Dizzy Daze 50k

Ironically more well prepared than usual.

It is my last big week before starting to taper for Boston and for my long run today I was hoping to have a confidence building run that might make me feel a bit better about things going into Boston. I haven't been feeling great for a while now and have been trying to sort out some various health issues and energy implications of such. Its not nice to feel just plain run down. Part of my road back to health is exploring and addressing all the issues and potential issues with my doctors and treating them head on. As I mentioned in my previous blog, some of the issues can be handled through "going back to the beginning". Not only the beginning of my ultrarunning career, but the beginning of time. That is Paleo. It works for me. It has worked for me in the past, my body responds really well to it. I am not planning on being militantly on any diet again, but (gluten-free always) Paleo had me running with crazy energy, healthy and strong in 2007. In light of how I have been feeling, it is worth a shot. And being the introspective person that I am, I can pinpoint that it was working. I just want to be healthy, running long, strong and fast. I'm working on it. I will be interested to see how it unfolds.

This week has been quite the hammer drop. I have done some good high mileage and had very quality workouts. When I was considering my long run for today, I decided that it would be fun to join Jonathan and about 30 others, at Jonathan's race (2nd annual) Dizzy Daze 50k/100k. More importantly for motivation was the really cool shirt that Jonathan had made, designed by my tattoo artist/logo artist Owen. I wanted to earn my shirt! I opted for the 50k distance, which was only slightly longer time wise than what my coach Howard had planned for me. I needed it though. I needed to go out and have a good day. And despite, crappy, rainy, windy, cold weather, I had a phenomenal day. It was a nice confidence boost. Last night, I had been been less than optimistic since my quads were still pretty sore from Krissy and my Mt.Si repeats, but I did a nice long stretching session and miracle of miracles, my legs instantly felt better. Note AGAIN to self, stretching works. I woke up this morning feeling good and ready and was pleased when the day continued that way.

The race is held at Greenlake and is run on the muddy outside loop which is 3.2 miles. The 50k runners get to do a bit of bonus mileage by running a full 10 loops, while the few brave 100k runners get the precise distance. As I mentioned, I am a mileage pig and never mind a bit more mileage. There was one aid station over by the crew stadium and by mid-day had sunk into the sloppy mud (poor volunteers!). My goal was to run controlled, strong and even. I wanted to have a good hard effort, but not too taxing or requiring much recovery. I left it open on if I would go the full 50k and just planned on listening to my body and working on good form, concentration and strong running. Part of improving my health is addressing severely low Leptin levels, meaning I have been instructed to eat a minimum of 600 calories a day more than I have been. Considering I am never hungry, dietary restrictions (due to health), possible underlying health issues and consistent negative energy balance due to high mileage, I have found myself with some nutritional deficiencies despite my best efforts to fuel myself with amazing healthy foods and plenty of them. Apparently my (head) idea of plenty, is different than my (body) idea of plenty. To that end, last night I had a great pre-race meal with lots of butternut squash, roast vegetables, steak and guacamole. And then this morning, I decided to again go back to the beginning in a way and eat the amount (calorically) that I use to eat before races/long runs. For a year or so, my pre-race meal has gotten smaller and I haven't had any noticeable race energy differences. But I decided that I wanted to start myself off in the right direction.

Outside the cozy confines of home, the weather was disgusting. Cold, rainy, windy. There is a clock/temperature gauge outside Super Jock and Jill on the other side of the lake and everytime I passed I watched the temperature drop more and more. Brrrrrr. We set out at 7am sharp and worked our ways counter-clockwise around the lake. Despite of myself, I love loops. They make the time pass on otherwise dreary courses. I run around Greenlake enough to be familiar with every inch already, but found as laps progressed they felt quicker and quicker. I was hammering along swiftly, hitting the aid station to the cheers of Jess and Laura (and various others who dropped in to say hi). I was feeling good, running strong at around 7 min/miles. There is not much one can report from a course like that. I played games with myself, meditated and generally just got geeked out on how good I was feeling. I WAS back at the beginning of my ultrarunning career, where I was doing alot less "future-tripping" as Jonathan calls it, when I was able to be in my run in there here and now. This is the first year where I have felt anything but that and I think it is because I am pressuring myself for Boston. Or I was. As I said in my previous post, I have gone back to the beginning in my vision and focus as well. And today, on the road, I felt it. I was just there, here and now. 4:04, 3 bathroom breaks, gallons of mud, one essential greens bar, a bottle of Nuun and a shot or two of coke later, I was done with my 32 miles. 1st woman, 2nd overall (well kinda technically 3rd overall since one 100k-er was ahead actually through first, Sam Thompson). It was a great day and on my last lap, I nearly cried I was so happy to finally have a good day. It was just refreshing, it was confirming and it is something I want to have on a consistent basis and I am willing to do whatever it takes to get back there on a more permanent basis.

I changed my clothes, took orders from those who wanted something from Flying Apron and headed off to get some well earned goodies. I dove head first into a giant slice of gluten free, vegan Maple Cake with raspberry and almond filling and just a hint of chocolate on top and an almond milk latte. Refeeding can be so tasty. I went back with a curry calzone for Laura and a slice of cake and coffee for Linda, hung out for a bit and then headed home for my favorite part of the day: ice bath. All in all a very successful day.
RD Jonathan and I post 50k.... he was going to carry on to at least 50m

Unwavering support crew in the sinking aid station

A beautiful day at Greenlake. Not! Rain, Wind, 36 degrees

My new sweatshirt and the awesome race shirt. Logos by Owen!
I earned my shirt!