Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Awesome and Pathetic

Awesome is the new Truckee Community Recreation Center, complete with this very cool suspended indoor running track:

I like the desk on the corner (doesn't it really look out of place?), complete with hand sanitizer and kleenex.  I'm especially fond of the kleenex, because my nose just runs and runs and runs when I exercise -- I think it would be frowned upon if I were to blow snot rockets left and right inside.

Pathetic is my first attempt at running here.  I forgot my inhaler at home -- this, coupled with the fact that I really haven't run in something like 3 weeks meant that I was a wheezing, tight chested mess within a half mile (6 times 'round the track!).  After 2 miles I had had it and took my sad coughing ass back home.

I did manage an afternoon yoga class (no farting! I was kinda disappointed).

I'm off to a GREAT start!

Training begins . . .

So, in true Bootchez fashion, I started off my marathon training by . . . missing my first day's run.  Lovely! I submit the fact that it is freaking cold here in Tahoe, but I guess I'm going to have to counter that reality pretty damn quickly, or the only "marathon" I'll be participating in is by watching Top Chef Marathon on Bravo.  That will not do!

This lack of interest is not unexpected, though.  I am always a slow starter, especially after taking a couple of weeks off.  It is sooooo easy to slip back into that, "What?! Me exercise?" frame of mind.  I'd hate to think of 40 years of lazy-dom all gone to waste.  I've just gotta get out and run a few runs, then my feeble brain'll kick in and be all "Remember? You loove this stuff!" And I'll be well on my way.

With that in mind, yesterday I checked out my town's new Recreation Center, which is so new it barely has a website.  What it DOES have, however, is an indoor running track, 12.something laps to the mile, 7 days a week, $3 a pop or $20 per month (along with Nautilus-type machines -- I am sooooo regretting my hugely expensive, 18-month-commitment gym membership right now!).  Way back when, I began my little running career on just such a track, just this time of year.   I don't remember being particularly frustrated with running around in little circles (over and over and over again), though at the time I think I was primarily frustrated with making my body run for 90 seconds WITHOUT STOPPING(!!), so who knows how I'll feel about trying to crank out 5 or more miles.  Right now, the cold is too much for me to face (I know my tune will change quite soon, I *really* don't mind it once the first mile or so is under my belt), so I will be hitting this track later this morning for my first go-round.  Yes, I will.

Instead of running yesterday, I bit the bullet and signed up for some serious Bikram Yoga.  Thankfully, I have quite a bit of experience with this discipline, having spent about a year or two (years ago) going to class 3-4 times a week.  If yesterday had been my first time, I might have been a little dissuaded from returning because the guy in front of me had the worst case of farts I have been witness to in such a venue.  No exaggeration, in a 20 minute span of time the guy must have farted more than 5 times -- big, loud, ass-fluttering windy things that precipitated a HUGE giggling fit on my part.  Seriously, farts are funny just about all the time, and if it's inappropriate for a 42-year-old woman to laugh out loud when the 3rd boom comes flying out, well then so be it (at least I've got the right kinda job!).  By the time the 5th or 6th (who's counting?) slipped the questionable hold of his cheeks, I could barely hold the Tree Pose due to my increasingly audible giggles.  If you know anything about Bikram, you know the next pose is "the corpse" pose (more fits of laughter from me), followed by -- I shit you not -- the "wind removing" pose.  I'm all, "Well, that ship has sailed . . . " and it was pretty much over for me at that point.

I am very mature.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What tomorrow brings

This coming week signifies the end of my self-imposed physical break, and the beginning of my marathon training.  Tomorrow morning I am getting my shit together and making a commitment to some serious (2+ times a week) bikram yoga, plus break my running fast with a little 3-miler.  I don't feel like I'm rarin' to go or anything but I do feel as though I've been missing a little something in life, maybe a little anxious to DO something physical.  I certainly haven't been missing any meals or anything, as my waistline will attest to, so I guess that adds to the anxiousness as well.

I'm starting to think of 2010 and what goals I'll have for the year, running and otherwise.  I am not much for New Year's resolutions (and, in fact, hate the holiday so intensely that I would MUCH rather spend it tending to puking drunks of all ages in the ER than do almost anything else) but I think I'll be preparing a goal list anyhow, because somehow writing things down and then letting the world (or whoever!) know about them does seem to make it that much realer and maybe make it that much likelier that I stay committed to the goal.

Or not.

I have already committed to my very first goal, running a 10 for '10 10K on January 1st, a virtual group run being hosted over at Of Running and Parenting.  This seems like a good way to start!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Trying to get the blogging thing together

Jeepers, I am CONSTANLTLY thinking Oh!  should write a blog post about . . . . whatever, yet it doesn't seem to be happening.  Certainly the past month of limited internet access has had an impact, as well the fact that my plan of constant iPhone postings kinda went out the window with a. the annoying need to type on that tiny little keyboard and b. the fact that any post from said phone was either misformatted (wtf with the linebreaks?) and/or would refuse to post both texts and photos (and unpredictable about it to boot), thus causing lots of carefully typed writings to poof! disappear.

Now I'm back in Marin, and while I have my computer, plus access at work, I don't have internet where I live so I still have plenty of excuses reasons while it's still difficult. Waah waah waah, I know.

Also, I am taking a break from running for a bit.  I finished the last half happily, did a few runs here and there after that, but don't start my marathon training till the week after christmas.  I decided a week or three of minimal (if at all) running just to give my ol' bod a little break would be a good idea.  I dunno if that's part of the "training" that runners do, but I have taken up to 2 or 3 months off every year (that winter stuff is a BITCH) and feel that I have been the better for it.  So pretty much no running for me until dec 28 or somewhere's around there.

Meanwhile, I am trying to get caught up with my Google Reader (400 posts? is that possible?) and back to commenting on everyone's posts.  I have over 500 (!) pictures from my road trip, and will work on putting together some posts with those as the backbone, 'cause MAN O MAN did I see some lovely sights, and had a great time to boot.

So whilst the scarcity of posts of late might appear to be an indication that I am loosing interest in this thing, nothing could be further from the truth.  First I think I'll get caught up on what everyone else has to say, then I'll try to get caught up on what I have to say.

I'll be back!

Oh, and check out Rachael's blog, where she's got a cool giveaway going, and because she's got a great, funny, inspiring bit of blogging to read.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Home!

Home to four feet of snow in the driveway, a six foot burm, a new-to-
us snowblower that underperforms, a tree across the road taking down
power and phone lines, no power, no Internet ... Happily, after a few
(!) hours of shoveling, we cleared the driveway enough for the truck
to fit (just), the power came back on maybe ten minutes after we
finally called it quits and headed indoors, the fallen tree did no
damage (even though it did fall partially in our yard) -- and we even
hacked off the top and now have a Christmas tree!

So now I sit in my pleasantly warm home, freshly showered and in comfy
clothes, STILL typing crappy blog entries from my phone, no other
Internet (damn!!!), contemplating future blog entries, studying
vacation photos, so glad to be home after the snowy drive here from
Bishop! I'll try to get some interesting posts up in the next few
days, get caught up with everyone elses' blogs, get my fat ass back
into the gym and the yoga studio, and try to remember how I managed to
run in this weather last year. I've got nothing on my training
schedule for the next couple weeks, but my training plan for the
marathon starts right after christmas.

