Going hard Couer for pie.

Back from a break. We had a death in the family, so we took some time to travel, visit relatives, say goodbye. All of the travelling certainly has cut into training time, so we will definitely be going into our Pi Day race undertrained. But hey. That is how we roll. We will pull it out. We have been getting running and riding in here and there. (Bowie’s club soccer started back up, so we have to factor those practices in as well).

Saturday, Bowie and I will be running the half marathon trail race. Steven and Tatum will be running the 5K. It will be Bowie’s first half, and Tatum’s first 5K. They are so excited! It is looking like cooler weather, so they will be rocking new running tights and jackets. Also! NEW TRAIL SHOES! Bowie has Altra Lone Peaks and Tatum got new Merrills.

I have run the Pi Day half twice before (blog reviews for 2015 and 2016 here, BibRave review here.) It is a well-run race, as all Lawrence Trail Hawk races are. But this one is special because of the variety of delicious pies at the finish line. (I have requested a gluten free one!)

Beyond that, I have some new races on the calendar. I will do a post on that next week once I have Pi Day out of the way.

Oh…other fun news! My team kit for Coeur Sports arrived this week! So flattering. I am really excited to represent such an awesome company, and be a teammate to such an amazing group of women. The motto Heart and Courage has meant a lot to me the last 2 years as I have been battling autoimmune. “Heart is about digging deep and being mentally tough. Heart is what gets you to the finish line when all the body wants to do is lay down.” Yup. That is me. I love it. Also something else to love? Kits are made in Los Angeles. California. Say what? Yeah. Made in the USA.

 

Surprise races!

Have you ever signed up for a race and forgot about it until you get the participant guide? Oops. I said I would do the run leg of a triathlon relay this Saturday for my work team. It really isn’t a big deal except I will be getting up at 3:00 in the morning and driving 90 minutes each way to run a 5K. That’s kind of sucky. Plus, I have to drive a long way to get my packet tonight since they don’t do race day packets. Grumble.

Last night I decided to run the Thursday Gal Gallop at the river trail. Bowie tagged along, too, despite not being a girl. They are pretty chill on the girls-only rule. I have even brought my male dog to run as well. 😉

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It was very hot so we filled our handhelds with ice water on the way over. Shortly into the run, Bowie needed to take a potty break so we got separated from the group. This actually worked out OK since Bowie decided he wanted to do the 3.75 loop instead of the 4.75. This also gave us the freedom to walk each mile for a few seconds to get a drink.

With as hot as it has been, I am really careful to make sure Bowie isn’t working too hard and that he is getting enough water.

We made it back to the car before everyone else returned to we had some time to chill out. (And I got to snap a couple pictures of the girls popping out of the trees before they ducked back into the last stretch of trail.

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My shower felt amazing when we got home! After getting cleaned up, we watched episodes 4 and 5 of Stranger Things as a family. Have you been watching this show? My kids love it. We are all hooked!!

Going crazy with race entries.

So I did something crazy yesterday. Well, two things I guess since I ran in the heat. But I will talk about that later. First thing was signing up for races. Two of them… on the same day. WHAT??? I actually have done a triathlon in the morning and ran a 5K that evening before… but that was before I was sick. I really have no idea how the tri will go. I am confident in the swim and the run, but the bike course is very hilly and I know my body isn’t responding well to hill climbing now. My strategy is to just finish and granny gear the hills if I have to.

Maple Leaf City triathlon was my first triathlon. They have actually changed the race pretty significantly since I raced in 2013. The swim has doubled by including a down-and-back in each lane (which I have actually heard has not been working so well… lots of people getting kicked in the face because the lames are so tight and they spaced swimmers out 10 seconds.) The bike course was increased on the county road and now goes all the way to the Le Loup / Ottawa road intersection… which means it now includes the big ass hill at the end. The run remains a 5K.

I will be biking the course with some friends tonight. I have actually refused to ride that road because it is just too dangerous. This is the road that Steven and I were nearly hit on recently. I am hoping with a small group that the cars will be more attentive… (Although I really think the car PURPOSELY buzzed our bikes to be a jerk).

So I mentioned I did run in the heat last night. I shuffled my schedule around to get that bike in tonight. I did my easy run last night with Bowie at the river trail. I signed him up for Rock the Crossroads 5K as well, and I told him he needed to get some heat training in because Saturday night will be hot.

We filled up our hydration packs at QT and hit the trail. I stopped every mile to make sur Bowie was doing OK and drinking enough water. At the one-mile mark, there was a turnaround to go back, but Bowie told me he wasn’t ready to stop running yet, He said he felt like doing 3 miles and not just 2, so we kept going. The next turnaround actually was a bit further down so we got some bonus miles. (We ended with 4 miles).  Bowie was struggling a little bit with the heat, which was to be expected. I could tell that this wasn’t easy-peasy for him, but being a runner in the Midwest rarely is. Summers are hot, winters are cold. You have to really be tough to deal with both. (I actually deal with cold much better than the heat).

