Sunday, November 5, 2017

Autumn Leaves 50k 2017~ Why Ultra?

Why Ultra?  

I never dreamed of running any ultra distances until I went to help crew a friend about two years ago!  I ran some really good and really bad miles with him.  It's an interesting thing watching a friend race.  It's extremely inspiring!  I left that day, saying, "one day I'm gonna do that." 

 A couple years later, my husband Jerry and I found ourselves not only trying to get to our goals in the "marathon" distance, but enjoyed training for Ultras.  We both ran Silver Falls 50k in November 2016.  He finished, I did not.  A few months ago we both ran the 6 hour race "Angry Owl"  My goal for the 6 hours was simply to hit the 50k mark.  I really struggled with some stomach issues that day, but DID hit the 50k mark with about 7 minutes to spare!  

Right after Angry Owl our friends Stacie and Chris McGraw asked if we wanted to train for Autumn Leaves 50k with them.  We were up for the challenge.  We begin training, adding once a week runs in the McDonald forest to beat the heat of the summer. Chris ran Silver Falls 50k in 2016 with us.  Stacie would be running Autumn Leaves 50k as her first ultra "post stroke."  It was a big deal to our little group! We had some great summer runs, but as Fall came, it became harder and harder to all train toge
ther.  But we all came together October 28th to face the 50k! 

Autumn Leaves 50k!
It was a dark, cool, clear morning at Champoeg State Park.  The stars lite up the sky that morning.  My teeth chattered as I walked through the dark park.  I was glad it was cold.  It was great race weather.  Low 40s.  No wind.  No rain.  The forecast showed the sun would be out soon. I used the bathroom, several times! Then one last time before we had to line up.  It's just something that needs to be done when you's ok to laugh! 

Loop two (around mile 7)
We took off promptly at 7:00 am.  The park was still dark but sightly getting light.  Most people had headlamps.  I didn't, but I was ok with all the other runners around me.  I could see just fine.  We ran down a short dirt path, through a parking lot, then onto a paved trail.  The trail was in a clearing and you could see the sun rising on the horizon.  It was a beautiful morning!

  I felt amazing as I ran next to my friends Chris and Stacie.  Jerry had already taken off and was nowhere to be seen.  We were
amongst many runners at this time.  We talked a lot.  It felt more like a Saturday morning group run with more people joining us than usual. 

Chris, Stacie and me!
As we moved along the path at a very comfortable pace, the runners gradually thinned out. The route was a good one.  We would do five 10k loops.  Just a 5k out, and a 5k back.  This was easy on the brain and we had plenty of aid stations with the course set up like this. The loops weren't boring at all.  The course was  beautiful the entire way, from the paved path, to the leaves on the trail covered in leaves. 

I started the race in long sleeves, but as soon as loop one was done, I shed a layer.  It was time for a tank top!  The second loop was great.  I ran mostly alone for this six miles.  I was ok with that, I just enjoyed the scenery and ran.  I knew where I was going and what the course held for me now. I felt good.  I felt as if I could run forever!!! I started to see the front runners now.  The way the course was designed, runners got to see each other often and it got to be really fun.  Watching the fast ones fly by, watching those moving slower but steady.  We were all in this together and every single person would give a nod, or say "looking good", "keep it up" as we would pass each other back and forth on the out and back section.  Ultra runners are more encouraging than any other group

 I've found. They seem to all know the joy in suffering together to get to the finish line.  A finish line that makes you feel so alive and well!  It's an amazing feeling!

My Ultra runner friend had warned me loop four and five would be the hardest to go back out on.  I really hoped he was wrong.  The first three loops were very smooth and good.  As I came to the turn-a-round to head out for loop four, I struggled at the thought of two more loops!  I reminded myself I "only have 12.4 miles left."  I reminded myself I love to go out and run 10-15 miles all the time. I reminded myself, "just two more loops and you will be done!"  As I headed back out on that paved section of the trail, I started to feel the fatigue setting in. 

As I started watching the runners around me more. I could see others starting to struggle as well.  I shouldn't be surprised, but somehow I'm always in hopes that the fatigue will bypass me for the race I'm in that day! 

As I started down the 2nd path after the aid station (around mile 20), I tucked in behind two men running a pretty comfortable pace for me at the time.  After a couple minutes they told me to pass them.  I let them know I needed to stay put for now and that they were helping me to keep moving.  They seemed to like that idea that they were helping and shared why they were running that day.  We all moved forward together.  It was a father and son. I never got their names, but the son was quick to tell me 3 are stronger together 
Jerry running strong! 
than 1 alone! We stayed steady and I didn't have thoughts of stopping while with them.  We made it up the hill, to the turn-around and headed back.  As we got back to the aid station, the men stopped for fuel and I kept going.  They really helped me get past the worst few miles of the race that morning!  

Final Loop (around mile 26)
I ran on, walking a few times, still struggling but doing ok.  I ran through the trails and headed back to the next turn-a-round to head out for my final loop!  As I rounded the corner, there stood my friend Kristi, ready to step in and help me finish.  Autumn leaves allowed pacers to join the runners for the last two loops (really cool). I was really happy to see her.  She asked how I was doing?  I told her not well, and that I wasn't going to be good company and I was slow.  She didn't seem to care.  She was all happy and ran along with me, taking photos and enjoyed being out in the beautiful weather on fresh legs!

