Thursday, January 14, 2010


I have been preparing for the 2010 Frozen Otter for some time now. I don’t know if I’m ready, and I honestly don’t know if I ever could be. I’ve never gone 64 miles in one stretch, so I am not 100% sure I can do it. But, this is part of why I’m trying for it. I won’t know unless I give it my all and try.

I’ve been working out extra hard for the past few months. I’ve worked in a few intense 2-3 hour workouts. These usually happened on a Saturday. I’d run, walk or bike the 3 miles to the YMCA, go to spinning class for an hour, then to a high-intensity aerobics class, then run, walk or bike the 3 miles back home. I’ve also done a few long hikes (but not nearly as many as I’d have liked). One of these long hikes was a 32-mile overnight hike. I went with Melissa, who hiked the full 64 miles a few years ago. She is one of my inspirations. It was really cool to hike with her – we finished the 32 miles in just around 10 hours – which I thought was a pretty darn good time! Since there’s been snow, I’ve been on a few snowy hikes, but nothing too long. I think the longest one I’ve done was around 10 miles.

I have also visited with a sports therapist to try to find out why my knees seem to want to lock up on me. She found some muscle weaknesses around my knee and hips, so I’ve been doing exercises to try strengthening them. I don’t know that I’ve been doing them long enough to see any obvious results this weekend during the race, but I hope it helps even a little bit. If anything, hopefully I can continue to work on that and do even better next year.

During the past couple of weeks I’ve gone over lists on top of other lists of things I need to bring, what food I want to eat, what I’m going to want at the half-way point, time splits, music I want on my Shuffle, and how I’m going to keep myself in it mentally for 24 hours. Just today I spent the last hour and a half going over different time split scenarios. I hope to have it all in my head so I don’t have to think too hard and do too much math while I’m out there.

My mom and dad are coming down to act as my support crew. They’ll be there at the start and finish, and Adam will probably join them during the half-way mark. At that point, I’m going to really need them. I hope to have a warm, running car with a change of clothes and shoes, along with some warm, yummy food and maybe a hot coffee. I’m mostly looking forward to having them yell, “Get your ass moving!!!” when I complain that I’m tired and sore. I have to remember that resting longer will probably not make me feel much better. It’s going to hurt, and I’m not going to feel any more awake, so I might as well just keep going. I am SO glad my parents will be making it to push me and help me along the way. It will be nice to see Adam at the half-way point, too. He’s already offered to massage my calves or anything that might need a quick rub. That will be nice to look forward to, also. I just can’t get too comfortable or I’m going to want to stay there.

Tonight and tomorrow night I’ll be separating out my food and organizing my gear. It’s going to be strangely warm this year, compared to other years. We’re looking at 32 degrees as a high and 24 as a low overnight. I may not even need my snow pants! It’s going to be a completely different Frozen Otter this year -- compared to temps dipping well below zero the last few years. I might not have to worry about my water freezing this year, and this gives me an even better chance of finishing the 64 miles. I would say frozen water and dehydration as a result is one of the biggest risks during this race, or at least one of my biggest worries. I did okay last year – I only had one time when my mouth piece froze up a little bit, but I was able to get it going again after a lot of effort trying to pull water through the hose.

So from now until Saturday, I just need to stay mentally upbeat, get my gear and food in order, get Adam and my parents on track with the schedule, my time splits and what gear and food I’ll need at the half-way point. The half-way point is the only time they can support me with a resupply of gear or food. The rest of the time that they’re around they can only cheer me on.

The biggest challenge right now is to stay calm. Whenever I start to really think about it, I get really excited and my adrenaline kicks in. I can feel it taking up precious energy. I get butterflies in my stomach and I get all jittery. I need to try to keep myself calm so I can funnel that energy how I need to. I need to save all I can!

My goals for this year’s Frozen Otter:

Goal 1: Beat my 32-mile time from last year and finish with at least 40 miles.
Goal 2: Finish 64 miles
Goal 3: Finish 64 miles in 24 hours

The first year I did the Frozen Otter I finished 32 miles in 15 hours. At the time there wasn’t a “Half” division, but I wouldn’t have finished in the 12 allotted hours, anyway. The second year, I finished the 32 miles in 11 hours and 57 minutes. I JUST made it. Last year, I cut about another half-hour off of that time. So this year, I hope to cut more off the first 32 so I have some to spare on the second half. I will only quit if something breaks… I don’t necessarily mean just bones… but my knees or my mind, for example. My mind is the one thing I think I’ve got in control, and I hope that I can use that to take over any physical problems that might come up.

Off I go! Pray for me and wish me luck! :)

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