Trail heaven…

First off, I spent the weekend visiting my sister in law and family in Possum Kingdom, Texas. Real nice lake if you’re ever up that way, and unique north meets west Texas scenery. Still 100+ degrees though, but at least we were in the water a lot. Last year I had looked up trails there, and read a new hike and bike was being built. When we got there this weekend, not only was the trail done, the entrance was less than 1/2 mile from Mike’s sister’s place. It wasn’t really a hike and bike, but it was a excellent trail for someone not wanting a real technical trail. I got a blissful 6.5 mile run in Saturday and Sunday and only saw a lot of white tail deer. In an area where almost everyone gets around by golf cart, no one was on the trail. It was very hilly with great look outs that viewed the lake, so after a tough climb there was a nice reward. I was a little sore today, as the trail legs haven’t been used in awhile, but it felt great.

I think maybe some friends misunderstood my last mild rant about running and being pregnant. I think one of the hardest things is there is no hard science about it at all. It is very difficult to conduct a prospective study on pregnant women, so what little info there is out there is retrospective, and probably is based on a very wide sample, not an exclusive sample of very high mileage runners. Every physician, midwife, etc, seems to randomly select an amount of exercise they deem acceptable. It’s hard for to me to convince my doctor I was doing long runs of 20 miles quite comfortably, and that cutting down to 10-13 at a conservative pace is very reasonable. She doesn’t quite buy it though. It’s hard to explain to her that I know how to manage my hydration and nutrition to get me through 50 miles, so certainly if I am drinking and snacking for an easy half marathon, that should not cause a problem. But, folks who do not run can’t really conceive 50 miles, therefore, it’s a tough sell. So, I am sure when a doctor tell you “6 miles is about all I would like you to do”, or “40 minutes max per day”, I am sure they feel that they are granting you a lot of exercise. And, even though I think how well I know myself, and how easily I could run a relaxed 12 mile run, it’s hard to blatantly disobey the prescribed exercise request when it affects someone besides you. I admit I am already stretching the limits of my prescribed amount of running. 6 a day was given to me, but I did tell my doctor a couple days a week I’ve been doing a little more and her response was “No more increasing after this though.”, and my interpretation was I am fine doing what I am doing. I also will stress I am not pushing myself into discomfort, I drink the entire run, and I never run in the warmer parts of the day. So, the whole point is, it’s hard to accept a rule not really based on anything. But, I tell myself it is only temporary, and plenty of women have a baby and get back out there. And, starting a new chapter in your life is always exciting and worth some sacrifice.

Finally, supplementing the running with other activities that aren’t quite so hardcore is allowed. I am still doing a regular yoga class, which leaves every muscle sore, but has no impact. I’ll hold off on prenatal yoga for as long as possible or possibly never do it, as I can do some modifications in my current class. I can add walking….and as I have said, hiking this fall ( a super fun way to sneak in some miles….if anyone wants to join me), and while I am not the biker Michelle is, I do have a trainer I can pull out if running becomes an issue at any point. This weekend was nice to get a lot of light exercise, and feel active again, after being sick for the last month. I ran, swam, and walked a lot. I ate a lot to make up for all the activity too….

Oh yeah, and on the same lines of each doc having their own exercise amount, I have friends who have told me their doctors say an occasional glass of red wine after the first trimester is fine. When I first heard this I got pretty excited. When I first got my doc’s new pregnancy packet and goodie bag, one of the first rules listed was she recommends no alcohol at any point, period. So, I guess that is another rule I will follow….Or, I could shop around to find a doctor who allows 1/2 marathons and an occasional glass of wine 🙂 Or not….


Here’s a picture of Sol Duc falls in Olympic National Park. We will be heading there in about a month. It will be great to run in the cool weather, and hopefully get some trail runs in, if the trails are fairly non-technical. Mike and I figured it would be a good idea to get a vacation in since everyone keeps saying we won’t get one for 18 more years 🙂 Olympic National Park has been on my to do list for a couple years now. I can’t wait to see the only rain forest in the US. If you have seen the movie Twilight, then you have basically seen the park. Mountain, rain forests, and rocky coastline all in one place.

