Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ms. _______

Well, I’ve started student teaching, and so far have been loving my class! I’m with first graders, and they are really sweet. It’s quite the new experience suddenly being “Ms. ___________,” I feel so grown up, though the name feels slightly awkward. It really felt like such a good fit though. I’m finally feeling confident that the multiple subject credential was the right choice and can definitely imagine being in the classroom! My school is great, really nice with a “life-lab” garden and plenty of outside space to play in. I’ll be going in for the full day tomorrow, which should be great. Teaching in first grade really seem like being back in the pre-school classroom, except that the students are orderly, sit at desks, and raise their hands when they want to talk! It’s amazing :)

My running this week has been a little spotty again, with finals and all, but I still managed to get in the mileage I planned. I accidently overslept my nap on Tuesday, and with an evening class, didn’t have time to get it in. After doing that the last few weeks, I knew that I couldn’t let that happen again, and just write off those miles. It is just a little over a month until the 50 miler is here! So, I set out Wednesday after class to do a run of some significance. I essentially did the same run as Sunday, with just a shorter turn around, to do 15 miles total, my longest midweek run ever!

I was definitely a bit tired from the 20 on Sunday, but I was able to keep a 10:44 pace, which is exciting. The trails were, obviously, a lot quieter on a weekday afternoon, which worried me a bit, but there will still bikes going my every so often, and I must have seen a good 30 or 40 people on the trails during my run, so it was never too isolated. My argument is that this firetrail is sort of like a nature highway, which I’m assuming would be unappealing and too busy for a mountain lion to hang around (or for any 2 legged animals to be around). Nevertheless, I did make sure my pepper spray was easily accessible J. It was funny, as I was getting high up, to my turn around point, a woman coming down the hill on her bike saw me and loudly exclaimed “Wow!!!” Now I’m not exactly sure what this referred to, but I’d like to think she was impressed that I was up there, as there doesn’t seem to be a lot of runners who go that high up the firetrail (it’s sort of a relentless uphill for a while). Then again, she could have just been shocked that I was on the firetrail and not one of the beautiful singletracks ;).

Another male biker commented to me while I was on my way down, “wow, you’re up here! Good for you!” I wanted to tell him that I had been considerably more “up here” than this, that I was about 2 miles down from the turn around, but It was still nice to be thought impressive J I suppose the only 2 other runners I’ve ever seen on these firetrails were super buff, scantily clad, men, so I didn’t exactly fit the image of runners that usually visit there.

Something I noticed though, is that the mountain biker community is much friendlier than the running community out there, at least on the weekday. All the bikers, almost, said hi and smiled when I went by, but when I said hi to the runners, they just sort of looked past me like I was weird. Ah, oh well.

Did 5 miles today which was good, but hot! Despite the fact that I didn’t go out until 6:30 at night! (addendum- okay, it was maybe in the high 70s which for most isn't hot, but it's hot for here!)

Celebrating this weekend with hopefully some good long runs (25 miler maybe?) as I’ve made it through the first section of classes (just one paper to write) and have no classes until Tuesday J

And hopefully, with the free time I’ll have, I can finally get up that 50k race report!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Busy Life (and not much running!)

Having fun being a tree-hugger with "The Advocate" a redwood 45 ft in circumference!!! Taken while Hiking in Nisene Marks on Saturday

Well, I haven't been posting much, as the past week has been quite full of non running things. I had to move (housing mix-up) last week, meaning that I missed my thursday run, instead spending about 3 hours lugging boxes down one flight of stairs and up two. Figure that sort of counted as a workout, as I was breathing hard and sweating lots for much of it :D. I'm finally all settled and enjoying my new place, which is essentially the same as my old, except with vaulted ceilings and a nice view of a forested area. I'll post pictures when I get a chance :). The other interruption to my training was the visiting of a very old friend (my childhood next door neighbor). He's just recently moved to Northern California (to work in the Capitol!) and had never been to Santa Cruz, so came down for the weekend. I need to figure out how to better get my runs in when I have out of town guests though, as I ended up with no runs until he left! We did go on a 5 mile hike on Saturday, but that didn't exactly make up for the dearth of running.

After he took off around 1:30pm Sunday, I realized I needed to do some kind of redeeming run, even though it was already pretty late to be starting a long run (at least in my book). After reading about Andy's Nisene Mark's experience, I decided to head out there myself for a similar 18 mile run. I ran from outside the park to the overlook, plus a little extra loop for what I think was just about 20 miles (the garmin, again, didn't work, so I went by the posted trail measurements that I saw out there. I've gotta to send that garmin in. It hasn't successfully worked since Mt tam!). It was really cool, though, to be so low key about running 20 miles. After the 50k last weekend, 20 didn't seem all that long :). And, once I got about 3 or 4 miles in, it just got gorgeous!!! So many beautiful redwoods. Plus, it was mostly uphill on the way out, meaning a fabulous 2nd half of over a 1/2 hour of really great downhill running, and then relatively downhill after that.

