Sunday, May 9, 2010

My run with MSRuntheUS

Ashley Kumlien is running across the US to fight Multiple Sclerosis. Literally.

She started in San Francisco on March 23, 2010, and she'll end in New York after about 6 months of running 20-30 miles pretty much every day. Here's her blog.

I don't even remember how I found out about her. I guess it was on Twitter. Someone must have mentioned her and I just had to follow her with what she's doing. It's been really fun to follow her so far, and I knew she would be in Salt Lake City on the 8th, but I was too unsure about what I was doing and just too plain nervous to ask if I could run with her.

Finally, Friday, I asked her when and where she would be running in Salt Lake. I told her I needed to run 16 miles, and that I'd like to run with her. She sounded excited when she answered me and told me she was meeting the Salt Lake Running Club (I'm guessing this is them) at Draper park at 8:00, but that they were only going to stick around for 3 miles. The only problem with 8:00 was that I had a primary activity at 10:00 that I was supposed to be helping out with so I had to figured something out. I found a park exactly 8 miles up her route from Draper Park and decided to park my car there and ran down to meet her.

Pretty impressive looking, isn't it?

I got to Bair Park at just a little after 6:30. I had been planning on going to the bathroom at the park. Surly they would have bathrooms at a park, right? Wrong! At least not any I could see. It also shared the parking lot with the fire station so there were a bunch of firefighter-looking guys standing around. I was way too embarrassed to ask them if I could use their bathroom, and just hoped I'd find one soon, but really I had no idea what to expect! I had never been in this area before.

I started running, but seriously, I have to go to the bathroom right before I start running or I'm in trouble. I kept having to stop and walk to keep from peeing my pants. I wanted to find a gas station or run off in the bushes, but it was all just neighborhoods so there was nowhere for me to go. I was getting so frustrated, I was about to cry, and my first 2 miles were super slow.

1. 11:40

Finally, I got away from the houses and found an area with lots of trees where I could hike up and go. I didn't pause my timer so this really slowed me down.

2. 12:44

I felt much better after my little pit stop and got back to a good pace!

3. 9:11

Here's the elevation profile of the whole run. If you can't tell, that's a total of 1,302 ft in elevation loss/gain.

I had kind of expected the whole first half to be downhill because it was going down into the valley, but there were a few uphills that actually made me feel better, though they slowed me down, because it meant it wouldn't be all uphill on the way back!

4: 10:11

Then I hit the big downhill and I went from 5 to 6 miles in what seemed like a blink of an eye! I'm actually surprised mile 6 is that slow because I was going really fast! I did get a side ache during it, but I tried to just keep going and use the downhill to save my time a little.

5. 9:20
6. 853
7. 9:40

When I got close to mile 8, I stopped to check my phone to make sure I was at the right place, and I was. Then I called Ashley to see if they'd started yet because it was 8:00, but they were still at the park. By the way, I was able to cary my phone with me easily because I finally got an iffiness belt! YAY! It fits my iphone perfectly, plus my car key and a credit card and ID. I turned it so it was kind of on my hip, and I could completely forget about it! It was great.

8. 9:55

I got to the park, joined the small gathering of people and met Ashley. We all chatted a bit, took some pictures, and I used the bathroom there before we all took off.

Isn't she cute? And boy does she make me look white! (See my new hand-held water bottle?!)

Really only 2 people from the running club joined us. Some girls kind of started running with us, but they took off and we lost them really quick. The 2 guys who joined us were both older, and really nice and interesting to talk to. I can not remember their names, though! I'm so bad with names. Sorry guys! Anyway, we all talked about running and different race and the training runs we'd done for them. They told me one of their runs they do for St. George is go up the Avenues and up City Creek Canyon, then back down to practice the downhill. That's pretty much what I do, though I haven't gone up City Creek much yet.

It was so cool to talk to other people who are into running. Most people I know think I'm crazy for running so much! It makes me tempted to join their club just to meet some more running people. It's only $15.

9. 10:58
10. 10:35

Up, up, up we went, and when we got to the long, steep part, I just had to stop and walk. I felt like such a whimp. Ashely and one of the guys just kept plugging along, but the other guy stopped to walk with me and keep me company. He just kept talking and acted like it was no big deal. I don't know if this was good or not because it made me feel ok about walking for a few minutes.

11. 12:16
12. 11:37

When we got to the top of the hill, the guys turned back around and I ran on ahead by myself for a few minutes while Ashely stopped to use the bathroom at a church. I thought for sure she'd catch up to me easily, but then I started to get worried and stopped to wait for her a little. That's when I took this picture:

The last 4 miles, I just had a great time talking to Ashely, though I found myself out of breath a lot. I blame it on being sick just 2 days before. I'm sure I wasn't all the way recovered. Who knows, though, I'm not used to talking while I run so maybe I'm always like that! Plus I'm used to doing my uphill first, while I'm fresh, not at the end! UG! I think I had to stop and walk twice! I never usually never stop and walk on my runs, except maybe to take some gel. I felt so bad for holding her back, but she was totally cool about it and just very encouraging.

13. 10:33
14. 11:04
15. 10:13

I even had to walk when we were about one mile from the car! When I look back on it, I probably should have taken the last of my Hammer Gel. I had one more shot, but just forgot to take it.

16. 11:39

We got to my car and I had to hurry home because it was already almost 10:00! I was really hoping to be done by 9 or 9:30 at the latest. She gave me a hug and thanked me for running with her, but I really feel like I'm the one who should thank her for letting me be part of her huge run across America, and for helping me get though that hard 16 miles. I feel blessed to have been able to meet her, and will definitely keep in touch! She is amazing and is doing a wonderful thing for those who have MS.

I think she's going to be running through Heber in a few days, so let me know if you want to meet her or if you're willing to let them plug their RV in at your house or something. If you're not nearby, you can still go to her site and donate, or just send her an encouraging email or something: MSRuntheUS

Total Distance: 16.1 miles
Total (moving) Time: 2:45:49
Total Elapsed Time: 3:07:29 (yikes!)
Average Moving Pace: 10:17 min/mile
Average Heart Rate: 163 bpm

PS - I was an hour late for the primary activity! I was so sore, though, I really had to stretch, take a hot bath and down my left-over burrito from last night, before heading over. I hope they were ok without me. When I got there, they were all like, "Are you ok?" I must not have looked my best! After all, I didn't take the time to put makeup on. I did get to play duck-duck-goose with the kids for about 15 minutes before it was time for the treat, then to go home.

I feel surprisingly great today. I will still do the foam roller, but I'm not really THAT sore. I think I'm going to try running barefoot tomorrow! Wahoo!


  1. Great long run training!! Keep pushing!

    Cheers from HK,

    "XTB" Xavi.

  2. Hi Colleen - it's Evan, one of the guys who ran with you and Ashley (the other guy was Bruce).

    Thanks so much for the great run on Saturday. That section of Wasatch Blvd. is always a tough one, as it's deceptively hilly in several places where you think it's going to flatten out.

    Best of luck with your upcoming running - feel free to come meet us again a future Saturday (for this coming week, I will be Ogden for the marathon relay).