“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Go Time

I intended to do a fancier post with pictures of mountain meals, etc.
As proof - the re-hydrated breakfast meal we tried.
Then, I ran out of time.  Packing for a 2 week trip that includes a cruise and a mountain climb...and a 10 month old is just ridiculous.
I'll screen your phone calls to make it easier mommy.
Luckily, we have a late afternoon flight tomorrow, so maybe I can nap with Avery during her AM nap.  

In other news, I also had to run to the doctor today because my ear has been bothering me since yesterday.  With my flight, wanted to be careful.  Turns out I have an ear infection.  Or, in her words, "a nasty ear infection" that is "pulsing".  Perfect.  Just what anyone needs before a cross-country flight.  I did ask if I could still fly.  She assured me that I could, but that it would be incredibly painful.  She actually prescribed me Vicodin to go with my antibiotics.

Let's just hope that it doesn't burst on the plane, because all that pus would be awkward.  The good news?  With the antibiotics, it should be cleared up before the climb.

Now.  To survive two long flights with an infant and an ear infection.  I've got this.  Security and check-in should be a fun...

I do not know how much internet access I will have on this trip.  It is possible that my next post will be post-climb!

Wish me luck!

Have you ever flown with an ear infection?

Any recommendations for keeping Avery happy on the flight/ship?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Relay Around Columbus Recap

My effort to show both sides of the two sided medal
Race: Relay Around Columbus
Distance:  105 mile relay
Date:  June 16-17, 2012, staggered team start.  Our Start was 3:00pm
Finish time:  19:21:44, 11:04 min/avg  (official time/pace)*
What sets this race apart:  A point-to-point 105 mile course through the park trails in Columbus Ohio.  Overnight relay.  

*I filled out our team time sheet, and I remember this number being above 20 hours. I'm wondering if the double legs weren't doubled in the official time.  Based on what each member actually averaged per mile, we should have been slower than this official pace.  But, I'll take it!  (The other option - I can't add.  LOL!)
Lucky 13's - After the Finish Line
The exciting thing is - that despite expectations - we did not finish last.  In fact, we also finished ahead of both of the other teams that started when we did. 
But we did LIVE this particular artwork.
How do you sum up a 20 hour event in one post???  This has been the hardest recap to write!  I purposely did NOT write it immediately because I hadn't slept in 36 hours and, as a result, was probably feeling more negative than I should have.  Smart call.  Each night of sleep post-event makes me feel more positive about the event as a whole.  By the end of this week, I'm sure I'll be saying that everyone needs to go do this.  HA!  Warning, this will be longer than normal recaps because there is more to cover....and I didn't want to split this into multiple posts.
Awesome RAC sign at the starting check-in.  Listed every team and it's members.
I was a little nervous about the race organization before the race.  This was the inaugural Relay Around Columbus.  You usually can expect multiple problems for a first-time event.  We also had lots of emails and driver instruction delays, etc.  When we got to the start, they weren't ready for us to check in either, but we were over an hour early. 

Despite these fears, I have to give credit where credit is due.  For the most part, this race ran EXTREMELY smoothly, especially for a first time event.  The exchange zones were well marked.  Despite the warnings about the course, the course itself was well marked, although there were a couple confusing spots.  (Some last minute team-specific changes did cause us some logistical issues because we'd arranged to have companion runners for the dark legs, but I'll talk about that later.)  The volunteers were friendly, and the extra policemen and rangers were awesome too.  Great job RAC!
The loot.  Each team member got a shirt, Balega socks, a magnet, a hat and a medal.
Each team got two amphipod belts we were required to wear, rotating them.
I got to keep one of ours.
The start was at the Hoover Dam.  There is no overnight parking allowed there, so we met at my house to all get into our home for the next 24 hours (the van).  We assembled our cooler, food, etc and decorated the van with window markers.  Interestingly, while on the course, we also lent these markers to several teams so that they could have windows as cool as ours.
Adding the necessary decor to the van
The team - before we got all sweaty and sleep deprived.
From left to right, Kristi, Laurie, Michele, Me, Keri and Amy
I was Runner 1.  This meant that I ran Legs 1, 7 and 13.  Our team was scheduled to start at 3pm on Saturday.   It was 90*F at the start.  
So surreal to start a race with only 2 other people.  Teams were staggered based on predicted pace.
Leg 1, 5 miles. 1 hour, 3 minutes.
I started too fast for a 105 mile event in the heat, and almost paid a big price.  This entire leg was full sun, no shade.  There was no water or hydration on the course because it was all paved trails.  (This means, the van dropped off runners and drove to the next exchange point).  I ran my first mile at around a 10 min/mile.  (as a comparison, I was scheduled to do 11:30 min/avg).  The second mile was around a 11 min/mile.  By mile 2.5 I was out of fluid.  Even though, I drank a 20oz Gatorade immediately before my leg, I also carried 10oz of Gatorade and 10 oz of water in my fuel belt.  Nonetheless, I was completely out.  To make it even better, I was showing classic signs of heat exhaustion.  I was nauseous.  I had chills.  To be safe, I stopped and walked as needed.  