It took just about 4 hours, including the 20 minute break I took at the overlook chatting with a few bikers. There were 4 bikers hanging out there when I left. I felt half naked without a bike of my own! Not too many runners were all the way up at the overlook (actually, I didn't see any) which I thought was sort of cool. I finished just before 7pm, which is definitely the latest I've ever finished a long run, and was proud that I never felt scared while I was out there alone. There was lots of traffic on the trail, and it was all just so beautiful. I'm actually getting more comfortable with the idea of exploring out there alone now, especially now that I've been given a great site to access free maps of the parks (

As I've now had 2 low mileage weeks in a row, I'm thinking trying to step it up this week with 2 long runs on the weekend. Of course, I'm starting my Student Teaching Placement today (Ack!! scary thought!) and have finals this week, so I'm thinking just getting in my runs will be a challenge :P I'll do my best though!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Track? and good running :)

(the 50k report is still coming, probably this weekend! I have to move tomorrow to a new building due to a mess up by the housing people so I've been busy packing and such, and of course doing school work since finals are already upon me! But I will write up a *hopefully* steller report eventually. bear with me :D)

This week I've been trying my best to really be a social runner and find some good people to run with, which, in Santa Cruz, seems to mean going to track workouts!

Monday night I joined some TNT alumni, invited by my new running friend Mimi, which was lots of fun. We did a 'grab bag' workout, meaning lots of drills were written on pieces of paper, and we drew one at a time to find out what we were doing. I finally learned track speak, and can now, with some confidence, tell you what an 800 is (or can I? Is that one lap around the track, or two? I'm going with two?!?). Anyways, we did some sprinting, which was ridiculous for me, as I've apparently forgotten how to do that. I thought I was going to fall backwards as I couldn't seem to make my upper body move along at the same speed as my feet. We did just fast running around the track, step ups on the bleachers, crunches balancing on the bleachers (I kept falling for this), and 10 minutes of hills. Plus some other fun stuff. Doubt I ran more than 3 miles total, but it was a good workout! It's so fun to be with people again, and it's really good that I'm finally doing hill repeats, since I've been meaning to do those and just hadn't gotten around to them.
After the track workout I did my usual (well, what I did after the last time I went to track) and ran around the campus track while watching the sun set over Monteray Bay. It was absolutely gorgeous up there again, and there were six deer hanging out on the grass having a late dinner. A baby deer was less than 5 feet from me when I walked past, but spooked and bounded a few more feet away. How nice! Even better, my legs just felt great up there! I was amazed at how well I was feeling just 2 days after my fast 50k :)

However, it started getting pretty dark up there, and when the frisbee guys turned in, I thought it might be time to go as well. Didn't feel all that safe with just me and the deer hanging out in the dark. Did 2 miles on the track, so ended up with about 5 for the night. What was cool was that when I went back to my car, there was a deer about 7 or 8 ft from the stairs heading up to the parking lot. I stopped there to stretch, and watch the deer. It would periodically look over at me, looking a little scared, but then would start foraging for food again. It seemed somewhat wary but accepting of my presence :) Eventually I left it to its meal and got into my car to go home. Pretty cool :D
santa cruz deer hanging out on campus

Tuesday I took off, because I was surprisingly sore from Monday! Those hills and bleacher step ups certainly hit me hard :)
Tonight I tried to meet up with the Santa Cruz Track Club and, again sort of failed, through my own fault. Traffic was unbelievably bad getting to the track, and a 14 minute drive ended up taking a good 45 minutes! By the time I got there, I was already 20 minutes late, and didn't want to barge into a practice in progress. However, I had made the drive and certainly didn't want to head home just yet. Carol, a woman I had been emailing who is a fabulous ultrarunner (just did Headlands 100!!) said she'd be doing hills on a hill above the track, so I ran/walked around looking for this hill. Finally, I found what I thought might be it, and decided to just do hill repeats myself and hope that she'd show up. I did one, running about 1/2 and walking the rest, then running down and around a field at the bottom to rest. When I got back to the hill, I saw a woman with short grey hair in front of me. "Carol?" I called. It was her. We finally met, and set of up the hill together. It was great talking to her and hearing about some of her recent ultra experiences. She's on the slower side (from what she's said) so it sounds like we might be a good fit for long run buddies! I'm excited :) We did the hill 3 more times, and she called it a day, since she was still recovering from a few weeks ago. Hopefully we'll run together soon!
After that I was still itching to get in some more running, so I headed down to west cliff to do a nice flat 6 miles or so. It was nice without headphones or my garmin, and I just sort of tranced, listening to the crashing waves. My calves were doing a weird pain thing about halfway (I think I need new road shoes- these have 500 or so miles on them) so I turned back. I thought it was 6 miles since I turned at the 10k turnaround for the SC race, but I realized I cut off about a half mile becuase of where I started, so I think I ended up with less than that. Oh well, probably about 6 1/2 miles total, and a great evening :)

Tomorrow I might try to hit the Poginip trails solo, since Andy provided me with a nice map, and can hopefully get in 8.5 or so.

Carol told me the details for a Sunday run with SCTC, so hopefully I can finally get in my first official group run up here :)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

My Dad's 1/2 Marathon!

