I run happy.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ragnar Relay #1 … Vail Lake Ultra Trail Race

Ahhhhhh!  Barely a month and a week after my last marathon,  a crew of three fast runners(and me), took on a Ragnar Relay race in the hilliest terrain I've run,  in the dark,  for over 24 hours.

Let it be stated here and NOW…

1.   I need 10 hours of sleep at night, at least.

2.  Relays scare me.  Am I going to let these peeps down?  What if I want to quit and can't?  What if I'm the slowest of the group and they all "play nice" and secretly sigh and click elbows when they see the results?  What if I can't run around the clock, what if I'm cold, what if I get grumpy and start to cry…what if, what if, what if.

3.  I like anything cozy once the sun goes down.  Bed, pillows, yellow afghan,  husband, Jack Russell Terrier.

4.  My legs have been TIRED and lifeless since St. George.

Despite my above frailties, irrational fears and whining,  I DID want to do this race.  My three Andaleg Peeps are some of my favorites; honest, fun, uplifting and enthusiastic.  PLUS,  my passion and LOVE for running in the dark would be addressed at this race and I knew it would be a night filled with light from a full moon, TRAILS, hills and magic.  Magic happens when you run at night, under the moonlight.  Time stands still.  The world closes in and life just seems a little smaller.  You feel a little smaller, some how less significant.  I think we could all use a little dose of feeling the humbleness of feeling smaller.  It puts everything in perspective and leaves one grateful for the light of day and new beginnings.  Ah, so philosophical…

Anyway,  the race started at 4 p.m.  We camped out on a HUGE grassy knoll that faced the gorgeous Vail Lake.  I really don't think it was THAT gorgeous, I'ves seen some hot lakes, but the whole vibe was SO Ragnar that you couldn't help but take in beauty.
Spice Cake aka Chi Chi


 Solid Rock and Chi Chi
 Go Chi Chi!
 JosA and JosB
 Go Dawg!

Masters of Disaster Team!

The plan was for the four members of our Andaleg Team to take on 3 loops, 2 times.  The green loop was the first, the yellow the second and ending with the red.  Green and red loops were HILLY both down and up.  WALKING was a given in parts and grabbing onto bushes and plants as you climbed was often necessary.  Down hill was rugged, rocky, slippery and often scary as you navigated trails and roads covered with three inches of powdery dust.  You never really knew what was under that dust and with the headlamp light,  I often imagined seeing small rocks, boulders and trees under the film.  Scary at times but also thrilling.  Close to 30 miles in 24 hours.

Each loop ended with my Solid Rock cheering me in, congratulating me on the time and whisking me off to change into dry clothes.  I hit our camp totally HIGH on the night running and complementing the trail.  I respected those trails and because I never FELL, TRIPPED or got lost,  I wanted to marry them.  I will definitely go back to reignite the flame next year…being that I formed a love affair with this race. Don't worry, Solid Rock is well aware,  I haven't STOPPED talking about this race all week.  Anyhoo,  once changed into my next dry running outfit,  I'd head to "the couch," snuggle in with my BRP(best running partner)or with one of the guys and rest up for the next loop.  DID I MENTION THE HEAT LAMP???  A priority for any night relay runner…it ran on propane and heated us on that little couch all night. I wanted to marry the heat lamp too.    We felt like we were in our living room gazing out at the stars, surrounded by 200 tents and even more crazy runners and support crew.

On into the night we ran,  mostly running alone on desolate peaks and through valleys…where I experienced the MAGIC of the night.  As I headed up a long winding hill,  the valley was suddenly filled with moonlight and one by one,  the runners up ahead turned off their headlamps.  We all wanted to feel that isolation and smallness that only night running can bring.  As I crested the top of the hill, the lights had been popped back on as we flew down the other side, eager to finish the yellow loop.

Goals were met.  Dreams were realized.  Friendships reinforced.  A marriage filled with some more love, respect and fun.

Special thanks to Trasie, Team Andalegs Captain, BRP, and especially the Solid Rock who served, cheered, ran a loop with me and paced me to a better time with his fresh legs, fresh attitude and loving support.

Recovery you ask?  Always a slippery thing when you're 48 years old and have just run two races over marathon distance within a month or two.
1.  Legs are tired
2.  Lack of sleep fatigue lasted 6 days
3.  Massage, acupuncture, foam rolling over the last week

Grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this fun…Happy Thanksgiving!  Run towards your dreams.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Javelina Jundred; Scariest Race Ever

Have you ever had one of those experiences that filled you with adrenaline all day?  Kept you from sleeping, eating, and doing anything NORMAL like reading, playing scrabble on your iPhone or flossing?

