Thursday, April 30, 2009

Crazy 8's

I was tagged by RunningLaur at When I get a little, run run run.... about (over) a week ago for Crazy 8's. I feel terrible it has taken me so long to finally participate. Just a little note about RunningLaur. She recently warmed my heart by taking a nice trail run and saying it was because of following my blog and seeing how fun it looked. I'm so happy I have inspired one person to get off the pavement and onto the trail. ;)

Anyway. Back to the Crazy 8 thing. I'm changing the last question and making up one of my own.

8 things I'm looking forward to:

1. Mother's Day. Sara is treating me to a pedicure and lunch!
2. Saturday. I'm volunteering at Miwok and I will get to see some elite athletes and some friends.
3. Sunday. I will be enjoying a trail run with Christy.
4. May 17th. Big Basin 25k.
5. May 27th. My birthday. I can't wait to turn 45 and get it over with!
6. August 28th. Our next trip to Yosemite when I WILL go to the top of Half Dome.
7. July 26th. San Francisco Half Marathon. I'll get to meet Penny, RBR, Aron and I'm sure many more blogger buddies.
8. September 13th. Our annual vacation to Jamaica baby!

8 things I did yesterday:

1. Laundry
2. Went on a 7 mile trail run.
3. Went to the grocery store.
4. Made dinner.
5. Baked a dessert.
6. Watched Giants game on TV.
7. Updated my blog.
8. Cleaned dishes.

8 things I wish I could do/want to do:

1. Reach the top shelf in a grocery store. Or in my house for that matter.
2. Always wear my hair in a ponytail or a baseball cap.
3. Wear high heels or cute sandals without my feet screaming at me for days on end afterwards.
4. Sleep through the night. Any night!
5. Live on baked goods or sugar coated jelly type candies.
6. Hire a housekeeper.
7. Live on a farm with one of every four-legged animal there is.
8. Rescue every dog and cat on death row at a shelter. All shelters if I could.

8 things I am afraid of:

1. Becoming injured and then being told I can never run again.
2. Icebergs.
3. Empty pools.
4. Spiders. Any size. Hair or not.
5. Someone I love dying.
6. One of my animals dying.
7. Earthquakes.
8. Heights.

8 people I tag:

1. Marcy
2. Missy
3. Penny
4. RBR
5. Aron
6. Victoria
7. Abby
8. Stephanie

Have fun!

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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A different side of Garin

Boomer and I showed Zoe a grand time this morning at Garin. I took a loop that included some ground I haven't been on in quite some time. It's mostly a rolling gravel road instead of my beloved single track trails. We did a total of seven miles. The grass is getting so tall, Zoe ended up having to hop through it instead of run. They had a lot of fun together. Everywhere Boomer went, Zoe was right there with him. Do yourself a favor, click to enlarge the photo so you can see both doggies smiling.

But of course, I started and ended on my favorite Dry Creek Trail. I can't explain to you the feeling I have when I am running along this trail. Every single time. I'm forever grateful that I am physically able to be here as often as I am.

This was the longest run Zoe has ever been on! She did this (plopped down in my back seat) from the moment we left the parking lot. She's either going to be very happy to see her Mommy tomorrow night (and welcome the rest) or very sad to have her crazy trail running/hiking/camping life come to an end. We've been home for a couple of hours now and she's STILL sleeping.

My run today felt very hard. I had one of those "heavy legs" days. I felt like each one weighed 90 pounds. I ran very slow and couldn't quite get my breathing under control. It's so strange how every day is different when it comes to running. And there's really no explanation. Well, maybe there is, especially with women. :-[
Until later.............

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring in Yosemite

For those of you that don't know -- the photo on my last post was of the magnificent El Capitan.

We left home at 6:00 a.m. Saturday for our drive up to Yosemite. Keith's cousin had been up there since Thursday so we were joining them for the night. This was the view of Half Dome from our campsite. Next time, I will be going to the top of that rock. No doubt about it.

Bridalveil Falls on the drive in:

Trees in bloom at Curry Village:

Okay, I don't "hotel camp", but I got over "tent camping" a couple of years ago. So sue me! I still consider it camping. I cook and eat outdoors. I just like to be a little comfy when I sleep is all. And warm. Oh, and dry if it rains. And I like to stand up when I change my clothes.

This picture is for you Rene. I was thinking of you when I took it.

Our campsite was right next to the Merced River. It's so nice to hear the river flowing when you are going to sleep at night. The water was so clear and cool.

