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Posts Tagged ‘Trail running’

Carls Meadow

Carls’ Meadow

Is that right, the end of week three? Right now I am too tired to get up and check my log. I am not tired because I ran hard today, in fact I did not run, I printed.  It is not a bad thing that I missed my weekend long run, though it is hard to consider 9 miles long. But it is when you have a quad that does not fire.  I will run the 9 or maybe 10 tomorrow on my “rest day” I am not too concerned. I got in my other days.

Yesterday I had a magnificent time snow shoeing at the Santa Fe Ski Basin with my friend Lisa. More specifically we started at Aspen Vista Trailhead,  shoed up the Windsor Trail past the ski lifts, made a loop into the creek bed and back down and round to the Aspen Vista Road.  We started at 9,900 ft of altitude and climbed to 11,427 in 1.83. That is steep. We hiked for almost four hours,  at times we were up to our hips in snow.  It was great.

My runs are getting  better. No longer am I walking or running backward for 1:00 after every 2:00 of forward. I reduced it to 30 seconds. Also I ran 3 miles on Thursday without any turn around. That made me feel great! My quad is freezing up less and most of my run pace is close to 8:00 miles.

Today I had a big day of printing which is why I did not run. I was in the studio all day working on my 30 prints in 30 days series and just ran out of daylight to run.

Next Sunday I have a 3.8 mile snow shoe race. That should be interesting, running in snow shoes at 10,000 ft of elevation.   This will be like Elmer Fudd chasing Rabbit in slow motion.

I am taking bets at how long it will take me to complete this. My most recent marathon time is 3:49 (April 2014) best x-c time 22:30, 10k time 45:30, all at sea level. Whoever comes closest to how long it take me gets their choice of print from my 30 prints in 30 days project which you can read about here. Remember you want to win a print, not worry about hurting my feelings. There will be no ego in trying to complete 3.8 miles of running in snowshoes at over 10,000 ft. For reference the fastest male  in 2014 was 33:46, fastest female 43:25. I am going to try out the trail on Wednesday, and hope I can complete it in under an hour. Wish me luck.

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After months of training the weekend finally arrived that I will run my first 50 mile race on Saturday November 23rd. I had three great months of running in New Mexico with the Santa Fe Striders over the summer, nice trails, great mountains, heat and altitude all rolled into one. I have been in NYC for the past three months, putting in plenty of 20 miles runs, a few 25’s and a 30, tonight I just had a handful of 400m intervals, but almost all on pavement.   The picture above is from the Blue Line Run done a couple weeks before the  NYC marathon and along the same course.

I signed up for the the JFK50 back in April through the urging of my friends Zander and Richard, at least that is how I remembered it, and together we will run it. Zander has run loads of 50s and both Zander and Richard have run over 100 marathons each! Despite their vastly superior experience I think we will be a good match physiologically to run this whole thing together.

I called on many ultra runner experienced friends, Joe, Michelle, Gabrielle,  Hideki, Tim and in the final 8 weeks Coach Owen Anderson. I had used Coach Anderson’s 30 days to a marathon finish plan for both a marathon and a half and PR’d both like crazy so I thought he could be me to the starting line fit and quick footed. Joe, Michelle, Gabrielle, Hideki and Tim provided me with a huge amount of information on eating and their GPS data, this was really crucial. I am not afraid to cover 50 miles, my only concern is making myself eat which is a constant problem. My pack is filled with dates, figs, bars and a couple emergency gels. But the best weapon I have in my back of tricks is my new beard hat!

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This awesome baby was hand crochet by my student Ruth. Yes it is warm, but it also makes me feel all fuzzy and happy inside and that happiness is what is going to carry me across the finish line with a smile!

Top 10 men last year came in between 5:34 and 6:12 and top 10 women 6:12 to 7:32. Many of these are professional sponsored athletes. People have up to 12 hours to complete the race which begins on the
Appalachian Trail and runs for 14 miles, then a gravel/dirt tow path for just over 26 and finally a road. The trail is technical and rocky and of course be slower, but I think they is a good way to start. I want to finish until 10 hours but honestly I have no clue what to expect, I just ran a 1:34 half marathon on September at altitude, but it was also a lot of downhill and on road. So here is to new adventures. Wish me luck!

