Tuesday, November 24, 2015

18 miles...on a Tuesday?!

Before I get into how we have truly mixed up our running schedule this week, I think it's important to note that on Friday, I celebrated my "closer to 40 than 30"th birthday.  It was actually a fabulous day, filled with awesomeness that made turning 36, not such a horrible thing.  Heather's husband, Doug, volunteered to watch Euan so that I could sleep in and join Heather for a mid-morning trail run. We did 8 miles on the foggy cold trails and it was awesome!
There is truly something magical about running in the fog filled woods.
Then, Heather gave me my "real" birthday present.  When she asked me what I wanted, I told her I just wanted to go for a run...well, apparently she wasn't satisfied with the measly 8 miles we planned and completely outdid herself, with this awesomeness!!!
I seriously almost cried...such a thoughtful and generous gift! I love the fine print.

Then I came home to a lovely sign from Emme

and some super tasty Challa bread from my friend Marci
You better believe that didn't last long.  Yummy!
as well as some other lovely things from my family...including a sweet old bike from my grandma and sister...but that will deserve a post of it's own, so no pictures right now.
Also, Dan brought me some flowers

and we went to dinner and a movie (Spectre, which I thought was great but I'm quite sad to see that Daniel Craig is looking older...don't get me wrong, he still looks great but his time to move on from being James Bond is unfortunately here).  I got quite a few nice messages from friends and family too...it was an all around great day and I felt quite loved.

Anyway, the week went well and we hit all of our mileage, rounding us out at 41 miles for Week 1 of American River 50 training.

So, here we are 2 days into week 2...  The planned schedule for the week, is as follows:
M-6, T-8, W-6, F-8, Sa-18 for a total of 46 miles.

Well, with Thanksgiving and doctor appointments (Heather for her knee...hopefully all goes well there) and traveling, we made a few adjustments, one of the most notable being moving our long run to today.  Doug came to the rescue again (I really lucked out in the friend department).  We took Euan out for 4 miles in the stroller then met up with Doug who took Euan home with him so that we could do the remaining 14 sans stroller and its  grumpy little boy.  It was a pretty uneventful run, we kept a decent pace (9:05 average for the whole 18) and managed to get home in plenty of time for me to get a shower and go over some sentences for my medical terminology oral exam that was at 12:45.  (In case you're wondering, I rocked it, getting 50 out of 50 possible points, which means, assuming I don't totally bomb the next two quizzes and the final, I should be able to easily get an A in the class!!) Anyway, I don't think that I've ever run that far on a weekday morning, so I'm feeling pretty good about it.  I fear that I might need to find some sort of caffeinated beverage however if I'm going to make it through my chemistry class this evening.  And, as I'm sitting here typing this, I'm remembering that I have yet to stretch or roll or do anything in the way of recovery...so I'd better get on that or I might not be able to walk after sitting through 2 hours of chemistry.  :S

So, our revised schedule for week 2 is as follows:
M-6, T-18, W-8, Th-6 and Sa-8  Like I said last post...it's okay to change things up when you need to!

We both decided we'd like to do some running on Thanksgiving morning and Heather will be hitting up the Black Friday sales with her sister so we moved our normal Thursday rest day to Friday.  We're hoping to do 6 miles of trails before my family and I leave town for the weekend.  I have a feeling that come Friday morning, we will be really looking forward to that rest day!

In case I don't get back to this blog before Thursday, have an amazing Thanksgiving break.  Eat a lot of tasty food, enjoy time with family and friends, be kind while shopping and spend some time outside enjoying your surroundings.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

And so it begins...

This week marked the beginning of our training program for American River 50 and since I have a chemistry exam this afternoon that I should be studying for, it seemed like the perfect time to blog about training.  Yes, I know, priorities and procrastination...two of my weaker (or is it stronger...as in I'm great at mismanaging priorities and the best procrastinator out there?!) points.  As much as I tend to put things off until the last possible moment, luckily training isn't one of them.  I may not always have the perfect training plan but one thing I plan never to do is go into a race (especially a long one) unprepared...one cannot procrastinate training!  You might be able to suffer through an ultramarathon with little training, but I can promise you it will be a sufferfest and it will hurt and you'll hate it...even more so than if you trained for it.  Anyway, I'll climb down off my training soap box to actually talk about our plan...

