Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Jo & Keith's Most Excellent Ski Adventure

What a wonderful day Keith and I had at Sierra-At-Tahoe today. The photo below is taken at the top of the mountain, with Lake Tahoe in the background.

We left home right before 6:00 this morning and pulled into the parking lot at 9:00. The car told us it was 14 degrees and since I can't stand being cold, I pulled on all my layers. Two base layer tops, one fleece pull-over, then my shell with the zip-in liner. I also put on my neck scrunchy thing, my hat, my gloves with my glove liners. Oh, and I had long underwear under my ski pants. As we were walking to the base lodge and I was carrying my new (heavier) skis, I was already rethinking my layers. But, off we went, down to the chair lift and onto our first run. We went down a long intermediate run and when we got to the bottom and to the line for the lift, I was already sweating. I never did strip off layers, I just unzipped my jacket and took off my gloves and kept on the liners and finally took my hat off. Keith said it was going to be 46 degrees there today but I was concerned because of it being 14 degrees when we got there. There wasn't a cloud in the sky or any kind of breeze at all.
We had a delicious lunch at the Smokehouse 360 at the top of the mountain. I had a grilled portabello mushroom sandwich with a salad and Keith had a tri-tip sandwich with onion buds. I had bottled water and Keith had a beer. Lunch totalled $35. When you add in the price of lift tickets, I wonder how in the world do families vacation and ski in Lake Tahoe? We left right before 3:00 and were back home by 6:00.
The snow was perfect! The lift lines were just a tad longer than I like. Most people seemed to be behaving themselves, considering it is New Year's Eve, but I do think I may have caught a contact high from skiing behind a snowboarder for a little while. :-/ I'm happy to say that neither of us had a fall. I came close just once. I lost my balance and was on one ski for a few seconds. Both of us had sore thighs when we left. The first day up of the season is usually a little tough on the body.

I don't think either of us will be able to stay up until midnight to welcome 2009. I have a running date with Christy (and hopefully Lori) in the morning and Keith has a golf date with Christy's husband. It is so great to live in a place where we can ski one day and golf/run the next. How lucky are we?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sunset Run

After working until 2:30, I just couldn't stand to stay indoors any longer! Can you blame me? Look what I would have missed:

Christy met me and Boomer at 4:30 and we were able to complete a five mile run on the Alameda Creek Trail. Nice weather, great company - what else could a girl want?

Keith and I are going to ski at Sierra-at-Tahoe tomorrow, just for the day. Should be FUN.

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

Monday, December 29, 2008

Short but sweet

See those nice hills in the background? Last night I had it in my head that I was going to go run around in them for 90 minutes this morning. However....... my bed felt really good this morning when my alarm went off at 7:00. And I had no friend meeting me at the trail head. (I'm not trying to lay a guilt trip on anyone, btw) AND I had a doggie cuddling under the covers next to me. So, I went here instead, at a much more reasonable hour (9:00), and did a speedy three mile run with Boomer before going to work at 11:30.

I ran fast for two minutes and a relaxed pace for one minute for the three miles. It felt GOOD! As always, I was happy to be out in the fresh, crisp air with my little boy. I know he needs/likes it as much as me.

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

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Friendship is the greatest gift of all

I always look forward to my Saturday morning runs with Christy! This morning however, we were happy to be joined by my high school enemy, um, I mean Lori, and her doggie Mikey. We met at the Isherwood staging area of the Alameda Creek Trail where it was a brisk 39 degrees. I wore some new Nike running tights and a cute Suggoi jacket, both which were Christmas gifts from my husband. Christy was wearing a super cute running cap that was a Christmas gift from her husband. And Lori was wearing a very nice Icebreakers top that her husband had given her for Christmas.

Why do I tell you this? Because I think it is absolutely AWESOME that our husbands give us gifts that show they support our passion - RUNNING! They acknowledge the fact that we are runners, that running is important to us. They see that we are committed to it. It isn't "a phase" we're going through. It's who we are. They know it's what we do! I think that is super cool.