I called my teammates to tell them - drink more, carry more, and that I was walking.  A couple of bikers passed me after mile 3, when I was walking again.  They asked if I was okay - and I answered that I was okay, just hot and out of water.  They kept going, and then turned around.  When they did, I just knew they were awesome.  I was right, one of them offered to fill one of my water bottles with her own water, while apologizing because it wasn't really cold anymore.  I wish I'd thought to get her name.  I will never forget her!   Over the rest of the run run/walk, I drank the entire additional 10oz she gave me.  Mile 4 wound up being more walking than running.  I was so frustrated with myself and felt completely lame, but it was the right decision.

I passed the baton to Keri and she was off for Leg 2.  Kristi ran leg 3, and Laurie race-walked leg 4.  
The 3rd exchange zone.
We even had fans at Exchange zone 3!
While I was running this 1st leg, the race director spoke to my team.  He told us to double up legs 8, 9 and legs 14, 15.  During leg 4, I called him for clarification.  We were skipping leg 8, and the runners of legs 8,9 were BOTH running leg 9.  Same for legs 14,15.  Each of the paired legs were the same distance.  This way, the team still runs 105 miles, but finished earlier on Sunday.  The only downside of that change was that these were all overnight legs, and we'd worked out an elaborate plan to have companion runners overnight.  (The course is point-to-point, we had to be able to have them run with us and still get back to their cars!). 

Back to the relay in progress...
Amy looking for Laurie at Exchange Zone 4
Michele killed leg 5, and Amy ran leg 6.  We were required to start wearing the reflective vests and lights starting at leg 5.   Sarah joined us starting at leg 6.  The solution we worked out to the overnight changes was that Sarah was going to ride her bike with us on all of the overnight legs except my last leg.  For that last leg, my friend Stephanie would run with me and get a ride back to her car from Sarah.  Sarah is definitely my hero.
Laurie and Sarah just before Leg 6.
In other news, just before her first leg, Michele made a startling realization. She'd left her extra sports bras at my house that morning.  This meant...she had to wear the same one for every leg - this made for some interesting van ornamentation as the night progressed....
Because every van should have a bra hanging on the side mirror....to go with the storage bag that looks like a body bag.
Leg 7, 4.6 miles, 52 minutes.
Leg 7 started at almost 10pm.  I had finally been able to pee just before this leg (for the first time since my hot first leg - shows how dehydrated I still was!).  It was dark by this point and fairly hilly.  I typically don't mind hills, but when you can't see them until the ground slants beneath your feet, they are more challenging!  The lightening bugs were making a fantastic light show in the trees though!  Nonetheless, if it weren't for the AMAZING Sarah, I would have been a crazy mess.  Running a trail through the trees when it's VERY dark can only be described as creepy!  I have never been more thankful to be bike accompanied in my life!  Headlamps just don't put off enough light to kill the creepy factor on their own!

