Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 in review

The year had quite a few last minute detours for me and I've learned this is how I like to live. Sporadic, unconventional. It also seems this year I realized that since I started this whole running/fitness thing 2.5 short years ago, it's become so much a part of my life I have no idea where or who I would be without it. Similar to when a dog comes into your life and you have no idea what it was like before you had to take care of him. Here are the fun adventures of the year I never had any intention embarking on January 1st, 2012:

  1. AR50 - I decided sometime in February or March I might as well put myself on the waitlist not really thinking I'd get in. 
  2. Pacing the last 22 miles of Western States (after running the first 30 for safety patrol in the morning) 
  3. Running the Tahoe Triple (and even placing 1st for female under 40 on the first day! I know... low competition races are awesome) - this was physically taxing and rewarding. Completing it and feeling as well as I did ultimately lead me to putting my name in the WS100 lottery.
Adventure lows for the year:

  1. DNF at Skyline to Sea 50K due to ITB flare up that I couldn't run through (my car DNF'd on the Martinez bridge on the way home. And then we waited for 6 hours for a tow truck.)
  2. Being attacked by a raccoon 2 times in the last month
That last one isn't race related but it induced some adrenaline similar to that of finishing a hard race. I've never wanted to hurt anything fuzzy but I had to go mama bear on the turd after it went after my dogs. We all managed to get away unscathed but I'm terrified of leaving my house after dark now. Guh. 

This last month my fitness has dropped post CIM. I've been eating and drinking too much and although I haven't gained any noticeable weight I feel like crap. I told myself December I wasn't going to beat myself up about it but how can I not? I'm whining for this self-inflicted rut I've gotten myself into. I'll get over it. 

I've signed up for Sonoma 50 and lottery chose me for Way Too Cool 50K. I also signed up for the Steep Ravine 50K end of January and I'm still toying with the idea of signing up for Bishop 100K. As with most things, it will be a last minute decision fueled by some sort of inspiration I usually get when I've been running for too long and I'm lacking sugar to make rational thoughts. And it'll be great. 

Happy New Year Friends!!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

CIM 2012 - A Wet One

26.2 of wet wet wet. 

HK and I around mile 23-something 

The day started with howling winds and rain. You could feel it on the bus on the way up to Folsom. I kept thinking it would die down as soon as the sun started to rise. When the bus arrived at 6am I quickly found Jeffrey, the first of the 3 men gracious enough to rally a relay around my effort of sub 3:35 -  "T-Lo's Mojo". I knew going into this race that a BQ was going to take a perfect day. Not necessarily meaning perfect weather but a perfect mental/physical day coupled with weather being favorable. The 2 mile run before the race started got me feeling that a BQ was likely out of reach. I felt like a ping pong ball when hit with a gust of wind and I never really knew where it was coming from... It was mostly a side and headwind. 

My plan all along had been to start with 8:30s for three miles and then work down to 8s and hold. The first 6 miles worked out well in that fashion. After the turn onto Fair Oaks it became brutal... I held pace but the gusts were coming straight at me and even with Jeffrey directly in front of me I was starting to feel beat up from the wind and that it might come back to haunt me in later miles. I landed at the half mark right on pace at 1:47 and picked up Kevin (HK). 

I was pretty grumpy. I think it was the fact that I heard it discussed by Jeffrey and HK that they would meet "around the corner" after the exchange to avoid the crowd. Well, as I ran past the exchange I see HK. I yell at him "KEVIN" and point that Jeffrey is up ahead. Then  I see Jeffrey up ahead and I tell him that HK is behind me somewhere. So I'm immediately a little annoyed because HK wasn't where he said he was going to be. Which he argued that he was where he was supposed to be. ** DON'T EVER ARGUE WITH SOMEONE YOU'RE PACING** Even if you're right, you're wrong. 

HK: “What’s in your water bottle?”

Me in a condescending tone “WATER!!?”

At about mile 15 or so the 3:35 pacer is about 100 feet ahead of me but I'm losing steam, fast. 

“3:35 is getting away from you. You wanna pick it up?”


Miles 15 - 20 are really nothing but a blur of me staring at the ground ahead of me and moving forward.. I was doing about 8:30s, I think. This was my 3rd time doing CIM and if you've done it before or at least you know the Sacramento area, then you know that after you pass mile 20 - Lohman's Plaza you start heading into downtown on J Street and its the "final phase" of the race and the most fun typically because there are bars and coffee shops and a lot of people. We picked up Glen and HK gave the relay chip to him but stayed with us through the finish line. 

Glen was very nice and offering encouragement. He was the only of the three that was doing this consistently and I really appreciated it. I was moving the slowest miles 23-25 hitting 8:50s. 

HK: “You wanna go for 8:15s the last 3 miles?”

Me: “No I’m good right here with this pace”

Glen: “ You're doing great Tyler!!”

Me: “REALLY? Because I feel like SHIT” “I’m gonna get sloppy drunk after this” “Oh look, mile 24, that’s how many beers I’m having when this is done” 

Glen encouraged me to pick it up after the 25 mile marker and I did... My last mile was 8:19 and that was giving everything I had. 

The best signs of the day were "Watching you run is making me wet" (it was raining the ENTIRE time) and "Smile if you've peed yourself today". 

Afterwards I proceeded to drink beer and eat bacon. 

3:38:16 was my final time. 3:16 shy of a BQ but 12 minutes better than my last CIM so I can't complain. I see a BQ in my future. 

