Apologies for the lack of posting. I have been struggling to balance things lately. Getting ready for my 3 week absence in the Gila pushed me over the edge last week. And then helping out at Hells Hills all day Saturday pretty much squashed my intentions of catching back up over the weekend. I don’t do well once I get behind in a plan. It makes me want to throw in the towel, — which I certainly did as far as eating goes. Lots of french fries, Hot Tamales candy, and diet soda on the way home from Hells Hills. I will not be reconstructing any food logs from this dark period.
That said, I wouldn’t trade one humid minute of helping out at Hells Hills. I got to spend time talking with people whom I’ve wanted to spend time talking to for years now. Honestly, if I’d started volunteering at these events first, I might never have started running them. All the fun and none of the vomiting. I helped out with first aid and it was pretty uneventful — mostly upset stomachs from the humidity. There was one really good sprained ankle. It was easily the size of a grapefruit and the color of a plum. The guy was tough and really wanted to keep running. After some good icing, we decided that while he could run another 16 miles on a grapefruit-sized ankle if he needed to, — it would be a poor choice, since he didn’t need to.
I got to help tear down one of the aid stations at the end of the race with Joyce Prusaitis, her daughter, and Diana Heynen. What good people. A runner came through as we were loading things into the truck and we had to tell him that he’d missed the time cutoff. He’d struggled through some significant abdominal pain and it was awful having to tell him his race was over. He accepted the news gracefully and then helped us finish tearing down the aid station. “Hey, I know you’ve worked really hard and all, but this is the end of the line for you. Sorry. Nice job pushing through all that pain. Now, could you help me pick up this table?” Ultramarathoners are cool.
It’s far too late to be up, so I’ll finish these thoughts in the morning.
Run log: 15 miles, 2:15 ish hours
It’s been about 24 hours since my last post and I’m feeling about the same way I did last night. Steam rolled. I’m just going to go ahead and crawl into bed now and get up nice and early tomorrow morning. A little coffee and some nice plan writing should put some life back into me. Until then.
It’s 10:08 pm and I just pulled into our driveway after volunteering all day at the Hells Hills 50m/50k/25k/10k. I’m having trouble keeping my eyes focused, so I’ll wait until tomorrow to try to form complete sentences about the wonderful day.
I mentioned that some folks from New Balance’s shoe development team were coming to San Antonio to talk to trail runners who spend more than 13 hours in their running shoes in 100 mile races. Mere mortals and the like. I haven’t told you that Asa received a firefighter’s super soaker water pack from his grandparents yesterday. Allow me to tie those two pieces of information together.
So Asa and I drove downtown to meet the New Balance fellows at Run Wild Sports in the Pearl Brewery shopping area at 2pm. Asa refused to exit the car without his new firefighter’s water pack. Of course. It didn’t have any water in it — because that would be CRAZY. He entertained himself in the store putting out clothing fires. Amanda was there too to help field questions about coaching ultrarunners. After five minutes, the nice New Balance guys suggested we go somewhere where we could sit and talk for a while. I looked at Asa extinguishing a rack of shorts. Suuuuuure. Let’s go and sit somewhere; The three year-old’s a great sitter. I wasn’t panicked exactly; I don’t have enough energy to panic. And I’m too old. But I did feel a bit queasy.
Thankfully there was restaurant around the corner with outdoor seating adjacent to a small grassy field. Asa took three sips of lemonade and then raced around the field putting out grass fires while the New Balance fellows set up a camera to video tape the meeting (Oh yes they did.) — at which point Asa decided the water pack needed some water. Now if you have a three year-old — and you’ve dragged them to a restaurant at 2:30 in the afternoon after they missed their nap, you know I had no choice. Either fill the pack with water and try to keep Asa in the field pointed away from restaurant patrons and the video camera and notes — or leave. Well, endure a meltdown, and then leave. Now I’ve never talked to shoe development people before and I was pretty excited about the whole thing. I didn’t want to leave. (In case anyone’s wondering why I brought Asa along in the first place, I can only say that I’m not rolling in babysitting money and I try not to pester my friends for favors too often.) So I poured a pitcher of water in. Cue frenetic banjo music. The rest of the hour is a blur. Mostly no one got wet and I don’t think the video camera was damaged. (Though if that video never sees the light of day, I won’t be sad.) Thank goodness Amanda was there to answer questions when Asa aimed too close to the lunch crowd and I had to sprint between him and his victims/people-obviously-in-need-of-extinguising. There was also a duck wandering around that Asa chased after. I’m not sure whether it was on fire or not. Oh, and he tried to climb over the fence surrounding the field — to his death in the river below. I haven’t received a call yet from New Balance canceling their sponsorship, but I’ll let you know.
