Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ohlone Wilderness 50K Trail Run

Christy and I went to Del Valle Regional Park this morning to see a few of my favorite ultra-runners cross the finish line of the Ohlone Wilderness 50K Trail Run.

The final four miles of this run are downhill. My plan was to get there early enough so we could go out at least those four miles and then run back, getting in a good (steep and hot) trail run before our 25K Saturday. I expected the first of my friends to come in around 2:30. We did get there early enough (started at 11:00) and my first friend came in at 2:38. Our running portion of the plan however, didn't go so smoothly.

We parked, gathered our hydration packs, applied sun screen, and headed over to the finish line area. From there, we started our Garmins and headed on up the road. And up, and up we went. It soon became a very overgrown, extremely steep single track trail. I knew it was going to be steep but I was really surprised how steep it was. In less than 3/4 mile, we had climbed 1,000 feet! That's really STEEP. Then we hit a fence. Uh-oh. Back down we went. Back down to the finish line area. This time I asked someone where the runners come in from. He pointed in the opposite direction. DOH! Okay, well that was a nice little two mile warm-up. Sheesh.

We, once again, headed up the road. The right direction this time. We had some very pretty views. Neither of us had been here before so we were enjoying all the new scenery.

Now we were heading up the four miles we originally had planned on going up. We continued up the road, that looked like this, for about a mile.

Why only a mile? Because we spotted this:

Fire road or single track? Hmmmmm. That's a no-brainer! Why would I stay on a fire road when I can run on single tracks and experience the shaded beauty they offer?

We did eventually get to the end of the beautiful single track trail and had to turn around and go back to the fire road.
Below is the road we came up.

But all was not bad because we saw Catra coming down the road at this point. She and I were able to catch up on our lives a little bit and then we ran in with her. She was finishing up 100 miles that she had started almost 34 hours earlier.

After that, we had some food and continued to watch the other runners come through. I was surprised to see Rick (365me) there. He was volunteering at an aid station and had driven to the finish line. I saw Kathy Davies come in at 6:38 and Sue Corrie at 6:51. They totally smoked the course. They both said it was the run of their lives. Woohoo! Then I saw my girl, Victoria (flirty 'n dirty) coming down the road. Christy and I cheered our heads off as she ran across the finish line in 7:15. Good job girlies!!! Congratulations to all the runners that completed this very challenging 50K today.

It was hard to believe, after all the time Christy and I spent out there, we had only run six miles. But, we had a great time regardless. (We always do!!) I had my ankle taped up. It felt good. Actually wasn't an issue at all. I did go back to wearing my Montrail Hardrocks because they are more stiff than my XT-Wings. I think I need that right now. I am icing tonight, just because the ankle can tell it did a lot of pounding today. It's not swollen or anything.
I hope everyone did well in their races this weekend. I know there was a lot going on. I'm anxious to read the reports.
Until later.............

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sugar hangover?

Thank you to everyone for the nice birthday wishes. So sweet of you! I had a most excellent birthday. Want to hear about it? Yippee! Let's go!!

The night before my birthday, Christy showed up at my door with a gift bag. When I opened it up, there was a super cute running shirt (which I will show off later) and a HUGE rocky road covered caramel apple and two chocolate dipped strawberries. I woke up at 7:00 yesterday with plans to be on the trail by 8:00. I got delayed because a gift from Keith was waiting for me. When I opened it there was a new mini laptop computer. Obviously I had to sit and play with it for a little bit so I got to the trail closer to 9:00.

Beginning of my run
Boomer and I got in a beautiful 4.5 mile run

We stopped at Jordan Pond and took a moment to reflect on what the day was and how damn lucky I am to be able to be running in such a gorgeous place. I only discovered trail running two years ago. The pleasure and peace I get from running around in the hills is indescribable. And with Boomer by my side, the joy is ten-fold.

