Friday, September 12, 2014

Hatcher Pass Marathon Alaska

Trying to catch up and I wait so long to update another amazing event takes place in between and I cant gather my thoughts.....well at least I will blame that on the reasoning of not being able to gather my thoughts.
I chose Hatcher Pass Marathon as my Alaska race simply because of the name - HATCHER! Thats my last name and so it was a must do event.  I did not look at the profile or description of the course but that is typical of me....I like the element of surprise and all I can do at anything is my best.  Once you realize the race has the name Pass in it then you realize oh....its gonna be on a mountain pass. It is a point to point run starting in Willow AK and ending in Palmer AK. You pretty much run up the pass for around 25 miles with a total elevation gain of around 4000 feet. It really isn't bad....there are some really step climbs but lots of gradual and the views are just breathtaking. I can honestly say I did not want this event to end! The nice thing also is they do allow for an hour early start which I took along with about a dozen people. This is a small event but if more people realized how beautiful this was that are doing all 50 States this is a MUST do event for Alaska. Sure there is some challenge to it compared to other Alaskan Marathons but trust is worth it!
The event takes place in July - here is a link to the webpage so if you want an experience keep your eyes on the page for next years registration! I will be back sometime but next July I already have another amazing event planned.
Now lets talk about this wonderful runcation I took with my 20 year old son Tanner! So much WOW that still is in my head that it is hard to describe this amazing experience.  We always try to make the best out of the time we have and push ourselves to see and do everything possible in the amount of time we have - one day we will be resting in heaven and there is too much to do and see while we are here on earth! The first day was all travel but was really cool landing at 9:40pm with the sun shining! I had made travel plans beforehand for us to take a train,kayak, glacier climb the next morning and we would stay in the town of Anchorage for the first two nights. While we were traveling I received a message from a friend of mine I met last year at the Center of The Nations week long event David from California - he asked a favor of me and told me the situation....his young nephew lives in Alaska and was hiking a couple days prior and fell over 20 feet off a cliff! He was life flighted to Childrens Hospital in Anchorage and David wondered if there was anyway I could find something for his nephew and take it to the hospital and let him know his uncle was thinking about him. OF COURSE I will do that!!! With the time change and all we didnt feel the effects the next morning for our first days adventure - which by the way was almost 13 hours!! We did the train ride to Spencer Glacier then Kayaked Across and then did the Glacier Hike. What an experience!
 The train ride was long but the scenery was great. It stopped at several stops along the way then we arrived several hours later to Spencer Glacier where we suited up for the kayak trip across the lake to the Glacier. Once on the Glacier we got our helmets and crampons and we were off hiking the glacier. The tour company was awesome and even had us all try our hands at a little bit of climbing the glacier which was cool. I was surprised how hard it was even walking on the glacier with the crampons and feeling off balance but in time we got a little more use to it. We then kayaked back across the lake and put all the gear away and visited while we got ready to wait for the train to come back and pick us up. It was a long day but went by so fast and we saw and learned soooo much. We got back to Anchorage around 10pm and started looking for a store that we could find some goodies to bring to David's nephew the next morning. We were planning to drive to Whittier to do the glacier tour on the boat that next day and had to make the tunnel by a certain time. We found some fun stuff for his nephew and got back to the hotel so we could get our stuff all packed and ready since when we left Thursday morning we would not be back to Anchorage until Tuesday and Thursday night we were going to be staying at a Bed N Breakfast on the Palmer side of Hatcher Pass (of course the name of the place was Hatcher Pass B&B- We slept pretty well and still were fine with the time change, probably because we were so busy seeing things and wanting to see more! We arrived at the hospital and Davids sister was expecting us, his nephew was sound asleep - poor kid - broke his arm the other arm messed up, his jaw was wired shut so he couldnt eat solids and his mouth was always drying out so David suggested tic tacs which we got several kinds as well as several bags of mints and fun stuff. Tanner nor I didnt think twice about taking a couple hours out of our trip to do this for this boy....he was sooooo lucky to have even survived this and was glad we were there at that time to be able to send some love from his Uncle that couldnt be there in person! After we left the hospital we headed toward Whittier as we planned to take the 21 glacier cruise - we didnt purchase our tickets yet due the the weather forecast for that day and glad we didnt! As we got closer the weather got rougher so we called and found out all tours were cancelled for that day. We stopped at a wildlife park even though it was raining we got to see the wildlife.
We headed on to Palmer but along the way we saw different markers along the road with places to stop and do some short hikes and we took advantage of those. Later we checked into our cabin and drove up over Hatcher Pass and did some short hikes at the summit. Wow it was gorgeous!
We also drove down a side road and got to see a young bear cub! At the gas station next to our Bed & Breakfast we had the best find....sweatshirts and tshirts that read I AM A HATCHERPASSHOLE! We got matching ones and a couple tshirts to have for white elephant gifts for the family Christmas Party.

Friday am we drove to the town of Talkeetna and it was a little cloudy that day so the view of Denali wasnt the best but was still pretty amazing. We then headed to the Willow Side of Hatcher Pass where we were staying at another Bed & breakfast this time inside some folks home.
This was the small lake behind their house.
I cant recall how many acres there land was but it was so peaceful. After we checked in we kinda drove around and checked out a local farmers market for homemade tamales!

The marathon was on Saturday....The forecast was for rain and it started with a drizzle but soon turned out to be a super nice day. Tanner volunteered so it was nice to see him on the course a couple times. I caught myself in this daze pretty much the entire 6 hours just looking around at the mountains and valleys around me. In Alaska you go above tree line around 2300 feet or so and that was interesting.