I really wish I could say this was an easy loop and I finished well.  In reality, this loop was very difficult.  I had great company, so it made it bearable, that's the only good thing about this loop.  My body hurt! Both my legs aches so bad.  My right leg had 3 spots that were tender. I wanted to take my shoes off because my feet were starting to throb.  I was worried about my friends Chris and Staci because I should of seen them again by now, and I couldn't find them!  
Jerry heading towards the trail to finish up his 50k

Around mile 27 we saw Jerry heading to the finish line with about two miles to go! From the looks of it, he was going to make his goal time so I was excited for him. 

We went on, across the bridge and by the aid station.  I had eaten half my RXBAR, a grape and some coke from an earlier aid station. Right now I just wanted to be done so I didn't stop. 

Kristi and I headed out the next section and I told her about some of the runners I had run with.  She helped keep my mind from dwelling on the pain.  She was so happy (she had never paced a friend like this's a really cool experience). I continued to be grumpy at this point but she didn't care!  We finally got to our last turn-a-round!!!!  We now were at mile 27.9.  Only 5k to go...Wish it was as simple as it sounds!!!! 

Chris and Staci, still going strong! 
Back down the hill we went, down the path full of Autumn leaves, runners still going, a few walkers staying consistent! Just about the time we got to the final aid-station, there was Chris and Stacie!  It was such a relief to see them still moving forward! 

We went back across the bridge (for the last time) and onto the trail covered in leaves.  This was the fun part of the course but also the harder part of the course.  It's small rolling hills on uneven ground.  My legs hurt worse on this section.  Kristi kept encouraging me, knowing that we were almost to the finish line. 

The last mile, I felt a tiny burst of energy.  I was really happy to have any energy!!!  I was able to pass a person just before heading
Only a mile or so left to go!!!! 
up through the parking lot into the finish line!  It was such a great feeling to see that finish line up ahead!  

I finished!  2nd place masters!
As I ran towards the finish line, I had Kristi with me, and Jerry and my Dad were standing there right as I crossed the line.  I was handed a finishers medal and a cool glass coffee cup.  I was told I was 2nd place female masters.  I started laughing.  I guess being 40 has some benefits!  This is my first time placing in masters!
Thanks for the loop Kristi!

I took a few minutes to calm down and then went and took advantage of the free massage.  It did wonders for my sore right leg.  I got to watch Chris and Stacie finish!  It was a sweet moment!  It was a good day! 

Check out Stacie's blog HERE!
19 minute PR from Angry Owl 3 months ago! 
Stiletto Running Ambassador..Check them out HERE!

For 10% off high quality fun athletic socks use promo code MYSOXYJULIE  HERE!

Join me for Uberthons 2018 Fast on Flat! Check it out HERE!

For 20% on custom fit insoles check out Wiivv HERE!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Angry Owl Ultra Race Review 2017!

Last Sunday July 30th I joined some friends at Bush Park for Salem's very first ultra timed race "Angry Owl Ultra"  We were greeted by race director Josh Christensen. The sun had just come up and the weather was a comfortable 60 degrees.  
Ready or not, it's go time!

Angry Owl is a Crusty Cap event.  The name "Angry Owl" comes from a series of Owl attacks on runners in Bush Park a few years back.  Read more about that here!

Angry Owl Ultra is my first "timed" race.  I signed up for the six hour race.  There was also a twelve hour and a one hour. I had a good group of friends running that day.  I had a goal in mind....  50k (31.5 miles).  This would be my second attempt to run this distance and I really had no idea how the day would turn out.  Thankfully I hadn't thought too much about it being Summer! The heat does scare me but I was excited about this event, so my mind hadn't gone there yet!

The course!
We all started and finished on the derby track behind the stadium. From there we did a loop through Bush Park.  The loop was just over a mile around, so this loop was ran over and over again for hours. As boring as that sounds, it wasn't!!!  

We had a mix of hard packed dirt, non-technical trail loaded with trees (shade!). Grass, packed gravel, and asphalt.  Each loop around we went back by the start/finish line.  There was a wonderful fuel station here loaded with all kinds of snacks and water.  

After one hour...feeling really good! 
The first hour went by so fast! My running group started together.  It felt like a weekend long run!  We casually chatted at a very comfortable pace.  My friend Kristi had signed up for the hour and told me she was going to stay with me that first hour!  We ran six laps together before her time was up!  As I left to start my 7th lap, I ran alone.  I felt like I was just starting! It was now a sunny 63 degrees.  I was feeling very good and felt I was off to a good start.

