Monday, June 29, 2009

The winning runner. But first, the stupid doctor.

I went to a regular MD this morning to get my knee looked at. My appointment was at 8:40. She finally walked into the examination room at 9:08. The visit went like this:

Incompetent MD (further to be referenced as IMD): What's going on?
Me: I'm having a pain in my right knee.
IMD: Did you do something to injure it?
Me: No
IMD: What happened then, that it started hurting?
Me: I run a lot. Usually 35 or more miles per week, almost every day. I sometimes have pain in various places and just ignore it. I ran an ultra-marathon last weekend. I was able to hike the two days following the ultra and ran the third day. I can't really say anything in particular made it start hurting. I just started having bad pain Wednesday.
IMD: How long was the ultra?
Me: 31.2 miles
IMD: Isn't that longer than a marathon?
Me: Yes it is. That's why it's called an "ultra".
IMD: Did you twist it during the marathon?
Me: During the ultra-marathon? No, I didn't twist it.
IMD: Did you hit it on something?
Me: No. It has been suggested to me that perhaps it is my MCL?
IMD: Okay. Lay back on the table.
I lay down and she pulls out a tray for my legs to be able to extend fully. She does some movements with my knee to see which positions hurt. None of it hurts.
Me: It's not that knee that is hurting.
IMD: Oh, you said it was your right knee.
Me: It is. You are moving my left knee.
IMD: Oh, I am. That's MY right. (giggle, giggle, giggle)
Me: Um, yeah.....
She starts twisting my right knee and bending it to make it hurt. She asks me to bend my knee and put my foot flat on the tray. She proceeds to SIT on my foot and push my leg inward. This woman is pregnant and sitting on my foot which is still not feeling perfect since I sprained it a little over a month ago.
IMD: It hurts there?
Me: My foot hurts! I sprained that ankle a little while ago.
IMD: I think we should refer you to an Orthopedist.
Me: Mmm huh.
IMD: Let's get X-rays to rule out a bone injury.
Me: Let's not waste time and money on an X-ray. The Ortho will probably want an MRI since it is a soft tissue problem, not a bone.
IMD: You're probably right.

I have an appointment with an Orthopedist on Wednesday afternoon.

Now onto bigger, better news! Remember this guy????

Hal Koerner and myself at Miwok 100K in May
Well, here he is this past Saturday. He won the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. He completed the race in 16:24:55. Let's hear it for the man!!!

I was watching a handful of runners over the weekend, via my computer, competing in this most difficult race. Congratulations to everyone who stuck it out and crossed the finish line. I don't care how damn long it took you. YOU DID IT! The temperatures were blazing and the competition was fierce this year. You all should be very proud.
Until later.............

Friday, June 26, 2009

Can I Rant?

I am having some different type of pain in a totally different part of my knee, that started Wednesday at work. It's on the inner part of my right knee and hurts when I step down on my heel. I worked all day yesterday and was in quite a bit of pain. If I walk on the ball of my foot, it doesn't hurt. Unfortunately, I can't wear high heels to work. Well, I could, but it would be odd to say the least.

Today is the first day of a(nother) big sale at REI. I am scheduled 1-9:30. I've been icing and massaging my knee and I must say this morning it feels a bit better than yesterday. My husband laid the newspaper on the end table this morning for me to read my horoscope. He never does this so I thought it was funny and I read it. My horoscope for today reads, "It's one hassle after another, all day long. Better bolster it up with chocolate and something greasy." Interesting.

As the whole world knows, yesterday Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson passed away. I was saddened by both deaths. Keith and I went to dinner last night and even the waitress said how sad she was about Michael Jackson dying. Hello?! Farrah Fawcett died. She was such a beautiful woman and mother, very courageous and kind-hearted. She was loved by many and will be missed by many more. Granted, people didn't cry at the sight of her and faint at her feet but she was/is an icon none-the-less. I've had my television on for two hours and the entire news has been about Michael Jackson.

It's so sad that Farrah Fawcett's life and death is being put on the back burner. I feel so sad for her family right now. They need love and support too.

Goodbye, beautiful Farrah. You need not suffer any longer. Now you are truly an angel in heaven. Shine brightly, as you once did here on earth.

Until later.............

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Life after AI 50K

Thank you to everyone for your nice congratulatory comments about me completing the Angel Island 50K. To clear up some confusion, this was the 2nd 50K I attempted and completed. The first one was in September, 2008 - PCTR Skyline to the Sea.