After the run we headed back to the B&B took a shower and decided the next morning we would head back to Anchorage that night instead of the following...there was much more to do in Anchorage then the area we were in.  Several people told me about doing a couple hikes so the first stop on the way back into Anchorage was called the West Butte....this was a nice climb....there were a lot of steps but not really too technical. We got towards the summit and then it was lose dirt and rocky but we made our way to the top for a wonderful panoramic view! After the hike we made our way to Anchorage and ate dinner at the Moose Tooth where I tried a couple local beers but then received a couple messages from friends that we must now go hike to the top of Flat Rock Mountain, I decided to stop the adult beverages at that time if we were to make this hike.  Lets say I am glad I did! I still dont have the words to describe this hike! We didnt start until 8:30pm or so and it's really only 1.7 miles each way with an elevation gain of 1300 feet. The beginning isnt too tough and even when you get to the railroad tie style stairs that take you to the next level isnt technical just gets the heart rate up. We took our time and took some breaks and just sat and admired the views at how high we already were but at the same time looking over and up to where we still needed to be!
Once we hit the next level the climb to the summit is now mountainous and when I say mountainous its rocky no trails and lots of slippery areas of lose dirt and rocks, there is also no safety, no ropes nothing, you slip you fall and you drop a long long way.  I still didnt have my strength back from my shoulder surgery which was just under 12 weeks prior but I had to use my entire body to pull myself up some of these huge rocks. On many occasions we stopped to try to figure out what our next move in the world were we going to get to the top and then how in the world were we getting back down. It was terrifying but we knew we had come so far and were getting closer that we would regret not making the trip on up. As we hung on to a large boulder some folks were coming back down and could hear us and could hear our fear, also a biplane did a fly over and was within feet of us and that really threw us off cause we were not expecting that.....but we laughed. The 3 people coming down were locals and gave us a tip to try to find the faded white dots on the boulders and follow them, sure there was major climbing involved but there wasnt that loose girt that would cause us to slip off the side of the mountain...they also said listen you can hear the flag you are almost there!!! We made it and were elated....Tanner immediately headed off to all the different areas of the summit to take in the 360* view of Anchorage. It was so cold and windy at the top and was almost 10:30pm by now but the sun was still out!

 Going down was not as hard as we expected but we did have to sit and slowly scoot a couple times. Once we got back to where our car was Tanner dropped to the ground and kissed it!

We got to our room and got things packed and ready as the next morning was suppose to be beautiful weather so we were going to drive to Whittier for the 21 Glacier Cruise, our flight was leaving Anchorage around 10:45 pm that evening.  We saw quite a few humpback whales, sea otters, sea lions, and other wild life.
Was a trip that will be remembered for a long long time!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Storm The Dam Marathon Kansas

 I picked Storm the Dam marathon for my Kansas state after I accidentally signed up for Pikes Peak Marathon for my Colorado. My intentions had been to do Kansas and Colorado next spring as a double in the Dust Bowl series with Mainly Marathons and then i would finish in June with Hawaii.....but this all changed on the fateful night at 10:30pm when I checked my facebook page one last time and my running buddy Scott Sunday had posted a post that he couldn't believe Pikes Peak was still open....of course I had to run downstairs and sign up! So then I had to find a Kansas and I preferred to get it done this year. El Dorado Kansas is 870 miles away - I talked to my friend Heather to see if she was interested in knocking out Kansas and told her I would drive and we would just share gas cost if she wanted to go....she's the best and is as crazy as I am and loves running and seeing new places as much as me so we make a great running team!
During the New England Challenge plus Vermont my son had heard many marathon maniacs speak of how many stars and different stats and he asked how many I had. I really didnt know but the last time I had updated my runs I did notice that I had 8 stars, I can't tell you when I got 8 stars and don't care to take the time to find out but my son then asked how do I get 10...which is the highest level for a marathon maniac.  We looked up the criteria and to get 10 stars you must do 30 different states in a period of 365 days or do 52 marathons in 365 we got adding up all the different states as well as the number of marathons I had done in the previous 365 days. Hey we were driving all over New England so we had plenty of time to do some calculating while driving to the next run! After some figuring he realized if I finish Kansas on June 7th that would be 30 states in 365 days!! If that run fell on June 8th I would then have to recalculate and I would still have the capabilities of reaching 10 stars but it would be a couple months or so later due to the fact that I repeat a lot of states for fun.
Now I am still not released to run with my shoulder and things have really been hurting but this run is important to get the state of Kansas out of the way and also now to qualify me as a Titanium Maniac.  We got to Kansas and the weather was calling for torrential rains for the entire run....I was nervous the race would be cancelled if their was lightening they were calling for and I was also nervous due to the course being on all trail and muddy and slippery with my shoulder.  That night the rains came in and it poured!!! The course was flooded so badly they had to reroute some of it as the bridge we would be crossing was gushing so bad we would have been swept away. We did however get fortunate to where the rain stopped during the event but the course was a mud bath, and when it wasnt muddy we were in ankle deep slosh with loose grass getting stuck all over our legs. There was also 3 creek crossings per lap but these were not just creek crossing, they were slide down the mudslide into the creek (one knee deep) and then climb up the other side which was like a mud slip and slide trying to grab ahold of any branch to help yourself up. Heather waited for me the first lap at one of the slip and slide creek crossings to help me up and was worried about how I was gonna do this without jeopardizing my shoulder recovery.  I only have my left arm to try to pull myself up with and that was tough, running in the slosh and trying to keep balance was rough - each time I would slip my immediate reaction was both arms would jerk as to balance myself so by the end of the race my right shoulder was sooooo sore.  When I saw Heather on the second lap she checked on me and I was a little concerned as to how I was going to go around another time with my shoulder and I said I didnt drive 870 miles here to not finish Kansas plus it was going to get me to Titanium!!!
After the run there was a shower at the campground which was a slice of heaven! We were sooo dirty, one of those mud slide I did have to actually just sit and slide down it and land in the big stream of water. We started home to Ohio and knew we would be stopping somewhere half way, we got almost to St Louis and was great because we got to stay with Jorge and Paula!!!!
Since this run I have found out that my bicep tendon repair did hold but during the recovery I now have a torn rotator cuff, The doctor told me the first part of August after doing the test about this and suggested another surgery with a quick stitch to anchor it back and a shot of cortisone since the inflammation has not gone down and I have been in a lot of pain, I chose the shot of cortisone only because I dont have the time to recover from another surgery right now and hopefully soon I will be able to start some therapy that will help things get stronger and possibly better on its own. If not...when the time comes it interferes with my lifestyle then we shall see. Pain I can deal with as long as I can still do the things I want to do.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New England Challenge Plus Vermont 6 states 6 marathons 7 days MAY 12-18