I was in a little bit of a hurry to get home because I knew (thought) Keith and I were going to IHOP for pancakes. When I got home I was surprised to see that Keith had been to Nation's and picked up my birthday cake for me. My "birthday cake" is always a strawberry pie!!! Nation's makes the BEST pies. Instead of going to IHOP, he made me pancakes at home and topped it with what? Strawberry pie, no crust. Shocked? Oh wait, it only gets better. LOL

Sara came over later with this adorable cookie bouquet. Check out their jersey numbers -- my birthday! How freakin' cute is that? These were bagged up and brought along to the Giants game. Yes, they were eaten. Nothing is sacred with me, when it comes to sweets.

We filled a backpack with lots of goodies and water and drove into San Francisco. Sara made me this sign. I held it up in between each inning and had my entire section chanting the outfielder's names in hopes of getting a ball thrown to me.
And, here's the ball
Let's see if I can remember everything I ate at the game. Actually, I didn't do too bad. Oh, on the way to the game, in the car, Sara and I opened a box of Dots. When I got to the game I bought a grilled Ahi Tuna sandwich and french fries. I had some Cracker Jack's. Some licorice. A fried elephant ear with powdered sugar, strawberries and whipped cream. Oh yeah!
Me and Sara
Me and Keith
Me and my youngest brother, Steve

Sara's boyfriend, Sterling. Dude, how are you cold? You're from Chicago!

The Giants beat Atlanta in a final score of 6-3. The game was a ton of fun. Of course it's always fun when your team wins. AND IT'S YOU BIRTHDAY! The evening did have to come to an end though. What did that mean for this birthday girl? A mouth full of whipped cream, compliments of the hot cocoa vendor guy. I kid you not!

Life doesn't get much better than this. Or does it? ;)
Until later.............

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Turning 45

Tomorrow I turn 45 years old. Yup, 45. It sounds a lot older than 44, doesn't it? To me it does.

As the day approaches, I've been trying to come up with some grand way to make the transition from 44 to 45. Here are some ideas:

1. Run 20 miles today, 25 tomorrow for a total of 45

2. Get on the trail at 5:27 a.m. and run for 5 hours and 27 minutes

3. Run 20 miles, bike 25 miles

4. Run 45 minutes (too easy)

5. Run 5.27 miles (not grand)

6. Run 4.5 miles (not grand either)

7. Run 4.5 hours

8. Sleep in and do absolutely nothing

Obviously option #1 is not going to happen because I hiked five miles with my daughter this morning. I probably won't be running 20 or 25 miles tomorrow, due to my little incident involving my ankle. I will choose something though and have no doubt, I will make it GRAND!

Other than the running portion of tomorrow, I have a Giants game to attend with some family members. I can't decide if I want to go to a restaurant first or just eat ballpark food. We all know I love my ballpark food! And it has been brought to my attention that even if we do eat at a restaurant first, there are certain things I cannot ignore when I go to a Giants game (i.e. caramel corn, licorice whips, the newly discovered "elephant ears" with strawberries and whipped cream, peanuts, ice cream, etc.) Oh, and I want to go to IHOP and eat anything strawberry. They've been advertising a lot lately about strawberry pancakes, waffles, french toast, etc. I LOVE strawberries.

Perhaps I should choose an option that burns a lot of calories tomorrow, what do you think?

Until later, when I'm older.............

Monday, May 25, 2009

Slowly but surely........

I'm running again!!! This was the first "downhill" portion of the little run today.

This was the first hill I charged up. It's right above a cemetery. When I got to the top, I could hear Taps coming from below. It was very moving.

Then as I was bending over, trying to catch my breath, I spied these little ladies on the flowers.

Then came the glorious joy that single track trails bring me.

