Friday, August 31, 2012

Random Thoughts Happening Here

☼Does anybody else relate?  I would have to say my mom is a lot like this too. She isn't sitting idly by as she's aging but is always on the go with activities to keep her young.  I want to be like that too.  I always feel like there's another adventure out there to enjoy, another mountain to climb, another trail to run on, another running friend to make. 

☼This marathon training has really bumped my mileage up for the month of August.  It's my highest yet at 175 3/4. I should just go run a quarter mile around the block to bump that up to 176 but I'm tired.  We'll see what September brings with my very first marathon just 3 weeks away.  So far I'm not feeling any anxiety or nervousness about it but just excited to finally get to say I'm a marathoner.  BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON MARATHON-SEPTEMBER 22ND, It' coming!!

☼Tomorrow on the schedule is my longest run of 20 miles.  I'll be running the Bear Lake Half Marathon in the hills and so will be planning a 7 mile run before the race starts.  Having races to run has definitely helped me feel like my long runs aren't so challenging to get done.

☼I guess I'm serious about continuing this running journey.  I've already signed up for 2 races in 2013.  I'm sure there will be more to follow.  I foresee some ultra's down the road as well.  They are pretty fun. (Did I just really say that?)

Happy Friday!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Top of Utah Half Marathon and a $4.00 Bath

What a fun and crazy race this turned out to be for me.  I had my adrenaline pumping high before I even got to the bus pick up.  My marathon schedule has me doing 18 miles for today and since I knew I didn't want to run an additional 5 miles after the race I got up at 4:00 am to get them done before.  But I'll back up to the start of this little vacation.

Me, Mark and Cooper headed up to Logan and stayed at the Super 8 Friday night.  We enjoyed a light dinner in the car on our drive up and got to Providence where the packet pick up was taking place.  We made it with just a little bit of time to spare and then headed to the motel.  We drove by a Maverik and I knew I needed some frozen yogurt.  I was very careful about my food intake this time because I learned my lesson after eating too big of meals the day before running the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon.
After getting my yogurt we went to Walmart for something to do and to get Cooper some healthy snacks.  That cute boy of mine has been working out so hard to P90X and eating so good.  He's lost about 20 pounds now and is feeling so great.  I'm secretly hoping he will run a half marathon with me someday.  That would just be the greatest thing ever!

We called it a night and headed back to the motel.  I set the alarm for 4 a.m. and got maybe 5 hours of sleep if I was lucky.  After a few pre-race rituals I headed out to run up and down the main street of Logan.  I was amazed at how many cars were already out and about at 4:30 in the morning.  Some friends of mine from Runner's Anonymous knew I would be out there and offered me a ride the day before but I had to turn them down because I would be running to the bus pick-up area to get my mileage in.  Well, they saw me and honked at me as they drove by.  One girl said she recognized my bright orange shoes!  I do love my shoes:)  At this point I had completed about 3 and 1/2 miles.  The bus pick up was 1.2 miles away and so I headed back to the motel for a final pit stop and to make sure I had everything.  I kissed Mark good-bye and headed off again to get at least 4 1/2 miles in before the race.  I was almost there and all of a sudden panic hit!  I had forgotten my race bib back at the motel.  I knew I couldn't get on the bus without it and I knew I didn't have time to run the 1.2 miles back and then get back to the bus in time.  Plus my timing chip was attached to it and I just plainly NEEDED it.  The race people said the last bus was leaving at 5:45 am and at this point it was about 5:35 am.  AHHHHH.........I didn't know what to do.  I didn't have my cell phone and there just wasn't time for anything. It takes me longer than 10 minutes to run a mile and even if I did run back and have Mark drive me I would miss the bus.  I thought about sticking my thumb out and seeing if somebody would drive me back.  Then all of a sudden I see three angels walking toward the bus pick up.  I ran up to them and told them my dilemma and asked for a ride back to my motel. 

Meet Crystal, Jennica and Hillary Stevens.  Hillary, the girl I'm sitting by on the bus, was the driver and she was absolutely so sweet to help me out.  Her and I jumped in the car and the other two girls headed to the bus to stand in line.  Hillary was so funny and ended up driving up the wrong side of the street not once but twice because of the weird intersection where our motel sits.  We were both laughing and freaking out at this point. It's just a good thing all the police officers were helping out at the race and there weren't any around right now.  I ran in and grabbed my bib and back to the bus pick-up we went. She was parking a few blocks away at the Macey's grocery store and so we were booking it as fast as we could on foot.  I don't think I've ever ran so fast in my life.  We found her friends saving us a place in line.  We had plenty of time to get on the bus.  I had panicked over nothing!   When I finally got sat down and the bus got moving my heart rate slowed down and I finally relaxed a little.  I may have even closed my eyes and said a little prayer for these cute girls rescuing me and letting me ride with them on the bus.  When we got to the starting line I thanked them again and said good-bye.  I wanted to find Jody and Doran, my friends from Brigham City who also ran last week's half marathon with me.
Now meet Shannon and Melanie.  Out of the blue I hear someone calling my name and then I see these two cute faces.  I had no idea who they were.  They told me they were blog stalkers and enjoyed reading about my adventures.  They asked for photos with me and of course I wanted one too.  I told Shannon to leave me a comment so I can follow her blog.  Melanie said she doesn't blog but she has a grandson named Porter.  Oh yeah, of course we are friends now! It's so much fun meeting new bloggy friends. These gals just totally made my morning!