 I had already signed up for this event well before I decided to go ahead and get my shoulder fixed and with me wanting to do all 50 states I hated to not do this because I could get 6 states in one week and my son was home from college for the summer and was able to join me.  I knew I would have to walk most of these as I had just had my labrum tendon reattached 4 weeks prior and was not suppose to run for 10-12 weeks and be in the sling for a min of 6 weeks. I agreed I would wear the sling and also have an ace bandage to wrap the sling tighter to me if I felt too much jarring in the shoulder. With the first 5 events the New England Challenge there was no time limit so that also helped with my decision to continue and participate. I have never been one to do events for speed it is all about having fun and enjoying the scenery and the people but I was having a hard time realizing that it was going to take me almost 7 hours having to walk some of these events and that was tough. Yes I am a slow marathoner and average around a 4:50 but an extra 2 hours is A LOT of extra time on your feet!
Tanner and I drove so that we could see so much more of the New England states and on the way we passed through Boonesboro Maryland, home of the JFK 50 miler I have done the past 2 Novembers and also home of a great friend Shaunte Brooks Taswell who I met 2 years ago at my first JFK 50. So we let her know we were coming thru and we stopped and met with her, her mother and one of her daughters for lunch at Panera and spent some time catching up. We took turns driving and had no hotels for the first night as we were not sure how far we felt like driving. We got into CT late but all rooms were booked due to UCON graduation so on we went into MA and found a place for the evening.  The next morning we only had about 3-4 hours of driving to do. We arrived in Portland Maine and checked out the town.
Marathon One...Portland Maine....this course was a looped course around a
water way bike/running trail and it was really pretty. It was so nice to see a bunch of my running family, some I had not seen since the Center of the Nations series others I hadnt seen in just a month or so. It always feels like a giant family reunion at some of these events.  Since we drove our own car Tanner was able to drop me off at the start and head back to bed and then he wasnt bored to death or really whiny after sitting and waiting for me to finish.  I jogged the first half of this run and felt pretty good then told myself not to be stupid and just speed was not worth risking my shoulder not heal properly. I finished in a decent time of just over 6 hours and that evening my shoulder was a little sore so at that point I decided the rest of the week I would only speed walk! I didn't bring my pain medication for that reason, I am good at tolerating pain as it is and if I brought pain medication and took it if my shoulder started to hurt that it would mask the pain too much and I would ignore it and risk allowing it to heal. See sometimes I really do think logically!!  After the run we headed onto Nashua NH.

     Day Two - Nashua NH....this run was pretty close to our hotel so Tanner decided he would sleep in and just walk over when he got up. I let him know roughly what time I would be done and hoped he would be there in time to walk a lap with me. This was a pretty course also but very loose gravel and it spit the rain for the first half of the event. I found myself having to stop almost every 15-20 minutes to dump the debris out of my socks and shoes.  Tanner made it over before I started the last lap and he walked with me and took some picture of the creeks, this old industrial part we went through and enjoyed himself. Each lap was about 5ish miles and the complete course measured almost 27 miles..ugggg Before going to Warwich we stopped in the town of Portsmouth NH and ate lunch, checked out the Portsmouth Brewery and looked around their really quant cool town! I was unable to shower after the run so I am sure I smelled really nice.

Day Three - Warwich Rhode Island - I rode with my favorite running couple Cathy and Troy Johnson to the start of this run and that way Tanner could sleep in as it was about 20 minutes or so from the hotel. This was the first time we didnt completely check to see where the start of the run was so ofcourse he got lost trying to get there. There was some steeper downhills on this course which I found myself holding my shoulder in place a little more stable as I went down those. I was hoping for Tanner to arrive and go the last lap with me here or get there cause I wanted some of the beer that I had bought at the Portsmouth Brewery the day before and it had been on ice ever since!!! With him getting lost he didnt arrive until I was already on my final loop. This course too was a little long but not nearly as long as yesterdays....I guess we are getting our money's worth- We headed on into Hartford CT and were checking into out hotel the Super 8- it was one that the race site actually suggested as places to stay. When we arrived it looked like a shady area of town and the entire check in window was enclosed like a bank with bullet proof glass. It took over 15 minutes just to check in as they could barely speak English. When we got to our room I had Tanner look under the mattress first for any sings of bedbugs and he says oh gross there is a dirty towel under the bed and as he was picking it up with his fingers 2 crack pipes fell out....ummmmm see ya!! We called the manager he didnt understand what we were saying and then i just yelled THERE ARE DRUGS IN OUR ROOM_ DRUGS! So he came down to see we took photos and told him we would go somewhere else, took him forever to understand that as he was standing holding a door open to another room saying here you go...and I was like no WE DO GO!!! We want our money back. So off we went for another hotel.  Once we found a place to stay some other friends were all there and we met for supper.

