Sunday, November 13, 2016

Safety on the Run! ~ National Running Safety Month

 November is National Running Safety Month.  As an avid runner for the last eight years I have done my fair share of learning to be safe while out on the road, trail, and even while traveling. I am sharing my personal safety rules with Vegas.com to help runners stay safe while visiting the Strip to participate in upcoming races!

I live in a smaller town, but even small as it is, I have been spit on by a passing truck, had a car zoom up next to my leg (appeared to be on purpose), been whistled at, had many dogs come at me, had people pull over next to me and ask me questions (in a "raper van"...more coming on that), and had times I needed a bathroom...NOW! I've also had yogurt tossed out of a moving car at me, ran out of water on a long run, and got lost on a trail with no cell service while by myself. So bear with me and learn from my mistakes! 

Rule 1:
 Run with friends Whenever possible, run with someone.  I do enjoy a "lone" run once in while, but I try to run in groups whenever possible.  I post most of my runs on my fitness page ZaoFit, or message others to join me.  This keeps everyone in the group safe and accounted for.  If one of us has a problem, the rest are there to help.  My group has been known to share water, share toilet paper, and share a walk if someone is struggling that day.  In my larger groups we have never had a stranger try to approach us and everyone is always accounted for.  I feel safe on these runs most of the time.  We have had dogs try to take us on a few times, but that's another story! If you're going out alone, always tell someone about how long you will be gone, and your route.  It never ever hurts to tell someone and it may save your life!


Rule 2: 
 Carry a phone  Always take your phone on a run, even if it's only one mile.  You never know what may happen. There are many ways to carry your phone.  I wear an EAZYMATE belt.  There are many more options to choose from. Phones are good to have if you ever need to be picked up during a "run gone bad."  Sadly I've had to use my phone for this.  Maybe you need to call a friend to talk you through a bad spot during a long run.  My family uses the app called Funa. It's a family locator with GPS Tracking.  It has a handy SOS button too, but beware...I accidently pressed this button a couple weeks ago and it really does work!  And lastly, a phone comes in handy when you want to take a quick running selfie to post when you get home! 

Rule 3:
 Wear reflective gear and lights   I live in Oregon.  In the summer we have lots of daylight.  This time of year (Fall/Winter), not so much!  Sometimes I do need to run in the dark.  If alone, I will sometimes just run in my garage on the boring dreadmill.  Most of the time, I will go out into the dark.  I like to wear a reflective vest and take my Nathans running light.  I have tried headlamps, cheap small hand lights and knuckle lights.  The Nathan's is by far my favorite. It straps on your hand, white light in the front.  It's very visible to oncoming traffic and helps you see the road in front of you, no problem.  It also has a red light in the back.  You can pick your setting to keep in on, or make it flash.  It also has an emergency siren button to press if you are in danger or need help of any kind.  It's isn't super loud like an air horn, but it is loud enough to get someone to come over to you. The Nathan's light is rechargeable (no batteries) and is waterproof!

Rule 4:
Bring water If we are talking just a few miles, I don't necessarily think it's necessary to bring water.  Anything over six miles for sure.  I have a smaller hand-held water bottle and a larger one I use depending on how warm it is that day, and how far I plan to run.  If I come home with extra water, no big deal!  It is no fun to need water so bad you steal it out of someone's water hose (yes, I've done this).  So just be safe, take the water with you! 

Rule 5: 

Carry pepper spray or mace  I don't always carry pepper spray, but there are times I feel it's necessary.  If running alone and if running out on a country road (even in groups).   Running alone is always a good reason to carry pepper spray.  You just can't be too safe. While running out on a country road you may encounter a farm dog. Farm dogs seem to be very protective of their land.   This has happened to me and my friends more than once.  I happen to love dogs, but I've also had a dog bite me before.  I am also a mother to three and have no problem speaking in a "MOM" tone.  Four times I've had a dog (sometimes two) come running at my friends and me.  This is terrifying to my friends, but I will look the dog in the eye and yell at him to go stop and go home.
raper van

 This has always stopped the dog(s) and we are able to safely walk past out of harm's way.  I do not guarantee this will work, so I recommend having pepper spray as a back up.  Pepper spray is my number one for creepers.  I once was running with my friend on a very warm day a couple miles out of town.  We had stopped to walk and catch our breath after running a hill.  A "raper van" (large van with no windows) pulled up beside us and asked if we needed water?  I gladly raised my hand showing the man in the van that I had a water bottle AND pepper spray.  He nodded and drove on his way!  He may not of meant any harm to my friend and me, but that wasn't something we needed to test. 


Rule 6:
Ask for advice  While traveling I like to get a good run in.  It's a fun way to see a new city on foot too.  Usually my husband will join me for a run while traveling but occasionally I will go out alone. I will ask a local(s) for a good/safe route in the area and let my husband know the details before heading out with my phone.  If ever in doubt or if it's dark and we are at a hotel, I am quick to just get my run done on the dreadmill.  I do like to take advantage of a gym if needed.  I typically will get some weights in too while staying at a hotel. You can check out some great Vegas hotel deals here!

Rule 7:
Wear identification I highly recommend Road ID or taking your driver's licences while running or hiking.  It just may save your life! I also like to tuck a few dollars in with my identification too.  Never know if you may need to stop and buy water, a band aid, gu, ice cream??? Also, tuck in some toilet paper with that money.  Toilet paper can be a life saver out on a long run, just trust me on that one! 

Rule 8: 
No cell service? Don't go out alone! Once while in training for a trail run, a group of friends were picnicking at the park I would later be running my trail run at.  I thought it was a good idea to get in a good six or seven miles on the trail while we were there. It seemed safe enough.  I took off with my phone and sadly, seven mile turned into eleven mile when the trail didn't circle around like I thought it would.  When I took my phone out to call my husband, there was NO service on the mountain.  I was safe but when I came running in, my husband look terrified.  He was getting ready to call me in as lost.  I will never run on trails again alone with no cell service.  