I wandered around looking for my Runner's Anonymous Facebook friends but there were so many people I couldn't locate them.  That made me a little sad because we had talked about finding each other up there and starting the race together. 
I found Jody and Doran, on the far right, Jen whom I've run with at Draper Canyon, is next to me and the other two gals I don't know, but they are friends of Jody's. We squeezed our way through the crowd and tried to get to the 2:00 hour pacer area.  It was so packed with people that we just stopped where we were and waited for the gun.
We were off and I was cruising down the canyon!  I love downhills and tend to go a bit faster so that when the flats and the uphills come I can slow down.  Mile 1 came and went and then mile 2 hit and all of a sudden my right hand went tingly and then my arm felt funny.  My left hand and arm did the same thing just a few minutes later.  This concerned me and so I slowed way down and ate a gu packet and drank some water.  I was glad I had worn my fuel belt.  About mile 4 I felt fine and so picked up the pace again.  I still don't know what that was all about but my guess was the high adrenaline morning I had experienced along with the nearly 5 miles I had already run may have made my system a little out of wack. 
Meet Elise and Kevin "Papa" Kunz.  They are the very kind souls that brought me chocolate milk on the day of my 50K ultra race.  They are the founder's of the Runner's Anonymous group.  I never actually saw them on race day but just got this freebie photo that Top of Utah took.  I love the smiles and the energy.

Another friend from Runner's Anonymous whom I've never met I recognized from our Facebook group.  She had posted a picture of what she would be wearing and I remembered her bright flashy skirt.  When I saw it I hollered to her "Hey you are Lori from Runner's Anonymous". We ran together for a little bit and liked the fact that we both were wearing bright orange shoes.   

The rest of the race was just fun.  There were always so many people around.  I heard constant chattering of people no matter where I was at.  Eventually I needed some music and popped in the earbuds.  My friend Jody was being paced by her friend and neighbor Jen.  I tried my hardest to stay up with them and the 2:10 pacer group but just didn't have the zest and zip to do it.  That whole adrenaline rush was gone and my energy may have been a little bit zapped.  I ate oranges and bananas at the aid stations and made sure to drink plenty of Gatorade and water.

When I came down out of the canyon between mile 6 and 7 I remembered how fun it was last year to see my cute family cheering for me.  I told them they could just see me at the finish line this year and not to worry about driving around to find me.  The rest of the run was just a matter of staying focused and determined to get this finished and hopefully with a better time than last year.

As I got about a mile away from the finish I decided to pour on the speed a little more.  I was worried I wouldn't beat my time.  When I got closer I could see the clock and knew I had to hustle.  I came in at 2:14:29 which is a minute and a half faster than last year.  Whew!  That was cutting it a bit close but I'll take it considering the extra 4 1/2 miles run at 4:30 a.m.
I found these cute girls again who had come in right around 2 hours.  Good job ladies!! I will never, ever forget Hillary and her goodness to me!
Doran did awesome as usual coming in under 2 hours, Jody and Jen did great too.  Somewhere around the 2:13 area.

I found the after-race goodies which were a bit of a let down this year.  More Gatorade, water, oranges and bananas, which I had already consumed during the race. The only other thing they had in addition to that was bread bites and mini fat boy ice creams.  Yup, it was disappointing.  Now that the race was over I still had 1/2 of a mile to run to complete my total 18 miles for the day.  Me, Mark and Cooper started heading to the car and I told them to pick me up down the road by the Maverik.  Well, by the time they found me I had completed a total of 18 1/2 miles and you can better believe I am counting all of it in my training book. 
We stopped off at Walmart and Cooper ran in and bought 2 bags of ice for 4 bucks which I happily placed on my lap for the short drive to the motel.  I quickly got in the tub of cold water and Mark added the ice.  I think Logan has colder water to start with than we do here at home.  It was absolutely the coldest ice bath I have ever taken.  It took forever for those ice cubes to melt.  I think my toes were getting a little nip of  numbness and my legs were turning bright pink. But ice baths really do the trick for me and helping with soreness and the little bit of discomfort for about 20 minutes was totally worth the $4.00 dollar bath today.
Top of Utah Half Marathon is a great race in a beautiful canyon and will probably be a race I'll run each year as long as I keep up this running adventure.  I'll have to say the most fun for me this time was meeting new people and enjoying friendships of old friends as well.  I would much rather get my training miles in with others around me than out on my own.  Next Saturday will be my longest run yet of 20 miles and I will be heading to the trails to do that at the Bear Lake Half Marathon.  I just have to figure out where to do the additional 7 miles so I won't get bored.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Marathon Training Plan-Week 12 of 16

