Monday, April 30, 2007

Just a quick post!

The real report will be forthcoming, when I get my hands on some pictures and my body is a little less sore ;) but the Diablo Marathon was just amazing!!!!

A Huge thank you to Terry, who stuck with me The whole time even though he's a much better runner :) It was so awesome to get to talk to someone during the race, and even better that I finally got to know a lot more about Terry. He's such a great guy and really made this race for me. I probably might have been able to do it on my own, but it wouldn't have been even close to the great experience it was without a good friend and awesome runner by my side. Thank You!!!!

The race itself was just amazing. The most physically demanding thing I have ever done. It took us 9 hours and 10 minutes (including lots of stopping at aid stations and for photos :D). I have never been active doing something for that long. Ever. And it was just awesome. The views were spectacular (though you had to stop to look, otherwise you'd probably fall, as I almost did a few times!) and the course was just great. The downhills were super scary at times because they were so slippery (one mile downhill took us 36 minutes!!) but the views from the summit were just amazing.

This was the first time I ever seriously doubted my ability to finish a race. The first time I took on something where success wasn't almost guaranteed. I'm a perfectionist and generally like to pick things that I can count on working. This was a whole new ball game. And it was so incredibly rewarding.

There were a million great things about this race, but one of the best had to just be the people. The volunteers, of course, were amazing and just really all around awesome. I got to meet two 'coolrunners' who volunteered: Dirtrunner and Kay, who were super nice. Besides Terry, I also got to see the Zisko family, who I've run into a 2 other races and who are just great (Gail was working an aid station and was very much a friendly face at those points in the race), and Karen, who I had run pirates cove with. It's fun to really feel like I'm becoming part of this community. Sarah and Wendell, of course, were also just so great. Sarah gave me a big hug when I finished and was so genuinely happy for me.

I can't believe it took me over 9 hours to run a marathon.

And I can't wait to try again next year :)

(there are so many details that need to be added, but I'll have to do that later. Rest assured, the whole story is soon to come :) )

Saturday, April 28, 2007


(the race day outfit, ready for tomorrow!)

Well, the bags are packed (and I do mean plural....I have so much stuff to take with me!) and I'm as ready as I'm going to be.

Decided to go with just one drop bag to leave at Juniper Campground, which is accessible at miles 6 and 16. Figured it would be a good idea to leave a handheld, just in case I decide that I hate the bouncing waist pack, as well as some food. That also leaves the option of dropping off things if I decide that I've brought too much with me (which may well be the case!)

At this point I'm just really tired and ready to sleep. Didn't sleep well last night because of nerves, so I'm hoping tonight will be somewhat restful. I'm super excited to try out all my gear tomorrow and see how it all works.

I had my roommate take the traditional pre-marathon photo (after I tried on everything to make sure I wasn't forgetting anything), and she commented that I sort of look like a superhero, and that perhaps, I sort of am one :) Sort of funny, but, with those gaiters on, I'll admit I did feel slightly superheroesque.

I have no idea how tomorrow will go, but I'm optimistic. I keep telling myself that DFL is better than DNF, and both are much better than DNS. I'm hoping to just have an amazing time enjoying a day out in nature. We should have some amazing views from the summit that I'm really looking forward to.

Wish me Luck!

Race List

After a productive (and expensive) shopping trip this morning, I now have lots of fun goodies for tomorrow. Felt like this was as good a place as any to make my list of what I need to bring. Let me know if you see anything missing!!

To Wear:
Moving Comfort tank (white)
cooling bandana (teal)
visor (pink)
nike shorts (blue)
sports bra (blue or black)
gaiters (blue)
trail shoes
injinji socks (sand)
wright socks (over top)
sunglasses (new!)

To Apply:
Spray on Sunscreen (Spf 50)
hydropel (feet)
poss. tape feet?

To put in Hydration pack:
cliff shots (2)
cliff shot blocks (1)
sports beans (1)
succeed tabs (10?)
tylenol (4)
ginger chews
crystalized ginger
ind. sunscreen packet
ind. bee sting gel packet
ind. poison oak packet
2nd skin blister pads
sml body glide
water (haha..better not forget this)
ipod (maybe?)
sml flashlight (just in case!)

Bring in Car:
Flip flops
Sweat Shirt
Book (in case I get there super early, as I like to do)
Cell phone
money ($3 for parking)

Not sure yet if I want to do a drop bag. Could be fun, but I'm not sure I want to worry about getting it back afterwards.

I'll keep looking at this today, and hopefully if I've fogotten something, it'll jump out at me at some point :)

Weather forcast is down to a high of 77! Good good news

Race Pics from Santa Cruz!