Things are going well….I realize I might be giving the impression I am really lamenting my long runs….which is somewhat true. I am happy and excited about having a baby, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I find some of the life style modifications a little difficult. Especially now, in the first trimester, when I don’t really look or feel pregnant. I am coming in on 11 weeks this week…so almost 1/3 done. Still running about 40 miles/ week. The only real difference I notice is my blood sugar completely bottoms out after a run. I now need to refuel after running 6 miles. I eat before I go, but I still get home and get shaky pretty quick. So, eating lots of Power Bar gummies. Same thing happens if I go to yoga, or go walking, so I might actually have to start having a snack half way through yoga. I am a bit disappointed that I have started to experience well meaning people telling me I won’t keep my running up. I am pretty determined, and until my body won’t let me, I intend to be out there. With a little luck, I hope to be one of the women who runs through the whole pregnancy. One big plus, is if I do keep it up, I think I can come back pretty strong. I already feel the effects of no long run for about 3 months now…definitely healing up some aches and pains. It’s hard to not look longingly at potential comeback races. I anticipate some of this obsession will end as the pregnancy becomes more “real” and I have a baby to start focusing on. For now, it is just hard for me to imagine…and I still feel like the “old me”.


Vermont 100

For nostalgic purposes, here from the vaults is my Vermont 100 report:

This was not supposed to be my 100-mile run. I planned to make my first 100 miler the Rocky Raccoon in February. I did the MiWok 100K in early May, came home and sat back and watched Meredith continue to prepare for Western States. I did a couple 20 milers on the greenbelt with her, and I did the Rouge trail series, but I thought no more super long runs until the fall. Well, Western States did not go as planned for Meredith, so she refocused on the Vermont 100. Somewhere in there she tired to convince me to make it my first 100. 2 and 1/2 weeks away, and the last long run I did was 7 weeks ago. I told myself if I could make a 30 miler with no trouble and if Stephanie could take off work to pace me, I was in. Both of these things happened, and I found myself dropping a race application and check into the mail. Yikes! What in the hell did I just get myself into?

I need to give some credit to a few folks for pushing me to go, and really getting me believing I could do 100 miles. Meredith planted the seed, Liz somehow convinced me 100 miles isn’t that bad, Mike did everything he could to get me to go (I think so he didn’t have to hear about how much I wanted to try a 100 for any longer), and Stephanie ever so generously provided me with one of her frequent flyer tickets.

I spent the next week and a half studying the race. I googled it, and read every race report I could and looked at every picture I could. I had all my drop bags prepped a week ahead of time. I skipped a lot of my regular runs to rest. I was as ready as I could be.

So, 4 of us leave on for Vermont on Thursday. Meredith was being paced and crewed my Melissa, and Steph was with me. We flew into Manchester, NH and rented a car to get to Vermont. The drive and scenery were incredible, and Steph and I agreed no matter what happened, this was at least going to be a fabulous vacation.

The day before the race, we all headed out to the farm it starts at to weigh in and do all the pre race stuff. No one there seemed to believe me I was running. Was this a bad omen? We also got briefed on the concurrent 100-mile horse race that goes along with it. It is funny that the runners are amazed someone can sit on a horse that long, and the rider think the runners are amazing. Steph and I went to Woodstock to experience some New England charm. At lunch, I became incredibly nervous to the point I couldn’t eat. I felt like I was sitting at the wrong table in the cafeteria or something. What in the hell was I doing here? 100 miles? What was I thinking? As we got back to the hotel, I calmed down some. Later that night the 4 of us went to dinner, and I had no pre race anxiety at all. Steph and I got into bed by 900, and I set my alarm for a 2am wake up, to make it to the start by 315 or so. The official start is 4 am!

Race day. I woke up with a completely relaxed mind. Steph got up, took pictures, and I was off to meet Melissa and Meredith to get me to the start. Meredith’s friend John was also coming to help crew, and we met him at the start. Once again, I never was nervous. Before I knew we were lining up and we were off.