Week #12

Monday August 20th-Ran 7.50 Miles
Ran 5.50 miles to the gym then did arms and abs workout there, then ran 2 miles to get home.  Now that school is started my morning schedule will be more open and so I am looking forward to being able to spend some more time at the gym to get some core work done. 
Tuesday August 21st-Rest Day-Walked 5 Miles
with my buddy Laurie.

Wednesday August 22nd-Ran 8 Miles
My running friend Monnica who lives in my city and runs a lot of half marathons added me to a Facebook group called Runner's Anonymous.  Well, they organized a run for Wednesday mornings and so I thought I would join them today since they were planning to do the exact amount of mileage I needed.  I can say that waking up at 4:15 am is not something I plan to do very often.  The run was nice and cool but challenging.  We ran/power walked for 4 miles up a hill (Traverse Mountain Road) with an 8% grade and then at the top was a cute little park where we made a pit stop and caught our breath.  Then we turned around and ran down the hill.  You can bet that after this big adventure I came home and climbed right back in bed for a sweet little 2 hour nap.  
  Thursday August 23rd-70 Minutes on the stair stepper and then did an abs and arms work-out. Later in the evening-6 Mile Trail Run  
 I was feeling just a little off today (maybe it had something to do with waking up in the 4 am hour yesterday morning) and so I decided to just go to the gym and skip my scheduled 5 mile run.  As the day wore on I was feeling a little guilty about skipping my run.  There is a lot of power in a little piece of paper telling me what is required for my marathon training.  So, I didn't give in and I decided to do an evening workout and headed to the hills in Draper for a 6 mile run.  A new Facebook friend of mine, Angela, wants to run an ultra and wanted to run on the trails too so she went with me.  It was fun to meet up in real life.  Actually, we met briefly once before at my friend Josh's pink donut half marathon.  We were cutting it just a little too close in getting back down the mountain before we were in total darkness.  These Summer nights are definitely getter shorter.

Friday August 24th-Walked 3.50 Miles
with my buddy Laurie

Saturday August 25th-Ran Top Of Utah Half Marathon
and an additional 5.50 miles for a total of 18.50 miles.  Race recap coming.

Sunday August 26th- Day of Rest!

 Total Running Miles: 40
 Total Walking Miles: 8.50
Other:  70 Minutes stairstepper

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Porter's Half Marathon

When I saw this half marathon advertised on Facebook I immediately knew I wanted to run this race.  I didn't care what the course was like.  I didn't care that it was an inaugural race.  All that mattered to me was the name of it.  I just thought there could be nothing cooler than running a race in memory of my son, Porter.
Doran and Jody came down and stayed with us and on a whim decided to sign up and run too.  That was a lot of fun to be at a race with familiar faces and friends.
Ooops, a little eye-leakage going on already at 5:00 in the morning.   I headed off to Draper City Park where the buses would pick us up.  I needed to get in 17 miles for my marathon training plan and didn't want to run those 4 additional miles after the race.   So I left plenty early to run at the park and get as much done as I could before the last bus took off.   Well, I was doing great and enjoying the cool, early morning hours.  I had a little under an hour to do my 4 miles.  And then about 6:17 am I see the last bus leaving.  The Race Director told us the last bus would leave at 6:20.  I ran as fast as I could screaming as loud as I could to "WAIT!!!  WAIT!!"