My pacers were great.. They all brought something different to the table. Jeffrey didn't talk too much but has a great energy/vibe to him and it was nice just knowing he was there. HK for as much shit as I give him is fun to run with. He's energetic and makes a party of it talking to people on the course and having fun. Glen also has a great energy to him and was very encouraging when I needed it the most. It's hard to talk when you are running at a race pace so I was never talkative on this run which was much different from last year. I felt like Mitch and I were chatting it up most the way through mile 15 before it got super quiet and the mental work took hold. This year's CIM the mental endurance started immediately... I think it had more to do with the weather which gives me hope for my next BQ attempt. 

And how about all those spectators still out there during this storm to watch the worst parade ever?? Love all of them! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Clarksburg Country Run


See my run

Derrick is the man! With his MOvember stache he is on a roll signing up for 50 milers and pacing lil ol' me to a PR. This was unintentional.... I told him "I want to run a smart race..go out with 8:15s and then after a few miles start to pick it up". So naturally I leave the gates and hit a 7:45 for mile 1. I tried to back off but then its like whatever, if a 7:30 feels good let's just stick it out... I knew it was too fast but I didn't care. I felt like my rookie self again running Urban Cow for the first time just 2 years ago (and vomiting immediately after). Our half mark was at 50:00 and at mile 8 I started feeling it... I was struggling to keep it under 8 minute miles and that became my goal for the next 5. Just keep it under 8s and I did! 

Check us out!!!

This run was much more enjoyable than the first time I did it, 2 years ago, when my IT band flared up and I came through the finish at 2:16 with tears in my eyes thinking that I was not fit for running. That was when my ART love affair started with the pros at Elite Spinal and Sports Care 

I told Derrick early on that my overall goal was to keep it under 8s and perhaps that will give me a confident boost for CIM. My initial goal for CIM was 8 minute miles (3:30 finish)... I'm now thinking that I'll go out with the 3:40 pace group and just hang with them and see if I can pull away at some point before the half. 

I have a feeling depending on how this goes and how I feel will determine if I'm going to sign up for Napa and go for BQ there..... 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November Rain

Today I'm not feeling myself. I'm in a slump. I think its created by feeling fat, not running quite as much as previous months. I guess its a case of the mean reds (SEE:  Holly Golightly

Sometimes I feel like I'm screaming in my skin. Maybe its excess energy from not running? Or maybe it stems from looking on one side of my closet the other day and realizing that I haven't been to that side of the closet in months and I should just throw all that stuff out. Which then gets me on a train of thought on living simply and how I can go about doing this more efficiently. Actually while I'm on this tangent I'm sure another source of my ill-at-ease is the fact that I've been eating Halloween candy and enough sugar lately to kill a donkey. And I don't even like candy. I also don't like my job. I'm dealing with a dumbass that owes me money and with the help of a friend have been able to eloquently put pressure on him without losing my shit. I'll get my money one way or the other. I just hope that my next blurb here isn't "How to take someone to court". But I admit I think it'd be kind of fun.. hee hee. Its fun when you know you can't not win. 

I'm still on track to PR at CIM. I'm really not sure at this point how well I'll do and if I'll hit the BQ promise land on this go - I guess that's the glory of running. We never know how we are going to do.. that's why we see how hard we can push. I really got used to and started liking the long slow slogging that Tahoe Triple granted - and that I will be granted if I get into WS100 next year. It's just a different mentality than being focused on numbers. I like both. Typically runners will end up choosing one or the other in the long run (that pun was not intended). Road/Speed vs. Trail. I hope I can hang on to the fundamental challenges and enjoy both for a while. 

I should also get back on my bike. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012


I had a super sweet speed workout last night. Felt good. My obliques are sore. I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to speed workouts and such... 

15 warm up
4 x 3:00 all out with 2 min. in between
2 miles cool down at 8:30 pace 

I'm sweeping the Golden Hills marathon this weekend... My intentions were to just go and see my friends run Firetrail 50 because, let's face it, it's fun to watch your friends suffer. But somehow I roped myself into sweeping the marathon course. I really really hope the back of the pack isn't pushing the allowable 20/min pace otherwise it may turn out to be the longest day of my life. Running 26.2 trail miles is hard. Walking it will just be all out brutal. 

In other news it looks like a zombie threw up in our office. There is Halloween everywhere. It's awesome and awful because there are Butterfingers 2 feet from where I sit. But there are also a variety of masks that I get to put on and go incognito when I feel like it. I know people still know who I am but for some reason it allows me to start dancing and acting like a fool as if I've been waiting my whole life to have different face to hide behind so I can start shaking my hips and behaving like the 5 year old I feel like sometimes. 

Happy Halloweeny!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Back to life. Back to reality.

I'm suffering from post race depression bad today. So I'm going to re-hash the last 4 days of my life in agonizing detail. 

Friday/Marathon 1 - Emerald Bay to Spooner Lake:

Kevin, Derrick, Dennis and I were standing around waiting for  the start. We wished one another luck and in the middle of a sentence the gun goes off startling all of us! "Oh I guess we're on!" The first few miles is all descent and I'm just focused on keeping my feet underneath me and keeping her easy. Run your own race was the advice of the German speaker the previous night at pasta dinner and record holder of the triple. "Don't run too fast, don't run too slow. Run how you trained and run your own race". This stuck with me those 3 days and I always had in mind to just keep it comfortable - the goal was always to finish in 1 piece (and to share Derrick's goal: no pooping of the pants). 