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My hike for this week was in Taos. I met my ABQ friend Tom in Espanola at 7:00am for the drive up to the Ski Basin. We began at the Gavilan trail #60, it is about 1.5 miles before the ski basin, it is short, only 2.43 miles, but you gain 2,000 ft in those 2 miles from 8,881 feet of elevation to 11,205 feet of elevation. From there we went to Columbine Trail over to Gold Hill, wandered around on top the mountains before coming back down over the Long Trail. My last hike with Tom was a fast 20 milers, this one I am not sure how long it was, but we walked for 8 solid hours which equals about 16 to 17 miles.

After coming back to Abiquiu we ate at the famous El Farolitos in El Rito. I ran into four other friends  and we decided to take a night hike in Plaza Blanca, the Badlands of New Mexico. Walking around Plaza Blanca with only the moonlight was really cool. We took no lights  and wandered around  until about 11:00pm.

The next day I went to Santa Fe to meet up with the running group. I ran on my own Saturday morning extra early because I was helping time a race in town. It was pretty awesome, 217 people showed up, it was free with lots of great prizes. It made me want to race. I met my friend Joan who is in from NYC and we spend the days at galleries.

This morning the gang was running up Santa Fe Baldy, (12,622 ft) a 14 mile out and back run beginning at the Ski Basin. I hiked this last weekend. When I woke up Sunday morning, I felt kind of sad for no particular reason. But perhaps because I only have 26 days left, or because I hardly saw my dogs yesterday or maybe because I really just wanted to do laundry, I did not go. I took the dogs to the park at 6am until 7:30 met a really nice woman there and made a plans for her to bring her dog up to Abiquiu Lake, so it was a nice morning.

Now I feel sad that I missed the run, I just want to do everything. I love being outside and while I miss NYC, I will miss the mountains even more.

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Summer 2012 I drove to New Mexico over a 4 day period with dogs in the car.Image

I stopped along the way to look at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TXImage

I ran a half marathon trail race called, “Run the Caldera” in the Jemez Mountains. I placed 7th in my AG.Image

I hiked the Truchas Peaks.Image

I hiked Wheeler Mountain the tallest in New Mexico, about 3 times, maybe 4.Image

I built tables for my new studio in Abiquiu, NMImage

I taught a little workshop to good friends in my studio. Image

I climbed my first 14,000 mountain, Sneffles in CO.Image

and my second, La Plata also in CO.

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and my third and fourth Challenger and Kit Carson but I don’t have photos.

I bought 8 tons of pretty dirt for landscaping. Image

I put up 400 feet of fence, both field fence and coyote fence. Image

I went to the Lowrider Car show in Espanola. Image

I did a lot of trail running with the Santa Fe Striders.
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I climbed the Pedernal in Abiquiu and saw a horned toad.Image

 

Then went back to climb it again.

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I watched a lot of storms.

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And I had a really good time!

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Last week during the mountain run with my buddies, one guy said, while laughing “Get ready for your first 2.5 hour 1/2 marathon.” I thought he was joking, how in the world could it take 2.5 hours to run 13 miles?Well today I can tell you.

I was excited to “Run the Caldera”.  In case you don’t know, a Caldera is a collapse of land following a volcanic eruption.

Each year there is a 10k, 1/2 marathon and marathon. The actual race, at least the 1/2 does not go into the Caldera but rather it is run in the mountains, beginning at 7,853 ft and going to 8,857 ft.  I checked out the times from last year, to see who the competition was. The fastest woman was 1:45, the second fastest 2:01. The fastest man 1:39 second fastest man 1:47.  The fastest woman in my age group ran a 2:18. Wow, I thought, this is really slow. I should do okay; my last 1/2 was 1:44 on the road, and so on the trail I figured 2:00 or 2:10. I failed to look up who these people are, only their times.  Boy am I naive.

I scouted the start the day before. It is 63 miles from home and I wanted to make sure I got there on time. It was a beautiful drive that goes through the slightly creepy slightly intriguing Los Alamos. It only took 1.5 hours to get there and was easy to find.

Race morning I woke nauseous and with overactive intestines. I could not eat anything and was most worried about dehydration. I woke several times during the night with a dry mouth but I continued to drink electrolyte water, maybe too much electrolyte water. In the morning I ran the dogs, got dressed and was out the door. I felt better during the drive. I arrived five minutes after the marathon, and had just under an hour to wait for my start. During that time I ate a banana, went to the port-o-john four times and jogged for about ten minutes and did a few drills.

At the line up, everyone stood around casually. The only people to go right to the start line were Los Alamos Cross Country high school boys. We were given directions that we would run on logging roads, over a substantial amount of grassy fields without any trails, up extremely steep inclines of soft sand and rocks and over rivers. He forgot to mention though a field of prairie dog homes with random big holes. I had been forewarned to walk the hill and that I will catch back up to the people who tried to run them, and that was my plan.