Heather put together the plan for this race.  She drew a little bit off of what we did for the NUT 100K (which I haven't blogged about...yet) and made a nice balance between the 70 miles per week plan for a 50 miler in Relentless Forward Progress (a fantastic book by the way, I highly recommend it) and the Ultra Running Ladies 50 mile plan.  RFP's plan is a bit more mileage than we want, but URL's is a little on the light side so we split the difference, pulling some runs from each plan.

I think I'll try to post each week with the plan for the week and maybe a summary of how the week went.  Unless I wrap that into one post, that is two guaranteed posts a week...which is about a 10000% increase from what I've done as of late.  Ha!  I had planned to write it up on Monday, but did you see the above paragraph about procrastination?  So, here we are on Thursday, but better late than never, a quick overview of the plan itself and also what week 1 has(d) in store:

We have a pretty decent base going of mileage in the low 40s.  Between Hood to Coast and a few weeks ago, we dropped our weekly runs from 5 to 4 but we're back up to running 5 days a week now.  For the most part we will be proceeding with runs on Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri and Saturday.  We always take Sunday off and usually Saturday is a long run, although sometimes we try to get that long run in on Friday so that our back to back Friday/Saturday can actually be running on tired legs like it's supposed to.

This go around, we have 20 weeks of training scheduled and will top out at 66 miles for our max week mileage and have a 3 week taper leading into the race on April 2nd.

Week 1 looks like this:
Mon - 6, Tues - 8, Wed - 6, Fri - 8, Sat - 16 for a total of 44 miles.

That being said, we already made some adjustments.  Heather has double birthdays in her family on Saturday, so we switched this week's long run with last weeks and will only run 13 on Saturday for a weekly total of 41 miles.  The best advice I can ever give about having and following a training plan is to understand that it can and should be adjusted as needed.  If you need to move some runs around or are feeling too tired or hurt or just extra crabby about running, tweak it where you need to.  I think the most important thing, especially with ultra running, however is to get on the trails and get as many back to back longish runs as possible.

So far, I think we're off to a great start.  We've been doing mostly road miles on our shorter runs and will do the large majority of the long runs on the trail.  I'm excited to get to work and start feeling strong on the trails again!

Here's a view from last Saturday's trail miles...outside on the trails is the best place to run!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Well, hello there...

9pm on a random Sunday evening seems like the perfect time to bring this poor blog back to life.  Why not?!

Life has been crazy.  Isn't it for everyone?  We'll play a quick game of catch up and then I'll do my best to be a more regular blogger.  I miss the outlet.  I miss writing.  I also miss reading back over the things I've written.  So maybe, just maybe, this time for real, this comeback will truly happen.

Random bullet points of what's been happening and really whatever comes to mind:

  • We bought a house.  Officially grownups now.  It takes a lot of work.
  • 4/5 of my children are now in school all day. (Jonny started kindergarten in the fall.)
  • I was trying to figure out what I want to do with my life once Euan starts school in 2 years (besides running all day of course) and decided I should go back to school too.
  • I enrolled at a local community college to take a few pre req courses I need in order to apply for the nursing program.
  • I'm a little over halfway through the first term.  
  • I'm taking 11 credits.  Two classes on campus and one online.
  • I like being a student.
  • It's hard being a student and a mom.
  • Sometimes I fail a bit at both.
  • I'm getting better at not procrastinating things.
  • When I procrastinate my school work, then things come up (like having to take Euan to urgent care) and I have to scramble to get my school work done in time.
  • Euan had to have two staples in his head last night.
  • He dove off the piano and ended up bleeding.
  • I wasn't sure if he needed to go in, but all my good pediatric friends were unavailable for consult, so I figured I probably shouldn't mess around with a profusely bleeding head wound (it actually looked worse in person). 
  • Plus, my mom said it'd would be a good idea to have it checked out.
  • One is never too old to ask their mom for help.
  • He's going to be just fine.  Staples were probably a bit excessive, but they didn't offer me the glue at Urgent Care.
  • Running is awesome.
  • We're between training plans at the moment but working towards accomplishing 2015 miles for the year.
  • That is all Heather's doing.
  • I've done a horrible job of keeping track of my miles this year.
  • I've actually been doing a bit of stroller running again.
  • I think it makes me faster.
  • Heather thinks so too.
  • Sometimes she convinces Euan to let her push too.
  • Sometimes he convinces me that he should push himself.
  • Training for American River 50, starts in a week.
  • Haven't registered yet, but will before the price increases at the end of the month.
  • I'm not currently registered for any races.
  • Haven't raced since September (and that was a 5K and really doesn't count) and probably won't again this year.
  • I'm okay with that.
  • I guess I did run a 10K with Emme...but I didn't race it.
  • I should probably blog about that.  She'd like to read it.
  • I got to try out a new SaltStick product during my long run on Saturday.  I really like it. 
  • Look for a review and giveaway soon.  Hooray!
  • My favorite holiday is coming up.
  • Thanksgiving!!!
  • (also my birthday...not the same day...actually my birthday is first, but I don't love it quite as much as Thanksgiving)
  • I think Dan secretly hates birthdays, so sometimes I try to downplay how much I love them.
  • Speaking of Dan, he grew a beard.
  • I kind of dig it.
  • Okay, maybe we aren't grownups.
  • Anyway...Thanksgiving!!! Yay!!! Food!!!!
  • Also, Fall.  
  • Loving Fall and all the colors.
  • This is good.  I've missed my blog.
  • Looking forward to a comeback.
  • Happy Sunday night...Have a fabulous week!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Hood to (Almost) Coast 2015

