Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Now that's a Happy Birthday!

T and i dropped M off at camp and then headed over to Big Bear Staging Area (BBSA). on the way there it occured to me that i still hadn't figured out my gear, food and fluid needs. i threw EVERYTHING in the back of my car but i had until we arrived at BBSA to decide what to take with me to the start. T dropped me off at Lone Oak around 9:45, so far i was on schedule.

not knowing how long i would be out there i brought my 40 oz camelbak pack, my big waist pack that carries (2) 20 oz. bottles along with way too much food. plus one hand held bottle. i looked like the rookie posterchild. the waistpack and handheld bottle should suffice for race day...i may of looked dorky but i wasn't taking any chances.

i walked most of the hills and and ran the flats and downhills for most of the way between Lone Oak and Sibley. once i got to Sibley i used the restroom, filled my water bottle and gu'ed. something black and dangly above my head startled the shit out of me, i literally yelped. i never figured out what it was. a little while later, i got stung or bitten by an unidentified bug. i think it was a mean fly cuz i didn't notice a stinger left behind.

i also lost my good sunglasses along this section:(

fortunately, "I" didn't get lost once. considering i forgot my maps, that was a confidence booster. i am questioning the Huckleberry section though, i may of got lost on that last time though because it seemed a bit shorter this time around. i just stayed on the Eastbay Ridge Trail until i got to Redwood. i was an hour ahead of schedule. i filled my water bottles and headed towards West Ridge.

i've run this section the most and while i'll never be fluent in French as in the "French Trail" i didn't get lost here either and found Chown easily. i saw a couple of men running. both probably in their 50's. the first guy was really working the uphill section as i was all rubbery legged and barely moving the opposite way.

once i got to Stream Trail i rested for awhile. 14 miles down 3 to go. i threw out my gatorade and refilled my bottles with water. the cold water tasted better than my warm gatorade which i had in abundance!
my new Garmin didn't skip a beat and read 16:59 miles in 4:59:27 by the time i reached Big Bear Staging Area. i kept it on the whole time so this includes all the rest breaks i took.

i also took quite a few pictures along the way. i'll share those when i get them developed probably after the weekend. i know i've said this before but this route is Gorgeous!

so as far as birthdays go this one was pretty great. after tossing and turning all night i was a bit nervous about going out today so far by myself but i was prepared...heh, more than prepared as far as supplies go. i need to get more trail time in as eveidenced by all that walking. but there's no denying that walk or run this was one hell of a workout.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Trail Time

despite getting in the miles the sad truth is i'm not spending enough time on trails. plain and simple fact is to prepare for a trail marathon you need to train on trails. all of my long runs have mostly taken place on the road. i'm slow on the road and even slower on the trails. still, there's a notable difference between road miles vs trail miles.

i didn't choose an easy 1st marathon. 26.2 trail miles is going to be tough and if i come in under 6 hours i'd be thrilled....i'd also be dreaming...under 8 hours is more likely...i wonder if there is a cut-off?... lucky for me the dick collins 50 miler is going on at the same time!

sunday i returned Tilden with a plan to head over to Sibley. i decided to give Galloway's run 7 minutes walk 1 minute approach a try. it felt awkward for quite awhile and it took me some time to settle into any kind of pace. sometimes depending on how far i got i would be walking flats and running hills. i wondered if the approach would work on such erratic terrain. i kept this up until Steam Train. (the 1st AS @ 3.6 mi)

upon entering sibley, walk breaks became more frequent and longer, so much that i abandon the whole notion of even trying to run. the hills are tough. the descents are too. this is a pretty technical section. i am not fast on these descents at all. and am reduced to carefully climbing down "steps" of heavy roots spreadout over a bed of sharp rocks jutting out of the ground.

following the tricky decent there's a good stretch of flat single track before you come to a bridge. this is the start of a good long steep hill with a last little climb right at the end before you arrive to the Sibley Volcanic Traihead(the 2nd AS @ 7.7 mi) i arrive in exactly 2 hours. about 30 mins. slower that when i ran more and walked hills only...but i felt considerably fresher. i rested for a good bit before heading back. more walking than running. it took me 2 hours to get back. last time it took 2.5 hrs to get back and i felt awful.

