30 September 2007

40 Miles for Michelle

Not quite the 50 miles I was shooting for before the day began, but it was very, very fulfilling to even reach 40.

Before I get started I just wanted to thank everyone for their kind words on my previous post. Also, many of these people don't read my blog, but a huge thanks (with a big hug attached) to those whose online donations helped support the event. Some of these donations were from people I've never met and to me this is amazing. You all rock! I hope everyone understands how much your thoughts and support mean to me.

As I mentioned on my previous post, I was not treating this Relay for Life event as a race. My goal was to honor the memory of my Aunt Michelle with an act of life that resembled the passion she lived with. Although my 50 mile goal turned out to be allusive, I am confident that the 40 miles I did cover accomplished what I set out to do, and then some.

The opening ceremony was highlighted by a very moving ten or fifteen minutes when all cancer survivors in the crowd were asked to come on stage to introduce themselves and briefly describe their story.

"My name is Karen. I was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago when I was 51. Right now my body is free of cancer."

"Donald. Prostate cancer ten years ago. All clear."

"Suzie. Diagnosed with Hodgkin's two years ago when I was 19. Still alive and loving every minute of it."

"Rebecca. 48 years old. Have battled three different cancers. It keeps fighting, but I'm not going to let it beat me!"

These survivors are truly an inspiration. After they all introduced themselves the Relay kicked off with a lap by the survivors led by a local bagpiper. When those bagpipes filled with air and the music squeezed out of it in the sad way it does, it seemed no one could help but think about those who weren't with us anymore.

I was excited about the turnout for the event. There were a lot of people out and with music blaring and people bouncing around the track it was a party atmosphere. I ran when I could and spent a lot of time walking laps with my friends and teammates who signed up for hour long blocks to walk throughout the night. The spots I had alone I tried to run as much as I could. My goal was to reach 30 miles by midnight, which would give me eight hours to cover the final twenty.

When the sun went down the music and lights were shut off for the luminaria ceremony. This was pretty neat. Lined around the entire track were white paper bags submitted by participants or community members with the names of loved ones passed on or loved ones currently battling cancer. These bags were filled with candles (well, glow sticks actually, the Pullman Fire Department wouldn't allow candles...). Then all the names on the bags were read over the loudspeaker. It probably took nearly thirty minutes to read all the names. To me, this was the highlight of the event. On one hand, it was comforting to know that no one affected by cancer is alone. People want to help each other. On the other hand, it was incredibly sobering to get a glimpse at just how awful and far reaching this disease is. It affects may too many of us.

When Michelle's name was read over the loudspeaker I knew that I was the only one in the stadium who recognized it. At that moment I realized that it didn't matter how many miles I was going to run. Her name, her memory, not forgetting. This is the point, right? I felt that just by getting her name read off was a victory.

Her name still resonates in the air - her memory in physical form.

I did reach 30 miles by midnight. That was about the time that I realized my 50 mile goal was not going to happen. I feel guilty talking about the physical pain I was going through in an event honoring the memory of those who have passed away and who would give anything to feel the pain I was feeling. So I'll just say that I wanted to push myself physically in the celebration of the life Michelle was so passionate about. I did this. And covering those 10 miles in the last eight hours, though it may not seem like much, was something I'm proud of. The evening was a success.

Thank you all again! And thanks to all my teammates who helped out!

Co-worker and assistant team captain Rachel
helping set up tent and bake sale table

Jeanie's grandmother

Walking the track with friends

Nice turnout

Going in circles all night was probably
more difficult than I anticipated

Night shift

26 September 2007

50 Miles for Michelle

Last year my aunt Michelle passed away at the age of 44 after a battle with breast cancer.

I've been sitting here at my computer for well over two hours trying to find the perfect words to write about Michelle and how full of life my she was and how she affected everyone's lives in such an amazing way and how there must be some greater purpose for why a young mother of six beautiful children was taken away from us.

But none of the words came out right. They seemed shallow and unable to really explain how special she was. So I scratched everything I had written and I will simply say that I loved her and that she will be missed by so many.


This weekend is the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, a community-based event meant to raise money and awareness in the fight against cancer. I'm sure many of you have heard of this or have even participated in your local event. For those of you who haven't heard of it, the general idea is that you put together a team so that at least one team member is walking or running around the track at all times for twenty four hours. This symbolizes the fact that those with cancer are battling the disease around the clock with no breaks.

