Wednesday, November 22, 2017

For The Love of Tea

Where has this month gone?

Generally I love this time of year. Getting ready for the holidays, seeing family, and the deals... oh the deals! Every inbox, mailbox, and website is bombarding me with crazy deals. Plus, as I've mentioned in years past, it's my birthday month so all my mail is doubly exciting with all my birthday perks.

The month has been a whirlwind of going to work, driving my daughter to dance, and throwing a surprise 50th Wedding Anniversary party for my parents. I got done with the party last weekend and finally took a breath, then realized the month was screaming by. Gotta do my deals NOW!

Surely I'm not the only one that does this... everyone wants my Christmas wish list. So... I go about putting things on the list but, inevitably, I end up just going and buying some of those things for myself NOW cause, well, there's a crazy deal on it now, and who knows if I'll actually get the item or if it will even be around next week?

That's what happened with the tea.

Teavana White Chocolate Peppermint Tea. This is my favorite tea. It's a ridiculous indulgence though...

Seriously... $45 for 8 oz of tea.

But... it's on sale, buy one get one free (until 11/27/17) AND there's a coupon code for $10 off $40 (TEA10SHOP, expires 1/30/18), plus I get 3% back my shopping through Ebates.

So this is what I did this morning...

1. Went to Kroger and bought a $40 Starbucks gift card.
- Kroger is running 4X fuel rewards points on gift cards (til 12/13/17) so I earned 160 fuel points for the Starbucks card. (I actually bought several other gift cards too and earned 560 points total.) Might as well buy gift cards to the stores I'll be shopping at and get points for it. Each 100 fuel rewards points gets you $0.10 off a gallon of gas, up to 1000 points at a time to a maximum of 35 gallons, meaning you could potentially save $35 on gas if you play your cards right.
- Paid with my Chase Freedom Visa card and earned Ultimate Rewards points for the purchase.

2. Registered the Starbucks card to my Starbucks Rewards account.

3. Logged into Ebates (it's a shopping portal), then went to Teavana.

4. Bought two 8 oz canisters of the White Chocolate Peppermint Tea at $45 each.
- Total $90
- minus "BOGO" code, gets me down to $45
- minus "TEA10SHOP" code, gets me down to $35
- shipping is free
- $35 charged to my Starbucks card. Teavana is owned by Starbucks.
- earned 70 stars on my Starbucks rewards card for the purchase (125 stars gets you a free item at Starbucks stores)
- earned $1.05 back through Ebates

All told, it's still ridiculously expensive tea. But... Teavana is closing all it's stores and who knows if I'll be able to get this next year so I stocked up!

Other deals I'm chasing this week are mainly stocking up on baking essentials since this is the best time of year to buy them.

Butter was $1.99 a pound at Aldi this week. It will be $1.99 a pound at Kroger on Sunday 11/26/17 ONLY with a digital coupon that can be used for up to 5 packages.

5 lb bags of flour and 4 lb bags of sugar will be on sale for $0.99 at Meijer on Saturday 11/25/17 ONLY.

I stocked up on 48 oz bottles of canola oil at Kroger for $1.29.

2 lb bags of brown sugar and confectioners' sugar are $0.99 at Aldi. Meijer will have the 4 lb bags of both for $2 on Saturday 11/25/17 ONLY, so essentially the same price.

I also bought a $50 Target gift card at Kroger this morning then went to Target to do their grocery deal. They had frozen pizzas on sale, Buy One Get One Free, TODAY only. Also had a deal where you get a $10 Target gift card when you buy $50 of food or beverage.

Frozen DiGiorno pizzas are on sale this week for $5. Ended up with 6 of them for $15 (so $2.50 each!). I would have maxed it out to their limit of 10 if I had more room in my freezer. Bought other groceries though that I needed anyway and didn't have coupons for to get to exactly $50 and got my gift card. Also, since I have the ibotta app on my phone now, I've been doing those deals like crazy and earned another $5.05 at Target on stuff I bought. Not a bad deal day today. Now I've only got a couple more to chase down before I have to go to work this weekend.