Rule 9:
No headphones I rarely wear headphones. I have bad things happen when I do.  I once had the little round piece of the headphone get stuck in my inner ear because I was so sweaty.  My friend tried to get it out but with no luck, I had to run home with it in my ear.  I drove to my husbands work and he was able to get it out with some tweezers.  My head sweats so bad, once my headphone popped out of my ear and started bouncing around on my arm.  I thought a bug was attacking me and started jumping and screaming while traffic went my.  Nobody stopped to help me!  I haven't wore headphones since!  I either talk with my friends or if alone, enjoy the beautiful city I live in.  I like to be very aware of my surrounding while running.  I like to be able to hear if someone is coming up from behind me or if a car is coming. Many of my friends do wear headphones, but they will turn them down low or just wear in one ear.  

Rule 10:
Run towards ongoing traffic and always make eye contact
I always like to run going towards the flow of traffic, opposite of what bikers do.  I like to be able to see traffic coming.  I will move out of the traffics way as I run by.  I feel this is the smartest way to run, be safe, and also respect the flow of traffic. When running in town, there is always a chance of a car backing out of a driveway.  I always assume they don't see me.  I stop and wait to make eye contact before crossing the car. Sometimes they don't see me and they back up!  Also, never assume traffic pulling out of a parking lot/road sees you.  Often drivers are in a hurry and just don't realize you are there.  It's no need to get angry, just don't cross in front of the car until the driver looks at your face. Eye contact is always key!  Once my rule didn't work, my friend and I were running through town and a car was pulling out of the DMV.  I made eye contact with the driver and we both crossed in front of the car.  As we got right in front of the car, the driver pressed the gas (seemed to be on purpose).  The car drove right up next to my leg.  It put me in total shock.  I couldn't believe someone would be so mean.  The driver was right next to my leg, another hair and I would of been hit!  That is the only time making eye contact didn't work. 

Bonus Rule:
Always eat after you run! It's good to refuel after a good workout!  Here is one of my favorite things to eat after a good run! 
                ------>coconut blueberry chia muffins<------
                         Check out some great Las Vegas deals here!

Follow me on facebook at ZaoFit
Twitter @jerrysgirlruns





Safety on the Run! ~ National Running Safety Month

 November is National Running Safety Month.  As an avid runner for the last eight years I have done my fair share of learning to be safe while out on the road, trail, and even while traveling.  I would like to share with you a few simple tips that will help you stay safe out on the road! 

I live in a smaller town, but even small as it is, I have been spit on by a passing truck, had a car zoom up next to my leg (appeared to be on purpose), been whistled at, had many dogs come at me, had people pull over next to me and ask me questions (in a "raper van"...more coming on that), and had times I needed a bathroom...NOW! I've also had yogurt tossed out of a moving car at me, ran out of water on a long run, and got lost on a trail with no cell service while by myself. So bear with me and learn from my mistakes! 

Rule 1:
 Run with friends Whenever possible, run with someone.  I do enjoy a "lone" run once in while, but I try to run in groups whenever possible.  I post most of my runs on my fitness page ZaoFit, or message others to join me.  This keeps everyone in the group safe and accounted for.  If one of us has a problem, the rest are there to help.  My group has been known to share water, share toilet paper, and share a walk if someone is struggling that day.  In my larger groups we have never had a stranger try to approach us and everyone is always accounted for.  I feel safe on these runs most of the time.  We have had dogs try to take us on a few times, but that's another story! If you're going out alone, always tell someone about how long you will be gone, and your route.  It never ever hurts to tell someone and it may save your life!


Rule 2: 
 Carry a phone  Always take your phone on a run, even if it's only one mile.  You never know what may happen. There are many ways to carry your phone.  I wear an EAZYMATE belt.  There are many more options to choose from. Phones are good to have if you ever need to be picked up during a "run gone bad."  Sadly I've had to use my phone for this.  Maybe you need to call a friend to talk you through a bad spot during a long run.  My family uses the app called Funa. It's a family locator with GPS Tracking.  It has a handy SOS button too, but beware...I accidently pressed this button a couple weeks ago and it really does work!  And lastly, a phone comes in handy when you want to take a quick running selfie to post when you get home! 

Rule 3:
 Wear reflective gear and lights   I live in Oregon.  In the summer we have lots of daylight.  This time of year (Fall/Winter), not so much!  Sometimes I do need to run in the dark.  If alone, I will sometimes just run in my garage on the boring dreadmill.  Most of the time, I will go out into the dark.  I like to wear a reflective vest and take my Nathans running light.  I have tried headlamps, cheap small hand lights and knuckle lights.  The Nathan's is by far my favorite. It straps on your hand, white light in the front.  It's very visible to oncoming traffic and helps you see the road in front of you, no problem.  It also has a red light in the back.  You can pick your setting to keep in on, or make it flash.  It also has an emergency siren button to press if you are in danger or need help of any kind.  It's isn't super loud like an air horn, but it is loud enough to get someone to come over to you. The Nathan's light is rechargeable (no batteries) and is waterproof!

Rule 4:
Bring water If we are talking just a few miles, I don't necessarily think it's necessary to bring water.  Anything over six miles for sure.  I have a smaller hand-held water bottle and a larger one I use depending on how warm it is that day, and how far I plan to run.  If I come home with extra water, no big deal!  It is no fun to need water so bad you steal it out of someone's water hose (yes, I've done this).  So just be safe, take the water with you! 