I had never participated before, but this year I really wanted to do something. Over the course of the last month or so this idea grew into my 50 Miles for Michelle attempt. I guess I thought that walking around the track for an hour or two would be pretty easy for me because I'm in the best shape of my life. So I wanted to do something challenging to honor and celebrate Michelle's life and how she lived it.

The Pullman event is, for some reason, not actually twenty four hours. It's only seventeen. So I will have seventeen hours to complete fifty miles (200 laps) on a track. I won't be treating this as a race but more like a couple of long runs back-to-back, which means I'll be in no hurry and will try to take as much of the seventeen hours as I can. Lots of breaks and lots of walking.

Yes, this is coming a week before my first ever marathon. Will it affect my performance in Portland? Probably, but I'm okay with that. A slower Portland time will just mean that I'll have a better chance to break my PR during my second marathon, right?


Even though I'm calling this weekend 50 Miles for Michelle, it won't be only Michelle that I'll be thinking about out there on the track. Last year saw Jeanie's loving grandmother, Mary Ellen, pass away after a brief battle with cancer. Mary Ellen took me in like her own grandson and I loved her like a grandmother. We will miss her.

And to all those touched by this terrible disease.

22 September 2007

From Black and White

Autumn was rushing over the Palouse this morning with an incredible sense of urgency. Strong winds pushing thick, gray clouds from one end of the sky to the other like they were a week late for something and needed to make up time. It was actually quite beautiful, and for a moment I didn't miss summer.

Sadie doesn't miss summer at all. She's glad those nasty hot temperatures are a thing of the past. Boy does she love to be on the trails in nice cool temps like today. It makes me very happy to see her so excited to get out of the car and jump all over me to get me to start running. So we ran.

Sadie still doesn't know that I went out on an super-long trail run last weekend. Instead of telling her I was going to Cle Elum for a 50k I told her I would be out of town for "business" and that we'd run when I got home. She would never forgive me if she'd known she didn't get to go on an awesome run. So today I made it up to her.

My legs are still feeling a bit tired, but they feel strong. And my knee feels strong too. Maybe it's the high I'm still on. Whatever it is, it feels good. In fact, I didn't even wear my knee brace today. The last couple weeks the brace has been mostly just a teddy bear for me - it made me feel better having it on. But I don't want my leg to get used to it if I don't need it.

I didn't want to push too hard today, but I wanted to get some good time on feet. We headed up my favorite trail, Headwaters Loop, and at about the halfway point turned uphill to go to Paradise Point and beyond. I felt strong climbing, both running and walking. Still pretty sore on the downhills, though. After Cle Elum I see that I need to work more on my downhill running. Sadie looked strong on all the ups and downs. She even almost caught a bush ruffling grouse. She got a piece of it but it was able to flap its way out of trouble and up into the tree. This didn't dampen Sadie's spirit though, she just spent the next ten minutes randomly pouncing in the bushes hoping to scare up another one.

Also, I got a little toy in the mail yesterday. I guess my inner gear head got the best of my outer not-as-geary-head. I've been running the trails on Moscow Mt. for a year or so now and have never been real sure what the distances are. Usually I can make a pretty good educated guess just based on how long it takes me. So today I put the toy to the test. I was very pleased with the reception it got. This was the biggest reason I took so long to make the purchase - I wasn't sure how it would do under near ly constant tree coverage. Everything looked good. I don't think I lost signal (does it beep or something if it does lose signal?) and there was nothing to suggest the data was inaccurate when I uploaded all the info on my computer. Very cool stuff. In the past I've been saying that my runs up to Paradise Point were about ten miles and today this portion of the route came out to just over eleven miles. So that was a nice feeling.

Stats from the run:
-13.05 miles
-2hr 36mins
-5,300 ft of elevation gain! (elevation chart to the right)
-One happy dog
-One lucky grouse

This week is going to be a super-rest week. I have my 50 Miles for Michelle attempt next weekend. I'll post more details about this in a couple days.

