Friday, August 30, 2013

Oh-Dark-Thirty ... Literally

Well, color me surprised. It's dark in the morning.  I guess I should have known this. After all, when my friend and I made plans to ride together last week, I pored over the Internet looking for information on what time sunrise would be, eventually finding a handy little site called that gave me an exact listing of sunrise times by date for my zip code.

Last week, I educated myself on the subtle differences between civil twilight, nautical twilight and astronomical twilight (all listed on that site) and determined that while sunrise wasn't until about 6 a.m., civil twilight was about a half hour earlier and would ensure that we would be able to see while biking.  And, indeed, we could! In fact, last week I was really left with the impression that everything was fine, and maybe I had gone a bit overboard in worrying about that pesky little light situation.

So, when this week rolled around, I didn't really give much thought to sunrise, twilight, or anything of the like.  I figured, so it will be a bit more gray out.  As a nod to that, I chose to wear my Nathan reflective arm sleeves with my neon yellow short sleeve tech shirt, even though it was already 73 degrees at 5:30 a.m.  What I should have realized was, of course, that as the summer season marches relentlessly towards its close, sunrise, twilight and all that get pushed back about ten minutes each week.  Oops.

So, when I actually opened the garage door this morning and got on my trusty hybrid to ride, my first thought was It's dark.  My second thought was Wow, I really can't see anything.

Getting on my bike, I realized I couldn't see my computer thingamajig to reset it.  I actually had to stop my bike, tilt it a bit towards a neighbor's outdoor porch light, and still even then I was forced to put my face right up to the device before I could vaguely make out the fact that I had successfully reset the thing.  Additionally, I couldn't see my gears.  This wasn't that big of a deal since I can mostly change gears by feel, and the range I use is small enough that no big changes are required anyway.

The dark - or the threat of storms from the night before - seemed to keep the usual one or two cars and handful of runners and dog walkers I had gotten used to seeing in the early a.m. all summer off the streets.  So, not only was it dark, it was lonely. I have to say the ride to the school to meet my friend was a bit creepy and weird as a result, and I was a bit relieved when I saw her pinpoint bike light in the distance heading towards me.  A ghostly "good morning" from the dark greeted me and circling around we could actually begin our ride.

I would like to say that this is the point where things settled down and the ride became normal, but it didn't.  It was still dark, and I don't have a headlight on my bike.  To be deep-down truthfully honest, I kind of liked riding in the dark.  It was a neat feeling knowing that no one else was about.  I guess I have that type of personality.  That didn't mitigate the fact, though, that I still couldn't see the pavement, and without the influx of visual cues one would normally receive, I felt like my balance was thrown off just a bit.  I definitely felt shakier on the bike and couldn't help but notice those tiny little ups and downs in the landscape (not to mention potholes) more than I normally would.  It felt kind of like trying to do a balance pose in yoga with your eyes closed versus open. World of difference, at least for me.

I am not sure when the sky started brightening (I was concentrating so much on the road and really gabbing too much), but certainly by the halfway point it was light enough to feel normal again.

Then the rest of the ride did go pretty much as usual.  The first half was easy peasy, or should I say easy breezy since the wind was at our backs?  Turning to head back - as usual - we were greeted with a bit of a bitch of a headwind.  And, - as usual - I slowed down significantly, which is too bad, because my legs felt pretty fresh this morning.  I'll blame it on the heavy hybrid.

In any case, it was a great ride, and I feel like I got a good workout.  After joining my parents and friends for sangrias last night and only getting six or so hours of sleep, I'll take it.

I am strangely really happy to have made it to the start of the kids' school year being able to do the early a.m. rides, and to be honest I will miss them.  Rolling out of bed to exercise has never been easy for me, but I have enjoyed the rides.  In the meantime, though, there are new biking challenges on the horizon.  After all, I want to see how far into the cold weather I can get. October? November? We'll see.

Note about shoes: Running trails yesterday, I think my trail shoes and I may have come to some sort of workable agreement.  I figured out a new way to tie them and I wore my thicker SmartWool socks, and one or both of those seemed to prevent the shoes from slipping.  In any case, I am happy.  I think they will work out for the marathon. Of course, I still plan on putting other shoes in my drop bags, just in case.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

96 Percent Humidity...

...That is what the weatherman said this morning, and I have decided that is at least 30 percentage points too many.  When they say that the humidity level is hovering around the "oppressive" mark, one should really consider themselves forewarned.