Javalina Jundred HAPPENED on Saturday.
a true life event
I usually need about 10 hours of sleep a night, every night.
Somehow,  I functioned off of three hours and managed to stay in some sort of Javelina Jigh without the use of any substance.

Before you read on,  let it be known that I DID NOT RUN THIS RACE.  I was the wife.  It was a strange and unusual role for me because I'm usually the one racing but I FINALLY got my chance to be Sherpa, Tony Robbins,  Bad Grandma and medic to my 100 ultra attempt-er, Boy Scout.
He's the "giver" in this relationship and he likes to flaunt that over me... A  LOT.
Finally, a chance for me to be THE GIVER.  
I couldn't wait.
I'd rally.
I drink copious amounts of coffee to stay awake.
I'd make him leave the aid station after 5 minutes, max.
I was ready.  I'd read blogs on how to be the best pacer imaginable.  I had jokes, jingles and funny antidotes ready to share with him in the middle of the night.
Game on. I ,too, could be "t"he giver.

We headed to HEADQUARTERS on Thursday before the race.  There was already a tent city erected on top of the very place where many scorpions, tarantulas and coyotes call home.  Runners and support crew peeps rent out these tents and put up their own homesteads.  Some were draped with Halloween decorations,  so many in fact that I felt like I was back in elementary school at our annual Halloween Carnival.

As the weekend progressed,  I was proven correct.  This WAS a carnival.  Runners in costumes were everywhere!  Spooky running mummies,  clowns, jesters,  brides...they all attended the event. 
*Junk in a Box*

 I spent the whole weekend wondering how they kept their costumes on; sweating in the 95 degree heat.  Wings melted,  wigs wilted,  make up ran...a horror show if I'd ever seen one.
And then the bodies.
A 100 miler can do a horrible thing to bodies...in 105 degree heat(which was recorded at one aid station).
I should know.
I spent over an hour in the med tent with Boy Scout as he recovered from a violent case of vomiting and dehydration.
Or was it heat exhaustion?
Moaning was the predominant  sound coming from this haunted house med tent.  Runners were cramping and screaming.  Some writhing.  Some white, waxen and  WAY TOO SILENT.
When Boy Scout was ready to stagger,  I scooted him out to the start/finish crossing and seated him where he could watch all the runners coming in, refueling and heading out once again.
What better motivation?
He cooled down.
He refueled.
He re energized.
And I played Bad Grandma.

*Ready to head out once again*

And, the day(and night)continued.
I had no way of knowing where he was during the next loop.  I could only hope and pray that he hadn't been sick and wasn't  throwing up under a cactus, curled up in a ball along the trail with scorpions and tarantulas and rattle snakes crawling all over him.  I had actually heard(afterwards)that there were some runners in this condition(minus the reptiles).  This vision became too much for me and  at about 4:30 p.m. ,  despite the fact that BS's two SUPER PACERS were about to arrive(and my cell phone died),  I took off  running up to the next aid station to check on my Haunted  Hubby.  
After a few hours,  a run back with an un-costumed, very nice man,  I returned to Head Quarters with the news that, yes,  BS had been sick and couldn't continue without a headlamp and a shirt.  
It was now NIGHT TIME.
In the desert.
Still 80 degrees.

Super Pacer #1 was off.  With his invisible  cape and mask,  he was driven by four wheeler  up to BS with head lamp and shirt in hand and then continued on with  the death march.  BS  was NOT eating, not drinking and felt like *&)(*).  Never, ever a good sign in an ultra at mile 40.  However, relentless-forward-motion happened.

**About this time,  I headed back to our hotel to eat and *try* to sleep. Then returned to Head Quarters.**

Super Pacer #2 assumed duties and let BS take a nap in the tent for 20 mins. Then, filling him with a hot dog and chicken soup which was a total B-12-like experience for him ,   sent him on into the night ready to fight.  Or not.  The night got long, the trails were rocky, words and moans  were spoken(well, maybe no one heard those words and they were just in his head)but somewhere along that long, long, hot trail,  BS decided he'd settle for the 100k.  So he did.

No regrets.
No tears(or at least Super Pacer #2 didn't tell me about them-it's a guy thing I guess).
No pouting.
Earned  a 100k  belt buckle.

We packed up at 3:30ish a.m., headed back to the hotel and SLEPT like zombies until mid-morning.

So now, the NEW plans and plotting have begun.
The next 100 miler is being pondered and planned.
The NEW training for the next  HOT 100 Miler is being studied.
Moving Forward and not looking back is in play.
My husband appreciates punishment and wants to beat this 100 miler thing.  

SOOOOO proud of my ghoulish man.