Portland Marathon in two weeks....
JFK 50 in less than two months....
I just talked to my dad and this morning he scoped out the Appalachian Trail section of the JFK 50. It's a thirteen or fourteen mile section at the beginning of the race. His report was four words long: "Rocks, lots of rocks." Great. Nonetheless, I'm getting very excited about the next several weeks of running.

Keep running!


20 September 2007

Feeling Not Bad

It took me a couple days but I finally got a taste of my ultra high. Race day and Sunday I was too tired to even notice a high if I had one. It feels great and I'm simply excited all-around. I even signed up for a couple 100 mile races. Just kidding. Or am I?.....

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were the first days I've used the elevator at work since as I began my training in early 2007. From the parking lot, my office is up six flights of stairs. I love elevators.

Tuesday and Wednesday I did some brisk walking and intermittent running to try to loosen the legs up. Today I went out for a nice three mile run with no walking. It felt good. My knee felt good, too. I was definitely worried (and still am) that my knee took too severe of a beating at Cle Elum, so I was very excited that there was no pain during the run today.

Again, thanks to everyone for the awesome support I've been getting. You all are the best. We got a great thing going and it's been so much fun.

On to the next adventure....

Keep running!


16 September 2007

Cle Elum Ridge 50k - Race Report

"If you start to feel good during an ultra, don't worry, you will get over it." - Gene Thibeault


What a day. I'm still exhausted and sore, mentally and physically, but it is just now beginning to set in that I've completed my first ultra. One thing is for certain: this isn't a 50k that they give away for free - you have to earn it.

Forecast called for beautiful weather and it didn't disappoint. It was a great day to run.

(Get comfortable because this may take awhile)

Sunrise on the drive to the start

For some reason I was a bit nervous before this race. I have no idea why. ;) A few of the things that concerned me as I was heading over to the starting line:

1. I had no idea how my knee would hold up.
2. I had never been more than 21 miles on a single run.
3. I forgot to shave my head the night before. I always feel better after a nice buzz.
4. I didn't know how much water I should carry with water stations every 4 or 5 miles. (I went minimal - one handheld.)
5. Everyone looked relaxed and happy but me. Is this going to be easy for them? :)
6. OOPS! I forgot to put on my body glide! (quick jaunt back to the car to rub up.) That could have been disastrous.

Gathering at the start

Elbowing for a great starting position

5....4....3....(here it goes - my first ultra!)...2....1 - GO! (screams and yelps)

The first mile of the course is along a paved road to get to the trail head. The next 30+ miles is all trail.

MILE 0.01 - Yep, I'm feeling good. Very good, actually. What's the course record again??

MILE 0.02 - Wow, how did all those people get in front of me?

MILE 0.07 - My first (and last) tactical race maneuver. I ran around this lady to jump from 95th place to 94th (there were 96 starters). This would pay off in the end. How? I didn't know, but I was confident that something good had to come out of it.

We hit the trail and I was very careful not to get caught up with a fast group. I think there were only a half dozen runners behind when when we started on the trail and that's just where I wanted to be. It was going to be the longest I'd ever run and I wanted to be sure that I saved all I could while still moving forward. My plan going in was to walk the ups and run the flats and downs. I thought a lot of back of the pack ultra runners lived by this motto too, so I was pretty surprised, even in just the first couple miles, to see everyone trying to run the ups. This made me a little nervous wondering if these ups weren't "real" ups and for hardcore ultra runners anything less than 45 degrees is considered "flat." But I stuck with my guns and let them run by me. Pretty soon, though, everyone seemed to be walking the inclines and I felt a little better.

I liked being at the end of these trains so I could stop
and take photos without getting in anyone's way

Going up

It's hard to really know a course without having ever been on it. What kind of terrain should I expect? Are there any stream crossings? Which shirt would match the course mood better - my blue or orange? The race website had a wonderful elevation profile that basically tells you all you need to know about the Cle Elum 50k. You're going to go up, then up, then down a bit, then back up some more. And then up a little more with a tiny down and then a really steep up until you reach the pass at around mile 17. From there it's a nice and easy downhill. Smooth sailing for second half. This race should be easy with a nice downhill like that...right?

from race website

Have I mentioned there were a couple, maybe three, rocks on the course? This trail is shared by dirt bikers, so needless to say it was pretty rough in parts. At the pre-race briefing the race directors (Marty and Chris Fagan) were saying that the trail was looking pretty good compared with previous years. So, I guess I am thankful for these rocks.

