Friday, December 18, 2009

What's Up?

Oh, by the way...did I mention my name was picked for WS100 2010?
But, sadly, I will not be running this wonderful race.  I did not qualify.  My 2 attempts at 100 milers were failed ones.  My 2 50 miler times were both greater than 11 hours.  I'd thrown in my name into the WS lottery pot before JJ100.  After not finishing, I'd gotten an email from the lottery folks asking if I'd like to enter my qualifying run at this time.  I had to let them know that I did not qualify and to take my name out of the pool.  So, on the morning of the lottery, I'm at work, and I can hear my blackberry making all kinds of noise.  It's busy so I ignore it all until I get home.  Imagine my surprise to see several texts and emails congratulating me on getting into Western States!  I knew there was a mistake, but first time entered, I'm the second name picked...I didn't know whether to laugh or cry !!!! Soon after, I got an email from the lottery guy confirming there was an error.  Boo....Maybe next year?
Which brings me to this post...What's up for next year?
This is my list...and it is all subject to change.
1.  Transrockies-we are officially signed up.
2. Miwok-no i didn't get picked, but I will help Rick out if he wants it.
3. Coyote 2 moons-looks like fun?
4.Way too Cool
5. SD 100-unfinished business
6. LD50-my first 50 this year, will try to run it for time next year
7. PCT 50
8. Death Ride-a bike ride!
9. Quad Dipsea-gotta practice running stairs for next year
10  ?? open to suggestions! any idea's??

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Mighty Chimera

We'd been watching the weather forecasts all week. A couple of storms were due in the week of the Chimera 100K/M race. Maybe the Wednesday before and maybe the Saturday of the race. Wednesday was overcast but no rain, looks like the storm stayed north. What about Saturday? Could we be lucky and skirt that storm too? Friday was cold and cloudy. I decided I'd better be a little proactive and get some warmer running gear. My North Face Summit series jacket would work-seemed to be warm enough on Whitney, but I needed some running pants. Got an online deal for some NF rain pants. That would have to be enough...maybe it won't rain that much...

Packing up my drop bag, more like a drop suitcase, I put in a complete change of clothing, a waterproof shell and matching pants. These were just in case items, I was figuring the storm to hit in the evening, and clean dry clothes would be a big pick me up at mile 44.

We arrived at Blue Jay campground at 0530, and discovered the race start was pushed back to 0630. We relaxed a bit, chatted with other runners and tried to get a glimpse of Karl Melzer.
At 0630 we took off down the first 9 mile loop. Narrow singletrack, rocky and rooty. The first couple of miles were great fun, bombing the downhills. But then came the mud and uphills. At least the weather was cooperating! A bit of drizzle, but pretty warm-good running temp. We get back to Blue Jay to stock up on essentials, then head out to the main divide. The majority of the next 50+ miles were to be on the main divide road, a short downhill on the motorway and maple springs trail.

As we head out to the trabuco trailhead aid station the weather takes a dump. It is now pouring rain. Along with the wind the rain feels like hail hitting my face. Temperatures are dropping. And we are climbing...and climbing....and climbing...The Trabuco Trailhead aid station was manned by many familiar trailheadz. Steve Harvey, the RD made sure his runners would be well taken care of. Hot soup/drinks at all the aid stations. Heaven!

Next stop, trabuco peak aid station...

I must say, for all the cold and wind and rain...this run was a true adventure. We had a great time slogging thru the mud. Dodging falling rocks. I'd long ago given up skirting the puddles. My montrail mountain masochists seemed to be made for this type of punishment.
We finally arrive at the trabuco peak aid station. Those poor volunteers had their hands full. Their tent was barely standing, and they seemed as wet as the runners. Yet they were still there offering help, food and water. After a brief stop we headed up again, to Santiago Peak.
We'd been out on the trail for 6.5-7 hours. The last 4 in pouring rain. Running the downhills allowed me to warm up, but the slow hikes uphill were hard, you feel the cold. In my mind I just wanted to get to the Maple springs AS to get some dry clothes and waterproof clothing. So I was counting down the miles. Finally we make the peak AS. As soon as we enter the tent the Kristen the Ham operator in charge of the AS tells us the race has been called. The conditions are too dangerous now. The trabuco peak aid station has completely blown away leaving runners having to navigate 9 miles unaided. The roads are washing out and people are getting hypothermic.
We have the option to continue on 5 more miles to the Maple springs AS, or wait it out until the rescue vehicle can haul us out. The tent is filling fast, the wind is howling and snow is falling. We all are trying to make the best of a seriously crazy situation.
After an hour a rescue vehicle arrives, a young man with a SUV who volunteered to drive the 13miles in crazy weather to pick up standed crazy runners! We are packed into the Exterra, dirty, wet and muddy, slipping and sliding over the main divide. Great fun!!! All part of the adventure!! Over an hour later we finally pull in to Blue Jay campground. We thank our driver and head over to warm up on hot homemade delicous soup.

