Friday, April 14, 2017

April 2017

April 2017

Kim & Mama

Kim had back surgery April 2, 2017.  I flew out to her home on the 7th to spend a few weeks taking care of her and her home after her husband, Gregg, had to go back to work.
I'm with her now.  So we are getting some fabulous time together!  I'm loving it!  This is what mamas of adult children live for. 



Thor & Juno
 Kim has fur babies, Juno and Thor.  Juno is 5 years old, Thor 4 years old.  

Taking care of Kim is priority #1.  It is working out that I can get out for a run from time to time.  This was a nice and quiet! place to get out and get a few miles in.  

This little goose family ended up in my intended path.  I detoured around them.  

Not much of a shoulder
 I'm not used to such urban running.  I found what looked to be a quiet country road.  It turned out to not have much of a shoulder, but not much traffic.

The next run was totally urban.  I didn't feel like dodging cars so pavement sidewalks it was.

Bipolar Tractor
The next day, yesterday, it was time to run around and around and around on the golf course.

I love being able to help Kim.  I'm grateful for the means and the husband with the heart to know that we had to help.  I love being here.  I love the alone time spent with Kim.  I love getting to know her husband better.  I love her courage, strength and beauty.
Even with all of that, I do miss home a bit.  

My furbabies waiting at home for Mama
Baldr (GSD), Mikey (Beagle), Toaster (Cat who thinks he is a dog)

Baldr is four months old.  He is growing so fast!  He will look HUGE to me when I get home.
Today was a rest day.  No running.  Grocery shopping was priority number one.  That is more stressful than any run!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

April Fools! Athens Big Fork Marathon

Course Information
Before you read any of this race information - please be sure you have read this first.

The Athens-Big Fork Trail Marathon and Blaylock Creek 17 Mile Fun Run take place on the Athens-Big Fork Trail. This is actually > 100 year old horse postal trail. After running this, you will wish you had a horse!

The race starts at the Big Fork Community Center located on Hwy 8 on the eastern side of the town of Big Fork. See Google Map.

The course is an out and back course. You first run 2-1/2 miles on roads - paved and gravel up to the start of the trail. Then you enter the Athens-Big Fork Trail - White Blazes. Follow the trail over 8 mountains. The 8 mountain crossings on the trail are:
  1. Missouri
  2. Hurricane Knob
  3. McKinley
  4. Brier Creek
  5. Leader
  6. Brushheap
  7. Brushy
  8. Big Tom
You pop out of the trail and need to go about a half mile down the gravel road to get your full 13.1. Then you turn around and go back. It's that easy!
The 17 Mile Blaylock Creek Fun Run only gets to run half of the hills. You will turn around at the Aid Station just across Blaylock Creek.

What this means to you the runner. Here are some statistics for you to consider - this is the "out" of the out and back:
Max Elevation: 1850
Min Elevation: 1050
Climbing Elevation Gain: 4600 feet - Strava says 6,730
Climbing Distance: 7.10 miles
Average Grade: 12%

 This race is usually scheduled for early January.  The weather, the ice on the roads, kept it from happening at that time this year.  It was moved to early April.  I think I like the temps in January better than April!

 In order to run the full marathon instead of being directed back to the start at the 17 mile fun run turn around one has to get to at turnaround at 10:30 AM.  With an 8 AM start that gives anyone 2.5 hours to make that point, 8.5 ish miles.  That is a pace of 17:38 minutes per mile.  Okay, that should be doable.  Well, I have tried multiple times and haven't made it yet.
I received permission to start early.  I started at 6:10 AM.  It took me 2 hours 50 minutes to get to that point.  I'm glad I started early!

Little Missouri Aid Station

 Moving out of Blaylock Creek aid station toward the turn around I was wondering about my desire to do the full marathon instead of settling for the fun run.  Right out of the aid station is a steep climb over a mile long.  This is where the 8:00 AM start runners started to pass me.   It is a thrill to see the speedy runners in action. 

First Hill out of Blaylock Aid Station heading toward the marathon turn around.
By about this time it was really starting to warm up.  I was slowly crawling up each mountain trying to keep from over-exertion.  Taking photos as I worked my way up the hills helped me contain negativity and keep my head in the right place.  

