broke my waffles in half so that every thirty minutes I could eat one of those and my favorite aid station foods included pretzels, BACON, and Halloween candy in the form of chocolate which I ate every time I passed whether I was hungry or not.   

the rocky section that went on for a while that reminded me of Clinton lake white trail
I had my jolly ranchers as well, but tried not to use them to spare my teeth, since they seem to go rogue when I have too much sugar in my mouth.  I am proud to say that up until my last out and back, my tummy behaved and I was able to keep something going every 30 minutes.  

heading out to the trail

Lap 3, 4, and 5 went well with my crew firing on all pistons.  Every time I came through the camp ground I would go get my bib marked and then head to the crew tent to eat, be lubed up, and change clothes if needed. I  had on heavy tights, a winter running shirt and my running jacket with gloves, my buff, my gaiters, and my pack.  I quickly shed my jacket and did a lap with just my heavier shirt, then switched that out for a lighter shirt next lap.  I never did change my tights, and I was fine that way.  I ended up pushing up my sleeves for a while in my lighter long sleeved shirt, but was other wise fine.  My crew quickly re filled my pack with waffles, helped me attack any hot spots that were coming up around my sports bra area, and fed me whatever I needed or sent me with food.  Nutella on tortillas is amazing and I glad we brought it with. I figured out real quickly that I needed to not eat the whole thing though after I downed one and then got a slight side stitch.  I was alternating laps with Tailwind versus regular water in my pack.  That way I wasn't carrying two bottles and making my pack too heavy.  Stella had her normal portable bowl of water in my pack, but after the first lap they had her one waiting at the aid station and mom had her one at the tent.  

tree roots!
I had two issues with the course and I mean issues that made things challenging, which also makes things fun.  First of all tree roots. I kicked SO many roots that I am pretty sure my right big toe is broken and or I will loose my big toe nail on that foot.  The other challenge was that the most technical part was the beginning/end.  I didn't really have a set in stone time goal as my main goal was to finish, but i had secretly thought a 12 hour was possible, especially when I was at 6 hours and some change at the half way point in my mileage.   

another great sign

Spoiler alert, that time goal did not happen, but I am still okay with that.  The VERY nice ranger staff at Harrison Bay had actually gone out on the course and blown the leaves off so you could see the trail/roots/rocks.  HOW nice is that?  

this made me sing Hukuna Matata every time I passed it

As it got dark, things changed for me mentally.  I started to feel a bit alone and scared out on the trail by myself. I was VERY glad Stella was with me, but it was still lonely. I decided to start listening to podcasts at that point to stay awake and going forward.  I had tried to use my phone sparingly to save battery and to keep it out of the cold.  At this point I needed it and we had portable batteries for charging if needed.  I started with one podcast and just couldn't get into it so changed to Another Mother Runner with Dave McGillary and was very inspired.  

We saw SO many deer

The runners were fewer and far between and harder to see who was who with our head lamps on.  At this point we were all power walking most of the course.  Most of the marathoners were finished, so it was just our 50 milers and 100 milers left.  I had two laps in the dark and they were tough.  I have SO much respect for 100 milers who run through the night and without pacers.  I also know that for now and for a while I do not want to do a 100 miler at all :)

I have to do what?

It wasn't long till I was getting done with my last lap and heading back out for the out and back.  OF course you have to do the most technical part of the course again, which mentally was challenging.  I had been power walking pretty fast on the last lap, but on this lap, my legs decided they were done with up and down motions.  I was fine on the flat, but any other time I was dying.  Stella was still steadily pulling and I am so glad I had her to steady me and help me.  Not going to lie, was pretty freaked out in my tired brain about missing the sign.  Apparently we had to go back out on the trail and look for a sign not stuck in the ground, but up in a tree to tell us where to turn around.  It was on the side of the trail I had not been starting with, so I had NOT seen it up until that point.  Lucky for me, one of the ladies I had been running with/near was coming back from her out and back and she told me where the sign was.  I was SO glad to see that sign and turn around and Stella knew we were heading back out and started pulling like a mad woman.  My legs were so done and she so wanted us to run, but I just couldn't.  We got lots of high fives and congrats as we headed back from 100 milers heading back out to keep going.  They are so brave and awesome.  

I managed to at least run into the finish (it was down hill so a little easier than normal).  I always think oh I am going to cry or whatever and I never do, I just finish and go on.  There were two runners ahead of me, 100 milers who made everyone get up and ring the cowbells and hoop and hollar for me.  They were so awesome but i didn't cry. I think I was too tired LOL!  Mom and Elane had already packed up our tent site and had the van running and warm for me.  We decided not to stick around in the cold but get me to a hot shower.  My body always starts it's weird temp regulation issues right after I get done, so I was shaking pretty badly and ready for a hot shower.  

The hotel shower was awesome, but I could NOT sleep post shower.  I was wide awake till at least 3 am and got lots of FB time. Your welcome for my sappy posts.  I also got water on my finisher's award and it made the colors bleed, but we think it gave it character.  I am really glad I found this little race.  The RD was amazing just as everyone had said and helped me with a blister that was on my foot. I have never had blisters and I have a giant one now from the tape BUT the one that was hurting quit so I call that a win.  She was very encouraging and welcoming of Stella and I appreciate that.  This race is SUPER low key.  There is NO chip timing.  They depend on you to be honest.  They have someone at the start finish to mark your bib but if they aren't there you can do it yourself.  There are NO time limits.  You finish when you finish.  Many of the 100 milers walk the entire thing.  I think that is awesome!!!!  Even tonight as I type this people are still out on the course running.  Plus they had a pasta feed for packet pick up, thanksgiving dinner Saturday night that my crew got to eat at, and they had breakfast both days.  They really are AWESOMESAUCE!

a very tired but smiling Stella
Stella was fine the entire race and maybe only did the hoppy skippy action one or two times.  I will watch her to make sure she isn't too sore, but honestly I think she handled this course way better than I did.  She got bacon at the main aid station and some of the noodles and chicken from the chicken noodle soup my mom made for me for the broth.  I also shared small bites of my nutella tortillas, waffles, and any other things I snacked on.  Pretty sure bacon was her favorite, especially the most fatty pieces.

I posted this on FB and no need to retype it.  I am going to close here because I could keep going on and on and I will have a what worked and what didn't work post because this won't be my last 50 for sure!  Run Amok 50 miler, till next year!