Farmdale 50 mile Trail Run

Saturday, October 10th began at 3:30 a.m. when my iPhone alarm woke me telling me it was “Race Day”.  This was it!!  The day I had been waiting for all year when I made this trail run my “A” goal of 2015″.  I got out of bed, and quickly ate a peanut butter and banana sandwich along with drinking some Tailwind nutrition.  I got dressed, chewed a piece of Plow On gum, and I was out the door to sign in and meet up with some of the other runners. IMG_5237

The race format was a 10 mile loop at the Farmdale Reservoir in Washington, IL.  I had many opportunities to visit the grounds, yet with my anxiety disorder, I decided against it, lest my mental game be filled with doubt.  Looking back, that was one of the best choices I made.

We started promptly at 5 a.m., headlamps blazing.  Still as dark as the starry night could be, I donned a knit cap and gloves as it was a brisk 47 degrees at the start.  I headed towards the back of the group and met up with a CITRA (Central Illinois Trail Runners Association) runner I had yet to meet.  I introduced myself, “Hi Elaine!!  My name is SarahJeanne Olson” and my typical blubbering continued.  I had seen Ann’s name and posts from the groups facebook page.  She informed me this was her second attempt at 100 miles, and that with this being in her backyard and her grandkids being here, she felt good about her chances.  Being new to trail running, I simply was in awe of her experience, and gleaned every bit of knowledge from her in those first 5 miles we ran together.  I use the term “ran” loosely, as that first lap was all about seeing in sort of a ‘tunnel vision’ with the headlamp constantly shifting on top of my knit cap.  At the aide station, the group went on ahead as I changed batteries in hopes that I slow down the rate of falling I was doing.  I ran solo the rest of that first loop, only falling 4 times and having 5 near misses or “toe picks”,IMG_5259 as I lovingly term them.  I vividly saw the race clock at 2:18:xx and went around to fill up my hydration vest with Tailwind and change socks and shoes.IMG_5239

On the second loop, I met up with more CITRA folks, Richard and JaeMon, who had me laughing and giggling as we toughed the Cougar hill together.  My corn field training was a literal walk in the part compared to this vertical rock climb.  At the aid station, I kept going, satisfied with my fueling and just wanting to keep going.

I grabbed a half of a banana, more Tailwind and continued on my way.  The water crossing each loop was chilly, but in a sense felt refreshing on my feet.  In total there were 4 creek crossings, but this one you had to walk through the stream.  No way around it.  I sort of caught up to someone who was walking as fast as I was running, so we struck up a conversation.  He too was going for the hundred miles, so he was pacing hisself accordingly; which was fine with me, because I was feeling my way around, looking for the next pink flags or reflector to acknowledge I was still on the right path.  My Garmin ran out of battery, my headphones quit and the top of my left foot started hurting.

Another banana half, refill of Tailwind and PLOW ON energy gum, a change of clothes and shoes and lap 4 was underway. IMG_5246 34 miles was the longest I had gone before and that was just 2 months prior, so I KNEW I would meet a distance PR soon.  I was becoming worried about my foot, so I walked all of the incines and ran all the flats.  At the aid station at 35.5 I announced my distance PR.  But moreso, I had to pee.  Why was there no porta potty in the middle of nowhere?, They had tp, wipes, napkins, et al, who needs a porta potty??? The full moon came out that loop as I ‘communed’ with nature :)

One lap to go.  If I had to walk the entire way, I would, but I was going to make it.  I checked and it was 3:41 p.m.  The boys had hidden my headlamp somewhere, so I had to go without.  And walk I did.  Itook a banana and started walking.  Nothing was going to stop me.  Last time sliding down that slope.  Last time I will bear crawl up the side of this mountain (okay, it really is a hill, but by the 5th loop it was a seemingly tall and steep mountain).  Last time I have to hike my leg over this fallen tree that was too tall to step up onto, and too wide to straddle comfortably, and no sapplings around to hang onto.  God had outdone Hisself with the beauty of it all.  Now the home stretch.

