For anyone who ran the race last weekend, or is interested in seeing what it was like, here is the link to all the photos Michael took. He has photos of the 20K, 50K, and 50M runners on various places on the course.
As always after a hard week of running, I was happy to have an easy week. For one reason or another, I didn’t do as much strength training or yoga, and that’s something I want to work on in the coming weeks. Summer decided to hang on a bit longer, with temperatures rising again above 100 degrees, but I ended the week with a wonderful trail run in Palo Duro Canyon, site of our 50K race in October, with my friends Hari and Kurt.
MON: Running rest day – I was like a zombie all day. I felt very fatigued, somewhat grumpy, but my legs felt surprisingly good after a 23 mile run. I did nothing physical, and spent the afternoon and evening on the couch with the iPad.
TUE: Run – 4 mi – Met Mike at 5:15am for a 4 mile run through Highland Park. I forgot to charge my Garmin, and he didn’t wear his either, so we were Garmin-free. It felt like we were pushing the pace, but hard to tell on tired legs. Another humid morning. So ready for summer to be done with. It was a busy day and somehow I never got around to core/strength or yoga.
WED: Run – 10 mi, Strength (arms) – This morning was one of those great runs where everything comes together. The temps were cool, humidity low, and I felt strong and smooth. We added in some significant hills, too, and despite the fact I ran 23 miles on trails just three days ago, the legs felt great. I just felt really good the entire run. We also got passed by a coyote, who came running out of the Arboretum and continued on in the grass. It was a truly beautiful animal, so lean and incredibly fast. Came home to finish off with 20 minutes of upper body weights.
THU: Running rest day, Yoga (forward bends) – 20:00 – Got some much-needed sleep. Going to run 10 tomorrow with Hari since we’re going camping this weekend to Palo Duro to check out the race course–and just have fun. Hopefully we’ll be able to run 4 on Saturday evening and 6 on Sunday morning. Not happy that it’s going to be in the upper 90’s all weekend. Did yoga in the evening to loosen up the legs before tomorrow morning’s run.
FRI: Run – 9 mi – It was such an incredibly warm and humid morning, Hari and I decided to run a loop and add the missing mile on to one of the weekend runs. The air was completely still and the bugs were horrible as well, getting in our eyes, ears, mouths, and noses. The run itself felt easy, and I’m enjoying being able to run so strong and effortlessly on a loop around the lake. I love having this level of fitness.
SAT: Running rest day – Hari, Kurt, and our families drove to Palo Duro Canyon for a weekend of camping and trail running. We were hoping to run at least 4 miles in the canyon in the evening, but the 104 degree temps helped us decide to run long in the morning instead.
SUN: Run – 11 mi – Best trail run so far! Started at dawn at the Givens, Spicer & Lowry Running Trail, which took us to the Lighthouse formation, and added on the Little Fox Canyon Trail loop. It was 70 degrees at the start, and it felt great to be running in such cool temps. It also felt great to be running on a trail without roots or stumps. Though the temperature climbed up to 95 degrees by the end of the run, we couldn’t stop raving about how beautiful the scenery was. It’s runs like this that remind me why I love trail running so much.
* All photos courtesy of Kurt Cimino
STATS for WEEK 13: Run – 34 miles, 1 strength/core workout, Yoga – 20:00
My hands shook as I stared at the “confirm” button on the computer. Was I really doing this? Was I crazy? I hesitated, then clicked the button.
I had just signed up for my first ultra. It was also my first trail race.
A double whammy of scariness.
Somehow I had managed to corral two of my closest running friends, Heather and Hari, into running it with me. Heather only wanted to run the 20K but I talked her into the 50K.
It’s only five miles longer than a marathon . . .
I haven’t run a marathon in over a year. I’ve hardly run on any trails.
My first trail run was down Sepulcher Mountain in Yellowstone at the end of a twelve mile hike. It was impromptu, and we ran because we were cold. It felt like flying.
My next trail run was in the Tetons with my daughter. Leaping over the rocks was like running an obstacle course. I told her, You could break some bones if you fell on these rocks. Tourists gaped at us as we ran past. I felt invincible.
I fell half a mile from the car. It happened so fast I didn’t have a chance to break my fall. I cracked three ribs.
My only other trail run was in Norbuck Park, part of the lake where I run. It has a killer hill where runners like to train. I had just run my last marathon, in Death Valley, and I felt strong and ready to try something new.
After that, I wasn’t willing to drive so far outside the city to run on trails. I told myself I would run trails when I moved to Oregon, or Wyoming, or Montana.
I was kidding myself. That day might never come. All I have is today.
People have told me for years that I would love trail running, that they’re more fun that marathons, more laid back. I know they’re right. My favorite places on earth are outdoors, in nature–forests, mountains, and deserts. Of course I would want to run there.
But I have to admit, running a 50K scares me.
It’s something I’ve never done before. Did I feel this way before I ran my first marathon?
It sounds hard. 31 miles.
Last night I dreamed of running in Palo Duro Canyon. It was beautiful, and the sky mirrored the rocks. I ran on a trail.
Gasp. I’m running an ultra.
It sounded like a good idea back in November.
With the adrenaline still on overdrive from the Tulsa Marathon, and a $30 Groupon to the inaugural Patriot Half Marathon on Memorial Day in a nearby suburb, several of us were talked into signing up.
Somehow we forgot that it’s almost always hot on Memorial Day.
It was warm, but not as bad as it could have been. With a starting temp of 74 degrees and humidity hovering around 90%, and a finishing temp of 82,we got lucky. Clouds rolled in at the start and a cool breeze kept us company for most of the race. There was sun–a lot of it–and humidity, but it could have been a lot worse.
I ran with my friend, Heather, who has been injured for the past several months, and another friend, Stacy, who just started training for her first Ironman. This was the longest distance Heather had run in five months, and our only objective was to finish. We took a lot of walk breaks on the hills and stopped often for water and wet hand towels.
The race was small and it was a nice change to run in the countryside. I’m nowhere near the front of the pack when I usually race, but I have to admit it was a lot of fun being more towards the back. People talk more and look out for each other. The volunteers seem to be even more encouraging.
And in the end, everyone gets the same medal.
The course was fairly hilly, especially the second half, which seemed to be mostly uphill. The hills were long and gradual. Hari said it was worse than Tulsa, which is the hilliest course I’ve seen.
If I had been gunning for a PR, I can imagine the hills would have made me pretty grumpy.
Despite the heat and the hills, I had a blast running with Heather and Stacy. It was nice to run a race more like a long run, with the only expectation being to finish. Heather and Stacy both did a great job. I’m so lucky to have such great friends to run with.
Here are some random photos Michael took during the race. The complete collection can be found here.