Rule 5: 

Carry pepper spray or mace  I don't always carry pepper spray, but there are times I feel it's necessary.  If running alone and if running out on a country road (even in groups).   Running alone is always a good reason to carry pepper spray.  You just can't be too safe. While running out on a country road you may encounter a farm dog. Farm dogs seem to be very protective of their land.   This has happened to me and my friends more than once.  I happen to love dogs, but I've also had a dog bite me before.  I am also a mother to three and have no problem speaking in a "MOM" tone.  Four times I've had a dog (sometimes two) come running at my friends and me.  This is terrifying to my friends, but I will look the dog in the eye and yell at him to go stop and go home.
raper van

 This has always stopped the dog(s) and we are able to safely walk past out of harm's way.  I do not guarantee this will work, so I recommend having pepper spray as a back up.  Pepper spray is my number one for creepers.  I once was running with my friend on a very warm day a couple miles out of town.  We had stopped to walk and catch our breath after running a hill.  A "raper van" (large van with no windows) pulled up beside us and asked if we needed water?  I gladly raised my hand showing the man in the van that I had a water bottle AND pepper spray.  He nodded and drove on his way!  He may not of meant any harm to my friend and me, but that wasn't something we needed to test. 

Rule 6:
Ask for advice  While traveling I like to get a good run in.  It's a fun way to see a new city on foot too.  Usually my husband will join me for a run while traveling but occasionally I will go out alone. I will ask a local(s) for a good/safe route in the area and let my husband know the details before heading out with my phone.  If ever in doubt or if it's dark and we are at a hotel, I am quick to just get my run done on the dreadmill.  I do like to take advantage of a gym if needed.  I typically will get some weights in too while staying at a hotel. 

Rule 7:
Wear identification I highly recommend Road ID or taking your driver's licences while running or hiking.  It just may save your life! I also like to tuck a few dollars in with my identification too.  Never know if you may need to stop and buy water, a band aid, gu, ice cream??? Also, tuck in some toilet paper with that money.  Toilet paper can be a life saver out on a long run, just trust me on that one! 

Rule 8: 
No cell service? Don't go out alone! Once while in training for a trail run, a group of friends were picnicking at the park I would later be running my trail run at.  I thought it was a good idea to get in a good six or seven miles on the trail while we were there. It seemed safe enough.  I took off with my phone and sadly, seven mile turned into eleven mile when the trail didn't circle around like I thought it would.  When I took my phone out to call my husband, there was NO service on the mountain.  I was safe but when I came running in, my husband look terrified.  He was getting ready to call me in as lost.  I will never run on trails again alone with no cell service.  

Rule 9:
No headphones I rarely wear headphones. I have bad things happen when I do.  I once had the little round piece of the headphone get stuck in my inner ear because I was so sweaty.  My friend tried to get it out but with no luck, I had to run home with it in my ear.  I drove to my husbands work and he was able to get it out with some tweezers.  My head sweats so bad, once my headphone popped out of my ear and started bouncing around on my arm.  I thought a bug was attacking me and started jumping and screaming while traffic went my.  Nobody stopped to help me!  I haven't wore headphones since!  I either talk with my friends or if alone, enjoy the beautiful city I live in.  I like to be very aware of my surrounding while running.  I like to be able to hear if someone is coming up from behind me or if a car is coming. Many of my friends do wear headphones, but they will turn them down low or just wear in one ear.  

Rule 10:
Run towards ongoing traffic and always make eye contact
I always like to run going towards the flow of traffic, opposite of what bikers do.  I like to be able to see traffic coming.  I will move out of the traffics way as I run by.  I feel this is the smartest way to run, be safe, and also respect the flow of traffic. When running in town, there is always a chance of a car backing out of a driveway.  I always assume they don't see me.  I stop and wait to make eye contact before crossing the car. Sometimes they don't see me and they back up!  Also, never assume traffic pulling out of a parking lot/road sees you.  Often drivers are in a hurry and just don't realize you are there.  It's no need to get angry, just don't cross in front of the car until the driver looks at your face. Eye contact is always key!  Once my rule didn't work, my friend and I were running through town and a car was pulling out of the DMV.  I made eye contact with the driver and we both crossed in front of the car.  As we got right in front of the car, the driver pressed the gas (seemed to be on purpose).  The car drove right up next to my leg.  It put me in total shock.  I couldn't believe someone would be so mean.  The driver was right next to my leg, another hair and I would of been hit!  That is the only time making eye contact didn't work. 

Bonus Rule:
Always eat after you run! It's good to refuel after a good workout!  Here is one of my favorite things to eat after a good run!
                ------>coconut blueberry chia muffins<------

Follow me on facebook at ZaoFit
Twitter @jerrysgirlruns





Sunday, November 6, 2016

Silver Falls 50k 2016 ~ Does Life Really Begin at Forty?

Silver Falls 50k 2016 was the race I picked to celebrate
turning 40. This race was two days before my "big day."  I thought it would make turning 40 a little fun.  I am NOT looking forward to turning 40 tomorrow, but that's how life goes!

Why run a 50k and why at Silver Falls?

When I started running as an adult in 2008, I just wanted to run a half marathon.  That quickly changed into running a full marathon. A few years later, I dreamed of sometime qualifying for Boston Marathon.

Thru running, my husband and I meet this "Ultra guy" from Dallas named Chris. We quickly became friends and did lots of training together. Jerry and I decided to go cheer him on for his Ultra race about 1.5 years ago. I thought the idea of an Ultra was ridiculous and didn't have any desire to torture myself past the marathon distance.  At Chris's race, Jerry and I both were very inspired as we watched the runners and ran some of the miles with Chris.  We both left thinking, "maybe one day we will run an Ultra."  The idea was still scary to me and I gave myself some rules. First, my middle child needed to graduate. Then deciding if I should wait until after I qualify for Boston or not in 2016.

