Thursday, October 29, 2009

Calaveras Road with the ladies

After last Thursday's 38.5 mile bike ride, I was sore for the day but felt normal by the next morning. Thank God! This made me ready to ride again when earlier this week, Lisa invited me to ride Calaveras Road with her and Izzie. Both of them are training for a full Ironman next June.

Lisa was kind enough to hold the camera and take photos along the way for me. By putting her in charge of the camera, I now have this photo in my arsenal. LOL

Me and Izzie

The two lane road turns into a single lane road for well over half of the almost 30 mile ride.

Calaveras Reservoir, a view from the summit:

The hills are already turning green from just a couple days of rain.

Sunol Regional Wilderness Park:

Izzie, Me, Lisa. At the summit on the way back.
Compared to my ride last week, this one was easier. With that said, it is in no way an easy ride. It's a steady climb for ten miles! It's just not super steep. I know Lisa and Izzie were riding slower than they normally would but I was not complaining one bit. I feel like Ellen and I are getting to know each other quite well. I'm getting very comfortable with my gears on climbing and descending. Now if I can just get used to the saddle. I know, like everything, it just takes time. This too, shall get better. It was so nice to be out with two great women on such a beautiful day. Thank you ladies!
I have been working quite a bit and I seem to be busy with one thing or another on my days off. I've been so tired and not sleeping well. I'm not getting in as much exercise as I would like either. Do you ever feel like you have so much to do that you can't even start one thing? That's how I feel right now. I haven't even been keeping up on all my Blogger buddies or going onto Facebook as much. Sorry! I feel like I'm in a slump. A slump of every kind!
I have the next three days off. Woohooooooooo!!! I am hiking with my boy in the morning and then I will take Ellen out for 30 miles or so afterwards. I'm hoping for a run on Saturday morning. The time outdoors should get my mood back up which in turn will get my energy level up. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
Until later.............

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

PCTR's SF One Day

That first picture needed NO INTRODUCTION, am I right? I can never tire of that beautiful bridge.
I signed up to work the SF One Day again this year and was assigned the same hours: 6:45 a.m. until noon. I got to check people in, give them their bibs, shirts and goody bags and then set up the table for the one and only aid station on the 1.06 mile course. Rick was there and he was instructed on how to be the parking lot police this year. He finally came back when the race was about to start. He helped out a little bit with the aid station, but mostly he stood around and yacked it up with other friends that came to support runners. However, he was planning on staying until midnight. Perhaps after I left he worked a bit more. ;)

Me and Rick
For those of you that don't know, this run is on a 1.06 mile course at Crissy Field in San Francisco. Runners run (or jog, walk, skip, etc.) this course for 12 or 24 hours straight. Families bring chairs, coolers, tents, and supplies galore for the runners. It's quite the spectacle. Then everybody watches these silly people run around and around and around. Not every runner brings their own crew though, so there's still the need for an aid station with lots of goodies. A very nice runner told Sarah and I that "our" aid station was the best on the course. Oh, we were so touched. LOL

Right as my shift was ending, a girl walked up and asked if I was Jo Lynn. It was Rene from Run Rene Run.... I was so happy she showed up. She said she might but time was running out. She was so nice to talk to. She had swam from Alcatraz earlier and was on a run when she came by. We talked about getting together for a trail run or even a bike ride in the near future. I hope we follow through with it.

Me and Rene
Victoria came by with TWO boxes full of homemade mini cupcakes. They were pumpkin with maple frosting. YUMMY!

Victoria and I being photo bombed by Steve Ansell

Much better minus Steve!

I think next year I want to work the second morning so I can see the 24 hour runners when they finish. The first place runner completed 132 laps for a total of 140.1 miles. Yup, I want to see that!!!
Until later.............

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Ellen, don't fail me now!"

Bryan, the assistant manager at my store has been asking me to join him on a ride. I didn't have to work, it wasn't raining, so even though I had ridden 18 miles yesterday, I accepted his invitation for this morning. We met at a 7-11 (which happened to be RIGHT next door to a donut shop!), three miles from my house at 7:45. First thing to do was FUEL UP:

I knew we were heading down Niles Canyon and up Palomares Road. But I didn't know we were going to be doing a 32 mile loop TODAY! I thought we were just going to the end of Palomares and back. Whatever. I was game. I had a donut and there was a bag of Gu Chomps on my back and both of my water bottles were full. The 2.5 miles down Niles Canyon were no big deal, less scary than I thought it would be considering it is a two lane highway. As soon as we turned onto Palomares, everything changed. We would be climbing six miles, up to 1,200 feet. We started at about 30 feet above sea level. About a mile or so in, I did stop and catch my breath. That was the only time though. The rest, I just kept peddling, no matter how slow. And SLOW it was at times. Often I would look at my Garmin and I was going 3.5 mph. But, I kept peddling.

