Category Archives: weather

Would you go in circles for 55 hours? I did!

Day 1 at Snowdrop ultra 55 hour race started off and stayed cold with bouts of rain all day and night . Round and round we ran and walked at every pace, through the increasingly slippery mud along the 0.69 mile loop around the lake and across a small bridge. Half the trail is dirt and half is concrete. I was stopping to eat a little snack regularly and drinking frequently as I passed the aid station every loop, but I still managed to get behind on my sodium intake and had bouts of nausea. I reached 45 miles by the time the evening meal was served so I stopped to eat . Then I got back at it for another 19 or so miles until I started getting very sleepy . I took a few hours off to sleep in my tent that I shared with two other runners. Around 4:30 I debated with myself over whether I should just quit and forego the buckle because my legs hurt so much. I couldn’t quit knowing that others suffered through much more , so clumsily with great slowness I changed my clothes. Then I groggily stumbled out into the misting darkness with the other determined souls , hoping to find coffee waiting. After a couple hours I stopped and ate bacon , eggs and hash browns for breakfast. Volunteers kept us fed and provided encouragement and medical attention for blisters and tight muscles round the clock. The food is a highlight of the event! Restaurant sponsors provide catered meals and there’s also a tent with hot and cold snacks always available, as well as the aid station along the course with typical offerings like pretzels and pickle juice, candy, chips, and every runner fuel you could want .

Starting line

Aid station

Last lap!

The warming tent has heat and hot food and drinks .

I loved seeing the water birds every lap.

My award buckle is a beauty and heavy !

The super cool bag we received full of race essentials.

Day 2 it was also cold and rained off and on. I developed very painful tendinitis in the side of my leg known is IT band syndrome and I could no longer perform a running motion, so from about mile 64 I was reduced to walking. It got so painful that I could barely walk up and down the very slight inclines. So I had to stop to stretch every loop after awhile . As I was stretching one time, Doc Lovy came along walking his loop and offered his assistance. Doc is a Vietnam vet who serves the race every year as chief of the medical staff. He also puts in at least a 50k . He did some things to my leg and told me to go straight to the medical tent to get more help, which I did. When I left the tent I was amazed that I could move much better! For a few minutes I actually ran again but it started to tighten up so I decided to just walk fast. I finally got 100 miles , 145 loops or laps, at 37.5 hours . This was over 6 hours slower than last year due to the knee pain but I was just happy to get there. I stopped to celebrate a bit with friends and drank a small Michelob ultra and a coffee and ate some food . Then I went back out for a few laps until I got sleepy.

Vietnam vet Doc Lovy

Team RWB dancing and cheering

The race director Patty Godfrey and founder Kevin Kline

That night was New Year’s Eve. I was freezing cold and had to make a decision to quit the race or continue . I decided to stay but I went to sleep in my tent . First I changed into warm dry clothes , as I had done several times already, because of the rain. Then I got in my sleeping bag wearing my clothes , beanie, and gloves with two Hot Hands hand warmer gel packs and tried to warm up . Laying there shivering suddenly I heard what sounded like a war starting up and it got louder and louder. Fireworks were going off all around the town for the next couple of hours . I’ve never heard anything like it! Between that and the generator next to my tent, it was very noisy . But eventually I stopped shivering and tuned out the noise and slept off and on until almost sunrise . I really wish I’d gotten up sooner but it’s not a huge deal . I would’ve maybe been able to add another 10 miles if I had started at 4:30am.

Day 3 , New Year’s Day brought us beautiful weather and was the most fun day. The beautiful but chilly sunrise brought a fresh energy and relief that it was no longer raining. Lots of “Happy New Year!”s were exchanged. My husband informed me of my standing in the race which he was following live online from home and said that I was moving up because many people had stopped at 100 miles which motivated me to push a little faster to get as many miles as possible by 2pm. Lots of people were ringing the 100 mile lap bell and there was an air of excitement all day with lots of cheering and high fives and dancing spectators! The eating and drinking continued with Papa John’s pizza served for lunch. I skipped the gluten as usual and had eggs and bacon again for breakfast and lunch.

