Thursday, July 24, 2008


So I've definitely been getting lots of theories thrown my way regarding my stomach. Thank you all for taking the time to do this; I REALLY appreciate your help. I'll list as many as I can remember, then address as many as I can.

Starting too fast
pH imbalance with my system
I'm not set-out to run 100s
Run "faster" 100s so I'm not out there as long
Pushing the envelope too hard / redlining
Not fit enough
Electrolyte imbalance

Heat: yeah, it was hot, but I seriously really never felt over-heated. During the last few weeks leading up to the race, the temps around central Oregon were averaging in the 90s and I was running in the afternoon as much as possible. I was hot at 50, but I took my time there too get my stuff together and cool off. As I was leaving the a.s., Mark Gilligan (2nd last year in a smokin' 19:38) handed me the best present ever - an ice cold bottle of water! I intentionally slowed down the next 11 miles so I wouldn't over-heat. Once in the Red House loop, temps cooled, so Nikki and I started pushing just a bit again. It felt good.

Altitude: definitely a possibility. During my 4-day WS training camp weekend, I ran at altitude every day (between 7,000-9,000'). I ran up Black Butte, 6,200', a few times in the weeks leading up to the race. But on race day, I felt good most of the day, but could feel the lack of oxygen. I tried to remedy that by walking whenever my heartrate got too high. I don't wear a h.r. monitor, but after 21 years of running, I know what my threshold is and when I need to back off. So even if it was flat, if my h.r. was too high, I walked until it mellowed out.

Starting too fast: I'm going to say a big no on this one. Why? Well, I was hungry, eating, and my stomach was digesting food all day. If I had been running too fast, I definitely wouldn't have been hungry, I wouldn't have eaten, and if I had eaten, I would have been vomiting food, not bile and acid.

pH imbalance with my system: hm, interesting. Never thought about that. It never even occured to me...until Kami threw it out there. She's pretty sure there's some kind of chemical imbalance going on, since this happens to me way too often. She suggested I contact some kind of medical person who knows about this stuff and have some tests done. Maybe my pH levels are too high, thus, the reason I puke bile and stomach acid, not food. In the mean time, she suggested I take Wheat Grass to help keep my stomach more basic. I mentioned this to Chris, and he said he does it, so it might not hurt. I know Hart does it, too. So, I ventured to Wild Oats last night and purchased Amazing Grass. I've taken 5 servings already and I gotta say, its bark (smell) is definitely worse than its bite (taste). I'm going to stick with it for a while to see what happens. And, I'm going to contact someone who may know a bit more and can run some tests on me (tests probably mean needles, which I absolutely HATE, but I hate more not knowing what's up).

I'm not set-out to run 100s: possibly. Even though I was sure of that at 3 a.m. on Sunday, and have been right after all of my 100s (both finishes and 4 dnf's), the further I get from each race, the less I'm convinced of it.

Run "faster" 100s so I'm not out there as long: I may give this a try. Rocky, Vermont, Javelina, Lean Horse, Heartland, all possibilities. I'm not too stoked about the 8 laps at Umstead.

Pushing the envelope too hard / redlining: I never was redlining. Like I noted earlier, whenever I was reaching my threshold, I would stop running and walk until my h.r. dropped to a reasonable level. I've been running long enough to know when I'm redlining. I wasn't redlining at TRT.

Not fit enough: definitely not. If you followed my blog leading up to this, you read that I trained very hard for this. I went through stages of beating up my body, then resting to let it recover and get stronger. Only two days after the race, my body felt like it had only run a moderate 50k. I think the stiffest I got was from the drive home on Sunday. My legs weren't/aren't trashed at all.

Electrolyte imbalance: that probably has something to do with it. Except the first hour when it was cool, I drank a bottle of nuun, a bottle of water, and took and s-cap every hour. Without fail. Still, my shirt was definitely crusty when I changed at 76. And if you can't tell, my legs were swollen. But I look happy and chipper; and even better, I FELT happy and chipper. (I stole this picture from Matt's write-up.)

Anyway, that' s all I have for now on theories.

