Friday, June 29, 2012

Training, I2P Updates, Eat and Run Review, Salomon Pack Review, and More!


The last few weeks of training have been going great, I have an awesome schedule thanks to Ray Zahab and have also been going to a self myofascial release class.  My running schedule has been building up in intensity and miles slowly but surely, just the way it should be. All my pieces and parts are feeling fabulous and I'm getting more excited every day!  The self myofascial release class is great, and I have learned a few handy tips.  All of a sudden I'm finding myself more flexible than I have ever been at any point in my life.  For the first time ever (EVER!!!) I can put my palms on the floor when stretching my hammies.  VICTORY!!!  
Before going to class due to many years of running and not stretching,etc I felt a bit like this:

And NOW I feel like this:



The youth ambassadors for Expedition Africa 2012 have been announced!  Congrats to all the youth who will make the extraordinary journey with the Impossible2Possible team!  These youth will travel for free to Africa, and will be running in Botswana!  Throughout their journey they will be relaying tons of information back to classrooms that have signed up for I2P's free program.  Teachers please don't miss out on the chance for your class to particpate in this extraordinary learning adventure!! The expedition details can be found here.  Teachers  - to sign your classroom up you can go to the Impossible2Possible site! Check them out!

Congrats kids! Enjoy your journey!


I've finished reading Scott Jurek's book "Eat and Run".  It's a great read - has some recipes that I'm excited to try and is written well.  It was a bit strange for me reading the book and reading about some people I know (Leah, Caballo, Valmir).  The book wasn't terribly long (translation: working, training, mom, wife can read in a respectable amount of time).  Grab the book and check it out! You won't be dissapointed!    


I've had a few hydration packs in my day - but this one so far is the best.  Previous hydration packs of mine have all been Nathan and Camelbak products.  Those served their purpose, but they weren't fabulous.  I had been watching my hubby run in his Salomon pack for almost a year now, and longingly looked at the way it just seemed to form to his body.  It looked so comfortable, I had to try it. 

When I received the pack I immediately thought it was made just for me, as their was a special little spot just for my chapstick! (FYI, Yes I am a chapstick addict.) From this point forward, it was instant love.....

I hadn't run with a hydration pack since October, so I assumed I would come off the first run having sore shoulders, as that typically happens with my Nathan and Camelbak.  I was relieved to feel no pain at all! The pack, true to what I saw on my hubby, formed so well to my body and was so comfortable. There are many little pockets for extra things, with the larger pockets more torwards the back (If I would change anything about the pack, it would be to move those larger pockets closer to the front of my body).  Due to this even distribution of items due to the locations of the pockets, etc, etc. there is one small problem. Anytime I fell while running on the trail with my Nathan or Camelbak, the one single main compartment would be so full of crap that when I landed it felt like I was landing on a pillow! During some races it was damn near comfy and I wouldn't want to get up. (seriously) With the Salomon pack everything is so well distributed, I don't get that big pillowy cushion :) Hopefully that translates into faster running times since I'll get up faster!


Big shout out this week to my sis, Kelly - who came running with my son and I at Girdled Road.  Her max distance thus far has been 5k, road.  She hit the trails Tuesday with determination and grit, and conquered those hills! CONGRATS SIS!!!


Last Weekend was the traditional Young Eagles free airplane rides operating out of the Geauga County Airport in Middlefield, Ohio.  I've taken my son nearly every year since he was old enough, and he always has a blast!

This year we took my son's friend Christine along for some airplane action - it was her first time on a plane and when she landed she was all smiles. These pilots are quite extraordinary as they use their own money for fuel for these flights, with most of them flying kids around for 4 hours - each group of kids getting 15-20 minute flights.  The lucky kid who gets to sit in the front of the plane gets to fly for a bit as well! Kudos to EAA Chapter 5 -thanks guys for another great flight!