Christy, Me, Lori

We saw lots of other dogs and women on the trail this morning. Naturally, the three of us did a lot of chatting and laughing as we ran along for a little over six miles. We stopped a few times to visit with someone that one of the three of us knew or to let Boomer and Mikey play with an unsuspecting dog, just trying to enjoy a nice little walk with their owners on this beautiful morning. A couple of dogs tried to join us on our run, seeing the fun we were having. Can't say I blamed them. We WERE having a great time. ;)

It appears the rain is going to stay away for a few more days so I'm convinced I will be getting my single track fix in this week. Because of this, I'm pretty freakin' excited!

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

Christmas 2008

Now that the dust has settled, I can reflect on what a wonderful Christmas I had with my little family. Sara and Loren (my step-daughter) came over in the morning for my biscuits and gravy. It's their breakfast request every year and they are never disappointed.

Boomer dressed up for the occasion. However, when I look at this photo, it appears he is saying, please make it stop!

Bella ran around until, in perfect puppy style, she plopped down on whatever she wanted, and passed out.

After all the gifts were opened, we hung out and played some games while Keith cooked a prime rib to bring to my mom's. We all went to my Mom's where my brothers and nephews and niece were there and we laughed and talked and ate for hours. My youngest nephew is a senior in high school and his siblings are in college across the country. It was nice to have everyone home for Christmas and be able to spend the day with them. My mom looked the most relaxed I've seen her on a holiday in a very long time. That was a comfort to see.
I hope everyone enjoyed good food, great time with family and friends on Christmas this year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

To each and every one of you

Love, Jo Lynn & Boomer

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pancakes & Puppies

My weekend started off Saturday morning with a great five mile run with Christy & Boomer out on the Alameda Creek Trail. Boomer wore his jingle bell collar and Christy and I were sporting our beanies and gloves. It was an absolutely beautiful, clear morning but only in the mid 30's.

After our run, we went over to my friend Kirstin's house for a very delicious pancake breakfast. It was a fundraiser Kirstin was doing because she's leaving for Africa on January 8th to do a four month internship for teaching. She made me chocolate chip pancakes and Christy had banana-walnut pancakes. They sure tasted yummy after the run. Kirstin's family has a Catahoula Leopard Dog, just like Boomer but bigger. Boomer's mixed with some kind of terrior we think, so he's about half the size of Fancy. It's amazing how much they look alike though.

After Christy and I scarfed down our pancakes, I had to get home to get ready for work. I had to work noon to 8:30. After work, Sara and I drove up to Citrus Heights so she could pick up her puppy which had just arrived from Arkansas! Her name is Bella, she's three months old. Her foster mommy says she's German Shepherd mix. Her siblings were the typical German Shepherd colors, Bella's the only solid black one. She is such a little sweetheart. This is Sara's first dog. She came over today so Boomer could meet her. I think Sara's just a little overwhelmed. She is a nanny five days a week and she says taking care of babies/kids is A LOT easier than a puppy. Babies wear diapers on their butts and they can't move unless you pick them up and carry them. Once you put them down, they stay put - you don't have to chase them around. And kids, well, they don't move as fast as a puppy can so you can catch them quicker. I know she'll adjust though. I can see how much she already loves Bella.

This morning, while I was having my first cup of coffee, my next door neighbor Jerry and his daughter Savanna came over with a puppy too! Her name is Sophie and she is three or four months old.
Jerry had to put his 14 year old Australian Shepherd, Mariah, to sleep last month. Mariah was my very first running partner. Sophie's foster mommy said she is Australian Cattle Dog mix. She and Boomer wrestled for quite a while. I think she wore Boomer out. It was sure fun having these little girls in the house today.
At least Boomer got some exercise with Bella & Sophie. I was too tired to go for a run this morning and it's cold and raining anyway. I think my Wii and I have a date tomorrow morning. Supposed to rain through Christmas.

