Saturday, January 30, 2010

Brazen Racing - Bear Creek 10k Trail Run

These are my shoes at the end of the run today. Poor things, they were put through a lot.

Let's back up a little, shall we?

Aron, aka runner's rambles, signed up to do Bear Creek Trail Half Marathon/10K/5K Winter Edition a couple of weeks ago and asked me if I'd like to sign up too. She was going to do the half marathon but I only wanted to do the 10K. I met Katie in a park-n-ride in Walnut Creek and we waited for Aron to show up. Once she did, we all drove over to Briones Regional Park East Bay Regional Park District in my car.

Aron, Katie, Me

Their race started 20 minutes before mine so I wished them well and off they went!

The race directors sent us several emails over the past week, warning us of the impending mud and course changes that had to be done because of it. It rained here pretty good last night so I guess that was why the mud was a very wet mud. I understand Katie actually got her shoe sucked off by the mud. I know mine almost did, more than once.

I couldn't help but laugh at all the runners as they tried to get up this hill. It was between mile one and two of the 10K course. It was the worst of all hills! I think this mile alone took about 30 minutes to complete. A lot of people had regular road running shoes and I saw several that looked brand new.

Top of the hill, still smiling! Actually, I was laughing. I was having such a blast, even though I was by myself.

The views were incredible. You could see miles in every direction.

The course itself was mostly on open fire roads (not my favorite) but there were some areas that were covered. I imagine in the summer it can get pretty darn hot out here. A couple of my friends ran this same race last summer and it was over 100 degrees. They said it was pretty miserable.

Still smiling!

Even when the road was flat, it was still difficult to run because of the mud. I had to watch every step I placed. I never knew if it was going to sink or be firm. The course was very well marked but it is challenging to have to watch your footing and also look for colored ribbons to follow. I had to call two women back down from a hill because they totally missed a turn through a cattle gate.
After the second aid station, we had about a mile to go. FINALLY, we ran into some single track trails. And boy was it pretty!!

I was doing pretty good through here, it was mostly flat and I was able to run just off the mud part. I was flying by people here. We got to the six mile marker. YES, 2/10 of a mile to go and I HAVEN'T FALLEN yet. With 1/10 of a mile to go, BAM, down I go. Crap! It was on a downhill single track that was super slick. I started sliding, then I did the splits and slammed down on my left side with my hand breaking my fall. I bounced back up and was fine but I couldn't believe I fell that close to the finish.
Then came the reward. Yup, they had donuts at the finish. Yippee! And they had my favorite kind - white frosting with sprinkles. How lucky am I?!

Before the race started I was thinking I would probably finish in 1:30 because I usually average 15 min/mile on trails. I knew after the second mile that wasn't going to happen. I could only hope to be finished in under two hours. My finish time was 1:50. I'll take that!
I changed into some dry pants and shoes and waited for Aron and Katie to finish the half marathon. I was thrilled to see them come around the corner with HUGE smiles on their faces.
Fun day was had by all.
Until later.............

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Moving along.....

Just my luck. Last week I had four days off and it rained every single day. I did squeeze in that run on Friday, which was awesome. I worked the last three days, all day, and it hardly rained at all. Go figure. I was off today and when I woke up, IT WAS RAINING! Ugh. I actually went back to sleep and didn't wake up again until 10:30. I saw a break in the rain this afternoon and took off with Boomer for a run. We were able to get four miles in without getting too wet. I was very grateful for the four miles.
Tonight Keith and I went to a class at the gym. Yup, he's still going with me. This is week #3. And, get this - he went to a class on Sunday ALL BY HIMSELF because I had to work. Impressive, right?! Tonight I was able to do 44 push-ups without stopping. The instructor said we were going to do them for 60 seconds (as we always do) but I think I started before she started counting. It doesn't matter though, I still did 44 push-ups! Yes, I do them on my knees but I make sure to go all the way down, I don't cheat.
Tomorrow we are going to Tahoe to ski for the day. Another free ski day for REI employees. We have a good size group going from our store. Should be a lot of fun! There's a TON of new snow up there.
MED2010 Accountability:
01/23 - 2 mile walk
01/24 - 3 mile walk
01/25 - 1.5 mile walk
01/26 - 4 mile run, "24SET" class at the gym
Until later.............

Friday, January 22, 2010

Good stuff!

