Archive for July, 2011

Hilary standing in snow just below Wheeler Peak

Here is a photo from last weekend’s hike to Wheeler Peak. The guys thought it would be  good to torment all my New York friends. It was 108 degrees in NYC and I was in Taos standing in a pile of snow, shirtless no less. That was just for added effect.

Right now running sucks. I am not 100% sure what is going on, but most evidence points to nutrition. Occasionally I completely lose my appetite. I want to eat nothing. This day on Wheeler I had no breakfast, climbed to 13,160 feet pulled out my almond butter sandwich and ate about half. Later that night I ate half a tamale. I tried to recall what I ate the next day, I think it was  a couple of folk fulls of beans, ran I 2 times totally 15 miles. Monday again almost nothing and Tuesday I was certain, I had a bowl of cereal with milk that included one scoop of Met-rx power. On my drive to SF for the track workout I drank 24oz of Gatorade. I know that is gross but I could not eat and I needed sugar so that I could do the workout.

The workout 4×200 with 100m jog recover (rolling 200s) 3×400 w/ 200m jog recover, 2 x 800 w/ 400m jog recover and 1 x 1600. My 400’s were 7 seconds slower than two weeks ago, my 800 I did not even both looking at and my 1600 was 25 seconds slower. I had no gas and it sucked. It also sucked being one of the 3 slowest runners of the whole group. I still did not feel like eating. The next day I attempted 8 x 200 hills, full walk recover. The first one was good, the second was 3 seconds slower, reps 3-5 were 4 seconds slower, reps 6-7 another second slower and by rep. 8 I was a full 10 seconds slower than #1. Never have I experienced this. The hill was 5% grade. I walked home with my tail between my legs.

New Trail to Wheeler

I feel good otherwise. I am well rested. I just have no fuel to workout at any intensity. So I am back at DailyPlate logging my food and beverage. I  looked into research on macronutrient  balance at altitude. Normally my carb requirement is 6g/kg  with some studies saying that higher altitude requires an upward of 10g/kg. The sad fact is I was not even getting 2g/kg so it was a mute point. I ate until my stomach was sick yesterday, I tried to spread it out over the day so that I could have a good run today. I ate  2200 calories, my carbs were still on the lower side. Today I have eaten 550 calories, steel cut oats, raisins and a banana, that is 110 carbs, I want to get to at least 350 without eating refined crap by the end of the day.  I have a 6 mile tempo run to do in 3 hours, lets see what happens.  I am going to buy some Enurox R4 which was recommended to me by Coach Roy Benson for recovery. I like the stuff and it is far easier for me to drink than eat. It is a 4/1 carb protein balance. Maybe I should get a blender and make smoothies. Jesus I sound like a lunatic, hum, maybe that is part of my problem too.

Ridgeline to Wheeler

I am sure the going from 6,000ft to 13,000ft 2 times a week doesn’t help, nor does my living at 6,000 and working out at 7200 help. The highest of those altitudes completely removes any desire I have to eat and it has caught up with me. No fuel – no run, very simple, but it does does not make eating any easier when I really do not want to.

Oh and all the Gaterade I drank before the workout nearly caused a major problem during the 400’s, thankfully I was able to keep everything in but it was ugly!

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Running – I knew it was close but I chose to ignore it. The NYC marathon is just 14 weeks away and I am far behind in my training. I can salvage it but I need to kick my butt into gear and get my long runs in. Since I haven’t even been doing medium runs, I can’t jump from 6 to 18 miles per run immediately so I broke it down. Not ideal but the 2x a day works great for me in a built up or coming back from an injury. I have the time and I don’t mind going out for a couple miles in the morning and evening. So Sunday I did a 5 mile trail run, came home had a snack, scratched the dogs and later went out for 10 miles on the road. The 10 miles sucked. I was in glycogen depletion from the prior day’s mountain hike combined with eating very little carbs. I never feel like eating after hiking so I pushed my body to use fatty acid which ultimately is what long runs are for. In fact that is the new research going on, glycogen depleted runs, but man do they suck.   Monday was rest. Today is track.

I will head into Santa Fe high school to meet the Striders for:
4 x 200
3 x 400
2 x 800
1 x 1600
100, 200, and 400 recovery laps.

Hummmm, since the 200’s only have a 100m recovery I have a feeling they are rolling. Damn those kill me. I need extra rest in the altitude, track is hard enough at sea-level. But I really need the track workouts here. Since everything is slower at 7000′ with the exception of 200’s and 400’s and maybe 800’s I have to keep the neuromuscular transmitters working so that I can keep pace back in NYC.