Yesterday, Sascha and I decided to head up in the mountains for a 14 mile hug. Huh, you say? Well, a hug is a combination of Hike/rUn/joG. Pretty cool, eh! I made that up myself. Being at Chambers Lake, right at the base of the Middle Sisters, was pretty awesome. Then today I decided to make it 2-for-2 in hitting the wilderness on consecutive days. I ran 3 1/2 miles up the McKenzie Highway to my favorite short trail in central Oregon: Black Crater. Four sweet uphill singletrack miles with about 2,500' vertical, pretty much all runnable. It was awesome! Coming down was easy-schmeasy; my legs weren't sore at all, and I even ran a couple 6:15s once I hit the pavement again.

Crater Lake Marathon is in only 2 weeks. It's gonna be fun!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


...second time's not a charm. DNF, mile 85, 17 hours.

I went back this year for two reasons: because WS got cancelled, and to redeem myself from some unfinished business last year.

It started great (don't they all?)! I was chilling out and running relaxed behind Ian, Nikki, Bev, and Jenn, while Jon, Erik, and Mike were a bit up the trail. Yes, I was in very good, and experienced, company.

I actually ended up running most of the 85 miles with Nikki. I don't think we were ever more than 5 minutes apart, and usually we were together. See, this was good for me. I'm going to put it out there and say that Nikki is currently the best female trail 100 mile runner in the world. So I figured I could learn a lot by sticking with her. And I did. I learned to walk way more uphills than normal, and that you don't have to pound the downs. Nikki's a great downhiller, but because she's efficient going down, not because she blasts them. These two points helped me get to 50 miles a full 15 minutes faster than last year, in hotter weather (it was 100 degrees there!), but feeling much, much fresher.

We intentionally slowed down the next 11 miles to Tunnel Creek. As we descended into the Red House loop, the weather cooled a bit and we were in more shade. Nikki and I worked really well together going through the Taste of Hell the second (the first time, too), and came out feeling strong. The sun was cooling even more now, so we ran well for the next 9 miles to Mt. Rose, taking only about 15 minutes longer to get there than in the morning.

I was greeted by Jenn, Thomas, Valerie, and other crews. It was cool to be rocking along with Nikki, feeling great, and being cheered by everyone at Mt. Rose. I left slightly ahead of Nikki, but knew she would catch up. As I left, Jenn asked if I wanted a pacer. Heck yeah! I didn't know who it was going to be, but I just told her to have them catch me. A couple miles later, I heard Jenn's giggly little voice behind me. I was really happy she decided to join me (she had earlier dropped at 50 due to altitude).

We were cruising along for a few miles just ahead of Nikki and Howard (her pacer) when they decided to pass and take the lead for a bit. No worries...Nikki and I both knew this is what we had been doing all day and it had been working well.

Right about 9 p.m., when it was getting dark, near the Diamond Peak water drop, I started to feel a bit off. So I slowed for a bit, then started walking for a while. Jenn commented that if I wanted to stay ahead of Ian, I really should be running the downs. Then came the puke, pretty much in the form of bile and acid...mmm. Okay, no big deal. I had been running great all day, so one puke at mile 81 was pretty good. I felt a little better, drank some water, took a gel and s-cap, and slowly started running again. Five minutes went by and the calories and water came back up. More water and nuun and another gel. Five minutes, same result. This continued for a couple of miles until I was so exhausted that I had to sit down. Soon, another runner came from the other way and said the a.s. was only 8 minutes away. So I dragged my butt off the rock and stumbled down to the Tunnel Creek aid station.

I told Jenn I was going to hang out there as long as I needed to get my stomach straight. I was going to finish this thing! I slowly drank soup and water. Within 30-60 seconds, it came back up. I tried again, same result. Sprite, coke, saltines, food...same result. Each time I tried something in my stomach, it was good for a minute or so, then not-so-much. There was a truck leaving with drops about an hour after I got there. I declined getting on, knowing I could still pull myself together. Well, after five hours of hanging out at the a.s., drinking, eating, puking, repeat...I looked at Jenn and we knew what the decision was. I had nothing in me and we knew there was no way I was going to make it up the two big climbs ahead. A truck was ready to leave, so Jenn helped me up, then was literally my cruch as I barely dragged my completely depleted self to the truck. I had absolutely no energy. Jenn even had to almost lift me into the truck. Yes, I was pathetic.

After a gnarly drive out on a super technical jeep road, the truck-load full of drops made it back to the start/finish area at Spooner Lake just before 4 a.m. It totally sucked to get back there in a truck. Obviously, we all had plans of running there.