These were the "baby" rock sections. The totally gnarly
sections were so outrageously and unbelievably...gnarly...
that I didn't even want to attempt to take my camera out
because I was afraid for my life. Would I lie?

MILE ~6 - The Knee Pain

This is the first big test of the day for me. I knew there would be many of them and I knew my getting across the finish line was going to depend as much on my mental stamina as much as my physical stamina. I felt the pain coming and when it hit I just stopped, picked up a nice size rock, and threw it as far as I could off the mountain. I took a few moments to think about what was happening. This was a pain that I knew would get worse. I was very mad. Devastated? Maybe not quite devastated, but very discouraged. This is the point when the thought first crossed my mind that maybe I wouldn't be able to finish the run. Either the pain would be too much and I'd have to drop, or I would have to go so slow that I'd miss the cutoffs. And I'm only at mile six!!! I got myself together and pushed a little more. The pain was there and if this were a training run I probably would have stopped and went home to rest it.

It didn't help my mood any when I was testing out the knee on a downhill section and this lady whizzes by me, then slows down to critique me (help me?) on my downhill running form.

"You need to stay forward. You can't run on your heels like that." I did my best to nod with a non-evil look on my face. She didn't know my knee was in pain and she just wanted to help, but at the moment I felt like kung-fu fighting her. Actually, I didn't think about that at the moment, I just thought about that now because it sounded funny. Hiiii-YA!

On the drive from Pullman I was listening to one of my Radiohead CDs. Now, I wasn't expecting Radiohead to play a part in getting me through my first ultra, but weirder things have happened. One of their songs, "There There", has a repeated phrase that says "Just 'cause you feel it, doesn't mean it's there." I kept thinking about this song for the rest of the race. Just because I feel all this pain, doesn't necessarily mean that it's there, right? Hmmm, think about that one. I think my Jedi-mind trick worked. When my knee started hurting I would act like it was just an illusion and keep going. Or I would think about how bad another part of my body was hurting and then my knee didn't seem so bad.

Still making my way up

MILE 10 - Feeling...OK. Almost to the first aid station.

Just now starting to grasp on how long this race is going to be. The longest race I'd run before this one was approximately eleven miles back in July. I remember finishing that one and trying to comprehend how in the world would I be able to run that course another two times to equal 50k.
Looking south during another climb

It's also around this time that I realized I had forgot to throw my ibuprofen in my back pocket. I needed/wanted some bad. Funny how before a race I feel so out of routine that I forgot the easy stuff. I had all these thing laid out on the seat of the car but I guess I was so distracted and nervous before the race started that I forgot them. Also forgot to slop a little sunblock on my face and neck. And, as mentioned earlier, almost forgot to apply body glide.

Maybe they'll have some pills at the aid station.

On a ridge looking north

MILE 12.5 - (Aid Station 1) My confidence is building.

Now the climbing begins. I'm hurting at this point, but not too bad. I seem to be making progress on the uphills. My power hiking is strong and the uphills are the only time that I have no pain in my knee. There are a few downhill rumbles on the way up to Windy Pass and it's becoming pretty clear that if the second half of the race is anything but a nice, walk in the park type of gradual downhill (like the elevation chart suggests, right?) then I will be seriously hurting.

Though my body is hurting, mentally I feel I am getting stronger. Six-plus miles after feeling the knee pain and I'm still pushing ahead. This is motivating and my confidence is building. I've read about the highs and lows of long ultra runs (100 miles), and even though a 50k is the wimp of ultra races I can see some of these highs and lows playing out. I want to take advantage of my current high and take as little time as possible at the aid station. I fill up with water, take a few shots of Mountain Dew, and grab a nice big handful of salty, greasy potato chips and head back up the trail. I forget to ask if anyone had any pills.

MILE 17 - (Windy Pass) This is no longer fun.

I'm trying to remember why the heck I wanted to run an ultra. I think it was for the chicks. Ultrarunners are like rock stars and I've always wanted to be a rock star. Near the top of the pass I begin praying that the downhill section was at least wide enough to log roll down. It wasn't.

