Saturday, December 14, 2013

CIM 2013

Last Friday we made it out to Sac for CIM. Mom and Dad picked us up from the airport and we promptly went to the expo to pick up my bib. I was nostalgic in the car driving up J Street but not regretful that I am no longer living there. But I do love Sacramento - that will always remain true. 

The weekend was pretty casual and relaxed. I hadn't run the entire week leading up to CIM because Grand Junction saw a pretty good snow storm early in the week but I wasn't letting that sink into my head too much. I figured this was going to be the perfect example of going into a race undertrained rather than my typical 50 average miles per week. 

Celebrating Tim's Hardrock entry Saturday

Sacramento was seeing a cold front as well and it was about 25 degrees, I think, when the race started. I had to give my watch to Tim because his was about to die. I was grateful not to have the thing on actually and not pay any attention to it. I trusted Tim and the pace he was going to set for us to make it in before 3:35. 

Our pace was pretty quick from the start (about 8s) and it felt quick but not uncomfortable. We cruised into the half at 1:44 and I was still feeling good. I wasn't totally comfortable but I reminded myself that I was running a marathon PR and I wasn't supposed to be comfortable. I still had a pace I thought we could sustain. We averaged a 7:58 through mile 20 and Tim said we should pull back a bit just to be conservative for the last 6 miles. "A 10K is still a long way to go" he said. By this time my breathing had become really labored and everything was just kind of a blur. Typically in a road marathon I'm making eye contact with spectators and smiling and consciously noticing things. All I had in me, especially those last 6 miles, were focus. 

By mile 25 I was crying and professing my undying love to Tim. I was thinking about the finish ahead and finally qualifying for Boston after attempting it the year previous at the same race. 

Happy with our 3:32:32
We flew home the next morning and the snow was still here waiting for us. It's starting to warm up a bit now - we might make 30 degrees today! I'm starting to toughen up my California skin (June Bug, too)! It makes me look forward to spring and finally getting out more on the beautiful trails that surround our home. Until then, I'll keep my mileage low and stay cozy. 

Palisades Brewery - Cozy.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

No Bones About It!

I'm not even entirely sure what that phrase means but I'm happy to report after my 2nd mtn bike ride I have not broken any bones! I have a few bruises and scrapes that make me feel super tough (and make someone else laugh at me..) Two days ago I completed 2 loops on a 3.5 mile "beginner" course up in Fruita. I had to walk the bike a few times but not without attempting the situation first. I am getting more comfortable on the bike which has been the main goal. And now its getting frosty and cloudy so this may be the end of my mtn biking season. It makes me look forward to spring! 

I need to start taking my camera with me on my running and biking excursions so I have something exciting to post. It's so amazingly beautiful here - the sunsets over the Bookcliffs and Grand Mesa never cease to catch my eye on a daily basis.

Oh lookie! I found a photo online - Bookcliffs
I've realized just recently that I've been letting other's doubts of my coming here affect my overall peace. It's hard to ignore. And as I was telling Tim - I try to operate out of compassion and love so I try to be understanding of what others might be going through. But then I start forgetting the whole reason why I came here in the first place. The fact is I'm living in 300 square feet with someone and I don't feel like killing him. That should be something to celebrate, not attack. But I'm getting better at looking forward and not hanging on to other's negative opinions. 

I had a great training run yesterday for CIM. I was nervous going out for a speed run without Tim since he's been accompanying (pacing) me the last few weeks. It was a good test to see if I had my own mojo to get the work done (I did!) 7 miles completed with 5 miles progressively faster from 7:55 - 7:26. Starting to finally get excited for December 8th!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New Home, New Hobby

Eighteen days ago I arrived in Grand Junction with nothing more than a carload of my possessions including Gracie and June Bug. Everything else that was in my apartment in Sacramento is either housed with a new owner or sitting at a dump. Getting rid of stuff was surprisingly easy. I didn't have anxiety about it other than thinking I probably could have received money for it had I been more systematic about it. This was the first time for me getting rid of everything I owned though and I whenever I tried to just sit and strategize how to do it I kind of ended up in a stupor staring at my wall wondering what the hell I was doing. Funny how "stuff" has such an impact on someone's perceived place in life. 

