Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer Fun the second

(what follows is a long, kinda crappy and very disjointed post, hastily written in bunches at different times.  at least I'm caught up to the present.  sorry for my absence, and lazy posting!)

One of the most uncharacteristic things that has happened in the past coupla weeks is that I picked up a running partner!  Whoda thunk?   Stephanie started working in the ER in Marin a couple few weeks ago.  Somehow she heard that I was a runner, and we decided to get together.  She was a little worried "because I'm slow" . . . ha!  Come to find out, our paces are about exactly the same (very slow), and she's a little kooky, too, and somehow we've managed to have a fine time in a number of runs together.

She's only been running for a couple of months, but this chick likes to go out and run 7 or 8 miles AFTER a busy shift in the ER, so you can guess what kinda stuff she's made of.  As an interesting point, she has previously run with other, faster friends, and always felt really stressed and overworked with group runs because she was always pushing it, trying to keep up.  She tells me that she likes running with me because then it's OK to run slow, and so much nicer.  Like somehow I've "given permission" to be a slow runner.  A convert!

Last weekend we got ready in the hospital parking lot after a night of work, and trotted off onto the sidewalk to begin our little run.  We'd run together a couple two times together at this point, and whilst here at Back of the Pack we are all well aware of what a klutz I am, falling down at the least provocation, I thought maybe I should introduce Stephanie to the fact that, sometime soon, I was probably gonna bite it.  We were in our first 1/4 mile, right in FRONT of the hospital, and I tell the story of how it has taken me most of 7 years to teach Tom (the ultimate gentleman) NOT to freak out and rush to my aid if gravity should happen to assert itself in my presence, as I will mostly just brush myself off and continue on, no need for panic.  Right as I'm relating this information, there's a hummock in the sidewalk that I catch wrong and Whoosh! down I go, hard on my left knee and hands and elbows.  Fucking pavement!  I lay there with my water bottles scattered, my knee bleeding and my hands all skinned up going Ow! Ow! Ow! and Stephanie stands there, hands on hips, and deadpans "Oh, falls like this?"  LOVE her!
Alas, she is a traveller and thus a temporary worker and thus only around for another couple of weeks.  I'm already sad about that.  However, we have a standing date in her remaining time here to run Saturday and Monday mornings directly after work, and she is all the motivation I need to get out there.  Otherwise, as we all know, I just go to bed.  I do believe she is the first person I have comfortably run with.  Us slowpokes have a hard time!

Moving along, last week Tom and I and the Tandem spent a couple days touring around Napa Valley.  This was supposed to be an overnight trip, but we had such a good time riding around and eating delicious food (not much wine, for some reason) we extended for another night.  So Napa is just beautiful, endless rolling hills and grape vines and verdant, growing things and the bike is a great way to see it.  In two days, we saw something like 75 miles from the tandem, and enjoyed it all.  I saw a lot of this:

from the road, and some nice bike trails, too.

I did manage to run on my last morning there.  I only managed 5 or 6 miles, because the elevation was steep and technical and I was spent and lazy.

On Saturday, I fulfilled a long time desire and went running at night! in the dark!  A friend from my running group invited me and 6 other folks for a 10pm, full moon run around Donner Lake.  I think I've mentioned on here that I have this unrequited desire to run in the dark, but always get tired or chicken out.  This was a great opportunity

My training schedule calls for back-to-back long runs, so 10 hours later (Sunday?) I headed out with Tom and Debbie (on their mt bikes) for a 10 miler over in Tahoe City.  The purpose of these back-to-backers is apparently to familiarize myself with running through fatigue and, lemme tell you, I most certainly learned a lesson today.   This run was excruciating.  

Yet another journey through trails unknown, this time I had the artistic guidance of Tom and Debbie, who left me these goodies at every questionable trail intersection (kt = my initials):

I know, awesome, right?  These things were the highlight of the run.   

The scenery wasn't bad, either:
I dunno if it was the late night run the night before, the back to back runs, the relatively few hours in between,  or the sad fact that I once again skipped a real breakfast, but this one was hard.  The first 2 miles were slow and painful, there was a bitch of a climb followed by a long, slow uphill, thunder and lightning and rain, o my!, a couple of fine miles and then I nearly bonked in the last 2.  Uh, I certainly enjoyed parts of the run, but I was glad glad glad to be done.  10.5 miles in 2:30 and I was so done.  Everything screamed Go directly to couch! and I listened, and here I remain, hours later.