My son graduated and I didn't qualify for Boston like I wanted in 2016 so the decision was made not to wait until after Boston! Run either Autumn Leaves 50k or Silver Falls 50k.  Both were just before I would turn 40. Jerry was on board with running a 50k for sure now too. Autumn Leaves was recommended by several running friends. A nice FLAT course and close to home.  This one I could even try and run a little competitively if training went well.  Silver Falls is a place I LOVE to go. It's beautiful.  Five years ago I ran Silver Falls Marathon to raise awareness for Childhood Cancer and to bring some joy into a family's life who had a child with cancer.  It was my first Run Wild race and it was extremely difficult. It was a race I walked away from never to go back too.  It would be forever be for Lincoln and his family #runningforlincoln.  It was Lincoln's marathon!

The next year I did go back, but it was for fun,  Still to this day, I will never do the marathon their again.  I did the half marathon distance and loved it.  Then went back the last two years for the 7 miler race.  It's so fun and enjoyable.  Very hard, but I run trails slow to avoid injury and to enjoy the scenery. They are very different than the road races I like to "race."  

 As Jerry and I discussed what 50k to run, he decided on Silver Falls.  He loves to run on the trails.  We also found out some running friends, Chris (different Chris than "Ultra Chris") and Stacie McGraw both were going to sign up for Silver Falls 50k and it would be their first 50k too.  I still was torn on what race I wanted to do, but decided to go with Silver Falls.  I love to run there, and it was the only distance offered that weekend I hadn't run yet. We had friends to "train" with and it was right before I would turn 40!



Training for a 50k wasn't too hard to figure out.  I did a little research and talked to two friends who had both run 50ks.  I always like to get advice from people more experienced than me.  I was helping with Dallas HS cross country too and thought that would be a great way to keep on track.
Everything was looking good, I ran Hood to Coast the end of August and then went right into "Ultra" training. Because I wasn't going to be "racing." I wasn't concerned about doing lots of speedwork or tempo runs.  I just wanted to get in some good mileage and hills.  I also wanted to go train on some trails. My goals were to finish, have fun with no injuries on the mountain! Trails can be tricky!

1.5 weeks into training I was running an "easy pace" run with the High School girls.  I turned around for a second to check on one of the girls and something in my foot started hurting.  I didn't think much of it cause I didn't do anything.  Just wondered why it was feeling so tender.  I finished the last mile-and-a-half with the girls and stopped.  Then I limped to my car and limped at work for the next week or so.  Finally I went to the doctor because something didn't make sense.  I couldn't run at all, and I was limping everywhere.  After talking with the doctor we both agreed I didn't need x-rays, it wasn't broken, but it was hurt.  I was sent to a rehab appointment. They determined I had sprained my ankle. They gave me some things to do to help the healing process and told me not to run until I can get through my work-day without pain.

I was glad I didn't pick Autumn Leaves.  It was a week sooner than Silver Falls and I was certain I wouldn't be able to run fast, if at all.

A few weeks went by.  I finally stopped limping through work and could tell it was healing, but still couldn't run.  It was very frustrating. Weeks past and I could finally run 1-3 slow miles at a time.  My youngest son was on the Middle School cross country team.  Jerry and I were asked to help with them.  I could no longer run with the High School girls, but I could run a few miles with some of the Middle Schoolers.  I would go out with the slowest group and it was so fun.  I was glad just to be able to run a couple times a week at this point.  I would still have days where by foot would flare up and swell and cause me pain, but I also would have some good days.

Cross country ended and I had signed up for the Runaway Pumpkin Half on October 15th many months ago.  This had been worked into my 50k training as a controlled pace run.  I was worried about the distance and if my foot would hold out.  I decided to give it a try.  I ran with my friend Tonya and we ended up having a blast.  We ran a great controlled paced race. My foot gave me minimal problems, things were looking up, but I still had some issues running any inclines.

The next weekend (10/29) I decided I need to test my foot for more distance and ran 20 miles.  I made it but still hadn't trained at all on trails or hills.  I wasn't sure if I should run November 5th. But, what if I did make it????  I was signed up and was going anyway to be with my husband while he ran!  So, I decided, "why not?"  I'm gonna do it!

             ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Race day!

Right before the 50k started
Race day came and I set my alarm wrong for the first time ever on a race day!  Jerry and I had 20 short minutes to load up and leave Saturday morning.  We made it up the mountain in time to use the bathroom, get our race bib and find our friends. There wasn't any time to think!  Chris was running with us, and Stacie was working as a volunteer.

Stacie's training didn't happen due to a freak thing!  She had a stroke and has been recovering for several months.  She is doing well today, but still, no trail running at this time.  I thought it was really cool that she came to help at the race and support her husband, Jerry and I.

It was still slightly dark at 7:00 am when we started the 50k.  Because I hadn't got much training in, I didn't experience the extreme nervous stuff my body does to me.  I was pretty calm and excited.  The weather was so perfect.  About 51 or 52 degrees with no wind or rain.  This was the best weather in five years of running at Silver Falls.  Off we went together.



Jerry, me and a random guy who ran Runaway Pumpkin Half
Chris, Jerry and I ran together for several miles.  We started on grass, then went to the parking lot, then into some flatter trails for the first bit. We all were doing good and talking and laughing together.  A few other runners joined our conversations and made it even funner.  As the trails started to get a little harder I told the boys to go ahead.  They ran with me for a long time.  It was really nice.

Just before one of our aid stations, I made a new friend named Sharon.  We came to the aid station and there was Jerry and Chris and another running friend named Bo.  Stacie was there too making sure everyone was ok!  We turned to our right and went up our first mountain.