An unfortunate set of circumstances had me sick the first week I was in Colorado. I was back and forth between feeling well enough to get out for a short run and being sick with chills and completely laid out on the couch for the first half of the day. I don't do well mentally when I'm physically ill - probably because I tend to be pretty active, otherwise. I start thinking things like "I'm never going to feel good life is basically going to shit..." wah wah wah. I think, oddly, this may have helped with my transition moving. I had no time to think about the people in Sacramento giving odd response to my leaving because I was in bit of a survival mode. 

So things have been on the up swing since that first week. Tim received two entries to the Rim Rock Marathon and we both had a great race coming in an hour before we thought. This was a training run for my BQ attempt at CIM in 4 weeks. Tim will fly to Sac and pace me. And I've decided to not put my name in for Western States since traveling back and forth to California is pricey and time consuming. Not to mention it's one week after Bryce 100, one of the races that Tim is co-directing. If I feel the need to run 100 miles in 2014 I'm intrigued by Bear 100. It's close and a point to point race that starts in Utah and finishes in Idaho. 

I bought a mountain bike yesterday. The plan is to start on easy trails (I hope similar to fire road) and not hurt myself. And I've been knitting like crazy! Life here is a bit slower for me than it was in Sac and I like that. I was first drawn to knitting because of the creativity and I could never stick with it because it takes a patient mentality. Patience is one of the things I'm fine tuning here in Colorado. Hopefully the running is being fine tuned as well but since I haven't run since the marathon I can't comment on that with any confidence for the moment. 

Hopefully the next photo isn't one with a broken bone


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Place to Belong

Letting things go in my life is the theme lately. Although my "job" is something I'm still trying to work with. I've been toying with idea of packing up the hatchback and heading east. With the pending winter I think I'd have to head southeast.. I know a few people along the middle portion of the country and maybe somewhere I could stay in AZ for a few days... Of course, heading cross country doesn't have to happen right NOW but I can't think of many reasons to stay here for the time being and if I do stay here my money will just continue to run out. It'd be more fun running out of money while at least exploring other parts of the country.

So I'm trying to get rid of shit. Here is round one: 
Not impressive, I know but this is 2 hours of purging. 
I'm finding myself just bored lately. I'm bored with people and life. I feel useless because I'm not doing anything productive during the day. Being a well rounded contented person really is having all facets of life somewhat fulfilled. I say somewhat because I'm unsure that everything can always be 100%. Typically if something is off the charts good in one area something may be lacking in the other. I remember when I was fat and going to school working towards the radiology field, I had straight A's taking Chem, Anatomy and Physiology, all with labs, in one semester. I was never a straight A student and for sure not in anything that was as tough and required as much study time as those classes listed above. But I was unhealthy and the relationship I was in was blah. I loved those classes and if education wasn't a shit load of money I'd probably try to get into medical school but at this point I'm not sure its worth it. 

Of course maybe all this is just a giant crash after the Norm Swarm from the last couple months. That was fun while it lasted and I've been trying not to have what one friend calls "shiny-object-syndrome" and make things out of nothings. Because friends of Norm all have really great ideas, right? Write a book! Make more shirts! Do this and that! Have I mentioned that my least favorite word is "should"? If I have more people telling me what I "should" do with Norm, my job, my life I'm going to fucking crack. I've already felt the crack begin and I'll admit I like what I'm seeing inside. It's kind of a big fuck-you to no one in particular and makes me want to get rid of all my shit and just leave. 

And now that this is all negative and depressing I'm wondering if I "should" post this at all. I'm going to. Because I think the traffic on this is like 4 or 5 people :) And I like all of you. Any advice that doesn't contain the word "should" is encouraged. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On the Run

I started journaling again and realized that I only typically write or blog when I have something of triumph or trauma to share. So I wanted to jump on here and give an update. Especially given the interesting weekend I just had.

