Monday, September 28, 2009

The Recovery. Or um, not.

Before the YUTC I was saying that after it was over I would take 1 or 2 weeks off from running. It didn't quite work out that way! I took a whopping 2 days off and couldn't stand it! I took Sunday and Monday off, ran 4.5 miles on both Tuesday and Wednesday, 7 miles Thursday, 8 miles Friday, and 20 miles on Saturday. (All treadmill miles) The 20 miles came after I made the decision to run another 50k, and it's coming soon. I still need to organize my running schedule a little more, since there's a couple smaller races coming up that I always run this time of year, and plan on running again this year. The Autumn Leaves 5 miler, and the City of Painesville 5k. I also need to somehow work around another trip to the Laurel Highlands, we will be going to see some awesome fall colors down there in a couple weeks! All this amounts to, most likely, is more treadmill miles than I want. I'm not happy about that, but life happens, and I don't want to miss it! I am going to try to get as many trail miles as I can. Maybe I can forgo the typical 1 weekend day off, and get some extra trail miles in that way. That will mean zero days of sleeping in, when I already only get 4-5 hours of sleep a night, but you have to sacrifice somewhere I suppose!

Bills Bad Ass 50k

It's free. And you still get stuff. One of the organizers of the race is in the t-shirt business, so therefore we will be provided with shirts! Another one of the organizers is in the restaurant business, so therefore free FOOD! The only downfall of this race is that runners will be making 6 five mile loops. A little mind numbing - but on a positive note, we probably won't get too separated from each other and will be able to have some nice conversations during the run.

Then what?

After the 50k it will be all about speedwork/distance combo until after Boston. Then who knows? I definitely have a 50 miler on my mind, but have to look into it more. This week I plan on buying a parachute (no not for skydiving, but for running so hold the comments). We'll see if it does anything. I imagine it will be a lot of fun if anything. It does raise one question though. If you saw someone running down the street at 3 in the morning with a parachute strapped to their back, what would you think? :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Remembering Dan Mathie

Skydiver Dan Mathie died Saturday, September 19 2009 while making a tandem jump with first time jumper Sierra Thomas. Dan was 30 years old.

Dan Mathie at the CPC - August 16, 2009

It was August 16, 2009. It was Dan's birthday. My family and I arrived at the Cleveland Parachute Center with me quite anxious to make another jump. Dan was there, making his jumps with those lucky enough to be able to jump with him. Dan's mother was there. Skydiving legend Bob Sinclair was there. It was a beautiful, perfect day - fitting for a 30th birthday. After a short training class led by Dan, I was ready. He got me my gear, and we suited up. Then waited. We got held up a bit, which despite my being so hot in my gear - I felt lucky. We all stood talking for a long time. Bob, Dan, and his mother. It all felt so comfortable. They were all so easy going, great people to have a conversation with. We stood chatting some more outside of the plane as the plane received all the fuel it needed. Then, it was finally time to go. I told him "You have one hell of a job Dan!" He smiled and stated that he couldn't really call this a job. He also had another job as a bricklayer. The pilot, Dan and I, and a CPC employee who was just along for the plane ride all piled into the plane and we were finally off.

It's hard to have a conversation on a plane that is so loud, but we exchanged a few words up there. At one point he saw me smiling, big goofy grin as I looked out of the window and grabbed my foot, shook it and smiled. I can't believe I wasn't nervous! No worries! This was the first time jumping that I did not feel nervous. Not one bit. I knew that jumping with him, I would be OK. It felt totally safe, totally comfortable, and just totally natural. Somehow he just made everything seem OK. Strange to say when you're jumping out of an airplane, but that was just how he was.

After about 15-20 minutes it was time to jump! We got ready, and away we went! Falling
through the air I was still feeling totally at peace
and it was completely amazing thanks to Dan. I couldn't believe it. There was no other skydive quite like this one. Falling through the sky with oddly, no fear - but that is how Dan made it. The chute opened, and there we hung. We talked (again, not easy) for a bit and he pointed some things out to me. I was bummed it was almost over. For once I had an incredible feeling that I just wanted to do this all of the time. This was it. I HAD to! Enough of this once a year B.S.!