That day many of the runners had stopped and either gone home or were spectating so there was a lot less traffic on the course. Grimacing, slow moving runners and walkers were being lapped by the faster relay teams. Today was the day for lots of chatting with fellow pilgrims . Also I continued my prayers, listening to music , and interacting with the crowd. The time passed quickly! My strategy wasn’t very carefully planned but I was doing a few laps then taking a water break, with the goal of a minimum of two miles per hour but in reality I was closer to 2.5 mph. I had no firm goal past 100 at first but then I tentatively chose 115 miles. I calculated , with much effort , that my pace was good enough so I decided to try to hit 120,then I figured I should continue until the clock ran out so I did and ended up with 121.5 miles, 8th female of 73 females, 21st overall of 146. If I hadn’t decided to do one more lap , I would have been 9th female.

There were 7 minutes left on the clock , not enough for a lap so I stayed to watch the exciting finishes of the last runners. Unlike many trail ultras, this race had a lot of cheering, an excellent announcer, and many people watching their friends and family victoriously cross the finish line. After the awards ceremony, I helped break down our camp then loaded my van and drove home. I sat in the parking lot for a few minutes just processing the whole experience, feeling very grateful and happy. Leaving an event like this is always kinda sad , after being so focused and so supported and encouraged, now it’s time to face the real world again where my husband and kids need me to do things.

Well I got home and barely had one day of rest during which I did laundry and cooked and took care of my daughter who was now sick . I didn’t get much sleep Wednesday night , got up early and realized she was so sick that I had to get her to the hospital . I was still too sleep deprived to drive her alone so I called for an ambulance . Then I drove myself to the hospital . As of this writing we are still in the hospital and will probably be here a week or more as she has RSV and pneumonia and we are in the pediatric intensive care unit . She’s getting great care and I’m finally getting to rest . My legs are still swollen from the race. I just watched the movie Bird Box , which I’d heard mentioned but knew nothing about the plot or even the topic. I liked it. But why does Sandra Bullock never smile in her movies?!

If you are interested in trying a fixed time race, I highly encourage it. They are growing in popularity. This race sold out in less than an hour this year ,so be ready! I believe registration is in March.

If you can , please donate to the cause. Race donations are still being accepted. https://thedriven.net/nfundraising.donate_individual_new/indviId/9763/eid/9833023589

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If we, I mean, We will make it through December! Race week !

I started this post on Wednesday night. It was going to be about how crazy the past two weeks have been. Then I woke up Thursday morning feeling renewed. Hmm, I thought. Looked at the calendar, yep, it’s a New Moon! Still a crazy couple of days, but I feel a new sense of hope that it will get better. I don’t think everyone is as aware of moon cycles and spiritual things as some of us, so they just think it’s all random or caused by this or that and they try to fix those things and when they feel better they think they fixed it , not realizing the changing moon cycles were at least partly responsible.

Wait!, you say. I thought this was a Christian blog! It is ! But God made the moon and the moon has strong effects on the earth, so why would it not affect the people God also made? Do I worship the moon or think that I should be very concerned about it, no. I trust that God is more powerful than anything He created. I pray constantly for His help and I feel his presence in my life , especially during crises. God is in charge!  He can even blacken the sun when he wants to make a big point.

The road has been rocky for the past two weeks. Everyone has been passing around a virus which meant that eventually my daughter would catch it and she did. I had to put her on oxygen to help her breathe on Wednesday, but Thursday she was looking much better! All this sickness meant we got very little school work accomplished, but we did work on math and reading. Today my husband feels terrible so I will be taking care of him as well as her.

The other things that have happened have been mentioned I think, unexpected plumbing expenses, car troubles and expenses, no money for Christmas, stress and worry over a depressed husband and son, my own sickness, not being able to get out and run this week, and trying to be ready for a race this weekend with all this on my mind. We also missed Bible Study class yesterday due to the virus. But God is good and I just keep praying and asking my friends to pray. Oh, yeah, after a few nice sunny days, it’s now raining and will be raining during the race unless God answers my prayers to change the weather. I have a pretty good record with God giving me good weather for races, so I try not to complain. My best friend lives in upstate New York and it seems to rain every time she races! I don’t want to live there.