What do you buy this time of year?

*UPDATE: Ebates just credited me $3.07 for my Teavana purchase. I have no idea how that math worked but I'll take it!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Utah WMS Canyon Country Trip - Day 4

Day 4 - Phipps Arch
Temperatures have been dropping down into the low 30's at night so we woke up to another cold morning, but someone had already started the campfire and Todd was making coffee, followed by pancakes. After breakfast we packed some lunches and pulled out to go explore Phipps Arch.

Phipps Arch

We drove back west on Highway 12 past the Calf Creek trailhead that we had stopped at yesterday...

We partnered up for our hike today so Fritz and I decided to walk together. First part of the hike was through a sandy red sand trail that wound through a canyon of sage forests and blazing cottonwoods. We also had several water crossings so most of us had "water shoes" as well as our regular hiking shoes.

We followed a dry creek bed, Phipps Wash, for awhile until Todd had us start uphill towards the Arch. After that it was a bit of a climb up to Phipps Arch.

Made it!

Of course my colleagues had to climb up every tall thing in sight...

... including the Arch itself.

We were on the backside of the Arch. I decided Fritz was pretty much a mountain goat, incredibly spry and sure footed. He started up the Arch. All I remember was Amber shouting up to him... Well how the hell are we going to get down?  ...and I decided I wasn't going to go up because I tend to have problems climbing DOWN things. I have no problems going UP. It's the going down that I have difficulty; therefore, I much prefer going up things that I can jump off of... but there was no water or parachutes here so I stayed put.

Admittedly, when I saw that half our group ended up on top of the Arch I wished I would have gone up. However, by this time, there wasn't enough time for me to get up there and back down before we moved on so I watched them from another perch overlooking the canyon.

Back down to the canyon after that...

Went back to Phipps Wash where we had a class on making improved litters to carry people out.

Amber is sitting on two sticks threaded through the space between the bottom of the backpacks and waist straps that Jon and Doug are wearing.

On the way back most of us decided to take a little dip in the creek. I got in this time. After 4 days without a shower the water felt refreshing. Cold, but refreshing!

Back at the campsite we had another class on improvised splinting...

... and beer... and snacks. We put our hands in the trail mix bag. We put our hands in the potato chip can. We put our hands in the carrot stick bag. Todd yelled at us. Repeatedly...

Dinner was pasta, salad, and garlic knots, with red wine out of a box. Sitting around the campfire that night Wes, Jon and I decided we were going to go for a run in the morning. We had driven over the Hogsback several times now and thought it would be cool to run over it at sunrise. Running the road with thousand foot drops on either side would be awesome at sunrise... There was some debate over how far away we were from the Hogsback though. In any case we decided we'd run at 7 am tomorrow. 

I turned in a bit early since I had to get up early to run. I think Amber, Bert and the boys were still having drinks by the campfire when I turned in. We'd polished off the Wild Turkey the night before and moved on to something out of Nick's flask. In any case, I was drifting off to sleep when I heard a scream by the campfire, followed by more screams and curses.

Hmmm... hope no body fell in...

Friday, November 10, 2017

Utah WMS Canyon Country Trip - Day 3

Day 3 - Calf Creek Falls

Woke at 7 am to find that someone had already started a fire and Todd was in the process of making coffee. He cooked up eggs for breakfast. We then packed lunches for the day and left the campsite by 9 am to head out to the Calf Creek Falls trailhead. Todd wanted to get there early as the parking lot at the trailhead has limited space. It was a short drive back down Highway 12, over the Hogsback, and down to the trailhead.

Lower Calf Creek Falls

Once again the scenery on the way to the falls was awesome. Tall spires of sandstone rising out of the desert. Along the trail I also encountered ginourous sage bushes - sage like I've never seen. I'm used to the fist size sage plants at the grocery store. These were small forests of sage bushes, taller than me, and the smell was wonderful!