We landed and got situated, got the gear off that we needed to. Gave each other a hug and waved to the family. We completed the video and headed back up to the CPC office after taking a few pics with the family to take the rest of the gear off. I kept on telling him how this jump was so different, so amazing. We hung out for a little while more afterwards, again talking with his mom and Bob - laughing at Bob's stories and just smiling. I could have stayed there forever, but with three little hungry kiddos, it was unfortunately time to leave. We said our goodbyes, one last hug - and then my family and I left. Left with me saying I need to find out how I can do this all the time. "Ya gotta think like a skydiver!" Bob said. "Sell your car! Sell your house! Who needs it!" While that wouldn't work, I did have to figure it all out and I pledged I would only jump with Dan from now on. I needed to find out how I could get some extra cash to do an AFF course with him.

I really couldn't understand my lack of fear then. I do now. After reading people's accounts on their jumps with Dan, I get it now. It was all him. He just put people at ease, and I'm sure he created alot of skydiving addicts because of it! Even my husband, who had said NO WAY was he ever going to jump out of a plane, left that day saying he was going to jump.

The days passed, and I received the video of our jump together a little under 2 weeks ago. I am saddened by Dan's death, and just can't believe that he is gone, but I still have to smile when I watch the video and remember what a wonderful time it was and how lucky I was to be able to jump with such an amazing person. Dan has inspired and touched many lives, has given people a greater appreciation for life and will be missed by many.

Rest in peace

Dan Mathie
August 16 1979 - September 19 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

My first 50k: The YUTC 50k/25k race summary

My first ultra marathon is over and done with, and what an amazing experience. This race is by far the absolute BEST race I have ever run in. The race was so well organized, and registration fee was so low. In my goodie bag: An extremely comfy La Sportiva shirt sporting the YUTC logo, Hammer gel (which I may give a shot, but am extremely uneasy about after my first and last gel experience), Five hour energy drink (YAY!), Ivy block, Dirty girl gaiters, and a copy of Trail Runner magazine (which I am almost done reading!). I was anxious to meet all my new running friends there, and the first person I ran into was Mark Anson. He quickly designated me the new fb administrator of the NERC page. (Ah hem....runners go check it out and become a fan!!!) Upon returning to the parking lot I ran into Daniel Bellinger and chatted with him for a bit. Headed back down the hill, ran into ultra marathon vet Nick Billock, and before the start Brian Musick.

The starting point of the YUTC. BEAUTIFUL!

My dad, son, and husband all arrived with me to see me off. (My brother was supposed to come on his bike, but due to a bit of a mishap at fire training school yesterday did not have the energy. He came later with my mom.) As we got settled we saw Crystal and Chris Basich, my son's old running coaches from the Y last year. Crystal just finished the Leadville 100 in Colorado (AMAZING!) and was volunteering. Chris was running the 50k. Great people who if you ever get a chance to talk to you must! My son was happy to get to see them again. I was happy to see them and hear Crystal's Leadville stories!

The start:

Soon the call came to line up. After taking a few quick puffs of my inhaler and a stealing a few kisses from the family I lined up. Then the start. I was told this was going to happen: Everyone started out all gung ho, running and excited - and then we came to a stand-still all waiting to walk up the steps of the bridge on the outskirts of the park. I laughed, made my way up the steps and then we were really off! It was now or never, and I was pretty pumped. Somehow I got to the point where I was the third female. The first 2 were 25k'ers. I stuck with the second one, Sabine for a very long time. (I have no idea how far ahead the first one was!) We chatted for a good long while, rolled over the "love log" together and laughed with her simply stating "Just wait until you have to do that the third time!" After a few trips (no falls yet) I threw the question out there. "Have you ever fallen while trail running?" She said no, she never had - and I stated that I had not fallen on any trails yet, either. I completely jinxed the both of us. Not too soon after, she fell. I stopped, helped her gather her things and we were on our way. Then it was my turn. She stated I fell "gracefully". It sure didn't feel graceful! Then: BOOM! She fell again. I started to feel pretty bad about saying what I said. It was my fault! But, paybacks as I then fell one more time! GRRRR!!!!! Then Sabine stated "No more of this! No more games, No more laughing, No more falling!" And well, she didn't fall again (but I sure did, not until after she was finished with her 25k though!). We separated after my last fall, but caught up with each other in the bathroom surprisingly with I don't know, maybe 1 1/2 miles to go? (I could be way off on that guesstimate) I walked into the bathroom and jumped when I saw her, I didn't think I would've caught up! We did our thing and she did leave before me. I did see her down at the 25k finish and congratulated her while I was drinking up.