Bryan is 23 or 24 and Daniel is 19 and they're both as thin as rails, as you can see. Bryan is an avid cyclist and Daniel is pretty experienced as well so needless to say, there was no way I could keep up on the climb. I know it just takes practice but I sure felt slow on the hills. The rest of the time I had no problem at all staying right with them. It was a beautiful ride with the fog keeping us cool.

We finally made it to the summit (1,200 feet) and we stopped to enjoy the view and have a little snack.

Daniel & Bryan hammin' it up!

After the summit, naturally it was downhill for a while. The road was wet from the fog, water was dripping from my helmet and my tires were wet. I didn't feel super comfortable flying down the road so I kept it around 30 mph. Again, it takes practice. By about mile 17, I was completely OVER peddling up anything that appeared to look like an incline. When we finally got onto Foothill and it flattened out for a period, I got a burst of energy and cruised along at a pretty good pace though. With eight miles left, I had to admit I was TIRED! The good news though, the rest of the way was going to be flat. For some reason, about this time I noticed the boys were letting me ride in the front. The boney-ass'd S.O.B.s were drafting off my big ass!! Every time I looked over my shoulder, there was a tire very close to the back of mine. Interesting, huh?
After hitting the 7-11, I rode my three miles back home which made my ride a total of 38.5 miles. Luckily I had lunch plans with my Mom for her 77th birthday or I would have crawled right back into bed. I took a nice hot shower, which my muscles thanked me for later, and went out for some nice pasta and conversation with my Mom.
Okay, now for the BEST part of the day. I pulled over to give this little guy some love. He actually let me pet him. It was hard for me to break away and continue down the road. I adore cows, especially baby ones. I'm SO glad I don't eat them. Isn't he cute???

I hurt in more places than I would like to right now. I told Keith I feel like I ran an ultra. My arms, shoulders, legs, hips, abs and back all hurt. Not the bones, the MUSCLES! I hope I'm not more sore tomorrow. I have to work all day.
Will I do this ride again? What do you think? LOL
Until later.............

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sharing my passion

Today, I had the great pleasure of spending some time with Mel at 2nd Chances. If you ever get the chance to meet this lovely woman, go to great lengths to make that happen. You will not be sorry!!

I had been thinking, for the last few days, of where I could take Mel today. I know that she and her friends were doing lots of sight seeing in San Francisco so I decided I would take her out for a hike. My first thought was to take her to the Marin Headlands where she could get great views of the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge. I had even asked Victoria for advice on which loop to take Mel on. Yesterday, however, my husband came up with a great idea. Take her to one of your favorite running spots. THAT sounded better. At least doing this, I was more comfortable with where I was going.

I had Mel take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) over to my side, (the east side) of the bay. From where she was staying, it took her 45 minutes. Not bad at all considering there was also bus rides involved. Boomer and I picked her up a little before 10:00 and drove up to Redwood Regional Park. Boomer was very excited to meet a new friend. He gave Mel a lot of kisses. He was so excited!

We hiked for a couple of hours. I took her on the West Ridge Trail, down Fern Trail and back on the French Trail to Redwood Trail. She really seemed to like the big trees. It was a beautiful day there. The smells were incredible because of the rain yesterday. Not muddy, which was a nice surprise. It was 53 degrees when we pulled up. She thought that was perfect! Personally, I thought it was a tad chilly but as always, I warmed up quickly.
We went back to the car and picked up the food and drinks I had put together for us to have a little picnic. Lots of fruit, some cheese and bread and some sparkling fruit juices. We sat for an hour or so, continuing to chat and laugh. One little wasp wouldn't leave us alone for the longest time. I finally trapped him under my plate and released him when we were done eating.

Boomer was enjoying the snacks as well. I made him his own plate but he went to Mel for more and she couldn't tell him no.
When I took this picture I thought it was absolutely perfect, with both Mel and Boomer looking at the camera. After I uploaded it, I see Boomer's eyes are looking elsewhere - Mel's food! LOL

This is the area that we had our little picnic.