Derrick found me within the first half mile and to my surprise we actually ran the entire first day together - well minus the last mile or so when he had more gusto in him to kill that final hill and bring it in. Derrick is a much stronger runner than I am so I fully expected him to take off that first day. Day 1 was a nice ease into this stage race. I had someone to chat with when needed and laugh and joke about what the hell we were doing out there. As soon as I caught a glimpse of the lake I knew exactly what I was doing out there. 

My mom was the best support anyone could ask for on day 1. She had the Gracie and June Bug (JB) with her and leap frogged us the whole time. We were self sufficient as far as GU and water but it was so nice to see her face every few miles camera in hand. 

The final 3 miles of this first marathon are up hill about 1,000 feet or so. The last mile was probably the hardest mile I've ever done. I never stopped running, I just kicked it into a very low gear and said to myself "chug and lug - chug a lug". I find keeping my eyes down helps. The final turn into the parking lot at the top of the hill my mom was there with the dogs. I ran it in with JB: 

And actually received 1st place in open women's division with 4:21:53 :D

Saturday/Marathon 2 - Spooner Lake to Tahoe City:

Brooke came up the night before to help with support on Saturday since my mom was riding her bike around the lake. She dropped us off and today was a 7:45 start time. The first 6 miles or so are mostly downhill. I was worried about my IT bands since they've given me issues in the past and things were sore today. Again, nice and easy I told myself. Around mile 5 or so the view opened up and I saw the entire lake. It was so beautiful. I also saw in the FAR distance the casinos at the North Shore stateline that I knew we had to run beyond. It looked eons away.

After the halfway mark when all the half marathoners cleared the course I thought to myself this is where my race begins. And with that thought was an arduous climb up a very busy street. The cyclist were all passing by now from their trip around the lake. This was awesome. They were all encouraging and I was happy giving them all a thumbs up as they sped past. I also hit a euphoric 2nd wind here (which cannot happen without its polar opposite, I'll get to that). At this point I was waving at cars and having a great time chatting with the spectators as I'd run past. And then I spotted my mom coming around the bend on her bicycle. This was another great boost! She cheered for me and a couple others around me and said she loved me before pushing beyond. 

I was then blasted with fatigue and soreness around mile 16. But I pushed on. I never walked on this course, I just put it into a very low gear. This day was the hardest of the 3 days for me but it was also the fastest (a faster course, mostly downhill). 

On the first day I developed a little 10K and 5K left dance, just some minor wiggling and finger shaking. When I had 10K left on this course I mustered up the dance with all my might. When the 5K left mark came, I was shattered. I pointed my fingers out for about .5 seconds and then pushed on. I was mad and sad and hurting. I figured I'd cross the line and start crying immediately. 

Then there was another hill. And all that was left was my will to live. I was talking to myself in short sentences mantra like. I knew I would finish but it was taking it out of me. I finally heard Derrick's voice scream at my sighting and new I was done for the day. 

Big smiles, no tears:

Sunday/Marathon 3 - Tahoe City to Pope Beach (about 6 miles beyond Emerald Bay)

5:00am Sunday morning I awoke with nausea. I got up for the normal routine of coffee with half and half and oatmeal and found that my stomach immediately said no way, not today. I had my coffee black and a Mojo bar instead. I rolled a bit and yawned about 40 times on the 45 minute drive up to Tahoe City for the final race. I couldn't be bothered to stand in line at a porta potty so went pee in a parking lot in front of a car with a little stick tree right beside me. I gave no shits this day. We saw a pale and distressed looking Dennis at the start and took a few photos. The gun went off and we hobbled on. Dennis was right behind Derrick and I for a couple miles and he dropped off. "He said he ate yogurt and a banana for dinner, Derrick" I said worriedly. Dennis is the fastest marathoner of all of us I think had the biggest breakthrough this weekend in testing his limits. 

Derrick and I ran together for the first half or so seeing Brooke and my mom along the way. Its great to have support in races, especially stage races or ultra-endurance events. And its a pain the ass for them so I really appreciate it. 

The first 8 or 9 miles was flat. I was grateful and we were easily doing 9:40s or so. Also, as soon as I started the race my nausea and fear of what lie ahead was instantly gone. I thought it funny how the thing that was causing trauma to my body was also the only thing that was making me feel better. Anyhow, as soon as the hills started I slowed a bit. This is where I lost Derrick and just went at an easy peasy no rush pace. I enjoyed the scenery and the energy from the half marathoners when they started at the half point. At Inspiration Point I grabbed some grapes, pretzels and Ultima to choke them down with. I walked and just looked out at the lake and I experienced so many emotions. I was calm and happy eating and I was also sad that in 6 or so miles it was all going to be over. So I enjoyed those 6 miles the best I could. I chatted it up with several people. And around mile 21 or so Dennis caught up with me! I told him to go catch Derrick after he explained he was just numb to the sickness he felt and pressing on. Way to go, Dennis! 

After I rounded the final stretch where my mom and Brooke stood I was drawn in by the cheers of onlookers. What a great day! The 4 of us here at the end doing our final post race soak:


These were probably the most amazing 4- 5 days of my life thus far. I've experienced far ends of the emotional spectrum and I feel lucky for all of it. And I especially feel lucky that I can eat this and not feel the least bit guilty about it:

Next day chillin with JB (and the rest of the gang) at Kiva Beach - I wanted to run another marathon but we went to apple hill and ate pie and fritters instead.

 Bye Bye for now Lake Tahoe!

Monday, September 17, 2012

T3 Beckons!