The bus driver stopped the bus and opened his window.  I asked him if he was the last bus and he said there were two more buses coming in 5 minutes.  Wow, that caused me a little bit of high anxiety.  So I headed to my car and grabbed my necessary running items and meandered back to the bus loading area.  A few more runners were gathered there as well and we continued to wait.  A few of the race volunteers stopped by to tell us indeed there was another bus coming.  Well, after waiting almost 20 minutes and watching the time getting closer to race start time at 7:00 am I just couldn't stand still any longer.  I asked if anyone wanted to hop in the car with me because I was driving to the starting line.  I knew my friends, Jody and Doran would take me back to get my car after the race.  There were a total of six of us waiting for the last bus and I was able to take three of them.   The other two drove themselves as well.  That darn bus never showed up!  I got to the starting line with a few minutes to spare and found my friends. 
Jody pinned my sign on my back for me and we made a final pit stop and then walked across the canyon road to line up for the start.  This was a smaller race with only a little over 300 participants and I thought it was absolutely perfect.  I got to meet another blog friend, Betsy at this race.  It's always a highlight to read someone's blog for awhile and then finally get to meet them in real life.
The race started about 5 minutes late but it was alright with me.  I was still trying to calm down from my high anxiety moments of missing the bus and driving a little faster than I probably should have to get to the race start.  Jody and I started together and ran the first couple miles side by side.  I love down hills and when they would come I would zoom down them and then she would catch up to me on the flats.  That only lasted another mile or so and then she was gone.  I just couldn't keep up with her. 

As I ran people would turn and give me a sweet look and a thumbs up at the sign on my back.  Although they didn't say anything to me, the look on their face was tender and understanding and I appreciated that.   One man said Porter was also his son's name and I told him it was a great name and he agreed.  Around mile 4 I decided to listen to my ipod and by complete coincidence the first song that came on was Homeward Bound.  It was sung at Porter's funeral and it always makes me cry when I hear it.  I hit repeat on it and listened to it about 4 times.  I also listened to some of Porter's favorite bands: Keane, and Coldplay.  I was enjoying these reflective moments of Porter and just felt his love throughout the entire race.   The course turned out to be absolutely beautiful with mountain views all around.  It was so fun to see the Draper Hills in the distance where I had just run my first 50K the previous Saturday.   I reflected on that experience as well as I ran and remembered what an awesome experience that was and my heart ached to be up there again.

Around mile 10 ish I found my friend Jody.  She's been nursing some aches and pains and needed to do some walk/run combos.  She finished strong and I was proud of her for being brave enough to sign up for this race, especially since we are running Top of Utah Half Marathon only 1 week later. 
The after-race treats were fabulous with bagels, cookies, lots of fruit, cinnamon raisin toast, muffins, bubblegum, oatmeal, and Dr. Pepper.
I finished this race with a final time of 2:14:39 and feel very pleased with that outcome.  It's not my slowest or my fastest but it's a good time for me and my slow self.  We stayed and watched the awards ceremony and by the time they got to the prize giveaways a lot of people had already left.  Each of us ended up getting some nice things that they just started handing out to everybody that was left there.  I got a super cool jacket and a pen.  Doran and Jody got a jacket each too and a few other goodies. 
Jody and Doran took me back to my car (thanks so much guys) and I immediately put my photo of Porter right in front of me so I could continue to look at it and think about him all the way home.
I'm pretty excited to have a shirt now that has Porter's name on it.  You can bet I'll wear it proudly!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Life Before Running?

A few days ago a friend of mine asked me, "Do you ever wonder what life was like before running?"  I was stumped for a few moments......Then as I continued to think about this question and still keep thinking about it I decided to write some feelings down.

I have always been one to exercise.  I think it was instilled into me as a very small girl when I used to watch my mom do exercises with Jack La Lane on black and white T.V.  Yes, I'm old enough to vaguely remember black and white television.  Then I also remember her going outside to jog up and down our street.  We lived on a small street in Henderson, Nevada that only had four houses on it.  She would go up and down that street about 20 times and then come back in.  I would sit at the window and watch her go back and forth in the mornings before school started.  When I got older my favorite classes were PE and drill team and aerobics.  Yep, I had 3 exercise classes at one time in my senior year of high school.  When I got married and started having children I would go on power walks with my mama.  I would put the kids in the stroller and off we would go.  She was hard to keep up with but I loved being out there getting it done.  After the kids got a little older I started teaching aerobics at the church for a few ladies, and did so for almost 10 years.  We had a great friendship and all shared the same desire to just be healthy.  We danced  and worked out to many country songs and a few pop/rock songs.  Now today I can't hardly stomach country music.  I'll hear a song on the radio and immediately remember the routine we danced to and quickly have to change the station.  Yes, country music is not much listened to anymore right now.   But those were some great days and fond memories for me.

Most recently, (well at least for the last ? years, could be 8, 9, 10?) I have had the most stalwart friend and confidant to walk with.  My good buddy, Laurie.  Sometimes we walk twice a week, other times we are out there 5 times a weeks.  She has been the greatest companion to support me in my crazy adventures and to listen to all my highs and lows of life.  These are years I will always treasure and hope to continue to experience many years down the road. 