Dogs are only allowed on paved roads and paths. Sunday morning, Keith and I hiked from our campsite, up to Vernal Falls with the dogs. This is the way up to Half Dome. I SO wished we could have gone farther but no can do with the furry kids. It was a lot of uphill hiking and about four miles round trip so it did feel good to be able to do at least that. I'd rather do that with my little family than be alone and go longer.

About half way to Vernal Falls:

At our turn-around point, Vernal Falls in the background:

After our hike we packed up and drove out about noon. It was a quick trip but I'm happy we went. It was a bit chilly, for my liking anyway. People were saying it was unusually cool. We have camping reservations in August and our kids should be joining us for that weekend. If I don't get up to Half Dome before then, I want to be sure I get to do it on that trip.
Upper Yosemite Falls on the way out:

It was nice seeing Yosemite in spring because of the flowers, the new growth on trees, and the flowing water falls. I'm anxious to see the difference come August.
I couldn't forget you RBR. I know how you love bridges:

I'm working a ton of hours this week, preparing for our HUGE sale that starts Friday. Wednesday and Sunday look like the only days I'll be able to run. I'm volunteering at Miwok 100 on Saturday. If I'm lucky I'll be able to do ribbon checks or sweep at the race. That would be cool!
Until later.............

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Just a teaser

Yosemite cannot be described as beautiful. It is much more than that. I took many pictures. Went on a heart-pumping hike and a lot of nice walks with the dogs. Ate way too much way-too-bad-for-me food. (Why does camping always do that to a person?) Much to Keith's disappointment, we did not see a bear.

I will do another post about the trip, tomorrow night after work.

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

Friday, April 24, 2009

The love affair continues......

With Garin
I took Jana, my across-the-street-neighbor-with-two-doggies, out for her very first trail run this morning!! We did 4.5 miles and she did great. She and I have hiked together and she showed an interest in trail running so I gave her a taste. I warned her about how addicting it can be. She said afterwards that she really enjoyed it and she felt very good. ;)
I am dog-sitting a Jack Russell Terrier named Zoe, she weighs about nine pounds. She kept up with all the big dogs today. Here they are, patiently waiting for Jana to open the gate so they can run like heck.

I can't begin to tell you how marvelous it felt to be out on the single track trails again. This was my first run since Diablo. It was a cool 51 degrees at 7:00 this morning. Go figure! We're having a major cooling trend here in the bay area this weekend. LOL

I was here on Easter Sunday and everything was beautiful and green then. Not even two weeks ago. Now look how much brown there is on the hills. Still pretty though.

Keith and I are going up to Yosemite tomorrow morning, with the dogs, and we will be camping overnight. Yes, I'm bringing my running shoes. AND MY CAMERA!
Until later.............

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Life after Mt. Diablo

I'm still on cloud nine from Sunday! I love looking through the pictures and reliving the run over and over. First thing Monday morning, I took Boomer to the Alameda Creek Trail for a two mile walk. I went for another two mile walk that night. Same thing for yesterday. My quads are a little sore but nothing that would keep me from doing anything at all. As a matter of fact, today I golfed with Keith and we walked the course. And guess what? KEITH GOT A HOLE-IN-ONE!!! I'm so happy I was there to witness it. I'm so proud of him! It's his very first one. The odds of an amateur golfer getting one is 1 in 12,750. Woot, woot Keith!

I've been thinking about how physically good I felt on Sunday and I wanted to share with you all, some good choices I made, prior to the marathon, that I believe allowed that to happen.

Boiron USA - Products - Sportenine®
I took one of these right when I started and then one every two hours. No muscle cramps, aches, fatigue, etc. One lesson I learned though. Don't keep them anywhere near your self-dissolving electrolyte tablets. Why? Well, you see, these are about the same size as electrolyte tablets, and you don't want to chew on electrolyte tablets. Have you ever? OMG, the whole thing comes flying out of my mouth and I watch it continue to fizz in the dirt. Blah!

REI Dry One Polypro Liner Socks at
No, they don't HAVE to be from REI but, sock liners definitely saved me from getting a single blister. I got a honkin' blister in my first 50k back in September. It was majority downhill. I know what goes up must come down so climbing 8,000 feet on Sunday was going to require me getting back down. When I took my shoes and socks off, my feet looked like I just got a pedicure, they were so pretty. I know for a fact I would have been blistered up, especially with my feet swelling from the salt intake and sweating from the heat.