This past weekend saw three 18 milers, 3 days in a row. With help of friends I got through them with little perceived effort. Typically when a weekend has this kind of thing in store I'm nervous and even a little mindfully apprehensive but I had a different outlook after the previous week and half being sick with a sore throat turned flu-ish turned cold symptoms. I was just happy to be well enough to run. 

Running is more fun anyhow when you have things to look forward to:

18 Saturday early morning run - followed by Perko's and Baker Beach

18 Sunday - followed by lunch with mom and dad and a nap with the monster, June Bug

The next week and a half will go by fast.. I need to enjoy every second of this taper as I will be getting into some heavy speed work in preparation for CIM after T3 recovery. I'm already 2 Cookie Connection gut busters in for the day. This is why I run. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Dancing Queen

This post is dedicated to my friend Joe... 
February 16, 1980 - August 18, 2012

The animal lover:

The cross dresser:
Lover of women:
Yes, his shirt says "I heart Strippers"

Some assholes playing gangster games Friday night into Saturday morning resulted in his untimely death. 

Having never experienced death of someone without warning I'm figuring out how to deal with the mourning, the grief stages all while holding on to every piece of time spent with this person in the last couple years. Joe and I went to high school together and started our college educations at American River College. I would often laugh in total disbelief at the vivid memories he had of our conversations from ARC. I don't know if I just have a really bad memory or perhaps he was just able to recall more than me because he is much brighter than me. Sometimes I just plain thought he was making it up. 

I was lucky to receive a friend request on Facebook from Joe in December 2010 - I accepted and he asked me to join him for dancing. I put off the invitation for several weeks mostly due to my own shyness and not knowing how to dance. He assured me he would come over and teach me the moves before we went out to blues dancing at the local Firehouse 5. He came over with a bottle of wine to help with the confidence (liquid courage) and then taught me the basic steps of Blues. He made it easy, so easy that when he told me I was a natural I believed him. 

One thing was for sure that evening, I fell in love with dancing Joe. On the dance floor watching him move with other women (and men) I was absolutely gawking. I've never seen anyone move with such grace, style and sexuality (in flip flops!). By the end of the night we were all drenched with sweat and I was starving. Joe was kind to escort me to Burgers and Brew - it had to be close to 11pm and a Sunday night! This was very unlike me to be out so late and on top of that eating grilled cheese sandwiches and french fries. We spoke of relationships, his dancing community and running. I knew instantly that this was a different person from high school. The high school/college Joe I knew was very quiet and didn't say a whole lot. In fact, I think I just found him a bit odd. Not in a bad, creepy way but in an intriguing what-is-going-on-in-his-head sort of way. 

Joe and I quickly became friends and had a few adventures that I'm grateful for. Tree climbing, trampoline jumping, swing/salsa dancing for crowds, staying up way past my bedtime. He put me through a track workout that had me walking funny for 2 days and then we'd gorge at Mark and Monica's pizza.

Through all these things I learned more about Joe than one does knowing someone for years and years. He had that kind of open, infectious personality that left you energetic after spending time with him. 

There is no saving grace in a situation like this. So I'm just going to say that I'm grateful I had the privilege of knowing him and sharing/exchanging thoughts with him while I had the chance. I will miss his charisma and I'm not too sure that he could have lived his life any fuller in his 32 years. 

Miss you. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Western States Recap - Part 2 - The Best Pacer. Ever.

Part 2 - 10:30PM

Read Part 1

After the 30 mile slog fest of Safety Patrol I went to my moms to take a shower and mentally prepare myself for pacing duties. I hit a low. I tried napping with no success because I was stressed about making sure I would get Florida Dave, and myself, to the finish line in under 24 hours. I had chafing on my back from my sports bra and dirt embedded into my skin and underneath my toenails.

My runner had to be in worse shape than me since he would have 50 more miles on his legs but I couldn't convince myself that I was going to keep up with him. I envisioned him pushing me more than me pushing him. Around 5pm my mom pumped me full of red sauced noodles and parm and I was revived (I'm noticing a trend here...) I was spunky to the point that I was already talking about pacing Florida Dave for his 4th and final 100 miler for the season, the Wasatch 100 (Florida Dave is nuts. He's going for the Grand Slam this year. Four 100 milers within a month of each other. Did I mention he was nuts?)

By the time I was shuttled to the Green Gate walking entrance, I thought I had about 20 minutes or so until my runner and his first pacer, TJ, would arrive. I was wrong. 

I waited...and waited... He was due at the river crossing at 9:30 (excellent time for a sub 24). The river crossing, once through the waist high, cold river, is about 1.5 from the Green Gate so when it approached 10:15 I decided to mosey on down to the river. I hadn't done this yet because I was reluctant to add another 3 miles to my total of 50 for the day. But I was cold and I needed to see what the heck was going on down there. I was genuinely starting to get worried for him. As I approached the bottom of the hill I spotted the Dave and TJ. "Dave!" I shouted excitedly. I got a high five which was followed by a "WALK A LITTLE FASTER, TJ!". We were power walking up this hill and Dave was crackin the whip on TJ. I saw his agitation immediately and all too quickly assumed that the next 4-5 hours of my life were going to be hell. Dave seemed like a nice guy when we were running that trainer together...maybe he turns into a barking beast when he's in game face mode. Whatever. This was his day and I was in for the bludgeoning verbal abuse if that's what was in store for me. 