Some things I learned Sunday!  
1)  A loop event is a good idea.  
     When my husband and I went to help crew our friend Chris for Pac Rim a few years ago, I was introduced to the timed ultra loop race.  My first thought was never.  Running a loop around a park for hours and hours would be the worst. As we ran with Chris that day, I was inspired to do a race like this someday.  At Angry Owl I discovered for myself how great the loop was.  
2) Every mile we had access to food and water. 
3) Friends and family knew where to find us.  
4) The course was easy to figure out.  
    After running the loop a time or two, getting lost!
5) I knew if I got too hot or tired, I wouldn't be stuck out on the course with no help.
6) I got to run with everyone! 
    From the fasted people out there, to the slowest...we all ran together.  We would lap each other and give each other shout outs as we went by.  Everyone was so friendly.  
7) I made a few new friends. 
Pam Smith running with my husband Jerry.  She encouraged
him to run one last mile, even though his time was iffy!
He did make it before the six hour cut off! 
    Since we were seeing the same faces over and over people start visiting.  I felt like people visited more in this race than any other race I have ran.  I met Randall from Newport.  My Hoka friend. Flag guy (later found out his name is Dean).  Ultra runner Pam Smith.  Pam just recently ran on the 2017 USA Women's National 24 hour running team.  It was a privilege to run a lap with her.  She is very encouraging and took the time to get to know many of us runners that day by name! 

Hour three!  It was now a sunny 70 degrees.  I was still running pretty comfortable.  It was nice to know there was shade for every loop.  As we came into the sun, there was a little breeze.  Then the fuel station.  I simply kept going!  

Every hour I would stop and refuel my water bottle.  I poured carbo-pro into my handheld, a volunteer topped it off with cold water, and I would grab a salt tab and go.  That was it for the first four hours. 

 My stomach had been giving my issues since we started the race.  I blamed the burger and fries I ate the night before (I know better), but then again, it's one of the mysteries of running.  Sometime the stomach issues are hard to figure out. 

Five hours.  It was now in the upper 70's.  I never felt overheated but I could feel the effects of the warmer weather.  I started filling by handheld up about every two miles now.  I also started eating the watermelon at the fueling station.  Every time I ate one, it tasted like the best watermelon in the whole world. 

The last hour and a half!  I remember hitting mile 26.2.   I was in the woodsy part of the park and Pam Smith happened to be with me. I told her, I just past the marathon mark.  I'm now running farther than I ever have before.  I was excited but also a little intimidated at what this last hour would bring. I was feeling very warm, my feet were starting to hurt really bad and I was hungry!  

As I came around the the start/finish I remember seeing my friend Jeanne who was there with her husband Chris and our group from Dallas.  I said hi to her as I ran by and said, "I'm going to just keep putting one foot in front of the other."  That's what Jeanne's cousin Lori had said before the race!  She was also out there running the six hour race for the first time! 

I did just that, one foot in front of the other, just keep moving forward.  I allowed myself to slow down, but no quitting.  In a race like this, you can stop and end your laps at any point, but I couldn't stop yet.  I hadn't got to 50k yet. 

Finishing the 6 hour race.  50k  
Back on the Leffelle St. side of the loop Team RWB had a little coffee station set up.  As I looped the course over and over I couldn't help but talk to the people at the station.  They had a huge American flag and I see them running in races all the time, carrying the flag! Air Force Vet, Dean Chambers was carrying the flag that day.  He ran a loop with my friends and me whenever we asked him too.  He also ran my final two laps with me that day.  He helped me forget about the pain my feet were feeling, how my legs were cramping and how hot it was getting.  I think I stopped and walked once during those last two miles.  It was just for about 30-60 sec.  Dean ran with the American flag through the finish line as I finished my first six hour race, completing my goal of a 50k!  My friends Chris and Stacie McGraw and Kristi Clack were back after running the hour race at 6am.  I was so glad to be done!  It was now climbing into the 80s.  I was thankful I wasn't doing the 12 hour race, as it got up into the 90s that day!  

Some of my friends at the finish line! 
My friends and I ended our run with good food (the best part)!

 I did have stomach issues for a couple days.  I wasn't that sore the following days.  I think going the slower pace for a longer run helped my body not "overdo" it.  It was a great experience.  I will be back for more next year! 

Thank you Josh for bringing the Ultra to Salem.  It was well organized, well marked and a great experience. 

31 laps, 50k distance. 6 hour race.
8th place, 2nd female finisher. 5:48:34

Dean Chambers Bonus Story!
As mentioned in my blog, I met Air Force Vet Dean Chambers.  Often when running with people you learn part of their story!  Dean just so happens to have an story I thought my readers would want to hear! 
Meet Dean!