 Day Four - Hartford CT....Somehow the evening before on FB Jorge was posting about Paulas shirts and such so I dared him to wear one of her skirts for Thursdays run.....during Center of the Nations Day 4 was so cold he ran that one in jeans so why not run it in a skirt!!! Many others started posting and sure enough he showed up in the skirt! So much fun!!! This course went down a busy road and thru a golf course. It got kinda boring fast and when I had one more lap to go my garmin was already reading 25.6 miles.....Tanner had gone one lap with me and had one more to go and I had him run my beer over to the aid station guy to open it for me and I poured half of the pint into a cup and headed down the road with it. Tanner put the rest back in the cooler and ran to catch up with me and started laughing cause I was on the main road in town just walking down the street arm in the sling drinking a beer and here drive a policeman by me but dont think he even noticed.  The overall course measured 27.63....It was here where I met my first maniac that said this course is going to measure long and a marathon is 26.2 so when it gets close if im near the finish I will just pace back and forth until it hits 26.2....I told her all courses measure different and its not finishing the event if you dont do the entire course....every single other person out here is doing the same course for the same finish...i was so glad she did go on and finished the entire course. This was the first time I had ever heard anyone say something like that and it really floored me.  I do think several skipped that last lap because they thought maybe the course was a little short not a mile and a half long.
 Day FIVE - Springfield MA - This day was raining all day long! My arm was starting to chafe and the sling was so wet that I had to just wrap it with the ace bandage. The course was pretty even though it was raining. There was this cool watch duck that hung out...lots of swans but also one big hill on a busy blind curve roadway that was dangerous. I think we had to do something like 18-19 loops here too! Here I ran into another maniac talking about how she TOO only does 26.2 miles at a marathon and paces back and forth...another friend of mine Cathy Troisi was there and overheard this as I was questioning how in the world do you justify this that we are all on the same course and if you don't finish the course that is layed out then you have not finished that event and Cathy spoke up and said in Her Head she has finished it ha.  So this really had and still has me a little baffled? I won't post anything asking other maniacs what they think because the last time I posted questioning about how another maniac/friend of mine was able to accept a 50K finish on a course they had done for several years and also lived nearby so totally knew the course however "missed" the first extra loop on lap one for 5ish miles and then on lap two could have done it twice to make it up but didnt and ACCEPTED a 50K finish medal, thanked God and everyone else for allowing them to do this etc and it really bothered me....but I ended up getting jumped all over by some maniacs for questioning if getting these star ratings is that important to some? To each there own....I run for me and me only and I could never feel good about myself if I ever cheated....and to me all those things are cheating.
I dont remember what loop of this course I ran into Larry Macon and Mathew Mapram and the lady from the other day who was the first person I had ever heard say they stop at 26.2 was with us for awhile- we got discussing that and also how I ran into another lady today that said the same thing and I was wondering how this thinking got started!?  I was glad to know my conversation may have helped this one realize that you dont finish a marathon unless you do the entire course that everyone else is doing. Then the conversation turned to anything we could discuss to keep our mind off how many more laps we had. The rain stopped for a bit and it was just Larry and Mathew and I and I believe we had that lap and 2 more to go so Larry said grab your son out of the car and have him go with us these last 2 I ran ahead and got Tanner out to keep us company.  We needed new stories and Tanner had lots to tell! Think this course ended at like 26.7 as well so we really got the bonus miles in!!!
Off to Manchester Center VT.....we were here for 2 nights and went exploring. Lots of outlet malls and just a gorgeous part of the USA!  Cathy and Troy were going to do Shires as well on Sunday so the two of them and Tanner and I met with Jorge and Paula for dinner at a pizza place Saturday evening. We were all taking the early start since there was a 6 hour cut off and it was a nice hilly run - even with the extra hour I was concerned about making the cut off with my arm but I had walked the past 4 days so thought I would try to jog some of this one and see how things feel. It actually felt really great...the only thing that bothered me this day was my bad knee....and I am sure that is because my legs were going over 161 miles in a week and had been pretty much not doing much for the previous 4 weeks. Throughout this course we saw bag pipers in kilts, an older man in his front yard along the road sitting in a chair with his guitar singing, a man playing the bongos, and then 2 girls outside on the side of the road, one playing the piano yes a piano and the other playing the flute!!! This is what I call course entertainment!.... You won't get that at any big rock n roll event! I ran into a couple other maniacs that I hadnt seen in awhile and we kept each other company.  When John Izzo came upon me since I did the early start and he did the normal I knew he would catch me and he did!! He kept me company for several miles and we just had a nice steady jog until we came on a hill and I walked up them.  I think if he didnt come upon me when he did I probably would have talked myself into walking more but my

knee actually hurt worse to walk so I was at a point where I just was ready to be done!! I finished this in just over 6 hours so was pleased with that time being I had just done 5 marathons the days before and the gorgeous course, the prettier the course the slower my time will be because I will stop for photos and I will post them on FB if I have service so others can enjoy what I am lucky enough to be enjoying.  The place we stayed allowed for a late check out so I was able to was wonderful!! We grabbed some food and off we headed toward buffalo. Our garmin had us going home through Buffalo so we planned to stay in Canada at Niagra Falls that night since Tanner has never been there. I also have a friend Lauren Idzik who I met at the Beast of Burden Summer run last year and she lives in buffalo. We worked it out where the next afternoon after we did the boat tour of the falls and such we would meet for buffalo wings for lunch!  The week flew by and was a great time with my son and all my running family.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Shoulder Surgery (Slap Lesion Repair)