I must also express my admiration and gratefulness to ALL of the Javelina Jundred runners, those that finished and those that met their demise but will rise once again.
Although often eeri,  I saw faces of joy, anguish, determination, fortitude and love out there in the  Arizona  desert and I will never forget some of the finest performances of athletes anywhere.
Truly a carnival of tough, BIG HEARTED runners, volunteers and the finest ultra event planners ever.

Congratulations HONEY  and everyone!  I KNOW that Javelina will be an ultra that we'll want to attend every year.
Hauntingly Amazing!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

100 Miler--Javelina Jundred Here We Come and a little race report on St. George!

BS is tapering for his first 100 miler...another stepping stone for Western States?  He is sound, ready, had his last massage and now we must wait...
If a marathon is both science and mind...what is a 100 miler?  I can't fathom what would happen to mind after 50 miles but I will be there to witness, report, cheer, yell and possibly,  play BAD WIFE...by not letting him quit.
The Javelina Jundred 100 miler is in Arizona and is basically an ultra in the desert that is a looping course.  Every three hours I should see my BS come around and my plan is to hug and kiss, check in on the mental state, and let him decide WHEN and What to eat.  
I look forward to being TOUGH WIFE...I should have done it during the last ultra but when I looked into his eyes and held his chin between my palms,  I saw a candle that had been blown out-extinguished- and I folded.
Next Saturday,  I   WILL   NOT  FOLD.
We will light that candle again, together if necessary.

Here he is finishing ST. GEORGE with a 3:29,  a PR!

PR's For All!
St. George was definitely the best marathon I've run.  It was FUN, gorgeous scenery and we were all ready for the demanding down hills.  I would never, EVER say that because this race was down hill that it was EASY.  A few well-meaning peeps had some comments to share about it being an automatic PR race and I will admit,  that's why I chose this race.  However,  a lot of down hill training went into this race...heck,  a lot of HILL TRAINING period.  There were a couple of tough up hills in the race but when I hit the down hills,  I was mentally kissing and hugging my coach for the AWESOME training plan and for the 3 x weekly down hills we did during the last month of training.  SMACK!!

My goal was to PR at 3:19 and I was some seconds over that.  My second goal(because I'm like that)was to run my last 6 miles stronger than any other part of the race.
Science,  consistency and confidence in the hills and a beautiful course were on my side and my final miles were
7:00 min. pace or faster.
Ahhhhhhh, second goal met.
Finish strong.

Goal 3:  Take off two full weeks from running after the race.
Epic fail.

I succumb to peer pressure and OCD with running.
I returned to jogging at the track workout for 4 miles,  7 days after the race.
I know that the reason my training and racing for St. George was strong and injury-free is because I focused MORE on recovery than on the workouts.
At 48,  recovery is everything.

Guess I'm going to have to work at goal 3 a little more.

 This is the starting line at St. George.  Dark, chilly and eery!  There were about 24 of these bonfires and about 40 runners around them,  melting their shoes and snuggling in Mylar blankets.

So,  we're off to Arizona soon!  With two weeks off from school,  I plan on reflecting on my first trimester of school that just came to an end;  how to better herd my kittens who are extremely lively as well as BRIGHT.  More rainbow skeleton building may be in order!
 I also plan on playing a lot with this little guy who made his own cat and people puppets...
 As well as a ghost mask.  Lots of fun planned!  And recovery.
Happy Fall!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

St. George Here We Come!!!

Marathon Training!!!
It seems like my mind has been so consumed with LIFE and LIFE'S way of throwing vulnerable and real moments at me,  I haven't been blogging about running.  My passion and dedication has been completely IN but a friend's misfortune has brought a film of gray over much of what I've done over the past month and a half.  Nothing like a dear, dear, dear friend's suffering to wake you up,  cloud your perspective and at the same bring about that CLARITY that only comes from seeing those close to you so  vulnerable and hurting .  The details must remain private but it's always safe and responsible to say...


You may feel gray some days, you may feel yellow or some other cheery color but don't let your "feelings" mask your gratefulness for all you have, feel .  This is not a trite observation.  It's real.  

So back to RUNNING!

My 12th marathon is next Saturday.  I can't believe  that after 7 more SLEEPS,  we're taking a road trip to UTAH and I'm running St. George.  So excited.  The following is a brief synopsis of my training over the summer and up until now.

Down hills
20 mile hill runs with 10 downhill at marathon pace.
22 mile down and up hills with 12 miles at marathon pace.
Tempo runs for ten miles at marathon pace.
10x800 at 10k pace
Down hills
Up hills

Get the point?  A running pal remarked that St. George was one of the "easy" marathons because it's all down hill.  Obviously,  she had never done that marathon because one would definitely not make the remark after the amount of hill training one needs to do to make it to the starting line.  The hills, cross training and recovery have all  prepared me for another FUN day in the sun.  AND...I'm ready.
At 48 years of age,  I can finally say...I have not been injured during this marathon training period although it was one of the most challenging of my life!  I have never felt defeat, disappointment nor discouragement nor have I felt like I wasn't going to be able to give it my all.  I will race next Saturday, I will push my hardest yet, I will HURT and I will be HAPPY!!