The race will be exciting! Rain or not. There will be some famous elite runners there as well as many sub-elites. Ian Sharman, (UPDATE :Sharman won the 50 miler in around 6 hours in mud!) who until recently held the 100 mile Trail record, Gordon Ainsleigh ( I didn’t see him), the father of the famous Western States 100, some of the Tarahumara runners from Mexico might be there , and many other fast runners  are coming in from around the country to this lil’ ol’ state park in Texas that is mostly known for its’ large alligator population, many small lakes and bird-watching. Many of my friends will be there, some attempting their first 100 mile distance, others running other distances or volunteering or pacing.  This event was recently chosen for the 100 mile Trail Championship race for 2019 which is a big deal for the race director, who is a friend of mine, so congratulations to Robert Goyen of Trail Racing Over Texas (TROT)! https://trailrunner.com/trail-news/usatf-mountain-ultra-trail-council-announces-2019-national-championship-races/ 

 

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Brazos Bend State Park 

I did my packet pickup, errands and weekly grocery shopping yesterday, so today I will be trying to ‘rest’ for my race while I take care of everyone and do my usual cooking and chores. I know most runners do not get to rest much before a marathon and I usually don’t,  so this is not a big deal. But I’m glad I don’t have to go into Houston like I did yesterday! The traffic!  I am just not fond of the city anymore after 15 years of country living. But I have to be thankful that  I did get in and out fairly quickly and with no trouble, not counting the time I had to circle around  for awhile to get in the lane I needed to get on the freeway. I felt a slight urge to hit some of the millions of stores in Houston, but instead, I headed west on I-10, away, away! I stopped at Buc-ees for a soda and ended up doing some Christmas shopping there.

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Every good road trip includes a stop at Buc-ees

 

What is Buc-ees? It’s a gigantic gas station with over 60 gas pumps at this location and a huge carwash, a restaurant (BBQ and sandwiches) and bakery, clean restrooms, a huge convenience store with every imaginable snack and drink item and coffee, AND a huge gift shop! In other words, a Texas-sized gas station. Take a look here . It’s quite impressive! However when I got home I looked at my receipt and found that I had been charged for a sandwich I didn’t buy, which made me a bit upset since that store is not known for it’s bargain prices. I sent them an email which is the only way to contact them. I’ll update if I get a refund. ( Update: I got a refund !)

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Mmm, Beaver Nuggets! (Sugar coated corn snacks)

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Some fun gifts I bought for my sister in Utah who is always positive 🙂

Well, my time is up. Sick husband is trying to cook himself food and it’s not going well. Have a good day my friends!

Deuteronomy 4:15 “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16 beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. 19 And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.20 But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day. 

Yay for running in colder weather !

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A frosty morning
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Beautiful sunrise

 

I say ‘colder’ weather, because it is relative and people always think their weather is the worst, hottest, or coldest. I know for many our temps were not very cold, but we do have some pretty hot and miserably humid days that last for many months so , as I said, it’s all relative.

Here in Southeast Texas, most of us are not acclimated to temperatures below 50 degrees , especially with wind or rain. Me personally, I love cold weather and you could say I live for these days because they are so rare. I feel like a kid with a new toy when I get to wear long sleeves, sweaters and even a coat and hat sometimes!  So when I see anything below 60 degrees in the forecast I get super excited and start planning my runs. Last week  we had some very cold (for us) days that started in the 20s and 30s and there was even snow in the northern parts of Texas. We get excited , y’all! Of course, my poor husband was not too excited, nor my oldest son, because they work in unheated, open mechanic shops where they almost freeze their poor hands and noses off . Sorry, guys. I am going to enjoy this!

So one day I bundled up in my tights, long sleeves, gloves and beanie  and ran 6 miles on the trails and felt like I had really done something, lol! Then another day it wasn’t quite as cold , but I still felt the wind when headed north, and I was able to get in a good 16 mile run on the roads. To be honest it warmed up to almost 60 by the end of that run but some of my friends still thought it was cold. 🙂 I wasn’t able to get out and run Thursday or Friday because I do have other responsibilities even though it may not seem like it. So by Saturday morning I was well-rested and super ready to run. I went to bed early Friday, barely slept and got up at 4AM to go meet a friend at a park where we ran 20 peaceful and lovely cool miles together.

Unfortunately, nasty cold rain returned that evening and all day Sunday. Today I ran on the treadmill to avoid the rain, which changes everything for me. I do not like cold and wet!  I am already counting the days until I get to run another long run, most likely on trails on Friday, which in the U.S, we call Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving which is this Thursday. And , good news, it’s going to be nice and cool!

 

How about you? What is your favorite running weather ? Do you hibernate in the cold months or enjoy winter activities?

Well, Now What?