Nothing like an epic relay adventure to feel the need to try and breathe some life back into this poor old blog...

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to run the 2015 version of the oldest relay in the country, Hood to Coast.  This was my second time participating in this relay, the first time waaaaaaay back in 2011.  (If you have all day to spend reading about my adventures, feel free to click HERE.)  In case you don't know how HTC works, it's 197 miles from Mt. Hood to Seaside and it is split up between 12 runners, 6 in each van.  This year, I was in van 2 and runner #10 "with a twist".  I ran leg 10, leg 22 and instead of leg 34, I switched with our #11 runner and ran leg 35... this gave me a little bit more mileage and our #11 runner a little bit of a mileage break which she welcomed as a somewhat less experienced runner.  Technically, that is against the rules, but we weren't exactly a competitive team so we weren't too concerned about bending the rules a bit.  So, onto the report...

Our team came to be because an old friend of my BRF, Heather, "bought a team" from a group that couldn't do it.  In an attempt to fill the 12 spots, Heather was given carte blanche to fill Van 2.  After a little juggling, and few last minute switches, we ended up with:
L to R: Marissa, Me, Heather, Christi, Chris, Jeff

Heather "Hill-Walking Cry Baby #1", Marissa "Just Along for the Food", Christi "The Tortoise", her husband Chris "The Hare", Jeff (a man we had never met) "Stranger Danger", and me "Hill-Walking Cry Baby #2".  Our team name was Running for Decades (because between the 12 of us our birth dates ranged from 1950-80 (would've been 90's too but we lost our highschoolers to strict cross country coach regulations)).
PC: Christi
We were a pretty slow inexperienced group so we got a nice and early start time of 5:45am.  Luckily, being in Van 2, we didn't have to be at the start and therefore didn't even need to leave Eugene until around 7am to have plenty of time to meet up with and take over for Van 1.  After an uneventful drive up I-5 we pulled into Sandy and found them pretty quickly and it was good that we had time to spare because they were running 30 minutes ahead of schedule.  Pretty soon we were on the clock and running our legs and it was HOT!  It was hard to complain about the heat, however, because we knew going into the night and Saturday, there was nothing but cooler temps, rain and lots of wind in the forecast.

My first leg, #10, was completely along the Springwater Trail in Gresham.  It was roughly 5 1/2miles and relatively flat.  While I was waiting for Heather to come in and hand off to me the clouds rolled in and I was blessed with an overcast run...although a still pretty toasty 81 degrees at 1:30pm. I've been doing a lot of mileage lately with zero speedwork so I wasn't sure what my legs could give me when it came to trying to run fast. I knew that I wanted to try to make them go though. The last time I did HTC I also got to run along the Springwater Trail but it was dark and I was seriously alone for the whole thing.  This was a much different story...there were people everywhere and much to my surprise, people a fair amount slower than me and I just kept on passing them (roadkills) and it felt great!  Before too long, I was into the exchange and handing off to Christi.