when i got to Lone Oak the first thing i noticed although i was tired i wasn't whooped. walking early and often seems to make a difference. same with fluids. lastime i did this run i was also on the brink of getting really sick. so i felt great this time in comparison.

i plan to do this again on wednesday starting from Lone Oak and ending at Big Bear Station. T will follow me to BBS to drop my car off and then take me to Lone Oak. i should be on the trail by 10 am and get to Big Bear in time to p/u M from camp (i've got till 6pm!)that gives me 7 hours to cover 17 miles.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Stuff I'm Learning

running has opened up a whole new world for me. registering for the big race in october has inspired me, motivated me, and scared the crap out of me many many times . but something has changed. instead of freaking out and feeling overwhelmed (though i'm quite sure i'm not completely done with that!) i'm starting to learn a few things, i'm gaining experience, figuring out the right questions, and starting to trust myself more.

some of the best information i ever received regarding foot care was during a weekend backpacking trip with the girl scouts a few years back. it has helped me recognize the warning signs and keep any major problems at bay.

ultrarunner's know a thing or two about foot care and i'm always learning something new from them.

i'm no expert and everybody has to figure out what works best for them but over the past few months i've been making little changes here and there and as my mileage is going up i'm being hyper careful to not let the warning signs go unnoticed.

so far this seems to be working for me.

- keep toenails trimmed
--slather feet with between the toes too!
-carry a few first aide supplies, anti-biotic ointment and duct tape,

hydration has been an ongoing learning process for me. i'm coming to the realization that i can't rely on how i feel. in my various readings (i'd give credit where it's due, buttttt..don't recall) "drink a little allot" instead of a few gulps every 20 minutes or so i've been taking a small sip every 10 minutes.

i'm currently experimenting with socks. thinner socks are recommended for warmer weather but i've tended to go thick. today i'm taking my new shoes on a long run and will have to just see what happens with the lighter socks.

i had been experiencing pain on the top of my foot and determined that i was tieing my shoes too tight evidenced in the ripped out eyelet of the Hurricanes! so i need to take time early on to lace up right and to STOP along the way to readjust as the foot expands.

it's not like i'm racing for time or place i can pullover take care of things and just be smart. i AM my crew and if i don't take care of myself who will?

i bought a pair of gators awhile back, there kinda lame and boring unlike the ones from DirtyGirlGaiters...these are khaki gators from REI and i haven't used them yet. i'm having to pullover and remove small rocks and debris more often as i go longer so today i'll use the REI gators and see how that goes.

nutrition is in need of attention. last night i ate pasta and this morning i ate oatmeal and a banana like i always do before a race...except i haven't been racing much just training so i've been slacking on the pre-race regime. i need to eat more like i'm racing early on and not just the week before. i can't seem to handle too much in the way of solids. i prefer Gu and go back and forth between plain water, gatorade and Gu20. i carry something salty and will munch on solids when i take walk breaks.

sunscreen is tricky. yesterday i ran without a hat and put sunscreen on my face....which was a drag because as i sweated the sunscreen got into my left eye which was annoyingly painful. i was sporting braids that looked funny under my hat.
can't i look good and be well protected. must it always be a compromise???....i know such a dork!

ok, time to hit the trails. lately my runs have felt like a good way...i sure wish i could get college credit ...wouldn't that be cool!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

It's a Beautiful Thing

i didn't mention it but during the hike on wednesday the eyelet on my shoes, montrail hurricanes ripped off. i had to relace and wrap the lace around my ankle, good thing i wear over the ankle socks. i noticed that the other one on the other shoe was starting to go too. today i was able to exchange them for a brand new pair at REI.

i haven't had any complaints up til now with these shoes and chose to stay with them. i will definitely be going through another pair or two between now and october, and i have wanted to try out vasque trail shoes but these are good for now.

life schedule is not cooperating with run schedule and so i only ran 8 miles(a FANTASTIC run to the berkeley marina, all blue and sunny) today. i did hike 14 miles on wednesday, i ran probably 3-4 miles of it but mostly hiked.....that's gotta count for something, no?