Total miles...about 23. Would I do this again next year...absolutely!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Still Running Along

I haven't posted since September! Time flies much too quickly. This year has flown by at a supersonic pace.
Let's see, much has happened since we summited Mt. Whitney. I had to take a few weeks off from running to let my ankle heal. That was very hard. And it was even harder to start running again. Javelina Jundred, my second attempt to run 100 miles, was Oct. 31, so my goal was to get my ankle healthy enough to run that race. By the end of September I could hobble thru a 5 mile run. 2 weeks before JJ we shuffled through a 19 mile flat road run...that would be our long run. Rick's heels were bothering him and my ankle was still weak, but getting stronger. The JJ course is sandy and mostly flat, so our hope was to make the most of this "easy" trail run.
It was a 100 mile Halloween party! Runners in costume and families with their kids filled the start area and campground.
Now the JJ course feels very flat. Especially the first loop when your legs are fresh. But it is actually about 6-7 miles of slight uphill, and then back to the start with a slight downhill. So pace is critical. Most runners burn out starting at an all out run and having nothing left by the 5th loop. We completed the first loop in 3.5 hours. Very easy, a good mellow pace. 2nd loop was a little slower, but the temps were going up too, about 3.75 hours. Loop 3 was hot. Staying hydrated was our big concern. Alot of people were not looking good. We finished in 4.25 hours. Now, loop 4 was started at dusk. Hot, tired and undertrained we fell way off pace. We both had ugly painful blisters. People looked like the walking dead...these were the ones without costumes! We both were considering dropping at the 100K mark-the end of the 4th loop, but hadn't yet spoke our minds. At the last aid station before the start/finish line we sat, drinking hot coffee and taking IB. I was exhausted and my feet were killing me. After about 30 min. we gathered whatever strength we had left and headed out to finish. Kris B. runs past us, looking absolutely marvelous! She say's she's gotten her second wind and flies by! Her bewildered pacer trailing behind... The coffee and IB kick in, suddenly both Rick and I feel pretty good and we chase after Kris. It was a good last couple of miles. We arrive at the campground somewhere around 4.75 hours. Nearly 5 hours to complete the 4th loop. We would have to complete the next 36 miles in less than 12 hours. Our feet were toast. So we accepted the 100k belt buckle and offically dropped.
Considering we didn't train for this, I think we did pretty well.
Rick and I had an extra day to enjoy Scottsdale before heading back to the OC.

Quad Dipsea-This race is run the Saturday after Thanksgiving. 2 up and backs along the Dipsea trail in northern CA. Beautiful views, a hill named "Cardiac" and 600+ stair steps make this a memorable run for all those who attempt it. Rick's run this about 10 times, when he asked me if I'd like to run with him this year I was thrilled that he felt that I could finish this tough race. I am not much of a hill runner...
There is a "generous" 8 hour cutoff for this 28 mile race, and we used pretty much the whole time to finish. But, we took alot of pictures...too many great views to let slip away, and chatted with some great people, Catra Corbett, Ann Trason and her husband Carl, and Errol the rocket Jones. Life is too short, gotta stop to smell the ocean air and meet some wonderful runners along the way. After crossing the finish line, we had grilled sausage and some bean soup (beer was long gone) and headed home.

Next up...Chimera 100K Dec. 12.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Mt. Whitney Day Hike

February 2009 we put in for the Mt. Whitney lottery again. The beginning of April arrived, but not the notice of getting picked for a permit. I think it was getting to be the middle of April when the familiar large envelope showed up in my mailbox. We were in, amazing!!! More amazing, it was for the Labor Day weekend! I assumed a large party dropped and we got their spot. Whatever the reason, we were going!!!

Matt, Glenn(a fellow runner and blogger), Octavio and his son Sebastion, myself and Rick were the lucky six given a chance to summit. Matt and I summited last year on a 3 day hike. Rick wanted to dayhike it, the others were going to pack it.

As always, time flew. I trained for and ran 3 ultra's and a marathon. My right ankle was sore and running was still painful less than a week before our trip. But I could hike and a trekking pole helped.

Two days before we were to leave for Lone Pine, Octavio got hold of Matt and told him they would not be able to make the trip. Sebastion was trying out for high school water polo and this was "hell week". The coach was not permitting anyone trying out to take a leave. It's all about being dedicated...So, Thursday Sept. 3rd Matt and I left for Lone Pine to pick up the permit for the remaining party of 4. The final agenda for the weekend...Matt and Glenn to backpack, Rick and I to dayhike.

Rick and Glenn arrived separately between 2300 and midnite (don't quite remember the time, i was sound asleep!). We had set up the tent at the thru-hikers campground at the portal. Rick and I planned to leave around 0400. The others approx. 7. I awoke at 0320, and wandered off to find Rick's car to wake him up. We got on the trail at 0440 using headlamps and moonlight to navigate. We made steady progress, passed Outpost camp and reached Trail Camp at about 0815. I needed to refill my hydration pack, and Rick got some cute Marmot pictures

The trail until Outpost camp is quite beautiful. Tall pines and numerous stream crossing. Maybe one of these day's I'll pack this part of the trail again, camp out near mirror lake. I wonder if fishing is allowed?

Beyond trail camp starts the 99 switchbacks. Somewhere beyond the cables, maybe 20 switchbacks to the top it started to hail, but quickly stopped. Then it started again, a steady stream of BB sized fluffy hail. There was thunder too! We ducked under some rocks to try to wait out the storm. Should we continue to turn back?! I fished out my rain shell, dusted off the hail pellets and sat in a puddle. No more than 5 minutes later the hail eased up and we started up the trail again. Rick spoke to a few coming down the hiker said the metal in the hat vibrated during the thunderstorms...yikes!

Up and up we climbed. I was feeling the altitude by the time we reached Trail Crest, and for me, it was slow going. Rick looked as healthy and chipper as always, leading the way.

I was at the point where I could take a few steps before having to stop and gasp for air! I could see the summit hut, Rick about 50 yards ahead...RUNNING up the mountain! At 14,500 feet he could still run!!!!
Robo Rick running at 14,500ft up Whitney

Well, kind, patient readers...yes we did summit! We took pictures...the only way to have your picture taken on the top of Mt. Whitney is to climb it....savored the views and committed the moment to memory.

We ate a bit, took a few more pictures and decided it was time to get off the mountain before the next set of dark clouds passed over.