<-Bluff /Later ->
The Light House

The finish Line!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Enforced Taper

So, the back is a little better, but not that much. I've scratched the rest of the week's runs, so will just be resting until sunday (and probably spending lots of time in bed!). It feels better when I wake up and then gets progressively worse, so it seems like the best thing is just to by lying down a lot. I'll do the back exercises That I got from my Dad to keep any of the muscles from getting weaker, use my ice, heat, and ben gay (recommended by a friend's doctor parent) and just hope for the best. I still have 2 1/2 days to recover, and As long as I take it easy, I think that can work. I feel weird only having run 3 miles this week (which, incidently, felt amazing! I took it super super easy and yet still maintained just over a 10 min/mile pace. It was a good confidence booster)

At least I'm planning to walk most of this marathon anyways :)

On that note, I have to (or, I guess, get to) have 2 drop bags at the race (that will be accessible at miles 5.9, 11.8, 13.8, and 16.6- at all but the last aid station. How cool is that?) Having never done this before, what kinds of things does one usually put in these? And, what kind of bag is usually used? I was thinking plastic grocery bag w/ sharpie name? Or should I use a 'real' bag?)

Also, what kind of pain medication is 'running approved' I remember there's one that you really really shouldn't take and one that's okay. As I've been taking lots of pain meds for the back, I'm actually concerned about this and will probably switch over to the okayed medication soon so that I don't have anything detrimental in my system on race day.

Can't believe I'm doing a marathon this weekend....


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ack! My Back!

In my effort to finish my strength training routine before I went to class monday, I rushed through the movements and somehow tweaked my back. Its the right lower side, and boy, did it hurt! It didn't really hurt at all at the time, but just got progressively worse until yesterday when certain movements caused me to audiably express how much it hurt!

My dad, an experienced sufferer of back pain, gave me a exercise routine (closer to stretching than a workout though) to help, and told me to do it twice a day and apply ice.

It hurt like crazy last night (and kept waking me up) but is more managable today. My 'ice pack' is a frozen bag of broccoli, and I used that again today after doing the exercises. This worries me mostly because of the Marathon I'm scheduled to do this weekend. However, my dad is confident that if I do what he says, it should be fine in a few days. Here's hoping!

Depending on how it's feeling, I'm going to try for a short run tonight. But, most important is being well for sunday, so it I think it might make it worse, than I'll just cut my losses and rest.

Arg...this is not the time to get hurt!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Amazing Day!

Well, we made it :) Thanks so much everyone for the well wishes!!! My Dad and I crossed the finish line of his first 1/2 marathon Sunday morning and I couldn't be prouder of him.

But I'll start at the beginning!


Going into the weekend, I had planned on doing my normal run on Saturday (something in the viscinity of 10-13 miles) since I knew we were going to run the 1/2 on Sunday at a slower than normal pace for my current fitness and I wanted to get in some good miles for the week. However, I woke up Saturday morning with just the slightest soreness in my legs and decided to change my plan. I really wanted my Dad to have a great race Sunday, and I knew it would be helpful if I could have lots of extra energy to keep him motivated at those end miles when he started getting tired. Also, it truth be told, I was remembering in the back of my mind that I'm doing a marathon next weekend, and perhaps some kind of mini-taper should be in order! So, with that, I decided my only running was going to be to and from the gym for a strength training session. I got in three easy miles total, and about an hour of weight lifting/stretching/crunches/pushups/etc. Very nice and relaxed :)

After that I got cleaned up, packed, and ready to go! Got to the airport about 2:15, got my dad, and drove down to Santa Cruz. We checked into our hotel (a best western in a less than ideal location next to the freeway, but conveniently right next to a Dennys, which would be our Morning breakfast stop) and then headed down to the boardwalk to pick up the race bibs. After getting those (And our ankle chips...a new experience, as we've only done shoe chips before, but it worked just fine!) we drove over to UCSC, where I'll be attending grad school starting July 23 for my masters in education and my teaching credential. I'd never walked through the campus before, so it was really exciting to see where I'll be going to school in a few months!
(My Dad, looking at the map as we tried to figure out where we were going!)

I have a friend from summer school who goes there, and we were able to meet up with her and get a bit of a campus tour, which was awesome. It's essentially like being in a forest, with lots of gullys full of redwood trees, bridges 50 ft long or so that are about 40 ft up at their highest point. Definitely much more nature-y than Berkeley! Then we headed to a great italian place for some carbo-loading (souffle and tirimisu have good carbs...right ? ;) )

After that it was back to the hotel for some reading and lights out by 10.

Unfortunately, a huge storm was coming through this weekend, so all night sheets of water were descending on the city. Around 2 am was the worst, with the rain loudly hitting the windows and roof of the hotel. My dad had earplugs in and missed it, but it woke me up a few times. Of course, because of my active imagination, especially at night, I had many many race dreams, including those about the weather. My dad had expressed worries about the rain and I really wanted everything to be just perfect for him! With all that floating in my mind, sleep was interrupted and all too brief.

