Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Babes in the Woods

Tonight, I went with my good friend Julie, who also coaches XC with me and is an Ironman triathlete and is, like, my only endurance-athlete friend, to Lapham Peak to run with the world-renowned Lapham Peak Trail Runners.  It. Was. Incredible.  Lapham Peak is my home trail, but it was amazing to be out there in the dark, with headlamps, under the stars, out of the city, in the woods.  I'm a bit intimidated by the LPTR runners, and Julie and I couldn't stay long enough to meet much of the group (although those I did meet were of course welcoming and friendly!).  It was just reassuring to see other people who like to run long.  Who think it's fun and not a punishment.  Who are used to playing outside and still consider themselves incredibly lucky blessed when they are able to do so.  It was about 35 degrees out, which felt fantastic, and Julie commented that the hills were less intimidating when you couldn't see to the top.  It was weird - like you didn't feel you were working that hard to get up.  My shin twinged a little bit, but as of now, I'm operating under this mentality: I will see a doctor about a possible stress injury when there is a splintered tibia sticking out of my skin.  BAM.

I'm so looking forward to my next run with the LPTR!

This week so far: 30 minutes of rowing on Monday with two separate sets of tabata intervals, and a rest day yesterday.

Get it, girl.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Stress Fracture? Paranoia? IDK.

Alright.  I may have a stress injury in my left shin.  It has always been a tender spot, I had x-rays a few years ago for the same symptoms, and it's hurting again, but more.  And there's a bump.  Shit.

Today, I did a CrossFit style workout with my peeps - kettle bell squat & swings, sandbag cleans, and burpees, with bear crawls and sprints in between.  It was good, but I don't want my leg to hurt and right now, my leg hurts.  I'm trying to cross-train, but next weekend is a moderate-mileage weekend.  I PRETTY MUCH REFUSE TO STOP RUNNING.  I may regret this later.  You read it here first.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

You Think This Story's Over, But It's Ready To Begin

The Kettle Moraine 100 is June 1st and 2nd, 2013.

If I train right, eat right, and work hard, I will be able to run the Kettle 100, hereafter known as Kettle.

If I am able to run Kettle, I will be the luckiest girl in the world.

So, let's do it!

On my way out to my home trails at Lapham Peak State Park, I heard the Beastie Boys' Paul Revere.  It always makes me smile (in fact, the DJ on 102.1 said something like, "You can get punched in the face, and you'll still be happy because Paul Revere's on!" And she's not wrong).  But that line, "You think this story's over but it's ready to begin," really stuck out to me.  I had a rough autumn running season, and I thought for a second I might be done ultrarunning.  NOT SO!  Game on.  The training plan starts today, and I did a nice easy 6 on the trails.  I feel blessed to be able to run the park trails because once the snow falls, they are dedicated for nordic ski use, and I'll have to stay on the Ice Age (which I love, so.)  It was about 50*, the park was packed, and the vibe was good.  Get it, girl.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Ok.  This is it.  I'm through not feeling like running, through with excuses (Cross country season!  I'm moving!  School just started!)  Someday, like June 2nd and 3rd, this pain will be useful to me.  On the menu for today - 4 miles and ab work.  It's on.

Friday, May 4, 2012

7 days out...

At the moment, according to the 10-day forecast, which I think is highly inaccurate, the weather next Saturday will be PERFECT for running 50 miles.  Fingers and toes crossed, prayers being said...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Last Night I Dreamed

*cue Blues Traveler*

Last night I dreamed about the Ice Age Trail 50.  I'm not great with the specifics, but it was pretty neutral - I was just running, got to an aid station, saw the tackle box my crew will be busting out at aid stations.  There was a scary moment where I didn't see my peeps, felt disoriented, and couldn't find what I needed in said tackle box but mostly everything was ok.

I took that as a sign to drop $140 on registration for the Mountain Masochist Trail Run.

That's a logical conclusion, right?

More about MMTR later, but know this: it will be my first "real" trail run.  I don't mean that as an insult to the glacial features of SEWI or the wonderful, challenging, and technical Ice Age National Scenic Trail, which I love with all my heart.  BUT.  MMTR is 50 miles in the Blue Ridge *actual* Mountains, with animals more dangerous than the turkeys and deer that I have seen and ascents more steep than the very sweet sounding kettles and moraines that have been my companions these last few years.  Plus it's my first non-local race.  Should be a game-changer!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Le Taper Rage

So.  The Ice Age Trail 50 is less than two weeks away, and an ultramarathon taper means an ultra-emotional runner.  Allow me to explain.