With no volunteering duties we were lucky enough to have LOTS of free time last weekend! On top of the Young Eagles flight we were able to see my friend, Dan Holt, perform at the Beck Cafe in Lakewood.  It was SO unbeilevably nice just sitting outside, relaxing and listening to great music.  Thanks for the invite Dan!  Hopefully we can come out to more of these!

Yesterday was my husband's birthday.  He awoke to a car decorated to the fullest extent!

Party pooper that he is he drove his motorcycle to work.  Booooooo.

Father's Day was spent with my hubby. No car decorating involved. We went out to eat, played some mini golf, and went to the movies. My husband's movie of choice: Men in Black III.  I groaned a little bit on the inside when he told me that's what he wanted to see, but it actually wasn't half bad.  (Not really worth a trip to the movies for though!)

The day before Father's Day we went to Cedar Point, but not before going on a 3 a.m. "Goodbye Run" for Scott McGrew! Scott and his wife Bri moved to Washington (state).  I wish we would have had more time to hang out with them, as they are really great people who we're going to miss.  Scott had paced me at Beast of Burden 100, summer - and I paced him at Oil Creek 100.  My family and I met Bri and Scott at the Cleveland Marathon last year, right before my son was heading out to run his first marathon. 

McGrew family we will miss you! But remember......


Happy Running all!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Updates on well...EVERYTHING!!

So where to begin? There's so much to say it could fill 10 pages, but will try to keep it short. (yeah right)  Life has been much too busy for blogger time but is about to slow down now.  Today I find myself with plenty of time as my son is here at home with 6 of his amigos banging on their musical instruments :)  Pretty much all that's left this summer for me is summer fun with the family and training for the Pine Creek 100.   I guess all I can do is go in order from after the North Coast 24 Hr.

My hubby had another race, called 50's For Yo Momma which was a 50 miler located in Circleville, Ohio.  This time some friends joined in on the ultra fun, too - tackling both the 50k and 50 miler distance.

Some of our buds:

Looks were deceiving in little old Circleville.  Even at the start/aid station (10 loop course) I sat there thinking how flat the course must be. As each runner came in they remarked how hilly it was, unexpected, and the comments didn't stop the whole race.  My husband wasn't feeling as well as he did at Glacier Ridge or running as strong but he kept on.  About half way through the race I noticed his typical "wtf" look he gets and told him to knock that mental shit off.  He did, and prevailed.  Despite a slower time from Glacier Ridge he came out 3rd overall!! 

The finish line:

Getting treated to a massage after the race:

After watching/crewing for my husband at both Glacier Ridge and 50's I realized he needs much more electrolytes than the average Joe.  It's just the way his body works.  Case in point:  As soon as he got off that massage table it was covered in nothing but salt.  LOTS of salt.  (Sorry massage dude!)

My husband decided to run the Cleveland Marathon, because his work paid for his entry, and I was already helping out coaching/crewing for Team Moving Spirit, which helps raise money for the fight to find a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.  Duchenne's is a fatal progressive disorder that causes loss of muscle function and independence.  Check out their website here to learn more about Team moving spirit and the fight to stomp out Duchenne's!

Just a small portion of Team Moving Spirit's team members!

My hubby and I went our separate ways and I knew we'd see each other at some point.  I just didn't realize how fast :) 

The JOA coaches headed out to the course to first cheer on the 10k runners who were rockin' their distance and then headed out to the 1/2 marathon and marathon portion of the course.  Soon after we headed out my husband blew by us, hooting and hollering and looking good.  Not tired in the least, in the heat, a week after his 50 miler! We discussed his electrolytes after Yo Momma and he upped his dosage.  It worked like a charm!! I silently guesstimated his finish time at 3:20, unless he really blew up - but definitely no more than 4 hours.   He looked really REALLY good though and happy, so I was hopeful!  We carried on to cheer on team JOA and help them if needed.  The head honcho and brainchild of Team Moving Spirit Runners was Joe Vasil - who wound up not only helping team JOA runners with supplies/goods (gels, Vaseline, etc) but anyone on the course who needed it.  Many runners were SO thankful!

Joe the great to the rescue!