Ultimately, what I've been doing since I last posted can all be boiled down to one thing: injuring myself. Right now, I am feeling bruised, battered and beaten.  As I sit here (ok, be honest, as I lie here, today's run took its toll!), I can see -- and feel! -- concrete evidence of all of the below "mishaps"

From . . .

some unknown incident, Abrasion to Left Shin

walking -- hard! in the dark! -- into the business edge of a boat trailer, Divot missing from Right Shin

the fall way back when, healing well but still Scarred and funny looking Right Knee

the fall detailed above, Scraped Up Ugly Left Knee, Skinned Right Elbow (on the inside, no less), tender Abrasions to both Palms

getting caught between a 40 lb round of unsplit firewood and a very hard object, ooogy Subungual Hematoma to Right Index Finger (and it still fucking hurts, over a week out)

Saturday's extreme tubing adventure (another on our continued effort to tube the entire Truckee river, saturday found us in the wildest section yet -- gnarly!), Bruised and wicked Tender Right Upper Arm, generalized Right Arm Pain, and some kind of weird Hand Injury that announces itself when I try to move my thumb in a specific way.  Last, but quite far from least, this painful and sure-to-evolve-into-something-much-more-colorful (alas, presented in this highly unflattering shot, sorry!) Bruise, Swelling and Ouch! to Left Thigh:

(now, a few days later, this is VIVID!)
Tom came up with the idea that I could do an advent calendar cataloging these owies, just click on the knee and you get a Scrape! but my blogging skills are sadly lacking.  All together, none of these things is even remotely concerning, but happening all at once I think I look like a skinned-up 8 year old, and feel like an arthritic 60 year old.  Hence, this afternoon's couch-bound blog post!

To end with something a little nicer than my leg, here's a shot of the lovely Napa Valley:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer Fun #1

So I felt a little relieved about my lack of blogging as of late when I realized that just about everyone else's posts have been, shall we say, less frequent as of late.  You know who you are.  Thanks for making me look not quite so bad.  

So I wrote the above line something like 2 weeks ago.  OK, I look bad, enough said.  Seriously, with all the summer activities I've been up to, plus some healthy doses of laziness and procrastinations, eh -- blog posting has fallen way off my list.  I don't even know how many posts I've got to catch up with in Reader.  Too many.  I suck.  Let's move on, shall we?

So, what have I been up to?  Here's the condensed version, aided by some iPhone photos.

We have been sleeping outside.  A LOT! This is soooo easy to do, especially when some of this: 

is right outside your back door.  Well, OK, this particular lake was a little bit of a drive, but utterly deserted and totally wonderful.  Tom and I have the car camping thing down to a science, man.  Really.  Within 20 minutes of making the decision to spend the night elsewhere, we'll have the truck totally packed with everything we need, including food, mattress and all manner of niceties, and will be backing out of the driveway.  With 15 minutes of reaching our destination, we're unpacked, the bed is made, and I'm doing this:

in someplace like this:

On other fronts, we've got the tandem dialed in and rolling.  Sometime last week or the week before, we met up with our friend Yeti -- who is all the name implies -- for a trip down in South Lake.  We were originally going to go up Blue Lakes road, but about 1/4 mile into the ride Yeti's tire went pow!ppppthhhhhhhhssssssss, with a big ol' hole, and that was that.

Oh, sadness.

We regrouped after a bicycle change, and instead went riding in the Minden/Gardnerville area of Nevada, and put the bike through its paces.  Verdict?  We are in love with this bike.  It's a fucking dog on the long uphill, but downhill and on the flats it's a beast and motors like nothing else.  On this ride, we were easily -- effortlessly! -- hitting 20-25 mph on the flat, and topped out at 38mph (no pedaling!) on one of the downhills.