These past two days now I have run in "oppressive" humidity.  And, while I like to give my running friends a hard time on Facebook if they say they are bailing because of it - postponing runs, using the treadmill, etc. - and while I like to say this is good for acclimation purposes, the truth is that running out in this weather just sucks.

I have been lucky in a way because this week is my second week of taper, so while I did want to get out there and run I didn't need a lot of miles.  Just four to five miles each day was on the plan. Even with such a modest schedule, though, I found myself wishing I could go shorter.  It's not that I was tired or worn out or not wanting to run, but the heat and humidity conspired to create a feeling of nausea both days that hit me later in the run both days.  Not a very pleasant feeling. Combine that with just a general feeling of blah and a flash flood of sweat poring from my skin, and really I just felt crummy.

Not a great picture, but it does show how sweat-inducing the weather was.
Oh well, it is done!  Two runs closer to race day! My last long-long run was done on this past Sunday, running the trails at High Cliff, and because I forgot my Cliff Blocks for the first two hours, it was an interesting experiment in running on empty.  What did I find? Mainly, that I like eating something every 45 minutes or so.  After about an hour and a half of the run, I could really feel the lack of food - mostly when we stopped to take a photo and then I started up again. I have to say I felt a little woozy.  It was probably just a blood sugar crash, but it was a weird feeling.  By the time we got back to the car at the two hour mark, I was fairly ravenous.  Instead of eating the blocks, I opted for the banana I had brought and a Kit's Organic bar (both originally intended for a post-run snack).  I needed real food.  After eating and slugging a bunch of Gu Brew, we headed back out for another half hour or so to finish up.  That was interesting, because while my tummy felt a bit funny for the first ten minutes or so - probably really needed to digest - after that I felt great! I could really feel the food hitting me. I had more energy, was happier, and generally ready to put a smile back on my face. So, the lesson learned here is twofold.

1) I do like having my Cliff Blocks every 45 minutes or so, and I don't foresee giving them up anytime soon.

2) I could possibly give up the blocks if I could find the right solid foods to eat.  Both the naner and bar I ate settled well and if I could find more foods like that, it might be a better way to go.  Time for more experimentation - after the marathon, of course.

And, since we're talking about food, here is what I had for lunch yesterday.  I don't know why I took a picture of it, but since I did, you get to see it!  Wish I had more of this for today!

Tofu, tomato and avocado sandwich with Veganaise and sprinkled with turmeric. Yes, I am weird.
And for further amusement, did you know they make all sorts of dog toys now with Star Wars themes?  My son insisted on buying this one yesterday, but luckily I was able to use my magical mom powers to say "no."  Ooh, I had to add an edit.... I just realized this looks a bit like the clip I saw from the Miley Cyrus debacle circling the Webnet now.  (And, no, I have not watched the performance beyond that clip and have no intention to.  Who cares?)

On Weather Watch

It's that time again, the time when I enter the 10-day weather watch window for an upcoming event.  I am not exactly sure why I like to watch the forecast so closely. I am not obsessed with it as some people have assumed. Generally, I only think about it once a day. In fact, I would venture to guess that once this post is done I won't think about it again until tomorrow morning when the local weather on the news reminds me to check the 10-day for Lutsen, Minnesota.

What has given me a bad rap is that I post the daily weather during this 10-day stretch on Facebook for all my friends and family to see.  I don't understand why they think I am obsessed.

I can't remember which race I started this little tradition with, but I had so much fun with it that I did it for another one.  Now, a major race can't go by without someone asking me if I am going to post the forecast or not.  I am still trying to figure out if those folks are serious or not.   I have been teased about this "obsession," admonished, and lauded.  It all depends on, I have come to figure out, if people have a horse in that particular race (namely themselves).

I have had folks ask me why I WASN'T posting the weather for an upcoming major event. The answer in that case has usually been that I wasn't running it.  I mean, I am not the local running club's weather guru, a weather forecaster by trade, I don't even play one on TV; I just post weather updates on races that interest me personally.  In any event, the fact that I post now is more for the amusement of others, as well as myself.

For the Moose Mountain Marathon, however, I have to say, I really am interested in the weather. More than any other race I have done, the forecast will impact what I wear, what I carry with me, what shoes I choose, and what I pack in my drop bag. (Yes, the marathon has drop bag options!) This will be such a long race that I will need to be prepared for every possibility come race day and maximize my packing and drop bag potential.

The shoes are the major concern since I am not too enamored of my trail shoes in general, and I don't feel super confident in how they perform on wet rocks.  If it rains, I may opt for my road shoes and hope for the best.