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

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Slick Fashion Show

It's raining here this morning but Boomer and I needed to get out for a stroll before starting my day. For those that doubted me having a slicker for my doggie, here ya go.

Side view, hood down

Front view, hood up

Side view, hood up

And finally, top view, showing fine details (of duckies)

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Speed work

HA! It even sounds funny when I read it! But yes, I did speed work today. I know it's much colder in every other part of the country than it is here and I also know that I'm a huge whiner when it comes to cold. However, it was mighty cold this morning so I kept putting off getting out for a run. I finally made it to the Alameda Creek Trail at 11:00. Boomer was not going to let another day go by without getting out and stretching his little legs. Rain, he's not a fan of but I've learned that cold doesn't mean a thing to the boy.

So, back to the speed work (STILL sounds funny!) I warmed up for five minutes, running easy. I was still pretty cold so I decided to pick up the speed. I chose a tree and ran like hell until I reached it. Then I ran normal. Hmmmmm, that wasn't too terrible. I picked a shadow and ran as fast as I could until I reached it. Wow, I was starting to get kind of warm. I looked at my Garmin and started running easy for 40 seconds, then super fast (for me) for 20 seconds. After almost two miles, I switched to 30 seconds easy and then 30 seconds fast.

I couldn't get below a 6:02 pace but on the very last sprint, I decided I wanted to get below that. So, I ran as fast as I could and was able to reach a 5:25 pace. I almost died! Seriously, I did! But, after all was said and done, I realized it wasn't something I will never do again. It was hard. It was uncomfortable. I'm used to just cruising along at a nice easy pace when I run. I'm sure it will help me more than it hurt me.
Boomer was unsure of my behavior. Or maybe it was my heavy breathing again. He was probably waiting for me to fall down so he could check my vitals. He kept a close eye on me. Such a good boy. ;)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Because they said so!

When I was running with Christy and Lori on Saturday, I told them about this photo. This is Boomer checking my vitals after running up the hill last week. I didn't post it, but they both advised me to do so.

It's raining here this morning and it's COLD so I'm not going to get a run in. It's me and my Wii today. I'll have to take Boomer for some type of a walk though because he won't even go in the backyard to pee when it's raining. Yup, I have a rain jacket for him for our walks. Hmmmm, another photo op?

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

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Second chances

Boomer and I met Christy at the Isherwood staging area of the Alameda Creek Trail for a (brrrrrrrrr) six mile run this morning. I hadn't seen her since Thanksgiving morning so I was sure looking forward to it. It's so relaxing, running with her. She always keeps me at a steady pace. It was 47 degrees but the sky was clear as could be. The breeze on the way back was pretty chilly. We had good conversation though so that helped.
About two miles into our run, my old high school friend Lori and her doggie Mikey met up with us. Boomer and Mikey had a ton of fun running around, chasing each other.
Okay, in all honesty, Lori is not my old high school "friend." I actually refer to her as "my high school enemy." The funny thing is, neither of us can remember why we didn't like each other though. Four years ago, I got a job at Trader Joe's. I knew there was a girl named Lori that worked there, but I didn't see her until I was working there for a little while. We had a meeting one night and when I walked in the room, I heard someone say, "I knew someone named Jo Lynn once. I think it's the same girl." As soon as I saw her, I knew it was the Lori I didn't like in high school. We both acted like mature adults, working beside each other like nothing ever happened. One day I said to her, "I know we didn't get along in high school, I have no idea why. But, I feel we were placed here to work together and get to know each other again. I think we were given a second chance at being friends because we screwed it up before. I feel blessed." Ever since, we have been good friends. Lori's schedule doesn't permit her to run as often as me, so unfortunately, we don't get to run together a lot. But when we do, I'm always grateful I was granted a second chance at a friendship that was missed (many) years ago. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Them there hills

After running with Victoria on Sunday, I vowed to start working on hill running and speed. When I say I'm going to do something, I really try hard to follow through with it. When I go to bed the night before a run, I like to plan the run out in my head. So, last night I decided I was going to Garin and I knew exactly which hill I was going to run up. Here I am, ready to tackle the hill:

This is the hill I "ran" up. It's roughly 620 feet of climb and half a mile long. I started running up and when I felt I could go no longer I made myself run another minute. I walked for a minute and then ran for a minute. I did this until I made it to the top. It took me a total of 5.5 minutes.