After my leg, we drove 20+ minutes to the next exchange, where Kristi and Keri ran together.  As a result, Sarah got to take a break from the bike until leg 10.  Laurie race-walked 10, Michele ran 11, and Amy ran 12.  Then it was my turn again.
We thought a pose showing our sleepiness was appropriate before leg 12.  Time: 2:47am
Leg 13, 8.3 miles, 1 hour, 38 minutes
I started leg 13 at 3:45am.  I had still not slept even for a minute.  Stephanie was there to keep me awake and running - thank goodness!  (I was too sleep deprived to remember to take a picture of us though!)  This leg started downtown, proceeded down to the Olentangy trail, down to the Ohio State Campus, and then down through a few more parks.  It seemed like a very long 8 miles!  We got confused at one point and stopped to pull out the map and directions.  We also walked when I needed to GU.  Other than that, we plowed along.  We did see the biggest beaver ever near the river.  He couldn't care less that we went running by him at 4:30am!  A volunteer topped off my water around mile 6 - I told them I loved them!  I could actually wring water out of my shirt when I was finished.

After that leg, I was done!  WOOHOO!  The remaining exchanges proceeded like clockwork.
The last leg was at a decent hour, so Amy had company - Sue, Jennifer and LeDawn!
So may other stories to tell about this event, and one post just can't cover them all.  The one where Amy was changing in the dark and the headlights of the van were accidentally turned on....the random stops for icees....the random one-liners that were only funny if you were there...the curious looks by people driving past our van....The nastiness that was the two reflective vests and two amphipod belts that we had to rotate (can you say DRIPPING with sweat and stinky).  My favorite part, though, was talking, laughing and sharing with the other teams at the exchange zones!!!

The race had each team run in with the anchor runner for the last 50 yards or so.  It was pretty cool to finish the race as a team.  Amy's kids and her husband also ran with us.  Her husband was our driver for the first half of the night.
We're almost DONE!
All in all...what a crazy experience!!!!

I will do an additional post about what I learned and what I would do differently.  For today though, let's just close with the surreal idea that we finished a 105 mile overnight relay with no injuries!  We all still even like each other!  Awesome. Just awesome.

Way to go Lucky 13's!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rainier Training: Last Full Week

Week of June 11-17, 2012:
Current Weight: 165.2 (Down 1.4 lbs from previous week!)
Total Lost to date: 55.6 lbs
Chest: 39" (No change)
Hips: 43"  (Down 1" from previous week)

OMG.  What a weekend!  This was my last full training week before we begin the trip that culminates in a climb of Mt.  Rainier.  It was also the week of my 105 mile run relay, so it made for some interesting dilemmas with choosing workout strategy.

Rest day.  After a tough previous weekend, rest was needed.  I did a short 1 mile walk with Avery in the Bjorn (20 lbs carry).

Had a physical at 7:30am.  Early fasting meant no group run.  What did I do instead?
Dam Steps.  Pack (40 lbs), Boots (5 lbs).  1 hour 19 minutes.  20x up and down the steps.  One practice removal and replacement of pack during the climb.  (under 3 minutes).
I'm actually growing to like this workout.
Hadn't been sleeping well, but sucked it up and ran 3 miles before Mark left for work.  Last mile was at 9:35 min/mile, which is the fastest mile I've done since I was a kid.  Average pace for the 3 miles was 10:30 min/mile.  No steps that night because I watched Avery while Mark did them.
Mom, if you bring that black cat down where I can reach him,
I'll be your workout excuse any time.
Ran 3 miles with my friend Lynn.  Average pace 11:03 min/mile
Strength training workout with Adam.  I could tell it's been a few weeks since I've done this, felt tougher than it should have!  One part of the workout: Since I'm fairly flexible, getting Romanian deadlifts to work my hamstrings can be a challenge, and we tried doing them on the Bosu ball this week.
Imagine standing on this, reaching past your feet with weights and pulling back to standing 20x.
Rest day pre-RAC

Saturday and Sunday
Relay Around Columbus started at 3pm on Saturday, I was our starting runner.  (I will do a full recap of this relay today or tomorrow.)  I ran at 3pm, 10pm and 3:45am, for a total of 17.9 miles.  I did not sleep at all until Avery's limited Sunday afternoon nap (for about 1 hour).  I am still sleepy, despite a good night's sleep last night!  :)
My team after the finish.
From right to left: Keri, Michele, Kristi, Laurie, Amy and me!
Interestingly, my muscles (especially my legs) do not feel sore or tired at all today.  I am trying to listen to those who love me that are insisting today should still be a rest day.  (I will limit myself to a stroller walk today).  Tomorrow, I'll probably do a light run and 1.5 hours on the Dam steps to round out the mountain training.  