the garmin needs updating and since it's a borrowed tool i'm waiting for mia to find the other plug ...however with my B-Day coming up i've made it crystal clear to T what i want i may have my own garmin quite soon. for now i'm just running familiar routes and guesstamating my mileage. as much as i am jonesing not having those numbers on my wrist to keep me informed i'm still happy to be running. how could i not be on a day like today?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ahh Summer is here!

my hamstrings are still a bit tight from wednesday's killer hike ...Brandy was feeling it big time too. extra food and a massage got me back in her good graces...she's hobbling around a bit but wagging that crazy tail of hers ready for whatever i can dish out....she's a great trail companion.

between yesterday's lunchtime swim (400 yards) and this mornings easy 3 miler i do feel alot better, though as i said i'm tight specifically in the biceps femoris . self massage right on the hot spots seems to be helping.

it wasn't until i got to the pool yesterday that i realized it was the first day of summer and that means this is my final week as a 43 year old. i'm feeling stronger and fitter (even when i'm draging my tired butt back to the car, the fact that i can still play HARD is encouraging) than last year and all i have to say to 44 is:


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

how do you eat a whale?

one bite at a time.

i need to remind myself of this every so often, especially as i dissect this golden hills route. beautiful, scenic, serene, blah, blah, blah.....this goddamn thing is going to kill me.

at least that's how i felt as i dragged my sorry ass to back to my car this AFTERNOON...mind you i started around 10:00 am and didn't get back to my car until close to 3:00 pm covering only 14 miles people!

today i returned to Redwood to learn miles 11-18 of the route. i brought Brandy along so i would have a good excuse to take it easy. i mostly just wanted to figure out where i got lost last time.

last attempt i missed the Chown i found it but turned right when i should of gone left. unfortunately for me i covered a fair bit of uphill and had to go around a few fallen trees on the trail before realizing my mistake.

in hindsight, the fallen trees should've tipped me off...but noooooooo, i just hiked around the pile of debris and kept on going probably a good half mile before coming to a marker that made it clear that i had gotten off course...again.

i can say with full confidence that this trail marathon debut of mine is more likely gonna play out like a mini ultra race because I AM DYSLEXIC!!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

breath, move and focus

as i'm sure was the case in many a household this week, we were BUSY with M's elementary school graduation, Father's Day plans and bouncing from facility to facility at work. i put in the extra effort to squeeze all my runs in for a grand total of 39 miles...woohoo! i'm feeling good about my new running schedule too.

i did yoga this's been awhile....and oh, how my poor muscles rebelled! still, i found comfort in a few of my favorite poses and lingered there for awhile as the class moved on. i like this particular class alot and now with my long runs getting done on saturday i'll be going on sunday mornings more often.

yesterday's long run of 11 miles wasn't nearly as emotional as last week. seems i'm settling into my skin a little better and not feeling totally sorry for myself. i have alot to be thankful for and it's all right under my nose half the time.

i'm not going lie and say it's all good again and that i'm not a little lonely sometimes when training but i know this " phase" i'm going through has a purpose. as much as i want to connect with other active humans the relationships i need to nuture are closer to home.

it is absolutely gorgeous outside. we're planting pumpkins and sunflowers out in the front yard and basically sprucing things up around here.

Happy Father's Day to all who have assumed those duties ....male or female....and if you haven't already, let that special someone know you love their guts!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Group Run

so, i met up with the wednesday night trail run group finally. the run was at Sibley...a place i know getting lost this time. it was a pretty diverse group as far as age goes but they were all pretty fast (though a few of them cut the run short) it wasn't long before i was left in the dust. a hot and hilly 7 miler that i would never have done alone after work, so it was all good.