After our picnic, I was going to drive Mel back to San Francisco but she said she would be just fine taking BART back. Since that would save me about 1.5 hours of driving, I agreed and took her down to the BART station. She sent me a text saying she was at the house when I had only been home about 15 minutes.
I feel so lucky that I stole Mel away for a few hours today. She is such a genuinely nice human being. She is so "down to earth" and made me feel at ease today. I feel like she thoroughly enjoyed hiking on my trails and she never complained, even through some pretty steep sections. Although, even I know, the beauty outweighs the pain in this park. She was so grateful too, for me taking her here today. No need to thank me. ;)
Thank you Mel, for agreeing to meet me today. Anytime you come back this way, plan on spending another day on the trails with me and Boomer.
Until later.............

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Not your "average" woman

I want to start with a disclaimer: I do not write this with intention to offend any person that might read it. It is just a matter of getting input from others, if they choose.

I heard something on the news last night that made my jaw drop and stay that way for probably a full minute.

"The average woman in America is now a size 14".

A size 14? Seriously?

A size 14 is kind of up there in the women's size charts. The store I work in sells sizes 2-16. I can tell you right now, size 14 is not the size that needs to be restocked the most often. For almost every woman I know, if they were a size 14, that would be an unhealthy size for them. I am not skinny by any means, never have been. I have been a size 12 and that was BIG (for me). I can't imagine being a size 14.

I do know that some women are on the tall side and sometimes have to wear a larger size than me but are thinner than me. I get that. I also know some women that are six inches taller than me but wear the same size as me or even smaller. So, does this news mean women are getting taller, or are they really getting bigger?

Is it the part of the country I live in that I just don't see size 14 as "average" around here? Is it the lifestyle I live that I just don't run into them? Are clothing manufacturers making their sizes smaller so women are actually having to wear a larger size? I remember a few years ago when the average woman was a size 10. If we keep at it, think what the number will be in the next few years. It seems like a shame to me. It doesn't have to be this way.

ON THAT NOTE...........................

I had to work a baby four-hour shift (in the middle of the day) today and all I kept thinking was, I seriously need to get some type of exercise in today! I was torn between taking Ellen out for a spin and burning lots of calories in a short time, or taking Boomer out for a run in the hills burning less calories in more time.

I chose Boomer!!!!

My favorite bridge at Garin:

We ran for a little over an hour. It was 80 degrees and muggy. I worked up a good sweat and felt much better when I was done. It was definitely the attitude adjustment I desperately needed. The creek is running fast right now. Oh, and the smells from the recent rain were wonderful. Sometimes I just had to stop, stand still and inhale deeply. Over and over. Such rejuvenation!
Until later.............

Monday, October 12, 2009

Golden Hills Trail Marathon 2009

I ran this marathon the last two years. It was my first marathon. The first time I ran it, I hurt EVERYWHERE I could possibly hurt. But I loved it!! With my bad ankle sprain in July and my arthritis in my knee, I didn't put in enough miles over the summer to warrant signing up for it this year. So, I volunteered to work an aid station. I mean, just because I couldn't run 26.2 miles, it didn't mean I wanted to miss ALL THIS:

Can't get this in a road race, people!
My assignment was to work the Fern Dell aid station from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. I got lost and didn't get to the aid station until 10:45. Yup, I got really lost!

The marathon is a point-to-point course. It is run at the same time as Dick Collins Firetrails 50-miler, along the same course but the 50-miler is a loop. While working the aid station, I was able to see the front runners of the 50-miler come through. The lead runner came by (with 10.3 miles to go) at 4:30 and ended up completing the race in 6:30! I was also there to see the first woman come by and she finished in 7:54. Woohoo!

I was so excited to see a girl running down the trail toward the aid station wearing a pink top and a long pony tail swinging side to side. It was Theresa! I went running up the trail with my arms open wide, to meet her. I wrapped my arms around her and we ran to the aid station together. It was so great to see her. She said her legs were cramping up. I fed her whatever she wanted and refilled her water bottle. We chatted for a few minutes (and took a picture of course) and off she went.

Theresa took 42 minutes off her time from last year
Then it was time to drive over to Skyline Gate to meet up with Steve so we could sweep a portion of the course.