Sunday Morning

The alarm went of at 4:45 AM, far too early, so that we could get fed, cleaned up, and out the door by our goal of 6:15. We got to Denny's at 5:15 and there experienced a very slow breakfast experience. There weren't many of us there at that hour, but the individuals working seemed more concerned about setting up for the day than serving, meaning that it took over 20 minutes to get a bowl of oatmeal and a bagel, which wouldn't be that big of a deal, except that we were eager to get to the next step of the day. It's funny, oatmeal is not even an option on the menu there, but they do have it :) It was good food (though, for the bagel, they gave us at least 4 tbs of butter to add!!! who uses that much butter?!?) and ended up being the perfect prerace meal. I tried something different as well (generally not a good idea, but I felt like living dangerously ;) ) and had coffee with breakfast. I don't really ever drink coffee (too lazy to make it in the mornings and am hesistent about becoming addicted to caffine like so many people) but decided the caffine would be nice. And it was :)

(My Dad at Dennys while we waited for our food. It was early and we were cold and tired but excited about starting the day)

While it drizzled a bit on the way over to Dennys, it had stopped by the time we left. We didn't want to get hopeful, but it seemed like a good sign.

All decked out in our race clothes and ready to get to the starting line!

We drove to the race, and were able to get a good parking spot in the lot, but only about 1/2 an hour before the race was supposed to start. The line to pick up packets before the race was huge, and we were glad that we had done that ahead of time! We got in lines for the bathrooms next, which were also huge. We waited and waited and, well, waited. As we moved up, we finally realized that everyone else wasn't waiting in this line, they were just waiting in front of the porta potties. Arg. So we had been waiting in the line for nothing. At this point I definitely had to go (on of the many effects of that morning coffee), and it was also 7 AM, the official start time. Luckily because of the all around long lines they postponed the start by 20 or so minutes, so I had plenty of time to use the facilities and then wait around before the race actually began.

Instead of the rain that was promised, we were blessed with amazing clear blue skies and sun. It never got too hot but remained an absolutely beautiful day.

The Race Begins

Finally, the gun sounded (and it was loud!) and we were off. I warned my dad about starting too quickly, and that our goal should be to have a great second half of the race so that we enjoyed ourselves and didn't get burned out. Right away there's an uphill, but it's short and builds my Dad's confidence. After all, the hills that he's been training on are much steeper and much longer. The first 3 miles winds around on west cliff drive with great views of the crashing waves below. Our first 3 splits were 10:54,10:27, and 11:01. We didn't have a time goal, but I secretly wanted to beat 2:45, so were were doing more than okay :)

At mile 4 I stopped to use the bathroom (darn coffee!) and had issues with the double knotting of my capris, so we lost a bit of time there. The rolling hills of the course also became more pronounced here, giving us a split of 14:07 for that mile.

At around mile 5 we got onto the bike trail, which was really quite nice. Definitely hills though. For some reason I had remembered this as a relatively flat course (and told this to my dad) so every hill he'd say, "Remember this?" Apparently I had selective memory ;) We had a great split here of 10:45

Mile 6 included a bit of walking for some hills, and went by in a great 12:01.

Miles 6-7 were on this great bluff overlooking the ocean. This portion of the race last year (at my first 1/2) was my first experience running on a trail, if I recall correctly. It was just beautiful, and not too muddy, despite the rains that weekend. The split for mile 7 was 11:21.

Mile 8 included some walking and a snack break and was completed in 13:04. My dad requested some of that 'magic' brownie stuff (the chocolate cliff shot) which I had forgotten to bring! I did however, have some shot blocks (cran-razz flavor) and those were acceptable :) Dad had 2 and I just had one, to save the rest for later!

With that boost, we did mile 9 in 11:59 and were back on the bike trail for another few miles. 10 was done in a great 11:39 and brought us back to West Cliff drive, where we'd finish the race. We now had just a 5k left! My dad was starting to get tired, but I had plenty of energy and was trying to keep him happy.

We had some great views on the way back, running on the bath right by the edge of the bluff. Lots of birds, surfers and other fun things to look at, but at this point, my Dad wasn't so eager to sightsee. I asked him a question about otters, to which he replied, "We'll talk later" and I realized that perhaps a one way conversation would be more appropriate :) So I babbled on about everything I saw, which hopefully was distracting and not annoying.

Reaching mile 11 was exciting because that was the furthest he had gone in training, so we were now in unfamiliar territory and also only 2 miles from the finish. I let him know every half mile that passed, and how much was left, to try to get him excited, but he was pretty focused on just what he was doing. We got through this mile in 11:39 as well.

Mile 12 was a bit rough, as we were getting quite close, but still far enough that he couldn't quite taste the finish. I was starting to get excited, because I was fairly certain that we would finish, but I didn't want to say anything. A big fear for this race was that my dad's back would act up. He's had problems with it for a while, and it had been bothering him this week, and even on Saturday, and he had mentioned this as a potential race ender. Luckily we were almost there and no mention! We did some walking in this section as well, just taking it easy. Mile 12 was done in 12:50.