To further add to the list of positives,  my ultra hubby will be with me as well as my FAST ANDALEGS RUNNING BUDDY, Jillian.  

Bring it on baby!!

GOALS:  I qualified and got into Boston two weeks ago and with that out of the way,  I can focus on having a SOLID,  consistent and under control race.  NO worries, no extreme pushing, no times that I must meet.  This frees me up mentally to relax and trust my training and my body.  THANK YOU, BODY.  That hug I gave you the other night after my last tempo run as meant just for you.  Grateful.

Who else is going to St. George???

Run grateful,

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Marshmallows, Dusty Trails, Peaks, Mountains and Stars

Some races just come together.
Some races start and you know you're done before the first mile.
Some races are done before you start but you do them anyway...and that's okay.

This last Saturday was one of my better ones:

for 13 miles.

BS had some battles...

for 32 miles(50k)...

but he persevered and finish his 50k in 7:xx,  ending with a death march that included a smile and a few minutes of projectile vomiting once he reached the shade.  So proud of my mentally and physically strong husband.  Yes,  projectile vomiting might not seem okay to some but in our household,  it happens.

 Dawn...we camped and drove a mile to the start.
 Early start, 6:30 a.m.
 Finish...sometime after 1 p.m.  the last 1/2 mile.
 Pre-vomit fest with Craig!

 Race Eve festivities with Ping and Pong, their mom and her boyfriend.
My favorite part of camping.
Finding the perfect marshmallow roasting stick is always a priority for me.

BS was satisfied with his time and effort, it was a hot day and he finished.

My half was a highlight for my year; I felt strong on the hills both up and down and the heat made me feel great...it is definitely a comfort for me which is weird, I know.

My highlight of the weekend was NOT the lumpy, hard and crusty ground where we slept because I tossed and turned ALL night.  No, the highlight was when I left the tent to pee in the tall grass at about 2:30 a.m.,  near our tent,  and and looked up to see an ENTIRE sky filled with stars that were so close together they almost exploded before my eyes.  I couldn't walk.  I couldn't stop myself from scanning the sky.  I felt so insignificant and yet, so embraced by the beauty.

Thank you Cuyamaca 3 Peaks for a great time...

Run happy,

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

St. George Marathon Training and other SUMMer Things...

Sunday's  long run:
14 miles on rolling hills(ha, mostly rolling straight upwards rather than down)
4x60 sec. 3k uphill
40 min. LT uphill, 5 min. rest
4x30 sec. 3k flat

I did all this before the 7 mile mark and then headed home...you guessed it....uphill after three miles of screaming downhill.  Actually, the screaming was coming from ME and was more like heavy sighing.
Ice bath for 20 min.

Work out #2 was TRACK at Discovery Lake:

90 degrees at 5 p.m.
20 min. at marathon goal pace: 7:30(hot, hot, hot)
3x400 up hill 3k effort
1200 around lake, 10k (less hot, finally)
3x400 down hill 3k effort
1 mile around lake
O.K., I honestly couldn't do the mile around the lake,( nor could the rest of the crew)so the workout turned out to be 10 miles with warm up, so we cooled down around the lake.
Ice bath for 20 min. when I got home.

L   O   V   E  summer, here are some highlights from this last week:
First week off starts with a trip to the fair where I run into to past students and  we go on rides together.  

 The first week off also ends with a bang when I get to go on Sparkle Pant's first fieldtrip with his pre school...which resulted in a zillion snookie-nosed kids taking their clothes off at the park, eating each other's lunches and just a few run aways, escaping the preschool madness(yes, I was one of them).
 Sparkle's Mom packs his lunch with a note.  So cute.
 First meal at the New Grill we can visit on foot in Leucadia.  I guess you could say I liked the macaroni and cheese...a little.
 Sparkle Pants gets set to eat a gummy dinosaur on the 4th of July.
 Sparkle and I cuddle while we wait for fire works!

 Grandpa Boy Scout and Sparkle pants watch the explosions.
 End of cold harvest carrots in July,  rainbow carrots!!!  We made a yummy soup with them.
So, I always wanted to enter my flowers in the Del Mar Fair but found a way to win blue ribbons anyway, right here at home!  My favorite blossoms from last week.