As not fun as it is at this point I can still trick myself into thinking that the beautiful scenery makes all the pain worth it. Writing this now it is easy to say that, but yesterday the only reason I stopped to take some of these photos was because I was too tired to move and had to find something to do in the meantime.

Can you smell the mountain air?

Next time I come to this spot it
will be on the back of a llama

Heading down the other side
of Windy Pass

That first section coming down from the pass was particularly brutal on my fragile body. I felt like a bag of bones rumbling down the hill. There goes my dream of it being a nice, easy, walk in the park downhill to the finish line.

MILE 17-21 - (Windy Pass - Aid Station 2) Help!

The only thing I remember about this section is that it never ended. Ever.

Actually, the course smoothed out a bit and wasn't the mind-jarring rocky steep declines and I was able to get in a nice rhythm. As bad as my body was hurting and I was still going strong mentally. For awhile there I actually thought that since I was still moving forward that I must have had some sort of supernatural brain power like telekinesis. My mind was moving my body. And I couldn't wait for the race to end so I could share this new power with the rest of the world. Think of the great things I could accomplish!

But then I ran out of water about a half-mile before the aid station and this really bummed me out.

The crew at Aid Station 2 was awesome. They were grabbing everyone's bottles and filling them up with lightning speed and helped me out with food issues. There were some tablets in a bowl that I asked about and they were some kind of salt-replacement thingamabobs and they told me that if I hadn't taken any yet I should pop a couple. I stuffed my face with orange slices and pretzel sticks and almost gagged when I looked at the GU packets. No way I could down one of those at this point.

Aid Station 2 was at the 21 mile mark, which means this was as far as I had ever been. I think my body knew it too, because it decided to quit right about then.

MILE 21-Finish - must...keep...moving...want...to...

You may be thinking, "Scott, why aren't there anymore of your cool photos from the pass to the finish line?" It wasn't for lack of scenery, for sure. At the beginning of the race, I would take a photo of something I thought was worth stopping for. Then, I would take photos when I was taking a break. During the last 10+ miles I was not only too tired to take any photos (the actual motion of taking my camera phone out was too painful to even think about) but I was too tired to even take a break. If I would have stopped moving forward I would have stopped. Period. Call a cab, get a stretcher, whatever, but I won't be moving anymore today thank you.

So I kept moving. When it hurt really bad I tried to run a little ways. This plan worked very well, I think. When walking hurt, run. When running hurt, walk. Just don't stop.

At one point nearing the end I looked at my watch and thought that maybe I would have a chance at breaking 7-hours (8-hours is the cutoff). This gave me a boost of energy for about 45 seconds, and that was the last fume of energy in the tank. I walked in the last two miles.

If I remember correctly, I raised my hands above my head as I ran/shuffled across the finish line. My first ultra complete.

(Cle Elum Ridge 50k race results)

Either I was running so fast,
or the course was so awesomely gnarly...


I don't remember when I knew that I would finish this thing. You always read stories of people running their first "big" race and it seems there's always a point when they know that they'll complete it and there's often a wave of emotion that hits. Maybe I was expecting a moment like this. But after reflecting on it for the past day, I think I knew I was going to finish it before I even started it. I just couldn't imagine any scenario that had me driving home to Pullman without a finish time.

Lessons learned:
  • Salt-tablet thingamabobs
  • Better to carry extra water than not
  • Make a physical checklist (not a mental one) of things needed before going to starting line
  • Utilize drop bag option - you never know what you'll get at the aid stations
  • Take a photo of yourself at the finish line as proof
  • Practice my post-race mingling (I was SO tired I could barely walk let alone meet and greet with people. How did everyone else have so much energy!?!)
  • Next time I think about doing my "first" ultra - pick an easier one
The ultrarunning crowd is as great as I imagined. (I met fellow bloggers Eric and Bella, who kicked butt on the course!) Sitting around the finish line during dinner and the awards/prize giveaway, it was amazing to be around these people. There were still some runners out on the course and any time a runner would pop out of the trail and head toward the finish line the awards/giveaways would stop and everyone would turn around to cheer the runner through the finish. Amazing how much these people support each other. It was great to be a part of.

Ultrarunning is about finishing. It's about proving to yourself that you can do it.