I saw a lot of this:

And will undoubtedly see a lot more of the same thing, with some scenery shifts.  It is so cool for me to be on the tandem, 'cause otherwise I have no hope of keeping up with such cyclists as Tom and Yeti (or, really, pretty much ANY cyclist, but these guys in particular are hard core).  It must be something like being a little kid, living in the adults' world and spending all your time looking at peoples' thighs, and then having someone lift you up on their shoulders and Oh!  Brave new world!  Or something like that.

What else???  Oh yeah, um, running!  Yes, I've been running.  Plenty.  I haven't really changed anything in my running as far as speedwork or anything goes, but I am slowly inching up the mileage and really inching up the elevation gains.  Here's a profile of a run I did (last week, the week before?  Whenever these distant activities occurred):
That's 1500 feet of elevation gain, which is becoming about my average for almost any run.  I ran this one with the mountain bikers, in a place I've never run before.  Tom, bless his heart, insisted that I download the .gpx track to Gary, and I took a map along with me as well.  I started 45 minutes ahead of the bikers, and within 30 minutes I was, not lost, but rather misplaced.  I wandered around for a bit, looked at the map and couldn't really make heads nor tails of it (and I am a woman who can read a map), scratched my head and decided I was way off track.  I then put the map away and merrily continued on my run.  What a concept, I gave the Garmin a glance and realized, in fact, exactly where I was and how to pick up the trail again.  From this point on, I listened only to Gary and, despite a few wrong turns quickly realized, I found my way around.  This was a very interesting navigational test and lesson, and learned me to rely on the .gpx.  At times.  Here's the path:
Interestingly enough, about 3/4 of the way into the ride, I stumbled upon the mt. bikers, and THEY were lost!  By this point, I had Gary all figured out and knew where to go.  By the time I finished the 12 mile run, it was getting a little dark out.  Still, before the last of the light left, I got a great view of Prosser.

More to follow in a bit, I will try to get caught up to the present time.  Hopefully, this mythical post will arrive before another 2 weeks pass . . .  

Friday, July 9, 2010


Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned. It's been a ridiculously long time since I've blogged.

I've gotten over it.

What've I been up to? Well, finally, it really truly is summer 'round these parts, and it's about time. I've definitely been out and about and enjoying the weather and all the things that go with it. I guess I could go on and on and try to fill in all the blanks between my last post and today, but I'm on my phone (in the car! on the way to another adventure!) and that's just too fiddly. So, here's some random photos of the missing weeks (happily, I've been running aplenty!)

A few weeks ago Tom and I joined some good friends and headed out to Huntington Lake, CA for a sailing competition, class racing on Hobie Cats.

I spent much of the time running, and found this gem at the turn around point on one of the runs:

Rancheria Falls

(at least on the phone, I look like I have HUGE boobs in this pic! I do not)

Of note, Tom came with me on this 6 mile out and back, he hiked I ran and (at least on the uphills) we were about evenly matched. 'nuf said.

We all put on our sailing hats took a turn at crewing during this multi-race regatta and, lo and behold ...

... we won our class! I was certainly surprised!

We came home, I ran a bunch more times.

Lots of it here, tons of trails about 1/2 mile from my front door.

Weeks passed. The past 2 days we spent out and about with the mountain biking group over in Downieville -- mt biking Mecca an hour or so northwest of Truckee.

They all road, and I did some serious trail running. Mind you, while I've been gone from this blog, I've been running lots and lots, and (surprisingly) LOTS of hills. Like, I've probably averaged a thousand or so feet of elevation gain per run in my last, oh, 5 runs or so. Downieville blew that out of the water.

First run was something like 7 miles with over 2,300 feet. Also, lots of bear poop,but also this idyllic little spot that I will return to the next time I find myself here:

Seems like a nice place to spend an afternoon!

Yesterday I shuttled the riders around the Lakes Basin area, and took myself out for a run.

Lotsa lakes ...

and some super-technical single track. It took me well over an hour to run 4 miles -- 600+ feet gain in 2 miles is challenging for sure, especially with supertricky footing.

The run was way finished by the time it got stormy, but check out these clouds:

Anyhow now Tom and I are headed to sleep outside again somewhere tonight, and will be taking a tandem ride with friends

I hope to get caught up with google reader one of these days, I've got like 600 posts to read. I've been lazy with my online existence but OMG summer!!