My Dad completed his 2nd 1/2 marathon this morning in San Diego, at an incredibly hot and humid race, and I couldn't be prouder! He's been doing awesome with his running, hitting more than 20 miles a week for weeks now, and getting in great shape :)

He's going to be at PCTR's Big Basin running the 25k, which will be his furthest distance ever! I'm running this as well as a few other people from OCTR (including e-rod). Since it's just a few days before my 22nd birthday, it's been deemed a bit of a birthday run, and what better way to celebrate than a 50k with friends and family :D

Dad before the race and after, with his tech shirt and medal :)

We'll be running 50ks together before you know it! (right dad, ;) )

Saturday, August 18, 2007

50k number two :D

So, for my first 50k last month, I was incredibly nervous, telling everyone about it and posting for weeks asking for advice and such. This 50k, the Psychedelic Climacteric, I barely thought about it until it arrived. Of course, getting ready to leave I was a bit nervous about taking it on, but without things like bibs or a super race-y vibe, it didn't exactly feel like a race.

It was a very low key 'race' just put on by my running friend Mike Palmer as a sort of early birthday run. He marks the course (and takes down the markings) himself, and writes out directions to follow as well. This year 6 people did the 50k, with a handful of others doing 16 miles, 20 miles, and 24 (I think).

It was a hard course, with about 7000 ft of elevation gain (and 1300 of that in the first 3 miles) but it was spectacularly gorgeous! I'll write a full race report when my body doesn't hurt so much, but I was super pleased with how I did (especially considering the back to back long runs last week). For the total distance (exactly 31.2 miles, or 50k) it took us 7 hours and 46 minutes!!! A good hour and nineteen minutes off my Tahoe time (though this course was .8 shorter). Still, breaking 8 hours was amazing! I owe that speedy time to Ernesto, a wonderful man who stuck with me the whole time even though he's super speedy himself (just did The Headlands 50 last weekend with PCTR and qualified for Western States!).

So yeah, I can now say unequivocally that I run Ultras in the plural form, not just, I run ultra ;). I've also never done two hard weekends in a row, so this was super good training (I hope!) for Dick Collins :)

Thanks so much Mike for such a fantastic run!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Weekend of Running- Part II: Lake Chabot

In an effort to have a bit more readable post, I'll try not to write a novel this time :)

Sarah and I decided that we had to get 8 hours of sleep, so we slept in until 7am on Sunday, before starting our adventure. Sarah had previously emailed Jasper to get advice on an "easy" 20 miler in east bay, and he recommended a nice loop course around Lake Chabot. Of course, easy for Jasper doesn't necessarily mean easy for the mere mortal, but we still figured there wouldn't be anything like Steep Ravine around the lake, so we'd probably be good! We got to the trail around 8:30 or so, and parked at what has to be one of the safest trail heads ever!

The start was a nice downhill, which was pleasant, but a bit worrisome, since we'd have to get back up at the end of the run! It was a bit chilly, and since I was once again in a tank top, it was good that we were moving!

Before long we hit lake level, and crossed a fun bouncing bridge. I'm generally not a bridge person, but since this one wasn't high up, I had fun bouncing across it :)

As it was still cool and overcast, the lake was a shimmery grey color in the early morning light. Now that we were running on flats and some slight uphills, my legs were letting me know that they ran the day before. Soon we came to a large uphill, and my legs no longer were willing to complacently sit by. They started to burn. At about this point Sarah turns to me and says, "You know, I"ll probably regret saying this later, but I don't feel at all like I ran 18 miles yesterday!" Funny, because I really did :). Hoping that I'd be able to keep up, we trudged up the hill.
As we got further up, we could look down and see the trail we had been on shortly before (on the left), which was fun. Views always make you feel like you've made progress! As I discovered later, this first part is almost exactly the beginning of Dick Collins, which was exciting. The next few sections were fun, rolling hills, and beautiful. Of course, my legs weren't really feeling the uphills, but none of them were too bad at all.

Soon we reached one of the main trails that we'd be on for quite some time (it had a boy name, Johnathan, Matthew, Benjamin?) This was great, mostly downhill running that was fun. I heard a booming and jokingly asked Sarah if those were gunshots or just sounds from the freeway, fulling expecting the latter answer. "Actually" she said "there's a firing range in the hills!"


As we started running in that general direction the sounds got louder until, *bang* *bang* *bang* It sounded like the bullets were being fired directly at us! At this point we were walking up a hill, but Sarah argued that one really can't walk when they're under fire, so we started moving again. Now, obviously we were never in actual danger, but it did honestly sound like the bullets were heading straight in our direction.

After about an hour the sun started coming out, turning our chilly grey day into a beautiful warm blue one.

We finally reached one of our 'landmarks' the stone bridge, which was exciting. That meant we were making progress!
The next section, to the meadow, was beautiful and very green. One thing about this course is that almost the entire thing is runnable (probably the entire thing is runnable for good runners like Jasper). As such, there weren't a ton of walking breaks to be had. We were making great progress though, and that was exciting.

Once we reached the meadow, we were 9.5 miles in and getting ready to make the turn onto the lower part of the loop, heading back to the cars. We spent a few minutes here trying to actually find the trail until finally it appeared. The next section was through a cattle grazing area, complete with a warning sign, but no cows ever appeared.