Home- I got my appliances today! Yea. I put everything together but I am not so sure of the pipe that comes into my house that is attached to a propane tank. It looks pretty sketchy, plus my electric outlet doesn’t work so until I hire an electrician to fix things I still will not have a stove. An electrician has been recommended to me by two different people, but it is the same guy who wired the house just 5 years ago. I have three outlets that don’t work, I have rolling shorts between ceiling lights,  I have wires coming in and not hooked to anything and constant power surges. If that is good I would hate to see what poor is. I am naively  thinking that my bad wiring is just a fluke. I also have a surveyor coming to put in corners on two of my lots. Almost all of my land has markers but the lot between the neighbor and I do not. I want to put up a fence for privacy and make sure it is only on my land and not his.

Hiking – this weekend I will get in two peaks, hopefully, if the SF forest opens. Saturday it is Tesuque peak, 12,040’ and Sunday Pecos Baldy. 12,529. The Peco’s hike is 18 miles  and will take about 9 hours and the Tesuque is only 7 but both are very steep and it will take about 5 hours. For fun I will wear my HR monitor to see if I can get in a 70% aerobic range. Going up it’s possible, especially steep climbing at that altitude. It would be very possible if I ditched the group and trail ran it, but it is against group protocol to go off on your own. And by group, it is seldom more than 4 other people, but you do need to observe the rules, which mostly are don’t be a slacker and make people wait for you . That is the biggest no-no. That is not my problem. I always want to run ahead! Of course I will have to do a run of at least 13 miles which is on the low side for this late in training but if I do any more I will get hurt. The big hikes will help some but of course it is not running.

Parting Thoughts. I am returning to NYC soon. This makes me sad because I love being outdoors but I also look forward to being clean and seeing my friends. I can never seem to get clean here, myself or my house. Everything is covered with a layer of sand. I will also like the convenience of walking across the street  to get a pint of ice cream at any hour instead of driving 6 miles and having to do it before 7pm because the store closes. I love the quiet but I do miss the plethora of cheap services you can get at any time in NYC.


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I just returned from hiking Wheeler Peak with my buddies Tobin, Robert and Mark. It was a short fast hike, 10 miles rt, with 3000′ of elevation. Wheeler is the highest peak in NM, 13,161′.
It was beautiful out, cool, overcast, and just right for bagging another peak. Carson National Forest  opened for hiking Friday at noon after being closed in June due to forest fires. I immediately emailed the guys to see if they had any plans. At 8:30pm Robert called to say they were hiking Wheeler. I was so excited. Since I had not been in Santa Fe this last week to get groceries, or do my track workout – lazy me,  my refrigerator was empty except for an individual chocolate milk, german seed bread and almond butter. Ah, I figured as long as I had a lot of water I didn’t need any more food. So I packed up an almond butter sandwich, my chocolate milk and set my alarm for 5:30am.
There is a brand new trail to Wheeler that begins by Lake Katherine. 2.5 miles in from the Taos Ski Valley parking lot.  Instead of going straight up the mountain in essentially a line, there is an awesome switchback trail. It is about 3x as long as the other but it takes some of the steepness out of it. We got up there in a couple hours to find some big group who came from the other side.
As we left the thunderstorms moved in and it rained a little but nothing great. I was home by 4:00 and that included stopping to get an oil change for my car and a few tamales.
Tomorrow morning if I can get up at 5:30 again, I will drive to Santa Fe for a 13 mile trail run with the Striders. If I don’t get up I am going to check out a new trail along the Chama River at Abiquiu Lake.

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Recovery and Vote for ME!

The lull after the exciting weekend made yesterday a really depressing day, so much so I could not muster up the energy to drive 100 miles to do my track workout. So I spent the evening in full recovery mode at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs alternating between the mud, soda, iron, and arsenic pools. The 109 degree water cooked any soreness out of me.

Okay I need you to vote for me. I submitted my recent cut paper installation “Mountain Journeys” for a chance to earn an exhibition at The 3rd Ward in Brooklyn and in Taipei at the International Print Fair. There is a people’s choice award for the artist who gets the most votes, therefore I am asking you to please click the link and vote for me.

You can vote repeatedly but only once a day. I would be extremely thankful if you could help me out and I will send you postcards from Taiwan!