The race is on mostly dirt roads and trail. A few asphalt sections too. I knew there were supposed to be some really tough hill climbs. We started on dirt road on a nice downhill. It was still completely dark and it was just impossible to imagine what the next 24 hours might bring. We quickly headed into the woods, and I was greeted by the mud. We had been warned prerace that the mud would be bad and the heat would be bad (record highs). So far, they were right about the mud. It was thick, unavoidable, and literally could suck your shoes right off. So, 3 miles into the race, my brand new shoes were trashed. I don’t remember much more about the early miles. Forest and dirt road, suddenly the horses, which started an hour after the runners, appeared. I listened to my ipod; I had a Margaret Atwood book on it that would last 10 hours. I was eating well at the aid stations, and making good time, while keeping very comfortable. Around 12 miles, I met a woman named Debbie from Phoenix, by way of England. We chatted for miles about all kinds of things, and the miles were flying by. I hit a couple of the key aid stations with my drop bags, and finally felt like the race was way under way. Continuing on, I saw Melissa at mile 28 and she took such good care of me. She got me a chair, fed me, and sent me on my way. I continued to run with Debbie, and a nice fellow from New Jersey, originally from Columbia. The 3 of us stuck together quite sometime and enjoyed the scenery and the run ins with the horses. It one point I realized we were with Nick, the soup guy from the Badwater documentary. He was a bit of a local celebrity, so coming into aid stations with him, got quite a response.

Mile 44 came and this was a key point. It was the camp 10 Bear aid station, and we would hit it again at mile 68 and get our pacers. It was also the first time I would see Stephanie. I cruised in and she asked me how I was doing. “Fantastic!” I said. I pick up lots more food, Stephanie had bought an awesome little camp chair and had my drop bag waiting. I had a couple small issues: my back was getting a raw spot from my camelback and the blisters were starting. But overall, things were great. I was on 24 hour pace.

Onward. I was still with Debbie and we both decided 50 miles would feel great. I had decided after 50 to walk a little more, and try to save a little for the end. Things were great until about 52. I seemed to be slowing and I was not keeping up with my little group I had managed to collect. By the mile 55 aid station I had lost them, and I was nauseated. I got to 55, sat in a chair and drank a ginger ale. It didn’t do much. I had 5 miles until the Margaritaville aid station, known to be the best on the course. My legs felt shot. My quads were beat up from the muddy downhills and I was walking more. I got to mile 60 and they had fresh cheeseburgers. I sat down in the mud and tried to eat a cheeseburger while some guy making a documentary, got in my face and asked my way to many questions at a point I was melting down. I really considered dropping for the first time here. I just was not having fun, and my legs hurt at this point.

At the next aid station the nausea returned and I sat in a chair and sipped broth. I told the volunteer there I thought I was done, and he told me I looked great and he couldn’t see any reason why I wouldn’t make it. I whined I was nauseated and my legs were bad. He said, “Well, are you ok with not finishing? If you are then drop out, if you aren’t then keep on.” He asked me if I had a good friend to pace me, waiting at the next aid station and I said yes. He said, “Well, if she is a good friend, she’ll walk with you all night and you’re ahead of cutoff enough that you will finish.” He more or less kicked me out of the aid station. Thank goodness he did.

I had 5 miles to camp 10 Bear and picking up Stephanie. It started pouring rain, and in the woods it was like walking upstream. It got dark and suddenly it was pitch black, raining, and I was cold. The bullfrogs started up, and that was it. I was officially miserable. I hobbled along, and planned my speech to tell Stephanie. If I dropped I figured I could recover enough by the am to go shopping in Woodstock and enjoy Vermont. If Meredith had dropped, that was even more incentive for me to get the hell out of these woods. I quit eating and drinking since I was done. I could be ok with not finishing. This just wasn’t fun.