Stats: Leg #10, 1:36pm, 5.54 miles, 41:57, roughly 7:35 pace, Roadkills 23!!

After that leg, it was back into the van to cheer on Christi...
She was a good sport waiting at a stoplight while we drove by.
 and then her husband Chris...
They both killed it and then we passed off to Van 1 and headed to a local house for dinner and showers and little naps.  Awesome!!

Naps and resting went too quickly of course and before we knew it we were rushing to meet up with Van 1 and get back to our running.

Although feeling a little sore and groggy, I was exited for my second leg.  I love running in the middle of the night.  There is something kind of magical about it.  Also, my leg had a nice climb to start out for the first mile+ but then was downhill all the way to the exchange.  I loved every second of it!  I wasn't sure if it would really be completely downhill though so I was a bit conservative going up the hill but then I crested it and then I flew.  It was dark and a bit rainy and I was wearing a sparkly skirt and there was a little creek running sporadically along the road and I felt amazing! Well, that isn't entirely true, my quads started protesting a bit early on, but I politely ignored them and pressed forward passing runner after runner (while offering joyful encouragement) on my way to the exchange.  The runners, in return, were pretty jovial, one guy said "nice job man...uh I mean lady" (as I passed him in my sparklyness) and another guy asked what the speed limit was.  It was a lot of fun.  Although, my paces this year were nowhere near the last time I did it, I was still happy to see some numbers starting with 7.
A pretty decent progression run.
Stats: Leg #22, 12:52am, 6.7 miles, 52:25, roughly 7:41 average, Roadkills 27!!

Somewhere between when I stopped running and our last runner started so did the rain and the wind and the thunder and lightning.  By the time we handed back over to Van 1 it was really coming down and we were soaked.  Luckily we were able to call it a night and find some shelter in Tent City:
Although the tents were a little bit leaky and some of our neighbors were extremely loud, Heather, Marissa and I had a great time, camping it up in the middle of a pretty raging thunderstorm.  Poor Van 1 was out there running in it...again, it was good to be in Van 2.  I was pretty hyped up and didn't think I'd be able to get much sleep, but I did manage to doze for a while and it was surprisingly refreshing.

Up until that point, everything had gone pretty smoothly.  Leaving that double exchange, however, proved somewhat difficult.  It took us 30 minutes just to get out of the parking lot!  Then we were racing the clock to meet up with Van 1 who we had no contact with and could only assume were still running ahead of schedule...almost a whole hour at that point.  We would've made it too but as we rounded the last corner for the van exchange, traffic came to a stop and did. not. move.  We sat and sat and sat and sat and finally convinced Jeff that he should hop out and run an extra mile into the exchange zone to take over for the van 1 runner.  Good thing he did... she had to wait 30+ minutes after coming in to hand off to him.  :(

Apparently the hold up was due to the crazy wind and rain.  Some race officials were going van to van to let everyone know that the rest of the race was going to be left up to our discretion and that if we felt conditions were too unsafe to continue, we could pack up and drive the rest of the way to Seaside.  What?!!!! Not to mention the fact that the way they announced it caused a huge delay and made us way late to the exchange but there was no way we were going to quit.  Well, there was a small amount of consideration but ultimately we determined ourselves not to be quitters and opted to press forward.

They were not joking about the wind however. It was coming at us from every direction.  I was amazed at our runners though. Each in turn, they powered through, and around tree debris, and did an awesome job with it.  When it came to my turn, I was just walking into the exchange hoping to hit up the portapotty when I saw Christi coming across the bridge.  I ran to the front of the bathroom line said, "my runner is on the bridge! Can I jump in really fast?!!" Luckily they let me take cuts and I was in and out just in time to hear Christi say, "where is my runner?!".  I said, here I am, handed her my jacket and took off up the hill.