With one mile left, my Dad was hurting a bit, but definitely not letting on too much. We passed a car that featured a dog sitting in the passenger's seat wearing sunglasses, which was super cute. I pointed it out to my dad, but he didn't feel up to looking. We kept going, finally being able to see the finish line tents. Unfortunately, there was still a bit of uphill to get to that point. We walked a little more, and then finally with a half mile to go, really started moving. The last part features a great downhill with lots of people cheering, which was fun. We did this mile in 12:17.

Running across that last section of sand to the finish line and seeing my Dad next to me was so incredible. I was (and am) just so proud of him and so thankful that we got to share this experience.

We crossed the finish line together in 2:34:55, a good 10 minutes faster than mine (and, as I was to learn later, his) goal.
(our bibs and medals!)

I remember when our longest race together was the 5k turkey trot for thanksgiving freshman year of college. Than sophomore year, we ran our first bay to breakers, a 12k race that seemed impossibly long. That year, 12k was the furthest either of us had ever gone. We did both the turkey trot and bay to breakers again junior year, with a slighty faster time and enjoyed ourselves. And now, we've been able to enjoy a 1/2 marathon together.

(My dad sporting his medal and shirt outside our italian restaurant from the previous night)

I'm really lucky to have such a great dad, and to be able to share my running with him. I've already talked to him about being my pacer for when I do the AR 50 so that we can share part of that race as well.

I can't wait until our next racing adventure :)

The Father Daughter Team :)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Good Vibes!!!

Everyone send good vibes to my Dad for tomorrow. He's running his first 1/2 marathon ever, and I'm so excited for him. He's been training since January and working really hard! I think his longest run was 11 miles with me a few weeks ago. I really really want this to go well and for him to have a great time so that he wants to do more races :)

But no matter what happens, I'm incredibly proud of him!!!

I'm leaving to get him from the airport in 1 1/2 hours and then we'll head down to Santa Cruz to go pick up the chips and bibs.

Wish us luck!

My dad and I after climbing up a series of ladders to reach a cave 150 ft. up the side of a cliff at bandalier national park in New Mexico a few summers ago. We like doing active things together :)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Miwok Bound!

No, I'm not insane and attempting to run 100k in a few weeks ;) I'm going to be volunteering at the Pan Toll aid station between 11:30 am and 6:30 pm, to get a feel for the ultra community and try to give something back :). It'll be really cool to see (and hopefully help!) all the great runners out there. From what I've heard, the front runners will be coming through that station around noon, so I'll have time to get the feel of it before they get there. Some day I want to run this race, but for now I'm excited to be able to see it from the sidelines.

(Photo Courtesy of Don Lundell)

So, if you're running or volunteering, let me know! I'll see you all out there :)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Running Naked

well, technologically speaking at least :)

I drove up to the firetrail today all set to do a 3 mile out and back, accompanied by my garmin and my ipod.

Well, the ipod wasn't there (not sure where I've misplaced it...) and the garmin's battery was dead (forgot to charge it), so I was out of luck.

Now, I sometimes enjoy running sans ipod (and, indeed, haven't run with it in a few weeks) but I've really become dependent on the garmin, just because I like knowing how far I'm going. However, since there was no way around it, I headed up the trail all alone, planning to use my wrist watch to try to guesstimate a good turn around time.

As everyone always says, your fastest run is the one where you aren't timing yourself, and that really ended up being the case today. Somehow, all the consistent trail running I've been doing the last few weeks (I haven't used my road shoes at all in about 2 weeks, I think) has really paid off! For the first time ever, I was able to run the entire trail, except for the very steep connector (which I have now qualms walking). Even the connector, though, was easier to go up than usual. It was so exciting to run practically the whole thing. [According to local folklore, the legendary mile runner John Walker, on an extended visit to Berkeley in 1975, did repeat sprints up the connector shortly before he broke the world record in the mile. (His record of 3:49.4 stood until 1979, when it was broken by Sebastian Coe] And, I was much less worried about all the sounds than usuall. I'm starting to get used to the sounds that birds make in brush, so when I hear that now I no longer think it's a mountain lion ;).

Well, I felt so good, that I decided to just do the whole trail, going 7.5 miles instead of the planned 6. Coming down after the turn around, I just kept having thoughts about how exciting it is that this is me. The unathletic, slow, and fairly weak person that I used to be is now this strong, fun, running person, and its just so cool. I remember distinctly the first time I ran on the firetrail. I did maybe 5 miles of it, and it was just about the toughest thing I had ever run. It was so painful and so hilly and I actually pinched a nerve in my shoulder because I was trying so hard to keep up with my friend on those hills. I really just hated it.

And now it just doesn't feel all that hard. I'd like to be able to run the whole thing someday, connector and all, but for now I'm very satisfied by what I can do. As Diablo gets closer, I'm happy to feel like I might not suck so much at hills after all :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Trying to become one with Nature

Well, as any of you who have talked with me know. I have a fear of mountain lions. Not just a little fear either. A paranoid, debilitating, frustrating fear that makes running by myself on trails an anxious experience.