I was a bit sore when I got up Sunday morning but I knew I would be better off if I didn't lay around all day. After we took Keith to lunch for Father's Day, my step-daughter (Loren) and I went for a three mile hike at Garin. I had to run down the hills (my quads were too sore not to). Climbing up some very small hills felt like a chore. But I was very happy to be out on such a beautiful day. And you know who else was happy about it? This little guy:

Yesterday, Loren and I, along with my neighbor Jana and her two dogs went to Sunol for a four mile hike. This big snake greeted us, about five minutes into our hike:

Izzie cooling off in a water trough
Bella and Boomer aren't into swimming, like Spike and Izzie are. I threw this stick in the pond and they both stood there while Boomer barked at it, trying to will it back to him. You can see the other dogs in the pond, swimming away, if you enlarge the photo.

Last night we took BART up to Oakland to watch the Oakland A's and the SF Giants play some baseball. Giants got beat 5-1. Boooooo! The food at the Oakland Coliseum is nowhere near the caliber of food at AT&T Park in San Francisco. All I had was a chicken burrito. Nothing fried, nothing sweet. Actually, that's a lie. I found some red licorice and enjoyed that. ;)

This morning Boomer and I went for a little 3.25 mile run at Garin. It's finally warming up around here. This just means we have to get on the trail a little earlier when it's cooler.

I have been stretching, rolling, and icing my legs. The outside of my knees were only sore on Sunday. Now it makes me wonder if it is indeed my IT bands or just my knees, in general. Perhaps they were just so sore from the hard pavement on Saturday. I don't know. I will be running more on flat (dirt) trails over the next couple of weeks and see if the pain flares up again. For now though, I can definitely say my legs feel great considering how much they hurt on Saturday.
Until later.............

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Angel Island 50K Story

Some people call it a "race report" and you may wonder why I call it a "story." That's because I don't really feel like I'm racing when I do these events. I prefer to tell a story, rather than write a report.

I was up at 5:00 a.m. and out the door at 5:50. I picked up Theresa at 6:20 and we were in Tiburon by 7:00. We purchased our ferry tickets, picked up our bib numbers and then stood and watched everyone else arrive. We applied our sunscreen and waited to get on the ferry for the 7:50 departure. The day was unseasonably bright and sunny with no wind to speak of at all. This made me very happy. I was thrilled it wasn't freezing.

Angel Island from the ferry
Me and Theresa on the ferry ride
We barely had enough time to go potty and drop off our bags before having to strip down and line up with the 25K runners and the other 36 50K runners. When I was waiting in line to use the bathroom, I heard Wendell say "nine minutes to start time." It was down to four minutes when we got over to the start. As usual, I lined up in the back of the pack and we took off at exactly 8:30. I didn't carry my camera for the first half of the run and all of the pictures from here on out were taken by Theresa because I "didn't feel like taking any pictures." This will all be explained later. ;)
The 50K consists of three different loops, completed two times. Each loop starts off with (typical PCTR fashion) a steep climb, however, this climb was steps. Lots of steps!! These steps had to be climbed six freakin' times.

The first loop was 9K. It ran along the perimeter of the island. It was flat with some rolling hills, and paved. Definitely runnable. We averaged a 12 minute/mile pace for the first loop, finishing in 1:15. My IT band started flaring up so I rubbed some Arnica into it and popped a couple Ibuprofen. We refilled our water bottles at the aid station, I grabbed a few bloks and we took off for the second loop which was 8K.

This was the middle loop and it was much more enjoyable than the perimeter loop. It was mostly single track dirt trails. Not a lot of the views like the first loop but the trails were beautiful. I felt like I was back home at Garin. If I wasn't doing 50K, I for sure would have been running all of this. I was so afraid I would crash and burn later if I ran so much, so early. So, we mostly hiked the uphill portions and saved the running for the flat and downhills. This loop took 1:15 also. I rubbed some more Arnica into both legs now, popped some more Ibuprofen, and again, refilled my water bottle, grabbed a couple of bloks and took off.

The third loop was called the summit loop. It was 8K and climbed to the top of Mt. Livermore. It too was mostly single track dirt trails. After getting to the top, we ran back down to the aid station and our time was 3:30. So far so good. We may finish in 7 hours! This time I drank some liquid electrolyte and grabbed a handful of banana chips I had brought from home. I took my knee brace out of my bag and had to decide which leg to put it on because both IT bands were SCREAMING at me. Funny Sarah said, "put it on the one that hurts less, it may still be able to be saved." Thanks! I put it on and hobbled away. We walked over to the bathroom while I shoveled the banana chips into my mouth and I think I had a cup of Coke handed to me by Theresa. Off we went for the second time around the paved perimeter loop.