How I feel about Life these days

Since May I’ve halted any type of “racing” but had my share of events including pacing Tan to his San Diego 100 finish, Safety Patroling at Western States for the 2nd year in a row, Ultra Tahoe Trail Relay by Ragnar, Hood to Coast Relay and most recently Ultra Colorado Relay by Ragnar. In case you are wondering and for my own reminder, I’m over relays. They’re fun but you can only do so many before you become completely complacent about the whole thing.

Pacific Crest Trail

Tan mile 93 or so after a little nappy poo.
I’ll share the experience of Colorado since it was just last weekend and I fell in love while I was there. The total distance was about 200 miles and it was split up between 6 people. One of our runners fell ill a couple of days before the race. He still made it but wasn’t in great shape to knock out 30 miles with his head cold. I happily volunteered to take on some extra mileage so I started my run atop Copper Mountain around 10,500 feet. My lungs burned for the first half mile climb until it toed down to a nice 9 mile decent. I took on the 9 miles and then added my next 2 legs to play catch-up with our runner schedule. This was all going so well until mile 18 (of 24). For some reason, much like my last post in May, my stomach goes sour when I’m in elevation. I wasn’t even pushing the pace and by 18 I started getting the nauseous feeling in my gut. I was running along a highway with no vans in site and doing the math of what the legs I was running totaled. When I initially started running I thought it was about 22 but then as I was feeling sick and my mind became mathematically sharp, for survival purposes, I realized that I had close to a marathon in front of me.  

Thankfully at mile 21 there was a van pulled off to the side to give their runner water. I had been run/walking the last mile or so and was desperate to stop based on previous experiences of this nausea. I knew I could finish the last 3 miles in front of me but we weren’t a competitive team and I also knew that my stomach wouldn’t make right until I stopped running. The van, named “Fatboys”, offered me a ride and I gladly accepted. They knew our situation and I thanked them for likely saving the next 25 miles I had to run in the next 20 hours or so.

The rest of the running was great, stomach was fine and scenery was beautiful. Colorado has odd weather. It was hot during the day. I think the weather was reading mid-70’s but I’ve come to realize this feels like 90 when you are above 9K feet. I actually chafed between my legs (!!!) for the first time for saturating myself during a 14 miles run in exposed sun. By saturating I don’t mean soiled, but just dousing with cold water. Every afternoon brought clouds, rain and lightning. Colorado has an immaculate and extensive bike trail system that most of our running was on. Impressive isn’t the right word, but it’s the first that comes to mind.

Early in the day up at Copper Mountain resort I had the idea to move there during the winter and work at a ski resort. I’m sure the pay would be shit but I’m wondering if I could possibly make the arrangement work. Of course I have a small farm I would have to transport with me and given that things freeze in Colorado this farm would have to remain indoors with me. It is an undeveloped idea at best but moving is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I’m wonder if I’m running to or from something. I’ve been reading a lot of Chuck Palahniuk and listening to Pink Floyd lately… Not sure why but that seems relevant right here.

Finish Line at Ragnar. Not a bad place to finish a race.
I ended up “accidentally” running over 70 miles this last week. I kinda went big with my running in the days before Colorado and then with the additional miles I had the biggest mileage week I’ve seen in several months. But it felt really good. I’m taking a break this week, likely getting in about 40 miles but want to keep at it with the high mileage. I feel like I think more clearly. Plus I can justify bacon cheeseburgers.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Breakthrough - Silver State 50M

Sums up my race
Its been 3 days since my ego was dragged through mud vomit in Reno The Biggest Little City in the World. Long enough for me to put on my big girl panties and reflect how great the day actually was (because I'm starting to forget, just like Tan said I would, that awful feeling I had in my stomach that day). 

Truth is, I needed a run like that. I may have said that to Tan when we were hiking at some point in the day. Unless you are ever at rock bottom you can't properly enjoy when things are going well. And my year has gone really well so far - my self-esteem was probably getting a little too big for my small frame and my inner Buddha reminded me that I needed to suffer. 