Monday, June 11, 2007

incendiary thoughts

i deleted yesterday's post. it was an honest account of how i felt at the time but it's a bit of a downer and i didn't want it around anymore. writing and posting was enough. deleting it feels like taking a match and setting it on fire.

i'm not apologizing or anything i'm just feeling less emotional about things today but because those heavy thoughts accomapanied me every step of that 16 plus mile run yesterday i couldn't post about it without including what was actually going on in my mind.

incremental progress is still progress.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Change of Plans

well i never hooked up with the group. not for lack of effort or fear. i just have no sense of direction and couldn't find them. i thought i knew where the meeting place was and because i accidently deleted the directions i called and asked for them over the phone. while the guy on the other end was quite friendly he wasn't quite sure how to get me there from where i was coming from. after a few minutes i thought i understood and proceeded to Briones staging area.

from what i could remember of the directions though i should of been at a EBMUD trail head but of course i didn't really make that connection until about a half hour after the scheduled mtg time. so after the initial anxiety wore off i switched over to annoyed and contemplated just going home. but as fate would have it i noticed a few solo runners heading out.

as i sat in my car debating on what to do a car pulled up next to me . it had a handicap placard and a rather large older woman emerged from the vehicle. she wasn't a runner but was there to get her walk on. i watched for a minute as she headed for the trailhead and slowly worked her way down the path.

it was she that got me motivated to move my ass. it was a bit after 7pm by this time. instead of taking arbrigo trail i opted for the shorter but steep motts peak. the first 20 minutes bit bad. i really wasn't into running much less climbing right off the bat!

my goal was 3-4 miles walking or running and i decided to stop stressing and just enjoy the scenery. as i rounded the corner i noticed one of the runners from earlier and waved as we passed eachother. she was happily bouncing down as i labored my way up. i didn't know at the time but she had just finished one hell of a climb herself from the opposite direction.

isn't it funny how some hills can look scarier than they really are? in my already not-in-the mood-to-run state of mind the hills were downright evil but as i got closer they really weren't so bad.....that is, until i saw what lie ahead.

as i crested the last hill i saw "THE MOTHER OF ALL HILLS" i swear to god, this hill was steep and a mile long. i immediately perked up cause i happened to be at the top of this sucker and was in for a fun fast descent. my mood changed instantly and i bounced at full speed all the way down.

i got back to the car another 20 minutes later and came home to BBQ steak dinner.

so, i'm glad i didn't let my temper and negative tude get the better of me and now i have a new challenge at Briones. when i go back i'll definitey check this trail out from the opposite direction.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Do one scary thing everyday

a new run/swim shop recently opened up near my neighborhood. i p/u a few things and noticed the manager was a 30 something woman i had met before at another store. the sales associates were all YOUNG. i overheard a couple of them talking about their track and field conquest and was immediately intimidated.

they have a group that meets on wednesday nights at various trails. i haven't gone yet because i'm a chicken butt and am worried that it will be a bunch of young track hotshots and i'll be the only frumpy middle aged woman.
T agreed to p/u M so i could meet up with the group tonight since there meeting at Briones which is on my way home.

aahhh.....i'm working today and would really like to check out this run...partly because you need a permit to run there and i can access it with this group...but i'm SCARED i'll be too slow

i don't know if i'm gonna go or not.....but i'll pack my gear...just in case i stop being a chicken butt.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

If it doesn't kill you it must be good for you.

occasionally i will post a question on my blog. last week i was wondering about speedwork and running frequency. neither question was answered and it got me thinking that when that happens i usually already know the answer and am merely looking for confirmation.

so i've determined that YES i can take 2 days off and be prepared to COMPLETE my marathon. as for track vs tempo/fartlek all of it is necessary to build speed and endurance... considering my goal for this race is to have the endurance to finish preferably with my dignity intact and i want to have some kick left in me in those final miles.

i jogged a couple of warm-up miles and then ran 3 sets of 440's at the track. i took walk breaks in between stopped to stretch and drink a little.
nothing special. it's still so hard. i just do the best i can. clearly i'm not built for speed. bleh!

oh well, off to the salt mines. have a good one:)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

ooh la lost!

the French Trail is the 4th segment of the golden hills trail marathon route and it pops up pretty quickly along the east ridge. a long steep descent that tapers off for a good long stretch (no clue how far the garmin signal was M.I.A.)before you start climbing. this is by far my favorite section yet.

on the way in i came across only 2 hikers going the opposite way...they seemed as surprised as i to see anyone've got to really work to get down in the canyon....not to mention work to get back to the main trail.

cruising along i would stop to check my map every so often but i think my over confidence led me astray and before i knew it i had passed my turn and found myself at the end of the French trail instead of the Chrown trail that would take me to the 5th segment.

