Thursday, April 11, 2013

Leadville Week 14: Testing My Limits

This 'writing a blog post each week until Silver Rush' is going well, as you can see, since I'm half way into week 13 and writing about week 14, and having trouble recalling most of.  It could have something to do with the balmy 8 degrees this morning and thus my brain is frozen.  The trails I need to hit are covered in white evil, again - on April 10th - and my motivation to get outside and get-'er-done is well below the minimum motivation requirement to get out today and my thoughts are following suit.
My once gorgeous hyacinths in my garden - now frozen dead
It could also be the fact I was certain I came down with the bubonic plague last week and am still feeling a bit like crap (turns out, it was just a sinus and ear infection) and everything I eat has this awesome metallic flavor from the "aggressive" antibiotic I'm on, so I just opt not to eat, which is leaving me feeling rather chipper (I hope you noted my facetious tone).  I also haven't fully rekindled my blogging love affair....but I'm going to give this documenting-my-way-to-Leadville thing a try; I want my kids to see how much "fun" I'm having in this journey when I'm dead - which will probably on be those Leadville mountains.  Mostly though, I want them them to see how I'm not going to give up on a pretty gigantuous goal, despite how hard it is for someone like me.

It really wasn't a bad week, as far as the numbers go, if you enjoy some cringe-worthy headaches, barfing, and shivering uncontrollably torture running.  I sure do.

Brendan returned home from NYC late Tuesday night, much later than planned, and tired.  Hard to imagine that a 17-year old spending 5 days in NYC touring the entire city would leave him exhausted, but apparently it did.  He had a great time playing at Carneige though, and said it was the highlight of all the incredible things they did there....
Brendan: first guy, last row on the left
So with one fatigued kid, another bailing so he could run with the track team (I'm starting to see where his priorities are, the nerve), and one on Spring Break and not organized mother, our plans to head somewhere warm to backpack for a few days never materialized last week.  Stuff goes bad.  It rots, it breaks, you grow out of it, you get sick of it, you change your mind, you move on, or you want more stuff.  But memories are timeless, priceless and untouchable, and especially memories with my soon-to-be senior twins, who will soon-to-be gone. I was a bit bummed, in one of those I-really-don't-like-to-backpack-anyway ways.

This failure of a trip turned out well for me Wednesday and allowed me to get to the track and preform a little MAF (maximum aerobic function) run test, to gauge if there's been any pace improvements in the same HR zone, since I started back running in October; followed by a little negative split tempo run.  Give me a track and I'm happier than a Slinky on an escalator.  Well, if things go right - which, surprisingly they did, in my headachy, sinus congested-y state:
January 3rd
March 1st
April 1st
Mile 1:  9:59
Mile 2:  9:49
Mile 3:  9:47
Mile 4:  9:47
Mile 5:  9:39
Avg Pace: 9:47
Max HR: 145
Mile 1: 9:37
Mile 2:  9:34
Mile 3:  9:32
Mile 4:  9:21
Mile 5:  9:33
Avg Pace: 9:29
Max HR: 146
Mile 1:  9:08
Mile 2:  9:19
Mile 3:  9:18
Mile 4:  9:21
Avg Pace: 9:16
Max HR: 145
*Only did 4 mile test because I had a tempo run after

Hey, lookie, I'm getting faster!!!  I suspect my rate of speed will drastically slow down now, and if I see any more gains, they will be less significant.  But you can't argue with factual data that I have made progress.  I immediately went into full tempo mode post MAF run (meaning I didn't dilly-dally at the porta-pottie or procrastinate by checking my watch or getting more water or .... ) and knocked out a negative split 3 miler with an 8:08, 7:47, and 7:24 respectively.  Oh yeah!

Thursday I woke up feeling like a truck ran me over - twice (just to make sure I felt extra miserable) so of course that meant Brendan decided he wanted to head down to Colorado Springs to climb 4000' up to Barr Camp and spend the night.  In sub-freezing temps.  Whatever prior thoughts I had yesterday about spending quality time with my boys before they abandoned me went out the window and my once "I needed experiences and people, not things" thoughts were leaning more towards material objects, like my warm flannel sheets.  But I went, because that's what magnificent mothers do.  So I hear.