This was the first time it started to feel hard. We were at mile five or six.  Everyone around me started slowing down.  It was part of the mountain and you had to bend over to get up.  It was not paved.  It was pretty wide and slightly muddy.  It was just starting to rain, but the rain felt good.

Jerry and Chris had ran up ahead now and I started to slow down a little after making my way up the first mountain climb with my new friend Sharon from Portland.  As the tail evened out she ended up keeping pace and so soon she disappeared. I wasn't keeping pace after the mountain.  I had slowed down a little.  I never did catch back up to her.

I ran on, and the trail got very narrow, It was still a nice trail to run on.  Not too many sticks and rocks.  I knew the creek crossing was coming soon.  The marathon runners have to cross the creek too. I didn't like the creek crossing during the marathon five years ago at all!

Chris crossing the creek!
About mile 12, there it was!  The creek was nice and clear but going fast.  I ran right into the water then stopped!!!!!  I realized if I didn't slow it down, I was going down!  The water was going very fast and I had to watch my stepping. It took a few minutes to walk across.  At first the cold water felt really good on my feet.  It numbed my ankle and that was great because it had been aching just a little.   The creek also seemed a little lower than I remembered it from the marathon.  As I took my last four or five steps, the water got too cold!  Burrrrrrr!  I got across and started running down the trail again.

I was so glad to see Stacie and eat my bread

The water made my feet feel very heavy.
About this time I got really really hungry.  Before the race I ate one piece of bread with peanut butter, my allergy medicine, headache medicine and some caffeine pills. That's about all my stomach can take before a race.  I can't take gu or gel's during races or my stomach gets angry.  I had packed more bread with peanut butter and gave to Stacie.  I couldn't wait to get to the next aid station! I knew she would be there with my food.

Stacie, enjoying the waterfall as she waited for us







As I rounded the corner (in the photo) there was Stacie and aid station/mile 14.
She took a photo, told me the boys were doing good and gave me my bread.  I filled my bottle back up with water and took some medicine I had packed with my sandwich and off I went.  I was feeling good but even better after eating my bread/peanut butter.







The start of the very muddy mountain.
After I finished up my bread, took my pills/water I got myself in gear and took off running again.  After about a mile or two I came to another mountain I had to climb.  I knew it was coming but still, ugh! It was very steep.  I had to walk most of it bending over!  It was now raining really hard and the mud was deep.  In spots the mud would try to suction your shoe right off your foot.  The trail was now full of sticks, rocks and lots of uneven terrain.  We were really out in the woods and it was really beautiful.  It was hard to look up and enjoy the scenery because of constantly watching your footing. I had slowed down even more and the rain got even worse.  I was starting to feel really cold.  I had a jacket back with Stacie, but wouldn't see her again until mile 24.  Bummer!

The photos show the start of the muddy mountain.  It got a lot worse, but then my hands were too cold to take more photos.  These were taken just before bad things happened!

Bad things!

I put my phone/camera back and started off again.  As I had climbed the mountain my heart was pumping really hard, which is totally normal.  What wasn't normal is my heart was palpitating. Several months back I had to go to a heart doctor because of this happening when I wasn't running (just normal day stuff).  I had an embarrassing diagnosis of "too much caffeine."

I had cut back and the palpitations stopped.  I had slowed down even more because I was kinda scared to keep running with this happening. I realized I had taken caffeine pills before the race and my headache meds (has caffeine) too.  I took a second dose at mile 14 when I saw Stacie.  That second dose, oh no!!!!! It was too much for my body.  I hadn't even thought about it, we were in such a rush that morning.  A lot of runners take caffeine in some form before running a race or long run.  It really helps.  I don't drink much coffee, so I sometime take a pill.  I hadn't taken one since I had gone to the doctor, until today!

I started only walking.  I thought maybe that would help get my heart beating "normal" again.  It continued along with the feeling of wanting to throw up.  I think going up that second mountain affected my stomach a little.  I now was freezing cold.  I had a tank on and I walked along that muddle trail in the lonely woods with my own arms wrapped around myself.  Occasionally a runner would come up behind me to pass.  Normally in this situation, a runner will go by and we'll exchange, "good job" and leave it at that.  Now people would pass and say, "are you ok?"  "Do you need anything?"  I would say, "I'm fine, Just walking for a minute."  Well, this continued for a couple miles.  Twice I remember just stopping.  I didn't know what to do.  I just stood there, in the woods, so cold, in the pouring down rain, unable to run to warm back up.  I was feeling sick and a little scared. I didn't know what to do.


I finally decided it's time to quit. I cannot run the whole 31 miles.  I knew I had at least one more mountain to climb and then the canyon to climb out of close to the end.  It would be a bad idea to continue.  I really needed shelter and to get warmed back up. I looked around and thought about curling up under a tree.  I seriously wanted to do that so bad.  I didn't have cell service so I knew that would be stupid.   More and more people went by, and said, "are you ok?" I now told them I wasn't doing well and was trying to get to the next aid station to quit.  Most people asked if I needed water and or gu and then went on.  One couple must of saw how cold I was and took an extra shirt they had wrapped around their waist and said, "would this help?"  It was a really nice long sleeved Brooks shirt with a hood and little thumb holes.  They said, "it may be wet" and I said, "that's ok" and stopped to put it on.  The arms were wet so it was hard to get on.  It was also an extra small.  I don't wear an xs.  It was hard, but I got that tiny awesome shirt on, and it even covered my hands and head.  It had a hood!!!!

I now felt like I was in a tunnel with the rain pouring and the hood up over my head.  It made it hard to hear much of anything.  I was still very cold but didn't have to walk hugging myself anymore.