I was pretty good about keeping my foot up and ice on my ankle for the majority of the week. I returned to work Saturday with a full eight hour day. It was a little difficult, being on my foot that long but I made it. Then I had to do the same thing Sunday. Each night I came home and iced my ankle. Today, I was scheduled for 4.5 hours, starting at 2:00. Seeing that I was on my feet for 16 hours over the weekend, I thought I would give running a try this morning before going to work. I would have been happy if I just had to hike. I knew I HAD TO get out on the trail before I went completely WHACKO! My attitude was getting in dire need of an adjustment. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY wants to be around me when my attitude needs adjusting. Trust me on this!
I'm happy to say though, that running the 3.25 miles felt so stinkin' good. It was nice to actually break a sweat again. I felt like such a big slug sitting around all week. I am so not used to that lifestyle. I started off running very slowly today. I kept my eyes on the ground in front of me. I won't say I wasn't nervous and scared about twisting my ankle. In all honesty, the left side of my body (leg, butt, rib cage) was causing me more grief than my ankle. I'm still sore from the tumble. But, surely everything will heal in time. This I know. ;)
I have the next three days off from work. I hope to be able to run a little further by the end of these three days. I still have plans to do the Diablo 25K on June 6th and Angel Island 50K on June 20th. Everybody takes a week off every now and then, right?
Until later.............

Friday, May 22, 2009

What do I do when I can't run?

I gather up a friend and a family member, along with their doggies and we head for the hills!

Jana with Izzie and Spike on the left, Sara and Bella on the right

I show them some of my favorite single track trails:

I had a nice chat with this beautiful bovine:

Then I loaded the doggies up in my car and for once they were more pooped than me.

We all had a nice three mile walk around my favorite loop at Garin. Well, the dogs did at least double that! It felt great to get out and at least stretch my legs. My ankle didn't feel very bad at all. I had it wrapped up nicely and we were walking at a very slow pace. We were enjoying watching the doggies have fun, running all over the place.
I have faith. I will be running again soon.
Until later.............

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I want my groove back!

If you have read my blog for any amount of time, there's probably one thing you know about me. Well, maybe two or three. But, one thing for sure is that I live a very active lifestyle! If I'm not at work, I'm outside doing something. Since I only work part-time, that means I'm outside doing something A LOT! Everybody knows I'm much happier after I run. I love the places I get to run. I get a big charge out of watching Boomer run around and have a great time. If I have a busy day ahead of me, it will go much smoother if I get a run in first. A lot more will get accomplished.

I haven't been "sick" for more than one day in a very long time. I haven't had to stay off my feet in years. I've had a fractured femur and even then I could walk and hike. I've had IT Band issues but could walk and hike then too. When I can't get outside and do what I love, I get down. Not "get down" in a dancing kind of way either. More in a depressing kind of way. I'm grumpy! My energy is zapped. My motivation is gone. I'm pissed off! I don't feel like doing anything but yet I see everything I should be doing. I have no desire to get up off the couch. I could care less if I get out of my pajamas or not. If food wasn't prepared for me, I wouldn't eat. Daytime television SUCKS big time, I'm not going to lie to you.

But I do have a wonderful little family. My husband brought me these yesterday because we all know how much I love my donuts. I chose the red one and it made me feel better for a little bit.

I am able to put weight on my foot so I wrapped it tightly in an ace bandage and slipped on a sock and shoe. My daughter took me over to The Alameda Creek Trail this morning so Boomer could get some running in. Albeit slow, I was okay with walking about a mile or so. We saw this cute family in the creek and that did make me smile.

But I still keep getting this look from Boomer all the time. Mommy, you okay? His little face always makes me smile.

My rib cage (or breast muscle) is the most uncomfortable at this point. It still hurts when I take a deep breath, cough, or sneeze. The swelling is down quite a bit in my ankle. I'm trying to move it around as much as I can so it doesn't stiffen up. You want to hear something really strange? Or maybe it's normal, I don't know. Many times now, Boomer will start licking my ankle. He looks up at me when he's doing it and he does it very gently. Do you think he senses the pain, or the injury? Is it possible he smells the blood under the skin where the bruising is?
Tomorrow's another day.............