The top of Mt. Livermore (for the last time)
So here we go, 16 miles behind us, 16 in front of us. We get to the top of the steps and begin running. I couldn't believe my IT bands were hurting so much. I started walking/running the best I could. Theresa was doing everything she could to keep me going. God bless this girl! I just kept moving forward. Running when I could and power walking when I couldn't. This fourth loop was the WORST. I was in so much pain because of the flat pavement and now everything was sloshing around in my stomach. It was during this loop that the photo of me laying on the road was taken. Theresa was talking away and I just decided I didn't want to move forward anymore. I just wanted to lay down, so I did. Hmph! When I would run, I would feel like I was going to throw up. Theresa kept telling me to walk 15 steps, then run for 100. Walk 15, run 100. I tried so hard to just get through this damn loop. Finally, mile 20 came. My stomach couldn't stand it anymore. I walked over to the side of the road and threw up. Aaaaah, mucho better. We got off the paved road and back onto dirt. I realized at this point we only had 10 more miles to go. That's not very much further, considering how far we had gone. When we got to the aid station this time around, I didn't want anything AT ALL. Theresa grabbed some Clif Bloks and fed them to me the entire fifth loop. I was in an extreme amount of pain but I kept listening to Theresa, encouraging me to run when I could. We just needed to make it through this loop before 6-1/2 hours. We made it in 6:20. I stretched my IT bands at the aid station, switched my brace to the other leg, took two more Ibuprofen and went up those steps for the very last time. You have no idea how badly I wanted to spit on every single step as I walked over it.
We were both so happy, we only had five more miles to go. I could really do this. We were actually going to finish an ultramarathon today! We climbed to the top of Mt. Livermore faster than we did the first time (37 minutes vs. 45 minutes), snapped a few photos and ran down to the finish line. We knew we were the last ones on the course because the sweepers were just steps behind us. LOL They were trying not to be too obvious but they were. We finished in 7:46 and had the honor of being last on the 50K results page.
At mile 28, Theresa finally said she was tired. She did not complain once, all day. She very easily could have finished the entire race in under 6:30 but she stuck right with me. She said she had signed up to complete the 50K with me and that's what she was going to do. She took all the pictures because she knows how much my blog followers like to see photos. Isn't that sweet? I actually said, "I'll just put a link to Angel Island's homepage for them to look at." She wouldn't accept that.
After the finish
Soaking our legs in the cold bay water
I learned a lot during this run. I need to run on flat ground more often. I should have run a little bit this past week. I can't avoid pavement any longer. I need to stretch and use a foam roller, even when I'm not hurting. I seriously need do strength training. I am stronger (mentally and physically) than I thought I was. I am stubborn. I am tough.
You never know how valuable a person is going to be when they first enter your life. It may take years to find out or you might get lucky and find out in a short period of time. Thanks a million, Theresa! I hope I will be there if you ever need someone to bark at you for hours on end!
Until later.............

Saturday, June 20, 2009

PCTR Angel Island 50K - DONE!

Race report tomorrow. I'm tired!

Friday, June 19, 2009

I think I'm ready

I went out with the family last night for my pasta feed. This is my normal routine, two nights before a race. Then the five of us shared three desserts. ;)

I had way too much coffee this morning (three cups) and no food. This gave me the shakes. I would normally run it off but instead I've been doing laundry, reorganizing some drawers, working in the home office, and pacing the floors.

Tonight I will continue to stick with my pre-race routine. I like to have grilled salmon with a salad and vegetable. I cook it here at home instead of going out. That way I don't worry about being poisoned the night before a race and waking up with tummy problems. Paranoid? Perhaps.

I have my clothes picked out and put on the bathroom counter so I can get ready in the morning without waking up my husband. I will be picking up Theresa on the way to Tiburon to catch the 7:50 a.m. ferry. I need to pack my bag with extra clothes and shoes for after the race. I have no idea how the weather will be in the middle of the San Francisco Bay tomorrow. The car is full of gas and my Fast Trak is in there.

My head is clear. My mood is positive.

I'M READY TO RUN...............

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What's going in my head?

I want to run!!

Walking sucks*

I have no energy

I'm not motivated to do anything I don't have to do

I want to run!!

My mind is spinning

I can't sleep

I'm getting fat

My clothes don't hang right

I'm bored

I want to run!!

The weather is perfect for running

I want candy

I'm tired


*I'm taking Boomer for walks daily

Sunday, June 14, 2009


After running with Theresa and Toni yesterday, I am now looking forward to my 50K run on Saturday.
Me, Theresa, Toni

If you enlarge this photo, you can see Alcatraz & Angel Island. The larger of the two, on the right side, is Angel Island. That's where we will be running. You can also see the Golden Gate Bridge, just to the left.

Boomer and I drove up to Oakland to hook up with Theresa and Toni. We got in their car and drove up to Berkeley to begin our run. We ran through Tilden, Sibley and Huckleberry Regional Parks before getting to my car again.

For some reason, this tree made Toni crave sushi! Don't ask me. LOL

There's Mount Diablo in the far distance. Just shows how big that mountain really is. I can see it from everywhere I go here in the bay area.

A (very chatty male) cyclist was kind enough to take this picture for us. Boomer absolutely LOVED keeping track of three women.