On Monday I decided to check out some trails in Tilden park that I had explored with a friend the day before. I wanted to do 6 or so miles, and was really looking forward to enjoying the great trails and views that I knew I was sure to find. However, after about a mile and a half, I starting psyching myself out. I was on singletrack, but felt a little too scared so backtracked and got onto the firetrail just below (as if being on a firetrail would keep me safer? I don't know). After I had gone out two miles, I reached this great look out spot with a few benches and a table that provided an amazing view of the bay, san francisco, and north bay. I decided to try to enjoy being alone in nature, so sat down and took everything in. It was so beautiful, watching birds hovering in the sky, the clouds moving across the vista. I was hoping that just sitting and enjoying being there would help me feel better about being out there alone. After about 15 or so minutes, some dark clouds were starting to move in, and the temperature was dropping, so I decided to head back. Of course, the paranoid thoughts started up again. "What was that sound?" "It would be really bad if something happened while I was all alone" "Is there something moving over there?" All in all, I was glad to reach the car, but was a few miles short of my plan.

So I headed back out on another trail that looked promising, all the while trying to convince myself that if I got attacked, at least I'd die doing something that I loved. Of course, the little voice inside kept responding with, "but I don't want to die!" After going out for 1/2 a mile and hitting a steep downhill that I didn't want to climb back up, I turned around.

Now my run was up to 5 miles. I got in my car and started down the hill, but after much internal debate pulled over at a firetrail entrance and decided to try to get in one more mile.

I did .25 miles and then turned around, utterly convinced that there were mountain lions out there. (note: I'm fairly certain that there weren't, as it was the middle of the day)

Having done 5.5 now, And thoroughly frustrated with myself, I decided to just head down to my normal firetrail that always has a good 10-20 people on it, and finish up. I did a little more than a mile there, and was finally able to bring my total up to a respectable 6.6 miles

Tonight I ran w/ transports, and, since I'm slow, ended up doing a lot of the run myself. I couldn't help but have my paranoid thoughts again, though, since there were other runner not too far ahead, I felt a little better. I reasoned that, if attacked, at least someone would probably hear me and might be able to help save me. Ended up just doing 5 because I was afraid of being too slow if I tried to do the whole 7. Oh well...I'll just go longer tomorrow!

Arg....I've really got to get over this! It's keeping my runs from being the relaxing experiences that they deserve to be.

At least I'm still able to enjoy the views, in spite of my paranoid internal dialogue :)

And there have been some great ones over the last few days!


Well, I had a new experience last night (and a very berkeley one at that) by going to a Raw Food restauarant called 'Cafe Gratitude'. A very cool, very hippy place with shared tables (we sat with two very nice guys who, I think, work there) and were asked by our waiters after sitting, as part of the communal vibe, what our friends love most about ourselves as a way of introduction. From what I understand, everything there was organic vegan and nothing was heated above 110 degrees (except maybe the soup). All the foods are essentially affirmations, so you're saying something positive when you order :)

For instance, I ordered I am Accepting which was: stir-unfry - Steamed Bhutanese red rice tossed with raw vegetables (nori, cucumber) sprouts, avocado and Asian sesame dressing. I had never had this kind of rice, which is almost black in appearance. I liked the nori (Seeweed) better than I thought I would, and overall it was yummy (though definitely tasted 'healthy') For dessert we all shared I AM DEVOTED live coconut cream pie - Rich coconut cream pie in a coconut date crust and another dessert whose name I can't remember, but was a blueberry, strawberry and apple cobbler, which we got a la mode (so that I could try their soft serve made of nut milk, dates, and vanilla bean...very good!). Overall yummy and not too pricy (though definitely a 'nice' dinner out by college standards).

The concept of 'live' food was interesting, and not something I was familiar with before. Overall, though, I don't think I could ever be vegan! I love dairy products, and I enjoy my meat too much :)

A fun restaurant though, and one anyone in the bay area should check out at some point!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Milestones (of sorts)

Well, a few things of note occured tonight.

First, I accomplished a long standing fitness goal of mine by completing 100 push ups today. Granted they were spread out, with 40 at the gym this morning, another 25 this afternoon, another 10 early evening, and the final 25 before bed, but still, 100 were done. In January I was unable to do even one 'guy' pushup, as I essentially had no upper body strength. However, in watching " A Race for the Soul" and in following accomplished female ultra runners and seeing how strong they looked, I decided that this would be the semester that I would become strong. Since I had starting planning to complete a 50k sometime in the coming year, I wanted to gain the physique that my 'ultra idols' as they were, had. So, I've been working hard all semester, trying to do strength training at least twice a week and doing lots of 'girl pushups' until I finally graduated into being able to do my first real pushups sometime in March. I know this seems like a silly thing to post about, but I've just always had no upper body strength and to do a push up was something I've always wanted to be able to do, but really never could. I just really feel like I've become so much stronger :)

My second milestone of the evening, on a different note, is that I've had my first running related toe-nail loss. The 2nd toe-nail on the right foot had been looking sad since my 30k at the end of march, but I wasn't quite sure if it was going to come off. However, the last few days it definitely looked to be losing its battle and tonight the thing finally came off with a little help. It looks sad with the soft new nail beginning to grow in, but I'm sort of proud of it in a way :) Seems like a necessary experience in the ultra/trail world!