Going down should be easier than going up. Unless one twists their ankle on a rock 400 yards from the top......
And it hurt so badly I couldn't put any weight on it. Sitting down on a boulder, we fished out the Kinesio "magic" tape and plastered it over my ankle. It was enough to get us going again. Carefully and slowly we walked down 11 miles. We met up with Glenn and Matt at Trail camp, they fortified us with hot coffee and we continued on. At outpost camp we put on the headlamps and know we are almost done, 3.6 miles to go.

We both agree that someone must have added a mile or two of trail while we were on the summit. Those last few miles took hours. Following Rick, I watched him dance off the rocks marvelling at the lightness of his steps. Yep, i was feeling it, tired, sore...but deep down, it was an adventure, kinda like when I was in middle school and hiked the grand canyon in a day...a little overwhelming but there is the satisfaction that we did it.

I love my life
and I look forward
to whatever is next

Run Along...Now

I've been neglecting my blog. I can't believe my last post was my race recap of the SD 100! I'd started an entry about a training run/adventure for the Mt. Disappointment 50 miler, but never got around to finishing it. One of these days I'd like to post it, as a teaser let's just say it involved SAR, a couple of helicopters, a bear and 34 miles.
This pic is of my two trail running friends who shared the adventure with me, on one of the AC trails.

I completed Mt. Disappointment, my first solo ultra. Rick, my TH and best running buddy decided to let his Achilles mend and dropped from the race. His heels have been painful for quite a while and it was a good decision to give them a rest. While I miss him on the trails, I am learning the importance of letting the body recover.
A pretty view from the Mt. Dis course.
Mt. Dis was an amazing run. It started out with miles of downhill, first asphalt then dirt. It has some beautiful trails, tree covered with soft brown dirt. With the fires raging in that area, I'm sure some of the course is gone and I am grateful for being able to run it and enjoy it.
It was a tough race, the last 20 miles included 2 really "painful" hills. One seemingly endless one almost completely exposed in the heat. The last hill finishes the course, while not in the sun it is about 3 miles of steep climb and switchbacks.

I learned I could mentally and physically complete 50 miles without the TH, but I missed him.

The Bulldog 50K was 2 weeks after Mt. Dis. Quite a few runners were doing both races, so a spur of the moment decision had me signed up for the 50K.
The first 15 mile loop felt awful. I was sore and tired. It felt like it took the entire first loop to warm up. By the second loop, my legs were feeling much better-but the heat was ramping up. What started out as a cramp about .10 of a mile from the finish, just after the final downhill ended up hobbling me, I limped the final stretch and across the finish line. I'd met my goal time of under 7 hours, but 2 weeks later I'm still limping.

So, from the SD 100 to the present, I've still been running along the trails, dodging the snakes and the critters. And trying to find a balance between home, work, love and pounding out the miles.

Next up...Mt. Whitney in a day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Our Most EXCELLENT Adventure

In a nutshell, it was the San Diego 100 mile Endurance Run...minus a few miles. And, it was an adventure, from the very start...
Rick got in a bike ride...over a hundred miles up a mountain in a ride called the "Breathless Agony".
Right after that, the OC Marathon, and SD 100 application time.
Training runs were scheduled. A few of us squeezed into a Mini Cooper and tried to get in a night run somewhere along the SD course. We slept(?) in Jean's Mini, waiting for the other runners to arrive. It ended up being over 100 miles of driving, to run 8 miles! We trained on hills in the heat, I ran on the road, in the heat. We were training for 100 miles of hot weather!
One last long run of about 24 miles to Santiago Peak, the Monday before the race, finished up the training. We hit REI to look at headlamps, flashlights and socks. We discussed drop bags, did we need them? Cutoff times, what pace did we need to maintain to meet them? Shoes, one pair or two? What was the weather forecast? Rain?! Let's not even go there!!! What to drink, eat and carry. The list of things to do was endless.
Matt agreed to help us out by being our crew. I went over the maps with him, gave him boxes of stuff to bring down and a timeline, where to meet us and when. I think crews have a very hard and thankless job...they only get to see the runners for a short period of time and are expected to have everything ready and waiting. Not alot of time to sleep either.
Back to the weather forecast...The PCT 50 mile run, was moved to the SD100 mile course after a military helicopter crashed on the original course. Those runners, while getting to preview the 100 mile course endured high temps. One of the reason for all the hot weather training runs...
But, the forecast for the 100 mile run was cool weather. In fact as the weekend neared, the temps dropped. 75, then 73 and the final posting for Saturday was 65! With the possibility of rain. Did i ever mention I hate mud? We made some last minute clothing adjustments, threw everything in Karen's SUV(Rick's wife) and headed south to Camp Cuyamaca to the race briefing.
The race began at 0600, with very cool weather. Excitement building, we huddled at the start with the other runners. A few minutes to wish others good luck and then we were off running...for at least a mile! Then the hiking/fast walking began. The first 20 miles were mostly gradual climbs, a portion of it on the PCT. We fought against some wind, but over all made good time finishing in about 4 1/2 hours. At the Camp, we shed our long sleeves and tights, refilled bottles, added more gels to our packs and headed out to start the 30 mile loop. A quick assessment of how we felt after 20? Really strong and ready for finishing the first 50. 6 miles later, we catch up with Matt at the Paso Picacho aid station. We refill, make adjustments and continue on happily. We must have been too happy, because about 20 min. later we realized we had missed a trailmarker! After looking around for the missed marker, asking hikers if they'd seen pink ribbons and arrows, our only option was to backtrack down the hill. What we found was, 10 yards from the last AS was a well marked turn least 20 pink ribbons and 10 flour arrows. How did we miss that!!!
What stands out in my memory about the 30 mile loop? Hills. Rocky hills. One section, a long downhill full of shale, we started out trying to run, but ended up walking. I twisted my ankle, probably more than once.
And the wind picked up. At the milk ranch AS, the temps dropped as the clouds rolled in and the wind blew. As i mentioned earlier, the first 20 miles we finished in 4.5 hours. The next 30 took 9. Back at Camp Cuyamaca again, the end of the first 50, our finish time about 13.5 hours. 1 hour under the cutoff. We picked up windbreakers and gel. I dug out my hiking poles. My right ankle was starting to hurt, probably from twisting it on the rocks. Heading out to rerun the 20 mile loop we felt good, strong and a bit anxious. As the last bit of sun set, the winds really kicked in. There were portions of the trail we had to stop and wait for the wind to die down other wise risk being blown off the trail. It was slow going. and cold. But in an odd and crazy way, exciting! We could see other runners in the distance with their headlamps. We were all in this adventure together! Running when we could, trying not to fall into holes or off the trail, our minds were set on just making the next aid station, where there would be familiar faces, warm food and hot coffee-courtesy of Matt. We were passing people on the 20 mile loop, and it looked like we would make the 70 mile time cutoff. My ankle was getting to be a problem, but the poles were helping. We arrived at Camp Cuyamaca, the 70 mile AS at 0212. 45 min. before the cutoff.
We were greeted by Scott the RD, he pulled us aside and quietly told us the weather conditions on the last 30 had deteriorated. There was snow, high winds and sleet by the Milk Ranch AS. If we didn't leave immediately we probably wouldn't make the final cutoff. He suggested that this would be a good time and place to drop. We did some quick calculations...9 hours for the first 30 miles loop, in daylight. could we finish the same 30 mile loop at night in horrible conditions? Plus we still needed about half an hour to tape blisters, gather more clothing, eat and refill bottles. One option was to continue on, try to make it to the next AS and see how we feel. But, I think we both felt that our goal, to finish, was no longer within our grasp. While physically we both were doing pretty good, the time it would take us to finish was just beyond the cutoff.
So at mile 70, with reservations, we dropped.
Then dirty, smelly and exhausted we climbed into the back of the SUV and took a nap. 3 hours later we woke up to sunlight and cheers. Runners were still coming in and crossing the finish line, about 20 yards away from the truck. We slowly crawled out and tenderly took our first steps. We saw a few people we knew, chatted about the run and vowed to come back next year and finish the full 100.
We drove away still smiling, we didn't finish 100 miles... but we did finish 70 feeling pretty darn good. It's not what we didn't do, it's what we did. And that will carry us on to our next race.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Finally, Movement.