Now, I know to most of you this is no big deal. But, to me it is more of a deal than even I want to admit. After I made it to the top I plopped down on my back in the middle of the road. Boomer was licking my face, checking to make sure air was coming out of my mouth. I was considering circling around and doing it again but I'll save it for another day. Victoria suggested I start with small goals. ;)

I will say I felt really great after I accomplished this. My lungs were hurting but I know this is all part of the conditioning process. The more I do it, the less uncomfortable I will be. It made every other "hill" on my run seem super easy, that's for sure. I felt strong all day too. I have confidence that if I keep trying, eventually hills won't be impossible for me. I ended up doing a 4.5 mile run. It was probably the best run I've had in quite a while.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Aaaah, the beauty of it all

Oh what a beautiful morning
Oh what a beautiful day
Oh what a terrible feeling
To know I can't stay here all day

I met a friend and her doggie this morning and we hiked and talked for a good two hours. Man, it's hard to come indoors in December when it's so darn beautiful outside. There's always tomorrow. :)

Until then.............

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Just because

Because I had dinner early last night so I could go to work at 6:00, and had a second dinner which consisted of brownies.
Because I've eaten almost an entire jumbo size box of Sugar Babies in the last 24 hours.
Because every Tuesday at 11:00, I meet a friend at a donut shop for yes, a donut (white frosted with colored sprinkles, please).
Because I will have another early dinner tonight and will probably not be able to resist any sort of temptation that lies waiting in the break room at work.
Because it was 45 degrees this morning and the sky was bright blue, I felt grateful for living here.

I ran a FAST, fat/calorie burning four miles this morning on the Alameda Creek Trail with Boomer.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Happy dogs and lucky girls

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to show one of my favorite parks to a new running friend and her dog. Victoria, aka (flirty 'n dirty), drove down to Hayward and ran at Garin with me. Since I absolutely LOVE this park, it was a thrill to show it off to someone that's never been. I really wanted Christy to join us but she had already made plans.
Victoria and Neko

Boomer and Neko

We met at 8:15 and I took Victoria on a seven mile "tour" of the park. As soon as Boomer and Neko were off leash they were running around and chasing each other. Neko was romping through the creek quite happily. They were each picking up sticks (or logs sometimes) and taunting the other dog with it until the chase was on. They were running circles on the side of hills. I think they enjoyed the cool weather along with the soft, wet ground. I like watching dogs play like that. Victoria seemed to enjoy the park and see the beauty in it that I do. The big, old trees that drop huge leaves in many different colors. The small, rickety bridges that need to be crossed as you run. The beautiful pond and even the old farming equipment. It was nice spending the time with her and chatting, getting to know her a little bit better. :)

I took her on just a small portion of the park and deliberately on flatter areas. This is because I was a tad nervous about running with Victoria as I know she is a LOT faster than me. We have been at events together and her finishing times are way before mine. This is because, well, I don't run hills. When I learned about trail running, I thought it was so cool because of being able to hike the uphills and run the flats and downhills. I am trying to run hills more though. I know this is how the faster finishing times will happen. It's always good to run with a more experienced runner when you can. I'm so used to running alone or with someone who learned to run trails just like me that I just get in a rut. So, Victoria talked to me a little bit about hill repeats and speed work. I'm (gag!) going to (blah!) incorporate this into my runs, (yikes!) starting now.