REI OXT Pulse Tank Top - Women's at
Okay, this you have to get at REI. I bought this top at the last second, the day before the marathon. I knew it was going to be hot and when I picked up this shirt and felt how incredibly light it was, I knew it would be the perfect top for Sunday. All day long, I couldn't even tell I was wearing a top. And when I dipped my head in the faucet and drenched myself in the creek, it dried so fast! Good thing too, seeing as mine was white. LOL

Kafka's Kool Ties // HOME PAGE
I put this on about an hour into the race. I followed the directions, as far as turning it often so the outside becomes the part next to your neck. Every time I did this, aaaaaah, a little cooler I would get. I soaked it whenever I got a chance, at least at every aid station. I know some people will wear a bandanna and put ice in it or just get it wet but what if you are not anywhere that ice is readily available? This sucker was a lifesaver. They have tons of different designs. I'm sure there's one you will like. They are $10 at REI.

I know these things made a HUGE difference for me. I hope you will use one of these ideas in your upcoming race, be it a 5k or a 50k. If you do, I'd like to hear how it worked for you.

I'm working tomorrow morning so Friday will be my first run since Sunday. I'm dying to get back out, believe me!

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

Monday, April 20, 2009

Diablo Marathon Story

If you would rather just see photos, fast forward through this post and then move directly on to the post below this one. If not, sit back with your cup of coffee or your glass of wine and enjoy! This course was AWESOME! Not a lot of repeats which was great. Full of surprises. Some good, some not so much.

I woke up at 4:15, had a couple cups of coffee, did some stretching and was on the road at 5:15 for my hour drive. I hit the pee pee room at the parking lot then went to check in with the beautiful Victoria, and get my number. I said hello to a few familiar faces, introduced myself to Theresa (a fellow PCTR regular) and stood in the back of the group at the starting time of 7:00 a.m. I was so far back, I was having trouble hearing what Wendell had to say. As soon as the crowd starting moving forward, I did too. In typical PCTR fashion, the run started off with a climb. A HUGE CLIMB. Eight miles up, almost 4,000 feet!!! This shows where we started, way over by the rock quarry.

I was happy to see single track, in the shade. For 7:00 a.m. start, you could already feel the heat coming over the mountain. I kept hearing people say, "it's going to be a hot one." We knew this, didn't we? The shaded single track, after a couple more hours, was still 90 degrees.
Theresa and her friend Toni caught me and I hung with them for a little while. I got to the first aid station (Juniper) and Victoria was there with a big hug for me and she refilled my hydration pack. For the life of me, I couldn't tell you what I ate. I know it doesn't matter to you but it's driving me crazy that I can't remember. She told me it was 1.75 miles to the summit and the next aid station. I took off and headed on up to the summit. Theresa said she felt like she had a blister on her heel (new shoes). I had some "second skin" packs with me so I gave her one to put on. It was very steep on this section. You know the kind of steep when you step in front of yourself and your foot slips backwards? It was THAT steep for quite a bit of it. You could reach out and touch the ground IN FRONT OF YOU, not underneath you. These first eight torturous miles took me three hours. Here I am at the top:

The next four miles, we can actually call blissful. Yup, blissful. It was downhill. Runnable downhill. This I could do. But, wait. After a mile or so, I notice runners coming toward me. Hmmmm. Okay, so I have to come back up this. I just kept gleefully running down. And down. And down. And runners kept coming toward me, moving slowly I might add. I was smiling at everyone I saw. I was happy. I was running downhill. I knew I would eventually have to go back up but it didn't really sink in, how much UP it was. I hit the Rock City aid station where I filled up on ice and water and had a PB&J sandwich. I went down the trail to the marathon turn-around point and went back to Rock City aid station. I sat down in a chair for just a minute, took a salt capsule, one Advil and grabbed a huge handful of Ruffles. As I was leaving, some little kid in the campground (yes, we were running through campsites where people were sitting in the shade, grilling yummy smelling food) says "ooooh, chips?" I said, "yup, you come out here and run 26 or 50 miles, your choice, and you too can eat all the Ruffles you want to." I left for my journey back up the hill. All but this little part seemed to be uncovered and in the direct heat of the middle of the day.

I climbed on up. And up. And up. I really wanted to climb into this rock. It looked cool and comfy. But, I didn't. I kept climbing. And climbing. Getting more and more frustrated with the heat. I felt like I was getting nowhere. Nowhere at all. Every time I glanced at my Garmin, it had only changed by .10 mile.
But then I saw Rick. He was literally hopping down the trail. We took a picture of each other taking a picture of each other. I remembered that just a little while before, I was the one hopping down this trail. It gave me strength. I moved forward. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I made sure each step was moving me forward, not backward in any way. I stopped if I needed to and ran when I could. I was seriously considering stopping at the next aid station (mile 16) and calling it a day. I wanted to keep going. My heart was in this. If it wasn't for the heat, nothing bothered me. I felt very strong, physically. Nothing was hurting at all. I was drinking tons of ice water, taking salt, a few Advil for preventative purposes. I couldn't make the sun go away though.