After a fairly flat section, we reached Ranch Road, which was steep switchbacks heading up to the ridge. At this section I started fantasizing about my "magic legs" combination, taking caffine and tylonal, and promised myself I'd have some at the next break. My legs were definitely hurting! The good thing about running with Sarah, though, is that even though I felt like walking lots of sections, I had to keep up with her, so it kept my walking breaks short. She's agreed to pace me for Dick Collins, and I think will be fabulous at getting me to the finish!

The trail up on the ridge was beautiful and as we got closer to the lake,things started becoming a bit more familiar. We'd both run a bit in this area, and it was fun to get back to things we knew.
After not too much further, we finally found the lake again!

This meant we were well on our way to the finish. The next trail, Columbine was a new one to me, but Sarah had been on it before (though going the other direction). She remembed it being difficult with lots of ups and downs, so we were mentally preparing ourselves for a diffcult journey ahead.

I snapped this shot as we headed up onto Columbine, and it was here that I realized my zoom on the camera was broken! Not sure how that happened, but now it really is time for a new camera. I guess I just put too much use on in this weekend :(

Columbine was surprisingly great, and after taking my magic mix about a mile before, I was definitely feeling a bit better. Not like new, unfortunately, but at least a little more able to keep up with Sarah (she broke down and had some magic towards the end, revealing her mortal roots). Once we got to the end of Columbine, it was all familiar territory heading back.

A nice downhill, flats, and then, the up! Sarah turned to me and asked, "do you think we can do 3/4 of a mile in 13 minutes?" Sure! We jogged up the hill (even though I really wanted to walk) and it just kept going, and going..."How much longer?" I gasped? "about a third of a mile" Gosh, this hill would never end. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I'd be running (well jogging more like it) up a hill at the end of a 20 miler! We kept pushing and pushing though, and, finally we saw the cars. "We'll hit 20 before we get to that water fountain up ahead!" Sarah exclaimed, so we pushed some more, and suddenly, we were done!

Sarah had just completed her first 20 miler, and an epic weekend. Our time: 3:56, a full 37 minutes faster than the 18 miler the day before, and a 11:50 pace!!!!

Comparing our lovely dirt tan lines. And so so glad to be out of the running shoes!
And speaking of new ones, no longer so clean :)

Thanks Sarah for a great weekend! I never would have been able to do this without you :D Here's to lots more great running in the future!

Well, I think this was a bit shorter :D Thanks for reading guys!

Monday, August 13, 2007

A weekend of running- Part I: Mt Tam

This weekend was full of my most running mileage to date with an 18 miler followed by a 20 miler the following day. My friend Sarah is training for the trans-rockies run and wanted to simulate running on tired legs a few days in a row (she also ran 10 miles on Friday. I rested :) ) and invited me along for her training weekend. After this weekend, all I can say is that I'm glad her race is coming up soon and that I still have a few months of training left for mine!

Our first run was to be on Mt. Tam. I drove up to Berkeley Friday afternoon so that I would have time to get some work done, pick up an old paycheck (hallelujiah!) buy new running shoesSo clean and non trail like! My goal was to make them look more loved by the end of the weekend :)

and just do some other general Berkeley errands. I went to REI to see if there was anything I needed for the weekend and ended up getting a nice map of Mt. Tam. I suggested for our route that we loosely follow the Envirosports Muir Woods route, which would have us on some beautiful trails and crossing through multiple water points at Pantoll and Alice Eastwood camp. We spent the evening writing out step by step directions and studying the map to make sure we knew what we were doing.
After crunching the numbers we headed to the store to get food for dinner and stuff to make up some banana and pumpkin bread to bring to the race Saturday. We had delicious meatball sliders for dinner, as well as salad, and ended up staying up until almost midnight making the bread! Finally, it finished baking, and we threw it into the fridge before we headed to be ourselves. The alarm was going off at 5:30 and we had a long day ahead of us.
For some reason, I awoke at 4:45, somehow dreaming that I heard the alarm go off and Sarah tell me to get up. I jumped to attention and quickly began getting ready. As I was about to apply my sunscreen I glanced down at my watch and realized I still had 45 minutes! Back to bed :). In a short time, it was really wakeup time, and up we went. We somewhat lethargically moved through the morning, but were out the door around 6:30am on our way to Stinson Beach.

The drive took 45 minutes or so, and by the time we found parking and finished assembling ourselves, it was just a bit before 8am. Luckily, Mt Tam has so many redwood forested parts, we knew it probably wouldn't get too terribly hot during the run. It was still cool when we were leaving, around 57 degrees or so, and a small part of me was tempted to start with my long sleeves on. Sarah gently reminded me that I didn't really want to carry that, so off we went, dressed for heat.
Our course started by going up the Dipsea trail, so of course we were plenty warm 10 minutes into the course. "Aren't you glad you didn't wear the long sleeves?" Sarah asked? She was definitely right :) The early morning light was just beautiful, especially as we got higher and finally could see Stinson Beach below us.
Before long we were into the forest, and going up a few of the famed Dipsea Stairs. Immediately, my legs were burning, and I got a bit scared. I took off Thursday and Friday to be ready for the weekend, but still, my legs felt tired! As I was doubting myself, Sarah casually mentioned, "You know, its funny, I totally don't feel like I ran at all yesterday!" This weekend made me firmly convinced of two things: First, Sarah is going to kick butt in Colorado. Second, she is perhaps not quite human! She never seemed to feel the effects of the accumulating mileage, which is amazing, especially considering she had never done longer than an 18 miler before!