I first experienced the mini-rollercoaster that is taper before my first marathon.  And I gotta admit - it gets better with each race.  But still, consider the circumstances: you've spent considerable time, effort, and money training for an event.  A marathon - 4 months, maybe?  An ultra - depending on your base mileage before training, we're talking a 6-month prep period.  You've paid an ungodly sum that you don't tell non-running friends about to enter yourself into whichever suffer-fest you picked.  You've mostly stopped drinking and staying out late on Fridays and Saturdays so you can get up before 6 a.m. to run for four or five hours, back to back on Saturdays and Sundays.  You've overcome emotional and physical hurdles, probably shelled out for new shoes at some point, and probably done some things you're not proud of, like rinsing a cut leg in dirty creek water, teaching yourself to pee in the woods like it ain't no thang, and begging the baby Jesus to let you break your ankle so you can justify a 911 call and Flight for Life airlift from whatever remote trail you are on.  You know your body inside and out - what foods will go down well at certain mileages, how a training run will play out if you get exactly 5.43 hours of sleep but avoid dairy before but also wear those socks with the little nubby thread under your left middle toe.  YOU'VE GOT IT ON LOCK.  And then, two or three weeks before the race, you stop.

Enter the taper rage.  Your body needs a break - you have to stop.  And you have to trust that you did it right.  The right mileage, the right core strengthening work, the right nutrition.  You have to go out for 8-mile "long runs" that feel stupid, but you can't tell anyone because you risk sounding condescending  ("...going out for an easy eight tonight...oh, you're training for a 10k?!  That's awesome, good for you!" sounds awful even when you say it in complete sincerity) or crazy.  And you start to worry.

Things to worry about before race day:
-the weather
-getting sick
-the weather
-tripping down stairs
-twisting an ankle while on an easy run
-not sleeping before the race (I lose a lot of sleep over this)
-oversleeping before the race
-wearing the wrong socks
-getting sick
-packing the wrong stuff in a drop bag
-going out too fast
-the weather

It's hard to reign it in, and for the next two weeks, I'll be itching to just get out and run.  Let's do it.  Let's just go out to the trail RIGHT NOW and run 50 just to make sure we're good.

Coming up next: a post detailing the reasons I'm good.  It's going to be ok.  I know what I'm doing and I'm ready.  I just need to remind myself like, every five minutes!
My sisters and I ran part of the course Saturday, the segment just before the finish.  Deep breaths, Kim, deep breaths!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Additions to the gear arsenal!

Saucony Ride 4's (my 3rd pair; wanted to get some before Saucony switches to an 8 mm drop on these shoes) and Zensah calf sleeves.  Modeled post-5-hour trail run on the Ice Age Trail in SEWI!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Good Friday/Finishing Holy Hill

Remember that ill-fated 30-miler?  The one where my dad picked me up because I'd essentially run an ultramarathon by myself and STILL had miles to go before I reached my car?  I don't, because I was mentally decimated by the end, but maybe you do.

The beginning of my lovely trail at Pike Lake State Park.
Except I took this when I got was a little dark when I started.

Well, yesterday, on a beautiful day in the southern Kettle Moraine, I ran that route backwards, finishing the lengthy, hilly, and beautiful Holy Hill segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.  I woke up at 5 a.m. to get out to Pike Lake State Park, then ran out for two hours, turned around, and ran back.  It was glorious - good temps, blue sky, bright sun, and a nice mix of farm, forest, hills, and meadows.
Trail to the right, view to the left...obviously, as a sucker for a view, I turned left.
They were right about that view!  Holy Hill, National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians.  And PB Berry Blast!

My trail is so badass that there are animal skulls sitting on the trail blazes.  What does your trail have?!

One of my favorite sections: boardwalk over marsh, next to a farm.  The trail comes out next to the farmhouse and you're basically running through these people's front yard.  Not awkward at all.

Post-run at Pike Lake.  It was a challenging 4 hours, but left me with so many endorphins that that LaraBar was the BEST EVER, and my water was the BEST thing I'd EVER drunk, and every song that came on the radio was the BEST song EVER.  Love it!

And as a nice bit of closure in terms of the tough call I made to get picked up after 30 miles...I found out that when my dad rescued me on the road, I was still 8 miles from my finish.  Which means I did the right thing by calling and am officially not a wimp.  Yesssss.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The worst it will ever be.

I went for a little run on Tuesday that should have felt great - it was unseasonably warm, I was wearing a great outfit, and I’d had a few days of rest followed by a 4 miler Monday, so 7.5 after school didn’t seem like a big deal.
Except I ate a really huge Granny Smith apple and some Greek yog and went running ALMOST IMMEDIATELY afterwards.  Dumb.