I started easy and slow, taking my time. My first mile was very slow, a 9:44 but by mile 4 my overall average was 9:15 as I was able to speed up to 8:00.  I thought if I could average 9:15’s miles give or take I could finish in around 2 hours. Then the big hills started. In the next two miles I climbed just under 1,000′ and was at 8,857′ of elevation. Mile 6 and 7 took me 13:30 and 18:21. The hill was so steep I was almost on my hands and knees. The ground was soft sand filled with rocks. It was a slow going but with awesome views of the mountains. For the next two miles the decent started but my technical downhill running on rocks and soft sand is not good so I was not able to take advantage of it. In mile 10 I went back up 254 feet. And speaking of feet, mine were killing me! I have to buy trail shoes. The bottoms of my feet hurt, my hips hurt, my quads hurt, everything hurt and I was alternating walking and trotting. I met lovely women from Albuquerque. She talked about the trails in ABQ and invited me to come down.  I passed her on the downhills but she later caught up with me on the grassy flats and took off. I could not catch her.

In the last mile I promised myself I would only run, no walking. But when faced with another 105 foot uphill I walked. I just couldn’t take it. Then I looked at my watch. In 4 minutes it would be two hours and thirty minutes. I had about a half mile to go. I had to do it. I picked up the pace, I passed two people, then I passed another guy, suddenly I saw the little house on the opposite side of the start, I ran faster. A guy hobbling on the trail stepped aside. A crowd cheered and a guy yelled,” that is the way to finish it. ” He must be talking to me, I thought.  I pushed harder. My legs got going, I passed 5 people, and I saw the clock and finished with 30 seconds to spare. My lungs felt like they had stuck together. I crossed the finish line and had the same feeling I had when I fell off a tire swing flat on my back as a kid and got the wind knocked out of me. Luckily it only lasted a couple seconds and I was handed my shiny new metal. My fastest pace on the last mile was 6:39.

The final results are not posted but I know was lower than 24th woman and beyond 4 in my age group. There are a lot of super athletes and ultra runners there. A woman who ran the 2004 Olympic marathon trials won the marathon.  Once I know the full results I will post them along with the pictures.

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First this is not my photo nor was it taken today but it is a photo of Deception Peak.

I was up at 5:30 this morning, too excited to sleep and eager to get to Santa Fe where I was meeting the Striders for my first high elevation mountain trail run of the year.  I was a nervous on my drive, we were starting at over 10,000 feet and running to 12,400. I had no idea what I would feel like since I have only been at elevation 3 days and that was 6,000 feet.

It was great to see the friends from last summer, Jim, Eric, Miriam, Gabe, Caroline, and make three new friends, Maryann Max and Andy. The start of the trail is super hard, straight up from 10,238 feet to 12,409 in about three miles. It was super rocky, there were boulder fields and quite a bit of snow. There was nothing that resembled running, it was purely hiking. I will post the splits at the end, but it took 1 hour and 18 minutes to go 3 miles and I was in the front group.

The Winsor Trail is a steep climb that takes you to the boundary lines of the Pecos Wilderness, where you turn and go up Raven’s Ridge Trail. It is an unmaintained trails with several high and low points along the way. At times we lost the trail, had to scramble over rocks but the views were spectacular!

When we got to the peak  it was about 30 degrees, it was 46 when we started. The wind was intense and we huddled behind some rocks for a couple minutes to take in the views. But the wind and cold were outrageous and we hit the trail to Tesuque Peak which is the site of a hard core half marathon. Once off Tesuque Peak it is all downhill for 5. 5 miles. I felt fantastic. I felt really strong today. In talking with Gabe he too said he was nervous about today, but that the club had been training for 8 weeks working up to this height. I think some people did not have a very good day,  the cold plus elevation was pretty heavy. But I loved it and I felt terrific.

On the way down Maryann took the lead. She is  fast. Last year she outright won the Caldera Marathon. I was being cautious at first staying with the group but then just let go. I kept Maryann in my sights for most of the 5 miles. I stopped twice to tie my shoes thinking someone would come up behind me but no one did and I lost her.  I reached the bottom of the Alpine Vista Trail and was just energized.

I did not take any water or food with me. I was the only one who didn’t but I also did not need it. We ran a total of 9 miles and it took 2 hours. The last bit felt fast, but controlled and strong. After checking my GPS I ran pretty much the pace I ran in the Brooklyn 1/2 marathon which is pretty freakin’ great on a rocky dirt access  road between 12,000′ feet and 10,000. For fun I wore my heart rate monitor. I will post the rate because I have an 18:00 mile where my HR was 162 and I have a 7:30 mile where it is basically the same!

