Dead Horse Training: Weeks 2, 3, 4 … hell pretty much all of it

So here’s the high level summary of my Dead Horse training the last two and a half months:

Total planned mileage — 480
Total actual mileage — 316

Well crap. I knew I was a tad bit off but didn’t think the shortage was quite that big until I sat down and actually added up numbers. I suppose that’s why I made a plan that broke down mileage weekly that I could have, and should have, been looking at on a far more regular basis. Oh well. I suck at this set-in-stone training stuff.

Regardless, I’ve had some kick ass fun trail time! I summitted two 14ers; Pike’s Peak and Bierstadt. I ran two 50ks (race reports to come on those soon. No, really I promise. Soon). I climbed the Manitou Incline. And I explored a bunch of new state parks and trails. Yeah I know. I really wanted to take my Dead Horse training seriously but what’s the point if I don’t enjoy the miles along the way. At least that’s the lame excuse I’m making for myself because I should have enjoyed 164 more miles!

Race day is in just a little more than two weeks. So I guess that means I should be in taper. Which is probably a good thing because I’ve also got a cold and feel like total crap. I won’t lie … I’m kinda’ thinking this thing may turn into a DNF but I’m gonna give it all I got.

Week 16: It Begins

Guess what I did. I made a training plan for the Dead Horse 50 miler! Yes an actual plan. Like days and weeks and stuff that include how many miles I’m hoping to … I mean I’m planning to … I mean I’m GOING to run! I even registered for a 50k in September to use as a training run.

It’s funny how things change. I used to be ridiculously OCD when it came to training. I followed plans. I avoided certain foods and alcohol, and I certainly never ever shorted the Garmin. #parkinglotlaps But somewhere between road and trail I turned a little type B. I stopped picking clothes and pre-filling the hydration bladder the night before a long run. I drank beer the night before a race. Hell I drank beer mid-race in a few. And I kinda liked it. At least during the “training part”. But come race day I missed goals. I hurt. I failed. And it sucked. So this training stuff is going to be a challenge but I’m ready.

My plan officially started today and I stuck right to it! Good thing day one was a rest day.

Sixteen weeks until Dead Horse. Let the fun begin.

I’ll Tri Again Tomorrow

Well, ready or not (definitely not) the Evergreen Sprint Triathlon is tomorrow. I swam once. I rode once. And I ran — eh — here and there. BOOM! Trained! Ready to rock it. Seriously though … I may die.

Just so I knew exactly what I am getting myself into, I drove the bike course today. With a starting elevation of 7,133 and a 1,536 foot gain, it’s far different from the Florida riding I rarely participated in. I wonder if I’ll be the only idiot walking my bike up the hills.

At least the swim is short and easy, plus it’s wetsuit mandatory for added buoyancy. The last, and not to mention only, time I swam in a wetsuit was the Augusta half iron back in 2012 so I hope it’s not too weird. Best part of this whole race though is that I get to swim in the Evergreen Lake which doesn’t allow swimming any other day of the year. To be totally honest, that was the primary reason I registered for this race. May have been a tad bit smarter for me to consider doing it NEXT year instead of with a mere few weeks notice but I’ve never been the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to going into races unprepared.

I think I have everything

So wish me luck. My kid and her bf will be there as my cheering squad so if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram keep an eye out for updates. And of course, assuming I survive, there will be a race report.

Beating a Dead Horse

I wanted to write this post on my birthday but somehow I got distracted … for two weeks. I figured an annual milestone is always the perfect place to make life goals and adjustments. Actually the only thing I find more asinine and cliche is to do so on New Year’s Eve but at this point I’ll try anything to get my butt back in gear.

I need some accountability. Because apparently I’m not a good enough self-motivator these days. That said there are two things that typically get my ass in gear; sheer embarrassment and an over-achieving race. I know I just registered for the tri in a few weeks but I can fake my way through that one. So, that said, today I registered for a 50-mile race in November and this week I’m starting to actually track mileage. Thankfully my friend Miriam gave me super cute training journal for my birthday! Maybe, I’ll actually even make a training plan (WHAT?! Who am I?).