Reality check!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The past week (text version)

... has been spent in my favorite little place on earth. Hopefully
there's a photo here!

I just returned to cellphone range (temporarily, anyhow) after a week
of communication blackout ... Aaaahh, relaxation!

Short, sweet update ... Death Valley Half? PR, baby, at a blazing
(unofficial) 2:20! Death Valley?? I love the dessert more and more
every time I go. Lots of 4 wheeling, hot spring visitation, fine food
and beautiful vistas.

I hate typing these on the phone, mostly because every time I post to
the blog it does either texts or photos but not both. So I'll save
race reports and lotsa photos in the next fivesix days, plus omigod
I've probably got hundreds of posts to read! I will, and, by the way,
I'm not dead!!!

(a few people thought I was. Sorry, guys!)

The past week

Friday, December 4, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Running Nevada

Another great day of exploration ... and running! Last night found us
scoping out some excellent petroglyphs on Mt Irish in southern Nevada,
some of the best I've seen (outside of Perfect Kiva in Utah, that is).
I've got some great photos of my favorite for later, I only caught a
few on the phone camera. We checked out a bunch, then spent the night
about a half mile away. There were more petroglyphs to see this
morning, then I was off on a GREAT run -- 10 miles through the
awesomeness that is the Nevada desert.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hot hot springs and Cold ghost towns

((There was all this smart text that went with the previous post, but somehow it all got lost in the interwebs.    Just imagine how witty I was!!))

Since we left, we have pretty much been totally out of cellphone range, so you can imagine how remote we must be.  We've been driving all over central Nevada, which undoubtedly is among the few remaining wide open spaces of this country.  Fuckin' awesome!  When you look at the map and think, Man, what's out there where there's no towns? the answer is pretty much nothing.  Nothing, that is, except beautiful vistas, hardy plants and wildlife,  sketchy unnamed roads going who knows where and, occasionally, some little-known primitive hot springs.  These are the punctuations to our traveling sentences.

We've done this trip (or trips very similar) quite a few times, often revisiting old places and sometimes seeking out the new.  We always go this time of year because A. not many other people are unhinged enough to be exploring the high Nevada desert in the almost-winter and 2. while it might seem that 10-15 degree lows are really really cold (and, indeed, they are), those temps are mitigated by the 106 degree water that's steaming just seconds away from where you're camping.  Yeah, we spend a lot of that cold weather submerged up to our necks in hot water, then submerged up to our heads in lots of down sleeping bags.

Plus, there's a significant amount of alcohol involved.

Check it out:



Here's a horizon pool with quite the horizon; this tub is a new discovery for us.




And some neat bubbles (from the hose acting as an inlet; it's NOT boiling!)


The night before last we spent away from any hot water, and the cold weather (seriously, something like 12 degrees) is REALLY hard to take without the springs nearby.  I made some breakfast and then actually went running!  This was an awesome run along one of those unnamed roads -- I felt (and was!) miles and miles from anywhere.  It felt great to get out there (in my usual countdown to my next race -- the half on saturday -- I've been tapering for the past week and a half!), and it really is a cool feeling to be running someplace you've never been before.

Tom then picked me up at a pre-arranged time, and we headed off to explore some ghost towns.  This was VERY cool and deserves a post of its own, which I hopefully will get to at some point in the coming weeks.




Here's Tom in what I think used to be the courthouse in Hamilton, a silver-mining boom town abandoned sometime in the 1870's or 80's.  This whole area of Hamilton, Treasure City and Eberhardt is truly remarkable, and I *really* want to dedicate a post to it (perhaps an unlikely post for a running blog, but whatever) -- I've got some great photos.

Last night we came in from the cold and spent a night at nice hotel in Ely, NV.  Ooooh, showers and laundry and king-sized beds, omy!  And internet!

Ely is a tiny little town that almost amounts to a big city here in this unpopulated area.  Check out the main street, I swear this town looks straight out of the 50s.  Photo does not do it justice.



We went and had a meal at some random restaurant, which is a luxury after 4 days of cooking an a propane stove.  Our waitress had a big ol' 80s hairstyle, and Tom noticed that she had Sasoon jeans on -- when's the last time you even saw a pair of those??

Today, we are headed south and probably over towards Utah -- we are hoping to spend some time in Zion National Park.  It should be at least a little warmer over there.

Anyhow, our trip is going fine and really couldn't be any better.  I've got lots to report, but just a little time 'cause the open road is calling and we're headed out of here pretty damn quick.

Nevada is pretty barren, beautiful and quite cold this time of year.  It has been an interesting trip so far with flat tires, epic meals and the aforementioned alcohol.  Utah is on the horizon!


Friday, November 27, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hiatus, woot!

Sorry, readers, but this blog will be a litle sketchy in the coming weeks (perhaps moreso than the past few weeks!), but for a good reason -- in about an hour, I am leaving on a Road Trip!  Yay!  The truck is packed up, and Tom and I are headed out for another feast of exploration.  Nevada, Utah, Death Valley, Southern California -- so many deserts and hot springs to be found and tasted (so to speak), plus a Half to be run.  I'll be mobile posting on the go from the phone or whatever internet access I manage to stumble on, but it will probably be a little sporadic.

Thanks for hanging in there!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hair

> It continues to be a huge pain in the ass to do much of anything
> while I'm down here in my week o' work --I just don't have a whole
> lotta energy for running, and I lack a wireless connection for
> blogging (about my nonexistent running). I do have my iPhone
> though, and thus all things are possible!
>
> I've received a couple of requests for the hair update, and as I am
> presently sitting in a near-empty emergency room (which almost never
> happens), well, here's a few photos -- in full RN riot gear, no less!
>
> I think I'm really lucky to have my hairstylist! I'll have more to
> say when I can actually use a keyboard to type, but hopefully this
> soothes some wondering minds.
>

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Runs, trains and roots

Yesterday was a nice 8.5 mile run, the longest I've run in quite a while.  I ran up Cold Stream Canyon, which is a nice fire road run.  I'm usually much more of a trail runner, but the coming Death Valley Half is on roads (pavement, no less) and I figured I should emulate that at least a little bit.  I can't really bring myself to run on the road here in Tahoe where the alternatives are so much nicer.  Especially knowing that my trail running window is fast closing, 'cause snow's gotta be coming soon.

The first mile or two was as painful as usual, but after that it got kinda blissful.  Calling this another recovery run (I did race on Sunday!), I took it quite easy and stopped when I want.  I got caught peeing in the woods by a passing pickup truck driver (ok, I was barely in the woods, more like on the side of the road), and also caught dancing like a fool to my music (and not running) by another runner running towards me at a superfast pace.  I think I'm a little too used to being way out all by myself!

There is some railroad tracks to cross, and it's a huge corner that the trains come around.  Right as I was crossing, a long train passed . . .



 . . . providing me with a picture to add to this very boring post.

Anyhow, it was a nice run and I was so happy to be out there.  The distance was not a challenge at all, and I felt like I could have run another 5 miles easy.  It took something like 2 hours, but I was in full relax mode.