I was sad that Jeanie wasn't able to make it to the race with me. She's right in the middle of her prelims and can't afford to take any time off. I knew when I signed up for the race that her prelims were scheduled during the same time. The idea was that I would get out of her way so she could have some solo time to study. But it was still sad that she couldn't make it.


Thanks to everyone for their inspiration and support! It's been a wild ride, hasn't it??

Keep running!


15 September 2007

Cle Elum 50k (Preliminary Report)

Short version:


Long version:


(more to come when I regain consciousness -- ps I finished)

14 September 2007

Here I go...

So, tomorrow is the big day. (gulp) I'm excited - and nervous. 50 kilometers...I guess this is where all the fun begins. :)

I've had a nice, easy week running. My body may still be a little sore from Saturday's 20 miler - but I also think it's just my mind playing tricks on me. I think my body is trying to tell me that I've done enough damage already and that I shouldn't even be thinking about trying a 50k through the mountains. We'll see who's boss tomorrow. Me (whatever that means), or my body.

In other news :

You may have seen that there is a new event on my "Upcoming Events" list on the right. 50 Miles for Michelle has been something in the works for a little while now and I've finally committed myself to it. I'll post more information about it next week. It's something that I really have my heart set on and I'm excited about it.

Keep running! (I'll be trying to tomorrow)


11 September 2007

Sun Setting on Summer

The weight of the summer sun has taken its toll on the sky. Heavy and cumbersome, the sun has become too much for the sky to keep up all day and is let down earlier and earlier. I'll blink, and it will be winter.

Four years in the Northwest and it has been so hard getting used to the dark winters (it gets dark at 4pm!)-- so hard that here I am dreading about it already and it isn't even October yet. Patience, Daniel-san. Patience.

Just a month ago Sadie and I would head for the trails after work and there would be three hours of sunlight left in the day. Tonight half the 5.5 mile run was after the sun dropped behind the trees.

My legs are in for the shock of their life this weekend. I keep telling them it's going to be tough and they keep telling me "don't worry, we'll be fine." Okay, but don't look at me for pity this weekend.

I'm taking it easy this week. A little running, but mostly stretching, icing, heating, rolling, yodeling, ironing, and meditating. Hopefully it will be enough. :)

Today - 5.5 miles

Keep running!


08 September 2007

Let 'r Rip

I've been backing into next week's 50k a bit beat up. No "long" runs in a month. Knee uncooperative. Not as confident as I have been. Thinking maybe I should skip it to concentrate on Portland and JFK. But, with the knee giving me a little glimmer of hope over this past week the ultra-excitement for the 50k has returned. My excitement for this race far exceeds my excitement for the Portland Marathon. So, with only one weekend left to give my legs and knee a little test I decided to do just that.

Sadie and I started out early this morning for a nice little 20.5 mile trip to Moscow, ID and back. I wanted to take my time with these 20 miles -- the more time on my feet the better to prepare me for next week. No sense trying to break a speed record. I ran a lot and threw in several walk breaks. I felt great for about 14 or 15 miles (no knee pain!) and then my legs filled with concrete. I was hoping that my extended rest over the past few weeks didn't erase the conditioning I had built up - but it was pretty clear I'm not where I was at just one month ago. I made it through those last miles okay, though I was pretty much hurting everywhere. Feet, knees, quads, back, earlobes, hair - hurt. But it was a good hurt. (I just wanted to say that - in reality there was nothing good about it. It was a plain hurt, which means it wasn't a good hurt because there is no such thing as good hurt.)

So, next week is going to be an awesome experience. Physically and mentally. I can't wait. I think today's little workout will definitely help me.

Today - 20.5 miles
Yesterday - 2 treadmill

In your face new girl at work!!!

[Photo: Sadie running for the Idaho border. She's so happy my knee is better.]

Keep running! I am.


06 September 2007

"Thanks, New Girl"

So the new girl at work has run a marathon before. And track/cross-country in high school. I was talking with her about my runner's knee hoping maybe she had something wonderfully insightful that I haven't heard yet. Here's a recap of the insightful conversation:

Her - Do you stretch?

Me - Yes.

Her - Maybe you need new shoes. Do you keep track of the miles?

Me - Yes.

Her - Sometimes you can increase your weekly mileage too fast.

Me - Yeah, but I've been following a training schedule almost exactly.

Her - Try running on something other than concrete or asphalt.