It was just so hot at CLE and I think it caught many runners off guard a bit, new runners and vets alike. Team JOA crushed the course though! For many of the runners on the team it was their longest distance ever.  People such as my gal pal Peg - who conquered her first 1/2 marathon!

Peg in great spirits for her first 1/2!

The whole set of pics I took for the team can be found here.  Congrats to the whole team, you guys are extraordinary!!

As for my hubby....
When my son and I were done with our Team Moving Spirit duties I looked at the watch and hurried to the finish line.  With a beautiful stroke of luck we got there just in time to see my hubby cross the finish line and hoot and holler for him!  His final time?  A Personal Best at 3 hours and 16 minutes on tired legs!  AMAZING!!


Some time ago my friend Agnes Jung whom I met through the non-profit  Impossible2Possible mentioned her plans on running her first marathon, the Ottawa Marathon!  Excited for her I looked at my schedule, and saw it just happened to fall on Memorial Weekend! Added bonus! I started thinking well maybe the kiddo and I could make it down to cheer her on. (Hubby worked that weekend.  Boooo)  Well we worked it out and made our way down, we HAD to!  This gal pal of mine came down to Beast of Burden 100 - winter to cheer me on in the snow and wind, the VERY LEAST I could do for her was to go someplace that was all warm and sunshiney and cheer her on lol :)

One of my most favorite things in the world is watching someone tackle a new distance, cross the finish line for the first time - doing something they never thought they could do.  Agnes was all smiles! I loved it!  We ran with her for a tiny bit towards the end, and my son seranded her with his new Eukele (did I spell that right? Don't even know....).


We cheered on tons of other runners as well, er um...all the runners and while I was being lazy by not running my arms and hands did kinda hurt at the end from all the clapping (sissy).

Congrats to Agnes on an extraordinary finish and for letting us tag along!! Both my son and I had a great time hanging out with her and her amazing son Robert!

Way to go Agnes!!!

In between visiting and the marathon my son and I visited the Gatineau Trails (I seriously had to get out of the city, heard about these trails and so it was, we headed out for some hiking)


Happy as he looks here, I really thought he would pass out at times on the trail.

Despite my son's death stare every time we saw a new hill it was great getting out of the city.  Ottawa is amazing, fun, and cute but I just wanted to be in the woods :)




Which would you choose?

My son and I stayed in Ottawa until Monday.  Monday morning we woke up and headed to Ray Zahab and his wife Kathy's house. (Super close to those Gatineau trails I learned!!)  Finally I got to meet the awesome guy who has been helping me for so long!! It was great spending time and chatting with them - they are truly amazing people!  So incredibly busy and they just do so much for so many people.  (Example....Ray was in Vancouver until Sunday morning, came home - and headed out to Mexico after we left Monday.  MORE than extraordinarily busy!!)  And as if they don't do enough for me I left rockin a pretty sweet pair of custom Oakley's :)  All I ever had before these sunglasses were the cheapo glasses that you get from WalMart, Target, or yes....I'll go ahead and say it, the GAS STATION.  What an incredible difference! (duh)  Now I actually find that I lock my p.o.s. Nissan just because my shades are sometimes in there.  *love*  Thanks Kathy and thanks Ray for a great time! (and my kick ass shades. wooooo)

Last week I lost a great friend.  More than a great friend.  If you were ever close to an animal, you know what I'm talking about.  Scooby was an extraordinary dog - intelligent, strong, and caring.  Caring in every way. 


Scooby helped me through the worst time of my life.  Not too long ago, about 6 years back.  Something in my life happened that threw me into a deep depression.  All I did basically was cry, stare into space with this crazy ass glared out expression, eat Hot Cheetos and drink Smirnoff ice (seriously).  I would lay around for hours, and hours, and hours.  Despite my dogs very active nature she stayed by my side every day, every minute, every second.  So that meant she laid around for hours, and hours, and hours as well.  She would lay there and stare at me, lay on me, lay next to me...whatever she was there.  And almost all on her own pulled me out of the rotten miserable state I was in.  I did have a great deal of help from the kiddo and my brother, but ultimately I didn't want to place my burdens on my mini (even though I'm sure I probably did to some extent) and my brother who did not live by me.  So, there was Scooby.  We became closer than we had been, and I truly knew what it meant to have a best friend from that point forward.  In more recent, happy times she trotted through the woods with me, through creeks and around logs.  She sniffed horse poop galore and loved every minute of it. 