The wind was brutal.  It was constant with huge gusts that made you stumble.  It was so hard to run in it was almost comical.  In fact I may have laughed out loud at one point but it didn't matter because no one could hear me.  Had the wind stopped, I literally would've fallen flat on my face.  I was really glad that we decided to keep going though and finish.  I think we all would've been disappointed had we just driven to the coast.  I didn't really love my last leg.  I'm not a very big fan of running in the wind.  I'm also not a stranger to it, as I spent my first 3 years of high school running in the Columbia Gorge...you just have to kind of lean into it and push forward.  As for the route, it was on a mixture of gravel and paved patches and a large portion of it was just straight albeit gradually uphill.  I don't much care for running on gravel either.  I gave it most everything I had left though and managed to pass other people...a lot of other people.  47 runners to be exact (I didn't count the walkers).  It was like a death march out there.  I ended up averaging 8:40ish and I had to work hard for that.

Stats: Leg #35, 12:50pm, 6.94 miles, 1:00, 8:36 average pace, Roadkills 47! 

I handed off to Chris and then we jumped into the van to meet him and Van 1 at the finish.  We weren't really sure what we were going to find when we got there.  There was rumor that the finish line was closed and that they moved it into the basement of the Shilo Inn.  The only thing we knew for sure was that we were going to finish one way or another.  Here is what we saw when we got to the beach:
It kind of looked like some post apocalyptic world.
Sadly, this is the closest we got to the real finish line.
We didn't have to wait long for Chris and then it was a short jaunt down the boardwalk where Van 1 jumped in to join us as we happily made it across the impromptu finish line.  Our official finish time: 32:51:29.  Not too fast, but just fast enough. ;)

Van 1 had been hanging around for a while and with the finish line festivities mostly non-existant they were quite anxious to be on their way.  We did take an unofficial team picture, but I didn't manage to get a copy...you'll just have to imagine that there was another van involved.

Overall, I had a lot of fun this time around.  Everyone in our van stayed in good spirits and worked hard...I think it was a great group of people.  I would definitely be interested in running it again.

Really, the thing that made the whole weekend worth while, however, was the selfie I managed to snatch with Sasquatch...what more could a girl ask for?!
Oh, and here's what the news people had to say...complete with some nice video evidence of what we experienced.

Monday, May 11, 2015

I try to blog and nothing happens...

I don't know how many blog posts I have started since my last "return".  For whatever reason though, I just can't seem to make it a priority.  Life has been crazy and I'm so far behind, I feel like I have to do some catching up first.  This WILL happen.  I now have 3 50Ks to blog about...hopefully in order and hopefully before my next race.  In the meantime, here is a small glimpse at one of the things that is keeping me busy...
We're buying our first home!!! After 13 1/2 years of marriage and 5 kids, we're finally doing a super huge grownup thing and becoming homeowners.  If all continues to go well, we will be closing next week. It's a little bit scary, but mostly, incredibly exciting.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Hello, my little blog. I miss you...

11:30am on a random Tuesday morning, with tons of other things I should be doing seems like the perfect time to bring this poor neglected blog back to life.  There have been quite a few times over the last 2(!!!!) months that I've thought about blogging but for some reason (procrastination and/or laziness, perhaps) it just hasn't happened.

When I last left off, it was race day eve and I promised to write up a quick report about the Hagg Lake 50K.  Oops.  I guess that it still to come.  Also a write up about the 2014 Oregon Coast 50K...I know, I know, that's waaaaaaaaaay old news.  A nice review and GIVEAWAY!!! will be shortly forthcoming from seriously, one of my favorite products (spoiler alert) as well as a little insight into my current training and racing plans.  Not today though...soon...and I really do mean it this time...soon...like this week soon.

Now, for a quick catch up in life around Casa de Higgins.  It's busy and crazy as per usual.

Emme is in the beginnings of 6th grade track season and seems to be loving it.  She'll have her first meet this Thursday.  I think that she is looking to run the 800 and maybe do a couple field events.  I believe her goal is to work up the courage to do the 1500.

Calvin is taking this spring season of soccer season off...much to his dismay, although it does leave a lot more time for Wii playing.

Leona, on the other hand is playing soccer for the first time.  So far, she has had two practices and it seems like a good way to channel all of her extra energy.