Me: I have your duffle at the top
Dave: Oh good, I need a Boost. TJ, is there a Boost in the duffle? 
TJ: Tyler, is there a Boost in the duffle? Did you grab one from the cooler?
Me: Err.. you just told me to grab the duffle, TJ... 
Dave: TJ, is there a boost in the duffle?
TJ: I don't know, Dave
Dave: Why don't you know, TJ? 

It went on like this for a few minutes. They reminded me of 2 siblings having a go at each other because they've been sitting in a car for too long together. 

We reached Green Gate, changed headlamp batteries, stocked up and headed out. There was about 1/4 of warmish Boost left in the duffle and like any good sport, Dave took what fate had given him and was OK with that. I saw him snacking on a few things at aid and was happy that I wouldn't have to be watching his caloric intake too much at this point. He still seemed to be stomaching things OK.

From here on Dave and I fell into a nice groove real quick. I stayed in front and ran on the descents, flats and short climbs and power walked the long hills. We got into a mode of reaching a climb, 5 second walk, run again. He would say "Okay, walk" or "Okay, run". The last 10 miles these audible "Okays" turned into grunts and moans. He never once cried or whined and I'm proud of him for that. 

Mile 10 - 15 or somewhere thereabouts was rough for me. We were both quiet and just getting through it. We reached part of the Quarry Road and I felt myself starting to fall asleep (yes, while running). I've read about this happening to people before. You just start to zone out. We were still keeping good pace though. I knew if I could keep us under 15 minute miles we'd be well under 24 hours and we were pushing typically a 11-13 minute pace (unless we were power hiking a hill). 

We reached HWY 49 at I have no idea what time but TJ was there, with Boost, and really excitable: "You guys keep gaining time on the 24 hour mark! You're doing great!" I've ran this section of HWY 49 to no hands bridge at least half a dozen times and I was really looking forward to the descent (that you have to climb to get to). As soon as we toed down the descent I couldn't really see that well. My light was starting to dim already and my footing wasn't great; Dave took the lead and bounded down that hill like a gazelle. He called back to make sure I was fine and I was. I just couldn't see too well so I took it easy on that hill and told myself I'd catch up with him at that aid station. But I didn't see him there. I ran straight past aid yelling, "I LOST MY RUNNER" and I was running as fast as I could to catch him. I passed about 3 or 4 other runners telling me "You go get 'em!" like I was the runner... I didn't correct them. 

Right past No Hands I looked off to the right and saw 2 eyes peering directly at me. Shit. I immediately stopped in my tracks. I knew there were 2 runners about 40 feet behind me. I don't know why this put me at ease. I guess knowing that people would at least witness my being mauled by a mountain lion made me calm. I looked again to the right and tried to make it out. Just a deer. Run.

I ran as fast as my eyes would let me. My vision got really funky. I got this "tunnel vision" going on where there was just a black outlined circle directly in front of my face and everything else was dark. I'm still not sure if this had to do with my headlamp going dim or having not slept for about 26 hours. I would never forgive myself if Dave was able to actually get so far ahead of me that I couldn't catch him. Finally I looked up and saw someone, alone, up ahead. 

Me: Dave is that YOU?
Me: You think I'm gonna let you get away from me when you've ran 50 more miles than me today?! 

Just after I caught up to him we saw the lights start creeping up from Robie Point. The coolest thing about this race is the support. Volunteers drag generators to the middle of nowhere (namely aid station somewhere around mile 88) and blast music and have a plethora of Christmas lights inviting you in (only to shove you out 3 minutes later). Robie Point is mile 98.8 or so. I looked at my watch. "Dave! You have 25 minutes to run 1 mile to be sub 23!!"

Right about here we see TJ and run the final mile. This is Dave's first time doing Western States AND his first time running a sub 23 100 miler. Not too shabby. 
                  Here is Dave looking more spry than his 2 pacers

Monday, July 2, 2012

Western States Recap - Part 1 - Safety Patrol

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012                          Above: Me and my fearless driver/dog watching mom

Part 1 - 1:00AM

We woke at 1am after about 2 hours of solid sleep (due to my crazy chihuahua~this is the wrath I deal with living downtown and having 6lbs of fury who doesn't like the drunkards walking past the house on Friday/Saturday nights). Everything was packed the night before from a list I had delicately laid out days ahead. I would never be this organized had I not agreed to pace a new friend the last 20 miles of WS100. Apparently when I have someone relying on me I am capable of taking it to the next level. A quick stop to pick up my mom who agreed to be crew/dog watcher/driver and we headed up the hill to Squaw for our pacing duties (the first 30 miles of WS course). 

The way to Squaw it started storming. The heavy kind of rain where you have to slow down because you can't see 10 feet ahead of you. It must have been my lack of sleep that made me so blasé about the whole thing. Meanwhile, Kevin is in the back seat stressing out about finding garbage bags to cover himself with/making it there in time to get our safety patrol items/heart rate spikes/etc. etc. Such is normal before an event and I've come to appreciate it as it makes me appear the calm and calculated half. 

We made it to Squaw around 4:20am and picked up our plastic baggy of gauze, ointment, band-aids and an extra large red SAFETY PATROL t-shirt (hey just my size!) My mom made an 80's knot on the backside for a snug fit.    

                                  Here we are! Ready to save lives! 26 minutes to start!


