Sunday, August 24, 2008

Silver Lake 50 Mile Race Report

Two Words: Heat Management

The inaugural Silver Lake 50k/50 mile/Relay was held yesterday on Potowatami Trail in the Pickney Recreation Area and was comprised of 12.5 mile loops for the 50 mile participants and a shorter 6 mile out and back for the 50K participants in addition to that 12.5 mile loops. With temps predicted near 90 and humid, I told myself that I needed to stick to a hydration plan and go out slower than expected if I was going to finish and told Dirrty Girl to expect around a 10 hour finish.

I didn't sleep at all the night before and was up and ready to go by 5 am. I thought I had done a good job packing my gear and cooler since with the loop option i could easy access every few hours but on the way and with it pitch black out i thought I might need a light and of course had forgotten that. A quick stop @ a gas station and $8 later i had a flashlight, but in the end I didn't need it and will just keep it in the drop box from now on.

Arriving @ the course around 6:15 am for a 7 am start, i had to wait until approximately 6:45 am for the race management to show up with race # and with a quick pre race mtg indicating to follow the yellow markers and aid stations are @ 4 mile/9 mile and the start/finish we were off @ 7:05 am.

Lap 1 2:11:36 10:32/M 12.50 - My mind playing tricks on me...

With an air horn start, 20 individuals and 2 relay teams started, and immediately a group scampered on ahead. Within the first 2 miles my shirt was soaked from the heat and already my mind started the proverbial chatter with my body on maybe we should only do the 50k, why are we doing this and it is gonna suck out here today, lets just walk. I maintained my run 9 min/walk 1 min pace throughout the first loop and passing the aid stations (sparsely stocked, like only having jelly and forgetting PB?,) took in what I think turned out to be my lifesaver in Endurolytes every hour. I also faced the reality that with so few participants that I would end up running approximately 99.5% of the race by myself.

Lap 2 2:22:54 11:26/M 25.00 - Cruisin

Starting lap two, I promised myself that when I returned back to the start/finish that I would reward myself with some Advil and a Mountain Dew. It always takes me a few hours to get going and lock myself in and I settled into a fairly good rhythm. Somewhere around this loop i started running 8 min and walking 2, but the important thing I felt was to keep moving forward, keep hydrating and keep popping the endurolytes. Even if I left an aid station with my stomach sloshing a bit, I knew I just had to keep taking in the fluids. The trail provided shade, but did little to stymie the heat, and at times looked like you were running towards a haze.

Lap 3 2:42:09 12:58/M 37.50 - Dirt off your shoulder

As I reached the halfway point, it was damm hot. I reached into the cooler and used a bandanna soaked in ice to try and cool off. Popped a few Advil, grabbed a 20 oz Dew from the cooler and took off knowing that if I stayed too long, I might think about cashing it in. An infusion of caffeine helped perk my energy and somewhere between the start/finish and the first aid station i completed DDMC #8 along with my typical trip and fall. I don't know what it is but at every ultra, i have been running along fine and then BAM, I am on the side of the trail on the ground. I liken it to a wake up call, not one that I really care for and a reminder to keep your eyes on the trail.

My pace really slowed, and I alternated between running 5 min and walking 5 min and if I felt good to running 8 min and walking 2 min, but made sure that every 10 minutes the beeper was going off and I was sipping from my bottle. I was never so happy to see an aid station at the 9 mile mark of the loop as in the 5 mile stretch I had drained my bottle in like 45 minutes. This lap I saw several 50k participants who really looked like they were struggling and were holding their own inner dialogue as to why they were out there. They thought I was nuts and just told them to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving. I had to make it sound believable even if I was really having a go at keeping a good pace.

Lap 4 2:41:21 12:54/M 50.000 - Run it

I reached the 37.5 mile mark at like 7 hr and 13 min and still entertained thoughts of a sub 10 hour finish, although each lap had gotten progressively slower. Grabbed a coke, popped some more Advil and started walking with 50k finisher who was just heading up the trail a bit. Graciously, she took my empty can so that I didn't have to carry it for another 3 or so miles. Promised myself that when I got to the first aid station that I could listen to some music. I actually got to the first aid station a bit ahead of the last lap, donned the shuffle and started groovin. Had to stop and relieve myself a few times during the last couple of miles and even though it looked more like the Fat Tire Amber Ale I had the night before, I was certain this was a good sign that I had been taking in enough fluids throughout the race. It is a cool feeling to know that you are going to finish an ultra and if that had anything to do with me running a wee bit faster last lap than the third then it is what it is. Popped out of the trail with a few minutes to spare before 10 hrs and crossed in 9 hr 58 min/11:58 min average.