We were gone longer than we had planned, due to a late start because someone (not me) got lost. None of us had enough fuel so Theresa was tempted to eat a leaf that was the size of her head!
Why am I so stoked? I think we are going to ROCK on Saturday! Why? Because Theresa is strong on the uphills so she'll be able to talk me up them. And I'm pretty good on the downhills so I can pull her on those. We'll have to work together on the flat portions. But as of yesterday, I feel like we'll be really good running this 50K together. I'm super excited about it now. ;)

Now I just have to make it through these next five days without running. GAH! Wish me luck!!

Until later.............

Friday, June 12, 2009

Not a long one, but a hard one. What?

I'm talking about my run today.

I took the furry kid to Sunol today so we could go up to Mission Peak, the back way. The trail goes through the Ohlone Wilderness. This is the way the Ohlone 50K runners came down from Mission Peak last weekend. It's a much prettier route than Stanford. I'm not sure it's any easier but I really wasn't looking for easier, now was I? It is a bit longer too. And there is some very nice single track. WOOT!

Boomer is quicker than me on the uphills. But then again, who isn't?!

I can't tell you the last time Boomer has been on this trail. I haven't been here since last summer. He hasn't been here for maybe 2.5 or 3 years? However.... he knew around which turn coming up, the drainage pipes were going to be. He spotted every single one. Silly dog!

Here is the back side of Mission Peak. It just looks like a little hill from this side.

And look, they still have cows here! One of the babies actually copped an attitude with Boomer. He fell for it and took off in the other direction. As soon as we hit this section, which is at the base of the summit, the wind from the west was super strong. Made me very happy I came up the way I did.

We finally made it to the top. Here we shared a bag of Clif Blocks before turning around and heading back down.

No Boomer in front of me anymore. He is much slower than me on the downhills. LOL I had to keep waiting for him. I'm not sure if it's the gravel on this section or that he just doesn't like downhill. Or perhaps he's tired by this point.

I love all of the old beautiful trees on this trail. You just don't get this when you go up the front of the mountain.

Tomorrow is a longer run with Theresa and Toni. Yippeeeeeeee!
Until later.............

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Did I tell you?

I'm signed up for this 50K: Angel Island (Jun 20). Yah, that's a week from Saturday.

With all the other stuff going on, I think I forgot to mention that I have signed myself up. I am taking a victim with me too. (haunted laugh noise) Theresa agreed to keep me company on this run. She, like me, has run one ultra-marathon prior to this one. We are both a little nervous about the 8-hour time limit. The cut-off is 6.5 hours at the 42K (26 mile) mark. I've completed a trail marathon in under six hours (barely) so I have faith we will pull it off. The elevation gain isn't terrible, at 4,070 feet.

I am going to do a long run tomorrow (still deciding where) and on Saturday I will be meeting Theresa and her friend Toni in Oakland. We'll be doing another long run along the Golden Hills Marathon course. Then it's the ever dreaded TAPER! Have I told you how much I despise tapering? Huh, have I? Although, thinking back to Diablo (last Saturday), I did no tapering at all. I had that really bad week prior and ran more than I should have (34 miles) because, well, I had to run to stay from going completely crazy. I must have been very tired going into the Diablo 25K. More tired than I knew.

That's it for now.

Until later.............

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Goodbye Cows (and a Dad Update)

Here's something I'm not used to seeing at Garin:

Six trucks parked just inside one of the entrances. They were here to collect the cattle and take them to Colorado to "fatten up" before going to slaughter. So sad. As everyone knows, I love seeing the cows at Garin. I told these truck drivers I wouldn't be mad at them, since they weren't taking the cows directly to their death sentence.

Boomer and I continued on our little four mile run. We didn't see any cows on our trails but we did enjoy the beautiful park, just the same.

Then I picked up my brother and headed up to San Francisco to see our dad. We stopped and had lunch along The Great Highway, by The Cliff House. After lunch we walked around a little bit and took some photos.

Ocean Beach:

We finally decided we needed to do the inevitable, take Steve back into the hospital. As soon as we walked in, he said "that feeling" was coming over him. He immediately went over and got some water as I stood and laughed at him. He ended up being totally fine.
My dad is in a private room. No beeping machines. Less tubes are coming out of his body. He's walking three times a day, down the hall and back. He got to have a shower and a shave today. He looked much better. I brought some photos of my family to show my dad. I also brought graduation pictures of my niece and nephews that my dad has never seen. One of my three brothers, for reasons different than my own, has not talked to my dad in probably closer to 30 years. Consequently, my dad has three grandchildren he has never met. He was very emotional when he looked at the photos.
He has missed out on a lot in his life. I see he realizes this now. I can try to make sure the remaining years of his life will be filled with a little more happiness. I think at this point, a little can go a long way.
Until later.............