On the tap for running this weekend:

Boy Scout has another 50k this weekend and I'll run the 3 Peaks 1/2 marathon while I wait for him!  It's going to be HOT(over 100 degrees)and I'm terrified I'm going to see a lot of SNAKES.  Don't ask me why this has all of a sudden been a worry of mine but it might have to do with the page-long warning the RD sent out a day or so ago.  UGH!!!!


Happy Training!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Living Your Life Full of OS!M

My new principal is a ROCKIN CHICK.  She's quiet, kind, solid, strong, honest, loyal, has integrity and is KIND, COMPASSIONATE and above all, RESPECTED.  She further proves my point as of late...you don't have to be a BAD ASS, tough, mean and aggressive woman to be well respected and LOOK STRONG.  In fact, recently ,  the most  quiet and steadfast women in my life have  been my accidental mentors.  I say ACCIDENTAL  because I usually think of the brass, tough and often outspoken women I know as having those ILLUSIVE qualities that I wish I had.
As each year brings me more wisdom and as I make more mistakes and feel, well, ultimately more humble and naive...I realize that what I once thought as truth is now, frankly, the opposite.  Untrue.

Where I once thought I could hold it all together in a nice, neat package, I've NOW realized that life is messy and all over the place and that's okay.

Where I once thought that mistakes were a sign of weakness,  I NOW realize that mistakes are human.  I am human.  I can be a mess and that' s okay.

This year has been MY year.  A year of fun, mistakes, challenges, risks and messiness.  I've taken leaps off of mountains,  stripped myself of things that I was holding on to for security and confronted people and issues in myself that have held me back.

So, when my principal talked to us about being open to O Shi$ Moments(OS! M)and being open to their possibilities of providing us with HUGE leaps of growth and FUN,  I jumped in with both feet.


Certainly, but totally confident.

Now, how does this relate to running?  To sport?
It has everything to do with running...and life...and relationships...as well as teaching.

It's up to us to create some Oh, Shi$ Moments in our lives.  Let's stay fresh, make mistakes and be real, right out in the open. Be honest.  Try new things, meet new friends.

Run a new race.  Push a little harder.  Fail.  DNF and live to tell about it.  Get injured and come back from it with a smile.  Talk about good things with running.  Uplift others.

I'm off to work on a PR on the 4th of July and possibly get lost again at a half marathon mountain race but the possibilities are totally exciting.  Refreshing.

How are you going to create some OS!M this summer?
Run happy!

Monday, April 8, 2013


Yes, I did say hugs-band.  The poor skinny guy.  Ultra training is taking it's toll.   He picked me up at the Carlsbad Airport this morning and I hardly recognized him.  5 days away and the cat didn't play, he just RAN and Ran and ran...some more.  Twice yesterday.  Thank goodness he fueled after his twenty miler with some nutritious, vitamin-laden treats from Whole Foods.  Not.  He hit up Oggies pizza and invited "friend" over to watch the basketball game and then they devoured the entire order:

Hugsband's Ultra is about a month away.  I have visions of fattening him up before the big day but honestly, I'm not sure it's possible.  Two a days have a way of burning up every single vitamin, mineral, fat cell and calorie within minutes of finishing.  Ah, the trails of an ultra widow....with a husband both thinner and lighter than she.

The joke is that I'm not really an ultra widow.  I've been spinning my own web of fun and headed out to visit my BIF(bad influence friend) for fun, adventures and trail racing in Colorado Springs.  BIF is also known as  the founder of ...RAWHIDE.  A mix of princess, diamonds, moxie and toughness.  In elementary school,  BIF was a playground enigma. She held her own, a princess always ready for a fight.  Not a mean girl, no, just a gal that carried her head high.    I worshipped her from afar.  In junior high, we had some tough classes together; she never studied, I studied my brains out.  In high school,  she drove her mother to drink and we walked "the edge" more times than I can count. At the age of 18, she MADE me call my now-hugsband and ask him out!   In college,  we sealed the deal and became close friends.  College, marriages, babies, deaths of family members, surgeries, family drama,  another marriage...today at almost 48,  she is still my BIF and we practice "RAWHIDE...the noun" as much as possible.  On Sunday, that meant ME heading to Colorado Springs to do some mountain trail running at 6000 feet with NO, NO, NO elevation training and having taken a week of tapering(non-voluntary)before the trip.  Mind you,  I live AT SEA LEVEL, basically 3/4 mile from the beach.

Beautiful things unfold when Rawhide happens.  BIF ran her first trail 5k, mostly cheering for every single person she saw and crossed the finished line pain free.  Her plantar facitis was obsolete.  I ran the trail 12k and pr'd by 3 minutes.  The course was TOUGH, steep and in the MOUNTAINS,  so I ran relaxed, happy and free.  Sure, I had a pounding headache that finally ended once my plane landed back in San Diego, but RAWHIDE sees you through the tough times.  My legs felt strong, my cardio was spot on and heck,  we all know how affective a good six day taper can be to a 48 year old!