In January 2016 I went in for a check up after changing primary care physicians. I hadn't had a checkup in a while, not being one of those people who goes to the doctor frequently. Turns out, my A1C was 6.7 (into diabetic range), fasting blood sugar was 138 (also high), my triglycerides were 248 (fat in the blood essentially and way too high), my cholesterol, while not seriously high was out of whack in terms of HDL/LDL ratio. The bad was too high and the good was too low. HDL was 28 and LDL was 134. My resting bp was 134/90-some with a pulse of about 100bpm. Not extraordinarily high but teetering on hypertensive. In short, I was about to fall off the diabetic cliff of my own design. I seldom exercised, I drank a lot of sugar, ate a lot of carbs and fatty foods. Lots of saturated and trans-fat. The doctor advised that I need to make a change or I would end up diabetic and forced to deal with that the rest of my life, which was likely to be shorter than average if I kept up the way I was. I have seen the effects of diabetes left unchecked, and I can tell you it ain't pleasant. I was 51 at that time. Wow. That week I joined a gym and committed to losing weight and getting some regular exercise. I cut out liquid sugar all together. Lowered my processed carb intake substantially, and started making less fatty food choices. Leaner meats like chicken and turkey and fish. Salads instead of fries. A lot less salt. I started scouring the Internet for nutrition and weight loss tips and tricks. There is a lot of chaff on the internet. A lot of conflicting information. But I managed to correlate and corroborate enough of it the get me on a more or less solid plan of action. Over the next several weeks I started going to the gym 3 days a week, then 4, then 5, then 6. I started seeing some real results, and as I saw results I got more motivated. At my heaviest (that I know of) I was 230 or so, 36" pants (which were tight), and extra large shirts. I didn't like what I saw in the mirror too much, but like so many, I fooled myself into believing that it was normal and I was healthy enough because I felt good..., right? Well, it wasn't long before my clothes looked like duffel bags and I was buying new stuff. Just as a side note, losing weight is expensive. Also, if you do lose a lot of weight and need a new belt, never whip your old belt off in the store to try on the new without first grabbing the waistband of your now far too large shorts. I nearly had a very awkward wardrobe malfunction in the middle of JC Penny's. After about 4 months I had another lipid and A1C panel. The doc had put me on a statin to get my cholesterol in check quickly but no other medications. My results were somewhat amazing. My AIC had dropped to 5.5, under the danger zone. My triglycerides had dropped a full 200 points, my LDL/HDL was looking great at about 40 each. My resting pulse was 65, and my BP was 87/51. In fact, the nurse taking my BP had to take it twice with different equipment and then asked if I was feeling ok or whether I feeling light headed. I was like, "Nope, I feel good..., why?...." It's not usually a good sign when a medical professional say's "Hmm...let try that again.... Are you feeling OK?" But it this case, it was. Based on that result I was able to stop taking the statin all together. I'd been doing cardio during this time, walking, elliptical, that sort of thing. And a bit of weight lifting. I was hungry pretty much all the time and I wasn't necessarily eating tiny meals. About every hour i needed a snack. Two hours and I'd be about ready to chew my own arm off. Once my metabolism kicked into gear, I was burning through food like there was no tomorrow. I'd made it down to about 190 pounds, which I hadn't seen in probably 25 years. And I'd hit a sort of plateau. It was still coming off, but way slower. Not discouraging slow, but slower. I figured this was somewhat normal. I've never been runner. In fact, I've always hated it and would do it as little as possible. It's one of the reasons I joined the Air Force as opposed to the Army. Not THE reason, mind, but one of them. During my treadmill walks, I started running. A minute here, a minute there. Then two. Then three, five. On a whim I decided to try the Military Fitness test mode for the Air Force. This was the typical mile and a half. It was hard and I made it through. I was surprised though that it wasn't AS hard as I figured it would be. And I finished in about 13.5 minutes or so. Which was faster than when I was in the Air Force 30 years ago. So I started mixing in 1.5 miles into my routines 2 or 3 times a week. All the while that 5K button on the treadmill was slapping me in the face. So one day after my hour long weight training session I thought, what the hell.... And pushed the 5K button and took off. My first 5K (ever in my life) distance was just under 30 minutes. Which I thought was pretty good. And to my surprise again, it was hard, but not THAT hard. And so, I started mixing in 5Ks 2 or three times a week. And the weight started to shed again, which only spurred me on. My first race was in October 2016. It was the Insane Inflatable 5K at the Fairgrounds. 11 huge inflatable obstacles over a 5K course. Now up to this point, I'd never run outside. Well, not since the military anyway. Certainly, I'd never run a 5K outside. This was probably not my wisest choice for my first 5K race but I had a lot fun, finished in about 30 minutes and was seriously hooked. "I'll probably just stick with 5Ks. I'm having fun with that distance. I don't really have any desire to do a 10K or longer.....". I'd said this several times around this time. My first 10K race was the Zena Road Run in February 2017. Technically it was 6 miles, but close enough. Especially given it was on Spring Valley Road which is exceptionally hilly for the full 6 miles. Keep in mind I'd only been actively running since about May of the previous year. Again, this was not my wisest choice for my first 10K race, but why break precedent, right? By this time, I had begun to run outdoors as much as weather would allow. And by that I mean, if it wasn't icy, so at least I was prepared for the constant rain that fell during the race. My goal for that race was a 9:30 pace and I managed a 9:00 flat. I was told later by my new friends at Gallagher Fitness that there was this thing called "Race Day Magic". Didn't know that at the time, but now it's something I depend on, and I'm getting better at predicting it. By this time I had found a Monday Runday group at Gallagher Fitness and through that, Team RWB. I found it really inspirational to run with others, and the Team RWB members that ran with American flags were totally awesome. I wanted to do that too. So, I got myself a flag and some Team RWB shirts and started running pretty much exclusively with it. My first flag run was just over 3 miles and honestly it felt like I had all the energy in the world. I felt so proud to be carrying it, and the waves and thumbs up from the people I passed was awesome. The more I ran with it, the less I noticed it was there. It still gets tiring to carry, but it's manageable. "I'll just run 5Ks with it. 10K might be too much," I said. My first 10K with the flag was the Salmon Run in Bend. This time I chose a high elevation run for my "first". I managed just shy of a 9 minute pace. Not my best 10k pace but considering the flag, the altitude, and 27 degrees, I was happy with it. I had a couple of memorable flag moments on that run. I got the ball of the flag pole caught in the fork of a tree limb that almost pulled me off my feet. I had a course marshall yell "Show Off!" At about mile 4. (She was smiling when she said it, and it made me chuckle.). And I was standing around at the finish and a lady came up to me and lightly touched my shoulder and said "Thank you" a couple times and there were tears in her eyes. She walked away without another word and disappeared in the crowd but I suspect there was more to the story there. "I've got no desire to run more than 10K. I'm having fun with the that distance and I don't think a half or full marathon would be fun." My first half marathon was in July 2017 in Coburg. I did not carry the flag in that one, and by mile 11, I was glad of that. Also, it was a nice cool morning and the course was flat as a pancake. I managed to choose wisely for my first half. My goal was a 9 minute mile at most and I was counting (hoping) on Race Day Magic (RDM) to carry me through to a sub hour and 50 minutes. I finished with an 8:30 average pace in just over 1:50, missing my hoped for goal by a mere 54 seconds. Best of all my Mother and Aunt surprised me at the finish line. I remember thinking, "That lady is a dead ringer for my aunt... Wait. That IS my aunt!" That was a huge milestone for me, given that in about a year and a half was down to 170 pounds from over 230, 6 inches was gone from my waist and I was wearing medium shirts for the first time since high school. In a year, I went from running as little as possible to running 3.5 miles a day on average and finishing a half-marathon. I'm no longer saying, "I think a half marathon is long enough....". I plan on running a full within the next couple years. An ultra? Maybe some day. I might never be a Boston qualifier, but at this point I'm not totally ruling that out either. In ten years, who knows? If I can maintain my pace, the qualifying times based on age may come down to meet me. It's been quite a journey. I've learned a few key things. If you set your mind to it, you can do it, whatever "it" is. Losing weight does not mean dieting, starving and depriving. In fact, doing that is a recipe for failing. It means changing the types of food you eat and not eating everything in sight. I've been very satisfied in my meals and I've lost 60 pounds. True, you must exercise. BUT, it can be fun when you find a group to exercise with. I would say, finding people to exercise with is a must. Once you start seeing results though, prepare to get addicted to it. And be patient. Results, no matter how small, are still results. It isn't a race, it's a lifestyle. And tell yourself, it's OK to have that bowl of ice cream once in awhile. It can be your reward for all the hard work you've put in.
Arin, Lori and Dean at Angry Owl Sunday!!!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Angry Owl Ultra Race Preview 2017