While we were running, I explained to Bowie about the race, and mentioned that I will be doing the tri and 5K in the same day. His reply: That sounds horrible. Maybe my kid has more sense than I do.

I think we were both happy to be done. We were covered in sweat and tired. I am hoping that Bowie copes with the heat on Saturday and doesn’t go out too fast. I am not sure if I will be pacing him the first mile – he will have to work out his pacing himself. I do have an extra Garmin but I am not sure a 9 year old would be able to operate it, run and be able to understand the display. Maybe we could practice with the watch tomorrow. I will report back.

 

Building my own relay team.

I shuffled my training plan and went for a run last night. (Needing a rest day earlier in the week has made me have juggle a bit). I needed something nearby and convenient, so Prairie Spirit it was. I asked Bowie to come along. Hearing this, Tatum decided he wanted to run as well. He keeps talking about doing races, too, so I signed him up for the Mass Street Mile, a timed mile race through downtown Lawrence that follows the Crit course.  I figured, why not see how far Tatum could make it. He would probably run-walk, and that is OK.

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Airplane Arms!

Bowie and I did the first mile together. Then, Tatum decided he wanted to run, too, so he went out on the next mile. I recorded nearly the entire run on Facebook Live – and I am so happy I did. Tatum crushed it! Even running trail in Keen sandals, he ran the entire mile, without stopping.

In fact, I had to keep telling him to slow down because I thought he would wear out. Tatum kept speeding up and trying to block Bowie out. I probably didn’t need to have him reel it in because when we got to the homestretch and I told him to kick, he floored it.

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Beautiful sunset on my solo run.

That kid. They make me so proud. Apparently I make runners.

Bowie ended up doing one more mile with me, so I have company the first 3 miles. Since we did 3 faster miles, I just added in another solo mile. So I did 4 faster instead of 6 slower. In my head, that works out the same.

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My new Ad Astra Running sweaty band!

So our conundrum now is to find Tatum some running shoes. I had to order Bowie’s road and trail shoes online, and they were discontinued. (And they wouldn’t get here in time for a Sunday race anyway.) So I am thinking I will need to find some kids Nike Free Runs for Tatum. (I do NOT like Nike, but in a pinch, they seem to be the only company that makes running shoes for children. That needs to change. Looking at you, Brooks, Merrill and Altra. Stop discontinuing kids shoes!)

 

Race Report: The Snake Trail Race

Event: The Snake
Date: July 9, 2016
Location: Clinton Lake, Lawrence, KS

 

The Snake is a 10 mile trail race that slithers it’s way around the Clinton Lake North Shore trails. The race directors wanted to make it a sneaky snake, so they had us running the loop in the reverse of that we are used to. In addition, they threw in some connector trails and had us hit Lake Henry as well. So, essentially, we went out on blue, hit Lake Henry, out to Land’s End, then back on white, hitting Lake Henry again to the finish line.

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Strava Map

 

Packet pick-up the night before at Ad Astra Running was easy-peasy. I was in and out without even needing to plug the meter. The shirts were really cool, and along with our bib, we got a Guide to Kansas Snakes. (That was Bowie’s favorite part).

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My Little Pony and Captain America

With all the rain we have had, there was some concern over whether we would get to run the planned course. A back-up plan had us running two loops of an extended Skyline Shuffle course. Thankfully, the trails soaked up the rain and we were able to stick to the original route.

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Ready to run even though my eyes are closed.

One of the race directors, Gary “Storyhawk,” gave the race briefing. As part of the race fun, during registration, each runner was given a “snake name.” (Which Gary “Ukulele Snake” assured us would be our password in the event we ran into any snakes on the trail.) The other race director, was Benita “Black Mamba.” I was “Hip Hop Snake” since I used to dance with a team in KC, and Bowie was “Pennywise Snake” as he loves scary clowns. So during the race briefing, we all shouted out our snake names before heading out for the race.

Good race rule: Gary advised us not to get any blood on the trail as that would be construed as littering. And trail runners never litter.

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Heading out

Before the race, I spoke with Gary about Bowie racing. I had not been having Bowie run over the last few weeks as the temps have been over 100 with the heat index. I just felt it was too dangerous for a 9 year old to run in that. His long run before all the heat was 7 miles, but we just didn’t feel comfortable sending him out to run 10 – especially since it was hot and humid on race day. Gary worked out a plan for Bowie to run the course but to turn back after Marina Road instead of going all the way out to Land’s End. If he beat all the grown-ups back, he would get a special prize. Bowie was stoked. In fact, Bowie was so stoked he ditched me early in the race.

I ended up finding my friends LaRisa and Gretchen on the trail and followed along behind them. A few miles in, I commented on a particularly slippery technical section that I worry about Bowie running by himself. And just like that – Bowie was standing on the side of the trail. He had a restroom emergency and needed to quit.  I called Steven, who was waiting at the finish, to meet us up on Marina Road to pick Bowie up. So Bowie and I walked a half mile or so to the road. There were volunteers working the road crossing, so I left Bowie there and Steven picked him up right after I left.