Crossing the line, I found out that I had finished 3rd overall and 1st in the mens 39 and under group. Woo Hoo! I actually won a free pair of shoes! Out of the 2o participants to start, 10 finished and talking with one guy who has done ultras all over the country it was hot and he wasn't going to risk it with a slew of fall races. If I didn't have another one scheduled for the year, I might have thought about cashing it in early, but there were some personal demons that during this race I felt I slayed. First, in prep for my first 50 miler last year, I had started a 30 mile training run in some heat only to hit the wall and cash it in. Yesterday, I stuck to my plan, started slow and kept hydrating and finished. Secondly, I DNF'ed my first 50 miler out on Potowatami during Dances With Dirt after getting so lost I was way behind on time and quit. There was no quit today.

A quick dip in the lake, and I drove home as Dirrty Feather awaited me to watch the Men's Olympic Marathon, as Dirrty Girl and Little Dirt Dawg were on their first "real" camp out @ a state park.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My commuting steed



Round Trip Commute Distance: 37 miles

Time: 2 hr 43 min

Got to thinking that even though it seems like I spent a lot of time riding to and from work, a closer inspection might reveal otherwise.

If I were to drive to and from work it is about 60 minutes conservatively, and that is if I do not stop for some java which can add 5 -10 minutes. Now, let's say I want to get a run in either before work or after or both and assume 8 miles total. That is at least 75 - 90 minutes depending on pace and doesnt include getting ready to run and so on. So at the very least with commuting by car and a run, I may use 2hr 20 min to 2 hr and 40 min of which only 50-70% is spent exercising.

If I could only figure out a way to commute more often.

Monday, August 18, 2008

What do you call yourself?

As I was out riding around town to do a few errands today, an employee @ Walgreens asked me a question that got me thinking and chewing on it for the rest of ride. Picking up some photos of Colorado, the photoshop employee looked at me: sweaty, probably stinky, with my camelbak and bike helmet dangling, and said" "Are you a marthoner?" Now this girl didn't look like she could run a mile let alone a 100 yards unless there was a slurpee and $5 pizza waiting for her, but I had failed to notice that I had thrown on a trail marathon shirt and was caught off guard.

My mind was working really hard, and then it came out, "Yeah." No, no no, i thought, aren't I more than that? What if I said I am a ultramarthoner too? Would she even know what that meant? How about I ran a 3 hr 24 min marathon earlier this year and maybe hope to qualify for Boston? Wait, I've got one "Dirt 3 hr 24 min marathoner Dawg, 50 mile participant this weekend? Instead, I handed over my debit card, got the pics and left.

However, as i started rolling towards my next destination, it got me thinking, "What do you call yourself?" When you meet people do you introduce yourself as a: runner,
5ker, 10ker, half marathoner, etc? How do you make that distinction? Is it based on what you are training for and hope to achieve or what you have just done? Today, I had said I was a marthoner, this weekend an ultrarunner, and in a few weeks a 5ker as I push dirrty feather. Some say the difference between a runner and a jogger is an entry blank or 10 min per mile and under.

Lately, I have been thinking it has more to do with a lifestyle. A rambling from Running into the Sun about a guy who ran like 5 miles and then the Boston marathon as a bandit had her all in a tither as she describes the training schedule she is deeply committed to that will produce a likelihood of great success for her come October. That is why I can with all good faith call myself and Running into the Sun, a runner. A concscious, purposeful decision to lead a lifestyle that will allow us to see the Earth as quickly or slowly over roads and trails with ease. What do you call yourself?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

2 mile challenge

Several people either on my way home or once I got home from Colorado, sent me messages wondering to what depths my post trip depression had risen to. I too had thought about the impending return to pancake flat Michigan, the fact that I couldn't run/hike in the mountains, and etc, but it also gave me time for reflection. A friend of mine said every time he went to the mountains or on an epic trip it changed him. I am inclined to agree because while in Colorado, both Dirrty Girl and I talked of how we should be "greener" as it seemed to be more integrated into the culture we saw in Colorado and the type of lifestyle we want to model for our children. Henceforth, the 2 mile challenge.


Clif Bar is promoting the 2 mile challenge on the premise that 40% of urban travel in the US is less than 2 miles per trip. Why not hop on your bike for some (or all) of those short jaunts about town, and save the atmosphere the hassle of dealing with your carbon emissions -- there's already too much to go around. Furthermore, America owns close to the most bicycles per capita, but is close to the bottom of the list when it comes to using them.