So,  life back here in San Diego goes on.  I celebrate my win in Colorado within...I felt so happy to have finished a challenge and a goal that was out of the ordinary.  The trail run the following day(pictures above)was my medal...my gift...my reward.

 I've found myself needing some new adventures this year and I've had a burning desire to set some new, higher goals for myself in running this year.  I'm not sure what that means just yet but I have signed up for a fall marathon with my HUGSBAND and once he recovers from sheer skinniness,  I'll have him out there training and "RAWHIDING" with me(the verb)once again.

Just wondering,  do any of you have a BIF?  Isn't it fun?!?  Do tell...

Keep on 'movin, 'movin, 'movin forward and happy running,

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Elephant Mountain Cave Creek Arizona Race Report

Our Arizona Race Trip really began after we took off our shoes and toasted our toes at our hotel which was about 15 miles from our race.
Fric and Frac made the six hour trip with us and were nothing but COMEDY the whole time.  What could be better for me than to ride in the car for six hours with three men who "sometimes" have the humor of 12 year old boys someone half their age.  I did laugh...a lot.

Race day started at 5:00 a.m.  We headed off into the 32 degree chill and encountered over 20 Ragnar Relay racers with headlamps and safety vests.  I don't know why but I felt their "pain" and their joy, namely their joy.  Who else would CHOOSE to run in the early morning, dark  chill for a charity but a beautiful runner?  I had a "moment" in the car.  My "moments" often signal a promise for a good race.  Some how,  just connecting with that "why I'm out here doing this..., "as in running...just gives me that EXTRA push to cherish and appreciate.  
Live life to it's fullest.  Such a cliche and, yet, true.

Dumb and Dumber  Fric and Frac,  started their 50k at 7:00 a.m.  They were Ultra Virgins at that hour and within 5 hours for one and 7 for the other,  were christened ULTRA RUNNERS.  As always, their advanced twelve year old sense of humor fit right in with the ULTRA SCENE and I think they maybe hooked.  I could be wrong but I did see the familiar **eerie ultra smile**that I've witnessed at a few ultras lately...on EVERYONE'S face.  They had it.

Boy Scout and I set off at 8:30 and raced a mere 12k.  It was one of the rockiest,  most technical races I've done yet.  SO, of course,  I LOVED it.  I have so much confidence in my Brooks Cascadia trail shoes that it's almost scary.  They have so much flexibility that I can almost run over the tops and tips of rocks and small boulders without even touching any dirt.  There were lots of falls today so maybe I was just lucky...

Today I ran in respect to a family who lost their son to a tragic situation.  He was mentally ill,  addicted to drugs and had been through so much  during his 23 years on this planet.  Our trip to Arizona seemed frivolous in comparison to what my friend's family had been experiencing this last week.
My race today was up steep and unforgiving hills,  the trails were lined with huge cactus and the trails were rocky.  Evan's life had reflected the challenges of this desert habitat.

Yet, stepping away from "the race,"  we experienced the BEAUTY of the desert and all it has to offer. Challenges and, yet, Sweetness.

I decided to run this race by attacking the challenges in a way that I hadn't before,  on behalf of Evan who didn't have the means nor opportunities to attack life in a healthy way.
That meant taking the hills confidently, calmly and with confidence.
That also meant flying down hill, over the quartz trails and rocky terrain,  trusting that my next step would lead me to something even better than the last.

My second inspiration for this race came from a wonderful article I read this week by Dax, a local ultra runner.  His perspective on women and beauty is remarkable.

Women tend to fret about their looks, their weight, their clothing, their skin...
as I get older,  I tend to  see the beauty in others that stands out the most...
being happy with oneself in everyday

I ran feeling just a little more beautiful today and I definitely had the appreciation for life and living...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Well,  let's just say that the throwing up didn't stop after the race.  In fact,  I was presenting to fifteen teachers in a neighboring school district the following Tuesday after the race.  I had felt alright on Monday and by 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning,  I was setting up a little "throw up" stand behind an easel next to the teacher's desk.  That was PLAN B, just in case I didn't make it down the hall, out the door, across the playground, back into the office and down the hall to the teachers' restroom.

Guess what happened?  Plan A.  I tore down the hall, made it through the office, heaving the whole way.  I wound up in the restroom,  just in time.  IT WAS THE SINGLE MOST EMBARRASSING moment of my profession as teachers stared at me...we were dropping like flies!  We all abandoned the day and I went home to sleep for three hours.