Today I'm off for another episode of hair.  It's been 6 months, and I have maybe 6 inches of roots -- I thought I was mostly grey but, as it turns out, I am hugely grey at the temples but kinda pepper and salt elsewhere and it's not as stunning as I had hoped and is just kinda mousy I guess.  I thought I was at least 50-70% grey, but:



When I have it pulled back you can really see how kinda meh. it is:



But I don't really hate it or anything, so I'm not sure what I'll have done today.  I know that I'm definitely NOT going back to dying it brown (its natural color) every 3 weeks in the sink anymore.  I might just go and get it bleached blond (the roots don't look nearly as bad growing out with the blond) every 6 months or so until it's gone a lot more grey.  We'll see what Vicki has to say . . .

(I can't believe I did this whole post, photos and everything, laying on the damn couch, with bedhead and all.  Fuck, I'm lazy!  And I don't know why my eyebrows look so hairy, they're not! Ok, I'm done now.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's all in my head.

Yesterday was a rest day, so I did little more than attend another yoga class.  As I've posted about previously, I am newly in love with Bikram Yoga.  There is a sad truth here, though.  Though I poke fun at myself for "sucking" at running, it is mostly just for humor's sake and I am well aware that I am a strong and somewhat accomplished runner (well, I *have* accomplished a lot of miles and races!) and I take some amount of pride in that.  Here's the thing, though . . . I truly suck at yoga.  Really!  I can barely stand on one leg to put my socks on, nevermind doing this:
  , or this,  , or a half dozen other similar poses that require one to stand on only one of one's legs (there's an awkward construction) for a ridiculously long period of time, twice! while sweat literally runs off the body with a force greater than some showers I've been in.  I spend more time falling over than standing up, concentrating more on trying not to crash into my neighbor than on "yogi breathing."  No exaggeration, I think your average 3 year old has more coordination than me.  Klutzy klutzy klutzy.

Which is why yoga class is pretty much exactly where I belong (oh, and the running thing? took away the one advantage I might have had, flexibility.  Gone.).  Last night's class was the worst so far, I maintained hardly a single posture and I was sweaty and heart-racingly short of breath right till the very end, which seemed an hour later than usual.  After class, I asked the teacher for some insight into why I had the balance of a wet noodle and she said exactly what I knew she was going to say the following:

It's all in your head.

That balance comes from within and I had to find it within myself, yadda yadda yadda.  I guess this means I'm unbalanced?  Listen, lady, this is NOT news to me, haha!

Seriously, though, I know -- to a certain extent -- that balance and klutziness are learned behaviors, and can be modified.  When I was a child and a teen, I was dangerously klutzy, like flirting-with-disaster klutzy.  I then lived on a sailboat (and spent drearily long passages at sea) for 10 years and let me tell you that you learn really quickly NOT to fall over or trip or bump your head or slip or do any manner of things that previously were daily occurrences, because the consequences were just that bad.  So I went from being dangerously klutzy (omigod she's gonna die!) to humorously klutzy (look, she fell into a box!  again!)

All of which is a round-about way of saying that while I feel that someday, maybe, I can learn to stand on one leg (after all, someday I'm gonna run a marathon!), that day is NOT today OR tomorrow and meanwhile, fellow yogi's, please forgive my sweaty bod slipping over in your direction.  One day, I'll figure it out.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Oboy!


This represents my official registration in the Reno Rock-n-River Marathon in May.  It's not real until the registration form is in -- now, it's real.  Holy shit!  I'm gonna run a marathon!

Omigod, what've I done?!?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Today, I raced (and didn't suck!)

Lately I've been suffering from some insidious blog disease, which manifests itself with the knowledge that you've got things to blog about, but you haven't blogged for SO LONG that there's so much to write about, so you put off blogging until you've got time to write about everything, but then more time passes and there's more to write about and you STILL haven't posted in forever and what're you gonna do about THAT?!?  So, that's where I'm at.

So, in the intervening time, here's a short synopsis of what's happened lately: I've run a bit, including a great trail run up in Graegle (running with the mt bikers) that TOTALLY deserves its own post 'cause of the great photos, but o well, worked a bit (and even managed to run while in Marin, a feat not accomplished in over a year), didn't run quite a bit (notice my running goals over on the sidebar; last week? not so good), have done lots of hot yoga and am planning on going at least twice a week forever and ever, baked some more pies, got out the winter gear 'cause it's freaking COLD here the past coupla days, and today I ran a race!

So now that we're all caught up, I guess I can get on with it then.

Yesterday, after missing my planned 8-miler, I took a look at my run calendar to see how I could make up for it and, lo and behold, I saw that I had a race scheduled for today.  Surprise!  Turkey Trot time!  This is a nice local fun run around Donner Lake, a favorite run of mine especially in the winter, when there's not a ton of running options in Truckee.  It is usually run counter-clockwise, which is NOT my favorite way to do it, as it begins immediately with a steady group of silly hills that are not that steep or long but are soul-crushing nonetheless.  I much prefer to tackle them from the other direction, as they present as one really long steep climb and then lots of little descents -- much more my style.  In any case, I was prepared to go around the dictated way, but wait!  There was an email this morning saying due to ice on the road (the back, hilly side is very shady and not well-travelled) they were going to run it the other way so that the ice could be dealt with by single runners as opposed to everyone being all bunched together in the start.  Sweet!  Not overly keen on the ICE part of that equation, I was heartened to run it the way I like.

So we get to the start, 1/2 hour early as usual.  I get my bib number and Tom and I talk a bit with some of the local runners that I am slowly but surely getting to know from other pre-race talks, and jeepers creepers but it is COLD out there.  When we left our house (aka Ice Station Zebra -- while all of our surrounding neighbors are enjoying sunshine and melting snow, we still are covered in shade and 2 feet of the stuff!) it was something like 22 degrees.  Granted, in the sunshine of Donner Lake it was warmer, but still probably sub 30.  This presents a problem for me, because just standing around I am always freezing, but I run very very hot; choosing what to wear is a bit of an art form.  Do I wear tights and a jacket so I don't freeze in the beginning, or just shorts and a tank so I don't die of heat stroke 3 miles in?  Decisions, decisions.  I first take off my tights and try that out for a while.



I am cold, but ok.

15 minutes before our race, the kids start out on the Mashed Potato Mile.


I find it amazing that these kids, as young as 5 or 6 from the look of some of them, are getting out there and running! a mile! in the cold! and smiling about it.  NOT the way I was raised, for sure.

I take a little warm-up jog, and decide that I need to run wearing as little as possible, so off goes the jacket and I start dancing around to keep warm.  Mind you, *everyone* else around me is wearing hats, tights, long sleeves, gloves and whatnot, and looking at me like I might be a little nuts.  Not the first time, nor the last.

I know you're not supposed to try new things on race day, but yesterday I got these Under Armour Compression Shorts in the mail, and on they went.  As I've gotten thinner (haven't lost A. Pound. since I started running, but my legs have gotten slimmer and much more toned) I've really had some chafing issues, and I thought these might help with that, plus might keep me warm without overheating.  They worked GREAT in this race, and I'm gonna have to get another pair I think.

Anyhow, just seconds before the start I fell into conversation with the man next to me, so much so that I didn't even know we were starting till everyone around me started moving.  Ooops, press Gary's start button and start the iPod and away we go!

The first mile passes in something like 10:10 -- this is a fast pace for me, but after the first mile I just felt really good and thought, well, try to maintain that pace.  I made a little goal here: run every mile under 11:00.  So I did.  I ran 7 miles in 1:14, averaging 10:30 or so.  Nice!

