Tuesday, August 31, 2010


the crew:  Keith Sheridan, cousin Jill, Uncle Larry, Uncle Mike
whew.  what a whirlwind week or two that i've had.  several days after Jen from Idaho called me to tell me that she wasn't going to be coming down to pace me at Wasatch, Ashley stepped up to fill the void.  had to do some switcherooskis to cover the night shift for the event, and Butch said he would run the night shift so Ashley would be up for the final 25 miles.

then two days later, Butch emailed me that he had company in town that weekend and was going to the Willie Nelson concert.  (that was about a week ago, and i haven't talked to him since sending him a curt email in response.)  what a let down.  i've been checking in with him for months, making sure that he's still in and ready to go, and then two weeks before the event he bails on me.

but miracles never cease, and Jen called me the following day to say that she was back in for pacing.  YeeHaw!  so all shifts were covered.  then Ashley's boyfriend Steve stepped up for driving the crew vehicle and agreed to stay up all night.  Yes!  all of this several days before leaving for Idaho to go to my brother's wedding.

me and cousin Jill
also contributing to the roller coaster of emotions and financial despair:  the head gaskets blew on my Subaru the week before leaving for Idaho for my brother's wedding, so i had to get a rental car, the main water line to my house was leaking, so i had a plumber digging up my front yard and installing the new line literally as i was walking out the door to drive north.  i had to do two days of medical education the week before leaving too (so my certifications wouldn't expire), and actually got to work a day at the clinic.  what a busy week.  thankfully, Carl stepped up to take the fluffy muffin dogs, so they were well cared for while i was in Idaho for the weekend.

Bryan doing the "dead man's drop" zip-line technique
it was a great weekend in Idaho.  got to see my cousins and aunt and uncle from Colorado (my cousin Jill is fresh back from 4 years living in New Zealand), and my aunt and uncle from Michigan.  my dad and his lady-friend from Germany were also there.  Dad paid for me to stay in a hotel in Hot Lava Springs, so i could hang out with the cousins.  we went zip-lining outside of Lava the morning of Stefan's wedding.  super fun!  got caught in a thunderstorm, but thankfully no one was fried while up on the wire.

i literally drove straight up to Park City when i got home, and went to a memorial service at the Utah Olympic Park for a friend and former co-worker of my brother's.  he was known as the "ice meister" and was respected all over the nation and the world for his giving spirit, good natured attitude, and excellence of prepping the Olympic luge tracks.  he was only 43 years old, and died of cancer, leaving behind two great boys who played at his memorial in their band called "Amp".  a bobsled was sent down the track in his memory, and his picture and name were up on the light board/big screen.  it was an amazing send-off for an incredible individual who touched so many people.

Utah Olympic Park
a pile of rocks for David Dinger
so now it's just about 10 days until the big dance, the walk in the woods.  i'm feeling pretty good.  i took the dogs for our favorite loop in Millcreek last night, and cut down the overhanging log that has hit me so many times in the shoulder, and hit me in the head two weeks ago giving me a slight concussion.  since my car is in the shop (getting the head gaskets replaced) for a few days, i rode my road bike out to Cottonwood to the library to return a couple of books.  i'd rather run trails, but the bike ride was nice too.

overhanging log
bastard log cut in half
dogs approving of my handiwork
tools for the trade

i'll be number 190 for the event, and you can follow me online at www.wasatch100.com on race day, September 10th and 11th.  i'm looking forward to a great couple of days hanging out with my friends and eating from the buffet tables at the 100-mile catered hike!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

plans change

i got a call last night from my pacer-friend in Idaho, who was planning on running with me for 23 miles through the night at Wasatch 100.  she called to tell me she was bailing out on me and wasn't coming down for the race.  she's had some negative stuff going on in her life (breakup, lack of money, car trouble) but nothing out of the ordinary and nothing a good long run wouldn't solve.  she's got experience running Wasatch, so i'm pretty bummed that she won't be joining me.

but on the other hand, if she's feeling that negative about things, it's probably better that she pulled the plug on her roll in my event.  i've been feeling quite a bit of negative energy from her in the last month or so, and to tell you the truth, it's kind of a relief that she won't be down here.  she's a good friend and it's hard to see a good friend go through a tough time.  but it's also hard when that good friend's "tough time" starts bringing you and your own dreams and goals down too.