And the cottonwoods! They were a blaze of gold. Simply beautiful. From the roadway above you could actually "see" where the creeks were by the blaze of gold cottonwoods that lined the banks.

It was a 3 mile hike out to the 126 ft falls. We had lunch once we got out there.

Amber decided to get in the water. Several of the guys followed suit after that.

The water was 40 degrees. Some of the guys didn't look as happy as Amber... perhaps it's her tough Aussie blood.

Along the canyon wall Todd pointed out some Fremont-style pictographs...

Can you see them? In the center just under the diagonal line of the shadow.

Back at the campsite it was time for some cold beers and more lectures. 

So... one of our lectures was on food safety. The most common outdoor related cause of GI issues (meaning vomiting and diarrhea) is NOT due to contaminated water, but rather unclean hands. Apparently there was a study done where someone wiped the hands of hikers on the Appalachian Trail and 30% of them had fecal contaminants on them. Ewwww....

Todd emphasized that when we prepared/shared food we needed to POUR food out of bags, rather than reach inside the bag with our hands to reduce the chances of spreading badness around.
We were primitive camping. That means no running water. Everyone was doing their business behind the local juniper trees and using hand sanitizer to wash up.

Easier said than done.

We had Mexican for dinner. EVERYONE stuck their hands in the shredded cheese bag. We all got yelled at. Repeatedly. Yes dad....

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Utah WMS Canyon Country Trip - Days 1 and 2

The following excerpts are taken from one of my all time favorite books, You are a Badass by Jen Sincero...

If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.
                                                                                                       - Nikola Tesla

All energy vibrates at a certain frequency which means you're vibrating at a certain frequency, and everything you desire, and don't desire, is also vibrating at a certain frequency.

Vibration attracts vibration.

...raise your frequency to match the vibrations of the one you want to tune into.

...when you're vibrating at a high frequency, awesome things seem to flow to you effortlessly and you seem to stumble over the perfect people and opportunities all the time (and vice versa).
                                                                                                        - Jen Sincero

I met ten of the most wonderful people last month and yes, we were all vibrating at the same frequency. Ten like-minded souls that I had an absolute blast spending the week with. If the experiences weren't proof enough, I opened my email Tuesday to find a photo link from Todd, our fearless leader. The man had uploaded all his photos to Shutterfly, created a share site, and made a flippin' 57-page scrapbook of his photos of all of us! God Bless!! One less event for me to scrapbook. He has no idea...

So here are my highlights.

Day 1 - Saturday October 21, 2017
Left the house at 7 am so hubs could drop me off at the airport to catch a 9:40 am flight to Denver. Had an hour in Denver to walk the length of the entire terminal to get on my flight to St. George. My friend Cindy met me at the airport and we went out for lunch. After that she dropped me off at my hotel and I had some time to stretch out and relax.

I met my roommate Amber. She is from Australia and has traveled all over the world. She entertained us with all kinds of stories all week long.

We met the rest of our crew for the week at 5 pm over pizza and beer.

Todd - Our instructor. He had a wealth of outdoor experience and ended up being the chaperone, organizer, driver, head cook, and essentially parented us all week cause, well, it turned into basically Spring Break for adults...

Bert - He's from New Hampshire. Family practitioner I believe, but does addictions treatment mostly.

Fritz - He's from Frankfort, Germany. He introduced himself as a Tropical Medicine doctor, but also does Travel Medicine... and colonoscopies. Kind of a jack-of-all trades internist.

Wes - He's a third year Emergency Medicine resident at a Uniformed Health Services residency in San Antonio. He was a family medicine doctor but joined the Air Force to do another residency.

Nick - He's also a third year Emergency Medicine resident at the Uniformed Heath Services residency in San Antonio. He is in the Army.

Jon - He's a family practitioner from South Carolina. He grew up in Papua New Guinea though. His parents were involved in starting some churches there and his dad did about everything.