One the drive back to Thomas' condo in Incline Village, as I watched the full moon shine brightly and beautifully over Lake Tahoe, I listened to messages and read texts from some awesome friends who were giving me lots of rah-rahs during the day and night. Yes, listening to those made me happy that I have so many good friends who were thinking of me, knowing I was going to rock this 100. Thank you.

I would really like to say a big thank you to Jenn. She really proved to me that she's not just a fast little punk:)! Just the fact that she volunteered to pace me after dropping from the 50 was awesome, but the compassion and maturity she showed me while my body was failing me is something I'll never forget. Jenn, you can pace me anytime, and hopefully you'll let me do the same for you.

The weekend ended with a Dark Knight viewing in Carson City with Team Ashland, then Jenn and I finally opened Tonya's sweet goodie bag, before the long drive home.

Some day I'll figure out this stomach thing.

Huge congrats to first time 100 finishers: Matt Nahorniak, Todd Temple, Scott Leonard, and Gretchen Brugman.


Saturday, July 12, 2008


Skaggs at Hardrock...WOW! 23:23:30.

Enough said.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

WS-turned-Training Camp Weekend Recap

Since WS was cancelled, some friends and I, all of whom were supposed to be at WS either racing, crewing, or pacing, did a sweet little impromptu training camp.

Thursday, June 26: Kami, Prudence, and I ran the Paulina Peak / Newberry Crater 39 mile loop. This was only my second time doing the whole thing, and it is sweet! We had a nice 9 mile uphill warmup to the Crater, then gained a lot of vertical in a short time, and lost the trail on lots of snow, going up to Paulina Peak. The views from the top are awesome! As we continued around the loop, I was an idiot and didn't take care of myself - who really needs to take s-caps or eat much on a 39 miler? So the girls definitely put the hurt on me, but were nice enough to occasionally wait. Of course I puked a few times out there, too. My saving grace was the Pepsi and chips with 9 miles to go. I got a sweet sugar rush and used that to my advantage, running as fast as I could for as long as possible before the inevitable crash came. And come it did, with about 3 miles to go I was once again jogging. But I still finished a long, fun day in the mountains with two super nice, and super fast, girls.

Friday, June 27: Prudence, Susannah, and I ran the 27 mile Ochocos Marathon (perhaps you remember mine and Sascha's adventure there in early May). We had absolutely zero snow to contend with, to go along with 20 great singletrack miles and 7 kinda painful paved miles. The initial climb up Round Mountain was good for all of us, then Prudence cranked the semi-technical singletrack going down. Next came the pounding of the pavement, but at the bottom was a great creek for soaking in before the long climb up Lookout Mtn. Prudence's toes got hammered at Paulina on Thursday, and all of the downhill so far from Round Mtn. weren't helping. So she unfortunately had to turn back on the climb up Lookout and wait by the creek (her toes were bad!). Once on top of Lookout, it was down a few more miles back to the car. Waiting for us there were Tonya, Chris, and Darla, who would be joining us for the weekend in the Strawberry Wilderness Area.

But before we got to the Strawberries, we picked up Prudence, soaked and cleaned off in the creek, then had an adventurous drive on a long and pretty gravel road to Mitchell. Upon arriving in Mitchell, Susannah immediately got a flat tire in her van. Chris stepped up and changed the tire while the rest of us went in the little cafe and ordered dinner. Their bacon cheeseburger is really good, and the fries were super greasy with lots of salt...mmmm! It was late by now, so we decided to camp in the very cool Mitchell City Park with a whole lot of Harley dudes and chicks. Despite the loud music that lasted pretty late, they were cool.

Saturday, June 28: I had planned on a 3:30 wake-up call for Susannah, Prudence, and me (to mimic our WS wake-up), but the late night music shot that idea. We eventually all got up and had a good breakfast at the little cafe, said hi to Henry the black bear (if you ever go to Mitchell, you must do this), then continued on to the Strawberries.