Monday, May 18, 2009

PCTR Big Basin Redwoods "Event"

I was more than ready to tackle this 25K course. For the first time ever, I set a time goal for myself. I wanted to finish in under four hours, in order to start preparing for finishing ultras in the normally allowed eight hours. I was super excited to run yesterday. I was also excited Christy was joining me again. This was her first PCTR run since she injured herself at Pacifica in January.

After getting lost a couple of times on our way to Big Basin and finally finding a place to park, I met up with Theresa and her friend Toni before the start of the race. Theresa (on the right) participated today but Toni was putting in her volunteer hours. ;)

The 15K, 25K and 50K runners all start on the 15K loop together. Christy and Theresa were signed up for the 15K so we were able to run together. I had already decided I wasn't going to take a TON of pictures because I wanted to make my time goal. (That changed as soon as I got hurt.) I was feeling very strong. I didn't start at the absolute rear like I usually do and I was willing to pass other runners when I could. At one point, I was in a group of about ten runners on a very nice downhill portion and was actually pissed because I was at the mercy of the front runner. I could tell the girl in front of me wanted to pass so I quietly told her I would follow if she wanted to go. She made a break for it and we cruised on by and picked up our pace down the trail for a while.

It was for a very short while, however. Because it was at this time, mile 1.69, I rolled my ankle and heard a snap. This is not the noise you want to hear when you are less than two miles into a 15.5 mile run. I stopped right there. I didn't even put my foot back on the ground. I was on a bridge so Christy told me I needed to move off of it. I sat down and took my shoe and sock off. Theresa reached into my hydration pack and handed me an Advil. Christy suggested I put my shoe back on before it really started to swell. I put my shoe and sock back on and started walking. At this point a decision needed to be made. Hike back out to the starting line or continue the eight miles to the finish. It didn't feel THAT bad, let's go forward. The scenery on this course is probably the prettiest I have ever seen. All covered single track trails. And just look at everything I would have missed out on. ;)

This one is my FAVORITE!

So forward we go. Christy and Theresa said at this point they were not worried about their time and wanted to stay with me. I was able to run some, mostly the downhill portions. But I wasn't really hobbling. If I landed my foot more on the front part, it actually wasn't that bad. But I did stop for many a picture opportunity (as you can tell).
Then, all of the sudden at about mile three, I go hurling forward and roll off the trail. I have no idea what happened! When I stopped rolling, Theresa was there with a hand to help me up. I asked her what the hell I tripped over. She humored me by dragging her foot across the extremely smooth trail surface and said, "um, I don't know." My left arm and rib cage took the worst part of that fall. WTF? Thank God they agreed to hang back with me. It made for good conversation and laughs at about mile seven! LOL

This was a very interesting portion. Moss covered, steep, wet concrete steps alongside a waterfall. You needed to hang onto the cable handrail to make your way up to the top. It was pretty cool though.

This is the first banana slug Theresa has ever seen. They're pretty cute and they are University of California Santa Cruz's mascot. I would try to get them off the trail when I'd see them so they weren't in danger of getting stepped on.

At mile 6.5 I was upset about my initial decision to not hike back out to the start. I did have to take another Advil before it was over. At one point I felt like my entire calf was swollen but I guess it wasn't. I pleaded with Christy to let me take my shoe off. She and Theresa simultaneously told me "NO!" If it weren't for them, I'd probably still be sitting on the side of the trail, trying to fit my shoe back on my foot. My sincere thanks to both of you!
The three of us eventually made our way through the 15K loop in three hours. Surprisingly, we weren't DFL. LOL I immediately took my damn shoe off, (now that I COULD) and asked Sarah, the RD for some ice.

I did go get checked out this morning. Just to be safe. Nothing broken, just badly sprained and bruised. No work for me this week. It was very difficult getting out of bed this morning. It's my right ankle and my left arm and rib cage. I feel like quite a wreck. It's not my first sprain but it was my first tumble. Will it stop me from doing what I love? Um, that would be a big fat NO!
Until later.............