I got to Camp 10 Bear, and Stephanie ran up to me and said, “Go right to the scale! You’re doing great.” I tried to tell her there was no reason for me to weigh since I was done, but I didn’t get a chance as she shoved me onto the scale. John was there and I asked if we could talk somewhere without a million volunteers. Stephanie plopped me in our camp chair and the tears started. “Please don’t make me go back out there. Please! I am not having fun. My legs are gone I cannot imagine walking for 32 more miles on a death march.” Stephanie and John sat down on the ground next to me and listened to me sob and sob. I told them I didn’t like being out in the woods all day like a pioneer. I had no idea what made me think I could go on all night in the pitch black woods when all the sounds were scary. John and Stephanie kept laughing at me, and I just sobbed harder and harder. They said, “Just change your socks and shoes, and think about just going a little further. I drank a Starbucks coffee, had some ramen, and some brownie. Before I knew it, I was up. Stephanie said, “Just give it one more aid station. Let me have one aid station to go with you.” We were off…..

The next few miles were back in the woods. It was all up a huge hill and muddy. Stephanie later told me I was painfully slow here. My knee hurt and I couldn’t go up hills on it. I used my bandana as a makeshift knee brace, and that helped. The next aid station was 5 miles off and it felt like an eternity. I think at this point Stephanie and I stated to talk a little about things other than how miserable I was. I was feeling better but not convinced I could make it. We got to the next aid station and they were out of everything. Another blow to my very fragile psyche. Stephanie was great. She was very patient with me. We went onward.

I would like to think we had a little fun for the next few miles. We stopped and stared at the night sky full of stars while in a pasture. We followed the course into what looked like someone’s yard, and behind a rock fence a little black and while cat appeared. Stephanie said “well hello there!”. The cat started purring and rubbing my legs. We named him magic kitty and we agreed somehow he was there to lift my sprits. Unfortunately, I was also struggling with frequent stops due to diarrhea. Poor Stephanie. I’d have her run ahead while I was getting sick. The cramping from this was yet another discomfort I added to my ever growing list.

By mile 80 I started thinking I just might finish. Strange that I thought “only ” 20 miles. I think Stephanie sensed this, and she really pushed me. All I saw was the 10:00 am cut off time. I could make that. What I didn’t see, that Stephanie did, was our current pace would not get us to all the aid stations before they closed, which would mean I would be out. I was stopping at each station eating soup and taking a little too much time. At mile 85 or so, Stephanie announced I had to run more, or I was out. I would not make cut offs. I still didn’t quite get it, but she explained I would not be allowed to finish. I got mad at this thought and started some “running” which was really shuffling.

We got to Bill’s aid station: the final med check. I ran to the scale. Stephanie was so good to me, She kept telling me how good I was doing. Both of our feet were shot from all the mud that had dried in our socks and turned to fine grit. It was like running on sand paper. I still felt overwhelmed by the amount of distance ahead. We got to about mile 92 and Stephanie tried to convince me I didn’t have much. I was so fearful I wouldn’t make it, I just got depressed. She kept telling me I was going great, kept pushing me.

With 6 or so to go, I started crying again. I just didn’t think I would make the cut off. I think it was more of fatigue and frustration built up. Stephanie was so patient and kept me going just telling me to run from one tree to the next.

We hit the last manned aid station called Polly’s. Stephanie had them all cheer for me and had them yell I was going to make it. I still was not convinced and felt frustrated. I think with about 3 miles to go; I finally thought I might beat the cut off. We hit one massive hill after another. Even Stephanie said the course was sadistic.

We hit the final 2 miles. Stephanie told me no matter what I should make the cut off. I think I finally believed her. We seemed to go on and on in the woods. Suddenly we came out and there was a banner. Are we done? The cheers from the few folks left answered my question. I did it!!! 100 miles..done.

It was very anti climatic. We went straight to the car, and hit the road to go back to the motel. I got a little faint, and I think it freaked Stephanie out, but I was ok. We got to the hotel, and she helped me up to the room all of us were sharing. We barged in, and Stephanie announced we did it….she got me to the finish line. John yelled “No F—– way!” He and Melissa jumped up and down I found out Meredith had a hard night too, but made it in 28 hours. There was champagne.