Claudia - She's a nurse practitioner from Boulder. She too has traveled the world and is a climber. She ended up being my tent mate.

John - He's from Chicago. He's a Pulmonologist that does Critical Care as well as Palliative Care. He had the driest sense of humor.

Doug - He's from Memphis. He does Pain Management. I believe he did his training as an Anesthesiologist.

Amber - She's a medical student but has done a million other things. She was a ski racer in Australia. Then she worked as a ski patroller in Australia as well as at Heavenly in California. She has hitch hiked across the US and been all over the world.

After the "crew meeting" I found that it was still light outside so I squeezed in a 5 mile run, then showered and collapsed into bed.

Day 2 - Bryce Canyon
Met everyone at 7 am and pulled out in a 15 passenger van plus a mini-van. I sat up front with Todd in the 15 passenger van so I wouldn't get car sick. We had about a 4 hour drive ahead of us.

Being a Midwesterner, the landscape was breathtaking. Mountains of red sandstone everywhere. We took Interstate 15 North out of St. George then went east on some other highway to end up on Highway 12. We got to Bryce Canyon around noon and did a short hike up to Inspiration Point (8100 feet).

View from Inspiration Point

From Inspiration Point we did a short hike along the Rim Trail to take in the whole Bryce Amphitheater.

Our crew for the week
Back row: John, Fritz, Jon, me, Bert, Wes, Nick, Doug
Front row: Amber, Claudia

Wes, Nick and Jon - "The Boys"

After leaving Bryce we continued on Highway 12 to the little town of Escalante where we stopped for ice and any last minute supplies as we were primitive camping all week. Last minutes supplies ended up primarily being beer. Lots of beer. Plus Wild Turkey.

We pulled out of Escalante and continued on Highway 12. Drove over a portion of road called the "Hogback" that had stunningly sheer drop offs on both sides of the road. No guard rails either. The views were breathtaking. We all wanted Todd to keep his eyes on the road though!

Shortly after passing over the Hogback we turned onto Hells Backbone Road and entered Dixie National Forest, then Todd made a sharp right onto an unmarked dirt path and pulled into our campsite. The campsite was stunning! We were at about 6000 ft, overlooking a canyon with pinion and juniper scattered about. Photos cannot do the camp site justice.

Amber's photos captured the essence of this site the best...

Imagine waking up to that every morning!

Claudia and I set up our tent. The next order of business was collecting firewood... and I discovered we are all pyromaniacs. I love my new friends!

Fire. Beer. Oh, and Todd did give a lecture or two, then steak and Caesar's salad for dinner. More sitting around the fire exchanging stories. Finally dropped into my sleeping bag around 11 pm.

So things I've discovered about my crew so far...
- We all love outdoor adventures.
- We all drink beer.
- We are all pyromaniacs.

This is going to be a great week!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Monumental Bust

Some things simply were not meant to be this year...

Saturday dawned a perfect day. Temps in the 40's but no rain. I woke up well rested at 4:25 am, 20 minutes before my alarm was set to go off. Ate and dressed in a leisurely fashion and was out the door at 5:30 am on the dot. Pulled into my favorite parking garage downtown and got a space right next to the doors, steps away from the row of port-a-potties.

I had an hour to stretch out, look at the course map again, and relax... plus make multiple trips to the port-a-potty. At 7:15 am I finally left my car for good and made my way to the Personal Best Training (PBT) team tent to stash my bag that had my keys, phone and post-race clothes.

Got into my wave around 7:45 am and found the 3:55 pacer, then hung out a bit of a distance away. Race finally starts.

I started a couple yards behind the pacer, then kept him in the corner of my eye. The first mile felt really easy... and slow. We were definitely slow.

Mile 1 - 9:17

OK, just warming up. This guy will get on pace soon...

Mile 2 - 9:05

I got nervous. I didn't trust this pacer. I decided to take control of my own pacing and found myself ahead of the pacer. Crap crap crap... where did he go? I kept turning my head around to look backwards behind me because I didn't want to get too far ahead.