Me - Most of my runs are on dirt or gravel.

Her - Well, some people just weren't born with the ability to run.

Me - Thanks. Talk to you later. (I don't like your shoes. So there!)

Thanks for the inspiration. What is this, a couple questions that don't solve anything then immediately suggest I change my life plan??? Last running conversation I have with her. Maybe last anything conversation.

Anyway, Sadie and I went out for a lovely five mile run. No knee pain or any discomfort. My quads are still a little tight from all the quad exercises I've been doing. But a little running will solve that problem.

I feel I may be getting back into the groove. Still going to take it easy this weekend, but I am feeling much more optimistic about my chances of finishing a 50k next weekend within the eight hour time limit. (you have permission to begin heckling me for even thinking about the 50k right now...)

Today - 5 pain free miles on no treadmill

Keep running!


05 September 2007


First - the NO!!!!
  • I ran on a treadmill (ahhhhhh!!!!)

But... - the YES!!!!
  • 4.5 miles with no knee pain, no walking, and no left or right turns

Marcy, please forgive me for ever threatening you that I won't read your blog anymore when you do evil treadmill workouts. I never thought I'd ever find myself back on one, but the new Miss Treadmill Goddess of the Universe inspired me with this safe alternative for my knee recovery. The last time I ran on a treadmill was way back in the day when conservative Idaho senators were actually real life conservative Idaho senators. (end of bad joke portion of today's post.)

I'm excited. I will try to do a "conservative" long(er) run this weekend, with many walk breaks, to hopefully help make my decision about whether or not I even attempt Cle Elum next weekend.

Feeling good, though. Feeling good.

Today - 4.5 miles



02 September 2007

Slow Progress

My knee is feeling much better, but it is s-l-o-w progress. Yesterday morning I took the pups for an easy 3.5 mile run. (Photos: Shasta on top and Sadie on bottom on two separate sections of the trail.) It is hard not to go out and just push it like I was three weeks ago. Safe. I must be safe. So I ran easy and threw some nice easy walk breaks in the mix. 3.5 miles - no knee pain, plus absolutely no discomfort or any signs of the runner's knee. Very nice. Yesterday evening I was able to successfully drag Jeanie away from her studies (she's working on her Ph.D.) and we went out for another short run - 2.5 miles. Knee still felt good, though it did feel a little fatigued. Not even close to the pain and discomfort I've felt for the past two weeks.

This morning I took Sadie for a five mile run. Again, I took a few walk breaks just to be conservative, but I ran more than I've run since the start of all this. For about a mile or so I took of the training wheels and picked up the pace a little. It felt good and my knee felt great and I wanted to keep going. I planned to push it a bit to the end but during the last half mile I felt the fatigue setting in so I immediately hit the brakes and walked in. No pain, but still not 100%. I'll probably take Monday and Tuesday off just to get some more rest.

My heart tells me I'll still be ready for Cle Elum on the 15th...but I think I need to start being realistic about whether my knee will be ready. I still have two weeks to make that decision though, so no reason to call it off this soon.

Also, I started wearing a knee support yesterday that seems to be helping. I had tried one of those knee straps but I didn't like the feel of it and it didn't give me the comforting feeling of the knee support that I want right now.


ATTENTION all Garmin Forerunner 205/305 users...

I'm getting pretty close to thinking real hard about possibly looking into maybe getting one. I'm leaning toward the 205 just because I don't think I'd use the heart rate monitor (and because it's less expensive). BUT my biggest obstacle right now is trying to figure out simply if it would be worth having. Sure, I'd have loads of fun with its GPS capabilities - but I'm worried that with all the tree-covered trail running I do it would just be a waste on those runs. I wouldn't really need the GPS capabilities on my road training because I have a watch and can use mapmyrun.com for accurate distances and relatively accurate elevation gain/loss. And nothing really excites me about all the bells and whistles like the training partner thing. So I would want this almost solely for running trails. I'd like to get accurate data on my trail runs, data that right now I'm just estimating. SO, if anyone out there tells me the performance of either the 205 or 305 is noticeably compromised under near constant tree-covered trail running then I will skip it and continue to run like the cavemen did. If any of you trail runners are completely satisfied with its trail performance then I would love to hear.


Have a wonderful Labor Day!!