Glad you're carrying 40 lbs, Brendan, so I can "run" up this dang thing with nothing but my water

Not long after this last picture (don't let the smile fool you), around mile 3 and 2200' of climbing (that's some steep shit!), I suddenly started shaking and just before I could yell at Brendan to stop, I barfed.  On my sparkly new trail shoes (the ones I'm praying will not fight with my feet and stop the blistering madness).  That was kinda cool, in a not so fun sort of way.  We climbed another half mile before I finally had to start crying, because it's really cool to cry when you're frustrated and feel like hell.  And have a long way to go until you get to camp (4 more miles and another 2000' of climbing).  Brendan wasn't feeling that wonderful himself, having been at sea level for the past few days.  I eased into the conversation the notion that perhaps downshifting and returning to the car was a really good idea, in light of, well, everything; my limits were tapped.  My tears were of frustration that I was disappointing him, but hell, if he gave me the A-okay to abandon ship, then I'm not going to argue, especially since my stomach was in knots. So that day ended with 7ish miles and  ~2200' elevation, not anywhere close to the 3-4 hours of vertical climbing I had on my plan.  But damn if memories of adventure weren't just what I asked for :).

Friday was spent at the doctors office, for the 2nd time that week (let's take a minute to remember the arm amputation earlier in the week from the last post) where I was given that super tasty antibiotic and as a bonus, got to spend $148 on some Nasonex (I want into the pharmacy industry, seriously!). Saturday, I finally felt enough marginal relief that I could go ride my bike.  In 25mph headwinds for 25 miles. With symptoms that somewhat mimicked seasickness (oh what fond memories on a boat in the Alaskan Peninsula, hanging my head over the side of a boat - for hours). If today wasn't a test mental perseverance, then tomorrow would be.

I ended the week on Monday with a little 16.5 mile, 3000' climb - on dead legs from the day's before race - up Deer Creek Canyon, hitting the trails before the spring storm that rolled in hours later (yippee).  I was tired and dragging my ass feet and fell, twice.  The first time was minor and I got up quickly and rolled with it.  Fall #2, about 15 minutes later,  left some skin on the rocks and worse, shook my confidence, leaving me skittish descending the massive amounts of time I still had left to get down.

It's nothing really, I know I'll have many more falls before I end this Leadville gig on July 14th, so I'll just look at this little scab as a badge of honor and tell all my co-workers how badass I was when I ran away, fast, from some mountain lion.  I think what the fall solidified for me, is that when my legs are fatigued, tested, and sore, as they will be suffering in Leadville somewhere along those 50 miles, so I need to be dutifully aware of my acrimony ... and pick up my feet to finish that thing in one piece.  But my overall pace was about a minute faster than when I did this same route a few weeks ago, so progress is happening.

Sometimes we have to try to take what we have rather than have what it takes – and go.  I may not have felt good this week, but damn if it wasn't a good week none-the-less.

Miles: 47.52
Vertical: 5451'

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...."

Run strong,


Beth @ Running with the Sunrise said...

Dang, you are really improving quickly! Way to go! I should really try to do some MAF testing for myself--that's an awesome way to track your progress. And way to kick butt at your half marathon! It sounds like your training is going pretty darn well. Hope you feel better soon!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Have I awarded you in the past with a Pukie?

Well, you earned one on that run, congrats

Kate Geisen said...

I love that Teddy Roosevelt (right) quote! The father of one of my teammates shared it with me after DK200 last year.

Leadville is going to be such an adventure! I love that you're going for it. And huge congratulations on such a strong race! I know that must've felt amazing after struggling with injury for soooo long.

Totally get how you feel about making memories while your kids are still living at home.

And I had something much more profound to say, but I read half of this before taking Jacob to school and half after, and whatever I had in my head evaporated.

Anonymous said...

People DREAM of playing at Carnegie! What an amazing thing he got to do. NYC is amazing- but yes, exhausting!

Leadville is going to be amazing. You are amazing. Therefore you will be amazing at amazing Leadville!

Tasha Malcolm said...

Sorry you haven't been feeling good. Hope that you feel better soon. I always hate having to buy medications, even with insurance they can be super expensive. :/

Bummer about your new trail shoes! At least they are broken in now. :)

Robin said...

Now that's a blog entry! Great that your training going so well and you are seeing results. Awesome race too. Hope you are feeling better. Ouch on the leg.

ShutUpandRun said...

That is the longest tampon string I have ever seen. Just sayin'. Wow with all of your vertical miles and barfing and blood you are really turning into something very hard core. You are going to kill LEADVILLE.

And I love that quote. I am reading "Daring Greatly" right now and that is the first time I learned of the quote. BEST book.

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misszippy said...

Those heart rate numbers are really impressive! Good for you for having the patience to stick it out. Now you just need to keep the crud away and you will be good to go!

Very happy your running is going so well!

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

Look how awesome you are doing even while being sick!! All I wanted to do was stay in bed!

Teamarcia said...

Way to kick the impending 50 in the pants, Thelma! And not even feeling your best-amazing!
Love that pic of B at Carnegie Hall!

bobbi said...

You amaze me! Feeling like crap and still kicking all kinds of ass. Keep it up!

Johann said...