July 30, 2017 brings the Inaugural Angry Owl Ultra to Salem Oregon. The event will take place at Bush Pasture Park. 

 Angry Owl has three timed races for you to pick from.
1 hour
6 hours
12 hours
All three races will start at 6:00 am.  For the 6 hour there is a second option to start at noon instead of 6:00 am.
The event will start on the derby track behind the stadium Sunday morning. All awards for the 6 hour and 12 hour will be given out at 6:15 pm.  The one hour race awards will be given out at 7:15 am, shortly after that race ends.

Angry Owl Ultra 2017

The course is a nice simple loop around the park.  It's just over a mile so you will be going by the single aid station lots! It will be stocked with sweet and salty snacks, water, electrolyte drinks and more.  There will be an area you can leave some of your own food for easy access as you run by!  The loop you will be running has some hard packed dirt, some well-maintained non-technical trail, grass, packed gravel and a bit of asphalt.  You will also run on the derby track, past the stadium and then through the wooded area next to Mill Creek and around the softball field.  Don't worry, everything will be well marked.  Check a closer look at the  course HERE!

Why the ANGRY Owl??? The name "Angry Owl Ultra" has a story behind it.  Not too long ago, there was an Owl or two at Salem's Bush's Pasture Park that was attacking runners. The owl would come down and take their hats.  No major injuries were reported.  Just a few scratches and some missing hats!  You can read about the owl attacks HERE! 
Check out the "crusty cap" patch that
go on your finishers cap made
by Alpine Dam

This race is put on by Crusty Cap Footraces.  When you finish on June 30th, you will receive your very own custom event "crusty cap" cap to make crusty on your own!

Read more details about Angry Owl Ultra HERE!

"I am very excited to support
Angry Owl, the only
 ultramarathon here in Salem.
Bush Park will make a
great venue for the race.
I look forward to
participating and
hopefully getting
more runners interested
in time events and
ultramarathon running."

Pam Smith
Because this is the very first year, I haven't ran it yet!  I am really looking forward to be a part of the very first year!  The race director is very excited about this race and has put a lot of time into planning this event!  This race is a loop course.  I realize a "loop" course may not be your thing, but think of all the advantages.  If you have friends or family members coming, they will get to see you a lot!  You will be in downtown Salem so when you get done running, there is food on most every corner!  Every loop you can get water, a snack, go use the bathroom, whatever you's close by!  If your friends are joining you, you will see each other out on the course.  Also, Ultra runner Pam Smith will be running this race!  A local, living in Salem and winner of Western States.  She is currently on the USA 24 hour team!  How often do you get the chance to run alongside a champion like Pam Smith?  Don't miss out!!!!  I'm really looking forward to meeting Pam, and hopefully running with her for a few minutes. 