Sitting in the truck with my tiny shirt on
along with the extra coat.
I knew the next aid station was between one and two miles away.  I continued to walk thru the mud.  After a bit, I heard someone yell off in the distance "STOP."  This was weird, I didn't know if she was talking to me or not.  I looked back at her then looked forward again.  There was nobody but me and her around.  She swung her arms and again yelled, "STOP."  Then I stopped!  She ran up to me and stayed with me for a while.  She explained that a huge cougar had just crossed the path right in front of her (in between the two of us).  She was so scared, she asked me what I knew about cougars.  She seemed to calm down a little and thanked me for being there.  She said she needed another human.  She was scared.  I knew if the cougar wanted us we wouldn't be still here.  The cougar must of crossed the path hunting something else.  She then ran on, leaving me alone in the woods.  For the first time ever that day, I felt slightly spooked.  I had been alone a lot and been fine with my thoughts but that lady had got in my head.  Now I couldn't just walk along looking at my feet.  I now would take a few steps, look to the side, turn around and look back.  Then I took the hood off! I needed to be able to hear!

Really, there is a huge buck standing in the woods.
I walked another half mile or so and finally came to the aid station.  I told them I needed to go back to the start/finish area, I was quitting.  They told me to I could wait in the truck, they had to wait until all the runners went through to take me back.  I felt like telling them, seriously??? You really think there are more people out there???  I just walked over three miles, maybe four!  They gave me a dry coat to put on over my dripping wet body and clothes.  I sat in the truck for 30 minutes shivering. Teeth chattering, but glad to have shelter.  There were still runners out.  After the "sweeper" came through, the aid station team got packed up and started down the mountain in no time.  It was a very bumpy ride down.  We almost lost the table out of the back of the truck.  We saw a beautiful buck.  We stop to get photos and he just stood there, he looked like a statute but he was blinking, so I know he was real.  He didn't move the whole time we were looking at him.  I got a photo but when I went to show someone, I realized my photo was blurry.  My hands were still very cold.

The drive back down to the park took a good ten minutes or so.  I gave them the coat back and headed right to the area where food was.  I didn't want food, I wanted to be by the fire I knew they had one going.  There were people crowded in that area.  I didn't care, I wedged myself through all the people and got right up close to the fire.  I just stood there worried that my friends were wondering where I was.  About a half hour later I saw Jerry, he had just finished.  I left the fire and went to talk to him.  He had the key to the van with all our dry warm clothes too.  He had finished and had done great.  Chris was still out there and we didn't see Stacie so we went to get into dry clothes.

Jerry and Chris did it! So proud of them!
Still no sign of Chris and Stacie.  I thought maybe Chris had finished and they were cold and went home.  I didn't want to leave without knowing if he was still out there so we went to the result tent.  His name wasn't up yet, then we wondered if he had to quit too????  Then Jerry saw my name on the results as a finisher. 6:43, I'll take it!!!  Ha!  I think when I walked passed the finish line to change my clothes it picked up my chip because I hadn't ever finished.  I was going to just leave my time there, I knew I didn't win anything so what did it matter!?  I almost left, but then I told them what happened and to take my name off.  I didn't go get a medal, I just didn't feel I deserved one at all.  We turned around and there was Chris and Stacie.  Chris did indeed finish.  He struggled at the end, but he did it!  Jerry and Chris were now Ultra runners.

All four of us drove to Salem and got burgers and fries. It was really good, then we went home.  I took a long warm shower and fell asleep for a few hours.

Today I am not an Ultra runner.  I am 39 for one more day! I am sore so I feel old, lol!
I will not be an Ultra runner before I turn 40 but I did have an adventure at Silver Falls.  I don't feel like less of a runner for not finishing yesterday.  I didn't feel it was safe for me at the time to continue. Of course I am disappointed! I wanted to run an Ultra and I couldn't do it!  Stacie couldn't even run and she still came! She was a huge part of the race.  I got to go be with some great people and meet some great people and that's really fantastic.

I left Silver Falls glad I got out of there with no permanent damage.  I left with a desire to go back and try again next year.  Although I'm not sure the guys are in agreement with me.  I left knowing if I do go back for the 50k, I will make sure I train for it and will not take caffeine pills.  I left sad because I missed my favorite part of the race.  The canyon with all the waterfalls. I left excited to find out how the 7 miler when for a bunch of my running buddies.  I left glad to be alive and thankful for friends and family!




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Monday, October 24, 2016

Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon 2016~The Gift of Running



To run or not to run? What a silly question! 
 On the "stormy" morning of Saturday October 15th I ran the Runaway Pumpkin Half marathon.  This was the morning Oregon was going to get hit with big pacific northwest storm.  Many people were concerned about the race Saturday morning, including the Runaway Pumpkin Half race director and staff.  They did such a good job posting and e-mailing updates for race day morning. Safety was certainly a concern!  At 5:00 am Saturday morning, they sent out one last email....the race was happening!!!!! 



  As I drove to the race that morning, I didn't feel the weather was too bad. After I got to the race it wasn't too bad either.  As I ran that morning, I thought, "this is perfect running weather."  It was 55 degrees with a very light mist in the air.  As I ran that morning we were hit with a little bit of wind in areas. 7 mph to be exact! It was an awesome time! 
Ready to run with Tonya! Tonya has run this race all 8 years!

  This was Runaway Pumpkin Half's 8th year.  I have run this race every year except one, when my daughter was in her Senior year of cross country!  It's one of my favorite half marathons.  I love the loop course and I love the atmosphere of this race.  It is really fun to dress up for this one, but you aren't required to do so.  The course is FULL of volunteers who are happy to be helping. I love the bikers who come help out on the course every year!  They are a great bunch of guys who help with traffic and help keep up runners/walkers safe.