My happy and excited mood was instantly replaced with disappointment and questions when I checked the weather this morning. All week I’ve been patiently waiting and anticipating what was supposed to be great weather and a hiking trip for my birthday (which is actually Monday). Evidently the jet stream or whatever has shifted , as often happens for good or for bad, and now we are looking at a 60% chance of thunderstorms and a high of 80 degrees. I can handle the heat but this park closes the trails when it rains . So, now what?

The park is over 3.5 hours drive from here. Do we risk it? We have a hotel reservation , as well. Do I cancel or change it to somewhere else? Do we just pray and hope for the rain to hold off or be lighter than expected? If you’re from Texas you know most of the time rain here equals storms , not pleasant showers, but we get those occasionally and that might feel nice when hiking as long as the trails don’t get too slippery. They are steep and rocky , like I like them, but I don’t want one of us getting hurt.

The current weather is gorgeous! I’ll try to enjoy it while it lasts . I’m going to pray and see where God takes us. Maybe we need to stay home for some reason. I will choose to trust Him.

Are you prepared? Storm thoughts

With hurricane Florence heading to the  east coast and other storms churning in the Gulf, people are scurrying to prepare and stockpile necessities in case of losing power and/or the ability to drive to stores. We no longer live as close to the coast as we once did , but we are close enough to be affected by flooding caused by days and days of rain after a hurricane or tropical storm. This time of year, hurricane season, always makes me more aware of how dependent most of us are for the basics of life.  A simple tree branch falling on a wire can shut down neighborhood power for hours or days. A major power outage can close all the stores and businesses in a city. A major flood can shut down a whole city, including trucking routes,  hospitals and banks. Houston learned once again with Hurricane Harvey this time last year that floods can be worse than winds. Some of my friends are just now moving back into their homes! Thousands were displaced and had to move to camping trailers, hotels, and other people’s homes . Then they had to pray that they had flood insurance or wait months for FEMA to help them.

The weather forecasters warned Houston for a week  that unusual amounts of rain were expected, and that flooding was guaranteed. So what did people do last year to prepare for Harvey? Mostly they seemed to buy cases and cases of bottled water, lots of snacks, batteries, and alcohol. Not very helpful in this case. What ended up being needed was boats and somewhere to escape to! People were in danger of drowning in their homes, needed to get to dry ground, were stranded in cars on overpasses. I urge the people in the path of Hurricane Florence to not make the mistake of trying to drive in flood waters or stay in a flooding neighborhood. Several people died needlessly in Houston.  South Carolina residents have been told to evacuate and I hope they will. I know it’s an inconvenience and many people hope the storm will not be so bad. Learn from Harvey. I know Harvey was a crazy storm , dropping up to 60 inches of rain in 4 days, and poor planning of flood control caused much more damage than the storm itself, but even less rain can cause a catastrophe.

But even those of us who were not under water were affected by the storm indirectly. You could not get the things you needed at the local stores . They were not available. Trucks could not get through Houston , a major interstate was flooded. Doctor appointments and surgeries were cancelled. Schools were closed in Houston for weeks or even months or for the rest of the year. Many schools had flood damage or no power. People could not go to work. Many people did not have power even though they were not flooded. People were under a lot of stress.

How does one prepare for situations like this? Here is one good source of info. Hurricane Preparedness . Here is the basic and expanded supplies list. It may be too late for some people to get all this for this storm, but you can do it later.  It is expensive to truly be prepared for weeks without power or access to supplies. You really need a working generator or alternative power sources, money in the bank for missed paychecks, a large food and water supply, vehicles that can drive in high water, a boat.  In Texas, it is hot this time of year.  No power means no air conditioning. That can be very hard on the young and old and sick. And some depend on power for medical equipment. After Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, thousands had to be bussed to other cities to live. Their homes were gone or damaged.

Thankfully there are people who are specially trained for disasters, the first responders that jump into action, the Red Cross, FEMA,  the electric linemen, the local leaders and law enforcement who let us all know what to do and what to expect. Facebook groups turned out to be a helpful source of information for us after Harvey. Just beware of false information and fake photos that get shared way too often, like these and others. Fake photos Think before you share. Verify with other sources if it sounds phony. What can you do to help? Volunteer after the storm, donate to the Red Cross, but mostly take care of yourself and your family and friends who need help. Fortify your house before the storm if you can. Then stay off the roads until it’s safe. No sightseeing. Good luck everyone and I’ll be praying for you.