The boys would meet me at the parking lot and run “walk” (I corrected them) me in.  They weren’t having it.  Isaac bolted ahead, Aaron who calls hisself my second Coach kept repeating “Finish Strong, Mom!!  You got this!!!”  I was happy to be that close but was just as happy to walk it in, plus “Isn’t it past your bedtime young man?”, I joked.  “Mom, it’s 7:11!!  Lucky numbers!  Well, even though I know you don’t believe in luck.  I knew you would do it all along Mom” IMG_5247

Happy New Years Striders!!!


Although Facebook will continue its games to limit exposure, “In Mid Stride” is not selling anything, nor am I paid to endorse any product(s) or affiliation; it’s just me, SarahJeanne. After announcing that I felt that I fulfilled the goals I had when I created my Facebook page “In Mid Stride”, I had a nice outpouring of concern. Change is evident. Situations change, goals change, people change and grow!! So…I am steering the page in the direction I am heading and I am proposing a change. It is multifaceted, so I hope to reach more people dealing with same/similar issues and striving to reach their own personal “out there” goals.

In terms of running, I love it and can’t quit it!! Injury and off seasons are a part of the journey! So what better time to rebuild from base level up than the New Year!?! I hope you will join me and Coach Witt @Find Your Twitch, as he puts me through the paces. 2015 is going to be INCREDIBLE #bringiton2015 but it’s going to take some work! In 2015 my running goals are not going to be how many races I enter, or how much bling I can earn!  Instead the emphasis will be getting fit, lean and strong #leanmachinein2015 !

A group from the local off road/trail runners offered to mentor me as I make the transition to ultra trail running! These guys are intense, however, they know my mindset and think this rebuilding year and the difficulty of ultra trails go hand in hand! So my BIG race will be an offroad 30 miler in October here close to home! So my family can be with me!! I miss them HORRIBLY when I am away from home for races, so I’m happy happy happy about that option. #IRUN4Isaac

I’m very excited about getting my eating plan back on target!! With all the rolos, coffee drinks, Big Gulp soda pops and beer, etal I have consumed, I have really let things go and put on 8 pounds! I’m not worried about the weight, but it just shows me how far off of my routines that I have gotten

Another change I am super excited about will be the slant on #AutismAwareness. Before school let out this break I got my certification to be a Para Professional – which is just a fancy term for Special Education aide. I hope to start working with Special Needs kids emphasizing in ASD (Autism). I left the work force in 2003 when I had my first child, Aaron, so the entire return to the workforce in a completely different area than my education centered in will be a journey in itself!! With the birth of my second, Isaac, who was diagnosed with Autism at 18 months, my focus changed entirely to envelope all things autism! I plan to include more day to day going ons with regards to Isaac – what works, what doesn’t, what we are trying, have tried etc.

If #InMidStride is a fit for you, I hope that you will ‘like’ what I am posting and comment so we can keep the conversation going!! I have grown to love many of you and consider you friends! I want the path God has put me on to affect positively anyone who is receptive, but above all I am keeping it real!! I realize that not one page can be everything to everyone, so if In Mid Stride is no longer a fit for you, I hope that you can find an outlet that is. I have met many amaZING friends via this page outreach, so I know in fact that you are out there! HAPPY NEW YEAR STRIDERS!!

Has it been three weeks ALREADY?!?!?!

Today I visited my ortho doctor to see about the discomfort that I still feel three weeks after I ran THE Chicago Marathon on October 12th. My right hip bone and calf hurt almost each time I step, but especially if I try to push off the front of my right foot. His diagnosis was grade 2 tears in the gluteus med and calf muscles, and recommends that I take an additional 3 weeks off of running completely.

If you are like most runners you are thinking, “aren’t you about half nuts by now?” or “I would go crazy!!” However, because of the discomfort I am feeling in addition to other activities that I am catching up on, I am surprisingly okay with it! So far, anyway.

“So how is the house cleaning and decluttering going”, you ask? Well, “well!!” I would say!! I have been told that the inside of your house is a window to the state of your mind, and “cluttered” or “a mess” is definitely an accurate description for mine! Since my last post, I have continued the theme of simplifying the clutter and have donated over 300 items to local charities or churches! I have thrown out almost 200 items as well, so as to keep the trash collectors with a purpose on Tuesday mornings as well ;) Hey! I give them Christmas cookies when that time comes each year ;)

I have completely emptied the guest bedroom and guest bathroom of everything in them, painted the walls, and both are again functioning normally again; albeit with MUCH less ‘crapola’ in them! Looks nice actually!!