I haven't climbed Rainier yet, however I already want to sign up for the Ecuador climb of Cotopaxi (19,438') and Cayambe (18,977') that my Dad and Stepbrother are doing next June.  I think this qualifies me as definitely crazy.

Oh.  And Avery's ready for her own relay or mountain climb, because she took her first step last night.  

How was your training week??

What workout/event have you done that made you say - hmm, I might be crazy.

Friday, June 15, 2012

She's not spoiled...honest

This post will be all things Avery.  Fair warning.  :)

Last weekend, after our workouts, we took Avery to visit some friends and their children.  While there, Avery discovered the joy of their water table.
It's like the dog fountain....but better.
She liked it so much, but I did not go home and order one the next day.
I have no idea where this came from.
And I definitely did not put it together during nap time so that it would be ready when she woke up.
Then where did these come from mom?
Avery 1, Mommy 0.

I did win when it came to the baby stuff community sale the other week.
The deal you got on this kitchen makes it even more fun. 
And $5 for this???  You're the best mommy.
Really.  She's not spoiled.  Honest.

A couple of weeks ago, I promised stories of Avery drama.  They are really more stories of how not awesome of a mom I can be.

First story.  We have a gas fireplace in the living room.  Avery has used the glass to stand up numerous times.  I have repeatedly checked it for heat since the pilot light was on.  Cool to the touch.  
Sure you did mommy.
The offending fireplace is in the background.
She now has this awesome Little Tikes Activity Garden to stand on instead.
Then, while my friend Cynthia was here, Avery demonstrated her standing skills in the same spot, and sat down crying.  She stopped and then stood up on it again.  Then she started crying and stood there.  I'm looking at her feet trying to figure out what she stepped on.  Nothing there - but her cries are pain cries.  I lean on the fireplace glass with my hand - SCALDING.  I yank her off the glass.  Her little hands are red.  Off to the sink we go to run cold water on them.  Of course - water always make her happy.  She giggled at this point, so as mommy fails go, it wasn't too bad.  I then added some first aid ointment.  She was happy crawling on her hands and there were no blisters, so we decided against a trip to the hospital.  (And yes, we have now disabled the pilot light).

Also when Cynthia was here, Avery was on the couch with me.  She rather enjoys burrowing in the cushions.  Something happened to distract me for mere seconds, and she rolled right off the couch.  Face first.  Great job Mommy.  This even resulted in a little red spot - for a few seconds.
Ow - it hurts so bad.  Ok, even I can't say that without laughing.
To add to these bits of mommy gold?  The day I posted my "I take it back" post?  Avery and I went for a walk using the kelty pack - something we've done a hundred times.  
So much so, that I even pulled out an OLD photo here.
She leaned out the side to see better and was fussing non-stop.  Long story short, after multiple attempted adjustments, I returned home.  She continued to cry and refused to put weight on her arms to crawl.  She was holding her head funny like her neck/shoulders hurt.  This was the day my car was in the shop.  (of course!) I made Mark come home early to take her to the pediatrician.  (I'd also given her advil).   An accident made that drive there take 45 minutes.  When we got there and got Avery our of her carrier - Happiest. Baby. Ever.  I found myself saying "I swear I'm not making it up, she was holding her head funny, etc."  I guess it was my turn to be the crazy "my baby is hurt" mommy.  Apparently, Advil works.  Doctor reassured us that the carrier was safe.  But, interestingly, I haven't used it since.
That was my plan all along.  I have all these toys to test.  No time for hikes.
So, now, weeks late, I have finally posted about the "drama" and shared how spoiled well-loved my daughter is.

And she sees her grandparents next week.  I'm sure they won't spoil and love on her at all.
What??  Not even a little bit????
Oh.  Ok.  Maybe a little. 