I end up running the entire race right next to the guy I chatted with on the start line.  We had a great talk, and I'm sure his presence helped me to maintain a good running pace.  I picked up the pace for the last half mile, and really kicked to the finish.  This is not my usual M.O., but it was kinda fun to see how fast I could run and what I had left in me.


I definitely struggled across the finish line!

I walked around for a bit, grateful for the warm clothes Tom fetched out of the truck.  I might have been warm while running, but once I stopped I got cold cold cold.  And then stayed that way,  for hours.



When I got home, I hid under some down sleeping bags, hungry for warmth.  Ahh, down!  10 hours later, now, I think I've finally reached stasis.   I'vc still got the sleeping bag over my legs, though.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dearth of Posts

For so many reasons there's been a great lack of posts here lately.  I HAVE been running, though, and have lots to talk about.  I especially want to do a post about a great run I did last week on new, unexplored trails.  I ran in Marin, too!  I'm off to Bikram Yoga this morning, and hope to finagle a (real) post sometime later today.  Unlike previous instances, in which I've dropped the blog for months and months, this is merely circumstantial and there IS more to come!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Recovery

I never really know what people talk about when they talk about recovery runs -- I think they just mean Run Really Slow.  Well, I already run really slow, so I've defined what a recovery run means to me.

Monday, first day post-tri, forget it.  I was super spent, going shopping for groceries presented the conundrum of How do I stand up for such a long time?  Nothing hurt, per se (except for that right calf), but it just seemed like my blood wasn't flowing fast enough or something.  I had ideas of going for a little run or something, but those ideas just kinda fizzled and I spent the day just putzing around.  Tuesday I went to a morning yoga class (oooh, definitely my new addiction) and went for a late afternoon run.

Apparently a "recovery run" for me entails running at a extremely slow pace (even for me! -- like 14:30 even), taking a multitude of walk breaks, pee breaks, drink breaks, look-at-the-view breaks and breaks just because I've been running for a while.  My schedule called for a 4.5 mile run, and I guess I fulfilled the milage if not the spirit of the schedule.  No worries, though, the weather is just amazing here right now and it was a lovely run through the woods in the fading afternoon light (I found that it now gets dark at 5:15.  I think I gotta start carrying a headlamp with me).

Wednesday started with another round of yoga, then in the afternoon I did the unthinkable and actually went running with someone.  Wow!  So this entirely new experience was pretty darn good, and all the conversation really makes the time go zipping on by.  I went with Nora, a woman I met through my running club, and whilst I think she is a faster runner than me, she's aching with IT band issues and was more than willing to run at my pace.  There's another woman from the club who's expressed an interest in running with us, so this might turn out to be a regular event.

In the end, I think I prefer overall to be a solo gal (I love my iPod), but I really appreciate the change and the variety of running with a friend.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Marin County Triathlon race report

Well, this weekend started out great and just . . . stayed that way.
(jeepers, this is a looong post!)

The Day Before:

We met up with our great friends (and totally hard-core active couple) Jen and Eric on Friday night at a campground in Olema, maybe 1/2 hour from the race venue.  An evening of beers and campfires passed in great conversation, and we awoke late the next morning and prepared a killer breakfast on our campstove and in J&E's VW campervan -- this vehicle is just the BOMB and oh! someday I'd love to get one . . .


A leisurely breakfast of eggs, sausage, onions, chard, cheese, avocado and mimosas set us up for the day.  We eventually got on the road by noon or so, and they all went off for a crushing mt bike ride, while I hung out and "prepared" for the next day by, well, hanging out.  I also went down to McNears Beach and did my packet pickup, and really started freaking out in earnest.  It was definitely the biggest venue I have yet raced at, and when I saw where (and how long) the swim was my heart just went pitter patter.


The start was a long way from this pier, go around the pier and then swim to forever.  Or that's what it seemed like.  I was happy to see the bay was smooth, and the water was warmer than I had anticipated.  The start (and the finish, for that matter) proved to be extrememly rocky and sharp, and I let someone at one of the vendor booths talk me in to buying some little neoprene booties to protect my delicate footsies.  I later was very happy with this purchase.  She also tried to get me to buy some arm wamers (ooh, you'll be so cold when you get out of the water . . . ) but I fended that one off, and didn't miss them.  I then drove the cycling course (which is also the run course) and was a bit surprised with how hilly it was.  I had previously only looked at the course map online (and very briefly at that, the whole ignorance-is-bliss motto in play) and assumed it would be flat, as it appeared to run right along the coastline.  Not flat, not mountainous but quite hilly, curvy and kinda techincal.  Very much like the course I did back in September's race.  OK, I began to think Maybe I CAN do this without dying.  I was, however, HUGELY regretting my lack of training at this point.

I decided I'd try to really change my luck and attitude by getting nice and prepared the night before.  We stayed in a cheap motel room pretty close to the venue so I could have a nice shower and a good night's sleep.  Proper preparation prevents piss-poor performance, yes?  You can see here that I've been a good triathlete and have all my gear all laid out and ready in the bottom of the photo.  I guess it's pretty obvious what's going on in the name of "preparation" over there in the middle of the photo . . .



Lest I try to claim innocence in this matter,

. . . this photo speaks for itself.  Guilty!

Race Day!

I did get a great night's sleep -- thanks daylight savings time for the extra hour! -- and got up at 5 am.  Tom and I head out for McDonald's for my reliable pre-race sausage egg mcmuffin breakfast, then we headed out to McNears for the start.  We found I couldn't get dropped off right at the start, so we pulled over as close as we could, I got all my stuff together and biked in about 1/2 mile.


I'm feeling a little skeptical about the whole thing, but at this point trying to have a good attitude at least.   When I first signed up for this race, I had every intention of making it my "A" race of the season, and I would train for it with gusto and really be ready to show what I was made of.  Take it seriously for once!  Well, after I all but fell apart in the Donner Lake Tri back in July, I didn't do any kind of excercise (let alone trianing) for over a month, and whilst I ran pretty regularly after that, it has been a little sporadic.  I did go on a couple of long bike rides, and I swam at least 5 times in the past 3 months.  I don't think this really counts as Taking It Seriously, or even training, and in the days leading up to the race and especially the morning of the race I really had my doubts.

By the time I get my transition spot set up, though, I have pretty much pushed all the doubts aside (what good does it do at this point, anyways?).  The weather was perfect, the venue absolutely beautiful (I wish I had taken more pics) and I was determined to just enjoy that and the race no matter what.  So I started acting like the goofball that I am.


At the swim start these little bouys are sitting there for some reason, and I grabbed one and asked if they were for the unsure swimmer to take along -- the answer, sadly, was no.

I got in the water (with those sharp, sharp rocks -- so glad I bought the little booties!) with all the other ladies in my wave start.  Yeah, that's me, dancing like a fool to Stevie Wonder.  I'm sure everyone thought I was a little touched.  OK, it's race time!  Right above my head you can see the first bouy -- what you can't see (off to the right and out of the picture completely) is the "sighting bouy" . . . wtf?  Apparently there is a really strong onshore current (which I find out about maybe 10 minutes before the start of the race -- I should pay better attention, no?) and unless you're a really strong swimmer you have to swim towards the sighting bouy and you'll end up leaving the first bouy to your left.  Happily, our wave had the benefit of seeing perhaps 4 other waves go off before us, and we saw first-hand the way the current set the swimmers to the left in a really quick and destructive manner.  The first wave -- the pros! -- did not heed instructions and most of them ended up having to swim for the bouy against the current and they were very slow in doing so.  Each progressive wave paid a little more attention to the current and fared better.  By the time we got our Go! I think we learned the lessons of those previous racers and I, for one, just swam almost directly for the sighting bouy and I must've gotten it just right because without much correction I left the other bouy directly to my left with about a foot to spare.

