Saturday, January 31, 2009

No Runs, No Posts

Yeah, I haven't posted in forever, because I haven't RUN in forever.  I am finding it increasingly difficult to get out there and run in this cold weather, despite my brave bullshit of a few posts back.  30 degrees is cold.  35 degrees is cold.  40 degrees is warmer, rarer, and in my present state of mind, still damn cold.  I get super hot when I run, and thus a mile or two into it, even in say 35 degrees, I want to be down to shorts and t shirt.  Which makes the beginning 2 miles a huge suffer-fest as I freeze myself to bits.  This, of course, really interferes with my motivational strategies and inner monologue . . .   "It's 35 degrees!  You'll be plenty warm once you get going!" vs. "It's 35 degrees!  Body parts will fall off in the first mile!"  Guess which dialogue's been winning the past 10 days?

Sure, there's tights and running jackets and gloves and hats (all of which I have), but that all becomes extra flotsam after that first crucial mile, plus it interferes with my carefully crafted excuse-making skills.  This is all a long-winded introduction to my newest piece of running equipment, the seemingly dreaded TREADMILL!

I bought a gently used Proform 545s from a girl I work with, loaded it into my car with about 1/2 inch to spare (no exaggeration), brought it home, quickly broke it getting it out of the car, and installed the thing in my spare bedroom.  Don't know exactly what happened, but when I turned it on it just wanted to incline up and up and up.  4 hours, helpful boyfriend, many tools, and a lot of internet searches later, the incline motor is now unplugged and the thing works just fine as a replica of flat runs -- my fav!  I initially thought to repair this missing feature, but the more I consider it, the more I think about how I hate running up hills in the first place (tho I've gotten a lot better at it in the past 6 months).  A nice flat treadmill sounds just fine to me.

So after all the moving and repairing and researching and thanking wonderful boyfriend for his help in all of the above, I got my running togs on, iPod fixed in my ear, and my water bottle all filled and ready to go, clambered on the thing and . . . 

. . . ran 2.5 miles.  Wow!  I stayed warm, though.

2.5 miles, 11:30 pace.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

O Happy Day!

I just watched the inauguration ceremonies . . . not to get political, but YAY! and Good Riddance!

Anyhow, went out for a run yesterday and was just NOT feeling it, physically I felt fine but mentally I wanted no part of it.  So I just went out and did 2 miles, slowly, and I felt the better for it when it was over.  It sure required some fortitude to get out the door . . . I suppose I am pleased with myself for actually making it out the door, because there was a time not too long ago when that would not have happened.  So I plan today to get out and do a decent run, redeem myself a bit for these numbers:

1.89 miles, 14:12 pace.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Trail Run Fun

I had a great run yesterday, and a very different experience from usual.  Tom and I went "off the hill" down to warmer weather and no snow in Auburn.  We met up with our friend D for an afternoon of activity.  We met up at Grizzly House Trailhead, preparing to set out along the Foresthill Divide trail, which D knew but was a brand new place for me and Tom.  

The first order of business was checking out each other's outfits, for the "theme" of the day was to dress in the most obnoxious gear we had.  The photo is a little less than stunning (must start carrying my camera -- not the phone -- if I'm going to continue with this blogging business), but D and I certainly are.  She is completely mismatched in some kind of swirly top, a *bolero* for crying out loud, and what looked like pajama bottoms, topped off with funky socks.  I've gone all Euro, and have some nasty color combinations of yellow, orange and pink.  Tom had mismatched gloves, and that's it.

So we got all geared up . . . Tom and D were on their mt bikes, and I was on my feet.  The whole journey was really fantastic, through groves and groves of live oaks, and constant elevation changes.  I thought Tom and D were just going to go ahead, and we'd meet up again at the end, but they waited for me on various parts of the trail, which made it really cool for me (are they around this corner?  here?  there?  the next?), who is so used to just running alone.  I'd stop, have a gel or a water and a laugh, then we'd all be off again.  Another lousy photo, but you can see them bombing along the trail ahead of me.