Two days later, I was back to my usual FUN and GAMES and recovered from my race.  One of my proudest moments was helping Sparkle Pants pick out his first "manufactured" Halloween costume in the middle of February.  He is CRAZY about all super heroes and choose a Captain America costume from Party City.  It wasn't until I got home and we attempted to watch a few Captain America videos off of You Tube that I realized that this "vintage" cartoon is really pretty racist,  violent and riddled with tanks,  weapons and everything else that Sparkle Pants' parents abhor.  MAN,  I'M ALWAYS IN THE DOG HOUSE AROUND here when it comes to Sparkle Pants.

Too much sugar!
Nasty Halloween costumes!
Gluten products!
Action Figures!
Late bed times!
Too much pretend and role playing...

Geesh, being a grandma is NOT easy.  I didn't realize I was going to have to play by everyone else rules..

Time for me to grow up...or not.

Happy Running, stay safe!

Monday, February 4, 2013

I Threw Up On My Garmin

My WILD and WOOLY trail race was buckets of fun on Sunday!  It started with me getting car sick(?)on my way to the race.  Boy Scout/50 Miler Man pulled over on the free way and I promptly covered my mouth with my wrist(OK, who does THAT?)and threw up on my Garmin,  out onto the freeway.  I had some "reserve" toilet paper in my bag(because I roll like that at races, you just NEVER know)and wiped my watch but forgot to get the watchband.  GAK!  Throughout the race, like every tenth of a mile,  I'd get a whiff of my stomach contents and want to heave all over again.  BUT...I just ran.
And ran...
And ran...

When I got to the MOUNTAIN of 1,000 Steps,  I started to hike and the Boob behind me started talking about eating NACHOS at his upcoming SUPER BOWL party.  BLECH and GAK once again!
"Should I have guacamole or just beans?"  "Sour cream?"  "Which has more calories, beans or guacamole?"  I was SO ready to snap at him but the thought of turning around on the steep incline and accidentally "seeing" what I had just climbed freaked me out so I kept working on the hill.  The thought of food sent me up the hill faster,  you can't really throw up while you are straddling a boulder and trying to climb step # 345.   I'm not saying I conquered my GOAL of NOT WALKING the hills but I did strut my stuff trying to get away from Boob.

Once reaching the top,  I realized that it was about 80 degrees and this was the SECOND time I had run a race in the heat--this winter--and it made me laugh.  Rocks, heat, vomit, guacamole,  slippery down hills...what could I do but laugh?  This is just another reason I love adore trail running.  YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT'S AROUND THE NEXT CORNER.  You can never predict what's going to happen once you get to the top of a mountain.  This element of surprise keeps me on my toes and makes me embrace the unpredictable.

I finished the race.  Was I sick?  Did I run with stomach flu?  Food poisoning?  Car sick?  Who knows but I ran with all that was within and a little of what was on the freeway and ended up with a PR by seconds...one that I had set four years ago.  It made me happy to know that getting OLDER, getting sick and getting over the guacamole has only made me stronger.

Bring on the hills, bring on the trails, bring on the fun.

By the way,  my Garmin isn't holding a charge,


Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Recent Obsession

Boy Scout has almost recovered from the body trauma and mental tribulations from his 50 miler.  He is now jogging a bit and plotting his next move for his 50 miler on May 11th.  Let the fun begin once again!

My plotting involves more technical trail races for the rest of the spring and maybe a fun half-marathon.  I have become obsessed with racing the Xterra race series and trying to stay at the top of my game with 15k races and some 21k races.  The trails always prove to challenge my legs and stamina like no other type of running.  I also LOVE the downhill technical trail running.  Trails like the one in the photo above make me quiver...I feel like a horse/goat/rabbit...trying to find a "safe" way down the hill while maintaining a 7:30 pace.  I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT FALLING AT ALL in this post, so I won't.    The BIGGEST challenge has been hill climbing which I enjoy but find SO frustrating.  I really don't want to walk but the steepness of some of the trails makes this impossible.  Grrr...I have a lot of mental images that I access when I feel like walking;  I picture my legs churning and churning like a well-oiled machine.  Sometimes,  I just stare at the top of the hill and imagine myself being pulled up by the runners in front of me.  This works and doesn't work.  I just want to make it more consistent.

Next week,  I race locally, an Xterra Mission Trails run.  It has a mountain called 1000 Steps, and it is.  I had *FUN* on the rocky trails the last time I did this race and two weeks ago we ran it as training.  I was able to run every hill except the 1000 Steps trail itself.  I have big plans for this weekend...NO WALKING.  There, I said it out loud(really, my dog heard me).