You are certainly a tough one. Serious climbing you are doing, well done! And thayt while feeling like crap... What I would give for a 1:46! Awesome! Keep it going Jill, you will rock Leadville! Feel better!

Katie @ Will Race for Carbs said...

Yeah Jill!! I am blowing off grading papers to read your blog finally! You did such an amazing job on the will be able to go to the hotel, take a shower, have a few beers, and then make it back to the finish line to see me crawl across it when we do Boise! Let's ride soon...well once the damn snow melts!

SupermomE13 said...

You are TOTALLY Badass. That is all. :)

Jenny said...

You are so awesome!Hope you are feeling better!

Char said...

You're totally nuts - running a half with the bubonic plague. And running so fast! Maybe I should try and catch the plague too and my times would improve.

Anonymous said...

Jillie you never fail to amaze me. After a week like this to pull out a race like that - you're incredible. Do you realise what STRONG stuff you are made of? Do you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and say "I am awesome!"? Because if you don't, you should.

Carry on carrying on girl. This thing you're doing is working...

Liz said...

Wow, you are so hardcore with your puking and ear infection and scab! Amazing.
What a fantastic half marathon race. That is a time I can only dream of - congrats!

Coy Martinez said...

Soooo much to comment on, I don't even know where to start! First, love that picture from Carnegie Hall. Have you framed it yet?? The lighting looks so beautiful!

After reading it all, I have a few thoughts, first so happy that running is in favor with you right now. It not always is with any of us but when it is, life seems perfect. Secondly, now I want a coach too! :)

I'm excited to read about the journey to Leadville!

Terzah said...

Wow, I'm even more impressed with your half than I was before (and I was impressed!) given the week you had. And I *love* how those HRs have come down--fantastic. You're going to do great in Leadville--never fear! Congrats on a fantastic exit from your 40s!

Average Woman Runner said...

I'm sorry the pack trip with your son didn't turn out but...running rocks! Those fitness test results are so impressive, so nice to see your work paying off. And then your half! DAAAAAAMMN GIRL! That is worth the pain, indeed. Congratulations!

ajh said...

Hey Speedy Lady, awesome job on the half, not so much fun being sick though! We have snow on the ground today - and I am NOT happy at all.

HappyTrails said...

Beautiful trail pic. And your scrape is just a minor flesh wound. It is a badge of honor welcoming you into the world of trails, a most desirable and hallowed place, for sure. You will only get better - practice makes perfect.

Gracie said...

Not quite on topic, but whenever you are given a brand-name rx google to see if there is a coupon for it. Nasonex has $15 off right now I think. Not much, but something.
I'm the coupon-queen pharmacist: I download coupons for all my patients!

Anne said...

What a great way to see concrete progress...I must try that! What a yucky week health wise, but how amazingly well you did nonetheless. You are such an inspiration Jill...really! :)

Ransick said...

Getting that many miles in the week with being so sick and the weataher sucking has to be a confidence builder, though not a fun one. Serious perseverance there for sure.

So happy for you getting faster and have a great half marathon! Another confidence booster right there.

Cool your son had fun in New York and got to play at Caregie Hall! That's something we'll never forget.

Keep up the good work busy woman!

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Gracie said...

This website is also good: It's an alphabetical database of almost all coupons out there.
If your pharmacy has any sort of customer service, they should honor that coupon if you bring it back in as long as it has only been about a week. I mean, I would give it to you at my pharmacy!

Black Knight said...

Despite the health problems you are doing well and that negative split is awesome.
Great picture from Carnegie Hall.

Paul said...

Wow that's like FIVE blog postings and not even a RR in there for the HM. WHAAA! Me want!

Next time you get to run a HM and not have a head cold I think you'll do even better...that's a no-brainer.

Suz and Allan said...

Whew, you are flying! Sorry about the falls. Hope you are feeling much better!

Kandi said...

Ack, I'm so far behind. Glad you are seeing some speed again! I would LOVE to see that time on the clock at my half in two weeks. I'm practically there and I would never have imagined I could be that fast for so many miles.
I hope you are finally feeling better. Being sick sucks! The fact you were still getting in the bulk of your workouts while being that sick is crazy!

C2Iowa said...

As far as I know -- good work coach!

Green with envy here.

GZ said...

Dig watching the progress Jill. I think flesh wounds are causation for running faster (versus MAF training) though.

Molly said...

you're making amazing progress : )

I actually thought of you yesterday with the tragedy in Boston. It breaks my heart, but I know this will strengthen our spirit, and not break it down like the terrorist wanted! xo

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Anonymous said...

Sorry Jill all I saw was the Leadville counter and the rest of the post was blah blah.. I know I have been so far gone, please forgive me. I am so flipping excited for you!!!!!! How amazing you are!!!!! I have so much catching up to do. xxoo

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