Soon we branched off Dipsea and onto Steep Ravine which, as the name would suggest, includes a fair amount of climbing. Lots of stairs and, more interesting, a 10 ft ladder! What other long trail run includes such an amusing obstacle :)

Steep ravine took us to Pantoll, and in less than 3 miles we were at our first stopping point. Of course, we didn't really need much, but Sarah filled up her bottles and we chatted with the people at the aid station setting up. Soon enough, we were off yet again, this time on Old Mine Trail, which was absolutely gorgeous. The racers, I think, came up this trail. Sarah and Wendell certainly picked an absolutely gorgeous course! We took this to Dipsea, and eventually got to Ben Johnson, which took us to the floor of Muir Woods. Lots of fun downhill that we knew we'd have to earn later. We took Ocean View up out of the floor (which, funnily enough, no longer features an ocean view). It was a nice, but uphill trail. There were lots of tourists about, which had us running when we could to keep up appearances :)
We accidently missed the connection to the Lost Trail (ironically enough) and ended up almost at Panoramic Highway before we realized our mistake. Luckily this meant that backtracking featured a lovely downhill, and before we knew it, we were back on track. We stopped briefly here to help two gentlemen who were trying to loop back to the park floor. I happily pulled out my new map, feeling very knowledgable :) We explained their route, and then took off, enjoying some more great downhill. At the bottom, we saw our trail, somewhat blocked off by a white marker and a few ribbons. The log bridge appeared to have broken, leaving a less flat log next to it to tranverse the gap. Sarah got over easily enough, as did I, but with a bit more trepidation. It wasn't super far down, but far enough that falling would be bad. But got over we did and we were on our way once more.

After we had gone a bit, we heard a voice call to us, "How did you get over there?" We looked up on the hill across from us, only to see the two men on a super steep thin unofficial trail etched shallowly into the dirt. We explain that that was not a real trail, and that they needed to go back and get to the log bridge. They left their very sketchy looking trail and eventually found the right one, hopefully making back to their start. We got to Alice Eastwood, which had relatively beautiful bathrooms. At this point I realized that I really wasn't drinking enough water. For some reason, I wasn't good about keeping up with my drinking this weekend. I had only had maybe 20 or so ounces for the 10 or so miles we had covered. Sarah admonished me to catch up so that when we got to Pantoll I could refill my water.

We took off on Troop 80 to get back to Pantoll. We hit some of the exposed trail sections, which was fun. Certain parts of Mt Tam are very distinctive and are always enjoyable to be on. In little time we were back, and this time the aid station was bustling. As we ran in, volunteers shouted to us, "What do you need?" We quickly explained that we weren't racing, and made sure to get out of the way. We hung out stretching and watching the activity for a bit, before taking of for the last portion of our run, Matt Davis down to Stinson, with a detour onto the Coastal trail to get in 3 more miles. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we found out here that the racers were going the same way!

We tried to be super conscious of the racers, always jumping out of way when they came from behind. We met a really nice runner named Leslie, who we were with for a bit while she was taking in electrolytes. We promised to cheer for her at the aid station, and cheer we did (though we didn't recognize her with her new shirt on!) She went on to be first woman in the 100!

As Sarah and I stopped for a photo opportunity, Rick caught up to us! Like a dolt, I didn't realize who he was at first, though he knew exactly who I was. He quickly got Sarah to snap a photo of us together, and then was off! He looked great (and went on to get a 100 PR!!!) and it was fun seeing him fade into the distance amongst the grass. There were actually a number of people that we cheered for as we ran along who recognized me from here, which was fun :D Thanks for reading guys!

It was just a spectacularly gorgous day out there. I had never been on the Coastal trail before and was blown away by the views.
After a mile and a half (what seemed like a long one at that!) We finally turned around and headed back. Unfortunately, at this point we were heading against traffic! The fun thing about this was that we became a mobile cheering section. Any time a runner came heading the other way we quickly shouted "Don't Stop!!! We're not racing!!!!" and jumped off the trail. We then clapped as they went past :) We stopped and took a break in the shade on some rocks on the side for some food about halfway back and cheered as runners came through. We also got to see a few of the speedsters heading back already. A few people initially thought we were lead women, which was funny :D

Soon enough, we were finally off coastal and back to matt davis, a trail nicely devoid of racers. It was fun seeing everyone, but we felt badly for being in the way.

With a great downhill (with an unfortunate amount of stairs) we were back to our car in no time, finishing our 18 miles in 4:33 and some change. An average pace of 15:10, which I was quite pleased with, considering the stairs and such!