I decided to blog about this as this is the second surgery of this sorts that I have had done except this time it was my right 2005 in was my left shoulder which had a couple more 2005 I had a slap lesion repair and said I had a tear in the bicep and labrum tendon so there was 3 anchors put in and the tendons reattached to those as well as a bone spur plus the ball and socket was gapped and he had to pull it back together....recovery sucked!!! it was long painful couldnt swim, couldnt run but I did the EFX was back at work teaching bootcamp, water aerobics but unable to participate with the clients. I did not have that checked until I was no longer able to swim.  Since I remembered the recovery but now wish I would have journaled about it so I could compare recovery I regret that.  I have known for a couple years now that my right shoulder was going to have to have a scope soon and knew something was wrong. Every time I did bent over rows it would pop at the front and felt like it was rubbing so eventually i just stopped doing bent over rows. I would feel pain here and there while doing other activities but my pain tolerance is at such a high level I just blew it off and told myself I wont see the Doctor until it interferes with my daily living. Finally about a month or so before Zion 100 I was having a hard time putting my clothes on and then the reality sat in that it was time! So off I went and only needed an xray to discover a very large bone spur and that was all we needed to be able to go in and do the surgery. I had Zion 100 upcoming and I wasnt about to have it done before hand as I knew the recovery would be long and I also knew as soon as I returned from Zion I did have almost 4 weeks until my next event...which was actually event(S) 6 marathons in 7 days in 6 states. I told the Dr I had this up coming as well and he just looks at me and shakes his head and I said I really will be good!! I can walk 5 of the 6 as there is no time limit and I WILL keep the sling on!! So he agreed to do the surgery immediately when I returned from Zion...came home tuesday late night, blood work Weds surgery 7am Thursday am. Once he got in there there was the tear which they call a slap lesion....he only had to use 2 anchors and reattached and then ground down the bone spur. Its really cool and amazing what they can do!! I didnt teach on Friday but was back at work on Monday and stayed in the saddle on the bike while I taught, when I stood there was a little too much pressure on the down push. I tried to walk a lot during the down time since I knew I had 6 marathons upcoming but I also knew I had to keep the sling on to protect it and allow it to heal. Min time in the sling is 6 weeks, 10-12 weeks min till they say you can jog.
As I write this it has now been almost 14 weeks, I have my second follow up appointment on Tuesday where I should be able to do some more therapy however I am still having troubles sleeping, my shoulder pop A LOT, not a normal pop a pop that sounds like the bone and who ever is sitting or standing near me can even hear it since its so loud. When I do a bent over row with NO WEIGHT of course still....there is still the "popping" that I could feel not hear which the Dr said was the slap lesion rubbing on the spur or the rotator cuff so that should be fixed I would think? I had a lot of coldness in my bicep tricep and forearm for several weeks and now I still also have a lot of just dull aches and I almost feel like the surgery did not work. I will address these concerns Tuesday - however, I will not be going back under the knife in the immediate future for several reasons- first the recovery is too long and 2nd I have an entire running schedule planned until next summer and I will not miss any of those!! If need be and it starts to interfere with dressing I will just have to make my left hand stronger. Gonna try to stay positive and hope after my appt on tuesday this is normal however I dont remember the loud constant popping- Here are the cool pictures wish I had a scanner to scan both scope pages they sent home with me :)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Zion 100 April 5th 2014

View from Cable Mountain Lodge
Warning this is going to be a long post and probably be another that jumps all over the place. This week was definitely a life changing experience for me and one I will never forget. The bad news was I came down with strep throat on the Monday before the event, I was leaving to drive to Columbus Ohio Monday evening for an early morning flight Tuesday so I called my doctor and explained my symptoms and asked if they could squeeze me in because I was leaving in a couple hours and leaving leaving in the early morning for Utah for a 100 mile run and I had to be well!! My Doctor got me right in, He went ahead and gave me a shot of rocephine to try to speed up the wellness process and then put me on amoxicillin. He wanted to be careful about what to put me on because some antibiotics can cause Achilles and muscle, tendon issues and we didn't want that but also amoxicillin could cause some tummy issues....this was the chance I had to take. My friends said I was nuts to go try to do 100 mile in the mountains of Zion 4 days after being diagnosed with Strep throat but I had to go and try. I mean I had planned on this event for 10 months and couldn't wait to get out there and see the there were several of my friends doing this race as well...some because I talked them into it and the other Holly since she kinda planted the seed in my head so I in turn returned the favor with several other people - what are friends for?  I arrived  early Tuesday morning due to the time change and really wanted to hike Angels Landing on Wednesday but I knew better if I were going to be half way well to toe the line at 4am on Friday morning so instead I did go into Zion Park and took the bus ride to a shorter less strenuous hike for about 4-5 miles.
 I had splurged the first 2 nights and stayed at the Cable Mountain lodge which was right at the entrance to Zion National Forest...I wasn't able to eat yet on Tuesday and went to bed fairly early but after the hike on Wednesday I was able to hold down a sandwich. On Thursday I made my way to the Super 8 Holly had recommended over in a town called Springdale...Amber was driving down from Montana, Holly her husband Bill and she had her pacer Karen coming with her all arrived this day as well as my friend Harry whom I met at the Center of The Nations...this was to be his first 100 my attempt. When I arrived at the Super 8 Amber was already there chilling in the back of her jeep and we got our room and unpacked...shortly after Holly, Bill and Karen arrived as well as Harry so we all decided to drive into the park again and my pass was good for the whole week!! We drove on back to some areas I didn't take on the bus and I was just amazed.....I completely fell in love with area already by this time and had no idea what was in store for me in the days to come! After our ride in the park and Bill who is a big rock climber got his thrill running up this monster mountain rock free handed (was really fun to watch him!! he is so skills and was like a little kid in a candy store grinning ear to ear as he was running up that hill!)
heading to packet pickup
Me and Wendy I was saying after the ride we stop at the cable mountain lodge for our packet pickup and they had wood fire pizza but the line was crazy! It was late getting dinner and we decided on the pizza place again.....One of my childhood friends Wendy Cooke Drake who is also a runner lives in Boulder CO and I had asked if by chance she was going to be at Zion this weekend and she answered she was not but later told me her friend Greg was going to be there and would great for us to meet. Service in the park was so scarce and when we got the flying monkey for dinner I had a couple messages from Greg to see where we were eating and hoped we could meet up. We missed each others calls earlier and had left some messages back and forth so I texted him and said we just arrived at the flying monkey. Holly Bill Amber Karen Harry and Myself were there and I was really hungry but still feeling really shitty...I was ranking my wellness each day I think I rated it this evening at about 52% better but I had less then 9 hours before start time and I was an emotional head mess wondering what I was going to do, what risk would I be taking if I did this, then convincing myself I am well enough at least to give it a try but at the same time pissed, scared, depressed and about 20 other emotions all taking place in my head and body. When we walked in I saw a guy sitting at the table who looked familiar and he said JENN! I then realized it was Hector, I had only met him thru facebook so it was great to meet him in person! Super nice guy and hope to get to see him again in the near future. As we sit for dinner I was in my own little daze fighting my emotions of uncertainty and all of a sudden I get a tap on my left shoulder and this person says I hear you are from
Portsmouth Ohio...and I turn and look up and it's Wendy!!!!! I completely lost control of all my emotions and this was the most amazing surprise of my life....I threw my piece of bread on the table, screamed where I think the entire restaurant got scared jumped up and hugged her and just started balling uncontrollably but in complete happiness....this was exactly what I needed and I told her this! We all hung out for a bit and ate supper and back to our hotel rooms we went....I really wanted to be in bed super early since I was still really not well but spending time with everyone was worth it. It was after 10pm I believe till we got settled in and of course couldn't sleep, Amber and I shared a room Holly Bill and Karen were in a room and Harry was down the hall. Holly had made arrangements for her husband to be able to get Amber and me to and from the run with them so that was perfect. During the evening thank God we had the latch on our door as around 1am someone was given the wrong key and tried to enter our room.....WOW that's never happened and Amber flew outta bed with fist in the air!! Then of course neither of us could get back to sleep since we really only had about another hour ish to sleep....we were all taking the 4am early start and it was about a 20 minute or so drive. When we did get up we still were in amazement with what happened and just laughed cause you cant make that shit up. When it was time to go we were telling the others about it and Bill said oh my I was working in the lobby at that time and the guy who was given the wrong key came in and was telling them about it....of course he would have never thought it was either of us this happened to! We loaded into the van and Harry was waiting to follow us over....we all knew that we would run our own run and if we were together we were together- they all knew I was still very sick and applauded me for even going for it stating they honestly didn't think they would even attempt it under those circumstances but I had to and I would play smart. By this morning I was feeling about 67.8% better....that's pretty good????
Rope Climb
Pre Race