so that means i'm in need of another person to pace me at Wasatch, either during night for 15-23 miles or for the last 25 miles (depending on if i need to switch pacers around a bit), so i've been calling and emailing around trying to find some poor soul who wants to listen to me whine and cry for several hours (nothing new there).  the race is 3 1/2 weeks away.

to keep with my training in this home stretch, i got in my head that i wanted to do several laps on White Pine, with my car serving as my own personal aid station.  i went up White Pine today with the intention of running 2-3 laps (the initial plan was to run 4 laps, but then i started doing the math, and 11 hours of running seemed a bit extreme having just come off a 32 miler last Saturday).  each lap in White Pine is about 10 miles round trip and 2500 vertical feet.  i thought after running the El Vaquero Loco and giving my legs a few days to rest up, doing another long run would be really great for my training.

my legs felt really great this morning, but on the whole i'm feeling kind of tired after "summer of running".  and to make matters worse, i was on one of my favorite 6 mile loops yesterday with the dogs and whacked my head really hard on a branch/log.  i have a huge goose egg on the side of my head.  when it happened, i sat on the side of the trail and cried for about 5 minutes.  the dogs didn't even notice what happened--they were way ahead of me down the trail.  i still had a headache when i woke up this morning.

i got going about an hour or so later than i had initially planned, but didn't think too much of it as i was hoping the extra rest would do me good.  i loaded up the car with all of my favorite snacks and drinks and goodies, ready to do at least 2 laps, and hopefully three.

it started out as a cool morning at around 65 degrees.  perfect.  as i climbed up the White Pine trail and got above tree line, i noticed that there were some really dark, low clouds rolling in.  i didn't think too much of it, as weather can change quickly in the Wasatch.  hopefully it would be just a quick shower and clear out.

tree across the trail near the trail jct with Red Pine.
as i crested the top of the climb, i looked across the large, boulder-strewn basin and could see waves of what i thought were rain, but later found out were waves of hail sweeping across the landscape.  it started to flash lightning and crack thunder, and i quickly made my way back down the trail to tree line.  i huddled in the trees for a few minutes to wait out the worst of the hail, as it was really painful hitting me around the ears and on the fronts of my legs.  i took a few pictures and a short video of the hail.

starting to get cold because of lack of movement, i began to make my way downhill again.  i ran through puddles of slush water in some places, and down a trail that had turned into a small stream.  the side creeks were jumping their banks.

i made it down to the car and quickly changed into some dry clothes.  got a baloney sandwich and some pringles and a protein drink (Ultragen) and cranked the heater in the car.  the thermometer said 47 degrees.  a man in the parking lot came over to me and said that he was glad i had made it down.

debris on the newly-paved Little Cottonwood road
as i drove down the canyon, the Unified Police had blocked several sections of the road off.  upon closer inspection, i saw that there were several places where the side creeks had created mud and rock slides across the road.  snowplows were brought up the canyon to clear the debris.

a hot shower and some hugs from the dogs when i got home and i'm feeling better now (and of course, the sun has come out this afternoon, but more showers are in the forecast).  i wish i had gotten more than 10 miles today, but it was definitely a run through adversity.  i might try for my White Pine 3 laps another day next week.  we'll see how the weather holds.  plans change, but the end goal is the same:  finish Wasatch.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

scenes from El Vaquero Loco 50k

this past weekend, August 14th, i traveled with some friends up to Afton, Wyoming to take part in a 50k trail race (that's 32 miles).  it was my first race really successful event in over 6 years, so i kind of considered it my "coming out of retirement" event.  i wanted it to serve as a strong prep event for the Wasatch 100 which i will run on September 10th.  (my first actual race this year was Pocatello 50 on May 29th, but it was called short because of weather.  read previous post here.)