It was about halfway into the swim that I began to feel a little, ... strange?  This is where I'm supposed to start to tire a bit, to flail around a little, to start eyeing the finish with a sense of urgency, like I have in Every. Other. Swim.  However, I just felt . . . fine!  Like I wasn't going to die anytime soon.  Even though I had another half mile to swim.   What the hell?  I kept swimming along, trying to deal with swallowing *salt* water, blech!  No big deal though, and I finally rounded the third bouy and headed for the swim out.  I think the current must have been assisting quite a bit, because the swim up the beach was considerably more difficult (though strangely I still didn't see death over the next wave).  I was chugging along when whammo!  Out of nowhere my right calf just seized up like an old Chevy, hard as steel with my toes going all wonky in different directions beyond my control.  My first thought was Don't Panic! (ok, my first thought was really AaaarrrrrggghhhhhOwie!Fuck! but close on its heels was Don't. Panic.)  This actually worked, and I calmly rolled over onto my back and floated there for a second (thanks wetsuit!) then reached down and jammed my thumb in there for all it was worth, causing infinitely more pain but also the eventual release of the seizing muscle.  Ouch!  I tentatively took a few strokes and found that I could move forward as long as I didn't use the right leg much.  I paddled along for another few minutes, then started adding the right leg to the swim and everything seemed ok, if a little sore.  Disaster averted!  When I got out of the water I saw my time of 39:something and thought I really must have been helped by the current, because that's pretty damned fast for me, especially considering the cramping episode.

On to transition, which took something like 3:35 (the top female finisher did this transition in :39, how is that even possible?)  The grass was really wet, but at least I didn't have any sand between my toes.


I'm trying to get my feet dry here, but you can see I've got only one glove on.  I think I must have put the one on, then seen something shiny and forgot all about the left handed one.  I didn't even realize it till about 1/3 of the way into the bike . . . space cadet.

Oddly enough, the bike was probably my worst event this time.  The course was a 6+ mile loop, once we rode out there, repeated 3 times.  An interesting way to do it, I thought, because hey! I didn't ride alone and got passed all kinds of times by leaders and everyone else.  I usually never even see those guys on their fancy bikes with the loud carbon wheels and the aero bars . . . hello!  The road was rolling hills, never flat, and quite twisty.  It was closed to traffic, and coned off into 3 lanes, 2 for the bikes and one for the runners.  At one point I almost got clocked as a rider coming from the other direction came careening into my lane just a few feet in front of me.  I cried "Lane! Lane! Lane!" and we both jigged and jagged and narrowly avoided each other.  Whew!  She might have been distracted by the scenery, which have I mentioned was awesome?!  The course paralled the bay shore and every corner offered up a new vista of the sea . . . so very cool.  5 stars for scenery!  Plus, there were something like 3 different bands along the course, playing drums and steel drums and marimbas and whatnots. 

I say the bike was the hardest, because this was the only leg that I kinda struggled on.  My quads were hurting and I just didn't seem to have much fire.  I wasn't worried about it, though, and I had a gerat time dodging the fast bikers and hooting and hollering at the runners starting to appear, encouraging a whole bunch of them and acting like a goofy freak all at the same time.  I was happy to finish, and did so having completed the section with an average pace of 14.7 mph.

And then the run, the run!  Right after transition I ducked in to a nearby lockerroom type thing and had a pee, then I was off!  Right up a damn steep hill first thing, no time to get used to being a runner.  I flew up the thing (granted, "flying" for me is like an 11:00 pace, but hey!), ate a gel and some water, popped on the (surely illegal) iPod, and prepared to suffer.  Every tri I have done to this point has included suffering and generally breaking down on the run, as evidenced by grimacing and walk breaks.  Not today!  I just kept truckin' along.  Up hill, down hill, nothing slowed me down or discouraged me a bit.  Now I really got to take in that wonderful scenery . . . I think I ran half the run with my head turned to the side to see what there was to be seen.  Really pretty.  I was happy to find a little trail beaten in a foot off the road, and ran mostly on that (and had another near collision with a racer, but this time we hugged instead and went on our seperate ways).  I got passed by a few people right off the bat, then settled down and ran the next coupla miles mostly by myself.  I had my own water with me so I ran through the water stations without stopping.  I did walk maybe once or twice so I could sip some water, but then started just sipping on the run.  I hit the turnaround in about 40 minutes, slower than I had hoped but I felt so GOOD!  The return 3 miles was definitely more uphill, and I started passing singles and groups of people walking -- this is what the back of the pack looks like, folks.  Lots of walker-up-the-hill people.  I think my increased hill running of late paid off and I trotted by all kinds of walking people.  Me, passing people, what a concept!  I think I kinda like it!  Anyhow, as I headed towards the finish line I really felt like I could run another 5 miles easily.  In fact, I sprinted across the finish line with lots of energy and cheered myself like an idiot (Tom and friends were off on another mt bike adventure at this point, a far more interesting way to be a tri spectator, IMHO).

I totally blew my (shelved!) sub 4:00 goal out of the water with a nice 3:49:17, which I was inordinately pleased with.  I got a  finisher's medal (oh wow, BLING!) and a really sweet steel water bottle (oh wow, MORE schwag!), and then got myself a nice 20 minute massage.  Then I proceeded to dance around to the music for a while until my friends arrived.

A totally fun race and my best perceived performance yet.  A few thoughts about THAT:

1.  I live and train at altitude, 6200 ft.  I didn't think this would have much of an effect this time, as I had been at sea level for a week (to work), and only back in Truckee for 2 days.  Then back in Marin for 2 days prior to the race.  I thought the advantage would be really small considering so many recent days at sea level, but really that's the best explanation I have for feeling so strong (not fast, just really STRONG and kinda invincible) given the ENORMOUS lack of training. 

2.  I have probably posited this before, but I am really beginning to think I am built for endurance rather than speed.  Speed just seems so foriegn and out of reach, but endurance seems attainable and kinda natural to me.  This upcoming marathon training oughta really prove if this is actually true, or if I'm just smoking crack (again).

3.  Perhaps the 3-month-taper concept IS a good one?

4.  Today, I don't feel so strong.  I feel very un-energetic, and my calf still hurts a bit.  I haven't done much all day.  I will NOT let this turn into a month-long avoidance of anything physical (as I have done in the past).  To that end I am making plans to run with other people (gasp!), and will stay on-target with a training plan for the Death Valley Half Marathon in December, soon after which starts my training plan for the Reno Marathon in May. 

After the race, we headed out to a really nice seafood restaurant and had a fantastic early dinner with Tom's lovely family.  I proceeded to eat like crazy, and had a delicious 4-course meal and ate every bite.  This has to be the best reward for racing in a triathlon, the license to eat whatever and LOTS of it (this is perhaps why I haven't lost a POUND since I started running etc 3 years ago, but that's a while 'nother story).  Some triathlete, eh?