Anyways, some sort of odd milestones, but fun ones nonetheless :)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ack...I've signed up!

The price was going to go up for the Diablo Marathon tomorrow so...

I decided now was the time to commit!

I'm doing the Diablo Marathon in less than 2 weeks. Ack...I'm sort of afraid I'm getting in over my head...but, it'll be a good experience, right?

Its just more like a very very long hike where I get to run the fun bits.

This, however, is what makes me nervous (click on it to see better):

That top elevation is almost 4,000 ft. There is 7,950 ft of elevation gain.

My saving grace is the 16 hour cut off for the 50 milers, which means I have 16 hours to go 26.2 miles. That's 36 minutes a mile. I can do 36 minutes a mile, right?

Just think positive thoughts!

Oh My Goodness....

Wordsworth for the You Tube Generation

Poor Wordsworth...this just seems wrong...

The original:

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Child's Play

Well, after a long hiatus, I finally got to rejoin the TTT (tam trail trekkers) for an amazing run through the forests and hills of Mt. Tam. I woke up to 50 degrees and a slight drizzle, with a chance of real rain. Having been unable to fall asleep until after 2am and waking up at 5, I was tired, but excited about a good run.

No real traffic getting over, meaning that it took just about 45 minutes to get to Mountain Home. The fog over there was intense! The worst that I have ever driven in!!! I was a little afraid of driving off the road. I made it okay though, and had about 25 minutes to wait until the rest of the crew arrived, which is when I took some pictures of the fog.

(Mountain Home Inn)

(looking out over the 'forest' (or fog here!) It was really disconcerting, because I could hear all the birds and so I knew the forest was down there, but couldn't see anything!)

(A pretty tree in the fog. Look for this same shot in the later pictures)

Everyone else showed up around 6:45, and we waited around for a few no-shows until a bit after 7. The plan was to go out the matt davis trail to stinsen beach (a first visit for me!) and then back up the dipsea to steep ravine to (I think) troop 80 back to our cars.

I stuck with the 'walkers' again, only to discover that actually, we'd be doing more running as Lucy, the designated walker, was getting in shape for a half marathon (she was out there today after having cracked a rib last week on the run! This group is tough!) So much for my easy 'hike' day :)

The weather when we left was cool and foggy. However, after less than a mile, the rain started. Soon, moving became a matter of staying warm, so we tried to keep moving at a good pace (mostly walking). A new matter to deal with as well was the amazing amount of poison oak! It was everywhere!!!

Despite the coldness and the rain (I've really got to get a waterproof jacket, my little wicking jacket was sorely undersuited for today), it was simply beautiful. We came out in an open section, where Ken (the leader) informed us that this was the place he had seen a mountain lion a few years ago. With my fear of these creatures, I definitely didn't want to be out alone ;) so when he started running, I picked up the pace. This was one of my favorite sections because the rain was intense enough to turn our singletrack into a small muddy stream, and keeping my feet dry became pointless. I starting running with abandon down the trail, splashing everywhere and feeling like a little kid. I couldn't help by giggle softly to myself with glee...this was just so much fun!

We reached the end of the Matt Davis trail and headed over to the beach to use the restrooms (and see the beach!). On the way, per apparent tradition, we each grabbed a rock and played a game of hopscotch at a little playground. I've sort of forgotten how to play, but we improvised :)

At the beach, we discovered, lo and behold, there was a race going on! We arrived as the envirosport's 1/2 marathon was just about to take off. My running friend Sarah was running this race and I tried to see if I could spot her, but was unsucessful. We talked to a race director, and discovered they were running the same trails we planned to use to get back! Not what we had in mind. However, going another way would have meant an extra 2 or 3 miles, which we didn't have time to do, so we went with it. We stopped and ate some food here as well, trying to keep our energy up in the cold!

Ken is the director for the double dipsea (a race that, I think is now going onto my calendar!), and so knows that trail quite well. In order to bypass distance (and the crowds) we took one of the imfamous 'shortcuts' which, well, wasn't the best idea. The shortcut was horribly horribly overgrown with poison oak!!! It was completely unavoidable, and I"m really hoping that the tecnu I used will save me, but that remains to be seen.

We met back up with the racers, and headed up 'Steep Ravine' where we got to experience the famed ladder and lots of muddy trails and stairs.