Anyhow, there was lots of elevation changes and some fancy footwork (but I only fell 3 times!  No blood, even!), and that wonderful Garmin just kept track of everything!  1828 feet of elevation gain over 10.2 miles.  It was challenging for me, but I surprised myself by running almost all of it.  I took a few walking steps here and there along the steepest of climbs, but mostly ran it -- if very slowly.  This is about 3/4 into it, and here I am red-faced and sweaty, starting to get a little tired.
All in all, it was a great run and I felt good after it was finished -- no gimping pain or back problems or muscle soreness at all.  I think I'm starting to get used to these long distances.  I want to do a 15 miler sometime soon.

10.2 miles, 14:00 pace

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The new Garmin's here!

. . . and, as suspected, it's a little humbling. My Nike+ was certainly overreading (by at least 1/10 mile), and I'm NOT putting down the blistering pace of sub 10 minute miles. Nope, back where I belong in the 11 and 12 minute paces! Actually, today probably is not a good day to judge, as it's my first day back at altitude and thus complete with not feeling like it, and wheezes. So.

I think I'm loving the forerunner, though I still am just figuring it out. Bye bye, Nike+!

2.52 miles, 12:33 pace

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Just an uneventful run through the neighborhood today. I think my Nike+ thing is more unreliable since I put in the new sensor, even though I calibrated it properly, on a track even. Anyhow, it seems to over- or under-read, at least according to what it has recorded in the past. Anyway, I would be more concerned, but this is in the mail:

4.7 miles, 10:39 pace

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Beautiful Places

I ran out in Pt. Reyes today, a really nice run out to Arch Rock and back.  The run started out kinda cool and damp, just kinda perfect running weather, then it got perfecter . . . 

Sure, the picture is lousy, but the sun came out and filtered through the trees. A little hilly, then I get this as a present halfway through . . .

This is the trail I get to run back with. Really, I am lucky to be able to run in such lovely places.

10 miles, 12:12 pace

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


We went skiing this morning -- I can't believe it, but this is my first day this season!  It was a great first day, over at Homewood, simple and easy and a nice way to start off.  Probably because of the igloo-building, today was around 45 degrees out, sunny, positively balmy!  It's forecasted to remain in the 40's for the next 5 days.

I came home, changed, and went out for a run.  Oh, I miss the trails . . . running on the road is just not the same.  

3.21 miles, 11:08 pace

Monday, January 5, 2009

Building an Igloo

Yes, it is cold here in Truckee, no doubt, and we get lots of snow.  So far this year, though, the snowfall has been a bit lacking.  Nevertheless, "lacking" here is "shitloads" elsewhere, and we've got lots and lots of snow in the yard.  Tom decided to get busy, and that plus snow plus cold apparently equals . . . IGLOO!

Each igloo starts with snow bricks . . . 
He cut some of these off of a pile of snow that we routinely shovel from the deck.  A lot of them, however, came from the sides of our street, where the plows have packed it, then the town's huge industrial-sized snowblower further tamped things down.

He picked a spot just a short walk from the house, packed down the snow, stuck in his ice axe as a center point and used a bit of rope to inscribe an 8' circle -- the igloo floor plan.

Then the walls start going up . . . 

Tom did all the work himself up to this point.  Later, I help him by handing the snow bricks over the wall or in through the door.  Other than that, though, the work is all his.

This is the second day and final day of building.  The last half goes quicker than the first, as the blocks lean inward and the circumference shrinks.

Not much time left now!  The skis (with AT skins in place) are there to help hold the blocks in place as I hand them to Tom.  For the last few blocks, we put them on the shovel and haul them in through the doorway.

Tapping in the last few blocks.  This was very tricky, and Tom did it with some skill, even though this is his first igloo . . . 

The finished product, after all the rough edges are chinked in.  All in all, it took him about 8 hours from start to finish, largely alone.  He wants to put a bit of water over it, so it freezes and glazes the whole thing, adding strength and durability.  Oh, and he plans on putting an ice window into it as well.

Oh yes, it does have electricity!

And it glows in the dark!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2009 Race Schedule

Here's a tentative list of races to run in 2009.  There were lots of races I was interested in, but with my every-other-week work obligations and my scheduled 3 month downtime in late winter/early spring, I've had to pass up a couple that I thought looked good.  So:

June 20 "A Legendary Run" 10K, South Lake Tahoe
July 19 "Donner Lake Triathlon" Sprint vs. Olympic (???), Truckee
August 15 "Nirvana Mt. Trail Run" 10k, Northstar, Truckee
September 12 "Run for Friendship" 10k, Nevada City
September 27 "Lake Tahoe Half Marathon" South Lake Tahoe
October 11 "Golden State Triathlon" Sprint (criterium!), Sacaramento
Hopefully, the Death Valley Borax 1/2 and Full marathon will be scheduled sometime in December

I definitely want to do more, but this is what I came up with today after spending 1/2 hour internet searching.  I'm sure more races will become evident as time goes by.