Not a bad place to suffer
Memorable moments are ones like this above. At one point hiking up towards the peak I asked Tan if I could sit down a minute - it was actually really enjoyable just to sit and look at the view with a friend. And the mint infused lemonade at mile 36 where we discussed again whether or not to DNF. That lemonade made me feel like a million bucks again where I ran a solid mile without stopping! Then mile 39 AS had salsa/meringue music playing and I was feeling so good I was dancing around like a crazy person asking the volunteers to salsa dance with me. 

Amazing these guys were still there! Thank you Pamakids!
And LOOK! 12:29 I came in!! Not sure why my results say 12:33!!!
This was by far the hardest run I've ever done. It wasn't the course itself, although that too was tough, but mentally going through the motions of whether or not to quit something because I didn't feel well and therefore not going to perform as well as I know I could (by a long shot) took a huge toll on me. And I can't say that I would have wanted it any other way. Now that its over. 

A lot of people in this ultra-sport give others a bad time for DNF'ing (did not finish). I've heard on the course of ultras before other people complaining of things hurting and their race not going well but saying "DEATH BEFORE DNF". Whatever.  I'm of the opinion that we can only judge ourselves for the decisions we make and we shouldn't judge someone else's DNF as cowardly or justified. Making that decision sucks and I hope we can all have some decency to let someone else have their experience without calling them names for not "toughing it out".

Tan telling me he's gonna B!tch Slap me if I make him stay out there 5.5 hours.
Eclipse Pizza packet pick-up
And I don't want to end on a dismal note so I'm going to post this rad picture that was posted on FB - I think it was from the Auburn triathlon.. 

I don't know who this guy is but I want to be his friend.
Thanks Tanford! I hope I can return the favor tenfold in San Diego in 2.5 weeks! 

Photos courtesy of Patrick McKenna and Tanford Tahoe.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pacing, Lake Sonoma 50, Diablo 50K

It's been a busy month. Everything has been going along quite nicely until recently but let's keep this upbeat for the moment. 

Month started with pacing HK at the American River 50 mile run for the last 18 miles. He did very well for it being his first 50 mile run. HK wouldn't let me look at my watch to see what time it was so I had no idea if we were on pace or not to break 10 hours. I was pretty sure we were as he was moving much better than I was the year previous and I came in 10:08. I was really hoping he'd beat my time and he did. Running nearly 80% of the last 3 miles which are all uphill he brought it in for a strong 9:42. 

I was actually feeling quite tired after pacing for 18 miles and got the thought stirring about what lay one week ahead at Lake Sonoma. This was going to be my 2nd 50 mile race. The first being AR50 mentioned above where I came in at 10:08 and the last 8 miles saw my regurgitated gel packs along the course. It wasn't my greatest day. 

Lake Sonoma ended up being a complete success as compared to AR50 last year. I was happy and having fun the entire day. I stopped and ate at every aid station and had previously laid out when I would go from using 1 bottle to a full pack knowing I would be moving more slowly for the last 10-20 miles and overall it was just a beautiful day. I even beat my AR50 time. With about 7,000 feet more of climbing I'd call that a great jump in overall fitness!

I had a lot of energy still after Sonoma 50 so I didn't take the proper time to recover (note to self note to self note to self note to self). I probably should have cycled instead of putting so many miles on my legs in the days after Sonoma. I had a weird nagging thing in my arch the last half of Sonoma on descents. I was able to finish and it never became anything beyond annoying but something constantly there, nagging, is never a good sign. I'm starting to see why ultra runners are subject of crazy, long term injuries. Not only are you pounding the legs with long runs but the elated feeling one gets from running and adrenaline that runs through the veins its easy to run with something "nagging" and then find yourself in a boot for 8 weeks because that little annoying thing you had turned into a fracture or a badly torn muscle/ligament. 

So even though this foot thing had made an appearance still on the Thursday while in spin class, I still opted for Brazen Racing's Diablo 50K on Saturday. It was my friend's first 50K and a few of us were carpooling down together (at 4am!!!). Despite my ankle being in pretty ugly shape the last half of this run it was a fantastic course and great to see my friend complete his first 50K in the top 50% of those in his age group! 