2 weeks after the Leona Divide 50, it was time to run again. Not on the dirt, but pavement. I was registered to run the OC Marathon.
4 days after Leona, I did an easy 7 mile loop at the Nix nature center. There were about 5 of us, all either in recovery from Leona or tapering for the Skyline to the Sea 50K. Kris B. and I hiked/ran and the others mostly hiked. A little bit of stiffness and some tightness through the hips but otherwise good. Later that day, I ran with Rick, another easy run along Bommer, about 5 miles. Then Saturday rolled around and it was the final run with the OC marathon training group that I'd all but abandoned for trail running. Was to be a slow taper run of about 10 miles, through the back bay. I started out feeling pretty good, but my pace was way off. I usually motor along with them at a 8.5-9 min pace, but that morning I was struggling to hit 11 min. I watched as my group slowly pulled ahead. 5 miles out my IT Bands froze. I could hardly walk. This meant shuffling 5 miles back to the car. Luckily it was a nice day...
My body said it needed to rest and I was forced to listen.
Panic set in, would I be ready for 26.2 in 1 week? On pavement?!! Would I do more harm to myself if I run it?
I hit the jacuzzi. I ate alot of protein. I hid my running shoes.
On Tuesday, I went for a 10 miles trail run, all flat, no hills. Even though the pace was still pretty slow, i was making progress. No pain during the run and with stretching , very little pain after. Thursday, Rick and I hit the River trail, part of the home stretch for the marathon. 8 miles of flat pavement. I could maintain a 10 min pace with stops.
That night I poured over all the info I could find on Jeff Galloway's running method. It involves running a "miracle mile" to find your speed and from there calculate the ratio of running/walking to get you to your goal marathon time. I didn't feel like running all out for 1 mile X 4, so I guessed. I had settled on a 5:1 ratio of running to walking and a goal of 4:30. At the starting line, I met up with a friend, Skip who was running the half marathon. He was also run/walking with a ratio of 8:1.
At the gun, I started running. 5 min out, I had people on my heels, running up my back...I was afraid to stop! So i kept running. At ten minutes, about a mile into the marathon, I felt safe enough to walk. A spur of the moment decision made me change my ratio to 9:1. Easy to keep track of and my legs were feeling pretty good, i wanted to run. I changed the timing as it suited me. If there was a long downhill ahead, I kept on running. If there was an uphill, I ran until the hill and started my walk. If there was a need to stop for water, I'd start my walk. So I ran/walked my way to a new PR and felt fabulous at the finish.
I have been trying to decide my next goal. The SD 100 endurance race is one that was way on the bottom of my list. Over the weeks, it has been climbing up my list. It's local, not too technical and has many opportunities for crew to help and or drop if it is too hard. I watched as the entry list for the race slowly crept up to 110, with 150 being the max. I told others I would decide after the marathon. If I felt like crap and needed 2 weeks to rehab again, then I wouldn't enter. But I feel good.
So, I filled out my app. added my check and put it in the mail.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Leona Divide 50 Mile Race Recap