Mile 3 - 8:36

So that was a fast mile but it made my 3 mile time 26:58... which was pretty much spot on for the overall pace (8:57) that I was supposed to run. I decided after that to just pace myself and be careful not to do anything crazy fast.

Mile 4 - 8:47
Mile 5 - 8:55
Mile 6 - 8:51
Mile 7 - 8:46
Mile 8 - 8:50
Mile 9 - 8:57
Mile 10 - 8:50
Mile 11 - 8:58
Mile 12 - 8:54

So the 3:55 pace group catches up to me at this point and I'm thinking the pacer must have picked it up for a couple miles because I know I'm running about 30 seconds under 3:55 pace at mile 12.

I'm running up College towards Broad Ripple when I got a sudden stabbing pain in my right lateral knee... like someone had shoved a knife in it.


This is SO unfair! I was running the nice slow pace just like I was suppose to. I hadn't done anything stupid! Why, why, why?!!

I kept running on it, hoping it would work itself out... but it just got worse.

Mile 13 - 9:13

I went under the arch marking 13.1 at 1:56:53.

Don't panic. You're still on pace. Work it out. There are still miles left to recover and catch back up...

I stopped to try and vigorously shake out my leg/knee. Maybe there was a meniscal floater that got caught? Shaking my leg didn't help.

I tried to stretch my lower leg, then my quads. Maybe there were some tight muscles putting weird stress on my knee? Nope. Stretching didn't help either.

Every time I put weight on my right leg the knife-like pain in my knee got worse and worse. I was visibly limping by now.

Mile 14 - 9:59
Mile 15 - 11:54
Mile 16 - 12:52

I got to the corner of Meridian and 46th Street, 16.35 miles. My Garmin read 2:34:29. BQ time was gone. If I followed the course and made the right hand turn onto 46th Street to wind thru the Butler University campus I was committed to run another 10 miles and finish the race. Best guess was it would take me 5 hours to finish at this rate.

Forget that! My knee hurt too much to hobble for another 2.5 hours in a race that no longer mattered. This corner was as close to my car as I was going to get in what was left of this race. I took off my bib and stepped off the course.

It took me another 1:20 to do a wincing death slog 5.5 miles back downtown to my car. Only thing that kept me moving as fast as I did was that I was freezing in my sweaty race jersey and compression shorts. By the time I got to my car I was shaking so hard I couldn't even think. Turning the heat on and my seat heater didn't help. I didn't stop shaking until I got into a hot shower at home.

I had to keep moving though...

I had to go pick G up from Carmel at 3:30 pm. Then we met up with my Sole Sister Maureen at 5 pm for dinner. Maureen drove in from Peoria, IL to run Monumental and had a great race. So happy for her. She and Trena are the poster children for running consistency as far as I'm concerned!

Maureen and me

My knee was still killing me and I was definitely walking like an amateur who'd never run a marathon before. Nothing was swollen but there was a very uneasy unpleasant pressure sensation every time I put weight on my right leg. Finally got home at 9 pm and dropped into bed.

Not the day I wanted.

I worked all day yesterday. Still had that uneasy feeling in my knee but was able to walk like a normal person... I think.

Better today so hoping I can walk off whatever badness happened. My coach thinks it might have been the slant of the road. Whatever. After 2013 and Saturday I'm convinced Monumental Marathon is cursed for me! Not sure if I ever want to run it again.

Today was a good day. I feel relieved that I'm done running for awhile. My house got cleaned. I made dinner. I relaxed. I'm ready for some down time.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Monumental Marathon Training Weeks 20 to 23 - Fire, Fatigue and Fun

So here it is. Last wrap up post before Monumental. The last month did not go as planned. The miles simply did not happen for a variety of reasons. Fire. Fatigue. A wonderful trip to Utah. I'll just have to see what the day brings on Saturday.

