No power? No problem.

This morning, I woke up and decided to go back to sleep. When I woke up again, there was no electricity. Doh. No electric means no lights. Normally that's not a problem for me. As a former caver and bat biologist, I have a collection of flashlights and head lamps that rivals the camping section at most sporting good stores. But today, all my flashlights were with my gear from the race and were mostly out of batteries. Obviously, this lead to a comedy of errors this morning that culminated in me doing my hair in the dark.

In other news, I've decided to do the "Liz doesn't eat out for a month" thing again. The last time I did this was after my kitchen was finally finished. The rules at that time were no restaurants, no take out, but coffee shops are exempt (because I was totally hooked on lattes back then). That time, I wasn't really running a lot or putting in a lot of miles. This time I'm amending the rules that any day I run more than 10 miles in a single day, Chipotle is also allowed. (Sometimes, there's just no other way to recover that many calories.)

The last time I did this, it was mostly about money. This time I realize bad things happen to my body when I get lazy and eat out a lot. Really bad things. I'm getting excited about what I can cook for myself. I'm thinking of homemade chicken quesadillas (Firefox thinks "quesadilla" isn't a word btw). I was all emotionally prepared to try roasted brusells sprouts but amazingly the co-op didn't have any. Tonight I'm roasting other root vegetables such as beets, potatoes, carrots and cauliflower (which is not a root vegetable but it awesome). That'll be lunch for a few days.


195 miles of fun

Who wants to run from Winona Minnesota all the way up to Minneapolis? In two days? In costumes? (I was on board right up until someone wanted me in costume, by the way.) No, actually, I did wear a costume. Our theme was "Ragnar 911", obviously.

We certainly weren't the only team in costumes. This team is the W.H.O.R.s team. (Women High on Running) and we stayed up with them most of the way. I think we arrested their team a few times. They were really fun.

Turns out, we arrested almost everyone at least once.

Some of our team even had special band-o-liters. I'll let you imagine what's in the test tubes.

Friday morning I woke up at the crack of dawn (actually, slightly before the crack of dawn), and met my teammates to drive down to Winona for the start of the race. There were 12 of us in two vans of six and I was in the second van. (I already know which van I want to be in next year, btw.) I was the 11th of 12 runners, which meant the race started at 11am and I wasn't running 'till sunset. It also meant I didn't have to run again 'till sun rise.

Very few of the legs of the relay are on running paths or sidewalks. Mostly, it's just running up the side of a road. This is definitely my favorite way to see Wisconsin.

Did you know, they had to make a special rule for if runners encounter dangerous live stock? It's one of the only ways a runner can re-enter the team van during their leg without being disqualified.

First lesson I learned for next year: Hill Training.

Good job to Kate who actually had to run UP this thing in the middle of the heat. She was the only one we saw who actually ran the whole way.

My first leg was a nice 4 mile run in the evening. I was the second to last person to go and I was ready to run by the time it was my turn. I felt like I went much faster than my normal pace (that's still pretty slow) so I felt good about that one. After my run and runner number 12's short 3 mile run, we headed off to sleep for a few hours.

The first runner of our van had to start running about 4am. I started running at 6:30am. I had some issues hydrating and keeping food in my body after the first run. The first mile or so of the second run I felt like I was going to die. And then my team passed me some Powerade which I have renamed Go-juice, because once I had that, I felt like I really could run the next four miles up hill.

The hydrating and keeping food down issues persisted the rest of the trip.

Another lesson for next year: I feel like any idiot could run, go to sleep, and get up and run again. It's really the 3rd run in 30 hours which is challenging. And the third run was exactly that for me.

Hee hee. It's funny because it looks like I'm running away from jail and the police officers.

Who here in the cities knows hidden falls drive? Now, who here has ever tried to run UP it? Big ol' Thank You to the cheering section at the top by the way.

Once I got into Minneapolis, I had to contend with the running path on the West River Parkway being basically not there. It was a pretty run, but a hot and challenging one as well and I was super happy when it was over. I had spent most of the day being jealous of everyone in van 1 who were all done running by about noon.

We had one more runner after me. While I was grabbing some water after my last run, we met a guy biking on the parkway. He started in Portland (Oregon) and is going to bike all the way to New York City. Wow. He thought the relay sounded really cool. I thought his trip sounded cool too. He asked us to take a picture with that Nalgene water bottle which is making it's way across the country with him.

At some point, I really stopped noticing Kate's mustache. But it freaked a lot of other runners out.

At the finish line, the criminals (that's right, I dressed up as a jail bird instead of a police officer) held the crime scene tape as we and the rest of our team ran through. Then, there was much drinking and rejoicing. And the medals double as bottle openers.


Liz Trains for a Marathon: Another 17 miles

A couple of quick hits because I actually have to go to work soon (bah), no, actually I like my job. It's just hard when my feet are so sore.

  • I never knew all of the different places on my body I could get blisters and abrasions from fabric. I have a blister on my big toe from the seam in my sock, a wicked looking thing where my water belt rubbed against the skin on my back (yeah, that goes most of the way across my back too), and possibly a place under my arm from where my sleeveless shirt seam was hitting my skin.

