Along My Run | 24 Clinton Lake Ultra Training

I haven’t posted much about running since October, after I ran the Chicago Marathon. Yes, I am still running. Yes, I am still taking photos out when I run. Yes, I am signed up for a Spring Race. And since it is officially Spring, yes, the race is this coming Saturday! No, it is not a marathon – it’s a little crazier than that – it’s my first Ultra Marathon!

In the beginning of 2016, I looked back at 2015 and set some future goals. One of those goals was to complete an Ultra in early 2017, before I turned 50 years old (this May). So here I am, ready to tackle 30 miles with 2,100 feet of elevation change on a single track trail.

16 Weeks Training
1. Happy Trails, 2. Be my shelter, 3. On Saturdays We Wear Pink ... and Go Trail running, 4. Magic Carpet, 5. Landmark, 6. Trip the Light Fantastic, 7. Tracks, 8. Winter white glow, 9. The Rest of the Story, 10. Surreal Saturday, 11. The Sun Came Out! , 12. Oh Sun, How We've Missed You, 13. Such a Perfect Day for a Run in the Woods, 14. First Real Run in the Snow!, 15. Back to winter training on Campus, 16. Green Sparkles, 17. Wide Open Space, 18. Diversity, 19. Our Last Long Training Run, 20. Twin Peaks

I signed up for the Clinton Lake Ultra in November, the day race registration opened. The race is limited to 125 participants and I knew it would sell out before the end of the day (it sold out after 6 hours). The trail is a 10 mile loop around, you guessed it, Clinton Lake. I ran the loop for the first time in May last year, and it was the longest, hardest 10 miles I had ever completed. My average pace was 14 minutes / mile and a complete struggle. So I knew what I was getting myself into when I signed up – this would be something challenging and to be quite honest, something that scared me. Fortunately, a few of my friends signed up for the same race so I knew I would have training support (and consolation when it really got tough).

Starting at the end of November, I changed my running schedule to include two days of trail running at a forest preserve about 20 minutes away. During the 16 week training program, I estimate running a little over 50% of my miles on the trails. The hallmark of an Ultra training plan is back to back long runs on the weekends – at our peak weeks, we logged 35-38 miles over two days, including runs on the actual course. My running comrades and I have stuck together through the ice, wind, snow and cold conditions; we’ve run through the mud and ankle deep water. We also enjoyed the beautiful trail scenery, watched the deer thunder through the woods and been refreshed by a light misting rain while the spring frogs started to sing.

I am ready for the upcoming adventure, even if it rains (yeah, in the weather forecast). My goal is to finish within the allotted 8 hour time limit, and if the conditions are like what we trained in, I believe I can finish in a little over 6 hours.

One of my friends, a seasoned Ultra Marathoner (she’s completed two 100 milers and casually completes 50 milers like they are 5Ks) gave me this advice: “Walk all the hills (we’ve practiced that), and don’t stop moving forward. Walking is faster than standing there crying. Because I’ve done the crying thing and it doesn’t get you to the finish line any faster”.

Something to remember if it gets really tough on Saturday...


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New York State of Mind

From my visit to the Big Apple back in August. Erica and I traveled there with my sister and her family via train from Boston. It was an unexpected, last minute trip. We crammed a lot of stuff into 48 hours - the Natural History Museum, the 911 Memorial and Museum, the MET, walks through Central Park and a ferry ride to Brooklyn for its amazing pizza.

Manhattan at dusk, from Brooklyn Park:
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Cousins having a blast:
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Julianni's Pizza, so yummy!
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The Brooklyn Bridge At Night:
Reverie

Bright Lights, City Nights
Overlook

Later this week - Scenes from the Highline.

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Out of the Panhandle - Palo Duro Canyon

Did you know the panhandle of Texas is the home to second largest canyon in the US?

Palo Duro Canyon State park, 30 minutes from Amarillo, emerges from a crest in the highway and you wonder if you've been transported out of Texas.

I visited the Amarillo area twice in 2016 - once with my daughter for her Collegiate Equestrian Competition, then again in September for work. During the first trip, I saw travel brochures featuring the Canyon, but I didn't have time to explore the area. In the fall, several of my co workers and I decided to take an afternoon to explore and hike one of the trails, the popular Lighthouse trail (6 miles round trip).

From the scenic overlook at the Visitor's Center
Overlook

On the Lighthouse Trail, looking toward the Capitol Peak
Views of the Capitol

The Road Runner doing what he does best - running away!
Beep Beep

We made it to the Lighthouse.
Lighthouse Rock
You can climb up to the very top of the left structure. I chose not to. A group of teen boys passed us on the trail and they managed to get to the top.

Two of my co workers started the ascent to the top, but they stopped short when confronted by a 10 foot vertical section of rock. Age makes you smarter I think.
Climbing Down

Proof I was there!
We Went Past the End of the Trail and Up Towards the Famed Lighthouse of Palo Duro Canyon #texas #canyon

The sun started to set as we made our way back to the parking lot. Such beautiful colors in this canyon. If you ever find yourself traversing the Pan Handle of Texas, it's a great place to visit.
Tequilla Sunset

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March 2017 Desktop Calendar - Free Download

After a crazy warm February, March has entered in like a Lion.

It's time for a serene sunrise calendar download to offset the high winds here today.


I took this photo one morning while out running. I coordinate a group of runners and we run together every Wednesday morning. This time of year, just prior to the change to Daylight Saving Time, gives us a great view of the sunrise. You can enjoy it too, without the running!

To download March's free calendar, click on the link from box.com:
March 2017 Calendar Free Download

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