needless to say, the scenery in the Salt River Range east of Afton was gorgeous.  i felt really good the whole race.  i ate and drank well, and did not vomit once, which is a first for me in all my years of racing.  my legs felt strong towards the end and i kicked it into high gear and knocked out the final 3 miles of downhill fast.  the field was small, but i ended up placing third.  it was such a friendly race and i knew a lot of the folks who turned out:  it was great to see them all again.  Ty Draney, the race director, all of his volunteers, and the Star Valley Search and Rescue put on a great event.  i'd love to be able to head up there next year.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Gluten Free Chocolate Chippers

whew!  i thought i had lost this recipe, but found it on an old photo caption on a Facebook post.  my difficulty in tracking down my own recipe says to me that it's been way too long since i made these.  here again is the recipe for the best gluten free chocolate chippers ever.  my recipe:

one stick butter, melted or soft
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c organic white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
cream together...
...add 1 egg and beat well

combine dry ingredients:
1/2 cup almonds, ground to a fine meal
plus 1 TBSP brown rice flower

1/2 c brown rice flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients and let sit for a good 10 minutes.

add 1/2 c chopped walnuts
add 1 c mini semi sweet chips

drop by small spoonful to baking sheet. don't try to make them too big or they will just spread out too much. my cookies turned out about 3 inches across once baked.

bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes

remove carefully to wire rack and let cool

makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Uintas mtn biking

there is a series of trails in the Uintas that few people know about, and they are absolutely spectacular.  i was first introduced to these trail about four years ago by an ex-boyfriend who was a rippin' mountain biker and i have to tell you when i was there, i probably only took in about half of the beauty that surrounded me because i was just trying to keep up with him.  i do recall a "hike-a-bike" section across some craggy rocks, and riding back to the car in a hail and lightning storm.  needless to say, the ride made quite an impression on me.  and i'm always up for an epic adventure.

my friend Suzy (who is also a rippin' mountain biker) has been trying to get me to go biking with her this summer.  but as this summer is unofficially named "the summer of running" because i am training for the Wasatch 100, i haven't been out on my bike too much.  but last Saturday, i agreed to go on a mountain bike tour with her.  the place we decided to go:  the [name withheld to protect privacy] in the Uintas.   you won't find any maps of this place, you just have to take my word on it that it exists.  information on this little known gem of a ride is handed down from a lucky few to a very lucky few.  this past weekend, several factors came together to give me the impetus to ride these trails once again. 

first off, the Outdoor Retailers convention was wrapping up this past weekend, and so i knew that the trails on the Wasatch Front would had the potential to be quite crowded.  in fact, i was warned that the Deer Valley section of the mid-mountain trail would host a bike-demo day.  so that was out.

second, the last race in the Intermountain Cup mountain bike series was at the Canyons Resort on Saturday.  so that end of the mid-mountain was out.

third, it was an odd-day in Millcreek, so the Crest Trail was out per Watershed Regulations.  and the first half of the Crest trail to Mill D is just too short of a ride, with too many people on it.

fourth, the trails on the west slope of the foothills are just too hot and dusty this time of year.

so i asked Suzy if she was game for an adventure and she agreed.

well, my 90% accurate photographic memory was just that--90% accurate.  although much of the trail looked familiar to me, i was having trouble lining up all of those photographs in my memory bank to make accurate decisions on where we should turn at trail junctions (of which there are many).  but i must tell you, after i got over the feeling of "being lost", i realized just how beautiful of a place we were in.  Suzy and i joked constantly about the fact that this was just "horrible" and how it "sucked", when in fact, it was some of the most buffed out, beautiful singletrack we had been on in a long time.  (and to make it even better, we were the only ones there!  we saw a total of, i think, 9 hikers in 5 hours.)  as we crested the hike-a-bike crags section, the lightning and thunder were starting to roll our way, the wind was picking up, and it started to rain.  the clouds held off just long enough for us to look over our right shoulders to see the high peaks of the Uintas, and then over our left shoulders to see Timpanogos through a gap in the peaks.  amazing.