As a family we have started what I am calling “No Spend November” in which we are to appreciate what we DO have, and not beg Mommy or buy anything additional. This is requiring me to cook. A LOT!! I do not like to cook, nor am I very good at, BUTT, I am using up the plethora of pantry items and emptying the deep freezer in the process, and getting creative doing so! Sunday evening we, as a family, thawed and ground up deer meat scraps to make hamburger for tacos, spaghetti, etc.

So although I will have had 6 weeks off when I go back to recheck things after Thanksgiving break, I am anxious to hear the words “all clear”. Spring marathon training will be right around the corner, if I can help it!!!

Marathon Cleaning – Day 5

I am really feeling my knee today as I hobble around cleaning, so I decided to sit down, grab a cup of coffee (with sugar, a Rolo and milk!!) and tell you how I’ve been doing these first 5 days of Marathon Cleaning – 30 items 30 days.

Day 1, Monday, was spent just trying to catch up! After I dropped the boys off to school, I came home and started on the laundry, loaded the dishwasher, emptied all the trash cans in the house, swept/mopped/vacuumed, et al. I made a meal plan for the week and went grocery shopping. I may or may not have forgotten how to cook “from scratch”, as the laziness I have been in has resulted in lots of frozen or boxed quick meals :( I felt quite accomplished at the end of the day!!

Day 2. I took a tour of my “office”. I use that term loosely, as I haven’t actually worked in there in years. It has become a catch all for nearly everything, and boy does it show!! I went through “stuff” for seemingly hours, but it was quite a bit of simply putting things away, rather than throwing them away. This room also serves as the catch-all for my running stuffs, so I went through the mass of bags, socks, headbands, shoes et al. The Mr. has asked me not to buy any more shoes, since I am currently off of the rotation all together. I agreed. At least while I recover these few weeks. (At least I hope it’s only a few weeks!!!)

Day 3. I tackled the master bathroom. GAH!! I called on all of the magical cleaning formulas I could find to eat through some of the scum in the tub that has built up. Does Epsom salt build up?? I cleaned under the sink and got rid of lots of half used items ie., soaps that only had a few drops left. Why do I hang onto these things en masse!?!? I worked in the boys closet. (These kids have more clothes than I) and FINALLY cleaned the mudroom; putting away the winter coats from last year. Yes! I know winter will be back in a few short weeks, but hey! I did it!!

Day 4. Spent some time outside with the boys after school putting away the outside (broken) sand toys, trucks, shovels, pool toys that the dog buried, etc. Earlier in the day I cleared ALL of the kitchen counters, crushed ALL of the cans, and spot cleaned puppy pee pee on the carpets.

Day 5. Today. I went downstairs to get the Halloween decorations. No kidding! One week to go and I am finally get around to it. I know. I tried to warn you things are out of hand. Anyway, I got them out. And there they sit. In the dining area. On the table away from the teething puppy. I went through the magazines, and I once again realize, that I am not a magazine reader, and subscribing to my nieces fund raisers each year is not helping me out at all… I worked on a dresser drawer in the boys room. Baby steps, and clipped and counted Box Tops 4 education.

Whew! 150 items out in 5 days! It feels good to be catching up on some of the things I should have been doing all along, but put off to train instead. The Mr. is loving these days as he comes home and can see some progress being made. But he knows it is short lived, and as soon as I am cleared to run, the house will be forgotten about once again ;)
decluttering check list

Marathon Cleaning: 30 days – 30 items

If you are like me, you started off 2014 with good intentions, that somewhere along the line fell by the wayside. In particular, I am thinking about the state of my house, this damp and dreary fall day. It is a mess! No softening the blow! With training and completing 4 full marathons from October 13, 2013 through October 12, 2014, I have “let things go”. And it shows :( Both inside and outside, I am unorganized and unmotivated.