  The course was pretty! We started and ended at Cheadle Lake Park in Lebanon, OR.  We ran through the park on a paved path and then turn off into a friendly neighborhood.  There were people out on their porches cheering as we ran by.  After running through the neighborhood we headed towards a country road and ran along a river for several miles.  It's was so calming and beautiful with all the Fall leaves. I loved every minute of it! As we turned and ran across a bridge, a band was playing.  I love running to the beat of the drums! 


Olivia and her husband Brandon who ran his first
half TODAY!!!!!
The yummy food at the end. They even had it safely
covered to stay dry in this "stormy" weather.
This was a special race to me because 5.5 weeks before this race I sprained my ankle helping with high school cross country.  I was unsure if I would be able to finish this race running, or even at all.  Every day I would test my foot.  Some days it was just getting through the work day.  Some days running a mile or two very slowly, and some days nothing because it needed to rest and heal.  I had already missed Uberthons Fall Half and I didn't want to miss this one too.  I planned on running with friends, and many showed up that morning.  It was fun to see everyone out, even in the midst of a "storm."  I ran every step of the Runaway Pumpkin Half with my friend Tonya who hadn't ran a half in over a year!  It was a special race to her too.
We did it!!!! 

Congratulations to Lacey
I plan on running this again next year and coming back to "race."  I am ready to PR this course but my foot needs to finish healing first.  I am just happy I got to be there and run!  Helps me remember that running really is a gift.  

This is a great race to put on your 2017 calendar.  100% profits goes to ABC House.  Founded in 1997, they help abused and neglected children in the Benton and Linn Counties. 


Congratulations to Melissa, running her first half
marathon today!


Congratulations Caric!


















If you're not ready to run or walk a half marathon, you can choose the 8k.  The 8k was new this year and a great add on.  I had two friends do this race and they loved being able to take part in this fun time.


Follow Runaway Pumpkin Half on facebook here
Follow ABC House on facebook here
Follow my fitness page ZaoFit here











Monday, September 12, 2016

Hood to Coast 2016 ~ Team Uberthons ~ Coming in HOT!

A few months ago I was asked to run on Team Uberthons for Hood to Coast! I said yes!  I don't even like running relays! 
Van one! Time to dive up to Timberline!
Relays are a different kind of beast then a road race.  For a road race, I get up on a Saturday or Sunday and run, get it over and go home!  A relay takes a couple days with lack of sleep, lack of food, lack of rest-rooms, lack of showers, lack of cell-service, and  lack of sanity over the whole weekend! You do this with a van full of people, some you proably have never meet before! It's pretty messed up! 
And here we are, van one...ready to get this thing started!
2016 was my fourth time running on a Hood to Coast team. This year, Team Uberthons! I was the fourth runner in van one! Hood to Coast teams are made up of twelve runners, six in each van.  Van one (my van) started at Timberline on Mt. Hood at 9:45 am.  It was a beautiful morning. The sky was clear and it was in the 60's.  You could see for miles! I knew three people in my van. Two I didn't know.  We quickly became close friends.  You have no choice but to bond when you are riding up the Mountain with one common
DuWayne, Alan, and Moe...#TeamUberthons

 goal, running 199 miles together without injury or trouble. 
Our first runner, Moe took off fast, leading the pack in our starting time. We loaded up and headed to the first exchange spot, checking on Moe as we went by.  He was looking good! 
Next runner was Alan, our team captain. Alan is also in charge of Uberthons 
events.



Spritzing runners in the HOT weather


 Next we had runner Elisa who I was meeting today for the first time.  I have seen her at races, but never have talked to her.  She paces many Uberthons Half Marathons and does an incredible job. Next was me.  When it was my turn it was up to 89 degrees.  It was the bottom part of Mt Hood, a nice little decline in elevation, just over seven miles.  I was excited about this leg until I started running it and felt the burning heat!  My first two miles were good, mile three was still ok.  At mile four and on, I struggled. I was feeling overheated and there was no longer shade like when we drove up that morning. My team stopped a couple times, spritzing me with water and handing me extra fluids to drink.  I got sprayed by a person who was in their yard watching people run by.  I tried to talk to other runners to get my mind off the heat.  I thought about how embarrassing it was going to be to face my team when I got to the next hand-off. 
Jeff 
I finally got to my exchange, handed off to Jerry our fifth runner and faced my team. They were wonderful!  They all understood.  Afterall, they all know what it's like to run in the heat! I loved all of them instantly after that moment. 
Nice job Brent!
Jerry is my husband and had never got to experience van one. He was running a leg I had run, so I knew the course.  I knew he was running a hard first leg, but also knew he could handle it! He is a very strong runner and does better in the heat than most people. 
Joshua
Jerry handed off to DuWayne, our sixth and final runner for van one.  DuWayne is a new friend.  I had only meet him at a Hood to Coast planning potluck.  He specialized in Tri races.