We woke up to a clear windless morning in Palmdale. Temps were cool but not cold in the morning, possibly forecasting high temps by the afternoon?
We got checked in and started out at 0610, a little late but making that all important porta potty stop.
To describe the course in a few short words...miles of gradual uphill and miles of downhill. Not too technical and not too steep(except a few sections)There were 2 sections of out and backs meeting at the 28/42 mile aid station. So, up and down we hiked/ran. At the first aid station everything was well, we checked in and moved on quickly. Rick, as always, was strong and amazing. Encouraging and patient he helped me through sock changes(no blisters this time!) and refueling. He kept the pace easy but made sure we stayed on track. He knew what the cutoffs were and pushed it so we would make them. We joked and laughed and enjoyed the beautiful day. The 35 mile turnaround point had a cutoff time of 8 hours and we had to push the pace a bit to make it. We arrived with about 20 min to spare, and a reminder that we had to get to the 42 mile aid station-7 miles away in just over 2 hours otherwise risk getting cut. Rick was confident we would make the cutoff, it was mostly downhill and 2 hours was plenty of time...
but the push to make the 8 hour cutoff had taken it's toll on me. I was suddenly really tired. I'd been doing good, eating a drinking at the stops, but the 35 mile stop did nothing for me. I walked away from there bone weary. The temperature was probably in the 80's. The next aid station was 3 miles away...the luau group...some ice, and beer for Rick then onward. After a mile or so, Rick was getting concerned, I was really beginning to slow down. Even on the downhills, my pace dropped to 13 min/miles. We had to average 15 min miles to make the next cutoff. He fished around in my hydration pack and found some Hammergel. That helped alot. Being tired I'd forgotten to stayed properly fueled. 5 minutes later, gel working, we picked up some speed and finished with a strong downhill at the 42 mile aid station in 1.5 hours. SoCal Trailheadz were everywhere cheering on clubmates , taking photos and crewing. There was so much energy there, i felt refreshed and ready to finish. 8 miles left and 3 hours to complete them. It was the homestretch and we would make it. If we finished under 13 hours we would get our finishers medals. After that it would be an unoffical finish and no medal...well after all that, I wanted a medal!!! An endless hot uphill and then the final downhill we crossed the line at 12:34. Rick celebrated with a free beer, hot potato soup and a coke. And I took a nap in the back of his truck.
Thanks big guy, i wouldn't have finished without your neverending and unselfish support. Your smile and your calm voice kept me moving...and yes, I had a great time!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

50 Miles of Training

Just a few days left before my first 50 mile race. Compared to the 50K, i've been sleeping remarkably well. Probably due to EXHAUSTION !!! 2 weeks ago I put in a 50 mile week, the miles spread over 5 days. The next week 51-ish, 17,16,12,6 with the majority of the miles in 3 days. Life took priority over the long runs, so longish runs spread over the week made up for it.
Rick and I finally got in a 20 mile run on Monday. It was a beautiful spring day. Temps in the low 70's and high whispy clouds. We started up the motorway off the Maple Springs trail, I wanted to do the hard part early, when it was cool, at 8. Fast paced hiking up, stopping to take a picture of a "bunny" on the trail, then a little bit of running to the "DeathStar". After a quick blister/sock check we continued on, pretty much down hill. Other than sore feet, I felt okay.
Part of my 50 miles last week included a 16 miler down by the beach. 8 miles of head wind on pavement without stopping. Then turn around and 8 miles back without stopping. It was a hard workout because of the continual running. No stopping at the top of a hill. No walking. Mentally and physically it was 16 miles of continuous "one foot in front of the other" and no real breaks. The next day, we met at El Moro to run 17 and I found out how hard the run the previous day had been when I could only get to 12 miles before quitting. I felt bad because I was denying Rick the miles he needed to get in, but I just could not go another 5. The remaining miles would wait until Sat.
So, the Leona Divide awaits us. As Rick wrote, it will be fun and we won't watch the clock. And he is absolutely right! From a TW to her TH, an adventure in the waiting...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Getting Ready to Meet Leona

I did my first training run Monday, getting ready for the Leona Divide. We ran 15+ miles in El Moro...groan....
Within the first 15 min of the run I slipped on a downhill, caught my foot in a rut and twisted my knee. After a few choice words and two or three tentative steps, we continued on. El Moro always does me in. All the hills, both up and down and the lack of shade. After over 4 hours on the trail we finally climbed out.
This was a test run for my new insoles and hydration pack. Insoles did their job, kept at least the balls of my feet from blistering. But the hydration pack is going to take a few more runs before I'm absolutely sure it's going with me to Leona Divide.
After the run I tried some Recoverite and today I feel really good!
I taped my knee with some Kinesio Tex Tape after it ballooned up at home and it's also much better. The tape is a miracle cure-all. On the SJT 50, it held the same knee together for 30 miles. Way better than a knee brace.
I'm also reading a great book on nutrition for runners, to help me fuel smarter for this long race. I stuck with Hammer products for the 50K and I think it worked for the most part, but for the longer races I have to figure out what's going to sit well in my stomach and keep me full without "problems". Still have a few weeks to investigate.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Date with Leona

My "date" with Leona is April 18th, 2009.

check her out

Sunday, March 15, 2009

SJT 50K Recap

We did it!! Woo Hoo!! My first 50K is a done deal! AND...not even DFL!
Rick, you did great, keeping me from running off and burning out, you knew that horsethief was there waiting...Your calm presence and strong even pace was so reassuring! This was a great gift. Thank you again.

We arrived at Blue Jay campground at 0630. It was still dark and we used flashlights and headlamps to get around. After checking in, it was time to start sorting through all the stuff we brought and make our final decisions on what to wear and carry along for 30 miles. Baz delayed the race for a few minutes, a handful of runners hadn't arrived, so he was giving them a chance to make the start. The turnoff to the campground in the dark is hard to see.