20 weeks until the Dead Horse 50 in Moab!

contemplating Moab

Tri-ing Again

I can’t remember the last time I did a triathlon. Two. Three years ago maybe. I haven’t been on my road bike since we left Florida … almost a year ago. I’ve been in the pool once … last week. And I’ve been inconsistent at best on the run. Seemed reasonably sane then that I should register for a triathlon that’s a mere three weeks away. Right?

Evergreen Lake is what made me fall in love with this town the first time I stumbled upon it two years ago. It’s a small lake but it’s always full of life. Summertime sees the water covered in paddle boats and SUPs and winter turns it into an outdoor ice skating oasis. The 1.4 mile trail that runs the shoreline is a favorite for dog walkers. Though on the average day you aren’t allowed to swim in it (unless you oops off your paddle board that is), turns out once a year you can … for the Evergreen Sprint Triathlon. How ever could I resist!

It’s a 750 meter swim (wet suit required given the water temps). A 12 mile ride the first seven of which are uphill (ugh). And a three mile run. What could go wrong?

Croom Fools Run

croom fools run mugs

A couple weeks ago, I made a last minute decision to run the Croom Fools Run 16-miler. Though I’ve been running, I haven’t been doing what I need to for my other upcoming races so I figured a race would force me to get it at least one decent long run. And besides, I love running at Croom and I’ve only got a few months left on those trails.

One of the things I love most about trail races is the relaxed simplicity of them. About a month ago I ran the Skyway Bridge 10k, a rare for me road race, and the logistics and stress of packet pickup, getting there super early, a parking nightmare and the crowds of people reaffirmed that big road races are not my thing. Don’t get me wrong, it was a cool, unique experience but one I definitely would not do again. How awesome is it to be able to message a race director the night before his race and ask if he has room for me.

I rolled into Croom about half an hour before race start. Chatted with the RD for a few. Got registered. Got my gear together. And then … promptly locked my keys in my car. I had locked the car, put my keys in my backpack, made mental note of it, grabbed my hydration pack and closed the trunk to venture into the woods for a quick pre-race pee when it hit me that my backpack was still in my car. But as I said … no stress. I had mostly everything I needed and there was nothing I could do at that moment so off I trotted to meet my friend Sandy at the starting line.

There’s not a whole lot to report about the race. Temps were gorgeous. Skies were cloudy which helped keep things cool. Sandy and I just chit-chatted for an easy 16 mile Saturday morning run. One of my favorite things at Croom is the pinecone peace sign. Over the years it’s been built and re-built after storms and burns. I’ve never once run past it without scouring the woods for a pinecone to add to it. This time was no different.

croom pinecone peace sign          croom pinecone

I ended up finishing the race in 3:03:29. Not fast by any means but I’m just not there again yet. And I felt surprisingly good given my longest run recently was 10 miles so I  can’t complain. With my camping chair, fresh clothes and post-race recovery drink (aka beer) locked safely away in my car, I called AAA, bummed a beer, spare t-shirt and hat off Sandy, and enjoyed the post-race fun.

croom fools run

Doggies 4 Duchenne 5k

I ran the Doggies 4 Duchenne 5k last weekend. First 5k I’ve run in two years. As an ultra runner, it’s hard for me to justify paying to run 3.1 miles but I love this race and the charities it supports; The Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch and Another Day for Gray. The best part though … there’s a human only race and a canine-human race! What’s not awesome about being to race with your dog?! Sign. Me. Up.

But herein lies the problem. I run with Ellie, my border mix, all the time. Buuuuuuut she’s psychotic. We run trails mostly. Primarily because I prefer being in the woods but it’s also the least mortifying experience. Ellie has a tad bit of reactivity to bikes. And skateboards. Don’t even get me started on rollerbladers. Even the occasional runner. She just wants to chase. The prey drive in that dog is insane! But since I can’t keep up with every cyclist that flies by, the result is an ear piercing squeal that rivals the sound of nails on a chalkboard.

I know what you’re thinking and yes, we do own a dog training company. But haven’t you ever heard the old adage that the maid’s house is always dirty and the mechanic’s car is always broken down in the driveway … so yeah, don’t judge a dog trainer by their personal dogs. Please.

doggies for duchenne 5k start
Runners And Their Humans

Dogs and humans lined up at the start line were, not surprisingly, more than Ellie could handle. We opted to hang off to the side and keep our distance but Ellie’s squealing still resulted in more than our fair share of stares and I came close to calling the race before it even began for us. We stuck it out though then jumped in somewhere between leashed pups and the doggie strollers. Yup, apparently even dog 5ks have a stroller option.