The boy and I got out for a 5.5 mile run today! Yeehaw!! We both needed that SO bad. He was sprinting from here to there and back again, the entire run. The ground was wet enough, just the way he likes it. I was so happy to be out having a good time and not being rained on. I parked in Niles and ran along the Alameda Creek Trail. Unfortunately, this is the closest I got to any single track trail, a tire track:

On our return trip, a cyclist came by and said, "we're going to get wet." I turned around and saw this:

Considering we received this warning a couple days ago, I kept Boomer moving along from that point forward:

I was running in shorts, a long sleeved tech top and a vest. At one point I was sorry I had the vest on, I was so warm. I was very surprised after having lunch, it started hailing! For Boomer's sake, I'm happy we were home when THIS happened:

Other good stuff:

I have gone to five classes at the gym in the past two weeks. My husband has accompanied me. Yes, this is AWESOME! The classes are a combination of cardio and strength training. The first class Keith attended, he had to leave after about 40 minutes. This week, he was able to complete the entire class. They do a test for push-ups, sit-ups, and squats at the beginning of the class. I am very happy to say I was able to do 32 push-ups in one minute this week. And I made my barbell heavier for the strength training portions of the class. It's very nice to have my husband's company in these classes and see him making the effort to improve his health.

More good stuff:

As I was running today, I could not, for the life of me, remember which ankle it was that I had sprained so bad last July. I had to look back in my blog archive to see which one it was. Isn't that strange? I guess my ankles are in pretty good shape right now.

MED2010 Accountability:
01/21 - "24SET" class at the gym
01/22 - 5.5 mile run

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

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A very Tri-ing decision

I thought I had it all figured out. I thought I had a plan. I thought I knew what I wanted. GAH!

Then I began thinking too much!

A couple of weeks ago, I sent an email to my friend Lisa (Lisa's Ironman Training Log), seeking encouragement to complete a challenging sprint triathlon on May 23rd. (Auburn, CA Triathlon - Half-Iron, Sprint and Duathlon*) In perfect friendship fashion, she gave me all the encouragement I needed. She told me I had plenty of time to train for this event but I really needed to work with my bike on the hills. No problem! I need to get some open water swimming experience as well. Bleh! I haven't been in ANY water since my triathlon in SEPTEMBER. Problem? Perhaps. But, maybe not. I know I can swim and I liked it when I was doing a bunch of it last summer.

I was "this close" to signing up for Auburn. I was reading about the swim course, the bike course and the run course. I was watching the videos and looking at photos from previous years. I began thinking that I could stay overnight at my Dad's in Sacramento the night before and maybe, just maybe, he'd want to come and watch me. Maybe I would finally hear "I'm proud of you" come out of his mouth. Then I thought maybe he would say no, he wasn't interested in standing around, waiting for me to come back into the area for a few minutes during transition. All these childhood insecurities started coming back up. Was I wanting to do this as a way of seeking approval from my Dad? In some strange way, I believe deep down, I was. I was having trouble getting these thoughts out of my head. Suddenly, I didn't want to do Auburn anymore. Why do I need to do an overnight stay for a little sprint triathlon anyway, right? It just started to become too big of an ordeal.

I figured there had to be something closer that I can do this year. So, I started looking at a few different triathlon calendars and I decided I would like to an Olympic distance triathlon this year.

I have decided on this Olympic distance triathlon in June: USA Productions Events*

But first, I will do this sprint triathlon in May: USA Productions Events*

Now I wonder, should I join a triathlon club, such as SVTC to help me with training?

Should I rent a wet suit or just buy one? Do I get a Zoot, Orca, Tyr, Blue Seventy? Full sleeve? No sleeve? I definitely need one because I have to start getting into open water as soon as the temperature permits.

*If you could help me make my links say whatever I want them to say, I would appreciate it!

MED2010 Accountability:
01/17 - 2 mile walk
01/18 - 3 mile run
01/19 - "24SET" class at the gym
01/20 - "Camp24" class at the gym

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

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I received an invitation last week, via Facebook, to attend a run and brunch this morning as a surprise for Aron's 28th birthday. This was before we ran Angel Island together so it was a little tough to keep it from her but I DID! Phew.

I was scheduled to work today but after juggling some schedules around, I freed up the day. I was nervous about running with Aron and her friends, thinking they were all going to be as speedy as she is. But, I figured if they were too fast, it would be no big deal - I'm used to running alone most of the time anyway. We met in a very popular parking lot in Danville at 9:00 a.m. and waited for Aron and her hubby Chris to show up. They ran six miles before they met up with us. Chris showed up first. Then we saw Aron running toward us. She looked a little confused when she recognized Tara (in the lavender top) standing there and then she looked at the rest of us and finally realized what was going on. We all wished her a happy birthday, gave her a hug then took a group photo before we took off down the Iron Horse Trail together.