Steph and I managed to go back to the start/ finish for the awards. I was getting my plaque I fought so hard for. As we got to the big tent they were announcing the finishers from last to first. The last finisher gets recognition as the “Runner who enjoyed the Vermont scenery the most.” I got it! 29 hours, 27 minutes. I got called up and everyone cheered, and there wasn’t an actual award. They also didn’t have enough plaques for me to get one. Stephanie and I kind of laughed about it. What more could I have done? Later, I would find out the finish rate was only 58%. Coming in last isn’t too shabby when it’s put that way!

I am so glad I did this. Yes it was hard, yes I swore I’d never do another one during the night (several times in fact!), yes, I feel like complete crap today. The Vermont 100 is fantastically done. Beautiful course and excellent volunteers. The horse race is another fun element. I owe 99% of my finish to Stephanie. She prodded me and kept me going. She forced me out the aid station where I swore I was done. I cannot imagine doing this without her. We agreed the next adventure will be a little less extreme! Doing long runs always makes me realize more than ever what incredible people I have in my life, and this one was no exception.


This weekend is the Vermont 100 mile run. I don’t know anyone doing it this year, personally, but Go Runners! This is a covered bridge from when I ran it in 2006. It is a FANTASTIC course, and I couldn’t have picked a better race for a first hundred.

Definitely feeling a little nostalgic already for the longer runs. I miss the trails, and this week I really hit the realization that soon my friends will have to leave me behind on the runs. Everyone has been very kind to try and accommodate me, but I realized our goals are very different. My goal is to simply maintain, while they have goals of improvement. For years I’ve lived for my weekend runs, and while I still plan to be out there no matter what, I might be solo. I’ve been looking into some of the shorter races, to still feel like I’m part of the crowd, but there is really nothing until at least October, so I’ll just have to wait and see how I am doing then. Right now it is impossible for me to imagine the weight I’ll gain, and the other changes, aside from the first trimester woes, I feel the same as I always have (well, I am getting a little fat).

The first trimester continues to be a little challenging. The stomach issues are starting to wane somewhat (yeah!), but I got hit this week with bronchitis. I know I wouldn’t have picked this up if my immunity had not been lowered by pregnancy. I gave in and had to skip a day of running when I couldn’t go up a flight of stairs. I am on the mend though, and will be back on the roads tomorrow. Just a couple more weeks and the first trimester is over…whoo-hoo!


Giving in…

One thing I have discovered the last few weeks is the overwhelming sleepiness everyone says you get the first trimester is very real. I feel like I took 2 Benadryls all the time. Weekdays are tough, ’cause I am at work for about 10 hours and by noon I can barely keep my eyes open. A little caffeine is ok by most drs when you are pregnant, but I had to quit when coffee started causing intractable vomiting….I am obviously not too smart because it took me a couple mornings and much suffering to finally quit my favorite vice. So, I come home and take a nap before I start dinner, and feel like a big baby. Actually, I think the first trimester issues exist to make you empathize with a baby. I need to sleep and eat every 2 hours. Hey, that is what a baby needs! If I don’t I get sick and grouchy…just like a baby.

Anyhow, I am really living for weekends. I can eat on my own schedule, so I don’t get as sick, and I can nap, so I don’t feel so tired. I usually cram my weekends full, but I have been enjoying doing stuff at home just to rest a bit. Mike also assures me all the fatigue isn’t just me, that the 40+ continuous days of 102+ temperatures is draining every central Texas resident.

I also really savor the runs, when I can walk a little afterwards, and get down to town lake, which is my new running haven, since the Greenbelt is reserved for fall hiking. This am I started with a big group of friends, and then Wesley was nice enough to finish our favorite 8 mile run through Clarksville with me. I got back to the Rock, and Michelle was still there, so we walked a bit, saw Meghan, and then I started feeling really sick, so we decided to get Daily Juice Smoothies. Man, I really need to do this more often. My fave, is the Subliminator, a mix of berries, cherry juice, banana, peanut butter, and protein powder. Instantly cured my stomach woes and cooled me off. I chatted with Michelle a little more, and decided to do the home yoga DVD, and not rush to class.