Registration is as follows!  1 hour race: $30.00
                                           6 hour race: $75.00
                                           12 hour race: $115

  Use promo code "simplyjulie" to get 15% off your registration.  Feel free to share this code with your friends! 
       Register at Ultra signup---- >HERE <----

The race director is excited about this race.  He's planning on developing a series of races in the future.  Angry Owl this year, and hopefully another one or two for 2018.  Definity keep your eyes on Josh's Crusty Cap facebook page so you don't miss out on any future races!  
Like his page HERE!

Hope to see you on June 30th!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Newport Marathon 2017

June 3rd....Newport Marathon 2017! 
ZaoFit Marathon Group! Claudia, Kristi, Olivia, Tonya, Julie, Jerry, Nicki, Kim

June 3rd marked my fifth year of running Newport Marathon.  This was Newports 19th year! It was also my 11th marathon to date!  
This was going to be a great race for me!  I had a good training plan and was going strong. I had lots of great people to train with. Newport is also my favorite marathon course to race at.
Things don't always go as planned!
 Injury hit about two months ago.  The good news, it wasn't a terrible injury.  The bad news, it was bad enough to lose some crucial workouts.  
A month ago I wasn't sure if I would be able to complete the full 26.2 miles on June 3rd. As time moved on, I did heal up and was able to run that day.
Running is a gift!
I have often use the term, "Running is a gift!"  It sure is and I was so thankful to just be able to run June 3rd. The truth is...I was still really disappointed!
Race day! 
Race morning went very smooth.  I got some sleep, woke up and fueled up.  My husband and I picked up some friends and also saw friends at the starting line.  The weather was pretty near perfect!  I was able to use the port-a-pots a couple times and get a little warm up in!  
I was as ready as I could be!
7:00am and we were off. Some of my friends started in front of me, some behind me.  I wasn't sure where I should be, but even with some lost training, I had some goals.  
My first few miles were wonderful.  I meet two girls from South Dakota named Kara and Sarah.  Kara and Sarah had the same goal
as me and they were good company.  I ran with them!  Around mile three my friend Kristi joined us.  Life was good!  Miles 4, 5, was going to be a good day. 
I was watching pace and knew we were running a little ahead of what the goal was.  I needed to slow it down.  As I slowed it down, they went ahead!  I kept them in sight but knew I shouldn't be at that pace so early on and I was ok.
I was now heading out of town for the out and back part of the race. I always had people around me but wasn't crowded.  
My friends were getting further and further away from me as the miles passed.  
As I got closer to the turn-a-round (mile 15.5) I began looking for people I knew.  One of the things I love about Newport, it the ability to get to see everyone running that day with that turn-a-round.
All my friends were looking good and still going strong.  I was too, for the most part.  I was starting to feel tired but that is pretty normal.  My pace was starting to slip slightly, but I was still running.  
Confession time!
I can't remember the first time I walked but when I look back at my Garmin grafts, it looks like it was at mile 17.5.  My friend Kristi continued to run with me off and on.  Chris also jumped in with us and ran with some encouraging words.  It still was ok, but not good!  I was beginning to have some stomach issues. Nothing too major, I just hurt.  I began to feel like I needed to puke.  Thus began the waking game.  Once I begin the walking game, it's all over! 
I don't like to walk during my races, but if it's not going well and I know I can't fight, I do sometimes walk.  I had realized my "lack of training" left me unprepared for this day.  Yes, I was thankful to be running, but I also thought the whole idea was stupid at this point.  
Kristi was able to keep at it and I was happy to see her move on.  She didn't need to be a part of my little pity party!  She's better than that!  Chris on the other hand was going to be a part of it.  He was a good friend and a great sport!  Never a mean word, just encouraged me to keep moving forward and not to be too quick to walk a lot.  
With a few miles to go, I was on my own to finish.  Chris left to go encourage another person running the marathon that day. I kept going, knowing that at my worst, I could indeed go three more stupid miles!  I found some encouragers out there during that last 5k.  Other runners keeping me going.  As painful as it was, it was rather awesome at the same time.  I really don't know how else to describe it!
The finish line.

The finish line is always such a special place.  Today it was extra special.  Not because I did well, I didn't do well.  It was because of the people at the finish line that day.  My husband was there waiting. My Dad was waiting. My friend Alan
from Uberthons was there.  My two besties were there, Tonya and Kristi!  They yelled my name and took my picture as if I just ran the best race ever!  And you know what?  I was done!!!!!  I ran through the finishers shoot.  I heard my name over the loudspeaker.  I was handed a beautiful hand made glass finisher medal.
 I was given an emergency thermal blanket.  I looked like a
baked potato.  I was so thankful for that blanket. After running, I felt a chill.  That blanket stayed with me for a good hour!
I was giving some nuts and fruit.  I took a bit of nuts and tossed the rest.  I couldn't eat yet!
I was just happy.  Happy it was over.  Happy to with some of my favorite people!
A few more people I knew were coming in.  What a joy it was to see friends finishing.  Especially the first time marathon runners.  I am so proud of my friends!  They have all worked so hard!
We did it girls!!!!!!