A couple of frightening messages from a PT friend had me icing, elevating, Traumeel applying and supplementing with Turmeric all day Sunday (also, note to self: don't take large quantity of Turmeric - it causes heart palpitations). 

I'm supposed to caravan down to Grand Canyon this Thursday with a group to do Rim2Rim2Rim. Possibly the most difficult and beautiful run I would ever do. 47 miles and about 15K of climbing - next to the Western States 100 this was the most difficult run my friend said he has experienced. So - this and bum foot gives a forecast of turmoil. My foot is better but not healed and I'm stuck deciding if I will go and run if my foot is up to it (but likely not for 47 miles), go and hike or forego this trip altogether and wait for next year. 

I don't want to end on a sappy, poor me note so here are some fun photos from the last few weekends:

Hosted these fine fellows and they must have slept well because they had an amazing race!!! 
Coming up on Last Gasp - I allowed him to walk a small portion

Looking good for 50 miles! American River 50 Mile Finisher!
This must have been around mile 20 or so - I still have decent form. I like chicking dudes. 

Great having mom at the finish! Best crew ever! 

YK (his first 50K!) and Mitch
If you're a runner, or  not, you can probably guess which one is the veteran and which one is not by 1. attire 2. fluid carrier -
This is probably one of the more difficult 50Ks in Northern California at present

Amazing views and people 
Derrick coming in for a strong finish!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Canyon Meadow 50K

I realized sometime last week, after receiving emails from Pamakids captain, that I had a 50K on Sunday. I thought it was this Saturday (I was a week off). Thankfully this was always meant to be a training run so there was no last minute tapering I had to do. I ran 12 miles on Saturday and with this 50K at 30+ miles I finished my week with around 65 miles in the books. This will probably be my longest mileage until Sonoma, April 13th. 

I decided this run was going to be a test of slowing myself down and eating at all aid stations. I walked hills (mostly) and managed to consume something at every aid station. I'm really bad at consuming calories while running. I've been doing 30 mile runs with about 300 calories for fuel. I know this won't cut it for Sonoma 50 miler so this run was a test of my tummy strength. 

The race started with a 900 foot climb and we re-visted this 3 times on the loop course. The climb slowed most of us down and this was nice because I had a chance to chat with some people and ran into some friends in the first couple miles. I met a few new people and one person I ran with chatting for about 10 miles. Nothing makes a run go by faster than good conversation. Its these talks that make me feel that friends I've known and been running with only a year have been my friends forever. 

I look like such a shrimp... We ran a mile or 2 together before she finished the half marathon
The next couple weekends I'll be tapering with some shorter, easier 20 mile runs . I'm looking forward to an eventful April (May and June too for that matter!) I hope my limbs stay strong for all of it! First up in the events is pacing and watching some good friends complete the American River 50 miler. I'll be up at the crack of dawn with those running and following them throughout. It will be a long and fun day! 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Mom, Look! I'm a real runner!

I decided this morning while brushing my teeth that I should finally paint my toenails since its sandal season now. So I got out the red sparkles and started painting (still while brushing my teeth - this whole story happened within 2 minutes). Before I slathered paint on the black one - this is the 2nd toe of my left foot - I noticed it was starting to lift a bit more from the last time I paid any sort of attention to it. So I gently lifted it and was shocked that I felt no pain as it started to come off of my toe skin completely. 

Um. I've seen people do this on tv before. Usually its some ultra-runner with a sheepish smile on his face because he knows he's torturing the viewers. I have to say though I never thought it would be me, smiling by myself in my bathroom with toothpaste coming out of my face, laughing like Butthead

Friday, March 8, 2013

Cupcakes tomorrow! Oh, and 30 miles..

The best thing about Way Too Cool tomorrow is the frog cupcakes that await. I just have to run 30 miles first!