A couple years ago my sweet daughter asked me to run a half marathon with her and I was shocked, and surprised and speechless for a few moments.  Then my wheels started turning and I decided to start running.  I blame this new addiction on Kali.   It really has become an addiction.  I look for new races all the time and can't wait for the next race to come up.  I have loved making new running friends and reading running blogs, which provide a lot of inspiration, and have really loved discovering the joy and peace in running in the hills and on the trails in this beautiful state of Utah.

So, yes there was life before running.  I am still a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, teacher, aunt, niece, sister, cousin, friend etc.  and there are many roles associated with each of those titles.  Finding the balance in each of those is tricky, but definitely running has helped me be happier and more excited about my life and in tune with my health and energy.  I still miss Porter like CRAZY and ache to see him and hold him again.  When I have had dreams of seeing him and hugging him there is no description of those feelings.  It's like the ultimate feelings of joy and happiness.  Waking up from those dreams are no fun.  Running has given me the opportunity to just be out there with my thoughts of him and imagine him being by my side as I turn my legs over and pound the pavement. I imagine him gliding effortlessly next to me.  Someday me and Porter will get to run a real race together.  I'm sure he will win but we will be there together!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Marathon Training Plan-Week 11 of 16

Week #11-These weeks are zipping by much too fast!
Monday August 13th-Ran 5 Miles
on the boring treadmill.  I had recorded the men's marathon and watched it this morning as I ran.  It's so inspiring to run while watching other people run.  So sad to watch 2 Americans drop from the race though.
I wanted to run on the treadmill only for the fact that I was a little nervous to head out somewhere and not be close to home.  After my 31 mile excursion only 2 days ago I wasn't sure what my body could handle.  Surprisingly, I wasn't any more sore than I usually feel after a half marathon.  I know it's because the trails are a softer place to land and my body loves that so much more than asphalt or pavement.  

Tuesday August 14th-Rest Day-Walked 3.5 Miles
Decided to take it a little bit easy today after my big weekend ultra run. 
Wednesday August 15th-Ran 9 Trail Miles
I was a little sleepy this morning and couldn't drag myself out of bed.  I rolled over and changed the alarm and got 2 additional hours of sleep. Ahhhh!  But then that meant running later in the day and in the heat.  After I finished up teaching all my morning piano lessons I decided to head back up into the Draper hills and put in my mileage up there.  It was a perfect run. (minus the heat)  I spent 2 1/2 hours up there loving nature and the dirt beneath my shoes.  I just wish it wasn't so far to get there or I would be here every single day.

  Thursday August 16th-Ran 5.50 Trail Miles
I stayed closer to home for these trail miles and got up early to meet with a friend.  Still feeling a little tired.  Definitely will be napping today.
Friday August 17th-Walked 4 Miles
with my buddy Laurie.

Saturday August 18th-Ran Porter's Half Marathon 17 Miles
I had 17 miles on the agenda today and so I went early to the race and ran 4 miles before the start and then the 13.  It was a great race and I will recap it soon.

Sunday August 19th- Day of Rest!

 Total Running Miles: 36 1/2
 Total Walking Miles: 7 1/2

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Corner Canyon Ultra Trail Race-My First 50K

This recap may just be all over the place.  I don't feel like I can even describe the emotions and feelings I've had about this whole experience but I will try to put it into words.  But just trust me that talking about it and experiencing it are two completely different things, as is with anything experienced in life.  You've got to experience it to understand it:  the joy, pain, excitement, nervousness, love of the outdoors, etc.   I will try to expound.

When I first found out about this race I learned there were two different lengths to run, a 25K and 50K.  I knew instantly I wanted to run in Corner Canyon again.  It's so far been my favorite trail running place.  So to be able to run another sponsored race here was a no-brainer.  I WAS IN.  Now the tough decision came as to which length to run.  I knew I could handle the 25K because I had run a 15 mile trail race here back in May with Josh and Julia.  That was a great experience then and so I was so excited to get another opportunity.  I also needed exactly 16 miles for my marathon training schedule and the 25K was going to fit that need perfectly.  But I wanted so badly to run the 50K but was so afraid to be out there in the mountains alone.  So after mulling it over for a couple weeks I just settled and signed up for the 25K.  I threw the idea out there on Facebook and asked if anyone wanted to join in on the adventure, thinking there would be no takers.  Josh already had a race he was doing that day and Julia was already moved to a different state, so I thought I would be running solo.  Well, out of the blue comes a comment from good old Mr. Cory Reese saying he was going to be running the 50K.  Now this was going to change everything.  I just had to work up the courage to beg, bribe, ask nicely if I could join him on the 50K.  I knew I wanted to be challenged and upgrading to the 50K would be the perfect solution.  I ever-so-nervously asked and he was so kind to agree to pace me.  I told him if he could at least get me 1/2 way up and down this mountain then I could probably manage to get myself back to the finish line and then he could run at whatever speed he wanted. Well, he was way too kind at even that suggestion and told me he would support me 100%.  Who does that?  I'll tell you.  Super kind, running idols and heroes, and that would be Cory Reese.