I'll leave you with the view from the restaurant:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This'll be a very brief (mobile!) post .... So I don't know what happened today, but with my lack of training and general bad feelings about today's race, I really wasn't expecting much of myself. While I never thought I wouldn't actually finish, my expectations were certainly very low and I thought I would suffer at least as much as I had at Donner Lake.
Not so!!! 3:50, people, 3:50!!!! An excellent time (and a PR) for me. The absolute best thing, though, is that I felt totally strong throughout the entire race, which is a first for me. I have some theories about this (stay tuned for the race report -- there will a actually be one this time!), but Tom thinks the 3 month taper is a concept that just might catch on in the triathlon community. Worked for me!!

3:50! I can't believe it. And the course was stunningly beautiful too.

Friday, October 30, 2009

And the winner is . . .

ShirleyPerly wins the Dog-Lover Giveaway! Yay Shirley and Yay! regifting!  Go ahead and drop me an email (addy on my Profile page) and I'll mail it out on monday. 

Managed a yoga class today (and yesterday!), a little running here and there, and later today am off to the Bay Area for the Marin Tri.  We're meeting up today and saturday with some great friends, so that oughta lead me into the race with a better mindset than I have right now, which, like my training, is poor poor poor. 

I'm very apprehensive going into this race with the crappy training I have devoted to it.  I think I'll interpret this lack of interest as a sign that I should focus on running (interested) and therefore feel less guilty about all the swimming (not so interested) that I am not doing.  And the biking.

I'll have fun at this race -- I always do -- but any goal I had of an under-four-hour finishing time is being shelved for now.  Goals: Don't Drown.  Don't Die.  Don't Quit.  Finish with a Smile.  In that order.

Yikes.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Same old, same old

I think I have said ALL of this before . . . darn.  Just got home yesterday from my week of work, where once  again I did not manage to sneak any runs in among the 12 hour night shifts.  I have GOT to figure this out or I will never manage a marathon in May.  This is laziness pure and simple and there's no reason for it.  Better today with some rest under my belt, got lots of chores done today and am headed out to yoga in an hour -- this will hopefully jumpstart me into more activity.  I'd like to get another run (for sure), bike (would be nice) and swim (omg) in before this weekend's olympic tri down in marin.  I'm little miss broken record, but I am even more undertrained for this than I was for the Donner Lake Tri this summer, and I paid for that really hard.  I think I need to have a little come-to-Jesus moment with myself and figure out if I really have the stick-to-it-iveness to do these triathlons.  I feel like I've already let myself down by my lacksadaisical training, though I think I have enough underlying fitness to pull through.  Just. 

I am looking forward to having this race over with, and would probably bow out if it weren't for the $$ I have already paid for registraion.  Plus all the talky-talky I have done. 

I am looking forward to just focusing on running.

And oh! Tomorrow is the date for my drawing in my give-a-way, and so far it looks like you all have a 1 in 6 chance!  Good luck!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dog Lover's Giveaway . . .

 Last week I ran a race and got lots of schwag.  Not being a dog owner, I wasn't quite sure what to do with it.  Thus, the first Back of the Pack Giveway!


Let's see, here we have a ziploc baggie of dog biscuits, another bag of treats, and the Hydro-Go, which bills itself as a Pet Canteen with a Fold Out Bowl.  Comes with a plastic carrying strap, too, and is a neat little item for the active dog.  Or something like that.

Alright, I've seen this done, and I think this is the general procedure.  Leave a comment here on this post, you get one entry.  Link back to this post on your own blog (and mention it in your comment) and you get two entries.  Reply by October 29.  Check back here on Friday October 30, prior to which I will have picked my favorite person randomly drawn the winner from the entries, and you just might be the recipient of free stuff!!  And, while you're here, look around a bit and see if you're interested in reading about my slow running adventures (yeah, nothing's really that free).  Or, just leave a post and hope you win!

In your post, tell me what's your favorite dog breed, and why.  I happen to be fond of Border Collies, 'cause of their smarts and their obsessive personalties (making my running partner in the above-mentioned race all the more interesting).  If I ever get a dog, I hope it's got a little border in its blood.

Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!

While I've been running

I used to do a lot of Bikram yoga. 4-5 times a week.  This was something like 5 years ago.  I was never very skilled at it, mostly 'cause I'm quite klutsy and things like balancing on one leg do not come easy to me.  However, I benefitted from it in so many ways, not the least of which was that it REALLY helped me get over a relatively serious back injury, *plus* had me about 15 pounds lighter than I am now.  I stopped because I moved to a place that had no hot yoga studio (and regular yoga just bores me for some reason).  I was happy to find when we moved to Truckee that there is in fact a Bikram studio here, but we had just bought out house and  those damn classes are NOT cheap.

I still really can't afford it, but the other day I found myself in a class and OH MY WHY HAVEN'T I BEEN DOING THIS FOR THE PAST 4 YEARS?  And one class, that's all it took, and I am obsessed again.  I've done 2 classes in 2 days and, as I leave home for my week of work, I'm wondering When can I go again?  (Ohh, there is a studio in Marin, sure I can't manage to fit any running in while I'm there, just not enough time and I'm too tiiiiired, but I betchya I could find some time for yoga . . . thus is my obsessive personality).  Oh yeah, how am I gonna afford it?  I dunno, but I will!  2 classes a week, coming up!

Of interest, the one thing I have always been is pretty flexible.  Even without regular yoga exercise (or ANY exercise, for that matter), I have always been able to, say, reach down and put my palms on the floor, knees locked.  Imagine my surprise when doing my first Welcome Back class I found I could barely reach my toes, even with my knees slightly bent!  I laughed out loud to find how stiff I've become.  Thanks, running!

I have been running, did 5 lovely miles last evening along the river and got a little blissful.  I really do love to run, though it's taken me a long time to reach this state of mind.  I'm glad I got started.  As far as swimming, I've done nothing for over a week -- bad bad, considering I've got a tri coming up in a week and a half.  An olympic.  That oughta be interesting, though I am ready to take it super easy and just enjoy the experience.  Given the lack of focused training, that's about all I can hope for, and that's fine by me.  As far as biking goes, well, yesterday I actually changed 3 tires, from start to finish, and now feel as though I can change a flat if I need to, if not with any great speed.  It's about time!  Before I just had the theoretical knowledge, I'm much more confident  now that I've actually done it.

Also, I baked a couple of nice Key Lime pies.  I've sacrificed probably a dozen eggs to figuring out how to make a meringue (fucking up simple procedures, the bane of the self-taught cook), but think I've worked out the kinks.  Egg whites: room temperature, and not a trace of yolks, even a drop is a catastrophe; Bowl: tall and glass;  Beater: beat those damn things until they're SUPER foamy and soft before adding the sugar.



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Consistency

Last night was the awards banquet potluck marking the conclusion of the Underground Race Series of my local running club.  I was so lucky to stumble into this group of people earlier this year; this series of 9 very casual races really helped me at points where my motivation was lagging, and I met some great people, too.  Ultimately, the greatest lesson I learned through this series is that of Being Consistent.