i say surprised but i'm not really. it's a given that i will get lost the first couple of times before i figure out the right path. it's been that way pretty consistently since learning this race route.

i think i only covered 6 maybe 7 miles. i thought briefly of running on the west ridge to make up some mileage but i was too lazy.

i'm thinking i might want to switch my long runs to saturday since the race will be on saturday. which means more tweeking of the schedule.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

i love grey days

T and M are kicking butt with the yard sale. after the obligatory helping set-up i've been happily holed up in the house plotting my take over of the dining room...soon-to-be my sewing room. i decided to not run today and am good with the 30 miles i logged this week. tomorrow's long run will be 8-11 trail miles.

my mom stopped by earlier for a few hours and help kick start the sale. M is quite the sales girl and has gone from unenthusiastically giving up her stuff to jonesing for cold hard cash. she's convinced her father that they should do it again tomorrow and wants to go through more of her stuff tonight!

woohoo...mission accomplished! maybe just maybe we've nipped the need to hang-on to crap in the bud?

the past few days i've been pouring over quilt books and pulling out my stash and sewing supplies. the blustery weather sure sets the right tone. i am going in yet another direction with M's quilt and am in complete awe of my geniousness.

i am by no means a skilled quilter. i rip out as much as i sew. i make a ton of mistakes. my work is not fine or precise. i don't follow directions very well and tend to learn best through trial and error. it takes longer, he! a lot longer but for me it's about the journey. which could explain the lack of discipline in my running life too!

i love fabric and i love quilts and i just have to be working on something. i like feeling creative and the process of figuring out a technique or design is very satisfying. i see the world in a better light. beauty in places i hadn't noticed. i think my foul mood of late has been in part due to the lack of creative outlet.

i feel the same way about running. i'm not fast, i walk alot and sometimes stop and weep for joy because am so greatful that these very-soon-to-be 44 year old legs finally found a way to fly and stay grounded. my race calendar is by no means full but i like to have a couple of races on schedule. mostly though i just love being in nature.

since starting to run the past 2 years have been pretty much about running and other athletic endeavours. quilting has been in the backseat...where i could still keep an eye on it the rearview mirror...a couple of small projects here and still feel like i was quilter.

my sewing room also happens to be the dining room and while we never eat in there we have had more gatherings here than usual and so i packed up my stuff and haven't sewn much over the last year. quilting went from the back seat to the storage unit.

our recent urge to purge has me feeling lighter and wanting to tie up loose ends. this quilt is going to keep me grounded as i figure out this marathon training stuff. i was getting a bit anxious about not liking my current training schedule, a blend of beginner and intermediate marathon training from coolrunning. i have a solid base but i want to go from 1 to 2 days off. i think as long as i put in the time and quality i'll be okay with 2 days off.

i want to run and i want to quilt. i need to find a place for both of them. when i think about it quilting actually led me back to running. when i quit smoking i found a quilting class at the local adult ed. center and quilted like a mad woman for two years. after finally getting healthy i started to run a little around my neighborhood. at the time we were renting a place in the berkeley hills about a 1/4 mile from tilden. it was there my love for trail running began.

so that's my quilting running rant for now. it's clear to me that i need both. i'm not going to compromise the marathon training in any way but feel as strongly about the need to be creative.

Friday, June 01, 2007


ok so it was bound to happen. running is becoming less enjoyable. i think i've come up against the first of many "walls". the daily runs are getting tedious...i don't know if it really suits me.

i hit the trail weds for a seriously tough hilly ass not-quite-6 miler. i was whooped afterwards. getting to bed a little late didn't help me the next morning and despite schlepping my gear to the time lunch rolled around i was still too tired to run. i'm not even going to explain why i ate that big ass cinnamon roll at 3 pm....

this morning is really perfect running weather and i have to log at least 5...ideally 7 so i can be free tomorrow for the dreaded yard sale....

questions for experienced marathoners....

can a person properly train for this distance by running every other day?

can i get away with fartleck/tempo runs vs track works?


i ran 8 flat miles in 1:15:00 this morning.

i was gonna skip running tomorrow but if i run just 5 that will make 35 miles for the week!