Seems pretty simple and something doable, since we live close to downtown Royal Oak, and many of our trips this summer have been by foot or bike. This week however, we have made a much more conscious effort to use our bikes.

Places ridden this week:

1. To local track for dirrty girl to get in some 1/2 marathon prep. little dirt dawg and dirrty feather ran a little and played on the infield. Note: bring soccer ball next time

2. Grocery shopping..only 2 bags worth will fit in Doodlebug with kids

3. Beauty treatment: eyebrow and laser...not me

4. Presidential election volunteer gig....dirrty girl

5. Kickball tournament.... sadly Double Duece bowed out after a valiant effort

6. Obligatory green cruise during the Dream Cruise

When all is said and done for the week, approximately 38 miles covered bi-pedal and just over 3 hours not stuck in a car nor emitting harmful poisons into the air. May not be much, but it is a start.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A ramble through the woods....



The Silver Lake 50-50 seems like a nice way to cap off the summer before I have to actually head back to the "real world" and job as a school administrator. Scheduled for August 23rd, I entered the 50 miler and figure that with my time in the mountains and multiple marathons this year that I should be able finish. Not predicting a time, just want to enjoy my time out there. Anyone else??

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Camp Dawg

Inspired by our recent trip out west, dirrty girl wanted to camp out with little dirt dawg in the vast wilderness of our backyard in hopes that he would want to move onto a state park before the end of the summer. After a quick lesson on how to set the tent up and supplying themselves with sleeping bags and books, the two settled in and not a peep was heard all night. Upon entering the mess hall, aka the kitchen, in the morning, little dirt dawg claimed a rousing success and looks forward to a "real" night in the wild.

Monday, August 11, 2008

RMNP vs. Montrail Hardrock

Finally home, and time to take stock of the damage that RMNP (Rocky Mountain National Park) inflicted on my Montrail Hardrocks after only 2 weeks and about 60+ miles on the trails. Looks like they have been through the wringer and 5 times as many miles. Luckily for me though, I purchased them through backcountryoutlet.com, for a fraction of retail price, and managed no toenail loss or twisted ankles.


Friday, August 08, 2008

Time to....

The last elk has been spotted and the last mountain summitted. Time to turn the mother ship around and head home . :(

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Just one more..

Not wanting to think about the impending packing and returning home, I headed out this morning for just one more run/hike.

Departing from the condo, I made my way downtown for some java and a muffin before heading over to the visitor center to ride the hiker shuttle which departs promptly @ 6:30 am. The shuttle drops you of @ a park n ride and another shuttle had me to Bear Lake @ 7:15 am.

Heading from there, I scooted up to Alberta Falls (pictured above) and then down to Glacier Creek Trail to Storm Pass Trail and finally ending @ Lily Lake where Ranger Little Dirt Dawg and Dirrty Girl where waiting to give me a lift home.

Trip Distance: 12.45 miles
Time: 3 hr 15 min

Unfortunately, the real world calls.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Spraque Lake

This beautiful "alpine like" lake boasts views of several mountains and has a level .5 mile path that is perfect for not only pushing a jogger, but climbing rocks and having a picnic with the kids.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Colorado Rockies

Dirrty Girl has this idea to have little dirt dawg go to every MLB ballpark so of course we had to make our way down to Coors Field.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Lily Mountain

Before Buzzkill headed back with his family to the thumb state, a quick hike up a short mountain would be a fitting way to end his vacation.

Distance: 3.4 miles roundtrip
Time: 1 hr 23 min
Start/End Elevation: 8,780 - 9,786 ft
Net Elevation: 1,006 ft

The trail was pretty uneventful for the first .7 miles before the final mile gave way to all of the elevation gain and the last 100 yards or so had you climbing rocks to reach the summit.

Back to the trailhead by 7:15 am. Buzzkill put it best when he said, " I am glad I did not sleep in this morning."

Friday, August 01, 2008

Twin Sisters

With Buzzkill bowing out with GI distress, I was already up and rearing to go for an early morning scramble.

Distance: 7.2 miles
Time: 2 hr 8 min
Start/ End Elevation: 9,040 - 11,413 ft
Elevation Gain: 2,477 ft

Getting to the trailhead and started early is the key if you want to have a lot of time to yourself with minimal human contact. The reward for today was watching the sun rise up over the mountain. Sweet.