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I won! I won! I won! and not just my age group – 1st female, 5th overall – with men.  Today was the Po’Pay 5k race that took place at  Ohkay Owingeh ( formerly San Juan Pueblo). This race has been going on 30 years and draws mostly runners from the Pueblo and a few Anglos like myself. I do not know historical ratios I am just commenting on today. I only know the largest number of runners so far was 400, today was under 100.  The race marks the Pueblo revolt from the Spanish over 300 years ago.

Pre-race: super organized, a lot of young runners, one girl had on her Foot Locker Cross Country Championship race shirt from 2010. I figured she would fly out of there. There  were a few other really thin lanky young women, high school and college. I figured they would dust me. I checked out the older competition, my age group was 46-65 and I saw one women who may give me a run.

The course was circular and  dirt, my favorite. I brought my cross country flats. I had no idea if this was a road race or trail so I brought both types of racing flats.

I felt good despite a 7 hour hike with a straight up 3000′ climb of Mt. Frazier yesterday. My quads were hard as rocks, but the 12,163 ft mountain filled me with energy and excitement.

We lined up on the orange sprayed line. We were told to take off our hats and glasses and a Tribal Council Member said the prayer. It was fantastic. There was this great rhythm to the prayer and it went on for a long time. I had no idea of course what he was saying but I assumed it was “thank you and let these legs work well.”

The gun when off, I started on the line with 2 other women, and the men. Our rabbit was an ATV. I let the women go ahead of me but about 1/2 mile in I passed one, then a mile in I passed the other. At mile one a very strong women passed me, weighing about 100 pounds and easily moving. She stayed about 20-40 meters in front of me most of the way. The first two miles were up but gradual, only about 100 feet each mile. Then after 2 miles  it started to drop and I worked the downhills, hard. I was gaining on her. Running at elevation is weird, it is way slower and breathing is way more labored, but because it is slow, I have no lactic acid build up, my legs never get heavy they just can’t go fast. I thought, “When should I make my move?” I can catch her but we are over 1 mile to the finish. I do not want to puke at the finish line, I always have dry heaves when I work hard, and I did not want to be outkicked in the last 200 meters which is easy for someone to do to me.

But I need to push. It was the two of us plus an older man, older like me, who obviously runs a lot. I took a chance, I passed her, he pushed hard, I let him pull me a bit then passed him. In passing I verbally prodded him on, “come-one” I wanted him with me, until I would push again. I dug in deep. I hoped that my passing her would psychologically let her drop back but it didn’t she kept pushing. I saw two men about 400 meter from the finish. It was her coach. I thought, “oh god don’t let me fall apart now.” I push and pushed. I heard the people at the finish. I tried to make my legs work as fast as they possibly could, it was only 200 meters, get me into the 6:00 pace please, don’t let her pass me. And there it was, I crossed the finished, first women, they were 10 seconds behind me. No dry heaves, an immediately recovery, then it was as if I didn’t run. Time wise it was the slowest 5k I have ever run. Effort wise  it was the hardest I have worked. It was also really fun because I had to think far beyond, “can I beat her” but I had to make bold decisions and big risks to win. I felt like I really earned it.

Immediately a reporter from the newspaper was there. He interviewed me and I said shinning things about the girl I ran with, The Santa Fe Striders for promoting the race, the excellent quality race. I was told the women I beat was one of the best high school runners to ever come out of the Espanola area. She was a college cross country runner at New Mexico Highlands University.

One of the things I was most thankful for is that the Kenyan’s didn’t show up. They dominated the last Pueblo race – in fact the same man and woman that won, also both won the NYC 1/2 marathon this year. So you know never who is going to show up. But today was my day and for that I am very happy.

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Hike Run Adventure

The studio walls are going up, the windows are in, and we are moving along fast. I wish I could say the same about my running. It is slow, slow, slow, but there is nothing I can do about it but keep practicing. Last nights tempo run was a solid to ++ effort, I looked over the elevation and the first 4 miles consistently goes up. I start at an 8:00 pace, it slows to almost a halt by mile 4:00 then drops back to 8:00 to finish. I just keep practicing……my mantra
This weekend lots of activities. Saturday will be a 12 mile hike, 3000′ gain to Frazier Mountain in Taos, 12,163 ft. You say all the National Forests are closed how can you do that? Well, we are hiking private land so we have permission to go up. yea!
On Sunday I will run my first race here. Obviously I am not putting my all into it, resting, hydrating, eating well because I am doing a fast and strenuous hike the day before, but lets see what happens. It is the Po’Pay foot race at Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, 20 miles from my house. This race began in 1980, the 300th anniversary of the Pueblo Revolt, lead by Po’Pay and other runners from the Pueblo of Tesuque. It is one of the larger races in NM with about 400 runners, most I have read from the Pueblos. I could not find any race history or results. The age groups are 20 years so I will run with the 40-60 year olds, who knows maybe most people will be under 10 if I am lucky. The last 5k I ran was 1/1/11 untrained in the freezing winter, 22:30. Since my miles are 20 seconds slower here, if I can do 24:00, I shutter to write such a slow number, I will be happy, maybe. Oh crap, I am going to let go and run, I do not even know if it is on trails for the road.