We pulled into the Strawberry Campground around noon, found a nice campsite, set up camp, then pulled out a map to decide where to run. Prudence decided to take the day off to give her feet a break, so she hiked the 1.5 miles up to Strawberry Lake to hangout on the beach with a book for the day. So Tonya, Susannah, Chris, Darla, and I decided on a 13 mile loop up to Strawberry Mountain. Going up was great for a while, until we hit the snow. We hopelessly lost the trail, but decided to keep on plugging. We just basically aimed for the peak, going cross country over lots of snow and up a rocky talus slope until we eventually hooked up with the trail again. On top of Strawberry Mtn (9,053'), we had cool views of the Wallowas in northeastern Oregon, and much of the rest of the Strawberry Wilderness Area. It's beautiful. As we headed down, we decided to take a different route back. One problem - that route was also buried under snow on the upper, north-facing parts. So we used our trail finding skills of looking for the notches cut-out of trees until we found the trail (this was a great learning experience for Darla and Tonya!). Once back on trail, we had a long, sweet, technical ride through an old burn back down to the trailhead. It was fun. We got spit out on a gravel road about 1 1/4 miles below camp. Hm, we could either curse it and jog slowly up, or we could hammer. I chose option 2 and threw the bone out for Susannah and Chris. They both bit. I won't say who topped out first, but I will say it was a cool way to end a fun afternoon on the trails.

Back at camp, we found out that the flies at Strawberry Lake had different plans for Prudence. And her badly blistered feet and toes weren't getting any better. So with a big 40 mile pacing duty for Betsy Nye at Hardrock in two weeks, Prudence reluctantly decided to head back to the big city (Bend) for the rest of the weekend.

The other five of us feasted on a big dinner of spaghetti and lots of other stuff we all had and just threw in. Tonya, however, produced the food-hit of the weekend when she pulled out her Deluxe S'mores stuff - marshmellows, graham crackers, and Reese's peanut butter cups! Oh baby, I was excited!!

Sunday, June 29: Chris and I had both looked at the map to scout out a 20ish miler and we both found the same loop, so it was an easy choice on what to run. Today's group was the same as yesterday's: Susannah, Tonya, Darla, Chris, and me, and we finally got an early start, at 10:10! After a nice initial climb that included 1,000' in a mile, we got on some singletrack that just very rarely gets used. The trail was overgrown and little bushes were even starting to grow on the trail itself. It was cool. After climbing over a ridge, we got into a burn area. We went in and out of the burn a couple times until we dropped into a valley where we were in a big burn again. We immediately lost the trail and spent almost 1/2 hour finding it. Those burned trees do a good job of hiding the trail. We then kept losing the trail every so often as we would hit another big burned area. Eventually, we got out of the burn and into the snow, which, of course, meant more lost trail. Looking up to the sky wasn't good at this point either - a storm was brewing. We consulted the map, figured where we were and where we wanted to go, saw the trail again across a mostly snow-covered valley, and headed cross country for the trail. We weren't back on the trail long before more snow covered it again. With feet already soaked, we decided to just follow a creek that paralled the trail down to where the trail popped out again. We eventually found bare ground for good and began racing the storm down the mountain. With 2 fast downhill miles to go, Chris and I decided to race each other. I took the initial lead and made it difficult for him to go around (nice, wide elbows), but I swear he must have untied my shoe because I soon noticed my lace flopping around. Crap! I stopped to tie as Chris flew around me and on down to the trailhead. The jerk could have at least waited for me.

We all had a nice soak in the creek at the finish, chowed down some wraps, then decided a visit to the John Day DQ was in order. Oh baby, after a weekend of 100 tough miles, a big, fat Peanut Buster Parfait is good eatin'!

On the way home Tonya helped me figure out some of the features on my cell phone. For those of you that don't know, this is my first trip into the world of cell phones. I finally decided to ditch my land-line and go all cell. Yes, it was a big step for me. Anyway, it was fun playing with all of the functions, although I found out there's no games on it (I was really hoping for Tetris).

Thanks to Prudence, Kami, Susannah, Tonya, Darla, and Chris for hanging out with me over the weekend. I won't lie, it wasn't the race I was hoping for, but it sure was fun running lots in some of Oregon's beautiful mountains with you all. Thanks for a super-fun weekend, and for helping me stay in shape for the Tahoe Rim Trail 100!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Quick update

Well, with the cancellation of Western States, some rd's of some of the others 100s out there really stepped up and opened up some more spots. I was fortunate enough to get one of the 30 extra spots in the Tahoe Rim Trail 100! I would like to say a huge thank you to David Cotter for really going the extra mile. I'm excited to get back to Tahoe (my second favorite place to run, Tetons being #1) to redeem myself after last year's debacle. I'll also be rooting for Thomas to get the course record he really wants in the 50 miler.

I haven't been on the track since before Boston, but a 34:48 10k at the Todd Beamer Memorial Independence Day Run in Madras tells me I'm still in shape. I'm excited for Tahoe!