Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dear Blog

I've thought of you often in these past few weeks, really I have.  Oh, the posts I wrote in my head!  The pictures I took!  The times I mentioned Oh! I'll do a blog post tonight!  You haven't been far from my mind . . . but you have been far from actuality.  I've neglected you, tossed you aside in the pile marked "Later," trading you in for summer fun.  Oh, you poor, poor blog.

I will make it up to you.  I will post, and post some more . . . maybe even two days in a row.  OK, maybe not, but I do promise to get better.  To try harder.  To remember all of my wonderful readers, who are no doubt shaking their heads, wondering Where O where has Bootchez gone*?  (prolly not, y'all know I'm a lazy girl, but still . . . )  I'm off now to go for a run with a 73 year old woman (god, I hope I can keep up) and think I can get a post up about the last few weeks' adventures by tomorrow or thursday at the latest.

Next year, I will just state right out that I'm taking the damn summer off from blogging.  That way I won't feel guilty.

OK, I don't feel guilty, just lame.

*One place I HAVE gone to is Words with Friends.  Takers?  Look me up, my user name is Bootchez . . .

Friday, August 6, 2010

Run Summary

No blog posting, but lots of running!  Which, I guess, is as it should be.  I managed 91% of my 110-mile goal for July, which I am happy with as I strive to hit 80% (I came across this figure because, historically, that is what I average.  Therefore, I inflate my training schedule by about 20%, so 80% is good.  This kind of math trickery works on my mushy old brain, such that I keep my car clock 5 minutes slow, I believe it, and thus am always on time.  Simple minds.)  In actuality, I ran 99.56 miles in July -- I would have run the extra .44 if I had known.  Quite a few of those miles were really pretty awesome, like the one I did from Watson Lake.

There, through the trees, in the distance, the lake.  Tom and I camped there for the night, had a great night's sleep in the truck (natch), then he dropped me off and drove home.  I, being dropped off, then ran home, maybe 6 juicy downhill miles of 06 fire road, then ducking into the woods for the final 6.  My elevation loss was over 2,000 feet!  Now, you would think I would run that quite a bit faster than normal, yes?  You would be wrong, I ran it as slow as ever, plod plod plod, but it was a nice, easy jaunt and a run that I am likely to repeat.

Finally, things are starting to grow in my yard.  I believe I've posted of my adventures in gardening before, but I can't rightly find anything.  Here's a brief summary: buy a house at 6200 feet, look at lots of dirt and rocks and a few weeds and no topsoil.  Remember that on the east coast you had a bit of a green thumb.  Think, How hard can it be? and buy hundreds of dollars worth of plants.  Plant them.  Watch them grow for a little while.  Imagine how lovely everything will be in a year or two.  Try not to cry when one morning (truly, the night before Lots of Plants) you walk out of the house and all your plants (except for catmint, salvia and daisys) have been mowed down, scattered and eaten by rabbits, squirrels and other murderous rodents, those that haven't already been eaten by the deer, of course.  Next year, throw an ugly net over the few plants (catmint, salvia and daisies) that survived both the voracious appetites and the brutal winter.  Think you can try again.  Throw around topsoil and try to enrich what soil there is.  Plant more plants.  Watch them die.  Throw seeds around and see what grows (sweet william! and . . . nothing else!)  When at first you don't succeed, redefine success.  Plant lots of sweet william, catmint, salvia and daisies.  Stop caring, start "naturalizing".  When spring rolls around, cut down the obnoxious weeds, let the cool ones grow, spend a total of $100 and 10 hours on gardening duties, and pretty much give up.  The result:

Flowers! Growing! In my yard!  Not much, but an improvement over what was, quite literally, cruddy parched dirt and lots of rocks.

Then it's off to Marin, and Stephanie and I find a new place to run . . . nice trails around Tennessee Valley that run to the ocean:

Not a very pretty day, but the area is awesome and there's a whole network of trails to be explored.  We decide to do just that on Monday.