I finally walked over the get my finisher's shirt and by this time I was rungry!  I told the teenagers that were running the food booth to give me everything!  They were so nice!  I got a 1/4 sandwich, watermelon, orange slices, bananas and nuts.  I ate one nut and the watermelon and tossed the rest.  I needed a drink!  I was feeling sick to my stomach.  You can see how messed up this all is!  The aftermath can be horrible.  I sat for a long time!  I enjoyed watching friends mingle and be happy together.  I sat with my Dad and husband and complained.  They are such great guys!!!! My Dad was still proud of me and picked me up an awesome marathon sweatshirt.  I was ready for a nap. My stomach still hurt an hour later and my head was throbbing.  It was time to go back to the hotel and sleep.
What's ahead?
As for the marathon, I still have a goal.  I will run that goal someday.  I don't have my next marathon picked out yet.  I just ran two days ago and I need some time.
I do feel like I didn't get my race.  I left Newport feeling slightly gypped.  I will take some time to recover. After I recover, I feel my injury is well enough to continue with some good training runs.  I will be working at a goal I have for the Uberthons Summer Event on June 22nd.  I'll be running the half marathon. I would LOVE to have you join me on the Banks to Vernonia trail!  There is also a quarter marathon and a "full" marathon that day as well
Uberthons offers $5.00 off any event using promo code ENJOYANEVENT.  Register --->HERE!<---

A big thank you to Umpqua Oats who fueled all my long runs and
supplied samples for many of my running friends! I am going to continue to fuel with Umpqua Oats because they are good for you, they taste great, and they don't upset my stomach!!!!

I will do my best to try and have a positive attitude about this marathon! It's a difficult thing to do after trying so hard for something, seeing goals come close, then having it slip away! Working so hard for something and "failing" is very heartbreaking but you know what?  I will continue! When I do meet my goal, it's gonna be all the more sweeter!
This is my husband's time!!!! Wow! Great job Jerry!
Julie Mullins
Division (age) 14/47
93/254 Women racers

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Other Side of Marathon Training

If you follow my posts about Marathon training ZaoFit (FB)..Julie (FB)..twitter..instagram, you will see so many photos of runners looking happy out on training runs. We will run anywhere from five to twenty miles and look very happy in the photos.  We often run and end with beautiful food. We are all happy and enjoy every mile we run!  

The pictures are not fake, we do have many happy moments, and enjoy running for food! We also enjoy being together and training together.  There is lots you don't see in the photos!  Some ugly and sometimes very embarrassing stuff.  

Often I like to focus on the positive stuff going on it training.  A photo with my awesome running friends...a beautiful route we ran.  A funny goat or alpaca that wanted to run with us.  Some delicious food after a long run.  What's not to like about that?
The ugly stuff isn't always fun to talk about. But let's be real here!  Not every run is peaches-n-cream!  

I have seven-and-a-half weeks until I run Newport Marathon 2017. My eleventh full marathon.  I feel like I'm in a good place.  I know the course (I've ran it four times). My best times are on that course. I run better in the coastal air (allergies).  My training is going good. My hard sessions are on key.  My long runs seem easier and not so scary.  I also am having a lot of stiffness in my legs.  I am sore most of the time.  
I have spared myself extra racing during marathon training this time around.  In the past I would race more to try to keep motivated.  This time around, my efforts are going into training only.  If I race, it's slower and just to be with friends.  

I have had lots of good moments in training. I have also had many struggles in my training.  I will be the first to say, you can't train for a marathon without struggles!
There are things that happen most people don't like to talk about. Get ready for a good laugh friends. For you runners, a good cry, cause you know first hand!
That one hurt! 
  There are days I don't want to run!  I know...big shocker there! You all are thinking, no way!!! Julie LOVES to run, all the time!  Yes, I do, but often I have to actually talk myself into running.  It's true! I have never regretted a run after I get myself out the door though!  Oh, except when I sprained my ankle during an "easy" run.  
It's happened twice over the years, plus turning my ankle and falling down so many times I've lost count.  
That one hurt too!

Yet I love to run! 
For this season of training I mostly run after work.  I have to be at my job in the wee hours of the morning.  Once (during this season), I ran before work.  I had to get up at 3:00 am.  I only did that one time! I don't recommend it. 
 Tuesdays and Wednesdays I try not to think about it.  They are my two hardest days of training.  I'm off at 2:00 pm, change into running gear at work, then head to the local track.  If I go home, it's all over for the day, I will sit down and fall asleep.  I have to get my run in before going home!  I do a speed workout Tuesday and a ten mile tempo run on Wednesday.  Both with pacific time goals.  Most days I walk onto the track saying there is no way these tired legs can do this, but what do I have to lose?  I warm up and just do it!  It hurts, I sometimes feel like puking, sometimes it's pouring down rain. I have forgotten my water bottle and visor for some of these runs.  It sucks!  I also am alone for most of these harder runs.  It's all a battle against my own mind! But yet, when I get done, I feel amazing! Pushing my body to do what I don't think it can do makes me feel alive!
 I love to run! 
Three days a week are easy pace days.  I run three to six miles at a nice pleasant pace.  These days I'm usually shaking off a hard run.  I sometimes enjoy them because I can go slow. Sometimes I'm sore and it hurts.  I know these runs are necessary for proper recovery so I lace up and run. 
Saturdays are when the most interesting things happen. My running group usually meets up for a twelve to twenty mile long run.
These have come to be my favorite run of the week.  I finally get to catch up with my running friends.  These runs are also done first thing in the morning, not after work.  I would much rather run first thing in the morning!  Typically after about five miles, one runner will have to use the bathroom.  I won't tell any stories about my friends, that wouldn't be nice!  I will tell you some of my dirty secrets.  They are pretty gross! 