Jonny is counting down the days until kindergarten starts...it could make for a very long summer.  Hopefully he is still so excited when it is finally fall.
Euan is a bully and constantly tormenting his older siblings, especially Jonny.  However, on occasion, he will fall asleep and we remember why it is we love him so much.
As for me, I'm adjusting to a 5 day a week running schedule (instead of 4) with longer week day runs and overall mileage that is higher than I've ever done before.  I've pretty much given up stroller running (maybe I need to change the name of this blog?!) which has made for some pretty early runs to get it all in.  I'm feeling stronger and as soon as I adjust to the earlier mornings without feeling like I need a nap every afternoon, I think it will be a great thing.

Dan is working hard and still continues to support all of my crazy running ideas.  Sometimes he even wakes up before I sneak out the door in the morning to remind me to be careful.

Anyway, that's a start.  Life is calling so I must go make it lunch.  Happy Tuesday!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Muddy trail running...my true valentine.

It's race day eve...it's also Friday the 13th...and technically, it isn't really a race tomorrow...it's a long run as part of our 50 mile training plan that just so happens to be taking place at an event I've paid to participate in and will get an awesome shirt and a cool pair of socks (assuming I finish).  Yeah, kind of sounds like a race.  So, happy race day eve!  The race event I'm referring to is the Hagg Lake 50K and rumor has it there will be a fair amount of mud.  In fact, the weekend itself consists of a 50K on Saturday and a 25K on Sunday and is billed as the ORRC (Oregon Road Runners Club) Hagg Lake Mud Runs.  Luckily, this year though, it hasn't rained since last weekend and it's looking like mostly sunny skies to round out this weekend, which should make for somewhat drier trails.  It should definitely be better than last year when it poured the whole time and there were knee deep mud puddles...or so I've read, here and here.   I'm not too afraid of mud, I've seen my share of muddy courses, in fact our last 50K (The Oregon Coast 50K last October that I've yet to blog about) had one of those hilariously muddy hills that you slide back about 3 feet for every foot that you climb and can't help but laugh at the absurdness of it all. Anyway, I'm looking forward to it.  Should be a great time.

Heather and our friend Katie are running too.  As is Katie's husband.  He has a decent shot of winning the race, mostly because that's just what he does.  This will be Katie's first ultra.  She's worked really hard in the just over a month she's had to prepare for it.  Unfortunately, however, she dislocated two ribs the day before yesterday.  Ouch!  She's been to the chiropractor a couple of times and is feeling better but still pretty sore.  Luckily she'll only need legs to run 31 miles.  HAHAHAHAHA!  She's a tough girl though and will still soldier through it all, it's just a bit unfortunate that she won't be going in totally healthy.  So, with Katie hurt and Heather and I merely running for the miles, it could make for a long day.  Good thing muddy trails are one of my big loves because it doesn't look like I'll be doing much else for Valentine's Day.

Being Valentine's Day though, I decided race day wear needed to be somewhat festive.  It took me a bit to figure out a combo that I was happy with, actually it took a long bit, long enough that Euan got bored and took a nap in my closet.
Finally, with some help from Heather (who happened to stop by at the right time) and a little fashion show for Dan and Emme last night, I settled on a red tank, black skirt and cherry blossom arm sleeves.
 I'll pretend that you care (and are actually reading this) and bring out my inner fashion blogger to tell you that the tank is the Scantron tank from Oiselle via clearance at Runningwarehouse.com, the skirt is a really old black one from Lululemon, the arm sleeves are from Sugoi but I got them on clearance through Amazon a million years ago and can't find them anywhere...they're fleece lined and super toasty though, the socks are from Runningskirts.com and they are the first pair of compression socks I purchased...ie they are old and have a hole but I'm going to wear them anyway because they have hearts, the shoes are the Pearl iZumi EM Trail N2 (also via runningwarehouse) and the headband has little red hearts on it and is from an etsy shop.

Unfortunately, Wallace thought it would look better covered in cat hair  :( (Wally gets called by his full name when he does bad things like this.) It really doesn't matter though, because chances are after a few miles it will all be covered in mud.  :)

Hopefully, despite the month off of blogging I just took (again!!!) I'll get back on here early next week for a legit race report.  Have a fantastically romantic valentine's weekend (or at least a nice and muddy one) doing something you love with the people you love.

Oh, and as a disclaimer and in case Dan ever reads my blog again, he is still my one and only valentine.  He knows where he stands with my trail running and that although if a decision ever had to be made between him and the trails it might take a while...I'd eventually make the right choice.  HA!