Finally, after we got to the parking lot (perhaps at pan toll I think?) we got to leave the main race course, and had some more space. Only to discover we were now going backwards on the marathon course! Luckily the racers were pretty spread out at this point, and we just made sure to jump to the side when people came by. We cheered for everyone we saw, which people seemed to appreciate (though some runners were quite worried that they had gotten off course when they saw us coming). This part had some just fabulous running through redwood forest, with amazing soft runnable trails. So so so much fun!!! I honestly couldn't help from laughing out loud at how fun this part was. I'd give Ken a bit of space in front of me, then just 'fly' down the hill. It really felt like I was a kid again. It was amazing!

Eventually out trail ended, and we hiked up the 1/2 mile of road back to the cars. All in all, about 13-14 miles in a bit over 4 hours (including lots of stops!)

By the time we got back to the car, that area's weather was so much nicer. It was actually not that cold and the fog was starting to lift.

Some Scenery Shots!

(Me with the beautiful backdrop of Mt. Tam after a long and fun morning!)

(Shot of my lovely muddy legs (can almost see all the scatches!) That are likely completely covered in poison oak! My trail shoes are definitely broken in now)

(Sporting my new injinji socks! My shoes literally were filled with water, and yet no blisters!! I am officially sold. Plus, I get to put on flip flops w/out losing the socks :) )

(Check out that dirt tan line!)

(On the way home I stopped at In n out to use the facilities, and on my way back to my car, one of the boys working there looked at me, looked at my legs, and just stared. I answered his look by telling him that 'I just went on the most amazing trail run' with a smile in my voice :) I think this is the muddiest I've ever been!)

After the run we headed to the Dipsea Cafe for some much needed hot food and hot drink. Amazing restaurant with a ton of Dipsea paraphernalia on the walls! I had a great time hanging out with the rest of the group! I then headed back to Berkeley, stopping at REI for tecnu, and then finally getting home.

All in all, one of the best bay area days (or, really, anywhere days) a person could have :)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Great Ultra Site!

This is a site that I stumbled upon yesterday (not exactly sure through which venue, though I'm guessing its from the ultra list). Its the site of Peter Bakwin, whose done some amazing, extreme ultra events including a double Hardrock! I love reading reports like these, so I definitely think it's worth checking out :)

Here's the link!

Really Entertaining :)

Great Running Related Stories!

The most recent one about pacers is all I've read so far, but its very enjoyable :)

(exerpt from story)

A Wilmington City couple have taken legal action against a pacer for allegedly setting too fast a pace on a steep climb of nearly fifty feet over two miles, the lone uphill section of the Hawkeye Hundred. Lucius and Judy Poke, of the 400 block of Burke Rd., are claiming they asked William Bliss, neighbor and veteran marathon runner, to assist Lucius in the final 40 miles of the grueling 100 mile footrace, and that his blistering pace – estimated between 14:30 and 15:20 minutes per mile – ultimately caused Lucius to drop from the race. Under Iowa law, runners are responsible for the actions of their pacers, so the Pokes will be taking themselves to court. “It was unexpected,” said Judy of the legal twist, “but we’ve decided to move forward with the suit. Bill nearly killed my Loosh with that pace, and the people responsible need to be held to count [sic]. Loosh ain’t no spring chicken no more, you know. He got the gout.”

Thursday, April 12, 2007

99 days!!

According to my TRT countdown, I'm now less than 100 days from my first 50K. I'm also 51 days from San Diego RNR Marathon and one month and one day from college graduation :) Lots of good stuff coming up!

Today was a great day. I turned in my second paper, and am reveling in having no homework assignments hanging over my head. My thesis still needs a lot of work, but I nevertheless have 40 pages written and plenty of ideas to talk about :)

Went for a very nice run after class up on the firetrail. I felt out of shape for the beginning (the hills didn't help) but it was such a beautiful day that it was impossible not to feel great out there. It was one of those perfect bay area days, 60s temperature and crisp clear sky. From the trail I had an amazing panoramic view of berkeley, the bay, mt. tam, the golden gate, and san francisco. I felt so lucky to have been able to be out there!

With my newfound time I was finally able to get back to the gym to do strength training after work, and it was really wonderful. I walked at a slight incline on the treadmill for 2.1 miles while reading Running Times (forgot my book so I decided to buy a magazine and this seemed like the best choice), did lots of stretching and relaxing (they have a room just for stretching at the gym in one of the raquetball court rooms where the lights are off. Its really nice!). Then I did 100 crunches and 40(!) pushups :) Considering about a month ago I could barely do one, this is great progress. Granted, it was 5 sets of 8, so not 40 at once, but its still a very exciting step. Push-ups make me feel strong! Then I did my normal 6 weight lifting things. All in all spent about 2 hours there, and it was great.

I decided to celebrate having such a great day by stopping by the store and picking up some salmon. Had salmon, lots of zucchini and squash, 1/2 an avocado, and cherry tomatoes for dinner. Absolutely heavenly :)

And I get to sleep in tomorrow

Life just doesn't get much better!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


A man swims the entire Amazon!