 Sometimes you gotta go!  Not a mile down the road where the mini mart is. Not a block down, where you can see a heavenly port-a-potty in the distance.  Yes, port-a-potties can be heavenly!!!! Sometimes you gotta go NOW!!!!!  More than once this happened to me on a long run.  Distance running isn't for babies! 
I have been only a block from my house and had to stop in my tracks and pray I would make it home.
I've had to walked down to small golf course to ask to use the bathrooms while my running group waited up on the road.  I told my friends to go on without me.  I had a feeling it would be a while before I could join back up with them.  I did what I needed to do and went to flush. To my horror the toilet wouldn't flush.  I found a plunger and plunged and plunged and it got slightly better but it was still bad. I had been in that bathroom for what seemed like an eternity. I knew I had to go out and face the man at the counter!  "I clogged your toilet" I told him in shame. I'm pretty sure he already knew...I was in there for an eternity.  "Happens all the time" he told me... I didn't believe him, but at least he was nice about it.
Good thing I stopped, I did feel better.  Now to catch up to my friends.  I knew I might not see them now till they turned around and headed back to town.  As I walked up the driveway, they were all there...staring at me! To say I was embarrassed was an understatement.  The cool thing about runners, we all got a good laugh and there is no judging.  The reason...they ALL understand! 

The bush as also been a friend to me! If you are a runner, it's always good to carry some toilet paper in your pocket, not to wipe your sweat or to blow your nose. Your sleeve will work fine for that!

 I still love to run!

Our photos are always together.  Truth is, we often separate during a long run.  We all run a slightly different pace.  Some will be having a good day, some, not so good.  We all start together and have meeting points along the way where we check on each other.  It's just not easy to all run in a big huddle down most roads either.  As much as we would all like to run together every time, it's not realistic.  
I still love group runs!
Sometimes I have to stop and walk for a minute or two.  Shocker I know!  I do have my own set of rules.  I will not stop during a tempo run (unless it's an emergency, an emergency includes lightheadedness or bathroom issues). I will not stop during a race unless I start having issues.  Yep, the truth is out, sometimes I stop for a breather! 
My favorite long runs are what my group calls a "destination run."   One of us will plan a route, ending with food.  Not just any food, good food.  We go into a restaurant all sweaty and eat together.  This is typically after a twenty mile run.  Sometimes a non-running spouse will join us, bring us a change of clothing and drive us home.  It's always best when we have a change of clothes and the company of someone who didn't run with us.  They are usually thinking more clear and can get us home the safest! 
 I smell after a run.  It not a "smell good" smell, it's a "rotten" smell and I do use deodorant.  
Sometimes I feel bad for the restaurants we go into, but I get over it because I'm so hungry.  You know what it's like to go into a restaurant and want to eat everything in on the menu while sitting in a pile of raunchy sweat???  It's pretty sweet!  All FOOD is good!!!!

The other side of this is when I run a horridly long amount of miles, ending with food and not being able to eat.  I am clearly famished, but I can't eat.  Sometimes a long run just is extra hard on me and food hurts my stomach and I want to die.  Once I was so so so hungry and had ordered food.  When the food came, I took one look at it, could smell it and about puked right then and there!  I of course cried and my husband took me home with my food in a to-go package.  
Over time, my food issues have gotten better.  Cutting out fried food and taking probiotics has really helped. 
My worst group memory would have to be one of the years I ran Hood to Coast Relay. All I will say about this memory was I don't drink chocolate milk anymore....NEVER! Don't even like to use the words chocolate and milk in the same sentence! 
Yet, I still love to run!
A week-and-a-half ago I ran a twenty miler with my running group.  We ran a flat easy out-n-back.  This season my twenty milers have been going really well, this week...this wasn't the case.  I did feel great for the first twelve-ish miles.  Somewhere on the way back, I started to cramp up and had to slow way down.  I made it home but as I walked in the door, I felt ill!  I wanted to lay down on the floor and sleep.  I was drenched in nasty foul sweat.  I knew I had to shower or the runners chill would set in.  I got in the shower, and felt like death.  I sat in my shower feeling sorry for myself because I felt too weak to stand.  I've never showered sitting before!
I then slept my Saturday afternoon away!  My son came in and brought me snacks and kept asking, "you ok Mom?"

The next week I ran another twenty, on hills!
Yes, I love running!
This marathon season, stretching and using the roller on my legs have become a must. Epsom salt has become my best friend.  The harder I train, the harder I beat my body up.  Guess that's what you have to do to get stronger.  

Will it be worth it?  Guess I'll find out on June 3rd! 

Sometimes running really does suck!  Sometimes all the horrible training does pay off.  When I hit a goal time for that next hard workout. When I PR that upcoming race, there's nothing like it!  A runner's high is a beautiful thing.  When I run, I see beauty.  I see beauty in the world around me and I see beauty in the people I run with.  Such amazing people, working together, to get the run done! We may have our issues out there.  We may not run every step of the way together, but we are all together and we get it done! The photos do have truth to them, even if you can't see the whole run in the photo! 
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