Right when I was approaching the Juniper aid station, again running through a campsite, I spotted a water faucet. "Glory, Hallelujah!" I ran over to it, took my hat and sunglasses off and put my head directly under the running water. It was extremely cold and I expressed my satisfaction in a clear, loud roar! I had been given life once more. I skipped into the aid station, stocked up on ice and water, chatted it up a little with the volunteer, got my running instructions and took off once again for the summit. Yes, once again, I had to climb up to the top of the mountain. However, with this new life in me, it was not as difficult as the first time. But, as this picture shows, it was just as steep and rocky as the first time.

And as hot!

But, when I got to the top, I was in a great mood. Because I knew it was all downhill from here, right? Right? That's what I was told. All downhill. Technical, even. I can do downhill like a lot of people can't. Bring on the downhill. So, 18 miles down, I happily began my descent. My happiness comes to a complete halt at mile 19! What sick F&#K puts a monster size hill at mile 19 of a marathon like this one? Tell me who! OMG! I'm so over these f&#*ing climbs. You hear me? I'M OVER CLIMBING ALREADY! F&#K! That was exactly what was going through my mind. But, up I went. I don't know how long the hill was or how long it took me but it seemed to take forever. At last, at the top. Sweet downhill single track. I'm singing again. Britney Spears' "Toxic" comes on and I am running once again.

It's amazing how many times my mood changed during this run. Just like the course - up, down, up, down. Hence this big smile at mile 20. This darn pine cone is almost as big as my head!

Then mile 22 came. Oh, mile 22. On paper you look so nice but in person you SUCKED. You sucked everything out of me. It was now my feet that were requiring attention. Nope, they weren't sore. No blisters, no toenail pain. They were on FIRE. FIRE, I tell you. I pulled off the trail and sat down. I was actually contemplating taking my shoes off so my feet could breathe. I figured running barefoot would have to be a better choice. Seriously! That's what I was thinking. HA! Can you imagine? OMG. People, not runners, just regular (normal) people were hiking up the trail so once in a while I would ask them how much further it was to the parking lot. My Garmin couldn't be 100% accurate, could it? I was running low on water. The summit was the last aid station I would see before heading the eight miles to the finish. My shoulders and arms were getting sunburned and the sun was feeling intense on them. I had a solution. I would put water in my mouth, swish it around, swallow just a little then dribble the rest on my shoulder. That way I could drink and wet my skin. Suddenly a couple approaches me and tells me there is a cool creek just up the trail a bit. WHAT? FOR REAL? I am so there!!! I go as fast as I can for a few minutes. I stop. I listen. I hear running water. Can I hear another "Glory, Hallelujah?!" I go fast again. Then this:

I STAND in the creek (after pushing an older couple out of the way - sorry) for probably five minutes just soaking myself. I was using my hat as a bucket. Every bit of me was absorbing the ice cold creek water. The couple asked what i was doing so I filled them in a little bit. They were impressed, especially with the fact there was a 50-mile run going on in this heat. He was nice enough to take the picture of me. After this great ice bath, I had 2.4 miles to go and I had not a care in the world. I knew without a doubt I would make it and I would be fine. I was hopping over rocks on the trail like they were nothing. I took a wrong turn and didn't even care. I took a picture of myself when I had 1.75 miles to go. Now you know why I looked so fresh and not sweating in that picture. I was happily running along the rolling trail. When I saw the finish line in the distance, I was surprised it was over so soon. I ran through the cones with my hands held above my head as I heard Victoria calling my name. It was so damn great! She kept telling me how fresh I looked. Well, I was. That creek. I owe a lot to that creek.

And I owe a lot to my friends and family that sent me encouraging texts all day long. Penny at
Planet Ynnep Running started her text messages at 4:30 in the morning and didn't stop until I was done. She was sending pictures and making me laugh all through the day. Thanks Penny! Christy sent me a couple of very nice encouraging messages. Thanks girl! HSE Lori called me when I was heading into Rock City and said she was praying for me. That prayer paid off, I'd say. My husband and daughter were helping me out too. I love you guys! Thanks for being so supportive of my crazy addiction. Physically, I may have been alone out there. But I sure didn't feel alone at all.
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!

Diablo PHOTOS **Updated 04/23**

Monster hill at mile 19. Photo courtesy of Theresa Hatch.

Theresa's first glimpse of the hill at mile 19.

My main objective - reach this today:

One hour into the run:

Sorry but I don't remember the name of all the trails for these photos. I will post them as I figure it out. Enjoy the photos anyway, they're pretty. ;)

Juniper Trail

Juniper Trail
Close to the finish