What do you think is cuter smiling baby pictures or crying baby pictures?

It's hard to believe that starting tomorrow at 1:30 - I'll have approximately 24 hours of no Avery....Overnight relay here I come!

Hopefully this satisfies the demand for more Avery content.  I know I'll be all about the mountain for the next week (after my relay recap, of course)!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Overdue Training Update

I know, I know, I post these on Mondays.  But, see, there was this cool Fashion Show...
That's funny mommy, that sounds like a lame excuse!
I decided to go with my weight at the doctor's office Tuesday morning from my physical instead of my normal Monday weigh-in.  I'm also mixing up the format this week - I know, crazy!

Week of June 4-10, 2012:
Current Weight: 166.6 (Down 1.0 lbs from previous week!)
Total Lost to date: 54.2 lbs
Chest: 39" (No change)
Hips: 44"  (No change)

My workouts last week were pretty awesome.  My only regret is that I waited so long to add in the Dam Steps!

Rest Day.  
Walked 4 miles.  2.2 miles were with the weighted vest (26lbs).

4 mile run.
1 hour arms and abs Strength Training.
1 hour on treadmill.  12% incline.  Pack (37 lbs), Boots (5lbs).
For some reason, this treadmill workout feels a million times harder than the steps. 
Suck it up Mommy!
Dam Steps.  116 steps, 11 platforms.  15x up and down.  Mountain pack (37lbs), boots (5 lbs).  Gnat cloud.  Truly, truly icky.  That's not how I want to get extra protein.

I went to the dam that night because I'd skipped my planned stairclimber/spin workout to play hookie at the zoo with Sarah and her adorable baby Charlotte.  Avery enjoyed Charlotte and her book as much as the animals.
This book is more interesting than your training log mom.
Walked 2 miles.  Walking to Fleet Feet a couple of times.  Yes, I live walking distance from my local running store - this can be a major problem.  
Walked 5.13 miles.  With my friend Deb.   We'd intended to go for a real hike about 1.5 hours from town, but my team's RAC shirts came in, and I was in charge of pick-up.
Avery was thrilled to model one of them.
They turned out pretty awesome!  Fleet Feet did a fantastic job screening them, and Emily did an awesome job creating our design!

Stroller run 4 miles.  That evening, at the last minute, I decided to also do the Fleet Feet pub run.  I won a nifty pair of New Balance socks!  These socks have specified left and right socks.  I wore them for my run yesterday, pretty spiffy!
Claiming my winnings - Avery had just thrown the free sunglasses we got on the floor.
Dam Steps.  (7x up and down).

A much deserved rest day!

7.1 mile run with the MiT gang.  It was glorious to have just this one run for the day instead of the doubles of the past few weeks!
Leading the group for the last half of the run!
After the run, I went to the Dam Steps for another Dam workout.  Pack (37 lbs), Boots (5 lbs). 85 degrees. Too stinking hot!  

After the steps - I went to the Captain's meeting for Relay Around Columbus, that race is this coming weekend!

We hired a babysitter.  For a workout.  We sure know how to live it up!  Mark and I went to the Dam for about 2.5 hours.  Pack (40 lbs), Boots (5 lbs).  One hour on the steps, 2 mile hike with a 15 minute break in the middle, finished the 2nd hour on the steps.  Totals: 19x up and down the steps with a 2 mile hike in the middle.  The hike was really good because it reminded us that a hike hurts the legs and feet differently than the steps. It was 90 degrees when we started.

We had to quit then so that we had time to get Chipotle burritos before the babysitter expected us home.  Priorities!

We went in the evening because we spent the morning (well, mostly Mark, since I skipped out for a MOPS meeting), watching Avery and her new bestie Charlotte.
Only girls under 1 are allowed in this conversation woman!
Mark held up very well with two kiddos under the age of one, but we both agree that any future children can wait until Avery's a bit older!