I'll also have my ego handed back to me after receiving 2nd place in both Steep Ravine and Jed Smith 50K last month. I'll be lucky if I'm in top 40 women... But I'm focused on a PR, not a medal. Last year this race was my very first 50K. I clocked in a 5:28:00 on the new course. Conditions were dry and perfect for fast running. I took it easy since it was my first one and I didn't know how to race a course more than 26.2 and, frankly, I was terrified. I'd like to be in the 5 hour range tomorrow. The top finishing female will likely be under or around 4 hours (!!!!!) That's a 7:45 min/mile people! On 6K+ of gain! 

I received my 15° F bag yesterday! I'm all set for Grand Canyon. I'm gonna take her for a test sleep at Sonoma next weekend. Camping and running! 

Snug as a bug
In other news my cat is losing weight and my chihuahua is getting fat. Apparently that quarter mile run I took her on last week has her feeling like I do. Starving all the time. So hungry. Don't know when the last time was I only had one lunch. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


So this is going on lately... I'm still running but this dull pain turns into an ache that ends up down the side of my leg not past my knee. I tend to self - diagnose and I'm pretty sure, as usual, I'm right on the money (or booty in this case). It's been going on for about 3 weeks now and last week I took 4 days off (in a row!) to let it rest. 7 miles felt good on Friday and then by mile 13 of my 23 on Saturday it was talking quite a bit. So after watching youtube videos I have some good stretches I can do to keep it bearable. I hope it goes away completely though by the end of the month. I have Steep Ravine 50K this Sunday.. I'm not "racing" this event but I am a little nervous about putting 32 miles on my legs given the piriformis (say it, its fun).

The good thing to come of this is me getting back on my bike! I went for 45 miles yesterday on the American River Bike Trail and it felt amazing to be back. Legs were comfortable and I didn't start feeling fatigue from the unfamiliar pedal strokes until about mile 40 or so. 

11 weeks to Sonoma 50! Which makes 13 weeks to Grand Canyon! I've decided to sign up and plan on attending James Barstad's annual Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim challenge this April. Will be the most difficult run I perhaps ever do. I'll elaborate more as it gets closer but here is a little peak at the elevation:

Its about 47 miles total and about 12K total in climbing and over 7,000 feet at elevation at 3 points. It will be a challenge to say the least and I hope I can complete it in one piece. Sonoma will be a good indicator of my ability, both mental and physical. 

Happy Running!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Cat's Turds

I don't normally have the pleasure of posting anything about my cat. I feel the need, today, after coming home this morning to one of his tremendous turds, to give Norm a shout out here. This blog was started in my quest to break a 4 hour marathon and has since been about different running journeys.. So it may be odd to some that my cat weighs 30 lbs and is what some might call "obese" when I might be what others call "obsessed" with running/working out.

What Norm does best
Photo courtesy of FB friend: Nathan Stewart
Compared with a child
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Thorne

I adopted this hunk of love 2 years ago when I heard he was going to the pound. He was 10 years old and a dog lover, I was told. I brought my dogs over to introduce them and he ran up to them and started sniffing their butts right away. Love at first sniff. 

He has since become a neighborhood  downtown phenom. There are 2 annual parties thrown in his honor and they've brought together neighbors in a peaceful, animal-loving way. I'm currently working on Norm Pub Crawl to benefit one of the local non-profit animal shelters. He will attend in my dog's stroller (yes, I own a doggie stroller). 

Gracie's always preferred the finer things

So the initial point of this post was to mention Norm's turds. He has man-turds. I should have taken a photo of the one I came home to this morning but usually I'm just so preoccupied with getting that thing down the toilet as quickly as possible. I then had to light a candle to help with the buttscent that was left lingering. No wonder Norm ran, okay maybe it was more of a waddle, out the door when I got home. He can't even stand the smell. 

This is his buddy, Six. He initially came around about 1 year ago looking for food. I think he was abandoned because he's not too skittish and will even come inside once in a while. He is a regal looking cat but has gained a bit of weight... With all the visitors coming around I think they get their fair share of treats. 

Photo courtesy of FB friend: Stephen Orihuela

If you're not already his friend check him out here: Norm Lopez 

Not his best angle