Her favorite thing?  SNOW!! (Oh yes you know she's mine now!!)  She could spend forever out in the fluffy white snow.  Unfortunately this year we had very little snow, save one 2 foot snowfall.  We spent that day running a loop around our house, at times she would just dive head first into the snow, eating up every single cold snowy minute!

There were only a few times she would get a little mad at me, and I'm not quite sure why......

The Saturday before she died she saw me pull out my "shoes with the three stripes" and she got sooo excited.  I was bummed because it was the furthest distance I had run in awhile and she wasn't quite there yet, so she couldn't come along.  She always got excited when she saw the shoes, but this time she was much more excited that usual. 

I promised to take her out for a jaunt when I got back, and that's what we did.  It would be our last run together.  It was probably the most enjoyable one yet, and she was just SO excited to be outside.  I never would have guessed it would have been the last one.  I went to take her out after my run on Tuesday and something was different.  I should have known then.  She didn't want to run, she just wanted to walk.  It was unusual, but I thought to myself "Hey dogs can get tired too".  Except she never did.  We walked and when it was time to go back inside she didn't want to go - she wanted to walk more.  Eventually of course, we had to go back into the "prison".  Wednesday morning I woke up and she wasn't her peppy self.  But, again not acting anything other than just not "peppy".  My son called me at work and said he thought Scooby was acting strange too - and wouldn't come inside.  As soon as I got home however, she ran inside - and then it happened.  As soon as she got to me her legs gave out from under her and I sat there, holding her, wondering what the hell was happening.  She was not coughing, not throwing up, no diarrhea - she just was very weak.  She didn't even seem in pain, although I wonder now if she was perhaps masking it.  I laid with her as she laid with me all those months, holding her, staring at her - thinking she would get better and wondering what this was.  I decided if she was still acting strange in the morning I would take her right to the vet.  Unfortunately I never got that chance. Somewhere between 12 a.m. and 3 a.m. she passed away.  Seemingly peaceful, still in her blankie.  Love you you forever.  Words can't even describe what you've done for me.  We'll all miss you so much. 

Once again the family and I volunteered at the LH 1/2 Marathon.  This year my son and I had navigational duties (GASP!)  which was a chill job, just making sure no one turned down the wrong way at our given stations.  My hubby had that job as well, and was also course sweeper at the end picking up cones and what not.  It was great seeing a lot of running buds as well as Metropark buds (part of the proceeds benefit the local metropark system, the Lake Metroparks).  It was another hot day and part of the course included a nice hill to go along with the heat.  I wish I would've taken my good camera but only had my cell - however still managed to get a few shots in.  I was surprised to see a runner in I2P gear out there and was thrilled! It was former youth ambassador Bridget!  Love seeing the ambassadors rockin the I2P gear!!

Congrats to all who ran the 1/2 marathon or 5k out there.  And thanks for letting me volunteer....I got a serious suntan! ha.  Seriously though, this should be the last volunteer duty for us for awhile.  We have to really cut back and not spend ALL our time on running stuff, even though we love it there's lots of other stuff to do, too.  We'll still volunteer - but are scaling back.  Hints of volunteer/crew burn out are evident in the following pics and helped push the decision along:
Lake Health Distance Classic:

Cleveland marathon:

50's For Yo Momma:


Nuff said. 

Like I said, definitely won't be stopping volunteer duties altogether, volunteering is really so rewarding, but we are seriously cutting back.  It's been such a busy spring! 

And finally....the end! Thanks to you if ya stuck in there through this long junk. wooooo.
Happy Running!