We started climbing up the hill with 2 other safety patrolers to get a head start on the runners. It was dark and the higher we got up the mountain the windier it got. WS starts with a nice little climb of 2,200+ feet up to Emigrant Pass within the first 3.75 miles of the start. By the time we reached the first aid station around 4 miles or so it was starting to hail and gusts of wind were coming at speeds liable to knock someone my size right over. I buried my head down and kept on climbing. Thoughts were something like "I want my mom, I miss my dogs, why the hell did I get out of bed for this..." Upon reaching the summit Kevin wanted to empty the debris from his shoes and take a photo. Normally I'd be OK with this but when I'm sucking wind and keeping my legs a good 4 feet wide so that I don't become a rescuee, this idea wasn't all too pleasing, "HURRY UP". I couldn't feel my fingers and the glory of running the first 30 miles as safety patrol was starting to turn into a slog already at mile 5. 

Feeling Fresh Again with Glenn Misono!
By the time we made it to Red Star (mile 15 and some 4+ hours later **yes, I said 4 HOURS for 15 MILES**) I was shivering and the volunteer must have noticed I wasn't doing all to well because he guided me directly to the hot chicken broth. This changed my life. I was ready to go out and save someone again. It was at this point one fellow from Sweden was dropping. We had a good chat up to the aid station and he was a veteran of the race. He'd flown all the way from Sweden and dropped at 15 miles because his "head just wasn't in it today".... 

Looking around I could see I was one of very few people somewhat dressed for this kind of weather. Most people were in shorts and little shirts, no gloves and no water proof gear. Little clothing is typically what weather calls for in this race. I heard several times that this was first time it was hailing. They were these little pellet size hail that even my hat couldn't keep from smacking me. It felt like someone throwing ice cold gravel in your face. Those manning the aid station at Devil's Thumb said they had so much left over ice they had to throw it out! As rough as this weather was it eventually led to the male and female record being crushed! 

Another 3 hours and we were heading up the final 4 miles up to Robinson Flat. This was so beautiful but I was dead tired. I was going on that delirium where something not so funny makes you laugh like a drunk at his own jokes. This is great for Kevin because he becomes a comedian when I approach this inebriated state. Looking around I was starting to feel like Alice in Wonderland, no really. 

We came in with the back of the packers, as planned, about 30 minutes before cutoff at Robinson Flat. We had been on our feet for over 8 hours ensuring safety. The only thing we came across was a dude taking a pee in the bushes who had left his bottle out for someone to wait for him. Thankfully, no rescuing was needed. Runners are tough, especially runners that embark on 100 miles. Typically if something is going wrong, mentally or physically, they know what the ailment and cure is. Beyond 30 miles though its a bit trickier as runners tend to forget who they are and why the hell they are running the middle of the night. More on that in Part 2.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Western States 100 is upon us

There is a definite buzz in my head in anticipation of the upcoming weekend. I must have learned of the Western States 100 not more than a year ago. I probably didn't think much of it at the time (other than "wow, humans can run 100 miles?")  and yet, here I will experience a good portion of it this Saturday thanks to Kevin and newly made ultra-runner friend, Dave from Florida. 

Our Saturday will start around 2am when my mom (good sport as she is) drives me and Kevin up to Squaw Valley for the 5am start of the 30 hour race. Kevin's dentist runs the safety patrol for this race and graciously Kevin and I offered (mine was more of a beg) our leg's services. Glenn was more than happy knowing that Kevin was now an Ironman and capable of the duties necessary for the task. 

We will run about 30 miles in the mid-back pack of runners to ensure safety (imagine that!) Thankfully Glenn didn't require references as to the quality of my nursing skills... This will be my first time running at this altitude and my first time on this part of the course. I will most definitely stop for photo ops and I'm giddy at the thought of watching these crazy bastards (I can say that because I wish I was one of them). 

After 8 or so hours I hope for food and ice. Because 20 more miles will ensue around 10pm or so when Florida Dave gets to Green Gate. I met Florida Dave on day 2 of the WS training runs Memorial weekend. I fell into my groove early on..and Dave ended up behind me. We got to chatting, as you do, and I learned that Dave flew out from Florida for the 3 day trainers before the debauchery that was to take place this weekend. Well, apparently I was good at faking it because Dave thinks I'm strong enough to pull off 50 miles within a 24 hour period without the same muck that took place at AR50.... I hope Dave doesn't have the sappy story of "I had to drop my pacer back there because she's crying and vomiting on herself". Dave, if you do, I apologize up front. Because if this does happen, I'll probably be cursing you at the time. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

DNF club

As was said on Sunday by a fellow runner: "Well everyone has to have 1 DNF, you just got yours out of the way!" I hope this is true because I never want to experience that walk of shame again. Everything was going great. The trail was sufficiently tough but I was getting through it. Even the extra loop the 50K'ers had to do was an enjoyable slog. I was running up the hills, slowly, and cruising the descents. I felt my ITB start to flare up a bit around mile 12 or so. I ignored it. In the past I've experienced this before and sometimes it does go away as with most aches and pains that come with distance running. For example, the beginning of the race the lateral of my right foot was talking a bit. This is something I've had come and go since spraining my ankle over a year ago. But it warmed up and a couple miles later I didn't feel a thing. This was not the case for the ITB. It spoke and then it yelled. And then I talked myself into pushing just till the aid. Got there, filled my water and as soon as I walked on my knee did the buckle it does when there is the stabbing pain of the ITB. A new friend, Joe, I had been playing leap frog with noticed this immediately and asked if I was OK... "um.. the ITB is talking". He used it as an excuse to walk for a bit. He took off and I followed suit lagging behind. It was a climb and typically the ITB doesn't scream when climbing.. It had gone into a light manageable whisper. I climbed for maybe mile and then the 6 mile descent began. As soon as I tipped forward the knee had that ice pick jabbing sensation on the side and I yelled a 4 letter word through the trees. I kept going hoping it would go away but it didn't subside. I stepped on a root sticking out of the ground and rolled my left ankle (thankfully trail running has acclimated my ankles to such stress) and there went another 4 letter word down the mountainside... By this time my state was succumbing to the pain and I started questioning whether or not I wanted to hobble the next 6 miles to the next aid station or walk back 2 miles from the aid from where I just came. 