We did have a great run at Eisenhower later and some real sitting at Freetails after that. (Thanks for watching Asa, Olivia and Robert!) I couldn’t wait to introduce the San Antonio crew to the shoe fellows. “And now you get to meet the best people ever — and they’re fine runners too.” I hope we were helpful to them — as people who are in their shoes longer than Anton Krupicka. They couldn’t have been more gracious or amiable. At the very least the got to enjoy some good weather — 80s and sunny. I believe it’s raining and snowing today in Massachusetts.
All I’ll say about this is that I think big people have a hard time keeping little people on the ground when a camera’s around. And that I love my blurry friends. 🙂
Food log: I’ll get everything entered into the computer Sunday. Eliot, Asa and I are headed up to Smithville, Texas tonight to camp and then volunteer at the Hell’s Hills 50 tomorrow.
Life is crazy this morning at the Howard household. Pancakes and sticky floors. Asa’s looking for fires to fight and I’m working on sounding more like a real dispatcher. “What’s the nature of your emergency?” I’m also trying to find a sitter for Asa tonight because Eliot and I failed to sync our schedules and I actually have a non-playdate obligation. New Balance is sending some shoe development folks down to San Antonio to talk to local trail runners at the Eisenhower run tonight. (They want to talk to folks who are in their trail shoes for more hours in a 50 and 100 mile race than someone like Anton Krupicka. Apparently our shoe needs might be a little different. 😉 ) Anyway, Asa’s a fine runner — especially when responding to imaginary fires–, but it’d be a challenge to act as a host with him in tow. I’d have to set imaginary fires around every turn in the trail — and we’d all have to make siren noises as we ran. I hope to have good stories for you tomorrow one way or another.
PS. You’re obviously invited to the run if you’re here in town and to Freetails afterwards — if you’re a slower runner than Mr. Krupicka, that is. And if you want to get to Freetails early and save some tables outside for us, that’d be fine too.
The rest of the story: New Balance visit and a super soaker
I have had the great good fortune of being sponsored with Drymax socks for about a year now. Wonderful socks. No blisters ever. The only down side is that darn things last forever, so the socks I got about a year ago are grayish because I’m a haphazard laundry sorter, but they’re still perfectly serviceable. The dryer eats one every now and again, so I’m hopeful I should be able to request some bright, new, shiny ones before 2012. Anyway, I was told Lisa Bliss and Jamie Donaldson started the tradition of taking pictures of their feet after races to send to Drymax to show how well the socks had treated them. I’ve wanted to send a post-race thank you picture for a long while, but my tradition has been to vomit after races instead. I’ve never had my wits around me — or a friend with a camera — to take a blister-free picture. Until Rocky this year.
Um, so pedicure anyone? I’m hoping a relative who-shall-not-be-named will be inspired to send a gift certificate. We’ll see. Eliot’s comment was, “Well, there’ll be no questions about photo-shopping.”
Hope you’re all having a good morning and your toes look lovely today.
PS. Eliot thought I should point out that that’s the remnant of toenail polish on my big toes.
So Asa’s soccer team is calling themselves the Green Hornets. This was my friend Tom’s suggestion — as they’ll be wearing little neon green shirts and little neon green socks over their tiny shin guards during games. He also suggested they make buzzing sounds to strike fear in the hearts of their opponents. This is probably a good idea since only four of the team were inclined to participate in practice Monday. The rest clung to their parents in fear or defiance. At least buzzing like hornets would give the clingers something to do. Poor little guys. Honestly, if you’re ever having a bad day, let me know and I’ll send you a video of one of the practices. The cuteness will cheer you right up — if it doesn’t turn you to stone first.
It’s late and I’ve got to jump into bed, so I can get up early try and catch up on some leg and core workouts. And then run and run. I hate getting behind. It totally saps my motivation. I’ve spent most of today trying (and largely failing) to get caught up.
Here’s a picture from that talk the other night. I love it because I have no idea what could have possibly caused me to gesture like that — and because of that classic plate of Tex-Mex food in the foreground.
Sleep: 6 hours