So, with that in mind, let the weather watch begin!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Today was the Wednesday group run's last day of "summer" running.  Next week with the start of school the group will move to a 9 a.m. start for the run, versus the 7:30 a.m. start we have been doing.  I am really looking forward to this shift, because for me it means that I can make the run with regularity again.  For the better part of three months, with summer school and then no school, I have mostly had to bow out of the Wednesday runs.  The timing just didn't work out for me.  However, with the school year starting, that will no longer be an issue.

With the end of season comes a kind of changing of the guard.  While I, and another lady who runs regularly during the school year, will be able to make it, two others who are teachers and can only come during June, July, and August have had to say their good-byes until the next school vacation allows them to attend.

While this is all bittersweet, it reminds me that this is part of what is so lovely about running.  More than anything else in my life - any hobby or circle of friends - running has allowed me the joy of being able to get to know a wide variety of people from all walks of life.  There are teachers, engineers, politicians, retirees, stay-at-home-moms.  There are hunters and vegetarians; Republicans and Democrats. Any polar opposites you can think of, they are represented somewhere in the running community.  And, while I may not agree with everything a person does in his or her private life or understand everything that he or she may stand for, if we can run together at an amicable pace, then typically we can get along just fine.

Runners and the running community is my "tribe," if you will, the group of people with whom I get along most.  There seems to be something about tying your running shoes and heading out the door that allows a person to leave everything else behind.  When we are all huffing and puffing in the chill winter air, or gasping for breath in a summer sauna, there is only one thing that matters - do you love running? And can you talk to and accept other people who love running too? For the most part, the answer is yes.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Time for a Break?

It seems to me that the most successful runners, who I know personally, have a certain ebb and flow to their training plans, which gives their bodies a break once in a while.  It has also not escaped my notice in recent months that I have been tired - not only in body, but mind and spirit as well.  All this combined had led me to entertain the need to take a break from running after I complete (hopefully!) my marathon in a week and a half.  In fact, I had really embraced the idea.  I was relishing taking some time to NOT train for anything, to NOT having a race goal, to really just running for fun and as the whim struck.  Then maybe, with any luck, I could come back smarter and stronger.

Okay, that was a couple months ago.

Then my foot got hurt.

So, I didn't run.

So, I cross-trained.

Then the foot started feeling better.

And, suddenly, I am left with this feeling that I don't really want to take a break anymore.  Maybe it was the fact that I got a small break there with the foot injury.  Maybe you don't really know what you have until it's gone. Maybe it was the blog I read this morning that outlined all these kick-ass trail races lined up like ducks in a row on the blogger's race plan.  Suddenly, though, I don't want to take a break. Rather, I want to start looking for races to do.

So, where does this leave me?  Obviously, the whims of a runner - at least this average runner - can peak and wane at a moment's notice, and to be honest I am not sure if I should follow this peak to see where it leads or stick with the original plan and take some time to really consider where I want things to go for me in the next year.  Try to go longer? Try to go faster? Or just run for fun?  No right answer; no wrong answer.  Time to think.

In the meantime, I did decide that I didn't want to completely bail on the Fox Cities Marathon this "hometown" race.  I have done the marathon once and the half marathon a number of times. With it being two weeks post-Moose Mountain, though, I never did sign up for an event this year, thinking I would wait and see how I felt.  But races wait for no man, or woman, and I was surprised when both the full and half events filled.  Not one to be left out, I am in the process of throwing together one of the most quickly assembled relay teams I have ever taken part in. Should be interesting!

In other news, I went ahead and ordered the Pearl Izumi shirt I had been eyeing, but now there is a very real chance I may not get it in time for my trail race.  When I got the email confirmation this morning saying the item would be shipped on Tuesday, September 3, I called them up and cried foul!  Well, not really, but I did ask if there was a reason for the delay.  Apparently, the item comes directly from Pearl Izumi and they are in no hurry to send things out.  So, I did what any self-respecting runner (with no real self-respect) would do, and I asked the customer service rep to please contact the company and let them know that their customer is desperate to receive said item by Wednesday, September 4.  I am sure it will have no impact, but I did what I could and if it somehow helps the shirt get to me sooner, so much the better.  I mean, it is all about my happiness, right?  Now, watch.  I will get this shirt on time, wear it, and wonder what all the hype was about.  It's pretty rare when I buy something without due consideration, so it would serve me right to have the one time I don't do a ton of research on turn out to be a bad buy.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 26, 2013

On-the-Fly Training

So, I slowly seem to be developing a style of training for my running that I can live with.  I like to call it On-The-Fly training.  The basic idea of it is that you have a vague idea of what you need to accomplish during the week to come, so then you just look at your calendar at the beginning of the week and plug all the elements in to where they fit.