  • Ice baths continue to rock.

  • I wish breakfast would cook itself. I'm trying to decide between cooking or just using the time to rest. Which is more helpful?

  • For some inexplicable reason, all of the paths, sidewalks, and roads under 35W along the creek were closed. Which I didn't realize 'till I was in the middle of a construction zone. ::Steps up on soapbox:: WTF, to the north there's a bridge over the expressway but it requires scaling about the biggest hill in Minneapolis, and the bridge over the expressway to the south is like a mile out of the way. In your construction zone there's a road, a sidewalk, a bike path, and a running path. You're not working on all of them at the exact same moment. Leave one open. ::Steps down::

  • Last night, I planned out a route, check it out here that was about 18.5 miles long. While I was running this morning, I was inspired to check out Lake of the Isles which is a similar mileage to Lake Nokomis. Also, I had a detour on the way home due to the above mentioned construction oversight. So I took this route instead. At least I got to go down the big hill instead of up it. (If you want to see the hill, turn on the elevation feature and look between miles 15 and 16.)


Liz Trains for a Marathon: Liz Ignores her Blog

I've been away for a while... I make no excuses. (BTW, for those of you reading this as a "note" in Facebook, I do have an actual blog at a4bats.blogspot.com that you should check out.)

How's training been going? I'd say fair. My long runs are now long enough that the weather has started to be a factor. Things like humidity (which I'll get to) and pop-up thunderstorms are much more of a problem when I'm several miles away from my house than when I'm just running around Lake Nokomis and can get home fairly quickly.

This Sunday I tried to do a long run since I couldn't on Saturday. Like a good girl, I got up nice and early, checked the weather and determined there was no chance of lightning killing me, laced up my shoes and went out. Into the 95% humidity. It wasn't that hot, it was just humid. I'll be honest, it was like a pride thing that I didn't want to stop. But the humidity absolutely kicked my butt. I wound up doing about 6.5 miles outside. Then I went to the Y to run intervals inside, but by that time I was already so tired I didn't get very far. I was feeling pretty bad for not being able to run in the humidity. A friend pointed out there was probably more water in the air than usable oxygen, which helped a little.

How's fund-raising going? Also about fair. I helped at a water stop this Saturday for the Minnesota Half Marathon, for which I will receive a donation towards my goal. For those of you who don't know, the point on the whole marathon-training-thing, is actually to raise enough money to put a teen (or pre-teen) through the Bolder Options mentoring program entirely. The marathon will be more to celebrate that accomplishment. Everyone on the marathon team will also have raised enough to put a teen through the program so with all of us, that'll be about 15 kids. Want to make a donation? Great! Head over to my fund raising page at Firstgiving.com or drop me an email. I'm about half way to my goal, which is supposedly ok for this time of year. Everyone else thinks the other $1,600 dollars for this undertaking will appear, so I'm trusting the universe as much as I can. (Thanks to the universe and to all y'all who've already donated too!)

How's the rest of life going? I told someone that it's a real barometer of my mental health when I stop cooking lunches for the week on Sunday before I go back to work. I don't think I've cooked lunches in a few weeks, probably about the last time I wrote on the blog. For some reason, this time of year is always hard for me. Maybe I was traumatized by always having to go back to school (which I hated) at this time of year. I don't know. But, as expected, anxiety has been noticeably present. Don't get too worried yet. I did just cook lunch for the next few days, and I'm planning to do my long run tomorrow so I can be stuffed like a sardine in a 15 passenger van with a bunch of smelly runners (what'd I just say about my mental health?) run the Great River Relay on Friday and Saturday with a team from Bolder Options. It should be really fun.

Now I think I'll go try an hypnotize myself so I don't freak out about this run tomorrow.


Liz Trains for a Marathon: Liz runs for a loooong time

I don't know exactly how far it was that I meant to go this morning when I left the house. But I'm fairly sure 17 wasn't the number I had picked out. Through some very poor math however, that's about what I wound up doing. Oops.

It took me about four hours. Don't worry, the last time I ran 15 miles, it took me three hours. There were more stops and more hills on this route, plus I walked a little more. I couldn't figure out why I was so tired at the end. (Could've been because I went a few miles further than I meant to.) I ran this morning instead of Saturday because I was already going in to work late so I had the time. Plus it's going to be 90* on Saturday. I fear the heat.

Another awesome thing that happened today is I saw my friend Kao who's been teaching English in Japan the past two years. It was so nice to see her. I love having friends where I can just pick up with them right where I left off and it's not weird that we haven't seen each other for a long time. We had Chipotle which is a bit of a joke between the two of us because when I worked with her, I think I had Chipotle every freakin day.

As with most days after a long run, my day has mainly been about food. After lunch with Kao, it was on to a company picnic (much more pleasant than it sounds), also with awesome food. I love working in a place with such good cooks. I benefit highly from it. Even though I'd had a burrito like three hours earlier, I had plenty of room for the friend chicken and noodle salad.

After the picnic I had to run a group for work, but it turned out no one showed up. Now I'm at home, the first real opportunity I've had all day to put my feet up and it feels great. Oh, hey, I think I'm hungry again...