I’ve trained my stomach up pretty good, but it was just a lot of food to have on board and I felt a little queasy during the run.  Of course, my melodramatic running brain was like, “This is disgusting!  I’ve never felt so sick during a run before!  I HATE feeling sick to my stomach - can I even continue?  Should I walk?”
I didn’t walk, because I need to learn to handle issues on the run, and I also remembered that I have felt much worse than this before; in fact, that I had felt the worst I would ever feel (gastrointestinally) during my first 50-miler, which resulted in an unpleasant and time-consuming stop in the woods.  I could and did handle that; a little apples-and-Greek-yog indiscretion was not going to stop me.  

It reminded me of something my friend Jon told me once after a really crummy run.  I’d done a road 30-miler (for training,  on purpose), and it was hours and hours of pouring rain and cold on the side of busy county roads.  It stopped raining long enough for me to dry off, and then started raining again, then thunderstorming, then hailing.  The day culminated with me cowering under some shrubbery, covering my head with my hands to protect myself from painful hailstones as lightning strikes threw down around me.  It was scary, lonely, and cold.  And Jon said, “At least you know that’s the worst it will ever be.”
There’s something to that.

Friday, March 16, 2012

...but I won't quit, cuz I want more!

Thanks, Young the Giant, for providing the inspiration for today’s title.  Today I ran the 3rd marathon of Marathon March - 2 to go!  Why did I have to pick a month with 5 weekends?  Because it’s alliterative, that’s why.  So I ran a pretty standard road marathon today: 
-4:04:26.  Dece for being sore from lifting yesterday and kind of in recovery mode from last weekend still.
-4 gel stops (Chocolate Raspberry Roctane, Orange Hammer Gel, and 2 PowerBar Green Apple)
-32 oz. of water (must purchase another 20 oz. Amphipod to replace the one I left on the roof of my car along with my precious Outdoor Research mittens as I drove away from Peninsula State Park earlier this winter)
It was a good run in about 45 degree weather, and afterwards I met my sister at Whole Foods where I pretty much ate everything at the salad bar that wasn’t meat, along with some add-ins from the hot bar.  Lest you’re thinking, girl, salad bar?!  rest assured: I had lettuce.  Artichokes.  Lentil and bean salad.  Something with bulgur (What is bulgur??) and cranberries.  Green beans, walnuts, and almonds.  Tuna salad.  Tofu.  Other tofu.  Roasted veggies.  Eggs.  Seeds.  Something with chickpeas.  There was more, trust me.  
Then, a trip to REI to replenish my supply of Peanut Butter GU and of course pick up a Luna Bar for the way home because my goodness, running marathons makes me hungry.  I’m feeling a bit beat-up because it’s been less than a week since I ran my big 3-0, and I lifted three times last week and ran and walked, and so because my body is telling me no (the song, people.  the Young the Giant song), I think that week 4 of MM will be two half marathons, one on Saturday and one Sunday.  Then, I’ll finish with a bang and some company at the Trailbreaker Marathon the last Saturday of March, joined by my distance-running mama, who will be running the half.

Peace out!  Do people still say that?  I just said it.  It felt right.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

every damn day.

The Accidental 30

So I’d like to say a few words about Saturday’s run.  It was a grand-scale solo running adventure and it wasn’t terrible; mostly I just felt bad that I had to interrupt other people’s - namely my dad’s - Saturday to rescue me from my own mistakes!  

The simple plan was for me to run about six segments of the Ice Age Trail between two of my favorite state parks here in SE WI.  My obliging sisters agreed to drop off my car at my finish point and everything.

I like to think of the Ice Age Trail as my "home trail" - it stretches all the way across WI and one of my goals in life is to run the whole thing!