The first 10 miles to the Candystore felt good, we followed the "plan" right from the start...walk the uphills and run the downhills. It was hard for me to slow it down so early on. It was Rick's reminders that saving our energy will pay off in the end...and that we still had 25 miles left...tempered my desire to run up ANY hill!
At the first aid station(we arrived in a little under 2 hrs) we saw Steve and Annie Harvey. Annie was keeping the food table stocked and organized and Steve was giving the runners sage advice. His advice for me was to drink the water, not just carry it around!

Refreshed, we all headed back to Blue Jay to make the 5 hr cutoff at the 19 mile aid station.
We slowly made our way up the trail to the campground. Alot of loose rock and boulders to climb over. Our arrival to the campground at 4:07, was still well above the cutoff so we took a side trip to the van and restocked our supplies. I had developed a large blister on the ball of my left foot, and a slightly smaller one on my right. I put on blister bandages, clean dry socks and a completely different pair of shoes in hopes that it would help. We spent 12 minutes at the van.
On to the main divide road. We power walked the long uphill to the Trabuco trailhead. At the water station there, we were reminded that we needed to be back and check in before the 8 hr cutoff. We would have to run down Trabuco, up West Horsethief and back to the main divide in 3 hrs..with blisters...
Rick flew down Trabuco. I tried to keep up, my best was just keeping him in sight. We passed 3 runners. At the bottom of horsethief we came upon a familar face...Doug Malewicki! A brief chat and a picture and we started our long climb up. I've been told it's only 1.5 miles. I repeated that over and over to help get me to the top. At the top of Horsethief was another water station, a quick stop and back on the main divide. A combination of running and power walking got us back to the Trabuco/main divide aid station in 2 hours. 7 hours total of trail time at this point.
2.5 miles back to the campgound and the finish. We ran as much as my feet could handle. The downhills were murder on the blisters. A bit of a walk, then we crossed the finish line together running.
Physically, I was very tired and sore. My blisters were burning and my left knee was starting to stiffen. Emotionally, I wanted to cry...happy tears for the accomplishment, and tears of mental exhaustion, of having to keep it all under control for 7 1/2 hours.
Rick and I took a brief rest, I brought ice(the best thing i ever did!)and put a bag of it under my blisters. We cheered every runner that finished after us and when the last one crossed the line we took off down Ortega hwy to home.
See ya next year Baz!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

3 days and Counting...

This great picture is Rick the "trail stud". He kicks my butt up every hill and has me begging for mercy after our long training runs ;- )
The picture was taken on our LSD run to old camp Monday. It was overcast, threatening to rain but perfect for running 17+ miles. I'd never run on the Santiago Truck trail before, but I'd like to do it again. The long rolling hills were easy on the legs and the great views made for a very memorable morning.
So, am I ready for Saturday and the SJT 50K? I'm not having the nightmares that used to wake me up 2 weeks ago. Maybe that means that mentally I'm ready for it to be done. Physically? Now, i don't have many options, either run it or not. And I don't like to quit, that means I will go for it, and do the best I can. There is a cut off time of 5 hours at 19.1 miles and total cut off time of 9 hours to finish, so i will keep one eye on my watch and the other on Ricks backside (just because he is always in front of me...) as we run along the Santa Ana mountains.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Good turn out at Baz's place for the last of the WTRS race. 21K with the highlight section being up West Horsethief. At least for me, that was the section of the race that had me waking up in the middle of the night wondering if I could finish in under 4 hours! I'd run up Holy Jim-main divide-down West Horsethief-parking lot, about 14 miles and it took 4 hours. This training run, about 3 months ago included alot of breaks but i remembered feeling wiped out. And I remembered going down West Horsethief and being grateful I wasn't going up this steep trail.

The run started with a gentle uphill out of the campground. Rick, who passed me within the 1st mile of the run became a blur as we made our way up the ridge to the first aid station manned by

the so cal Trailheadz. After leaving the aid station, there as a downhill that lead into West Horsethief. I walked it up horsethief. Almost everyone in my pod of runners hiked it at a brisk pace, a few runners came up from behind, but most of them soon stopped running and hiked it also. So for about 40-45 min. we trudged up the trail getting the know the person in front and in back. At the top there was another aid station, again manned by the Trailheadz.

Up and down rolling hills on the main divide road then down Trabuco trail. I tried to make up time on my down hills. At one point I checked my Garmin and I was running under 7 min miles.
I think I passed 4 or 5 people during this stretch and if I didn't hit too many more uphills I could finish with a decent time.
As I entered the campground there was one really small incline before the finish, maybe 300 yards legs just put on the brakes! I could see the finish line but I had to stop for a few seconds catch my breath and will my self to shuffle over and finish the race.
Final time was 2:29 and I was grateful for that.
Rick had my camera and took some amazing photos, check out Baz's website to see them.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Training for the OC

I finally made it back to train with the OC Marathon group. After missing at least 3 or 4 weeks of the Saturday long runs due to the trail races I was curious to see what pace I could maintain for the 9 miles planned for today.
I'd been running 10 miles-from work to the HB pier and back-on a pretty regular basis. But my times have been horrible, and I felt that it was a struggle just to finish.
After a busy night at work I jumped into the car and tried to get to the group before they left. They took off as I was still getting my gear in order and I was about 3 minutes behind. It was a push as I tried to catch them. The run felt good. The air was clean and the temp. was perfect.
I never caught up with them, somewhere along Jamboree they took the high road and I went low and never saw them again. Using the Garmin to track the miles I turned around at 4.66 and headed back. My pace out was between 8-9 min/mi but I was feeling it on the way back, and my pace fell to 10. So I took it easy back, enjoyed the scenery and thought about next weeks WTRS 21K race. Final numbers: 1:30, 9.38 miles, 9.41min/mi pace. Thanks for the cupcake Nicole!
Happy Valentines Day everyone!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Ultra" Training