Yeah, not so much.  We were both exhausted from our 12 hour shifts, and very nearly chucked the whole run in favor of breakfast.  This was our last run together, though, and we decided we'd muscle on through.  This marks the beginning of the string of bad runs I've had, of which this one was undoubtedly the worst.  We were both tired, cold and heavy-legged.  What we had planned to be a 10 mile, 1100' elevation gain, romp through unexplored trails awesome run turned into a 2.8 mile, flat, gloomy sufferfest.  Fittingly, .5 miles from the parking lot my bowels turn to jelly.  Presented with this alone, I merely run into the bushes and leave a little road gift, but what do you do when you're with a new friend (one that's NOT Beth)? You hold onto it, smile, and pretend nothing's wrong, "but I think I need to walk for a little bit!"  What happens when you hold it? Oh, no, it doesn't go away, that would be too easy.  It gets worse, you try focused breathing, slamming your butt checks together, look helpless.  Admit defeat to your new friend (who is sympathetic, bless her heart -- she's a newbie runner, so she knows).  Hope you can make it to the parking lot.  Make it to the parking lot! Yay!  Offload! Watch your friend drive off!  Spend another 20 minutes (20 minutes!) hovering around the outhouse, offloading 3 more times.

Shitting in the damn woods is so much easier!

Anyhow, Stephanie and I worked one more shift together, and now she's gone, off to another assignment in LA.  I'm super bummed about this, because I am a terrible friend-maker and very much a loner and am sad to see my rare, new friend leave.  She gave me a bunch of hand-me-down clothes before she left, though, and that's like a shopping spree for me!  Ah, well, yeah I'm bummed.  I was also bummed that our last run was a crappy one, in so many ways.

More crappy runs followed, though in the descriptive, not literal, sense.  My bowels have gotten back in line!  The other day I went for an exploratory jaunt with Tom, wherein I was supposed to run some long milage thing, but ended up being overwhelmed (by either tiredness -- I had just got off my week o' work -- or by the altitude (<24 hours of acclimation), or just by laziness, I dunno) and only managed 2.8 miles (that number again!) before I gave up and walked the rest of the way with Tom.  Blech!  This is no way to become an ultrarunner!

Maybe I can become an ultrarunner by running a section of the Western States Trail!  Yesterday, Tom and I headed out for more exploration (we've been doing LOTS of this this summer!) and I've got a 12 miler planned, Tom's got his mt bike.  We find ourselves in the backcountry around Forest Hill Divide, south of Soda Springs, 4 wheelin' down dirt roads, climbing up up up! And, lo! there's the Western States trail, maybe 6-8 miles out of Squaw Valley.  We park the truck and we're off!  Tom heads one way on his bike, and I head the other.  My section is right on the Forest Hill Divide, meaning a lovely mountain ridge at 7500'.  The views? Phenomenal, look left and wow! look right and wow!, and I am again amazed at what a beautiful place I live in.

So the views are awesome, the trail?  Sucks.  Bigtime.  Short, punishing ascents and short, punishing downhills.  Sounds maybe nice, but totally not.  Huff and puff up, then struggle (don't run!) down.  Repeat.  Again.  Omigod!  I have a set time to return to the truck, and when I hit the turn-around time, I'm only 4 miles in.  Running amazingly slowly, even for me.  Even slower on the way back.  I am sure that both ways of this out-and-back run were uphill.

So I just checked the Gary data and, fuck me! no wonder why I had such a hard time!  This was a 2,000 foot elevation gain/loss over 8 miles (yes, once again, I did not run my goal milage.  Too fucking bad). 8 rocky, slippery, soul-sucking miles.  Check it:

OK, so now I feel better.  Tom, having run into difficulties on his route, met me on mine just after I turned around.  I'm glad he did, because I was quite late for our meeting back at the truck, and am glad he was spared the worry.  What he was not spared is the difficulty of the route, which he says was hard even on a mt bike.  The 8 miles took me 2:30 to run, which is saying something right there, even for slow ol' me.  Brutal.  I have the utmost respect for the Western States runners.  100 miles of this is impossible.  

Here's my Runner's Glamor Shot.  Me, running the Western States.  Feast your eyes:

I don't think this'll be happening again any time soon!

What is happening soon?  I'm finishing up this post, then off for another float down the Truckee River.  Another run today, god knows how long (I've stopped forecasting, hell if I can run 3 miles I'll be happy).  The, on Sunday, I've committed to a 21 miler on the Tahoe Rim Trail.  Here's 5 fun facts:

1. I've hiked exactly this section before (Tahoe Meadows to Brockaway Summit).  It took 2 days.
2. I'm going with two guys.  They are 8 minute milers. Oh lordy.
3. Starts at 6 am!  I barely function before 9.
4. The last time I ran 20+ miles was in May.  May!
5.  This run tops out at 10,500 feet.

I hope I make it!