Atlas Peak Fire, Sunday October 8th
(photo credit Napa Valley Register)

Sunday 10/8 - Zero miles.

Monday 10/9 - 3 miles. Got up at 4 am to go to work. Got home from work in the evening and went to the fitness center to get some miles in. My legs though felt like wood and I was tired so I cut it short and went home.

I was showered and sitting in my recliner compressing my legs when my husband texted me.

Have you checked in on John? Fires ripped through his neighborhood last night with several fatalities & many many homes destroyed.

Fear rose up inside me. I called. His mailbox was full. I texted. I called his wife. Her phone rolled over to voicemail. I texted her too. I texted his PA. Then I went online. What I saw sent a chill through me. The first photo I saw was the Silverado Resort and Spa... on fire. A golf course separates the resort from his house... In the next article the Napa fire was referenced as the "Atlas Fire." Atlas Peak is behind his house. Atlas Peak Road runs around the Silverado Resort and the back of his Silverado Country Club  neighborhood. The fire started on Atlas Peak.

After what felt like hours, John's PA finally texted me. She lives south of Napa. She said he had called into the hospital to let them know he planned to be there tomorrow and that his family had evacuated on Sunday night. She would tell him to call me when she saw him in the morning.

Tuesday 10/10 - 10 miles.
I didn't sleep at all on Monday night. Every time I did fall asleep I had this dream of John's garage and a pool area on fire... except John doesn't have a pool. I jumped every time my phone made a noise. Finally at 10 am he texted to say cell service was spotty and that they were safe. No one was allowed to go back into the burn area yet so he didn't know the status of his house. He would get back with me. I felt better he had texted but still had a very uneasy feeling. 

What is it about tragedy that makes people fixate on it? It's like after the Twin Towers... everyone spent days glued to the TV watching the same scenes over and over and over again and hearing the same news over and over again, waiting to hear something new. I spent the day repeatedly looking online; ended up on the Napa Valley Register's FB site as they, being the local newspaper, had the most information... and photos. Photo after photo of burnt out houses and fire.

It was Run Club night. Workout was a 2 mile warm up, then 3 miles at marathon pace, 800 meter recovery, 2 miles at half marathon pace, 800 meter recovery, then 1 mile at 10K pace, followed by a cool down. I ended up running my marathon and half marathon pace miles faster than I intended, then died on the 10K mile. Marathon pace miles went 8:47.9, 8:43.07, and 8:38.82. Half marathon pace went 8:21.41 and 8:19.24. Started my 10K pace mile and my legs would not GO anymore. Ran half a mile in 4:22.59 (8:33 pace) and called it. 1.5 mile cool down to make 10 miles.

Run Club was nice because all I concentrated on was running. As soon as I was done though I was back to worrying about John. I didn't sleep at all. I woke up every hour.

Wednesday 10/11 - Zero miles.
Got up at 4 am to go to work, totally exhausted. I got a text around 10:30 am with this photo...

                                                  ... and the words "My home."

My heart sank. My phone rang minutes later and I could finally hear John's voice. They were at his parents house for now. They had self-evacuated with very little time on Sunday night. He had run Atlas Peak that morning and everything was fine. Later that evening they smelled smoke and saw a glow over the ridge. Next thing they knew there was fire coming down the hillside next to their house. They got their dogs and left with the clothes they were wearing. They lost everything. They had to have known, leaving their house that night, that the house was gone.

Needless to say, it was impossible to concentrate the rest of the day at work, but at least I finally got to hear his voice and there was some closure in knowing the house was gone. As devastated as I felt, I cannot even imagine how he and his family felt. I did finally sleep on Wednesday night though.

Thursday 10/12 - 10 miles
Easy run on the Monon.

Friday 10/13 - Zero miles.
The day got away from me so I thought I'd get my run in in the evening while G danced, however her class tonight was cut short so I didn't get a chance to run in the evening either.