DuWayne came in strong and handed off to van two.  
We were hot, tired and hungry.
In van two we had team members 
Brent (turning 40 during H2C)
Eileen (the beauty who let us shower and dig for snacks at her house)
Lora (a super fast energetic runner)
Jeff (a fast runner with a super awesome dog).
  Josh (a super fast runner)
Michelle (a really awesome Uberthons Ambassador) 
Unfortunately I didn't get to spend much time with this great group, as we were split up.  We exchanged some quick info with them and as they started running for our team.  We went to Eileen's for showers and then to grab a bit to eat.
Michelle #TeamUberthons 
We ate at the Safeway by Eileen's house.  Half of us started at the Safeway Starbucks with a Lime Refresher.  We tried to talk the guy working into joining our team and running one of our legs.  He was not interested!  We then made our way over to the deli area.  For some reason rice seemed to be the pick.  I got some sushi, and others got fruit.  Rice was the one thing everyone was excited about. We bought our food and sat over in the Starbucks area.  If you came to that Safeway Friday evening, I apologize. You heard things like, "This is the BEST. RICE. EVER." Someone singing "Ice Ice Baby". Someone giving pressure to so the sushi dance.  Lots of laughter. Talk of "where did that Sprite come from?" Talk of how  the Starbucks guy should join our team! And again, BEST. RICE. EVER.  I know, you had to be there, but it was hilarious. Not even kidding!
Right after leg five, super HOT right now! 
We quickly got back on the road still in awe over the rice.  We needed to get to the next major exchange to rest before van two arrived. Traffic was annoying, but that's to be expected in the Portland area.
We didn't rest much, we parked and then walked down under Hawthorne bridge and
 enjoyed the port-a-potties and the fun going on around us. We got a hilarious team photo at the GNC booth.  I saw Lisa from my Epic Relay team.  We watched hundreds of runners go by. It was a beautiful Portland evening.
Made it to Portland
About 7:00 pm van two, handed off to us and we were running our second legs.  The sun was going down, and it was starting to cool off but it was still warm. I ran at 10:00 pm and it was still 81 degrees out.  This leg was just under four miles for me.  Most of my team struggle some with leg two because of the heat we had been in all day.  This was a hard leg for most of us.  We all pulled together and cared for each other.  Making sure water was available, making sure we had time to rest before taking off in the van again.  Giving out iced towels.  We had entered "survival mode." 
In Portland, waiting for Michelle to come in! 


We  managed to make it, and handed off to van two around


11:30 or so.  We headed to a race directors house name Molly that Alan knows.  She feed us the BEST Spaghetti in the whole world, let us cuddle her new baby kittens, take showers and crash in her living room for a bit.  It was wonderful!  Thank you Molly for your wonderful hospitality. We had to get going to drive to our next major exchange point.  We made it to Mist safe and sound.  If felt like a very long dark drive.  DuWayne drove us into the night and I was so thankful the team hadn't asked me to drive.  We got to sleep for about 1.5-2 very short hours. Since we were in a 15 passenger van (thank you Kim), we all just slept in there.  None of us rested in the sleeping field. 
EARLY Saturday morning, about 4:00 am Alan rudely awoke us with the lights turning on, and a, "are you ready to run?"  Moe and Alan needed to switch legs so Alan was running first.  Moe volunteered to go with him to the handoff to connect with the other half of our team and get the hand off times.  
It was very dark out and we were in a huge field full of large vans.  We had just been rudely awaken and all just sat in a daze while Moe and Alan walked off.
After a moment Elisa, Jerry and I realized we better go to the Honey Pots now or we would miss out.  DuWayne still just sat there in a daze. While standing in line, we heard 6-1-0 being called out (meaning our runner was in).  We knew this was a shorter leg, and so in a panic we went back to our van and decided we could wait for the next exchange.  
Elisa is DONE and I am off!
We got to our van and Moe was nowhere to be found!  DuWayne hadn't seen him!  It was very dark out and I don't think he was hardly even awake yet.  We did all we could at the moment, just sat there, waiting!  After a good ten minutes Moe opens the van door all worked up!  "I couldn't find you!!!" It was horrible and hilarious all at the same time.  There were just rows and rows of crazy Hood to Coast vans in a dark field.  Moe wasn't even sure what way they had gone.  I'm so glad he found us! We had to go now! We saw Alan running down that dark country road as we went by.  We made it to the exchange before him, despite the confusion on where the van was parked in that dark overflowing field. 
We took our turns in the Honey Pot and we were back in business, we were running again! It wasn't hot like it was for day one.  It was a beautiful summer morning and we were out on beautiful (hilly) country roads. The sun was rising, it was a new day! 


I'm DONE and Jerry is off!
 I started running my last leg about 7:00 am and it was 57 degrees.  Most days, I would call this warm running, but it was now cool running!  It felt so good to be running in cooler temps and in the morning air!  I had lots of rollers (small hills) to run over but it was only 4.09 miles.  I had run faster for leg two but felt the best for this leg.  I handed off to Jerry and was so so so happy! Three more runners in our van and then we got to head to the beach.  Jerry, Elisa, and DuWayne all finished very strong that morning! Moe, Alan and I had a few struggles but all made it!!!
We got to talk with van two for a little longer this time.  I saw several running friends at this exchange. That's always fun! 
Van two took off strong and we drove to the beach! 
We did it! #TeamUberthons "Coming in HOT"
My van was able to take showers again at a teammates beach house. I've never had so many showers for a relay!  It was nice! 
After van two made it in, we all joined together for the finish line and finish photos!  What a great adventure we all had! 
2016 Hood to Coast Team Uberthons
A few fun moments from the team (and it was 100 times more funny if you were there)
~"Put the van in PARK Brent"  ~Eileen (never a dull moment)
~Lora and Eileen getting bombarded by other women asking about our "awesome team shirts" and how to get them. Sorry girls, you have to be on #TeamUberthons.
~Van two losing our team flag twice and the guys having to chase it down!
~Bugs in Jerry's pistachios
~Sprinklers on in people's yards to cool off the runners (thank you folks who live along the route)
~A lady handing out Gatorade at 1:30 am.  Yes, it was still warm out and extra fluids were what we needed!
~Where did Jerry's body go?????
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~Experiencing the BEST. RICE. EVER.
~The best spaghetti in the word and kitten cuddles.
~And of course, making new friends!
Thank you Uberthons, for letting me run with you and your team! It was an honor and a memory I'll never forget!


Find Uberthon Races HERE
Follow Uberthons on 
Facebook HERE
The Oregon Marathon HERE
The Oregon Half Marathon Series HERE
Uberthons on Twitter HERE
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Find me on Facebook at ZaoFit HERE

Well done team!!!!