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Crazy Track Workout

Is it sad or odd that the highlight of my week is workouts with the Sante Fe Striders? One thing I did not explain last time is that all their track workouts are 12 laps in various combinations. Last week was unusual  that they did 14 laps. But last night was crazy and almost did me in. Besides not yet figuring out my paces (until this post) at 7000 feet I had no idea how to adjust. This was the workout: 2 x 600 (400m recovery) 1 x 1200 (400m recovery) 3 x 400 (200m recovery) 1 x 1000 (400m recovery) and 4 x 200 meter rolling with 100 meter recovery. These are strict recovery they do not meander around.

Workouts are at 6:00, if you want to warm up get there early  as they line up at 6:00 and start. There are no drills, no introductions just go. You jog  your recovery and get right back on the line, no chit chat, no prolonging the recovery. Workouts are done w/i one hour, there is no cool-down, do it on your own.

I had no idea pace   600-600-1200-400-400-400-1000-200-200-200-200 so I just did the best I could. I was ready to puke after the 3rd 400 with only 200 recovery. I know my pace range according to McMillian  based on my May 1/2 marathon time of 1:44, but not at altitude. So I consulted Dr. Jack Daniels at Run Smart Project. This is what I learned:

At 7000 feet of altitude the adjustment is more like 15-18 seconds per mile slower than sea level.  To simplify, figure about 1+ seconds per 400 meters (4-5 sec/mile) per 1000 feet above 3000 feet of altitude, at 4000 alt = 4-5 sec/mile, 5000 alt = 8-10 sec/mile, 6000 alt = 12-15 sec/mile, 7000 alt = 16-20 sec/mile, 8000 alt = 20-25 sec/mile, etc. This is what I put together according to the 16-20 sec/mile.

Distance Sea Level        7000′ Notes how I “naturally adjusted”
200 43-47 45-49 sprint times 44-51
400 1:31-1:38 or
1:36-1:43 or1:43-1:49 sprint vs speed workout times 1:35-1:38
600 2:24-2:31 2:31-2:38 sprint times 2:31-2:36
1000 4:24-4:34 4:36-4:40 speed times 4:45
1200 5:17-5:33 5:32-5:47 speed times 5:31
1600 7:12-7:27 7:32-7:47 speed times 7:20-7:40 (last week)
Tempo 7:37 to 7:57 7:57 – 8:17

McMillian has sprint time workouts vs, speed. I think what we did was speed since we were moving in all different distances rather than repeating the same distance so I listed  speed workout times as well as the sprint. I am in the ball park. I was still warming up on the first 600 and by the 1000 I was ready to die, I needed more recovery time, I really wanted to walk the recovery but we had limited time to get back on the line.

Here was the workout and my times. After figuring out paces I feel more confident on how to run these, but man, my butt has never hurt so bad after a workout.

Distance Time Pace Recovery
600 2:36 6:46 400
600 2:31 6:53 400
1200 5:31 7:20 400
400 1:35 6:39 200
400 1:37 6:43 200
400 1:38 6:43 200
1000 4:45 7:33 400
200 (rolling) :44 6:17 100 rolling
200 (rolling) :45 6:20 100 rolling
200 (rolling) :51 6:54 100 rolling
200 (rolling) :48 6:08 100 rolling

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My Newest Crush

I got my August issue of Trial Runner in the mail today and there is an article about Jennifer Pharr Davis. Jennifer is attempting to break the men’s speed record on the Appalachian Trail which is 47 days, 13 hours and 31 minutes set in 2005 by Andrew Thompson. Jennifer is currently on day 16 of the 2175 mile run from Maine to Georgia running between 35 – 48 miles a day. I think I am in love. Okay maybe not but I can stalk her by day on her blog which is updated by her husband ultra runner Drew Davis who was a previous AT record holder. She rekindles my idea to run from NYC to New Mexico when I  decide to give up my NYC residency.