Saturday 10/14 - Zero miles.
Original plan was to run a 5K in Salem, IN in the morning, shower and change in Columbus, and be at work in Bloomington by 2 pm. I needed 2 more Indiana Timing races to qualify for the overall end-of-year awards and I was currently in first place for the Female 45-49 age group. Since I was going to be out of town next weekend and I had gone to G's dance competition last weekend, this would be the only race in October I could do. If I did this, then the Turkey Trot in Seymour on Thanksgiving, I would have my 10 races. I didn't have my December schedule yet but I already knew I couldn't do the Reindeer Romp on 12/2 because G was dancing "Nutcracker" that weekend and there was only one race after that so I needed to do today's race and the Thanksgiving race to be eligible for awards.

Friday night I looked up directions to the race. It was 2 hours away with a 9 am start time. I'd have to get up at 5 am to leave by 6 am, be there by 8 am to register and warm up, awards were around 10:30 am, back to Columbus by noon, shower and change and be on the road to Bloomington by 1pm... but J needed me to drop some stuff at her dorm too so maybe leave even earlier... I packed my car on Friday night with my change of clothing, post-race food, food to eat at work on Saturday, and all the stuff J needed.

I went to bed early, then couldn't stay asleep. Woke up at 5 am. Had my coffee and oatmeal, and changed into my race clothes. I was tired. I didn't want to run...

At 5:45 am I decided I didn't want to race the rest of the year. I knew if I raced today and again on Thanksgiving I pretty much had the age group wrapped up. Claire would win the Female Overall, and Jane and Debra were going to battle it out for Second and Third Overall. That left me to win the age group... but I didn't want to spend 4 hours driving today, then work a full day, then drive home at midnight. I also didn't want to get up at the butt crack of dawn on Thanksgiving Day to drive an hour and a half to Seymour. I was done racing for the year. It was like the State Fair all over again. I didn't need another trophy.

I went back to bed.

23 miles for Week 20.

Sunday 10/15 - Zero miles. Worked all day.

Monday 10/16 - Zero miles. Day got away from me again. Quite honestly, I was just plain tired and I wanted to rest as I went to work to work in the evening to work the night shift.

Tuesday 10/17 - 9 miles.
Got home at 7:30 am and slept a couple hours. Got up in time to go to Run Club in the evening. Workout was 2 mile warm up, 5 miles at "pace", then 2 mile cool down. Once again I waffled on what my "pace" should be. I decided to run what felt comfortable and ended up running 8:39.09, 8:34.28, 8:26.26, 8:41.85, and 8:29.53. I was trying not to run any faster than 8:30 but overshot my slow down on mile 4, then it felt like a struggle to speed up again.

This would be my last Run Club session before Monumental as I was leaving for a week long trip to Utah on Saturday so I had a marathon strategy chat with coach Matt after the run. Mill Race showed I had plenty of sub-marathon pace speed for at least 13 miles. Question was how fast should I go? The reality was that I had no large distance base to fall back on. This training cycle is probably my lowest mileage marathon training cycle ever. Matt told me that without the distance base I had very little room for error (I'm thinking very very very little!)... but I did have experience and muscle memory. So... his advice was to go out with the 3:55 pace group (8:57 pace). That way I would avoid going out too fast but it would get me to a safe BQ and I could pick up the pace if I still felt good later in the race... but be patient for 18-20 miles. So that's the plan...

Wednesday 10/18 - 6 miles. Easy miles on the Monon.

Thursday 10/19 - 14 miles. This was going to be my last long run before Monumental and I had planned on running 20 but simply felt too exhausted to do it. Ugh. Not a good sign.

Friday 10/20 - Zero miles.

Saturday 10/21 - 5 miles.
Got up at 6 am to be out the door by 7 am catch a morning flight out to Utah for a week long Wilderness Medicine course. My running friend Cindy met me at the St. George airport and we had lunch together before she dropped me off at my hotel around 3 pm.