I started the year with the “2014 in 2014” decluttering challenge in which as a family, we offload, whether by giving away, tossing or donating, 2014 items throughout the year. I’m not even sure where I ended the counting, which leads me to my current personal challenge of “30 days, 30 items”. .

The rules are simple. Using 15 minute increments (to keep me focused), I will clean and declutter my house, all the while keeping a tally of the decluttered items!! When I hit 30 items for that day, I can quit! Sounds easy, maybe because I have slacked on much of any deep cleaning for so long, that my dust bunnies are mass producing!! But it is day one. And what seems doable at the moment, will eventually overwhelm me and I will need to draw on my marathoning mental toughness to get over the wall!

Should be interesting!
So let’s toe the line and get started!!

Chicago Marathon 2014 recap

Alrighty Striders!! SOME of you asked for it, so here is my Chicago marathon recap.

Met up with Emily from Autism Speaks Team Up! Team who was also dealing with hip discomfort and wanted a 4:25 marathon. We cruised along close to pace until we stopped to use the porta potties. In those 5 minutes my hip stiffened up, making a noticeable difference in my stride. During mile 13 it was difficult to stride more than a few inches, and was obvious that I was slowing Emily down, so I sent her on. During mile 14, my right knee started feeling “sticky”. I have yet to have knee issues in my 26 months of running and it immediately had me on alert! I dealt with my hip fracture last year which took me out of commission for over 4 months, and I am not prepared to (willingly) do that again. So in the next few miles I stopped to briefly talk to a nurse, I again stopped to get stretched out, and I stopped a third time when it felt like my toe nail fell off. (It hasn’t. Yet.)

At this point what felt best when the knee started to “stick” was to do 10 walking strides before trying to tun some more. This continued for miles and miles at approximately 13:30 pace per mile. I just could not extend my stride more than a few inches (it seemed) due to the tightness and soreness of both hips now However, the knee “quieted down” whenever I did those paces, so after the sub 5 was out of reach, I was resolved to “just finishing” and hoping that the discomfort I was feeling didn’t result in excrutiating pain and take me out completely.

My aerobic fitness was there. Fueling was right on, anxiety and nervousness were almost unnoticeable.

In the end, I finished at 5:19:xx – disappointing but not discouraged that I would at some point try for that sub 5 marathon again (MUCH to the disbelief of the Mr.!)

After crossing the finish line, the race officials (who must be masochists) were probably somewhere laughing hysterically at the 45,000 runners who were now made to hobble and limp for an additional mile to get to the spectator area to meet their loved ones. There was even a flight of stairs to go down!!! (That was just mean RD’s, MEAN!!!) Security was so strong this year! There was no corral jumping – making certain of this with gating between the corrals as well as roping off the groups until we reached the starting line once the gating was removed. To enter the spectator area, bags, purses, strollers et al were all checked, making it a nuisance to meet up with my boys, so I just waddled my way back in the direction they were and then immediately (I say immediately, but at the pace I was now moving, there wasn’t anything immediate about it). We FINALLY got to the train station. I will spare you the rest, and keep this recap PG rated.

I posted to Facebook when service was finally reinstated and decided that the 3 days of complete rest would include a break from social media.

Recovery has mainly been spent in my bed with my feet up. Lots of sleep, Epsom salt baths, some “The stick” rolling, and foam rolling. Very little lacrosse ball action! Surprisingly my hips are not the most painful part on me! My calf is SUPER DEE DUPER TIGHT.

Where will I go from here? What’s next?
I am pretty certain that this beat-down I gave myself will not allow for my attempting my first ultra on 11/1, and that is A-OK!! I just don’t think it would be in my best interest to push my sore body right now. I do know that I need to concentrate on becoming stronger physically. I had been treated by my PT earlier in the week, and we discussed how tight I was in the hips and that my glute muscles needed some attention/strengthening. My boys need their Mom, my family needs my attention, and my house – GAH!! But the biggest hurdle??? Convincing the Mr. to support another marathon training session after seeing me in pain, witnessing all the tears, hearing of the heartbreak of being once again neglected of that sub 5 hour marathon after working so hard. But, even he knows it’s just a matter of time…