You can follow Jennifer through her website or tumblr.

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I had another awesome run with the Sante Fe Striders. I had no idea how to gauge my tempo since I am clearly not in Central Park and much of it will be run on trails so here goes.

I started off running with a Syracuse University 800 meter track star. While it started out nice with some good chit chat I was relieves when she went to the front of the pack because I would have had a heart attack attempting to keep up, plus I did not want to hold her back.  I ran the first two miles about 60 meter behind them but got lost in a fast turn down a dirt path or was it a driveway? An 18 year old college kid from Kansas started out in the pack and dropped back to me and we were both lost. He had to stop to stretch so I stopped for a second but when he had to stop again I left him to try and catch one of the other groups. Luckily out of the 6 mile tempo I was only lost 1.5 +miles of it which is reflected in my time.

So how does tempo in Santa Fe compare to NYC?

NYC Central Park Elevation48 Road Santa Fe Elevation7226 Trails 80%Road 20%

April 1, 2011

Time HR July 7, 2011 Time HR
mile 1 7:55 171 mile 1 8:13 146
mile 2 7:33 169 mile 2 8:23 167
mile 3 7:56 174 mile 3 9:35 167
mile 4 8:04 172 mile 4 9:32 167
mile 5 8:03 163 mile 5 8:22 164
mile 6 8:25 163

There is certainly a difference but besides an addition 7000 feet the terrain is radically different, it was mostly on dirt but when were hit the road my legs wanted to let loose. That was a good feeling.  There are those two really slow miles, we were lost, stopping and starting and looking down alleys to find the group, so while running we were moving closer to pace, but then we could stop and figure out what way to turn. I felt awesome after and the last two miles were very relaxed and very easy. I can’t wait for next week.

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I stopped procrastinating and making  excuses like, “How can I do a track workout after  doing  manual labor in the hot sun all day?” and got my butt to the Santa Fe Striders track workout. The workout was 400 meter, 3 x 1600 meters, 400 meters. That did not sound too bad.

I had no idea what to expect, who I would be running with and what pace would I run at 7000′ which is another 1000′ over where my house is. Normally I would base these on McMillan and run  7:12 to 7:27.  I had not run in a week due the smoke from the fires nor had I done any fast work since coming here.  I drove the 42 miles to the Santa Fe High School Track.

I was met by Jim Owens, president of the Striders. He is a friendly and welcoming man. He let told me about the club; there can be anywhere from 20-30 runners at the workouts including the Kenyan. Kenyan Caroline Rotich, NKE who won the 2011 NYC 1/2 with a time of  1:08:52 is a regular and in the summer  so is Rae Baymiller who at age 67 and a  CPTC member ran a AG record of  1:34:28 also in the NYC 1/2.

We did a 2000 meter  warm-up, then lined up to run the 400. There were far more women than men and I was 2nd women, trying not to kill myself with 93 seconds,  similar to what I do in NYC. 400 meter recovery, then the 1st 1600. I jumped in behind the same women, Jennifer, but soon became the 3rd which was fine,  I hoped to pace off someone but I was too slow.  The first lap was 1:40 but by the 2.5 laps my mouth was as dry as the desert, my teeth felt like there were curling around my teeth and splitting apart, I felt like I was pulling a giant tractor-trailer filled with anvils, finished, 7:22. I couldn’t help but reminisce that at the end of May  during the Brooklyn 1/2 I was running  7:30 and chit chatting away with my friend Jamie. One done, 400 meter recovery. Second 1600, I went out more cautiously, first lap 1:50 and finished it in 7:40, a big difference from 7:22 but more manageable. I still felt like I was running in a deep pool of thick tar.  400 meter recovery and the last 1600. My goal was to match the 7:40, damn this is hard. I am breathing like I was having a heart attack and I am pretty close to it with a 177HR but I finished 7:40. Can I match the last 400 with the first, yes, that seemed easy in comparison but the last corner I felt the bear on my back and my whole body was rebelling. Am I running backward?

Once I was done I felt like I never ran. The strange thing in the heat and altitude is it feels impossible to propel my body forward, I have to work so hard, but once I stop it is as if I never ran in the first place, I was not even sweaty. Striders do tempo runs on Thursday and I had not planned on driving the 85 mile round trip 2x a week but the group is so nice and I met so many super great people that  I will go back for tempo. I felt awesome to run with a team again.

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