The first thing I drank was some HEED. I have no idea what that is, never heard of it before - but it was not bad. I did think I was getting water when I picked it up, so it kind of shocked me at first. But I did continue drinking it at the rest stops the rest of the race. Heed/Water combo is what I stuck to. Along with my energy jelly beans and the power bar that I was carrying with me in my spi belt.

Realization #1:
Carry my own water. I wasted a lot of time at the aid stations. I mean A LOT of time. I just chilled, talked, took my time. It was nice talking to every one - I really enjoyed it, but I did lose a lot of time. So while I do have a Nathan fuel belt - it does not do me well. I need to find one that works and just run with it. Since I loved the 50k and will do more I seriously need to look into this.

I was alone:
After the 25k mark, I was alone for a long time. I was the first female for the 50k at that point (lol which means I started way to fast, and sticking with Sabine for the length of time that I did was probably not smart). I was fearful I would get lost. It was just complete silence for so long. At certain points I had to stop and get my bearings just to make sure I was going in the right direction. The course was well marked, but I am directionally challenged without my mapquest! There were a couple times when some men ran by and I had to ask if I was going the right way. Then more solitude.

A flash of red:
She blew by me looking so, so strong. The woman who would eventually take first place. "WOW" Is all I could simply think. She does not even look the least bit tired. It was amazing. I was just simply in awe of this runner and her red compression leg sleeves! She was Michelle Ellery, from PA and finished in 5 hours and 28 minutes.

Along the way somewhere I fell a third time. I forget where, I forget if anyone was even around but yeah I did it. I started to get ticked off at myself, and in my (once again) solitude some not too nice language would coming spewing from my mouth (good thing I was alone) every time I would trip. SHAPE UP! I thought. Get those legs up! But man were they so tired! The trails on this race were so different from the trails I was training on. Much more technical, way more roots. There is no comparison. Also, some of the hills at this run were so steep. Monkey hills, is what I believed Mr. Billock called them. The first go around they weren't so bad, but the second and third time around, WOOO WEEEE! MY GOD! You practically crawled up them! It's such an amazing feeling when you got to the top though. A feeling of accomplishment. Forget the rest of the race - you just conquered that hill! And there was the "Love log" Sabine had joked about earlier. Yeah I just rolled over that thing. Nothing more I could do except just....roll. Roll and keep on runnin'.

The final miles:
My husband, son, mother, father, and brother all decided to head towards the covered bridge rest stop and meet me there while I chugged on water. This was a pretty cool surprise! I probably spent the greatest length of time at this particular stop. I was pumped they were there, and pretty much chilled for a couple minutes, taking my good old time.

Covered bridge rest stop

After a few minutes of fartin' around I saw her out of the corner of my eye. UH OH! I thought! She was looking strong and fast, and I started running. While I was running - I heard someone mention she was carrying her water with her. DANG IT! I have since heard that because of that - of course, she did not stop. I kept on truckin'. She soon caught up with me. We talked for awhile. Kim Boner was her name, and she landed the #2 spot with a time of 5 hours 44 minutes and 15 seconds. She had done 7 ultras this year. (This is the number I believe she said as I was struggling to keep up with her!) And then it happened. Fall #4. Kim turned around, stopped and asked if I was alright. I said yes, and thought to myself: Just go. Just keep on running. This one's gonna take me awhile. She kept going, and I shakingly got up. That one hurt. Every time I fell during this race, my whole body cramped up, but this one was particularly bad. Shaking, I pushed on. Started running again. It was not until I crossed a certain point on the road, going from one trail to another did I perk up. I ran into the family driving back to the finish! My dad was beeping, and my brother had his siren on his car going. I could not believe they were there! It was the funniest thing to me - especially the siren and my husband yelling, woo woo!!!! I continued on with a big goofy grin on my face.

The finish:
I could here the crowd from a certain point in the trail. I was almost done! I saw the lake and couldn't believe it! The first voice I heard was Crystal cheering for me, and then I saw the family. Running through the finish line I was pumped! My time, 5 hours 46 minutes and 23 seconds. Third place female! I was quickly handed my trophy - which is my favorite one. It is a log with YUTC on it, says third place female. This trophy is for me! The typical medals and trophies with little runner people on them are so boring. This one is the coolest!

Me with my husband, son, and my third place trophy!

Kim came up to me and congratulated me, asked me how I was after that fall. Took some pictures, and talked with some runners and volunteers. Brian had said something like "Beer cures everything" but I could barely eat at that point! I think I would've got sick! I had one piece of pizza and just couldn't have anything else. There was good food there too! Darn it! However later in the day while my husband, son, and dad were golfing I did place a call to have them pick me up some Bailey's on the way home!