At first we were in two groups of three, running very close together and chatting. Pretty soon we broke into three groups of two, still yackin' it up. At three wide, we were pretty much taking up the entire path! At 2.5 miles, Maritza (second from the left) and I turned around to make our run five miles. It was so great running with her because she and I seem to run the same speed. Not everyone runs eight minute miles! I was so happy to actually have someone to run with. She and I ran the 2.5 miles back while getting to know each other a little bit more. It was very enjoyable!

After everyone finished running, we drove to Walnut Creek for brunch at one of Aron's favorite restaurants. It was a very nice little place and the food was excellent. And the coffee was to die for, especially after running in the cold. There was even CAKE! It was very nice of Chris to pick up the tab for all of us. I was surprised and did not expect that AT ALL. Thanks again Chris! It was great getting to know a few of Aron's friends. I hope to "run" into them again. LOL I took more pictures but I don't want to steal Aron's thunder by posting them here. I emailed them to her. If you want to read about her day, keep watching runner's rambles for her to update her blog about it.

We are supposed to have rain for the next six days so as soon as I got home from Walnut Creek I took Boomer (and I picked up Bella) to the Alameda Creek Trail for some off-leash running. We ran into a few old friends and they were happy to see Boomer. We had a nice 3.5 mile walk/run. Just in time too. The sky is turning grey and the wind is blowing. The storms are coming!

MED2010 Accountability
01/13 - bike 17 miles, walk 2 miles, class (Camp24) at the gym
01/14 - class (24SET) at the gym
01/15 - walk 2 miles
01/16 - run 5 miles, walk 3.5 miles

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

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"MED2010" Accountability

After the Angel Island run on Sunday I got home just in time to shower and get to work by 5:00 p.m. to do inventory until midnight. Needless to say, yesterday I was in desperate need of a nap. A nice long nap. A couple of my animals were quite happy about this.

It rained here in the bay area last night but when I woke up this morning it was gone. This allowed me to gather up my two favorite dogs (Boomer and Bella) and drive out to Sunol Regional Wilderness Park for a hike. This made this little guy extremely happy!

There is nothing like the fresh smell rain leaves on the ground and the trees. The ground was very soft and the dogs had a TON of fun running all around, chasing each other through the grass. They burned off a lot of energy together and I had a blast watching them. They can be quite entertaining. It was a great 90-minute hike, I will say.

best buds for life
My commitment to "Move Every Day in 2010" is going GREAT! There were a few days when I honestly would not have done anything if it weren't for my commitment to this, so that makes me feel good. ;)
Here's how the first 12 days went:
01 - class at the gym
02 - hike 3.5 miles
03 - cycle 15 miles
04 - run 3 miles
05 - snow ski 5.5 hours
06 - snow ski 5 hours
07 - run 3 miles
08 - walk 2.5 miles
09 - walk 2.5 miles
10 - run 10 miles
11 - walk 2 miles
12 - hike 4 miles AND 30 minutes on an eliptical trainer at the gym
How are you doing?
Until later.............

Monday, January 11, 2010

PCTR Angel Island 16K (10.2 miles)

I signed up to do this event with a friend from down south but unfortunately, she had to cancel just a few days before she was supposed to come up. So, since she also knows Aron, she wanted to know if Aron would be interested in taking her entry. Yippee, she said she could!! This would be Aron's second PCTR event in less than a month. Read here for her report of the day: runner's rambles: race report: PCTR angel island 16k trail race

The last time I ran on Angel Island was my 50k last June. On that day I did six loops around the island. Yesterday was only two loops - the middle and summit loops. We took the ferry from Tiburon and were on the island by 10:00. Our race wasn't to start until 10:35. It was SO cold and windy. We walked around and hid behind buildings until after the 25k runners took off.

As we were waiting for the 16k runners to start, I asked Aron if she wanted to run this race her own way or hang with me. She said she wasn't sure but as she was answering me, I could tell she was thinking she wanted to RUN this race.