During my long run on Tuesday my mind drifted in and out of various subjects. 14 miles at what averaged out to be 11min/miles pace allows you alot of time to think. The most telling of my rambling thoughts was of knitting. Before I started running, I used to knit.
I had stashes of yarn hidden away in closets, boxes in the garage and under the bed. I collected patterns and knitting needles. Every ball of yarn became a beautiful handknit sweater in my mind.
Not knowing how to knit was a little problem, but I checked out books from the library and downloaded instructions on the internet. Soon I could knit scarves and beanies. The next step...socks and sweaters...actual clothing!
Here is where knitting socks and training for an ultra become one.
In 2 years of knitting, I never finished a sweater or a pair of socks. I think I had at least 7 projects going, and DNF every one.
Will I finish a 50K? Will I train hard enough? Do I have the mental fortitude to push on?
Or will the SJT 50K be like the first pair of unfinished socks in my running career?
I should be at 18 miles this week, yet I'm only at 14 for my LSD run. 17 total for the week so far.
Will I dream of knitting or running tonight?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Baz's WTRS 18K

About 100 hearty runners showed up this morning to run Baz's 18K trail race. At 4:41 am the sound of pouring rain woke me up...and I thought "no way I'm running today". But, there I was with the rest of the trail addicted, at 0730 standing in line to check in.
There was light drizzle throughout most of the run, nothing like running the Dana Point Turkey, weatherwise the temp. was good, but the trail was really wet. After trying to mince my way around all the puddles and mud holes for about 4 miles and losing alot of time I just gave in and slogged right through the middle of them. This was better until I hit a puddle the size of a small pond and sunk shin deep into squishy mud and nearly lost a shoe! About another mile along and I misstep and faceplant in the mud. I get up, wipe off my hands and take a few steps and fall back into the mud. My shoes weigh about 10lbs and now I'm looking for puddles to rinse off my feet!
My friend and co-worker Rick ran this race also, he was so fast I lost him after the first mile. He doesn't just run up the hills, he 'floats" effortlessly. I round a corner and look up this crazy hill and he's standing there as the unofficial trail photographer, snapping pictures. I ask him "how long have you been standing there?" "not long" is his answer, but looking at his watch the time difference is 20 minutes! He probably could have placed in his age group if he didn't wait up for me. Thanks!

So, despite the mud it was alot of fun. And at the finish line there were alot of people who looked like they had a good time too. Getting dirty, running in the rain it all makes for Magic...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Mt. Whitney-2009?

February is the month the Mt. Whitney lottery opens up. It brought up the question, "Shall we go again?". If we do make another attempt, will it be another easy 2 nights on the mountain or will it be the "do it in a day" madness that seems so infectious?
I enjoyed the backpacking, the night in the higher altitudes, the camaraderie with the other campers and the feeling of accomplishment after carrying the 40 lbs to Consultation Lake. The leisurely pace allowed us to take in the beauty of our surroundings.
If we try do the the same hike in a day, there is the added pressure of time, weather and stamina.
There is also no time to acclimate to the altitude, which was a big factor in reaching the summit last year.
We have a few weeks to decide.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Steelers in the Superbowl

The Superbowl is Sunday February 1. My Steelers are going to the show!
There will be no races, no long training runs and no hill training. Just me and the Steelers on Sunday.
There are only a handful of items that would keep me from running the trails.
Steelers in the Superbowl, well, that ranks as number 1.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Next on my Running Agenda

Okay, Calico is over. Now what?
After I reported in to Rick about the race, gave him the lowdown on how I felt, did I have enough training, would I do anything different? Everything was good, I probably could have pushed it a little more, but I had many things working against me before the run, so all in all, it was good.
"We need to discuss the next phase of your training". Got that sentence in an email. Wonder what that means? The next time we see each other, he casually tosses out "I've signed you up for the San Juan Trail 50K in March. You can be ready by then. Or there's Old Goat's a few weeks later."
7 weeks to get in enough mileage and hill training for a 30 mile trail race.

Here's the plan-we are both crazy to even consider this...
week 1-15 mile long run, 8 miles OC marathon training run, 5-6 mile el moro hill training, hill sprints.

week 2-17 mile long run, 8 mile OC marathon training run, 6-10 mile el moro hill training, hill work, recovery runs.

week 3-18 mile long run, 9 mile OC marathon training run, 6-10 mile hill training run, more hill work, recovery run

week 4-20 mile long run, 9 mile OC marathon training run, 8-10 mile hill run, hill work, recovery run.

week 5-20+ long run thru part of the course, 10 mile oc marathon training run, 10-12 miles easy, speed work.

week 6-taper week
week 7-taper week.

the runs are not in order, OC marathon trains Saturday, my long runs are usually Monday and I sprinkle the rest of the miles in during the week as I have time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Calico 30K Recap