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

Sunday, December 7, 2008

REI Christmas Party

We had our Christmas party last night for REI. It started off with a big potluck at the store. About 75 people showed up. Everyone brought awesome food! Naturally, Keith and I brought a chocolate cake. During the potluck, there was a slide show presentation with pictures of employees doing fun and fantastic things. It is nice to work with so many people that love to do a bunch of different outdoor activities. Also during dinner, special recognition awards were given out to certain employees, by department supervisors. My supervisor started talking about someone in his department that always makes his day better, works hard at completing any task, and makes those around HER always feel good. I was shocked when he called MY NAME. It made me feel so special. I was very happy! A bit embarrassed, but happy. :)
We were all given a Christmas gift -- aluminum trekking poles, made especially for REI Staff. I know I see a lot of people using these for hiking when I'm out running. Maybe I'll end up using them if I go up Half Dome some day. It's very nice of them to give us a gift of any kind, I think. I will say this is an amazing company to work for. Everyone that works for REI, at least at my store, genuinely likes their job.
After dinner we went over to SharksIce for some ice skating and broom ball. I don't think I've ever ice skated before, honestly. I don't like being cold so it probably never interested me. When I first went out on the ice, I held on to the wall for an entire lap. After a while, I was able to make it around without stopping. By the end of the night, I was being pushed and pulled around by a lot of my friends. All I kept thinking was I didn't want to fall on my butt. I came close numerous times! It was great to see everyone outside of work and being silly on the ice. This is a picture of just a small handful of us:

This is me and Caeton. He was hired with me but ended up leaving during the summer to live in Tahoe with his dad. He showed up as a guest with an employee. I miss him so much. It was great to see him. I had a wonderful run this morning with a new friend of mine. I'll write about it tomorrow.

Until then.............

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pleasanton Ridge

I took my boy out to Pleasanton Ridge in, you guessed it, Pleasanton! I used to go here quite a bit but stopped going because the ground squirrels were out of control, which in turn sent Boomer out of control. And when Boomer is out of control, well, it's hard for me to enjoy a run. Today was quite enjoyable.
I let Boomer choose some single tracks to go on and I must say he made mighty good choices. He will choose a single track over a fire road every time. Sometimes I have to call him off the cattle paths because he's pretty sure we can run on those.

There are a couple of negatives about Pleasanton Ridge. There's no drinking water available. There's no potties once you leave the main staging area. And you can hear the traffic on Hwy 680 from most parts of the park. I'm used to being far away from noises like that. But, as I strive to do on an almost daily basis -- I was able to get my single track fix in.
Boomer now:

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

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Quad Dipsea Photos

1. Erik Skaggs,
2. Errol "The Rocket" & Graham Cooper,
3. Kyle Skaggs
4. Rick Gaston
5. No clue ;)

A day to slow down

Keith and I golfed yesterday at Callippe Golf Course in Pleasanton. Of course, it was a gorgeous day. Keith told me he had put a new sleeve of golf balls in my bag and when I got them out, I saw that he had decorated them for me. ;) I LOVE snowmen. Tell me this isn't cute!

Hole #16, par 3. Yup, I made par. I shot a 96, which is pretty good for me at this course.

I'm going to get a little run in with Boomer.

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

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Quad Dipsea

Because I don't like saying something and then not doing it, this is my attempt at a report on my experience at Quad Dipsea. Rick (365me) has an excellent write up about it, as he always does. He's SO good at reporting on events he participates in.
Basically, I was blown away by the talent I saw Saturday. I couldn't believe THE Graham Cooper was beside me, helping out runners, at the aid station. Errol "The Rocket", and Stan Jensen (Run100s ("Run Hundreds") - A Not-For-Profit UltraRunning Corporation) were there! I was there when Erik Skaggs completed his first and third legs of the race. He ended up setting the new course record. He beat the sixteen year old record by a mere 13 seconds. I saw his brother, Kyle Skaggs (ultraRUNNING Online - Skaggs Destroys Course Record at Hardrock) who was there crewing him. I've read about all these guys but to actually see them right there next to me and in front of me was way too cool.
I wanted to run this race this year but my IT Band had other ideas. I can't say I'm sorry I couldn't run it.

I have photos but good ol' Blogger won't let me upload them right now. I will post them later, when I can.

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