So I got up at 6 a.m. ON A SATURDAY, packed up four gels (including two faves, Peanut Butter GU and caffeinated apple cinnamon PowerBar gel), a peanut/raisin Nature Valley bar, and 32 ounces of water.  While we’re on that subject, 32 oz. is not enough water for anything.  Ever.  
Best GU flavor ever.  Wish it was caffeinated.
The plan was to run a marathon - it’s Marathon March, after all - and so I crunched some numbers and added the segment mileage for the pieces of the trail I planned to run.  Things I failed to consider: 1. The mileage of several road connects between trail segments, 2. The half-segments at the beginning and end of my run that I dismissed as negligible, and 3. The possibility that I might get lost and end up running, oh let’s just say, two extra miles trying to find a damn trail blaze.  Oops.
So, most of the run was pretty ok.  I felt good, it was sunny and warm out, I wasn’t sick to my tummy at all, and I was optimistic about my pace.  But then I ran out of water.  And food.  I got tired of the lengthy road sections, and tired of slipping around in mud when I finally got back on trail, but then, oh good, I got a chance to trade the mud for ice.  Sucky mcsuck.  I knew it was getting bad when I got teary eyed in a particularly slippy downhill stretch and started yelling cuss words.  Apologies to the nice family that hiked by a few minutes later; really hoping you didn’t hear that.  
As I topped a rise and emerged onto a prairie, I spotted Holy Hill in the near distance and started crying for real - both out of frustration and relief.  I was sure I was in the HH segment of the trail, which is seven miles long and which stood between me and my final segment.  Alas, a helpful trail map showed that I was still a couple miles from being seven miles from being 1.2 miles from the end.  Eff.
And so, as I stumbled onto a road connect, I decided it was time to dial up Dad Stein.  
“Hi, Kim!”
“Hi!  How are you?” I said brightly.
“Well, I’m good, how are you?”
And then I got a little shaky.  "Um, I'm okayyyyy..."  The GPS read 30 miles, and I knew I couldn’t do 8.2 more.  

My view of the church at Holy Hill.  I (almost) was too pissed to be inspired. 

35 minutes later, my dad picked me up at Holy Hill, which it turns out they don’t call Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians for nothing.  I had a chance to freak out some dressed-up Italians on a Lenten pilgrimage, get cleaned up in the newly remodeled bathrooms (I feel like running has really given me an appreciation for public restrooms), and perch on a sunny rock next to a very nice statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary (hereafter, BVM) until my rescue car with diet Coke and a banana arrived.  Dads are the best.  
So, although my anger was outmuscling my endorphins on the way home, my mom and sisters were kind enough to remind me that I *did* successfully complete 30 miles, and it wasn’t for naught - I learned some things about fueling, running in mud, and assessing fatigue, and it was a beautiful day, and there were some pretty views.  And my mileage-addition skills need work.
And now, Marathon March takes a break until next weekend, when I do really truly honestly vow not to run further than 26.2 miles.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Title Inspiration

My inspiration for this blog comes from a quote from Ovid (43 BC - c. 18 AD): "Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim."

Now, I'm trusting a translation here so if you read (speak?  is that a thing anymore?) Latin, by all means, shatter the grand vision of my personal mantra, but I've seen the quote in English as follows:

"Be patient and tough; some day this pain will be useful to you."

I first saw this used as a book title, and it jumped out at me.  It's motivated me kind of a lot, actually.  While real, physical pain as the result of an injury would certainly make me take a break from running think about taking a break from running, I like to think of it more as "some day this discomfort will be useful to you."  Maybe my quads are feeling smushy now, but that means they'll be strong enough to get me through the hills in May's Ice Age Trail 50.  Maybe I'm mentally crushed and sick to death of the route I'm running, but I let the mental fatigue teach me to overcome it - I learn to pray, to sing, to rejoice in my run or the sky and whatever it's doing, or the lake, the woods, even the fact that I am strong enough to do what I am doing.  Maybe I accidentally wore socks that left me blistered, or a top that chafed - too damn bad, Kim!  Bet you won't make that mistake again, and therefore, this pain will have been useful to you.

Everything is a learning experience: a run in terrible headwinds on the shore of Lake Michigan teaches me to be patient and focus on form, teaches me to apply what I'm learning from the wind to a hill run.  A run on impossible hills teaches me to gut it out, shows me where the line is between powering up and switching to a stride.  A run in the snow teaches me to go home and make hot chocolate work on my footing and appreciate the winter wonderland.  It is all beautiful and now I sound crazy but really, this is why I love running!  It is a great equalizer, and I think it makes me a better person.  It has taught me patience and toughness, and each lesson is useful to me.

My feet after a 38-mile overnight "fun run" during the Kettle 100.  Someday this pain will be...oh, shut up, Kim!

Useless pain?

I accidentally ran 30 miles on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail on Saturday, which would be cool, except it involved a gross miscalculation of anticipated mileage, too little water, too few gels, two extra miles of lost-in-the-woodsness, and one lifesaving rescue from Dad Stein, who doesn't mind Google Mapping his little girl and coming to pick her up on the side of a country road, which reminded me of how grateful I am for all the support of this silly little hobby from my friends and family, so then again, perhaps the run was not in vain.