So, for example, this week I know I need to work in two moderate-length runs (I am in taper, after all), one of which I would like to be on trail.  I also need a long run over the weekend, and one or two bike rides.  If it fits, I could also throw in a recovery run today, but that is not a huge deal breaker for me.

So, looking at my week, here are the factors that influence when I get to do all this stuff, in no particular order.
  • Weather - While I will run through most weather, including the current heat wave we seem to be experiencing, I will not run in a thunderstorm if I can help it.  Scattered storms today, and storms possible most of tomorrow.  Monday and Tuesday runs seem unlikely.
  • Parental Availability - I am extremely lucky that my parents, fondly referred to as the GPs, live close to us, are retired, and love to spend time with their grandkids.  They are almost always willing and able to watch the kids when needed, and that is especially important now when the kids are still on summer break. Of course, that all being said, they do have their own lives and volunteer quite extensively, so as the years go by, I find myself checking their calendar more and more.  GPs available most of the week.  Yay!
  • The husband's running/work schedule - When you live with someone who works full-time and whose hobby is running ultramarathons, you have to learn to be flexible.  While the husband mostly gets up before the crack of dawn to do his workouts and runs both weekend days, he is also flexible and accommodating.  (This is how marriage works, right?)  Coming down to crunch time with his 100-miler, though, my main concern is are there days he is running or biking to work?  Since he is also in taper mode, his schedule is not too much of a concern this week. Hurray!
  • Anyone else want to run with me - More and more, I am liking the group run thing, so if someone says they want to meet to run, I will try to juggle things around to do that.
So, as for this week, since the rain is persisting this Monday morning, and I don't think the kids will like playing on the rain-slicked play equipment at the park, a recovery run is most likely out for me today.  That's okay.  I can also partake in recovery cleaning or recovery errand-running or some such.  The main thing is just to keep moving this day after my long run.

There is a group run Wednesday and a friend who wants to run trails Thursday, so there are my two mid-week runs.  Since we have family coming in from out of town on Saturday evening, that influences when my long run will be - most likely Saturday morning.  That just leaves two days to plug in bike rides.  Since tomorrow is stormy, that leaves Friday.  

Easy peasy! And, just like that, a week's worth of training is scheduled.  A week on either side of this one could look completely different, but that's the beauty of the On-the-Fly just doesn't matter.

As disorganized as this may seem to be, the past couple of weeks, On-the-Fly has been working for me quite well.  It seems so much more stress-free not being so rigid in the days I do things, and I think I am to the point where my body can take a bit of spontaneity in the training plan.  As long as I listen to what it is telling me, that is, and  I am getting better at that.

As for this past weekend, the family had a good - albeit NOT stress-free - bike ride on Saturday. We ended up taking a roadtrip to Two Rivers, Wisconsin, where we biked the Rawley Point trail for six miles from Two Rivers, through Point Beach State Forest to the lighthouse on Lake Michigan.  It was a gorgeous ride on crushed limestone paths, which twisted and turned through the trees, crossed bridges, and went up and down small hills.  The scenery was wonderful, the ride nice, but the company not so much 100 percent.  At about the three-mile mark, E. decided she was going to pitch a fit because she wasn't enjoying the ride anymore.  So much for hoping they would have fond memories of biking.  Oh well, at least the first half of the ride was nice.

Rawley Point Trail in Two Rivers
Yesterday's long run was meant to be 12 miles or two to two and a half hours on trails.  As it turned out, it was both.  My friend Amy and I managed 12.22 miles in just under two and a half hours.  That's not bad considering I didn't stop my watch while taking pictures, etc.  We headed over to High Cliff State Park to run the bridle trails there, and it was really quite nice. While I have run some of the horse trails, I hadn't run the outer loop of them.  I didn't realize how scenic or hilly that area was.  I definitely will want to be running those a bit more in the future.

View from the bridle paths.
A hot and humid run in the fields. Nice breeze, though!
Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

What to do, what to do, put some mustard in my (running) shoe...

Woke up this morning
Feelin' sort of blue...Woo, woo, woo
Caught in a bind
Don't know what to do...Doo, doo, doo

It sounds like a bad country-western song, but sometimes these types of cheesy non-lyrics are true...true, true, true.