We quickly grabbed our beach stuff and headed down to the water to iced down and get showered (well, in the outdoor showers, so we only got relatively clean). I realized I hadn't been in an ocean with waves in probably a decade, so that was fun! We were in a rush to get to the race though, so we didn't play too long. We wanted to get fish and chips as well, so we hurried over there after we got clean and put in a to go order. At this point it was a bit after 2 and we really needed to leave. They said it would only take 10 minutes, so we waited, enjoying the chairs available. However, talking with the bartender, we started getting concerned about the time. He told us it could take up to an hour to get to Rodeo! "Isn't there another beach you can go to?" he asked. Not exactly. We decided that I would grab the car while Sarah continued to wait, so that we could leave immediately. I hurried back, drove over, and Sarah jumped in with the food.

Now, to get to Rodeo, you have to get back over the mountain, which means lots of windy driving to reach the freeway. Sarah dipped pieces of fish for me in the sauce and would hand them to me during straighter sections, so that I could concentrate on not driving off the mountain. We got stuck behind one slow car, but made good time to the freeway, and drove as fast as we could (safely!) to get to the race. As we entered rodeo, we saw where we thought the aid station would be, but nothing was there. We worried that perhaps we were supposed to have gotten it set up already! What if racers were already coming through!

We arrived at the Start/Finish at 2:59, and Sarah rushed out of the car while I parked my illegally in the red zone. Arriving in a rush, we headed over to Sarah (of PCTR) who quickly assuaged our fears, explaining that the first 100 miler hadn't even arrived yet, and that we wouldn't leave to set up until he came though. Much calmer now, I parked my car legally and hung out, cheering for the first 50 milers as they blew through. Here I finally got to meet Flora, a woman who I had emailed with briefly, as she's doing Dick Collins as well and is now living in Berkeley. I also met Kevin, a guy from Yosemite out vacationing a bit. We helped out a bit, but mostly just took in the atmosphere while we waited.

After a while Kermit, the frontrunner, came through looking great. He ran around the aid station for a bit collecting what he needed, before he took off again. Finally, it was time to get set up. Most of the supplies were already in Flora's car, so we just loaded the conquest in our car, and headed over. Flora explained where everything went before taking off. We set everything up and then waited.

And waited....

Sarah showcased her favorite aid station fare, the organic ginger, while Kevin featured the infamous (at least for us) self-proclaimed "mexican cookies".

Finally, Kermit came through. We were excited to have a "customer" and helped him as much as we could before he took off again.

Then we waited some more. A few family members of runners showed up, waiting for their people to come through.

While I was waiting I decided to walk down the trail that the runners would take to get here, just to see if I could see any. It was a beautiful evening and a beautiful location.

A few more runners trickled through, including Leslie and Rick, which was fun. Unfortunately, it started getting late. We had planned to only work until 7pm, but no one was showing up to relieve us. Of course, we didn't want to abandon the runners, so we kept hoping the relief would show. Sarah drove back to the start and found out that we were supposed to get someone to cover us, but they hadn't arrived yet. Runners kept trickling in, and it seemed wrong to abandon them, but we did need to get home. Sarah and Wendell suggested we see if we could get one of the family members to watch the table for us until the relief came, but no one seemed eager to help, as they were all focused on their runners (understandably).

We made sure the station was set up so that it was self sufficient (placed signs for the soda cooler, the conquest, and made sure everything was out that needed to be). Finally, a wonderful woman showed up. We asked if she was here to replace us and she quickly laughed and explained, "No! I'm just a mom". Ah, just what we needed! We quickly explained the situation and pleaded that she please watch the station for a bit. She seemed a bit unwilling at first, but totally jumped into the role after she warmed up to the idea. I just realized I never even got her name, but a huge thank you to go out to here for being so awesome. Kevin agreed to drive back down to the start to let Sarah and Wendell know we were leaving and see if we could steal someone from down there to come help. We felt truly horrible for leaving the station alone, but had already stayed almost an hour past our plan and really couldn't afford to stay any longer. Hopefully it ended up okay...

The lonely aid station...

By the time we finally left, we were in such a rush that I left my hydration pack and my camera! After about 5 minutes, I realized my mistake and we hurried back to grab it and head out again. The drive back ended up being a bit shorter than we realized, and soon we were back in Berkeley, finally getting dinner and real showers. By the time we got cleaned up and started planning our run for the next day, it was after 10 and we were exhausted. We were both a bit nervous about the next day, as Sarah had never done a 20 before, and I had never done a back to back before, so we weren't sure what to expect. As soon as we finished getting situated we hopped into bed, commited to getting 8 hours that night before the run on Sunday.

With dreams of PCTR races floating through my head ( I dreamed I was running a 1/2 marathon but accidently ran the 7 mile course and got disqualified....guilt about leaving early perhaps?) morning came too soon Like it or not, we had to get out there for part II of our weekend adventure....

To be continued, since this is far too long already :D

**********************Pictures Here!************************************

Friday, August 10, 2007

Off Again!

Off again to Berkeley to have what will hopefully be an awesome trail running weekend, complete with 2 long trail runs and volunteering at Headlands Hundred.

Good luck to all attempting either the 50 or 100 miler this weekend there! I'll be at mile 58 :)

[Parentals, if you're reading this, I will be with a buddy the whole time I'm on trails, and I'll be back in Santa Cruz Sunday :D Promise I won't fall off the mountain!]

