Running Mountains

I locked myself in the bathroom. To blog. No. I'm not "taking care of business." This is just one of those secret mom tricks that you do when you want to escape from the madhouse. And since its Sunday morning I deserve at least a few minutes to myself. As long as I turn the fan on my boys will usually stay clear of me. I think its working.

So with all the frantic planning I've been doing this past week to prepare for my trip to New York (Wow. I still can't believe I was able to swing this thing) I've neglected to post a quick update of my latest race which was a pretty big goal for me. 

As you know, I've been training a little differently for all my races. In fact, my training is so unconventional that I will readily admit I've had some serious doubts. I've put blind faith in this program because I respect my coach and his professional expertise when it comes to this kind of thing. If you had told me a year ago that a program amounting to little more than 15 minutes of "HOLY CRAP THIS IS HARD!!!" workovers not more than maybe 3 or 4 times a week speckled with a couple hundred meters of "HOLY CRAP I'M GOING TO PUKE!!!" running sprints or Tabata runs would help me train for some brutal trail runs and an upcoming trail marathon I would have thought you had a few screws missing.

But, after my half marathon (well, actually it was 14 miles of trail with no whining allowed) up at Sly Park in Polluck Pines California, I have to say I'm convinced this training is working. As far as my fitness goes I thought I would at least feel the elevation. Its not huge, but at almost 4000' I thought I might feel it a little. Honestly, I didn't. I felt consistently strong (minus some knee and hip issues as usual) and recovered fast even on the uphills if I stopped to walk.

As for nutrition, I had a flask of my homemade iskiate (chia fresca) with me and my hydration pack filled with some nuun. Ok. When it comes to drinking while running I admit I have some problems with that. Every time I do a race I feel great and I'm thinking I'm getting enough, but when I go to look at my hydration bladder after I cross the finish line I find that I've drank only about half or even a quarter of what I probably should. What's up with that?? 

Well, it could be my lack of coordination. Seriously. I can't walk and lick an ice-cream cone. Really. You think I'm joking. I'm not. If you ever want to see something funny order me an ice-cream cone then go for a stroll with me. I will have to stop or sit down. Its a wonder I can even put one leg in front of the other and run. So I'm proud I can do even that. 

Example of my lack of coordination - I meant to get a picture of the trail.
So what's my strategy for running and nutrition being the clumsy, awkward uncoordinated excuse for a runner I am?  I only drink when I walk because drinking (even with a hydration pack with the hose thingy) is hard for me while running. If I'm rocking a race and not walking much, that's a problem. Its a good thing I run these hard races with lots of hills and mountains or I would never stop to drink a lick. Also, a good view helps because I like to stop and take pictures and will sometimes drink then.

Just a couple mountains
So here's what the race elevation looked and felt like. Yeah. Any uphill that consists of more than two miles is a mountain in my book.

The first
I probably drank here.
Well, race nutrition for this race also included lots of iron... FROM THE DIRT. Yes. You have got to love the taste of dirt in your mouth when running this race. Some sections had the really fine, powdery stuff that was a couple inches deep.
Gotta love the taste of dirt around mile 10 for this race.

I ran this race in my Merrell Pace Gloves. Not having any idea of the race terrain before running it I didn't want to take any chances with going barefoot. I also haven't been doing huge amounts of barefoot trail runs lately. Only the occasional 3-5 miler out by the lake.

It was around mile 6-8 that my knee and hip really started to bug me. Its never super painful, just achy and annoying. I'm not sure if my issues are getting better, but I do know that I'm able to go further before I start to feel them. I should probably do a few races without such steep and brutal hills. I might find that they aren't as painful. But these races are so beauttiul and challenging. Its hard to ignore the lure.
The second mountain

By the time I reached the last dowhill (which was a DOOZIE and I think MUCH steeper than the profile above due to a trail redirect prompted by our crazy "recent" winter) my knee and hip were not happy. My muscles in my hips and quads were starting to talk to me. I had to stop several times to do some deep side lunges to stretch my hips out. It would help me for a little while and then start bitch slapping me again.

With about 2 miles to go I finally just gave in and barreled down the last hill. I found that if I ran down with my legs in a wider stance it alleviated some of the discomfort. Also, going down sideways a little helped. Bending my knees at that point was too difficult and painful.

After finishing the race, within minutes the pain in my knee and hips were gone but it rendered them slightly tender for the next couple days. I was fully recovered by four days after the race. I have some serious work to do on mobility before my final marathon goal in October. I'm confident that I will get through it though and am really looking forward to it.
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  1. Locking myself in the bathroom never worked with my kid, actually to the contrary, he would always have something urgent to tell me as soon as I locked the door.
    I would love to go for ice cream with you and not because I want to see make a mess of it. :)
    Are you doing your Oct. marathon barefoot?

  2. What goes in a chia fresca? I'd love to try making that!

  3. Janice - Here's my recipe:
    •2 heaping tsp raw sugar mixed with about 4-5oz of water, boiled and reduced on the stove until its a syrup. About 8 minutes.

    (Not sure if you need to do this, but my raw sugar is large chunks so I thought it dissolves better this way.)

    • 4-5 oz. water (enough to almost fill gel flask)
    • 1 Nuun tablet (I like the berry flavor)
    • juice of 1 lime
    • 2 Tblsp Chia seeds
    • small pinch of salt

    Fill the gel flask with the water. Add the nuun tablet, syrup, lime juice, salt and chia. Shake and refrigerate until race day.

  4. Yay! So excited you are coming to NY. This is turning out to be quite the event!

    I try the hiding in the bathroom too but I think I am raising career criminals because they somehow manage to open the door anyway!

  5. Shelly - at least your boys will be good at something! Ha! I'm super excited to go to NYC. We must make sure to meet up. :)

  6. Hey Krista,

    I guess I should stop whining about having to run up a mile long,450 foot inclined hill. After seeing that race profile, I'm feeling like a real wimp. Great job!

    Enjoy the NY race!

  7. beautiful ... wisk if i can go there


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