I am not athletic or physically talented, nor graceful, adept, or swift by any means.  Truthfully, I don't really bring a lot to the running table.  However, surprising myself probably most of all, since I started running 2 years ago I have been pretty much consistent with it (with some notable exceptions).  Running hasn't been too far from my mind at any time since I began, even if I was only asking myself the question When am I going to start running again?  Certainly, my pace has remained consistent, and that, my friends, is slow indeed.  During this entire series, I have always been in the back of the pack, always the very last female finisher, and probably more often than not absolutely DFL.  So?

Look at all of the freakin' schwag I scored, just for showing up!


Perhaps I'm a little childish for reveling in these little victories but Hey!  Free stuff!  Not only did I win my age group (you had to participate in at least 6 races to be eligible to win, and I must've been the only 40-49 woman to do so 'cause we all know I suck), but also won for Most Races Completed.  Far out!

Not wimpy little prizes either, check it out: $20 certificate at a nice local restaurant, $25 certificate at a local wine shop, 3 pairs of running socks, a really nice klean kanteen water bottle and 2 tshirts.  I especially like the green one on the left; on the front it says Runners Own Up To It . . . and Who Fartlek'd on the back.  Hee!

I'll remember this little consistency lesson when I'm in the back, choking on everyone's dust.

No choking on dust yesterday, as it was raining/snowing/fucking cold and I found myself running my little run on a treadmill at the gym.  How do you people *do* this?  2.8 miles and I thought I'd give running up forever.  I was so unexcited not only did I not reach my goal of 4 miles, but I couldn't even do the 2.8 all at once, instead breaking it into 2 (before- and after-the-workout) sessions.

Winter is going to piss me off.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Truckee River Day

Yesterday we decided to pay a little back for all of our trail use, and we participated in Truckee River Day.  Tom's done lots of these community-service days before (though not in the mandated, criminal way that "community service" conjures up) though this was my first foray.  We were assigned to a small group working on Sage Hen Creek, about 3 miles out of downtown Truckee.  Our target?  Lots and lots of barbed wire.



The wire was left over from ranching in the area years and years and years ago, and was spread out all along the trail.  About 7 of us hiked in around a mile, and got to work.  Here's Tom securing some bundles to one of two wheelbarrows.


We must've bundled up at least a mile of the stuff, maybe more.  Initially a little clumsy with the wire (as evidenced by my scratched-up forearms), I think I can say I'm now an expert in barbed wire rolling.  We'd each roll up maybe 20 feet of the stuff, secure it, then toss it off to the side, later to be gathered into wheelbarrow loads. 



The hardest job was probably running the loaded wheelbarrows the mile back to the cars.  The trail was mostly flat, but did have some difficult spots.  It was, however, a beautiful day and the colors bright yellow and very fall like and yay! Sage Hen trail looks like the PERFECT running trail, like I said mostly flat and running right along this lovely creek all the way out to Stampede Resevior.  I think I will find my feet there soon.


We filled a whole truck up with rolls and rolls of wire. 
 
The day ended on a dissapointing note, though.  As volunteers, we not only got Tshirts (this was a banner weekend for tshirt collection) but were promised a big ol' after-work meal catered by Cottonwood, one of the better restuarants in town.  After finishing our day of work right on time, we headed to the site of the feast only to find . . . all of the food gone.  Bummer!  We had both really been looking forward to the food (we do just about anything for free food these days!), and were starving!

No big deal, really.  It did feel good for me to give back to all the trails I've been running lately, and better still to find a new trail all ready for the exploring!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Trails and Tails Ruff Ruff 10K

Allow me to start off by admitting that this morning I did NOT feel like running in this event at all.  I was warm and toasty in bed having a solid sleep, warm flannel sheets and a snuggle partner.  The race was an hour's drive from home, I had not yet paid the entrance fee, and I was still feeling the lingering effects of the 40+ hours of Lack of Sleep.  Mmmmm, bed.  However, I had made arrangements with a friend from the running club to meet him there and borrow a dog! for the run (this being a very dog-themed event -- see title).  This vague commitment was compelling enough for me to avoid the bedsuck and hit the road.  I'm so glad I did!

I didn't really wake up until I was nearly there.

THERE is Spooner Lake, scene of the Ruff Ruff 10k (and 2 mile scenic run/walk around the lake, which looked beautiful this morning in the mist) put on by the Carson City Sheriff's Office, with proceeds benefitting the local Search and Rescue -- a cause I can get behind!  All participants were encouraged to bring a (leashed) dog along for the race.

First off, the swag (schwag?) bag was, forgive the expression, off the chain . . .



So much cool stuff in there!  The race shirt is of a really fine quality -- custom embroidered no less, there's some dog treats and some human treats, a very interesting canteen/drinking bowl contraption for the active dog*, and yet ANOTHER tshirt.  Pretty impressive, especially given the event was so small.  Maybe there were 100 people participating, but there was probably way less (most were doing the 2 miler).


Here's some folks getting themselves registered.  It was a beautiful morning, all cool and misty.  Dogs everywhere.  What a nice fall day.

I was bummed to see no sign of my running buddy, and re-adjusted to the idea of running without a dog.  I was disappointed, though.  Even though I have only run a couple of times with a dog as a companion, I've always thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

It warmed up a bit, and as the start time became SOON I jettisoned my warm clothes and froze my way on down to the line.


First out of the gate were the runners (all 2 of them) in the kids' run, 300 meters I think.

Next up is us, the 10K group which I'm astonished to see seems to consist of 3 people, really?  As the time winds down, no one else shows up and it really seems to be just me and two other guys.  I'm all like, wow!  I could WIN this thing (and that kind of opportunity does not come along ever very often!) Right about this time, a minute or less before the start, this wonderful woman says Hey!  Would anyone like a 10K dog? which I am all over, of course, and that's how I came to run this race with Chopper:


(This pic is actually from the middle of the run, taken at one of the aid stations)

So yay! I have a dog -- huge thanks to Sally! -- and the sun is shining and they count down 30 seconds and I shit you not in 29 seconds we go from the three of us at the start line to maybe another 15 people come out of NOWHERE to join us including a bunch of women and any brief fantasy I had (the first place female award goes to . . . me!) is quickly dashed, and I gotta laugh at myself.  The horn goes off and everyone, I mean EVERYONE! is just gone, whoosh, like that, and I assume my role as the leader of the very back (aka last), a position I manage to hang onto until the bitter end.

This was just a really fun run.  The temp, once I got moving, was perfect, nice and sunny and all the aspens are turning golden and OK I guess I'm ready to say goodbye to summer.  Chopper was the best running companion, though he was a little nervous, especially at first when he kept looking back over his shoulder for his human.  He got used to me soon enough, and was happy to trot right at my side.  The whole run (the whole EVENT) was super well organized, marked all over the place even though it mostly just was along a fire road.  There were policemen-type dudes at every possible juncture, but they were happy police.  OK.

I think running in Tahoe will, in the end, make me a much better runner.  I mean, check out this elevation profile, y'all:


Is that shit NORMAL? Granted, this is only the first half of the race, after which we turned around and ran downhill.  But still.  That is a LOT of climbing!  One of these days, I'm moving to Kansas. Until then, I guess I keep trudging on up these hills, slowing down to 17 minute miles (Gary kept beeping into autopause even while I was ostensibly still running, which was a little humbling).