Race day came and I was up early at 4:15 am to take care of all the pre-race things a runner does.  The night before I had set everything out and had them in drop bags for Mark to bring to the aid stations he would be visiting at mile 19.6, mile 22.8, and mile 24.8.  Mark is so supportive and patient with me and my crazy running endeavors.  He will go to my races and hang out for any amount of time to see me run in.  Or he will sit at aid stations for hours on end waiting for me to get there.  He also doesn't mind the out of town trips because then we get a little vacation together.
Here is Mark after waiting about 2 hours at mile 19.6.

I really over-packed and actually ended up not needing a single thing.  I even unloaded a bunch of stuff that I was carrying and left it with him.  That just shows how great of a race this was.  It was so well supported and stocked at all the aid stations.  Without having run an ultra before I didn't know what to expect and I was just super impressed with the volunteers, the food, the drinks, the ice, who knew that ice could feel like manna from heaven? and the great enthusiasm that everyone had.   But, I'm jumping ahead a little bit.  

I got myself out the door a little before 5:00 am and got to the starting line to check in and get my packet.  Oh boy! Did I ever have pre-race jitters!!  I got my bib on and made a pit stop and then just walked around the parking lot trying to take nice, slow, steady breaths.  Cory was here and talking to other runners.  He seemed as cool and relaxed as an early morning Summer breeze. I didn't feel like I could visit the small crowd gathered and so I just continued to try to calm my nerves and relax by walking and walking.  A few minutes before time to start they had us gather to share information about the course and to talk about Johnny Runner.  He was the reason we were all here to run.  He has cancer and this race was put on by his trail running buddies to benefit his family.  There were some tears shed as he spoke to us but yet a strength in his voice that he was going to fight this and win! I sure hope he does! What an incredibly genuine, nice man.
A picture of me and Johnny Runner after the race was over.  He was such an inspiration to me to go after my dreams and don't give up! EVER!

The race started right on time at 6:00 am and we were off, with it still being a little bit dark, all 26 of us for the 50K.  There would be 60 people running the 25K which started an hour later.

Very early in the run a fun gal just a couple years younger than me named Misty, hung out and ran a few miles with us.  She was definitely a hard core ultra-marathoner with this race not being her first rodeo.  It's so fun to hear other people's stories of running and races they've done and future races planned.  At the first aid station, mile 3.6, called Orson Park, we checked in and told them our number (they wanted to keep track of everyone out here) then got some drinks and headed off again.  Misty didn't stop and that would be the last time we ran with her.  She was speedy. 
This was just some of the beautiful scenery we enjoyed along our journey.  It had rained the night before the race and so the morning air was cool and the trail seemed to be a little moist and less dusty.
We climbed a nice ascent and was well above the city and enjoyed some nice views of some hot air balloons and was still enjoying some cool canyon breezes.  At aid station #2, mile 8.7, called Ghost Falls, there was a nice spread of treats and drinks and we indulged.  I was feeling great and still felt like I was just floating on cloud 9.  I may have been running with a plastered smile on my face for the first 14 miles.  I just couldn't believe what an awesome experience this was and what a feeling of appreciation for the mountains and trees and trails I was feeling.
I think Cory was on a little runner's high as well.
At the third aid station, mile 11.9 there was another huge spread of goodies to enjoy.  And, I of course love goodies.  I wanted to make sure I was fueling my body properly with enough calories to keep me going with enough energy but without feeling too full.  This was challenging to find the right proportions as I would learn throughout the day. 
 Potato Hill at mile 11.9

It was also at this aid station where I saw an old neighbor friend of 19 years, Lester Muranaka, who lives in the Draper Hills area and was out walking his dogs this morning.  That was a pleasant surprise.
After the wonderful refreshments and the volunteers filling up my hydration vest for me we were off again. 
Cory was such a great companion runner.  Most of the time he let me be in the lead but really I just wanted to follow him and try to maintain his pace.  One time while running I pulled out my camera and snapped this photo without even looking back.  A little blurry but not too shabby for not even looking.
Everything was going good except for the heat was getting a little more intense.  I just kept staying as hydrated as I could without feeling sloshy in my tummy.  Cory reminded me to take my gu's.  Around mile 13 Cory pointed out a dragonfly.  Little did he know the significance of this.  Immediately I was reminded of my sweet Porter and I had a little crying moment while running.  That's a hard thing to do and maintain your breathing.  I tried to dry it up quickly.  It seems anytime I'm out running I will have a Porter moment and be drawn to thoughts of him and my precious memories of him.