Originally, my plan was to just pace Bowie, but I was feeling pretty good and decided to see how far I could get. I hadn’t fueled for 10 miles, and my hydration pack was only half-filled with water… but I wanted to give it a go.

I picked up the pace to catch up to LaRisa and Gretchen at the Lake Henry aid station. (That was a mistake, by the way. I went too fast.) When I got to Lake Henry, I took a quick drink of water and pressed on because I felt good….but as I neared Land’s End, everything caught up with me. I was over-heating and getting tired.

I made it to Land’s End and had an orange slice while volunteers refilled my hydration pack. I waited there for a bit to cool down (didn’t happen, even standing around was hot) and to wait for my friends. I chose a green snake out of a pail of small rubber snakes to prove I had made the checkpoint. I chose a green one. We all headed back out together and started run / walk intervals. We hiked the up-hills and anything really technical, and ran what our tired legs deemed runnable.

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Photo by Brad Trimble

At some point, my hands turned to Hamburger Helper hands again and I felt unbalanced. I told them I needed to slow down just a bit so the last 3 miles or so, I did alone. I ran the flats as best I could. Since I was disoriented with the backwards course, I couldn’t get a good feel for where I was or how much further I had to go. I would hear people talking and think I was done, but when I would round a corner, I would just find more trail to run. Very frustrating!

Finally, I reached the trailhead and followed the flags through the park to the finish line. I fished my green rubber snake out of the front pocket on my hydration vest and held him up (per Gary’s instructions) as I crossed the finish.

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Puffy hands, muddy socks and a finisher snake

I was so happy to be see my family. My legs were just shot. I wandered into the finish line aid station and was given Pringles and Gatorade, and it was fantastic.

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My Little Pony socks did not survive the race.

Benita found Bowie as we were about to leave, congratulating him on his gutsy run, and presented him with a Lawrence Trail Hawks up and a big rubber snake. This really made this day.

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The next day, Bowie painted Benita a picture of a scary clown holding a snake in each hand. He told her it was a “First Place Race Director Award.” Not too shabby for directing her first race. 🙂

Gutting out the heat and humidity.

High humidity. High temps. No wind. My run last night felt like running in steam shower. Or a sweaty arm pit. Either way, I felt like I wasn’t getting enough air. Breathing felt thick, sweaty and just gross. I gutted out the 5 miles and was proud of myself for sticking with it. It was not easy for sure.

Pre-run, I stopped at Kwik Shop to fill my hydration vest with ice water. (I can’t say enough good things about this vest. My iPhone even fits in the front pocket so I can have my phone handy for pictures!! New discovery… I am overly excited about that.)

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Pre-run selfie by the Ride Lawrence bike rack

I started at the Rotary Club Arboretum in Lawrence. It is a nice little park with a pond in the middle. It has a paved trail that runs around the pond. There are plenty of benches and even a yoga deck, so it is a nice place to run, or putter around with kiddos when it isn’t so hot. (Map of Lawrence trails here.)

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I named him Donald.

From the park, I took the gravel path over to the trail that runs out to Clinton, which I believe is the S. Lawrence Trafficway Trail. Along the way, I made friends with a little turtle.

When I got to Clinton Lake North Shore Trails, I didn’t get to do any hill repeats at Sander’s Mound. It was just too muddy out. There were people trudging around in the mud. I can’t imagine it was very much fun for them, and it wrecks the trail. So boo on them.

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No Filter!

A quick chug off my hydration vest and I headed back out to the arboretum. The sunset was out my back and so I didn’t get to see how beautiful it was until I got back to the pond. I did a lap around the pond to say hi to the ducks, and to get my full 5 miles in. As I rounded the corner, I finally got to see the beautiful pink sky.

Friday is a rest day. I will be picking up packets for Bowie and I to run The Snake, a 10 mile trail race at Clinton Lake trails. It will be grueling. Bowie better wear his tough guy pants.

Where I Run: Black Jack Trail

It was approximately 47389748 billion degrees yesterday. Well. 108 with the heat index when I ran last night. But I rounded up.

I was going to check out a new-to-me trail in Baldwin. I thought the Black Jack trails started at the little cabin and parking lot just outside Baldwin. I parked in the lot and saw the neat little bridge and thought it was the trail… After running through scratchy on a narrow little mowed path, I realized this was not the trail. This was a little path that takes you to see wagon ruts on the Santa Fe trail.

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not a trail

Well. The bridge was neat anyway.

So I got back in my car and drove to the real trails, which were just down the road. The actual trails are at the Black Jack Battlefield, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the unofficial first battle of the American Civil War. Read more about that here.

I parked my car and spotted the signs pointing to the trail. I knew the trails looped around for a total of 3 miles or so, so I thought I would just wander around a bit and see if I could meet up with friends who were hiking the trail.

I ran around about a mile before I apparently angered a giant ill-tempered bug. He chased me around, dive-bombing me, for a mile before I decided I was too hot and sweaty to continue getting chased.

I will be back to explore the trails fully, and provide a Garmin map. For now, here are some pictures. (No picture of angry black bug, though).