I stopped and took out my phone, turned it on and not surprisingly there was no signal. I started thinking about Kevin waiting for me and my sub-5 attempt. At that point a sub-5 was already not manageable but had my ITB been OK perhaps sub-5:30 would have been do-able. I started playing a risk vs. reward scenario in my head. I have another 50K planned this Saturday, that I never intended on "racing" and the following Saturday is the much anticipated safety patrol for Western States. Safety patrol is priority for me at this point. 

I walked a bit more down the hill but it was screaming and so I made the decision to turn around and start walking back the 2 mile walk of shame to aid. I've been playing a game in my head ever since. If I would have just walked it out for 10 minutes, would it have enabled me to keep pushing with a walk/jog to the finish. The answer is, of course, yes I could have done that. It would have been painful but I would have finished what I started. I guess I find solace in that being that its Tuesday and I'm still walking funny and have symptoms of ITBS, perhaps DNF'ing stopped me from doing further damage. I see the Healer, Dr. Chu, today to get the deep tissue work over I need and hopefully a motivating pep talk on how to proceed. If I must, I'll drop the 50K to a 25K this weekend and make it a slow enjoyable run. 

The good in all of this is that the next time I blast a 50K it will be all that more fulfilling. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I'm back!

What I've been up to: 

Last weekend consisted of hiking Mt. Tallac in Tahoe. I'm thankful to Kevin for introducing me to hiking, something I had never done before (why hike when I can run?) I thought hiking would be a light workout, something pale in intensity on the workout scale when compared with running. That is, until, I lost the hiking trail on my way up Tallac and found myself bouldering up the side of a mountain! The three of us that broke off the group included Jacob, a 12 year old, myself & a man named Brian, who had hiked Tallac a number of times but was his first time in about a year. 

On the way up Tallac Jacob had mentioned he had hiked Half Dome before. He is definitely tougher and stronger than the average 12 year old. Knowing Jeffrey, his dad and person responsible for the trip to Tallac, it must be good genes! As soon as we started with the bouldering Jacob took off up the mountain. I kept turning around and asking Brian if we were going the right direction, "is this the correct trail??" while grasping with all muscles of my fingers clenched around the protruding rock. "I can't tell from this angle" he responded a few times before I figured as long as we were going up we would eventually summit. 

About 4.5 miles and 2.5 hours later Jacob and I were enjoying views from the tippy top of 9700+ feet Mt. Tallac. Jacob expressed he had never bouldered anything like that before. He has an adventurous future ahead of him. 

The following day I was cycling around the massive Lake Tahoe that I, even at 9700 feet, could not completely wrap my eyes around. It seemed a bit more daunting from that angle. My mom and I successfully completed the ride in around 5 hours (riding time) and could not have asked for more gorgeous weather. Previous years were not so lucky.

Tomorrow brings about the long awaited Skyline to Sea 50K which I hope to break 5 hours. I have not been on a training regimen since CIM last year. I'm enjoying the break from being on a dedicated plan and I find that I enjoy running enough that I don't necessarily require a plan to complete the races I sign up for. However, not being on a specific plan does leave me nervous about finishing a race with a time goal in mind. I didn't even look at the pace that would be necessary to break 5 hours until this morning. While not impossible, an average 9:30 pace will be difficult..but then again, that's the point, isn't it? The Western States 100 training runs (day 1, namely) had enough descending to amp up my quads to take a licking tomorrow. And a recently discovered hill in Folsom, thanks to a new runner-old friend of mine, has me slogging up hills, not fast but with ample speed to keep an overall descent pace. 

I figured this morning with an 18 week training plan, thanks to the one in the back of Dean Karnazas' 50/50, my journey for a Boston Qualifying CIM will begin end of July. There will be lots of tweaks to this plan. The first "long" run starts out with 7 miles, which I've been gladly doing and then some a couple times during the week. Most importantly will probably be doing the 2x/week speed work. 1 interval workout and 1 tempo workout. Fellow runner and friend, Derrick, recently joined Buffalo Chips and speaks highly of the speed workouts he's been doing with the group. I think I will follow his footsteps there and join sometimes in August.

Until the more intense speed workouts begin, I will fancy myself doing races/rides with nothing more than finding peace and pleasure within them. This race is calling my name and although I haven't signed up yet... I have a feeling these 50 miles will see me: 

10,000 feet of climbing sounds like a good sufferfest! I hope the next couple weeks will lead me to a wise decision on this. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Running funk(y)?

Recovering from AR50 has been pretty breezy physically but mentally has been a bit more of a challenge. It may be because of the stomach issue or it could be that I don't really have a "schedule" in front of me... So I signed up for the Skyline to Sea 50K to give me a goal... I'd like to break 5:00 and I think I can given that its mostly downhill and the climbing is about half that of Way too Cool. 