 We took a pre race picture and our events started in the dark which I liked since we had to climb the flying monkey trail in the dark!! I think I would have completely flipped out if I had seen what we were climbing on this one. There was an area with a rope which you had to use to help pull yourself up and I was using my trekking poles to help as well so I had to toss them up and try to grab the rope and get myself up...knowing but not really seeing how close we were to the edge of the mountain and if there was anything there to catch me if I slipped. I know I tossed my poles either to Amber or above the large rock and grabbed the rope and stated Im so scared!!! I know this was so short into the event too and there were already lots of choice words but mostly in amazement as to what we were all accomplishing!! By the time we got to the top the sun was coming up and we were able to see....this was the first area that was not marked well and we kinda did some circling searching for the markers and then figured it out with the help of a few other runners that came along.  Got to the first Aid Station refilled water had to potty and off we went to start the decent....this decent was on a dirt road for several miles, nothing super steep at first and sometimes it actually leveled out, then we got to the road that dropped down a couple miles and it was a gorgeous site!

 It was still super early in the event and the views took my mind off of how I was feeling at the moment and the winds hadn't really been blowing much up to this point. I knew this downhill was all road and was several miles down hill but then flattened for a short time before we arrived at the next aid I had a small bag where I had planned to go ahead and drop my jacket. I wanted to get in and out fast to try not to waste much time but stopped for a quick potty break. At this time Amber and Harry and I were together and we saw Holly and then Holly and Amber took off together for a bit. I told Harry to go ahead if he needed to and that we need to run our own events but he had in his mind we would stick together. I don't regret this in any way due to myself being sick and it being his first 100 attempt and he is an older man and like most ultra runners very stubborn and would never listen to his body and push push push till there was trouble....we will get into that more later in this recap.

Up the road we headed and I started to be amazed at how diverse this area is! It was like so many different terrains in such short periods of miles, total desert, then some green, then the virgin river, then slick rock, then gorgous flowers then more mesas to climb...I just couldn't stop looking at the scenery!!! I know we wasted some time with photos but it was worth it!!! We caught up with Holly and Amber not far up the road and Holly settled back into a slower pace and Amber Harry and I stuck together till we got to the nastiest mountain I had ever climbed in my life....breathtaking in all ways!!!! There was mostly flat and rolling dirt road here and we were in the lowlands if that's what they call them. We got to run by the virgin river which was so pretty!
 I had found the winds had started picking up before we reached this climb and that was really bothering my ears as I am sure they still had some infection so I tried to put my head buff over the ears to help protect them, I also found myself getting light headed and dizzy and it wasn't from altitude as this wasn't that high and I have been about 1000 feet higher before for some was just I was not recovered from strep throat in 4 days! My legs and attitude felt great...I was loving this!! Well kinda a love/hate to be honest. We head up this climb - this climb I believe is 1800 feet?? and its only 1 mile long.....the most sadistic thing is you don't get an aid station till you get to the top!! The top was called Goosebump Overlook and would be mile
31....Amber was kicking ass on this climb and took on off so we wouldn't hold her back and I had to stop for some breathers here and there and just sit to catch my breath. It was amazing to see how high we were climbing from and there are no pictures that could do that justice.  During this climb is when I talked to myself about evaluating my event and possibly dropping to the see at mile 74 we would be back to Goosebump Overlook and then have to go back down this very narrow slippery loose rock trail in the dark and with my dizziness already I had no idea who I would get down in the dark safely- heck it would be tough enough if my health was 100% so this was in my mind and I did call and let my mother know as she was already worried about me for doing what I was doing. After the first time leaving Goosebump Overlook we headed out to Gooseberry Point....the run out to the point was all slick was like walking on the moon!

 There were a couple times I had to almost crawl up a few of the rocks and many times I had to sit to just slide down them. There were also areas as we got closer to the amazing overlook with 12 inch gaps in the slick rock we had to jump over....I never knew I had such a fear of heights in my life and yet again it could have been related to being ill....this is where Harry helped me so much....he could see my fear he new how sick I was and he would offer me his hand so I could make that quick jump over these huge cracks!