Steve & I getting ready to "sweep" part of the marathon course
I didn't know Steve before this day but, of course, we got to know each other while chatting it up during our sweeping duties. I was amazed at how many people we both knew and also how many races we have both been at. Maybe I shouldn't be amazed though, really. I guess the ultra-running community is sort of a small one, comparatively speaking. Our job was to remove all of the pink ribbons from the course and also sweep the flour away so the ground looks normal again. Even though it was only about six miles, it took a while because of all the stopping. We got some pretty good running in though, for at least half of it. I took a few pictures but my camera was acting up so a lot of them came out blurry. I was able to salvage some of them. This is absolutely one of the most beautiful marathon courses you will ever find. I have posted some photos of these parks before. Jana and I have taken the dogs up there a few times.

As many times as I have been in the area, I've never seen this bench before. Kind of odd that I actually noticed it today. Maybe because I was looking for ribbons and it caught my attention.

After my sweeping duties were done, I wanted to go to the finish line and see a bunch of my friends that were either doing the marathon or the 50-miler. Another great thing about this race is they have a HUMONGOUS BBQ afterwards, with every kind of burger and sausage option you can imagine. Oh, and lots of desserts too. ;)
After I parked and was walking down to the picnic area, look who I saw:

Everyone's most supportive running buddy, Lori
Sue Corrie, Lori's good friend, was running her first 50-miler today (her time was 10:13) and she showed up at the finish line to support her. Remember when Lori showed up at my first triathlon? Yah, she's THAT kind of supportive!! Everyone should have a Lori in their life. I'm certainly glad I do.
I saw Victoria of flirty 'n dirty after she completed her first 50-miler in 9:30ish. She was quite cold by the time I showed up so she quickly got away before I could get a picture of her in all her glory. Great job Victoria! Rick of 365me finished a tad slower than he did last year but still quite respectable at 8:29 and some change. That's how long it takes me to do 50K, not 50 MILES. I was also very happy and surprised to see Mike Bohi of Hold It! What am I doing? who completed the 50-miler in 10:14. I haven't seen Mike since Miwok 100K in April. I had no idea he was even training for this. I was just walking in the picnic area and I hear, "hey lady" and when I turned around I saw Mike all wrapped up in a blanket, sitting on the bench. Nice to see you Mike.
I couldn't resist a piece of cake before I said my goodbyes and drove home. It was a long day on my feet, considering I didn't run a lot of miles. All in all, a great day in the mountains seeing good friends achieve great things. Next year, I'm there! The marathon, not the 50-miler.
Until later.............

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

20 miles with Ellen

I took Ellen out for her longest ride yet. 20 miles. We headed up Mowry to Mission Boulevard and went south. We took Mission Boulevard all the way down to Stanford Avenue. Stanford is the road you take to get to the staging area to hike Mission Peak. There were definitely some hills to climb. On one hill I was going down, I was travelling at 28.6 mph. Tells you how steep it was. I was going like 6.2 mph on the way back up it. The last hill that goes into the parking lot for Mission Peak is steep. My first attempt, I had to turn around. I went down the road a little ways and drank some water, ate some Gu Chomps and told myself I could probably make it up there without a problem, if I tried again. I did! No big deal. I *heart* Ellen. Here's some pictures I took along the way.

Trees, looking like Fall, along Mission Boulevard:

Historic Mission San Jose :: Fremont, California :: Established 1797:

My dear friend, Mission Peak:

I stopped at my favorite produce stand:

Admired the beautiful flowers they are growing:

And bought some energy for the remainder of my ride home:

I'm not CRAZY about riding on a main boulevard with stop lights and trucks flying by at 45 mph but I do like that Mission is a steady but gradual climb. I already know I get bored with a flat out-and-back like the Alameda Creek Trail. Seeing the foothills during the entire ride was nice. I'll probably continue to use Mission Boulevard, it's the best option in Fremont.
I'm still learning how to use my gears properly. I know it sounds like simple science but there is a lot to consider when climbing, going flat and going down hills. And then stopping at lights and starting again. I'll get the hang of it. I just have to keep trying.
I went back to Pilates for the first time since Jamaica. Our instructor, Karen, went to a two week training class while I was gone and she came back with some different moves, I tell ya. My entire torso is SORE today. More so than the very first time I did Pilates. I can't cough, I can't sneeze. Too bad I'm working all day tomorrow, or I'd go back for more. ;)
Until later.............