I like that I'm starting to get to a point in my running life that says I don't need a schedule to get out there and run. It makes running a bit more casual and fun. And I know that even though I don't have a race i'm training for I can still get out there and do speed work and long runs because of the pure joy of it. (That and I've gained 2 pounds since AR50 and I'd really like to lose those...)

I'd like to start encouraging people who like to run but don't really have a goal in site to get out there and maybe if they have someone with them it will help. I'd like to see my friend Eli do his first half marathon and perhaps Kevin do his first marathon. And if I can assist in training or running it with them I would be honored. I like to see people make breakthroughs in their current physical condition. Its huge. We're so much more capable than we think. As long as one trains smart (and not too hard, too much, too fast) there really is no limit. The limit comes first mentally than it does physically, in my opinion. These mental breakthroughs allow us to learn more about ourselves and that might be one of the reasons why were are here on planet earth...right? 

Ending on the philosophical note, I'd like to add this:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

American River 50 Miler - check.

AR50 Race Report: 

Here I am ready to go!

Miles 1-3: Feeling great, light and easy pace. Enjoying the company of other runners.
Mile 3: Realize I forgot my electrolyte bottle. Remain calm about it knowing I have s-caps and Roctanes and aid stations. Kevin will have my electrolyte at 31 when I pick him up.
Mile 5: Runner punches cyclist that is screaming at everyone to "get off the f### road!" (!!!) Entertainment at its finest! 
Mile 8.something: First aid, see Brit and Joe! Familiar, cheering faces make me smile and excited to be out there.
Mile 15: Bathroom stop right past Sunrise at the park bathrooms. Both locked. I wait. And wait. And wait. Getting a little frustrated and then someone finally comes out of the bathroom. He looks like a backpacker/camper. I'm a little aggravated but get over it quickly (waiting is better than the other option after all) . I'm now with a different group of runners and I keep telling myself to relax and not try and catch up with those I had lost while waiting at the potty. 
Mile 23-25: Chat with a few people on the climb up to Beal's. Most people it was their 3rd time doing it.
Mile 26.2: Make marathon point around 4:40 which is about what I had expected.
Mile 31.something and pick up pacer point: Get here at 5:30 which was my WTC time and I'm still feeling really good. Mom was there with the puppies and Glen and Tes with Quercus. I'm grateful for their appearance and encouragement. Mom takes a photo of Kevin and I before heading off and I make a bad decision to not change into my trail shoes. Never wise to "change" plans when you have 31 miles behind you. Someone wasn't thinking clearly. 
Up to mile 38ish: Felt great, making good time on the technical portion and passing people here and there. We had a good train going for a while... about 10 or so people just following suit and it was not that difficult as I remember it. 
Mile 39: Starting to feel sick in my stomach. Energy starting to drop a bit.. Starting to think about getting through it. 
Mile 41: Aid station. This was a pretty packed aid station and seeing our friend Paul and other familiar faces gave me a boost. I don't think I grabbed anything at this aid station as I was still feeling sick. 
Mile 42: Grab a gel. Not because I wanted it but because I think its been a while since I've had anything and my energy is fading fast. As soon as I put this in my mouth it comes right back up with whatever I've consumed the last hour or two. Its ALL liquid and its neon green. Gotta love those Island Nectar Roctanes!
Mile 47: Start the Last Gasp climb. I'm grateful we're here because I know the end is near. At this point many people that I had passed or had been running with are passing me. Kevin asks "Is it bugging you that all these people you passed are passing you?" I reply with "No" or something resembling a no... It probably sounded more like a dying sea otter. That's pretty much what I felt like. I remember saying somewhere around the last mile marker that I didn't care if I walked it in. Here I am at bottom of last gasp, perfect shot for how I felt:

Mile 49.5 or so: I'm encouraged by Kevin to start running (or what resembles closely to running) to the finish. I have my eyes on the road just ahead of me and I'm trying to look up and smile at people but really just don't have the energy. I wanted to cry for joy/pain at being done but couldn't. Final stretch mom and Emily scream "TYLER!!!" and I look up last minute and kind of do a wave to the best of my ability and just lead on to the finish. 10:08 it read. Good enough for me. For now.


After I finished it wasn't until I threw up again (about 20 minutes later) that I felt well enough to eat/drink and felt fabulous after that. A cheeseburger was consumed right after that last purge! 

The last 3 miles all I remember is wanting so badly to feel good and run that Last Gasp. But I just didn't have it in me. Every time I tried running, my stomach started feeling really bad. I felt full and sick and nausea.  My legs, and i'm really pleased about this, felt pretty great despite the mileage of the day. It was my stomach that did me in and the last miles my thoughts were mostly consumed with wondering what I could have done wrong. And its still consuming me to some extent. I'm grateful to Kevin for pacing me and giving me encouragement and splashing me with water and getting me ice and keeping me cool when I was hot. 

Thinking back on this (and this goes for life in general) the race experience can be whatever you want it to be. If I only remember the last 10 miles of this then I wouldn't be too satisfied. But the whole day was great. I spent 10 hours doing what I love with others. I made new friends and watched friends have successful fulfilling races (GO TAN!). 

I'm learning that my attitude about an experience (whether it be a race, relationship, work) indicates how I will approach it in the future. Whether I allow myself to learn from it and know what necessary changes to make or look back on it with bitterness and disappointment. I'm grateful I can laugh at how crappy I felt. I mean really, puking neon green substance and then continuing to run another 9 miles seems almost impossible when I think about it now. I will find ultimate satisfaction when I can run this race again without the stomach issues. The race journey continues....