Cindy drove down 70 miles to get me from the airport.
That's some Sole Sister love!

I then stretched out and rested for a bit and met my hotel roommate Amber. We then met up with the rest of our crew for the week at 5 pm and had introductions over pizza and beer. It was still light out when we got done and I felt surprisingly good after traveling all day so I went out for a run. Ended up basically playing in traffic along a busy road until the sidewalks ended in both directions from the hotel and ran my last half mile in the parking lot but I got a run in.

34 miles for Week 21.

Week 22 was spent at a Wildness Medicine course in Utah. It was one of the greatest weeks I've had in a long time. We hiked breathtaking trails everyday and primitive camped all week. I'm planning a post about it next week.

With all the hiking, camping and lectures I didn't have much time to run. I got one run in on Wednesday 10/25. Ran with two of the guys at 7 am up at about 6000 feet. First couple miles felt great... 8:38, 8:25, 8:18. I tanked after that, got short of breath and the horizon started swaying from side to side. Ended up having to take a couple walk breaks to get back to camp. Ran a total of 6.6 miles, 9:49 average pace.

6.6 miles plus a boatload of hiking for Week 22.

Sunday 10/29 - Zero miles. Got up at 4:30 am to get to the airport and fly home, then went out to dinner in the evening to celebrate G's 15th birthday. I pretty much passed out after that.

Monday 10/30 - 4 miles.
Thank Gawd I scheduled myself an extra day off before going back to work! I was so tired I could barely get up on Monday plus I was stiff and sore all over (I hiked up Angel's Landing at Zion National Park on Saturday). Finally hauled myself out of bed cause I had scheduled a massage with Craig at 11 am, then probably had the most painful leg massage ever. I almost screamed and told Craig to stop when he rolled out my calves (but didn't). Same with the quads. Lived through it and actually felt 100 times better once I crawled off the table.

Angel's Landing, Zion National Park - it was freakin' steep!
(not my photos either!)

Ran 4 miles on the treadmill at the Y in the evening. It was gray and rainy and in the 40's. After a week of glorious weather I just wasn't up to running in the rain.

Tuesday 10/31 - Zero miles. Got up at 4 am to go to work. We were working a doctor short today so instead of getting off at 3 pm I was scheduled til 4 pm... then the next doc coming on didn't know the schedule had changed and didn't show til 4:50pm. Got home around 6 pm and dropped on the couch, done for the day.

Wednesday 11/1 - Zero miles. Up at 4 am again to go to work. Slammed at work all day again and could barely keep my eyes open driving home. Oh... and it was sleeting when I woke up and turned into snow flurries, then back to rain. Totally gross cold day. I dropped on the couch again and could not get up. Happy November...

Thursday 11/2 - 4 miles.
Slept in til 9 am and felt much better. I'm suppose to be loading up on calories this week but I hardly ate on Tuesday and Wednesday because I was too busy at work then too tired to eat by the time I got home. Tried to eat a big breakfast then went to Blue Mile to pick up my GUs for the race. Found a new flavor - Chocolate Coconut - so picked up one of those along with my standbys, Espresso Love and Salted Caramel. Next stop was Goodwill for my throw away jacket. I've been checking the weather. As long as the rain holds off in the morning I should be good. Stopped in at the fitness center for 4 easy miles on the hamster track. It was still rainy out and I wanted a nice easy run and then a good stretch afterwards so I ran indoors. Final stop was Hotbox Pizza where I picked up their Pizza-Of-The -Week for lunch.

(FYI, if you have a Hotbox Pizza, you can always get their pizza of the week for 50% off by using code POTW. Large pizza ends up being about $8.)

So there you have it. 8 training miles for Week 23.

Goal tonight is to consume more calories and get a good night's sleep as today is the day that matters. I'll hit the Expo tomorrow to get my race packet and go over my race strategy again. Hopefully the aid stations will line up with me taking a GU every 4 miles.

Come what may!

Remembering happier times on the Silverado Trail