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


> 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


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


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.