The atmosphere, again, was just stunning.  I've actually been up this road (North Canyon, I believe) many times, on bikes, hikes and skis, but I have never run it before.  I was so pleasantly surprised at how easy it was, even though (or perhaps because) I was taking it at a very slow pace.  There was a time not long ago where I would have had to walk quite a bit of the first half.  I'm happy to say I ran every step.  And it was just gorgeous, all blue skies and lots of mt bikers on their way to the Flume trail and a happy dog and then, yay!  I get to turn around and run downhill, by far my favorite running activity and an hour and twenty minutes (yikes!) after we started Chopper and I cross the finish line, whoppee!  I don't think the dog minds, and I sure don't, that my suspicions are true and we are DFL!  I'm beginning to take a certain amount of pride in this position, and am thinking that perhaps this is the start of a trend.

And then, o wow! the best post-race meal I've yet seen in my nascent racing career:


The french toast was perfect (and I'm not a huge fan), the eggs were tasty tasty good, and the sausage was turkey.  Yum freakin' yum.  Gone in about 2 minutes.

I stuck around for the awards ceremonies, and the prizes were off the chain too.  Each male and female winner (2 mile and 10K) not only won ANOTHER tshirt, they got this doggy fountain drinking water dispenser thingy (I dunno, but the box was huge and impressive!) and a year's supply of Nutro (read: fancy) dog food.  Damn.

All in all, a day I was glad I got out of bed for.  Very Good.  I'll leave you with a couple of shots of Lake Tahoe, looking mighty fine:







*Stay tuned, all 5 of you, 'cause I think I'm going to be offering this in my very first blog giveaway, coming soon

Friday, October 16, 2009

More future-oriented thinking

I'm not quite sure what has gotten into me.  Last night, after the final TRC race of the year, I got to talking with other members -- all super fast, super accomplished runners, mind you -- about  . . . marathons.  Typical me, I get an idea in my head and the next thing you know BLAMMO! it's all I can think about.  As evidence, I present Exhibit A: Reno Rock n' River Marathon, May 2, 2010 and Exhibit B: Hal Higdon's Novice Marathon Training and Exhibit C: My iPhone, specifically the Calendar app, which is now filled with training runs (from B) all culminating in (A).  Got that?

Yes, I've all but bitten the bullet in my heretofor tentative plan to run a marathon next year . . . now I've got the event, the date, the training plan and I guess I'm committed.  Alls that's left is to actually sign up for the thing, which I'll work up to shortly.

Oh, yeah, and all the running.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

TRC

Got out and did the final run of the Underground Race Series, this being the week for the 4 mile trail run. What a nice run, it had recently rained and the trail was all packed and not dusty, the weather was perfect for running the timing coincided nicely with the sunset. I felt like I was running super fast, just really light and easy, yet every time I looked at Gary I was running at my regular pace. No worries, the run felt great and it was wonderful to get out there and race with my new friends one last time. There's an awards ceremony pot luck (and another little fun run) on Monday night, so I'm looking forward to that. My times:

Mile 1: 11:39
Mile 2: 12:40
Mile 3: 12:26
Mile 4: 11:40

Which makes my finish time pretty consistent with all the other runs I've done in this series.

And, oh, lest I forget in my Upcoming Races list, on December 5 (or 6?) I've got the Borax Death Valley Half Marathon . . . what a beautiful run that is!

Upcoming races

I returned home last night from Marin (where I did NOTHING, no running no swimming, nada -- I have GOT to learn how to sneak a run or two in amongst my 12 hour nights. I have successfully done this in the past, but can't for the life of me revive the habit), after being awake for over 36 hours due to a hasty mandatory class and the drive home, then proceeded to stay awake till 3 am, then spent most of the next 18 hours in bed. I've really knocked my circadian clock for a loop this time!

Anyhow, I MUST be motivated to really get out there. I have lots of little (and big) events coming up in the next few days and weeks. Tonight I have the last of the series of races with my local running club -- this oughta really kick me in the pants, a 4 mile trail run on the day (after) I return to altitude will really have me gasping to a back of the pack finish for sure, if not (once again) DFL. I always do much better if 48 hours pass before my return to altitude and my first run, but here we go.

This saturday I am picking up an improptu 10K down at Spooner Lake, on the opposite corner of Lake Tahoe from where I live. This should prove to be an interesting run, 770 feet of elevation gain in the first 3 miles, then a turn around back down to the finish. The theme of the day is Run with Your Dog, and the prizes are dog-themed, and I don't have a dog to run with! Unfortunately, the lack of the dog makes me ineligible to win the 1st2nd3rd prize, but I really don't think that'll be much of an issue . . .

On November 1st I have the Marin International Triathlon, which will prove to be a big challenge for me, as once again I am undertrained and could be a lot more ready. However, I think it'll be easier than the DLT that really kicked my ass, 'cause this is at sea level and I don't think there's a ton of climbing either on the run or the bike (I need to do a little course recognizance to really make sure), so perhaps I can beat 4 hours? I think it's a reasonable goal. I won't be broken hearted to come in over 4 hours, but to reach the goal would make me feel at least slightly athletic. The run and the bike look like they follow the seashore (bayshore), so I'm thinking FLAT, but the website refers to the course as "challenging" so I guess I should get out there and check it out myself . . .

Lastly, I have a Turkey Trot 7 miler around Donner Lake on November 14. This is a race I have done before, way back when I first started running, so it'll be interesting to see if I can beat my time of, lemme look it up, wow! 1:12 -- that's remarkably fast for me, I would've thought it would be slower, given that I remember taking a number of walking breaks. A 10:28 pace? That's GOT to be some kind of misprint, doesn't it? I do NOT run that fast. Maybe it's more like 6.5 miles, but that's still fast for me. Hmmm. Well, I guess 1:12 is the time to beat in any case, so there's that.

Anyhow, I've got to get out of bed and on to tonight's little fun race. And then keep on running . . .

Friday, October 9, 2009

A happy Tahoe home . . . .

. . . has a lot of wood stacked up by this time of year.
This represents maybe half of the wood that Tom and I have gathered, split and stacked over the summer. We've been burning wood now for just over a week or so, and I am more mentally prepared for the coming winter than I was, say, 3 weeks ago. I've still got a way to go, but having a nice warm evenly-heated house, and having lots of wood within reach, makes it all a little easier.
Yesterday I topped off my busy physical week with my favorite point-to-point trail run, the 10.5 mile Emigrant Trail, and really enjoyed the run and the opportunity to soak up some of the last of the warm weather (yeah, ok, I'm a little obsessed with the change of seasons . . . silly). Right off the bat some women on mt bikes stopped me as I ran along to make sure I saw some of the wildlife . . .
Here's a kinda crappy photo of one of the two fawns accompanying mama doe out for an amble. Of interest (for deer are not a rare sighting around here) they seemed totally relaxed, and mama actually came almost within touching distance, and showed no fear. I wanted to whisper in her ear, Don't eat my flowers next year, ok? I don't think it would have helped much, though.
Anyhow, I felt great the first 8 miles or so, actually thinking Hey, this is easy now! and being happy with loose legs and the feeling that I could run forever. Or, more like 8 miles, because the last 2.5 miles were KILLER and all I wanted to do was stop and walk the rest. I kept it together, though, and finished the run running, and didn't walk at all (though for some of the climbs, my running speed was probably slower than if I had walked).
I pack up today for my week of work, and am really hoping I can fit in some runs among the 12 hour night shifts. That hasn't been working out too well for me lately, and I'm really going to try to get out there at least once or twice in the next 6 days.