Suzy anticipates Pringles heading into the homestretch.
we made the round trip in about 5 hours, with stops to chat, eat snacks, enjoy the scenery, and take shelter from the storm at the education center before heading back to the car (thankfully, it never did hail on us).  i had stashed some Pringles and a coke in the car, and when i told Suzy about them (we were starting to lose energy at about 4 hours into the ride), she brightened up and said, "Let's go get 'em!"  it was an amazing day shared with a great friend.  i think i will be able to find my way around the loop even better next time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Savory Delights

Savory Potato Square with brown sugar and salt topping.

have you ever been several hours into an endurance event, eating energy gels, chews, electrolyte drinks, Coca Cola, cookies, energy bars and thought to yourself, "i just don't think i can gag one more packet of this crap down"?  i have.  many times.  and i've gagged them down, and puked them up.  and longed for something savory.

i was watching the Tour de France this year and thought to myself, "what do those guys eat for 5 hours a day?  they can't be going on gels and PB&Js..."  and i got my answer.  Versus Network did a short piece on Dr. Allen Lim, the sports physiologist who is working with Team Radio Shack this year, and previously worked for Team Garmin.  he has come up with some savoy recipes for endurance foods that are packable, relatively non-perishable, and delicious.  i tried his sticky rice cakes and thought to myself, "this man is a genius!  i love him."  and my stomach loves him too.  no pukey with the rice cakes.

i adapted his recipe a bit, and have made a potato version without egg.  scrumpdilly-icious.  his original recipe makes a sh*t load of cakes (64, to be exact), so i am going to give you my version of his recipe, adapted for one person (makes 8 small cakes).  if you want the original, you can go to Versus.com.

Sticky Rice Cakes by Dr. Allen Lim
Recipe Ingredients:
3 eggs
4 slices prosciutto or ham (fry it or not, your preference)
one cup sushi rice (cook according to package directions, makes approx. 2 cups cooked rice)
1-2 tbsp soy sauce (to taste--depends on how salty you want it)
dash balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar or instant Miso Soup mix (for garnish)

Preparation Instructions
- cook sushi rice according to package directions (i actually added about 1/4 cup extra water, to make the rice extra soft and sticky)
- Scramble eggs in olive oil or butter while rice cooks, add one tbsp soy sauce into eggs while cooking.
- chop prosciutto or ham
- mix together eggs, prosciutto (or ham), and rice in large bowl
- add 1 tbsp soy sauce and the balsamic vinegar to the mixture and stir well
- pack mixture into small brownie pan or bread pan, so that the mixture is about 1 inch thick, top with brown sugar (only if you want--i made the first batch without the sugar and i actually really liked it without the sweetness of the sugar.  another option would be to sprinkle with instant Miso Soup mix.)
- cut into squares (8) and wrap in foil.  put the packets in a large ziplock in the fridge and they are ready to go whenever you are.
- good to eat for up to 12 hours without refrigeration, or lasts about a week refrigerated.

(i'm guess-timating each square has about 200-300 calories.)

Missy's Savory Potato Squares
Recipe Ingredients:
6-8 small to medium yukon gold potatos (about 2 cups when cooked and mashed)
1/4 cup hard salami or summer sausage, chopped into very small pieces
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp butter
1 to 2 tsp salt (to taste--again, it depends on how salty you want your food)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp brown sugar (garnish)

Preparation Instructions:
-boil potatoes in salted water until they are very done and easy to mash (i boiled with skins on--you can peel them if you want, but yukon gold skins are pretty thin to start with).
-mix together:  chopped salami, parmesan, butter, 1 tsp salt, pepper, garlic, and seasoning
-when potatoes are done boiling, drain off all water, and use a potato masher to do a rough mash (doesn't need to be creamy like mashed potatoes, just smashed down a bit).
-mix mashed potatoes with other ingredients
-press into bottom of small brownie pan or bread pan
-sprinkle with a bit more salt, and brown sugar if you want a sweet/savory garnish
-allow to cool thoroughly, then cut into 2-3 inch squares and wrap in foil (bread pan makes 8 squares)
-store foil packets in large ziplock bag for up to one week.

i figure each square has at least 200-300 calories.

A Note for Veggies :)
if you are veggie, you could easily leave out the meat products.  plain rice with Miso Soup mix sprinkled on top actually sounds really good to me, and might be the only thing your tummy could handle after 24 hours of continuous racing.  you might want to experiment with adding a non-flavored protein powder to the final product if you want to add a protein component in substitution for the meat.

it's best to test new foods in training first.  there's no way i would take one of these with me to a race without trying it in the field first.  if you have other variations, i'd love to hear what you come up with.