More front runners passing me up the hill

When it is that hot, this is a treat! 

Blaylock Creek Aid Station by Fleet Feet Easy Runner.  They treat you like a rock star here!

This was a story of the slowest hill climbs in history.  I just kept moving, very slow steps.  Every now and then I would come to a complete stop and give myself time to catch my breath.

It was a pleasure to see so many friends, make new ones, visit and just be out there.  

I experienced less negative chatter inside my head with this run than I have in many a run.  It was about survival, it wasn't about second guessing wimpiness.

It was amazing crossing the finish line.  It was a very hard thing.  Celebrating felt right.

Now to the boring stuff:
Shoes - Hoka Mafate 4
Socks - Injinji sock liners, Drymax socks
Lambs Wool under the socks on those places that tend to blister or rub
Ultimate Direction hydration pack with bottles in the front, not using the bladder
Black Diamond trekking poles
In the water bottles:  1/2 Nuun Strawberry Lemonade tablet, honey ginger crystals
Please search for local sources first.  Fleet Feet Easy Runner in Little Rock, Good Measure Market in Searcy has Nuun Strawberry Lemonade tables.  Good Measure Market carries Honey Ginger Crystals.

Ouachita Trail 50 is the next upcoming race for me.
Every year I enter the 50 mile run and end up running the 50K race.  The pace needed for the 50 mile race is under 15 minutes per mile.  I'm not there yet.  With so much of life happening this last winter the miles just weren't put in to properly train.  I do not think I can make that cut off, then the next one, and the next one.  One can't really achieve a goal if they can't envision it.  So this isn't a good place to be.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Styx n' Stones Trail Run 30K

Well, That Didn't Go As Planned
March 25, 2017
Devil's Den State Park

The first mile is mostly uphill as the trail winds up bluffs to the top.  At that point one is suppose to take a sharp right.... somewhere......

I followed about 25 other runners off the course.  The course markings were cleared by the local cross country team before we knew we were off track so we looked and looked and looked and just never found the course again.   We got the mileage, but we missed the first aid station all together.  We got to the 9 mile point in time to continue on for the full 30K.  With Athens Big Fork coming up the next weekend, April 1, 2017, we decided not to crush ourselves on a course for which we wouldn't get miles nor points.  

Most of it washed off.  I LOVE mud!!  

Lisa, Eddy, Deb, Wesley, Thaveep, Emily

March 2017

March 2017

We, Mikey & Me, discovered the Bald Knob Wildlife Refuge just south of Judsonia.
Very few cars, dogs, people, make this a fun place to play for us all.  We always see deer.  Mikey is always unhappy that I don't let him off the leash.  We have fun.  

Mikey Exploring

Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge, opens Mar 1 for the summer

Mikey sure likes this place, too bad Mama won't let him off leash.

Mikey and I counting deer at the Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge

New Family Member
I'm not ready for the time nor mental commitment a puppy will take.  Mikey needed a brother very badly.  Mikey was still in a deep state of mourning after the death of Wally.  A Beagle that won't eat, won't play, is a problem.  So another puppy it is.  Mikey pouted for a few days about the new intruder.  Now he loves his brother and even initiates play.  Its so wonderful to see Mikey happy again.
Meet Baldr Bear.  We weren't ready but Mikey sure needed him.

Baldr Bear owning his new home

Baldr Bear has his first ride, yes he has his own seatbelt harness

Mikey and his new brother Baldr Bear
Hill Repeats with Mikey
Michael Wardian mentioned on a podcast, I think Talk Ultra Podcast, he was running 10,000 ft of climb each week during his training to prepare for the Barkley Marathons.  So...... why not.  I have a goal of 10,000 ft of climb each week.  I have only hit it twice over the last month.  A win is that I am getting more climb in than if I didn't have the goal.  

Mikey's trip to the Ouachita National Forest

We know it is panting, but that sure looks like a smile

Hill repeats on the corkscrew

So much for Selfies with Dogs!  

Back to the Bald Knob Wildlife Refuge for training miles. 

Running in the refuge, first snake of the season

More beauty in the refuge