Maryann and Max  planned a 20 mile day because they have a marathon coming up in a couple weeks. They ran their final 10 on the road that goes back  to Santa Fe.

I did a couple of chores in Santa Fe and drove the 50 miles back to  Abiquiu when I  realized I was starving. It was now 3pm and I only had one piece of bread with coconut oil and black strap molasses at 6:00am. Unfortunately the dogs got into the refrigerator and ate about $100 of food so I went to Bodes convenience store just 6 miles up the road and got a BBQ pull pork sandwich AND a ground beef, cheese and chilli burrito and ate them both! Yes I ate a pile of meat and about 3 pounds of food and boy was it just what I needed. I could go run again.

Splits
Average Pace with average HR
1  18:36           63
2  27:25           137
3  25:12           138
4  12:00           136
5   8:00            147
6   8:21            154
7   7:48            160
8   7:42            159
9   7:36            161
9.5 7:30           102 (monitor fell down)

For comparison my HR average for a 9:00 mile is 145-150 at sea level and 7:00 pace is 170  give or take.

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 I woke up this morning and said to myself, “I am not running the marathon.”

This is not totally out of the blue. I have been contemplating it the last couple of weeks because frankly I have no fire in my belly to run it. The idea may have started  back in May when I was awarded a slot at the Venice Biennale to run on the Allora & Calzadilla “Track and Field” sculpture in the American Pavillion.

My time is immediately after the marathon. I spend the past two weeks trying to find the best flight,  it looked like I would run the marathon, rest 4 hours and  on an 11 hour flight, have one day of rest then run 4 times a day for the next 8 days.  I can hear the sighs. Then last Saturday I ran one of my worst 1/2 marathon on history waking up the next morning with a stuffed up head and hacking cough that I still have.

And there were still  unanswered question. Why is it that every run I do I feel like I am fighting my body? For any of you that follow this blog you know I started asking this question back July when I was  in New Mexico. I had a theory that all my runs in NM were all anaerobic. So does that mean I short-changed my aerobic fitness? Could I be overtrained even though I was running under 30 miles a week?  Maybe I a undertrained because I never did runs over 13 miles – but those miles were at 13,000 feet? So I ran more once I got back to NYC, 230 mile in the last month and I still feel like I am fighting my body,  I am not tired or sore but I am cranky with major anger issues.  This calls for expert help.

I called Coach Roy Benson. I very sadly learned he has retired from personal coaching but we could still chit chat on the phone and meet up at the Millrose Games! Coach is a smart one all right and boy will I miss him. He asked me how long was I running in NM before it got easier? “What do you mean? It was suppose to get easier?” If I wasn’t such a numb skull I would have called him before I went to NM to train. Apparently I should have thrown away my watch and ran  really slow, working only aerobically until my body got used to the high altitude. Only then should I start to push the pace. A good indication of that would be the ability to run at a mile pace 30 seconds slower than what I run at sea level for an extended period of time.(that is the calculated physiological difference at 7200 feet)  For example before I left NYC an easy long run would be 15 miles at  8:45 – 9:00 pace. There if I trained right what would feel easy would be 9:30’s for 15 miles. Yea, I didn’t do it that way. I pushed every single run as hard as I could. What a dork.

Coach said, “Hilary you know the answer to this, throw away the watch and only slow jogging for the rest of the month. You have an obligation in Venice and you can’t show up all broken. Only jogging! And if a few weeks from now you get the idea to start running harder, call me, I will put you back in place.” Gosh Coach, I am really going to miss your sternness.

I need someone like that in my life every day! “Hilary you cannot marshal a race and run a race that happens at the same time! Hilary you cannot write a review for an exhibition that you have to go see the same day you are running a 20 milers and have friends in from the Netherlands that you are taking to dinner and still spend 3 hours walking your dogs!” In my mind I think, “oh that is so fun yes I want to do it, and that would be fun too I want to do it” and so on and so on. I don’t overbook myself because I think I am super woman. I overbook, overrun, over everything  because I think it will be fun. And it always is, but stressful because too much fun is not fun.

Back to Venice. I booked my ticket to fly out on Saturday Nov. 5th  and by  4pm Sunday I will be  wearing the USA Olympic Uniform and running onto a WWII tank. I just might pee myself with excitement.

Dang I am feeling so happy I am going out for a little jog with my dog.

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