 Once we got to the Point it was like Heaven on Earth!!! We took so many photos and then headed on back to Goosebump. Next stop was Grafton Mesa...this stop had my warmer clothes for night and flashlight batteries etc. After passing thru the first time I went ahead and changed into a long sleeve and grabbed my flashlight, we were told it wasn't hilly and we could just leave our trekking poles till we arrived back...we were also told to follow I believe yellow markers not green ( my colors maybe wrong now but whatever they were different) We headed out for what was to be a 5 mile loop before coming back and Harry took the lead...I was doing something on my phone whether taking a photo, texting, or doing a FB post and where Harry was new to trail events he missed the turn for the 5 mile we got down the road I noticed there was all green or what ever the color was that was for another distance race going on at that time and I said this isn't right, he said I didn't see any other markers? I said we are suppose to follow yellow so we turned to head back and see where we got off course, someone was coming towards us and we asked if they saw where it split and they said yes its prolly a good half mile or so up the road...SHIT!!! There goes a lot of time and we were already pushing some cut offs and I still hadn't make up my mind if I was going to stop at the 100K yet. We got to where it turned and then I was mad at myself for not paying attention either and following someone else....nobodies fault but my own....another reason to run your own event. This cost about a mile and a half off course and about 45 minutes of time. The only nice thing about this screw up was this gorgeous sunset!
We got back to the Aid Station and now it was already dark dark, I don't recall what time it was but I grabbed my night time jacket, headlamp, and extra batteries for headlamp and flashlight and final it was off to the the next Aid Station which also had a check point for time which I did not have on my card for some reason. Weeks before several of the times were written wrong and adjusted and I don't know if this was missing or if I missed it when I typed out my plan. Heading down the dirt road - it was mostly downhill but was a drivable dirt road so plenty of space. I started to really worry about Harry at this time as we had all this room and he would just start wondering off to the right and try to climb up the hill side. We giggled trying to make light of it and at this point I was feeling good and decided I was going on...I was going to go for the buckle but we also talked about if he continued he would have to stay either 20 feet in front of me or 20 feet behind me because when we got back up to mile 74 and had to go down the steep steep decline and it was single track and loose dirt I didn't want him to fall into me and knock me off the side of the hill and if I slipped I didn't want to knock him off the hill side. Also on this downhill he started to tumble a couple times which had me concerned but Harry is tough and stubborn as well. At this point I knew there was no way I was going to leave him because we had stayed together for at least 17 hours by now and there is no finish in the world more important then a friends safety.  We got to the bottom of this hill and it was flat for awhile and I had cell service again, I called my mother to tell her we were going to go on, during the time I was talking to her Harry went straight missing the turn to head to the 100K check in at Eagle Crags so when we got to the streets end and were on a main road with no markers I was looking for where to go next and realized we missed something. We turned back around and another lady was coming towards us as well and I yelled wrong you see any markers? Then a man was coming from behind her, they were together here from Hawaii and she wasn't happy at all with the course markings throughout the event.....some were so over marked while others were not marked well at all. We found the turn and up we went to Eagles Crags, at this time the lady said it doesn't matter now we will miss the cut off, the cut off is in 10 min and we were just starting up this big climb that was over a mile high. I pulled out my paper and that when I realized I missed writing down this cut off and I said I show the next cut off is 3am back up at Grafton and she then said no we have to be up to the top of this by 12:30 - SHIT.... I knew we would be close, I was cussing everything because now I was really going to try to go for the finish sick or not, I then started cussing myself for not paying attention and following someone else for the 5 mile loop that ended up being over 6.5 miles and cost us over 45 minutes, then the last mess up where I was busy on the phone telling my mother I was going on so that she didn't worry if she didn't hear from me for awhile which cost another 30 plus minutes and Harry and I arrive at the top and they are taking down the aid station and say oh sorry you missed the cut off it was 20 minutes ago....but you will have to go back down and climb back up to Grafton for another 8 miles as our Ham Radio guys are gone and passed you when you were climbing up...we have a little water if you want some? SERIOUSLY!!! I was t totally pissed!! The folks from Hawaii came shortly after as well as two men and we all stood in disbelief saying we cant continue in the event because we missed a cutoff however we have to find our way 8 more miles and hope the ham guy is up there. Nobody too any of our bib numbers or names or anything so if anything would have happened to us they would have no clue where to even look. Harry and I headed out and down the hill we went, now he was falling very often so this is when I realized it was probably a GodSend that we missed the cut off because I think he would have been stubborn enough to try to go on and this was an 8 foot wide road again and not super steep where as what would be up at mile 74 was 1800 foot drop in a mile and single track! The folks from Hawaii called and someone picked them up at the bottom of the hill, we called Bill, Hollys husband and told him what happened and let him know where we were and which way we were heading, he couldn't leave yet as Holly was soon to be back to that Aid Station herself and he didn't want to miss her so we just started run/walking towards where we needed to go. We were almost to the backside of the next climb that would take us up to the checkpoint and Bill found us...we got in the van and were at about mile 70 on our watches and he drove us to the check point where I spoke to the Ham Radio guy and one of the main volunteers, I was basically told why should we be responsible for you if you miss a cut off, why should we have to write your bib down, if you know you wont make a cut off you shouldn't be going out there. WOW I said I didn't expect to miss a cut off I expected the course to be marked so we knew where to go, just as I did on that 5 mile loop from up here that turned into 6.5 miles! He was a complete douchbag! We got a ride to the finish from a stranger and then I spoke to Matt Gunn the Race Director, we did get our 100K finish and I also heard so many others speaking to him about the terrible markings and being lost for several hours so we were not alone. We found a hotel to sleep for about 2-3 hours and then headed back to the finish line to watch for Amber and Holly, Holly stopped around mile 94 because she had about an hour and a half left on the clock and didn't think she would make the 2:00pm official cut off, I felt terrible for her! What was soooo frustrating for everyone was they were so adamant about these cut offs but in the end they allowed folks to finish up till 6pm which is 4 hours past the official cut off time and yes they show up on the official results page and get credit. Holly would have only missed the 2pm cut off by 30 min tops, and here they pulled 6 of us well didn't pull us pretty much left us stranded ontop of Eagle Crag telling us to make our way back 8 miles and hope someone is there to help us and we were only TWENTY MINUTES past a cut off. I have mixed emotions, I am grateful we missed the cut off due to Harry's condition and also due to my own, I wasn't well and I had NO business myself trying to push through and go on down that dangerous climb in the dark but on the other hand it is upsetting when you and others get told you miss this cut off by such a SHORT time and then they allow finishers for 4 hours past the finish cut off time? Still makes no sense. It was nice hanging out at the finish line sitting drinking a beer with some new friends telling stories, most that I sat with and talked with had done the event before and dropped down to the 100K this year again due to numerous reasons, course markings seemed to be the number one reason I heard. I would like to do the course again but next year I am already signed up for several big events and around that same time, plus I have a very large goal for the end of May next year that I wont get into yet. I am hoping the course markings get better or that the course remains the same and then I may remember where I went off track this year and be able to really watch closely next time I do the event. The miles after 70 will all be new to me but I feel with so many complaints things will start improving..this event is breath taking and still 2 months later I still dream about that part of the county and can not wait to get back out that way! After the run we all headed back to the Super 8 and got some rest, Bill headed to Vegas to go climbing with a buddy and Harry left early on Sunday am. Holly, Karen and Amber and I went to eat breakfast then Amber headed back home and Holly, Karen and I headed to Vegas for a couple days. My body felt fantastic considering it did 70 miles in with those climbs. We all hung out in Vegas ate some lunch and walked around and I found out the AMC music awards were across the street, Im not a huge country fan but when does this opportunity come up! The girls headed back to the room to rest and I bought an after party ticket and STOOD yes STOOD in the 2nd row for 5.5 hours watching all the country stars come out and sing 2-3 songs and the next would come along. You had no idea who would be next as it was just a great party. At 1:30am I just couldn't hang anymore and had to walk back over to the hotel and get some rest. Who runs 70 miles at Zion 4 days after getting diagnosts with Strep Throat and then a day later stands for 5.5 hours watching a music awards party!!!! This woman is who! ha
I got home Tuesday evening, had bloodwork done on Wednesday as I had had shoulder surgery scheduled for Thursday am for about a month or so....that will be the next post