Concerns:  I'm a little hesitant about doing triathlons again -- do I want to be a triathlete or a runner?  I'm definitely more into running these days, but I do find the whole crosstraining element attractive.  Will I have enough time to train for the Donner Lake if I decide the Olympic length?  How long does it take to get my running legs back after a 3 month hiatus?  Should I be thinking *seriously* about a full marathon?  I think I'd like to try my hand at duathlons, but can't seem to find anything close by that fits the schedule.  Lots of travel for races?  Maybe . . . .

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I may be crazy!

A few years ago I remember seeing people out running in the cold, in the rain, or at night, and I would think -- sheesh, they gotta be nuts.  Well, I think I'm becoming one of those people.

I ran around Donner Lake today.  When I left the house the temperature was 24.8 degrees.  I suppose someone in Canada might disagree, but that is fucking cold to me.  Mostly, I think, it's a mental game, because once I was out there for a mile or two I was fine.  The first mile is a difficult one, though.  Here it is (south side of the lake):

I would've thought I'd need YakTraks or something to keep my footing, but everything was frozen very hard, and keeping traction was actually very easy (a little tricky, maybe, on the downhills).

The lake itself was beautiful, and the sun was crisp and bright:

At this point I was warmed up and "into" the run.  Good thing, 'cause my path quickly (and not unexpectedly) devolved into this:

I was again really surprised to find that I was steady on my feet, and ran this without incident, if even slower than usual.

The run on the north side of the lake demanded a lot of attention, as the traffic was moderately heavy and the space on the side of the road was very narrow on due to the snow accumulation.

I ran the whole thing 20 minutes faster than I did in the Turkey Trot in 2007.  Huh.

7.92 miles, 10:18 pace

Friday, January 2, 2009

Goals for 2009

If I type it, I have to do it, right?

Run 650 miles.
Run 15 miles per week.  EVERY week.  (The math works for me).
2 half marathons.  2 sprint tris.  1 olympic tri.  2 other races (any distance).  Consider a marathon.
Do some yoga.
Weigh 135.

Dark and Stormy Morning

T had errands to do in Reno, so I thought it would be great to get down there where the weather was warm, calibrate my new Nike+ sensor at the track at UNR, you know, a nice gentle run in gentle weather.  Well, there I go thinking again.

It was a BRUTAL run, certainly the worst weather I have yet run in.  Cold, windy, rainy and quite miserable.  Did I mention cold and windy?  The wind was definitely the worst.  I set out with a 9 mile run in mind, but ended up capping it at a little over 5.  *I* wasn't particularly cold, but my skin was, and by the time I finished, my arms and hands just weren't working right.  

I've still been harboring the idea that I'm not really a REAL runner, just kinda playing at it, and I'm waiting for someone to find that out.  After a run like today, maybe I need to rethink that.  T actually called me "hard core" when he dropped me off, and reminded me that it wasn't that long ago that I wouldn't even consider going for a walk in such weather.  

Perhaps I'll start this year off thinking, yes, I am indeed, a RUNNER.

5.21 miles, 10:55 pace

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Resolution

So I'm not much for resolutions, but this seems like a decent time of year to try to commit to something.  I have failed numerous times in getting a blog off the ground -- see date of last post -- but here's yet another attempt to be at least a little consistent.  Hell, if I'm now embarking on my third(!) year of fairly consistent running, a little blogging here and there shouldn't be that difficult.

Cutting to the chase . . . Today was a notable run for me, not so much for distance (2 miles) or pace (11:17), bu
t for the fact that it marks the first time I have been able to brave the elements and actually run outside in winter conditions.  I have been putting this off forEVER, and now that I've done it, I'm not sure what all the fuss was about.  I dressed reasonably and within 10 minutes I was down to tights and top, running perfectly comfortable and not at all bothered by the cold.

I will STOP using this as an excuse!