The desert is beautiful this time of the year. The weather cool and crisp. And race day for the Calico Ghost town 30/50K was perfect.
As we huddled around the starting gate I started peeling off extra clothing. I didn't need my jacket, warm-up pants and gloves. The temp. was about 35 degrees with no wind.
I'd met up with Lauren (a fellow OCTR), this was her first 30K also, we had a few minutes to compare gear, take some pictures and then we were one our way.
The first mile and a half was road and downhill. I kept an eye on my Garmin to make sure I didn't start off too fast...Rick sent me at least 2 emails before I left home reminding me to watch my pace.
11min/miles. We rounded a turn and started up on a sandy trail. For the next 9 miles it was going to be mostly gentle uphills with sand. The first aid station (6.8mi) arrived surprisingly fast. We dropped off extra clothing, I didn't eat or drink there and we moved on. We'd run the entire way so far and it felt easy because the incline was so low, but none the less, it was an incline and I was worried if I kept running the entire way I'd burn out by the end. So I started running for 10 min and walking for 2. This worked well for me. A few steep hills I walked up and made good time on the downhill.
Then there was this slot canyon that was filled with rock...It was so hard to run it. I almost twisted my ankle twice. At one point after almost falling and pulling my hamstring I had to stop and regroup. It was not worth the injury to try and make up time, so I walked thru the canyon.
I think it was the 3rd aid station, there was a little goat! It kept wanting to run off after the runners, I wish I'd taken a picture!
The time and miles were passing quickly. No pain in my foot, quad or hamstrings. Just a little bit of soreness from my shoes. I'd decided to go with all Hammer products for this race. Gel, Heed, endurolytes and Perpetuum in an attempt to alleviate stomach issues. It was working. I wasn't tired or feeling bloated, a big improvement over previous long runs.
At mile 17 we reached a turnoff, with 2 men directing the runners, as I passed them they yelled out "2 miles to go". The trail went along the top of a ridge, and I could see the finish. But then the trail led away from the town up and down some rolling hills. I could see a handful of runners in the distance. Down thru the campground, thru the parking lot and finally up a REALLY steep service road before we entered the town. It was a nice downhill run to the finish line. 4 hours and 20 min. from start to finish. And I felt great! My goal was to finish. Finishing under 4 1/2 hours was even nicer.

Friday, January 16, 2009

You Can Always Walk...

The Calico 30K is just days away.
I've been fighting a cold, a sore foot and a temperamental left leg.
A quick run around the neighborhood last night was both worrisome and encouraging. The first 2 miles were agonizing. I couldn't catch my breath, my left leg-the whole leg-felt like one big cramp and my nose wouldn't stop running. All at an achingly slow 11 min. pace. I walked for a bit, and considered walking the rest of the way home, but that meant walking 2 miles and it was getting dark. Soooo I started running again, more of a crooked shuffle than run. I saw a trail that borders the park and headed off in that direction. A little out of my way, but dirt sounded better than asphalt. As soon as my feet hit the soft brown dirt it was magic. My left leg felt better and my pace picked up. The congestion in my sinuses cleared and I could breathe. The two hills at the end of my run felt easy and my legs were light. As I turned into my tract, I wasn't breathing hard and nothing hurt too badly. Very encouraging.
I realize that 4 miles is not 19, but there are still 2 days to heal.
And as all my fellow runners remind can always walk.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Runner's Purse

A few months ago I headed out to El Moro for an evening run. It was going to be a busy night, after the run I'd drive down PCH to Dana Point and run with the Fleet Feet people, with a Bart Yasso book signing after.
I dashed out of the house with my gear and took off to El Moro. The coast was beautiful, fog was rolling in and filling the canyon.
Where are my Asics?
no problem, i'll wear my extra pair of old shoes that i keep in the car just for these emergencies.
no spare? oh, that's right, i wore them a week ago and left them out to dry in the backyard.
I looked at my watch. I didn't have time to go home, get my shoes, run and still make it to Dana Point in time. Sadly, I drove home. Swearing I'd never get caught unprepared again.
Fast forward to today.
hmmm, my purse has been feeling a little heavy. time to clean it out.
l. Garmin Forerunner 301
2. Accel Gel-strawberry kiwi
3. Accel Gel-chocolate w/ caffeine
4. 1 tube of nuun-lemon chai flavor
5. promax bar-nutty butter crisp
6.Gatorade nutrition bar-chocolate chip
7. 21 safety pins
8. 6 non-pulling hair bands
9. a full size tube of sunscreen
10. a tube of zipfizz

no shoes...
but then there is still the gear bag in the trunk of my car...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Baz's WTRS 12K

After hearing alot of good things about the WTRS I decided to try the first race, a 12K.
Saturday morning was cold and windy up at Blue Jay campground. I'd arrived about an hour early and was greeted by a somewhat crazed Baz as he tried to organize the parking situation. Working with the Ranger he managed to get 150 runners parked, signed in and ready to run.
Thru the campground and up a singletrack we all ran. The trails were pretty rocky and I took my first fall early on. I immediately got up and kept going, afraid I would get trampled by the runners behind me! I could feel a little blood trickling down my leg, but with about 30 people behind me on a narrow singletrack trail it was not a good place to stop. On and on we ran. Up hills, down hills. Back and forth thru switchbacks. By mile 4 I found myself running alone. I caught glimpses of a pack of runners in front of me and I knew that there were at least 20 behind. The trail was well marked and I never felt like I was going the wrong biggest concern!
It was a beautiful run with great weather and enthusiastic people.
I believe there are 3 more races in the series and I highly recommend giving them a try. Just meeting Baz and getting one of his great hugs was worth the trip in itself.

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 Fun Running Goals

Like other runners, I have PR, distance and health goals.
Here are my "other" goals!

1. Buy more running shoes than 2008
2. Find the perfect mascara. One that won't run during a marathon
3. Learn to read a trail map.
4. Take a good race pix. My worst, hands down, 2008 Dana Point Turkey Trot.
5. Run and talk at the same time. It's more about not falling than not breathing...
6. Beat Benny
7. Run faster so the scenery changes more quickly
8. Run faster so I can run farther and get home at a reasonable hour. And not have to worry that search and rescue is looking for me.