It's getting towards the end of summer, and I have been hearing a lot of "I'm bored. There's nothing to do" from the kidlets.  While I have gotten used to hearing this song and dance from them, it's rare when I wake up with practically the same thought going through my head.  In my case, however, it's not that I have nothing to do, it's just that I am filled with a restlessness of spirit that probably has to do with my marathon in two weeks.  (This always happens to me, so at least I am learning to recognize it.)

As I start slowly backing off the exercise routine a bit, giving myself an excuse to ease up on the duration of my workouts, my brain seems to go into overdrive.  Now is actually a good time to start thinking about the race, because there are a lot of race day details I need to figure out - how long might this race take me? What kind of stuff should I pack in my hydration pack? What and how many food items should I carry? Extra clothes? How can I get my hydration pack to sit better and not chafe? Should I buy a new shirt to help with that? Do I need bear spray?  You know, the usual questions.  The problem is that my "restlessness" manifests itself in a certain lack of focus that seems to impact all aspects of my life - including race day preparations.

So, I wake up in the morning thinking to myself nothing to do, when if fact I have a ton to do. So, to help me get myself organized, here is my short list of immediate needs (race-related, of course):
  1. First and foremost, figure out the hydration pack.  I recently bought an Ultimate Direction AK race vest, and I really like the idea of it.  The problem is that the one and only time I wore it, it really chafed my neckline terribly on one side.  Now, granted, that first run with it was a 15-miler on trails and monster hills (so, closer to three hours worth of running) and it was humid that day - so lots of sweating.  Except for the chafing, I really liked the vest.  I use Ultimate Direction bottles anyway, so I like that I can carry two of them tucked into chest pockets.  They are easily accessible and it makes it easy to monitor how much I am drinking.  Anyway, I need to see if I can adjust the straps to get a better fit.
  2. Look into buying a new shirt. I have my eye on a Pearl Izumi Ultra Inside Out Quarter-Zip Short-Sleeved shirt.  (Not too picky, am I?)  A friend of mine recently wore that shirt for the Leadville 100 and gave it two thumbs up.  My husband also owns this shirt and likes it as well.  I like the idea of it, because I think the higher collar will help with my chafing issues, plus it has patches on the shoulders that supposedly help hydration packs stay in place.  The problem is that they are expensive.  (I was kind of hoping for a well-timed sale.)
  3. Enough food to finish. Although I originally equated this race with my 50K seven-and-a-half-hour finish, after seeing the race results from last year and running some trails recently (and paying more attention to how long that takes me), I am thinking this could take me upwards of 9.5 hours to finish.  So, I need to exactly determine how many Clif Blocks, Gu Brew blend, etc., etc. that I need to take.
  4. Find some gloves.  I have heard from a couple of sources that there are spots where you actually need to pull yourself up hills (or hold yourself back going downhill) using trees. If that is the case, I want some hand protection.  I think a pair of garden-variety (sic) gardening gloves would work, but if I could find a pair of cheap gloves that would double as cycling gloves later, that would be great.
  5. Make a final determination if I am going to wear my Saucony Xodus trail shoes or not.  I have been told I need trail shoes for this race, but these slip a little on the heels when I run in them.  Unfortunately, I don't have a good back-up plan, as those are my only trail shoes.  If I choose not to wear them, I would go with my Cortanas.  If I do decide to wear them, then I need to put some velcro on them so I can attach some gaiters. Decisions, decisions.
So, those are the big - and immediate - concerns.  Once I get these big questions figured out, I can probably start to relax a little more about this race.  And, we all know how important relaxing is to race preparation.  If you don't know that, check out this article: Tapering: The real art and science of coaching by Greg Wells.

In the meantime today, though, I need to ponder whether to go to the farmer's market or not.  I really like getting my produce from there in the summer, but the Saturday market is always such a zoo.  Wednesday's market is a bit more manageable.  The kids sure do like these little gems, though:

Ground cherries!
Later today, it's off to another bike riding adventure with the kids.  This one will involve my parents' car, a bit of a roadtrip, some amazing scenery, and two whining-dragging-their-heels kids who will claim they hate to bike until they are actually doing it.  But, a few miles of adventure is worth a bit of whining.  My hope is that despite the negativity we as parents field doing some of these activities that someday they will look back on these memories as some of their fondest ones.

From our last biking "adventure"...