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A fun berkeley weekend

Well, I just got back from an enjoyable time returning to my trail running roots in Berkeley for the weekend :). Sarah invited me up to joined her running group, The Luna Chix (btw...if you're a woman runner in the bay area, check them out, they put on great runs!), on an enjoyable run around redwood park in Oakland. I planned to wake up at 4:15 to get ready and be out the door by 5:15 for the drive up. Unfortuatly, I didn't wake up until a bit after 5!!! Frantically I rushed around and still made it out the door by 5:20. I tried a new way up (taking the 238) and got there with time to spare :)

Now, I thought I'd interject here with something sort of odd that I'm experiencing on account of Tahoe. Suddenly, I've become someone who 'does ultras', as Sarah expressed to the girls on the run :) Immediately, people seem to think I'm some great runner! It's really a bit confusing, to them as well, when we actually start running and I can't keep up :). I really feel the urge to do a 50 miler even more now, though, because right now 50k doesn't seem so different from the marathon, so it doesn't feely as ultra-y. Still though, it's sort of fun to be seen as part of this group now.

The initial plan was to follow the PCTR course and do 30k, i.e. the 20k loop plus the 10k loop. However, while out on the 20k, we realized we weren't going to get back in time to meet with the new people joining us at 9 for the 10k, so we cut it short to about 9 miles. We (rather Sarah) was definitely pushing the pace, so we were getting a great workout in getting back. We got back and had a bit of time to rest while the new group arrived. After some last minute bathroom stops, we were off again. Unfortunately, at this point I started feeling sort of sick. I was trying to keep up with the girls but finding it painful to run and so was mostly hiking, falling further behind. Finally, I shouted out to them to wait (about 1.7 miles into the loop) and handed over my directions so that they could continue without me. I went out another .2 and then headed back alone to make it an out and back instead. It's funny, I've been wanting so much to run with people, and now that I finally had people to run with, I just wanted to be alone :)

Unfortunately, with being alone, I got a tiny bit lost, as I got confused by the trail markings. I headed up on the wrong trail for a bit, and then decided that it was really unfamiliar. Just slightly freaking out about becoming lost in the forest, I played with the features on my garmin, and found a "back to start" button. Yes! It was like the car gps, alerting me to turns and such, and just helped boost my confidence that I knew the way back. It was slow going, taking me an hour and 11 minutes to go just 4 miles, but it really was beautiful out there. Miraculously, by the evening I felt normal again, so who knows. My body is weird sometimes. The other runners arrived, having finished the full loop, 15 or so minutes later, and we snapped a quick group shot before we took off for food.

After the run we headed to a brunch place at a chocolate factory and had a lovely meal. All of Sarah's teammates were super nice and fun to hang out with.

Next Sarah and I headed to the Monteray Market to pick up items for Jasper (the winner of the TRT 100!)'s get together. We planned to make an almond torte from the Chez Panisse Cookbook (which turned out amazingly!)

For Sarah (of PCTR) here's the recipe :)


This cake is for marzipan lovers and is nice just powdered lightly with vanilla powdered sugar and served with a cup of coffee or tea or a glass of sherry, or better, an Italian Aleatico or Passit. It is also good with sliced peaches or nectarines and creme anglaise.


cups sugar

cup (about 8 oz.) soft almond paste

cups softened unsalted butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

6 eggs

1 cup flour

tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt


  1. Beat the sugar with the almond paste until the almond paste is in fine pieces. Or, better, pulverize it in a food processor. Beat in the butter and the vanilla, then cream the mixture until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the whole eggs, one at a time — the eggs should be at room temperature — beating well after each addition so the eggs are thoroughly mixed in. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt, and beat in just until thoroughly blended.
  2. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan and turn the batter into it, smoothing the top evenly. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the center feels springy when you push it gently.

After making the torte, I popped down for a bit of a nap (4 1/2hours of sleep is certainly not enough!) and then it was off to the party. It was amazing the number of amazing runners that were present. Just hearing casual conversations about what hundreds people were doing or how their WS went. It was pretty awesome.

I had a bit of a foot in the mouth experience talking to Mark Gilligan, the 2nd place finisher of TRT (who did the 129 mile death ride the weekend before), because, while I knew his name was Mark, I didn't realize he was that Mark! So, we're talking about Tahoe, he congratulated me on my finish, and then I asked him if he met his goal for the race and was happy with his finish? He made a seeminly knowing smile assured me he was very pleased :) When I was alerted to my ignorance a bit later, Sarah tried to console me by telling me that it was a good question, maybe Mark did want to beat Jasper! It's funny, I've read Mark's name so much for various races, but I just didn't have the face to go with it. Oh well, now I know :)

Something sort of fun was that a few people apparently recognized me from reading my blog! Sometimes it seems like only the people that post are reading, but I guess there are lurkers following along as well. If you're reading this, by the way, leave a post to say 'hi'! I'd love to get to know more of the readers :D It is nice to know that my words aren't just going into empty air.

As talks of hundreds was going on, I asked Sarah (of PCTR) about what she recommended for a first (non WS) 100, to which she answered, half jokingly, "of course, Headlands Hundred!" While it was somewhat said in jest, as she began telling me about it, it did sounds pretty good. Could I possibly be ready for 100 next summer? Seems a little crazy :D It'll be nice checking out the race this weekend, when Sarah and I volunteer at it (we'll be at mile 58 at the Rodeo Aid station!).