Each loop starts off with a steep climb up stairs that a lot of people walk. After that, I can say the rest of the course is runnable for most people. I started running when I could and hiking when I needed to. Finally I had to stop and re-tie my shoes. When I put them on originally, I had my gloves on. A little bit later I came upon Aron, standing on the side of the trail, waiting for me. I told her not to wait for me, I wasn't going to run the entire thing. She looked at me for a second and said "okay" and took off. I told her to "go get 'em!"

this is NOT Aron

In the midst of all this beautiful single track, there was quite a bit of rolling fire roads. As soon as I saw this part, I was happy Aron had ran ahead of me. She is so fast on the road and I figured she would be doing well.
Being as slow as I am, I began worrying about how long Aron would be waiting for me at the finish line, in the cold. I will say though, for me, I was running very well. I walked much less than I usually do. But, when I looked at my pace running on the flatter sections, it was anywhere from 10:00 to 10:50/min. I know I'm good on the downhill portions but not good enough to make up the time I knew Aron would do. I was actually considering stopping after the first loop and waiting for her to finish. I was starting to think of excuses I could use. I completed the first loop (5.0 miles) in 54 minutes. Oh! That's not bad! Okay, I'll do the second loop. Thank God I did. Look at this beauty I would have missed!!

It was super foggy but the trails looked SO cool on the summit loop!

I thought I did a lot better on the summit loop but actually I was slower. But, on a high note, I did get some gorgeous photos, right?
When I came down the last portion of dirt trail, onto the short paved section, I could see Aron waiting for me by the finish line, holding both of our green bags with our extra clothes. She had changed into her dry clothes and greeted me with a HUGE smile and a wave. She looked very happy. I could tell she had a great run and that she had FUN.
I finished in 2:16, averaging 13:something/mile. Aron finished in 1:40something, averaging a 10 minute mile. Yup, she smoked it and she didn't really push it hard or make a great effort from the very beginning. I am very happy with my performance. I ran more sections than I normally would. I didn't hurt myself AND my knee was PAIN FREE once again! Whoot! I think these shorter distance races are good for me. Look at this, I can still get out and do PCTR events and see old friends. With a new friend. Who knew?
Life is good. Real good. ;)
Until later.............

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lake Tahoe Ski Trip

Keith and I planned this little Tahoe getaway last week. Some ski resorts in the area offer REI employees a few free ski days each year. This trip was for two days offered at resorts very close to each other - Alpine Meadows and Homewood. We booked a room in Tahoe City so it was a short 15 minute drive to each resort.

Well, word got out that we had a room. Someone told one person and then he told one person and so on, and so on. We ended up having to get a bigger room with two big beds AND two roll away beds. We drove one of the kids up and he stayed two nights with us. The other three people just came up for the first night. It actually turned out to be a lot of fun with everyone in the room together. We didn't get a lot of sleep, I know that much. That's alright though, I would do it again if they wanted a place to crash.

Andrea, Sarah, Don & Ryan
Tuesday morning we all woke up at 7:00 to start getting ready. Amazingly, all six of us were ready and out the door by 8:15. We were on the slopes by 9:00.

We took a short break for lunch at noon and then went back on the mountain until after 2:30. I was the last one to out there. Everyone else quit, saying they had enough. I was still having a good time, my body felt good, so I went on some runs alone. Andrea, Sarah and Don drove back to Fremont that afternoon.

This is the first time Keith and I have worn helmets. We decided it was time. More people than not wear them. Not that I think either of us are reckless skiers, you just never know what can happen and it's not always your fault you lose control.

After a hot shower, big pasta dinner and a trip to a candy store for some chocolate honeycomb, all three of us crashed early that night.
Yesterday we were up at 7:00 and out the door by 8:00. We got to Homewood and picked up our tickets and a bite to eat. We were on the lifts by 9:00. I thought for sure we would be sore from the day before but we weren't. I seem to be skiing much faster this year. I am attributing it to my cycling. Why? Because I am getting used to going down hills fast on my bike so I'm just more comfortable with the speed and feel confident in my reaction time. That's the only thing I can think of. My confidence level did allow me to go down this, the face of the resort:

The views of Lake Tahoe from Homewood are breathtaking! The lake is kind of like the Golden Gate Bridge to me - I never get tired of looking at it It was simply beautiful, so clear and calm.

Our store manager hooked up with us at Homewood and we hung out with him all day. He brought baguette bread, cheese, salami and oranges to share with us. When we stopped for lunch he cut everything up and we had a little picnic. Since I don't eat salami I bought a salad and enjoyed the cheese and bread. It was a perfect lunch. Keith says we should do this in the future. It can be SO expensive to eat lunch at the resort. We called it a day around 2:30 and drove home. In a couple of weeks, three different resorts are offering free ski days for us. I hope I will be able to go up again then.
On a different note - we had an earthquake this morning! I was in the warehouse at work, on the second floor. It scared the crap out of me. From what I understand, the epicenter was quite close to our store. It was only a 4.2 magnitude but it was enough to shake the building and make noise. I'm not a fan of earthquakes. I don't like how they sneak up on you! Not cool!!
Until later.............