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

RNR USA DC and Tobacco Road NC 3-15 3-16-2014

 This was the last double weekend before Zion 1 00. I got into DC and picked up my packet-parking for packet pickup was free so I just went straight there and then asked how to get to the start from the hotel where I was staying and got my metro card. I had to get onto one train switch stations and get on another to the start that morning and was a little nervous about it since it was so early and there were no maniacs at the same hotel that were doing the run. It all worked out perfect and I met with a few other maniacs for a pre run photo.
 I dont really like huge events too much anymore and RNR events are big - especially the first half because there are many more half marathon runners then full marathon runners so it makes it hard to really get into a rhythm. That's kinda funny to type - like I ever get into a rhythm? Im too busy taking photos and posting them during a run to get into a rhythm!
I really enjoyed this event though cause the several times I have been to DC it's only been to the major monuments and the museums and we got to run by several of them as well as run through neighborhoods I have never seen before. I saw one man with one leg...not a prosthetic either and was doing the run on his arm crutches! I took his photo and immediately posted it to my facebook wall with the comment...."What's your excuse"
I finish this one under 5 hours...I've never really paid much attention to my time but this has been a strange year as I have had like 3 marathons all being right at 4:51 something so when I was getting closer to the finish I looked at my watch and knew I would be kinda close again but also knowing I had a good drive from DC to Cary NC for another marathon tomorrow I just stayed with my pace and ended up with 4:54...of course I then thought to myself 2 freaking minutes and you woulda had 4 marathon this year with the same time! ha. I got back to the hotel and had to change in the downstairs restroom since they didn't have a late checkout and then started out for NC.
 One of my friends Mike lives close to were Tobacco Road marathon was and got in touch with me and said he would love to visit and run this with me....he hadn't been running any distance and I told him I was gonna be doing a lot of walking since I did DC the day before and then drove immediately from DC to Cary NC for this run the next morning. He was cool with that and I just didn't want to hold him back. There was a huge flag that hung at the start which was awesome! The course was actually kinda boring on a rail trail, I thought it was going to be an actual trail rather then a bike was nice having some company for the run.  We stopped at the PBR aid station on the way back and had a toast and drink.  After the run I headed on back home. Had a nice weekend!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Mercedes Marathon 2/16/14

 Getting to the event was a challenge....we had a nasty snow storm this morning on the drive there and it took 2 hours longer just to get to Lexington KY, once I got out of Lexington things were not as bad then ofcourse the further south there wasn't any snow. I knew I had to go for it as this was the 3rd Alabama marathon of the year and I chose to do the 3N3 challenge so if I missed this then the other 2 marathons in Alabama woulda been a wash. The hotel was in walking distance of the start of the event and packet pickup which makes it great! I got to the start of the race and settled in to my pace group....funny no body else was there?? 5 Minutes per miles sounded just perfect to my dreams! HA
 I ran into one of my most favorite running husband and wife Cathy and

Troy before the run -and we had some catching up to do as it had been about a month already since I had run into them :) last one I believe was when they both were doing marathon number 199 and 200 in January. Temps were a little chilly in the am enough that even I had to wear a long sleeve but I knew it would come off fast but I don't mind tying them around my waste anymore. Its been awhile since this run and don't remember specifics of how I was feeling but do remember there were some very pretty places on the course and I ran into quite a few other maniacs and got to see Larry again out on the course and when he finished.

 There were a couple areas on the course aid stations that were great!!!! Loved this sign brought to you by a local ultra running club, I don't remember the name of the club but they were a lot of fun and we passed them twice since it was a double loop. I also remember when I was coming thru to finish my first loop the overall finisher was passing by me with only about a 100 yards or so to go and he just looked laborless and relaxed....nobody was on his trail and even though he was booking it he just made it look so effortless.  
 Another of my favorite aid station was another running club and they had a fake wall set up and had BEER!!!!! I was hoping the second loop they would still be set up so I could grab another beer and get my picture taken hitting the wall!! Yeah they were still there! I finished in right at around 5 hours and was able to walk to the hotel for a shower and then back to the finish and get the extra medal for doing all 3 Alabama Marathons - one a month Dec Jan and Feb. I ate some BBQ with Troy and Cathy and waited for Larry to finish to get to say hello a little longer then just in passing out on the course....then I head on home.