Ok all. My training is done. My race is over. This is the last chance to donate to UNICEF, and I am asking for donations no matter how big. Every dollar helps. Whether it is one dollar or a hundred, every one counts - so please take the time to donate today. Donating is easy, just click on the link at the side of this page. I want to thank everyone who has donated this far. I appreciate it so much, and I am sure the kids that you are helping appreciate it as well! Thank you everyone for your continued support! Everyone has been amazing throughout this whole experience, and I am so glad that I did it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Running my first Ultra-marathon for UNICEF in 2 MORE DAYS! Please donate!

I can't believe that it's almost here. Saturday is approaching so fast. I am nervous, excited, happy, and a bit sad that it will all be over soon. I can't wait to meet everyone! My bags are packed already. My brother called to tell me he'd be riding around the park on his bike during the race, which I think is the greatest! I will be needing him to give me a good kick in the butt now and then! My mom, dad, husband, and son will be there as well. One big happy support group :)

As most of you know, I am running this race & trying drum up some donations for UNICEF. I received two more donations today, from Mary Pietrocini and Joe Vasil of Ohio. THANKS MARY! THANKS JOE! And thank you to everyone who has donated so far. For those of you that haven't (lol maybe you're just waiting too see if I finish) here's a few words on UNICEF and what they do:

UNICEF: when first created the acronynm stood for the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. Now it is simply the United Nation's Childrens Fund.

UNICEF works in over 1500 countries to provide children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more.

  • Despite extraordinary progress, 24,000 children still die each day from preventable causes.
  • In Afghanistan, where under Taliban rule women and girls were forbidden to attend school, UNICEF is setting up literacy centers so that everyone can get the education they deserve.
  • UNICEF's School-in-a-Box kit, a portable classroom developed by UNICEF after the Rwandan genocide, allows children almost anywhere to attend class.
  • UNICEF distributes oral rehydration salts wherever children are suffering from illness and deadly dehydration caused by unsafe water.
  • In areas like Sudan, where the environment is hostile and poverty extreme, UNICEF distributes fortified foods like Plumpy'nut, a high-protein, high-calorie peanut spread. They provide children with vitamin A to keep them from going blind, and we give folic acid to pregnant women.

These are just a few of the many things this great organization does. Please take the time to donate by clicking on the link at the left hand side at this page. Online donations are easy, fast, and convenient. A few seconds can make a world of difference in a young person's life. Thanks so much!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ultramarathon training week(s) in review: Weeks 15 and 16

Ok all, so I slacked off on the blog for a couple weeks, due to be so busy - but I'll do my best to try and remember everything. Even now, I'm typing this at lunch because I know I won't have time later. It will be nice when things chill out for a bit. (Whenever that may be!)

It's been kind of a bummer the last couple weeks. Week 15 was spent feeling tired the whole time due to the fact that I did not allow a rest day for myself, worked some days around because of ziplining @ Hocking Hills. I just haaaad to get every mile in. Week 16 I started feeling a bit under the weather. The cold has followed me into this final week of training, and I'm pretty ticked off about that. It would've been great to end training feeling good instead of lousy, but Murphy's Law I guess.

***Please donate to UNICEF!!!! There's only a few more days, and I haven't even reached 50% of my goal yet :(
Click on the link at the side of this page. THANK YOU!!!!

Here's my breakdown:
(lunchtime runs were not added since I can't recall which days I did/didn't run them. Eh, they're extra anyway!)

Week 16:

Monday: 10 miles a.m. treadmill, sit ups, weights

Tuesday: 9 miles a.m. treadmill, sit ups, weights

Wednesday: 8 miles a.m. treadmill, sit ups, weights

Thursday: 9 miles a.m. treadmill, sit ups, weights

Friday: 25 miles, trail - a poor time due to no rest day after last week's 24 miler. It was somewhere around the 4 hour and 30 minute mark. I forget the exact time.

Saturday: 9 miles a.m. treadmill

Sunday: 12 miles

Week 17:

Monday: 8 miles, treadmill @ the hotel - ziplining afterwards!

Tuesday: off

Wednesday: 10 miles, treadmill, a.m., sit ups, weights

Thursday: 7 miles, treadmill a.m., sit ups, weights

Friday: 15 miles, treadmill a.m., sit ups, weights

Saturday: 12 mile "long" run on trails - 1 hour, 52 minutes

Sunday: off