Mike got home from his morning, and we took Pancake for a swim at Bull Creek, and that was it…I could barely keep my eyes open on the way home. I managed to max out my activies for the day by noon. Pretty sad…

It is nice to slow down some. The one thing I do not like is being too tired to make many social plans. I really want to maximize my time with friends over the next few months, but I really have been pretty pooped. Hopefully I will get that burst of energy in the second trimester, which is very soon.



Pancake sure misses her trail runs…sigh….

Anyhow, I TOTALLY underestimated how sick I would get with this whole thing. I expected some nausea, but I guess I thought since I never get that sick I wouldn’t be that bad. WRONG! I am keeping positive, but yesterday I threw up…drumroll….8 times. Today, not as bad so that is good. I’ve gotten lots of tips from everyone but nothing is a magic bullet yet. The good news is running helps. I feel great on the run, and sip gatorade and eat my PowerBar cola gummies (I actually crave them). Now, I tend to throw them up once I get home, but at least I can run! Trying to keep it in perspective though. I knew what I was getting into, and it is temporary, and most pregnant women have to deal with this, so why should I be any different?

Good luck to Moogy who is running the toughest 100 miler out there this weekend, and one I NEVER want to do, the Hardrock 100. If you are not a runner, I still encourage you to click on the website and check it out and check out the photos.

Good luck the The Henderson Family and The Richards. Both expecting babe # 2 in the next couple weeks starting about now.


The dreaded shopping trip…

Everyone warns you about all the unpleasant parts of your first trimester. The being sick all the time and being super tired started a couple weeks ago and I wasn’t surprised. I was surprised that I cannot fit into my clothes so early. I had a Dr. appt last week, and got a confirmation that I have not gained a single pound, but (and maybe this is TMI here…), I read that by 8 weeks your uterus is the size of a grapefruit, and when you are 4’11” like I am, that leaves very little room for everything else, so my stomach is already pooching out. Not a big deal, but any pants with zippers and buttons are very uncomfortable. That is pretty much everything I wear to work. So , I went shopping yesterday, for stuff with an elastic waist that I could at least wear for a few more months. I came home with a new running outfit and that was it. Did I need a new running outfit? No! My running stuff fits fine, I really doubt I’ll even need to get a bigger size in most of it, because it is all so stretchy, and it is super comfortable. I hate shopping to begin with, and as I suspected nothing fit. I tried on a nice black stretchy patagonia skirt that could be dressed up for work, but it was so huge on me, I would need to be 20 months pregnant before I could even consider wearing it. I saw a super cool running outfit on sale, and that is what I took home. Plus, it fit. I wore it on today’s 8 miler.

It is hard for me to judge is it just super hot and humid out, or am I having trouble keeping up? Steve and Kevin both thought it was pretty hot, so I don’t think it is just me. It was a great day for a run though, as the town lake area was pretty sparse with people this am, which never happens on a Saturday.

So maybe I can just wear running clothes to work. that would make my life a lot easier…


One year…

Ahh, the mountains….I hope in about a year, I am planning some type of trail run comeback. This is where I am trying to be positive. Yes, I am cutting waaaaay back on my running, yes, there will be a little down time (not too much I hope), and yes, my life will be changed. But, I get a one year rest from weekend after weekend of long runs. Honestly, I don’t think I could voluntarily drop my running miles for a year and not plan to race. Now that I am forced too, I get a year to heal up 20 years worth of aches, pains, and tightness. I am hoping it helps me come back stronger. I also will lose the luxury of being able to run whenever I want (I am limited here and there by work, by mostly, I can do what I need to to train). I will have to become a very efficient, and organized planner. I am looking at all this as a positive. A lot of folks have babies and come back. I believe I read the winner of this years Western States is a mother of 4. So, I am trying to find the positives, and not dwell on my life ending as I know it. This all may sound a little crazy, but I know other runners understand. I have the go ahead to put in 6-8 mile runs. Doesn’t sound like much for those who run 20 mile runs regularly, but I am looking at it as I still get about 40 miles a week. That’s not too bad…now I may look back at this post in 6 months and laugh that I thought I would keep it up, but all I can do is be positive. The fact that it is 102 in the shade also makes the shorter runs seem not so bad right now…