At mile 14.3 is where things would change drastically!  I had studied this course up and down, in and out, and had written down the exact places where the elevation gains would be happening so I would know when to be ready for them.  I knew this next part of the course was going to be killer but I didn't realize how bad until trying to climb this beast of a mountain how bad it really was.  There is a person about 2/3 up this hill.  Can you see him?
Oh, there he is with my camera zoomed in.  This hill wouldn't have been quite so bad if the top of it would have been the end of climbing.  Oh no!  We had exactly 2.8 miles of intense climbing to accomplish this task. There was still more mountain to climb behind this hill.  Ugggghhhh..... My friend Annaleesa texted me somewhere in the middle of this to see how I was doing and all I could text back was "Can't breathe, climbing steep hill!"
 The heat was not fun and we had absolutely zero shade.  Good thing we had plenty of water though.
Cory kept track of the time it took for this section and we were averaging about a mile every half hour.  That's some pretty slow rough climbing if you ask me.  I knew Cory had more strength and energy to get up this hill and could have done it faster. He took the lead and threw down an imaginary rope for me to pretend like I was holding on to.   Sadly it didn't work.
We were admiring that cool, refreshing looking pool at the bottom of this hill we just climbed during a much needed rest moment.
You can see the trail by Cory's hat brim as where we started this climb.  Another friend of mine asked if there were any switchbacks in this section and sadly there weren't any.  Basically straight up!
Don't know how I'm managing a smile right now.  Maybe because I got a moment to rest?
This is another angle of the mountain we had climbed. It was taken later on as we were descending the mountain.  Seriously, why did we just climb this mountain to turn around and come back down?? I'm still baffled over that one.   Just follow the horizon from the right to the left and that was maybe a third of the climb. (not the carved out trail below)  Pictures really don't do it justice.  Just please go climb this mountain and feel the pain yourself.

OK, enough of my whining.  We would finally master this mountain and get to the top where an unmanned aid station, number 4 would be set up for us at mile 17.1 called Mack Hill.  This is where it felt like a gift from heaven had been dropped into our laps.  This was the most beautiful sight ever!  An ice chest filled with ice and we got to dive in to our hearts desire.  OK, well, we did have to save some for the people behind us.
We loaded up our water bags with ice and water from a couple of coolers that were there as well.  I grabbed a few handfuls and washed my hands and arms and put it on my neck.  Words can't describe the joy I was experiencing with just some simple ice cubes. 
Time to continue our journey.  Mark had been waiting a long time at aid station #5, mile 19.6.  I had no clue that mountain was going to take so long to get up and down.  But we were making our way there eventually. As we were getting there we saw this yellow caution tape.  There was actually tape all along the course and at the beginning of the race the directors had told us to NOT cross the tape or we would be disqualified from the race.  Shhhh........ I was being a rebel, don't tell on me. 

Well, at last I got to see my sweet hubby.  I gave him a big ole sweaty hug and squeezed him tight.  He knows he loved it.  We visited for just a little bit while I chowed down on some more treats.   I also got to meet some new Facebook friends from a group I belong to called Runners Anonymous.  Kevin Papa Kunz and his cute wife Elise Kunz, whom I've not met in person before dropped by with a gallon of cold chocolate milk for me.  It's so much fun to meet new running people.  They have organized a Wednesday morning run which I may be participating in pretty soon.  At this aid station we had an out and back section of only 3.2 miles and so Mark stayed here until I would come back.  At the furthest point was a box with stickers in it and we were required to put a sticker on our bib to prove we made it to this point.  You can believe that I may have put 4 of the largest stickers on my bib.  I needed extra smiles to keep me going.
  At mile 22  (almost)