Friday, August 23, 2013

This and That

Well, it's almost been two years since I started this blog, and I am still not exactly sure where I am going with it or what I hope to achieve.  I find myself struggling at times to really open up to the blogging world, and I realize that probably doesn't make for very interesting blog material, but that's me.  I guess I can only share so much.  Personality-wise, I tend to be a bit wishy-washy in nature and can't really bring myself to be too gung-ho about anything.  For me, that means I tend to go with the flow a lot - and that is not a bad thing.  But for blogging purposes, you won't see me getting all fired up about a topic and running with it, so to speak.  But maybe that is what blogging is about. I don't know.  I suppose it can be anything I want it to be.

Anyway, I find myself thinking a lot lately about the race that actually started this blog.  My first ever Pikes Peak Ascent two years ago. (Read about that experience here in "Moving Mountains.")

I thought it would make an interesting story and I decided to take a chance and put it out there for everyone to read.  Since then I have had a lot of running adventures, highs and lows, and I have written about many of them.  Lately, I have been in a bit of a lull.  I am not sure what brought that on, but it's been hard to get all excited about the writing.  I have started and stopped a couple of times in that period, randomly sharing posts on different events and happenings, but it's hard to get all into the blog writing thing (at least for me) when you don't have a direction for things.  That, and summer has just been damn busy.

Maybe it's the fact that school will be starting again soon for the kids, but I find myself wanting (yet again) to get back to the writing.  So, here I am.  Again.

So, in thinking back on the first post I ever wrote here, I realize I find myself now thinking ahead to Pikes Peak 2014.  I really want to do the marathon in 2014.  My husband and I have been talking about that for some time.  Originally, the way the conversation played out was that 2014 was to be the year that *possibly* the Leadville 100 and Pikes Peak would be on separate weekends.  Normally, they overlap. I am not exactly sure why my husband is convinced they may not overlap in 2014, but I'll go with that. Also, originally, 2014 would be the last year that I could sign up for the Double, based on my 2011 Ascent qualification.  (Now, granted, I am not sure I want to do both the Ascent on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday, but it's nice to have options.)  Since, at the minimum, I want to do the Pikes Peak Marathon and he wants to do Leadville, if things work out the way we had hoped, this would all be great.

Things have changed a bit since we really discussed this last, though.  Pikes Peak is talking about going from a three-year qualification window to a two-year window.  That sucks for me because then I wouldn't have the option of doing the Double.  Okay, fine. I could still sign up for the marathon...but barely.  You see, to "qualify" for wave 2 of the marathon (the non-elite wave, obviously), you have to have a qualifying marathon time of sub-5:30.  Now I am not a fast marathoner, but at least my 2011 Lakefront Marathon was sub-5 hours, and I was proud of that.  Now, though, I have to use my Disney Marathon time from 2013, where my net time was 5:28:46.  So, you're probably thinking, quit your bitching then. You've got this, right?  And, yes, technically, as long as they take the net time and not the clock time, I guess it still works as a qualifier.  But I would have preferred to have a bit more padding. I am not sure why. Maybe it's just that I am worried that they'll change the qualifying times too and I'll be screwed.  I don't have another marathon in the plan between now and then, and even if I did there is no guarantee I could get a better qualifying time anyway.

So, I wait.

And, this is the part about racing that I hate.

There is a race I want to do, but I can't sign up for it for another SIX to SEVEN months! What's up with that? Don't these people know that there are people chomping at the bit to commit to their race!  Add to that the stress that the last time I signed up I literally had to sit at the computer and wait for registration to open - because it sold out so quickly.  So, I have to wait six or seven months to even find out if I can register in time.  If I can't, what a bummer. :)

Ah well, in the meantime, I have a real-live race that I am signed up for, and it is in two weeks.  It's the Moose Mountain Marathon on the Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota.  By all accounts, this event will be harder than the 50K I did on the Ice Age Trail in May.  To say I am a bit nervous about it is an understatement. Just reading their tagline of "rugged, relentless, remote" sends butterflies through my stomach, and I am not sure what to expect.  Have I prepared enough? I'll know in just over two weeks.

I have no idea what a realistic finishing time expectation for me might be, but considering last year's results show almost a third of the field took over seven hours to finish I can expect it will take me a while. With only an aid station every seven miles and a hydration pack that chafed the crap out of my neckline on a fifteen-miler a couple of weeks ago, I have a lot of race day details to work out.

Of course, on the plus side of things, my runs lately - while not fast - have felt strong.  So, there's hope, I guess.

Does anyone take the advice "do what scares you" as seriously as I apparently do?