I might place in these races and sometimes I win(because I'm a "mature age grouper")but that's not what matters to me...tackling these CHALLENGES has consumed me and I love picking some mini/major goals like NOT WALKING,  NOT TAKING A POTTY BREAK,  STAYING STRONG and AGGRESSIVE the whole way.   I have found these goals to be the best kind and although they don't revolve around a time or pace,  they do keep me moving forward.

Marathons and half marathons are still on the calendar but for now,  my OBSESSION keep me growing and getting stronger.

What are your OBSESSIONS with your running?  What keeps you motivated to press on?

Have a great last week of January,

Sunday, January 20, 2013

50 Miler was a Smiler...

At the risk of being called a Front'er...one who puts up the iron curtain and avoids telling you all of the bubbly, ugly, smelly, brewing trouble in my cauldron...I get out the gore right away.
It wasn't an easy race.
There were dark and dreary moments despite the HOT 83-85 degree weather.
Chunks and liquids were hurled right out in the open.
Walking too place, lots of walking.
Hills were exposed to the sun, switchbacks were present.

It was ugly at times.

However, true to form,  thanks to the way our BRAINS operate,  good times were had by all.
Inspiration was everywhere!
70 years olds finished 50 milers with smiles on their faces.
In fact,  there wasn't one fifty miler that didn't have a smile on their face.  Practically, the whole time.  Maybe they were "front'n" but it was weird and eerie,  they all seemed SO happy to be out there in the heat, water on hand or on back,  tossing back salt tabs like candy and chatting it up with each other and the volunteers.

My husband rose 50 notches in my book of notches...which actually takes quite a lot.  My book is pretty full and running out of pages since we've been together almost(29 years...in a few months).  Anyway,  he was pretty calm the whole time.  Here's a quick review of his fueling stops/miles in increments of 10 miles:

Start:  He's happy of course!  It's a chilly thirty-something degrees but most runners are in shorts since they've read the weather report for weeks.

10 Mile Mark:
Smiles all around.  He cruises through, stops for a clothing change, sheds his heart rate monitor and we exchange his fuel bottle.  He eats a BONK BREAKER and washes it down with regular water.  Kisses  take place and he's off. 
 On his way!

Mile 15 was a miss for us since I was watching a friend run the trail marathon!

Mile 20 was the one on the hill, set under some oak trees for shade and lots of long grass.  Steve ate another Bonk Breaker, drank water and we exchanged bottles.  Pretty low key, he was still smiling.

Mile 30 was before this dam in Escondido.  It's like a desert out there and this is where my car thermometer read 85 degrees.  The runners running up this trail weren't talking, weren't running and were pretty ticked off.  I heard a few choice mutters as I cheered them on:

"Hmm, this is where this race gets interesting."
"OMG, do you have any water and can you pour it over my whole body?"
"How hot is it right now?  If feels like someone is slapping my neck."

Steve started to have ISSUES here.  He was cramping from the hills and switchbacks and he wasn't eating or drinking anything.  He kept walking as I passed him some roll on BIOFREEZE which seemed to work until the next aide station.  

No smiles here.

Mile 35
Pure hell.  No tears but plenty of barfing and drama.  We surrounded him and tried to get him to eat solid foods.  He drank coconut water and various sodas and then promptly threw them up.  I played BAD COP and tried to keep him walking since that was our agreement and MY PART in this whole ting...the nasty who kept him walking.  I would hold up his water bottles and food and sort of wave it around, catch his eye and then start walking backwards...sort of the proverbial carrot thing.  IT worked.  
We sent him off at mile with a prayer and some advice...hoping he'd listen or COULD listen.

Mile 40
More darkness.  More cramping and more loss of liquids from more than one hole.  No smiles but still, a determination in his step.  

Mile 45
This stop was hidden right before the last hill so we never got to it.  I heard that this is where it all turned around for him.  He ate some watermelon, drank and go his second wind.  THIS is what I had been hoping for since mile 30.  He's notorious for a second wind.  This one just took 20 miles to come.

Mile 50
The finish.  The waiting was excruciating.  His body first appeared as he left the tree clumps past the dairy.  HE WAS RUNNING.  Actually running.  I ran out and couldn't stop myself from jumping up and down and crying.  8 1/2 months following meniscus surgery, he pulls this off and FINISHES.  What an ending.

Has the training been easy.  No.  Do I need to share the details?  NO,  let's dwell on the positives.  Sometimes NOT FRONT'N is the best thing to do...it's often best to recognize the RESULT and celebrate the beauty of the present moment, not the past.


35 finisher out of 70 finishers.  First in age group 50-59!!  10:43 finish time.

You were all a part of THIS.  We cannon thank you enough for being our friends.  We truly *love* you all.

Happy Running,  TODO ES POSIBLE.