As we were heading back to the aid station it was so incredibly hot and I was doing everything I could to get any hint of shade as we ran by the trees.  It probably wasn't doing any good.  I made a tiny mistake in this part of the trail by not keeping my water bag filled.  I had run out of water with about a quarter mile left to get back to the aid station.  Pretty sure I wouldn't make that mistake again.  I didn't realize I was so low before we headed off on the out and back.  Mark had brought me an ice cold Powerade that he had frozen and had in an ice chest.  It was like drinking a lemon-lime slushy.  I downed half the bottle and then took it with me on my run.  That was a great treat.  So after seeing Mark at mile 22.8, aid station stop #6 at Suncrest Deer Park, and filling up my water bag with ice and water and enjoying more snacks we were off again.  I would see Mark again at the last aid station, #7, at Potato Hill, just 2 miles later at mile 24.8.  It was all downhill to there and so he wouldn't have to wait long.
From here things start to get a little hazy.  I don't remember when I took this photo.  I do know it was sometime after the last aid station but I like the temple and it helped put things in perspective of how close we were. I knew that the finish line was a little over 5 miles away.  When we arrived at the last aid station, Mark was there and I was happy to see his cute face again.  I thanked him for supporting me and being there.  He was heading home now and I would finish my race and drive home on my own.  My water bag was plenty full.  I downed three cups of coke with tons of ice in them and was totally not in the mood for any food.  There were some salt tablets available there as well and so I took one of those.  Cory had also shared a couple of salt tabs throughout the day.  That's definitely something I need to get for myself for longer runs in the heat.  Well, this was it.  Time to face the final frontier!  We had the final stretch of about 5 1/2 miles left to go.  I felt pretty good for only a little while and when the next and final uphill stretch started at mile 25.7 I BONKED!  I couldn't run, and my walking had slowed way down.  I kept getting cramps and I would have to stop and let it pass and take slow deep breaths.  This little stretch of uphill lasted for 1.6 miles but as far as I was concerned it felt like 10 miles!  Cory suggested I ought to get some more calories in me.  He was even having some stomach issues and forced himself to eat a gu.  He told me to have the camera ready because this may be his first mid-race upchuck.  The heat was really taking a toll on our bodies and we were just ready to get this race done.  Eating a gu was the last thing I wanted to do but I realized that at the last aid station I had only drank 3 cups of coke and a salt tab.  I had forgotten to eat any food!  That is so not like me.  Mark even told me later that he noticed I didn't eat anything and wondered why? It must have been the heat.  So I forced one down and about 10-15 minutes later I felt a little better.  The last climb was over and it was time to start heading down hill.    
I love down hills.  I feel like sometimes I just can put it on cruise control and keep going all day.  Here we are crossing a little bridge about mile 30.  We were literally so close! I am just so tired and hot, and Cory is looking like an eager beaver ready for another 50 miles.  We got to the end and started running in, only to have them tell us we missed a turn and needed to come in another way.  I looked at Cory and thought "seriously? we have to go back?".  I didn't say it but I think he knew what I was thinking.  It was my fault though because I knew where that parking lot was and I headed straight there like a horse heading to water.  The yellow caution tape had been pulled away at the last intersection and we didn't see it.  Shoot!!  Well, we weren't going to come this far and not finish the correct way.  We headed back across the road and under the bridge and came in the right way to the finish line. It probably only added a little over a quarter mile to our distance.  But that's quite a bit when you are so ready to be done.
 I finished my first ultra marathon trail race 50K (31.10 miles) in 9:46:17 with the very awesome Cory Reese as my pacer and friend.
Now it was Cory's turn to be feeling pretty lousy.  He may or may not have thrown up.  He couldn't stomach any after race treats but I could.  I had some luscious watermelon wedges and then I ran through a sprinkler.  Actually, I didn't run through it, I stood in it for a good long while and let the salt and sweat wash off of me and to cool my body temperature down.  It was an awesome thing to have set up at the finish line of a race.

After visiting with a number of people hanging out at the finish line I thanked Cory for his help today.  I just kept wondering how I would have handled doing this all alone?  It would have been boring, lonely and even a little scary.  Even though we didn't do a ton of talking out there on the course it was just nice to know there was somebody there in case anything did happen.  For that I will be forever grateful. 
The race director handed me this hat at the end and said I won it.  Cool!  Too bad I didn't have it at the start of the race.  That would have been even cooler.  The medals are pretty sweet, a big heavy chunk of medal with Johnny Runner welded out of it. And a pink shirt.  It's the first pink shirt I've ever gotten from a race.  I like it a lot. 

This was a superb race and one I wouldn't mind doing again next year if only they take out the 2.8 mile climb up Widowmaker mountain! The volunteers were super friendly.  The trail was marked so perfectly.  There were pink and green ribbons everywhere.  I'm just glad I didn't have to go retrieve them all when it came time to clean up the course.  I think if a person were to get lost on this trail then they were probably snoozing while running.  The race directors even told us at the beginning that the trail was over marked, and he was right.   It was perfect.
I loved this whole day, even the ending when I bonked.  It helped me learn a valuable lesson about the importance of fueling even when your body doesn't want it.  I also learned that ultra runner's are just average everyday people who enjoy running and love being out there on the trails too.  I learned that leaning on others for support is a good and necessary thing and that this race couldn't be done all alone without aid stations, a supportive hubby and friends.   This whole experience just made me a happy person and I'm so thankful I got to experience every minute of it.  A HUGE THANK YOU again to Cory Reese for your willingness to get me through this.