Watch the video of the start and you’ll see us coming from way off to side at around the 20 second mark.

Ellie loves to run. She’s done up to 16 miles with me and freaks if I walk out the door without her when I’m wearing running shoes so it didn’t take long before she settled into a good pace. We chatted with a couple runners along the way, including my friend Tam whose puppy Lucy was doing her first 5k ever and even dodged a few mid-run poopers. Seriously how does a dog crap without breaking a single stride?! Impressive! And I likely know a runner or two who would welcome some advice.

Hi Tam and Lucy!

We ended up finishing the race in 26:07 which was a good minute faster than my last dog-free 5k. One of these days I would love to do a one mile time trial with Ellie. Well, not actually with her. I have no doubt that dog would need someone far faster than me. But I’m so curious to see what she could do.

The after-race party was a bit more than I wanted to handle Ellie during so she hung out with one of our trainers while I sampled the local brew and eats. Though a far shorter day than most of my race days, it was a fun time for all!

If you’ve ever considered racing with your dog, this is a great one to start with. Hope to see you out there next year!

Upcoming Races

It’s time to get my ass in gear. In the past two years I’ve done a mere two races; croom zoom 100, a dnf, and then a year later the Croom Zoom 50k (pretty much untrained) as the only course revenge that I could muster. Ridiculous given how much I used to race. So it was time to put a few things on the calendar and stop wallowing. Here’s what’s committed to so far:

  • Feb. 17: Doggies for Duchenne 5k — I’m not a big 5k runner but our company is sponsoring this race so I get free entry. Best part … I get to run with my dog! If you’re local to the Sarasota Florida area you should totally come run this race!
  • March 4: Skyway Bridge 10k — I’m also not a big 10k runner but this is potentially a once in lifetime opportunity. The Skyway Bridge has never been open to foot traffic. At least not legally. I may or may not have a running friend who managed to make it all the way across before being “escorted” back to the other side.
  • April 7: Draggin’ Tail 50k — I am super excited about this race. I love the trails at Torreya. A handful of us do an annual fall camping/running/drinking trip up there and I’ve always wanted to go back up for the race but have always had an I’m-too-busy excuse. Not anymore. And yes, there will be camping and drinking this trip too!
  • April 14: Corbett 50k — yup back-to-back weekend 50ks on the books. Corbett has the best race waiver ever.  It’s not the only thing that led me to register for it but reading it was added bonus for sure …
    By registering for the 2018 J.W. Corbett Trail Race Anno Domini, you agree to grant us a non transferrable option to claim, for now and ever more, your immortal soul. Should we wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it within 5 working days of receiving written notice from J. W. Corbett RD or one of its dully authorized minions. We reserve the right to serve such notice in six foot high letters of fire, however we can accept no liability for any loss or damage caused by such an act. If you a) do not believe you have an immortal soul, b) have already given it to another party or c) do not wish to grant us such a license, submit a notarized letter to the RD to nullify this sub-clause and proceed with your transaction.

On the radar but not yet committed to:

  • May 12/June 9/ July 21/Aug. 18: 8 Hours of Hell Series — There are September and October dates as well but with any luck Florida won’t be home past August.
  • Dec. 8: Sawmill 50k — Hopefully this will be super close to home by then 🙂

I’m hoping there will be a few others especially later in the year. And I’m really not sure about the summer series. I hate hate hate the heat but since this will be my last Florida summer I’m thinking I’ll suck it up and sweat.

Little Red Wagon: A Long Haul Recap

This past weekend I paced and crewed my friend Sandy at a 100-mile attempt. She ran this same race, Long Haul, last year as her first hundred and I was honored to be a part of that crew as well. She’s had a couple rough race attempts lately including a DNF on a hundred a few weeks ago so Long Haul was a last minute redemption decision for her and I cleared my calendar as soon as she told me. Given I’m not sure my body will ever allow me to finish a 100-mile race, crewing is the next best way for me to still be a part of them. Continue reading “Little Red Wagon: A Long Haul Recap”