Thanks Jasper for a fun evening!
Sunday Sarah and I decided to have a lazy sleeping in day, and then went and saw Hairspray in the theaters. I highly recommend the movie! The music is fabulous, and I can't wait so see it again :D It's a bit addictive!

I got home and honestly felt like being lazy. But, having only done a 13 miler the day before I knew I needed to do something. I had to finish an essay first (ah the life of a student) but then I got myself to amazing campus 1/2 mile track, perched on a hill overlooking monteray bay and santa cruz. Lap after lap I watched the sun set and twilight approach. A few deer came over to enjoy the view. I finished about 9, having done 7 miles, and now finding myself on a track far too dark to continue. 20 miles for the weekend was okay though. Next weekend Sarah and I hope to run an 18 miler followed by a 20! We'll see how that goes..

Now off to do 10 or so :)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Back into the Swing of Things

After last week's mediocre running (a mere 21 miles!) recovering from the 50k (and the start of school) I got fully back into training with some semi-respectable runs (and more planned for the weekend)

I faced my fears tuesday and headed out on the trail by my apartment for a 4 mile jaunt in the wilderness.

(yep, this is the trail about 100 ft from my front door!)

Previously my pr on time heading out has been about 15 minutes, before I'd get too scared and turn back. Tuesday I went out for a whopping 23 minutes! Not so important was the time, though, as was the fact that I turned around when I planned to turn around, and not because I was scared. Of course, yesterday I read a book about Santa Cruz trails that explicitly refererenced mountain lion sightings on this trail and to not take it alone. Great.

Wednesday I felt like being both lazy and "fast" and so did a paved route (same as Sunday's, but turned around at 4.5 to get 9 miles in) It went well, and I had awesome pacing for the last few miles, hitting 9:30s for 2 and 8:50 for the last! Granted, this is relatively flat, so it's not like I'm pushing hills, but still! I'll take a sub 9 minute mile any day :D

Thursday I ran a very paltry 1 mile as I wanted to save myself for the weekend running extravaganza that I had planned. Just ran on the gym treadmill, doing a 9:44 mile :)

Today I ran for the first time with other runners since I've been in Santa Cruz. Mimi, a very nice woman who reads my blog, invited me to join her and a few friends on a medium run in Pogonip park, which is about 5 minutes from my house.

I arrived just before 10:15 (amazing to have a late start!) and got to meet her adorable puppy while waiting for the other two to arrive. Now, in meeting new runners, I have this insecurity that I think most non-athlete athletes have. I look at them and think to myself, "oh god, they look like runners! I'm never going to be able to keep up!" Now, I suppose at this point, I don't necessarily not look like a runner (especially when I'm dressed to the 9s in my wicking clothes and trail shoes) but I'm not necessarily, well, built like a runner. I still very much have in my mind the non-athletic, non-running version of me, and I'm not quite sure if that's still how I look to the rest of the world.

Anyways, my fears were slightly founded, but in a relatively harmless way. The women were definitely all faster than me, but I was able, more or less, to keep up, though was definitely sounding a bit like a train with all the huffing and puffing I was doing going up e-con, the one major hill of the run. It's good for me to push myself, though, and I really appreciated being forced to go a bit outside my comfort zone (at least that's what I kept telling myself going up that hill! This is what training is about. Pushing yourself so that you get better). Even more wonderful, though, was once again having the pleasing company of others while I was out there. I wasn't doing too much talking on account of the train-like breathing, but it was really nice to listen to the distracting chatter of the others as they discussed their recent marathon success and future goals, as well as just day to day talk about their children. I forgot how quickly 8 miles (okay, 7.9) could fly by!

It was also wonderful to be in a new park, and an amazingly beautiful one at that. The entrance is just a few blocks from Mimi's house, so she runs there alone often, and I'm thinking it'll be one of my new playgrounds as well :) It has a bit of everything, from some meadows to the amazingly cushy redwood forests that reminded me of being back on Mt tamalpais. We hit up both firetrails and singletrack, and I really just had such a good time out there. The run was mostly uphill the way out, so the way back just flew by and before I knew it I was done with the day's run. Hopefully I'll get to run with these women again soon, and eventually meet even more Santa Cruz runners. It's nice not to feel so alone in this city any more :)

Tomorrow morning at around 5 am I'm taking off to join my friend Sarah and her Luna Chix on a 30k run in Redwood parks in Berkeley. We'll be following the PCTR trail run route, so it should be nice! So long as I'm not too dead, I want to experiment with this double weekend run thing and try to get in 8-10 on Sunday.

I've just written out a preliminary training schedule for now until the 50 miler to make sure I'm as prepared as I'm going to be and, I'll admit, I'm a little intimidated! I'm so excited to make that next step though, so I know all those miles will be worth it :)

As a final note, a huge good luck to all the 100 milers tomorrow at Burning River! Josh and especially Mike (who's doing his first 100!), and Kim (who's pacing!) have such a great time out there :)

Have great weekends everyone!