And at 4:16 AM

I thought that maybe limitating actually was a word after all. says 'no'


It's 2:33 AM

and I just tried to use the word 'limitating'

ugh....not sure how I'm going to be up for a trail run tomorrow night followed by an all nighter

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Productive Running

I'll try not to make this too long as there are definitely other forms of writing that need to be done (ah! I don't think I'll be sleeping tonight :( ). My car was finally ready to be picked up this afternoon so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and run a roundabout way to the dealership, getting in 5 miles. (I also got to try out my new injinji socks! I'm pleased so far)

Because I didn't workout at all yesterday my legs felt great for the beginning, which was fun. I did have the temporary fear that I had forgotten how to run (do you guys ever get that after a brief hiatus from running? Even just a few easy days makes me fear that I've lost it all) but that went away once I got out there. Unfortunately, I've been eating like crap the last two days (paper stress) and definitely had it hit home that bad food = bad run. I felt pretty sick (the warmness of the day didn't help) and my calves started tightening as well. Luckily after 3 miles it was pretty much literally all downhill, and I got to relax. Arrived at the dealership gross and sweaty, but feeling good.

After a bit of mix ups about the payments, I finally got my car back and celebrated by going to the store and buying some zucchini (my new favorite veggie!) avocados, and some lean cuisine pizzas (surprisingly good!). I'm planning on making a veggie intense pizza for dinner that will hopefully power me through the night!

Monday, April 09, 2007

I'd rather be running....

But instead I'm 'hard at work' (yeah, right) at my thesis. First full draft, 40 page minimum, is due Wednesday, so I need to put academics on the front burners for a bit. So far I'm at around 29 non-cohesive pages. Ack!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

It's official!

Well, I've been eagerly checking the TRT official site to wait for them to update, and they finally have. My name is now on the entrant list for all to see :) Feels like it's finally official!

2007 Entrants

Registration Limit 400
[First Come, First Serve - regardless of distance]

(Last updated April 7th, 2007)

Event Total to Date: 178

(53 Entrants)

Rose Asquith Beckworth, CA F 47
Molly Blake Austin, TX F 23
Adam Blum Los Gatos, CA M 43
Adelyn Bonner-Lyon Mission Viejo, CA F 21
Ezra Brown Austin, TX M 34
Brian Castle Citrus Heights, CA M 51
John Chappel Reno, NV M 75
Laura Chappel South Lake Tahoe, CA F 41
Thomas Comar Atascadero, CA M 63
Sharlee Cotter South Lake Tahoe, CA F 50
Jessica Deline Rancho Santa Margarita, CA F 30
John Demorest Colfax, CA M 56
Mark Evans Grafton, OH M 51
Laura Exner Madison, WI F 36
Brian Faist South Bend, IN M 23
Matt Ferguson Vacaville, CA M 42
Donald Freeman Carson City, NV M 57
James Furnish Ridgecrest, CA M 64
Renee Gorevin South Lake Tahoe, CA F 50
Chris Haines Coto de Caza, CA M 48
Stephanie Hiemstra Truckee, CA F 31
Jeanie Hoepfel Houston, TX F 59
Jeff Isaacson Reno, NV M 44
Susan Jorth Incline Village, NV F 45
Sarah Kane Truckee, CA F 29
Harold Kline Phoenix, AZ M 47
Brenda Knox South Lake Tahoe, CA F 45
Martina Koldewey Sunnyvale, CA F 43
Carol Lane Concord, CA F 60
Laurie McDonough Half Moon Bay, CA F 31
Michael Milaszewski Potomac Falls, VA M 54
James Morrill Vacaville, CA M 36
Alan Neumann Bakersfield, CA M 52
Roy Pena Manteca, CA M 49
Jill Quivey Manassas Park, VA F 41
George Ralphs Las Vegas, NV M 50
Margie Read Placerville, CA F 54
Jim Rice Broomfield, CO M 50
Don Root San Rafael, CA M 49
Debra Sheets Frazier Park, CA F 50
Sydney Shepherd Arlington, VA M 44
Bettie Smith Placerville, CA F 55
Bruce Smith Placerville, CA M 58
Dan Spencer Grass Lake, MI M 30
Randy Spell Huntersville, NC M 47
Terry Spell Las Vegas, NV M 50
Claude Spencer Clarklake, MI M 60
George Spencer Olympia, WA M 53
Francesca Stone South Lake Tahoe, CA F 45
Catherine Sullivan Nevada City, CA F 36
Daniel Vargo Salt Lake City, UT M 42
Andrew Wallace Austin, TX M 47
Phil Wright

Looks like I'm the youngest person so far signed up for the 50k, but there is a 21 year old signed up for the 50 m and another for the 100m. It'll be fun to meet some other trail runners my age :)

San Ramon, CA