Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mt. Whitney Part Two

Sept. 24th we set out for Mt. Whitney, an overnight stay at the Whitney portal campground to acclimate then the hike to Consultation Lake to camp. The elevation at the lake is around 12,000 feet. The hike from the portal was brutal carrying the packs, but the training was paying off. We didn't need to stop often and we were making pretty good time. After passing Outpost camp at 10,000 feet the hike seemed to get harder. The air was pretty thin and the climb steeper.
We passed and were passed by a group of men, they were going to Trail camp to spend the night. They'd done this climb before and knew that the lake was just over the ridge. After what felt to be an eternity, the lake came into view. The group of men decided that trail camp was just a few too many steps too far and headed down to lake with us.
The sun was setting and we rushed to set up camp. After a fast, dehydrated, dinner we tried to get some sleep. 50 mph winds swirled around us for most of the night. I kept waiting for the tent to completely blow apart. I imagined my pack, which was outside in the vestibule, flying into the sky, a scene out of the wizard of oz!
After an endless night and maybe 1 hour of sleep we got up to make our attempt on the summit.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mt. Whitney

Now that Long Beach is over for 2008, i'll backtrack a few months.
Early 2008 a few of us in the lab were tossing around the idea of climbing Mt. Whitney. The permit lottery opened in February. After some planning we put our names into the lottery and hoped for the best. April mail brought our winning a Sept. 25-28th permit to hike the mountain.
It was better than Christmas! We spent hours scouring the internet for info, what to pack, the weather, how to train. Every free weekend we tried to hike the local mountains-Baldy, San Jacinto, Baden-Powell, Saddleback and San Gorgonio. Hiking took the place of running, for the most part, however I tried to get involved with the OCTR to increase leg strength for the uphills and build up stamina. Matt and I trained for, and ran a marathon to help with our chances to summit.
After months of researching gear and living at REI we finally took some backpacking trips to try it all out. An overnighter, then climb up to the top of Baden-Powell was encouraging. Pack was good, stove worked and sleeping bag was warm.
The next overnighter on San Gorgonio was not so good. I was way overpacked-my pack weighed 40lbs without water. The trail was alot steeper than the one to Baden-Powell. 3 hours and I was ready to give it up. We never made it to the summit. Discouraged, I renewed my efforts to train, did some great cardio hikes with Irvine Ranch Conservancy and bought a beefier backpack.
Next post-the trip to Mt Whitney.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

High Tech and Low Tech

Whew, we made it to the finish line! Honestly, a few days ago, that was all I wanted out of this race. To finish. After 4 days of ice, ibuprophen and wrapping I was hobbling along on my sore left hamstring. I got a 5 mile run out of it on Friday, nice and slow on the Wood Canyon trail with out too much pain. I was cautiously optimistic...
I'd read about some compression tights-very high tech. Thick and strong lycra with strips of nylon sewn on top to provide support, much like being taped. I bought a pair instead of trying to run with the neoprene wrap, which kept slipping down during my Friday practice run.
Sunday at the starting line I realized I forgot my watch! How can I run without a watch? I won't know my pace! No time to go back, so I just let the crowd dictate the pace at the start. Mile 3 I asked a man for the time. 36 min. Yikes better step it up! The crowd was starting to thin and I was thinking I needed to make up a lot of time! So I ran this race in a very low tech manner. I listened to my body. Ran as fast as I could for as long as I could, then slowed to catch my breath. I had no idea of the time until I saw the finish clock. My chip time: 2:06:32. 7 min faster than 2007.
Matt is amazing. He'd run maybe 5 or 6 times to train for this and finished 2:17:59! Imagine if he'd actually trained...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Happy Endings?!

Sunday, Matt and I ran 10 miles through the back bay. It was a lovely morning, not too hot when we started out. By mile 7 I was starting to feel the heat and my left hamstring was starting to pull. Thinking it was just cramps I downed a HammerGel with some water and continued to limp along. After making the turn onto East Bluff, I trudged up the hill towards Corona Del Mar High school. My hamstring was feeling much better, it was probably the incline, and I happily trotted the last half mile uphill.
Fast forward to Wednesday(no running since Sunday). We decide to try another run, our legs should have recovered from Sundays long run by now. 2 minutes after we start, my left hamstring is killing me. I wave Matt on to continue. Our plan was to run 6 miles. I start walking. Run alittle more, pain, walk again. At 3 miles, our turnaround point, I caught up to Matt and we start back. It's downhill for about 1.5 miles and my leg feels better so I pass him, but last 1.5 miles back to the car uphill killed me.
I had gotten some advice from other runners, Rick S. and Bill R., both whom run ultra's, to consult a massage therapist. Well, the Long Beach Half is just days away and I can barely walk, let alone, as fast as my little legs could carry me I dig up the yellow pages and leaf through the massage therapists. "Happy Endings", Ultimate Pleasure", "Exotic Massage"...What!!!! Maybe if I get an "Ultimate Pleasure" massage by a hunky guy I'll forget my pain?! Matt suggests I look under "Theraputic Massage" in the yellow pages.
Well, to wrap this up, I found a sports massage therapist who spent an hour working over my abused legs. This morning I woke up almost pain free and thinking about running...not!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Is it the Weather?

Hmmm, I think I am in heatwave funk...
At least 4 times in the last 7 days I've gotten dressed to run, opened the door and BOOM got a face full of warm air. Which in turn made me close the door and swear to myself that I will run in the evening when it is cooler. But it never got cool enough to run!
Countdown to the Long Beach Half, 4 days and counting...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Long Beach Half Marathon

2007 I ran the Long Beach Half Marathon. It was my first race over 10K, and I'd only been running 10 months. I bugged the heck out of every runner I knew, questions about mileage, shoes, gels, and injuries! Then it got hot, in the 80's at 8 am, still in the 80's at 6pm. How do you run in that kind of heat! What if the marathon was HOT!!!
Race day arrived and I did everything wrong...we(my honey and best buddy, Matt) got lost due to my bad directions, but he managed to get me to the starting line 5 min before the gun. I didn't stretch and I tied my left shoe too tight!
I found my pace group and the race started. The pace leader was great, it's amazing how they keep on time! It was a good run, I stayed with my group until the last 2 miles, I had to slow because that left shoe did me in...never occurred to me to loosen it. Finish time was 2:13. Woo Hoo I did it!
Well the 2008 Long Beach Half is a little more than a week away. I finally ran 9 miles today. Think I'm in trouble? Well, I still have a week, maybe if I run every day...