This current week is also off to a great start!  Relay Around Columbus is this Saturday-Sunday.  (I know, wife of the year, I'm finishing a 105 mile running relay for Mark's first father's day.)
Luckily, they both love me....a lot.
I'm starting to get a bit nervous about the relay this weekend.  I'm not so nervous about whether or not I can run the miles (my legs total 17.9 miles).  I'm more nervous about the organization of the race.  Especially after we were told at the Captain's meeting that they wouldn't have any water on the entire 105 mile course.  There were all kinds of other crazy rules and warnings.  I think he mentioned that someone will get lost at least 50x.  That person will be me, I'm sure.  My last leg has about 2 pages of turn directions!

Luckily, I have awesome friends.  We've worked out a way that every nighttime leg of the relay will be accompanied.  As in, my friends NOT running the race are coming out anyway to help keep my all-female team company on the trails.  (The course is all on trails, so the van will be driving from exchange point to exchange point, and NOT accompanying the runners.  The only way to be accompanied is to have a companion runner). 

Truly awesome!  Wish us luck this weekend!  Next week, I'll be more timely since it was weird posting about the workouts almost a week late.

Any ideas for Father's day gifts to make up for finishing a relay that day?

Anyone else racing this weekend?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mountaineering Fashion Show

Yesterday, I got a box from Whittaker Mountaineering with all my clothes for the climb.  It's funny how one little package can change my attitude from nervous about the climb to super excited about it.
Is it as exciting as Alfalfa hair?
Of course, I had to make sure everything fit.  But, not just fit....it also had to fit in the appropriate layers....so let's commence the Mountaineering Fashion Show.

First I have for you, this attractive base layer by Patagonia.  It's typically light to medium weight, and the perfect first layer for your next mountain climb.  The top includes a zipper to allow for even more body temperature control.
Looking sexy in the base layer...
To make sure it all fit in the proper order, I added layers from this point.  The next layer is the scintillating "light insulating layer".  Both pieces are by First Ascent.  The top layer is the beautiful First Ascent hangfire hoodie in Smoke Gray.  The bottom layer is the Climbing Pants, First Ascent Guide Pants.
Look how sexy it all looks - base layer peeking out.
I admit, it seemed kind of warm to keep adding layers in June, in Ohio...even with air conditioning.  

The next layer is the bread and butter of mountain climbing wear - the soft shell layer.  The soft shell layer is a windproof, water-resistant (but not water proof) breathable layer.  The soft shell layer is a jacket only, no pants.
I stylishly put the zippers in a way to show all the layers on top...
I bet this jacket will see lots of use this next winter in Ohio as well, it's pretty awesome.

No fashion show is complete without some vogue-type poses with the fancy hood on the soft shell layer.
Strike a pose!
Now, I'm sure all of you are thinking - "what if it's storming on the mountain?"  Or, "You're on a glacier - water resistant??  WTH - what about water proof???"

That's where the hard shell layer comes in.  Hopefully, this layer will just be added weight in my pack and the weather will NEVER require me to pull it out.  The hard shell is a water proof, wind proof layer that goes over ALL the previous layers.  The jacket has a hood and the pants have zippers down the legs to allow for adjustments over boots and crampons.
My expression shows how nice and cool it is wearing 4 layers on top and 3 on bottom in Ohio, in June, in a heat wave.
Practicing hunkering down in my hood.
I stripped off all the extra layers so fast, that I had to showcase the balaclava with just the base layer.
Embracing my inner ninja
Of course, Mark was also trying on all his layers in between acting as my photographer for my fashion show.  I made him have at least one photo when he had all his layers on...
See what I put up with?
And here ends our Mountaineering Fashion show.  I know, I know, you all wish you were climbing a mountain now and could have such cool layers.

I am definitely getting excited about the climb now!  Crazy to think that I still have a 107 mile running relay before the climb (The relay is this weekend!).

I'm late on my training report from last week because a Fashion Show seemed like more fun....On a side note though, just after Avery was born and I started training for the mountain...I wouldn't have been able to fit into ANY of the clothes sold for climbing the mountain.  Last night, not only did they all fit, but I could add all the layers with ease.  So. Awesome.

Have you ever done anything that required so many clothing layers?

Do you own a balaclava?  (I know some runners use them in the winter)

Have you ever been to a real fashion show?  Would you go to one?