Saturday, June 30, 2007

Big Bear and Big Month

Had a great time in big bear today doing 15 miles between 7000 and 8200 ft of elevation :) I'm definitely feeling more ready for Tahoe (which is three weeks from today!) A full report will follow, but here's a couple of my favorite shots from today:

And speaking of big, I had my highest monthly mileage ever in June, hitting just over 175 miles (including 2 20+ runs). My goal was to hit 40 miles each week which didn't quite happen, but I still ended up with 22 more miles this month than my previous best of 153.2 last month. Next month I'm shooting for 180 :)

Friday, June 29, 2007


Now this is funny :)

(warning, it's a left-leaning political spoof. But, it really is entertaining :D)

(now I need to go to bed, since I've got a 3:40 wakeup call so that I can go on my altitude training run in big bear!)

Cleaning out my Life

(A non-running post just to air my mind :) )

A few days ago, my Mother announced that she was cleaning her closet out. Not news in its own right, but part of this cleaning process would involve us, her daughters, to go through all of the projects, pictures, and other memorabilia from our childhood saved since we were born and decide what to keep. Consequently, the last 3 days or so have had me sifting through album after album, drawing after drawing, deciding what, really, would be worth keeping. Not surprisingly, it's ended up being an enjoyable process, and I've learned some things about myself that are somewhat interesting :)

For instance, at the age of 4 1/2, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Many other things have changed about me over the years, but apparently I picked up early my love of learning and of helping others. Almost every 'about me' form that I filled out from 4 onward had me mentioning teaching as a career.

I've always been someone who fixated on one certain thing (obviously, that one thing now is running :) ). In kindergarten, I got obsessed with a rabbit named Penny (on a questionaire: What would you like to have right now? A bunny named Penny. What makes you happy? Playing with a bunny named Penny. What makes you sad? When I can't play with a bunny named Penny). Later, in elementary school I proclaimed that I loved anything and everything pertaining to the musical "Little Shop of Horrors" (sort of a weird choice....). In Junior High (and this is embarrassing to admit, it was the X-Files. In retrospect, running might be the most sensible 'obsession' to date :D

I really picked up on messages told by adults and replayed them in my stories and drawings (early signs of my need to please my teachers?) From first grade, I have a drawing about the evils of doing drugs (they will make you look like the monster of Frankenstein), the necessity of always wearing a seat belt, and even a story about two ducks who can't play together because they are different colors, but who eventually make their parents see the light.

Also I wasn't always as shy as I remembered. I recieved multiple 'loudmouth' awards during my one year stint as a softball player (a sport I thoroughly sucked at. The end of the year letter about the team stated "Adelyn was our best right field played!" yeah....the ball never goes to right field....)

It's been enjoyable revisiting my past and I'll admit a simple pleasure from tossing out things that just don't matter that much any more. It's nice to feel that I can appreciate my past while still moving on. Some of the things I finally threw out were things that I've been holding onto for far too long, including a certain box of memorabilia from a relationship long ended. One of those things you hold onto, just in case (of what? I'm not sure).

Anyways, it feels wonderful to let go of all the things that were holding me to other earlier times. I've kept the things that are important, and now I have lots of room to store the momentos from the memories still to come.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Chino Evening

Had a fun 8 miler up in the Chino Hills Tuesday evening with Sue, Skip, and Tracie :) Since I had the Wink along, I figured I might as well bring a camera, so here's some of my favorite pictures from the run!

Skip and Tracie power up one of the many hills

Skip, Sue, and me on San Juan 'peak' at 1,896 ft :)

A furry trail companion!

The remnants of a bad driver

Moon rising over the Jacarandas
And speaking of pictures, Luis Escobar took some amazing ones at Western States. Check them out!

Monday, June 25, 2007

A fun Week of Running

As my time down in Orange County wraps up, I'm trying to get in all the good running that I can!

Wendy, Jessica, Myself, and E-Rod, courtesy of Wendy
Wednesday morning was Wendy's 'birthday run' in Chino hills, so Jessica and I carpooled up to meet up with E-Rod and Wendy to enjoy the beautiful morning. We were up above the fog and had a great run. After all the talk about mountain lions in Whiting Ranch, we were feeling smart in picking a different park. Of course, as we started out, we looked down and saw massive paw prints on the trail, that continued on for a mile or so. Now, we weren't positive they were lion tracks, but we weren't positive that they weren't either, so we were a little extra alert out there. The only exciting wildlife that we did end up seeing was coyote that was hanging out on the trail. When it heard us coming it headed for the hill on the side of the trail. It's amazing how well that animal can blend into the brush! The run was just under 7 miles and a great way to spend a wednesday!
I introduced my dad to the joys of trails a few weeks ago, and have convinced him to join OCTR, which I think he'll really enjoy being a part of. Thursday morning my dad and I joined Greg, Skip, Tracie, and Russ for a great beach run in Crystal Cove. I had never run on sand before, and it was actually really nice.

Russ, Tracie, Skip, Me (hidden) and my Dad running with the waves, courtesy of Greg

The softness of the running surfaces felt great, as I'd been feeling a little achy lately from the mileage I've been hitting. My dad ran mostly with Russ, which was good, as I was hoping that he could start connecting with the other club members so that it won't feel weird for him to go on runs without me after I leave. I ended up pushing things a bit by trying to stick with Greg, which was nice. It's good for me to run a bit harder than I usually do! We left the beach after 3 miles to check out a bit of the canyons, and I tried to power up a hill with Greg to check out the view before heading back. It's been a while since a run reduced me to that kind of gasping breath that harkens memories of when I was an out of shape child trying to run around the soccer field. There was a reason I switched to being a goalie! Still, hills are good for you, right? And the view really was great.
nearing the top of the hill! Photo courtesy of Greg

Greg and I headed down and pushed the pace (well, he tried to hold back and I tried to keep up) to meet back up with my dad and russ, who had turned around earlier. All in all, a very nice run. After that I went to the pool and tried my hand at swimming. It felt great, but I discovered that I'm even a slower swimmer than I am runner. Ah, well, I'll eventually get better :)


Saturday morning had Abbie, Jessica, and I out off of Ortega highway checking out trail for the 100 mile race Jessica is putting on. Abbie and I were feeling less than inspired, running wise, and ended up doing only 6 miles, broken into 2 sections. The majority of the run was done in Capsers park, the sight of the mountain lion attacks in the 80s, but somehow, despite all the recent sightings everywhere else, hadn't had a sighting since December. It was fun to run with Abbie, though yet again I was with a faster runner than me and had to push myself to keep up! Jessica lent me her camera to take photos while out, and I marveled at the lightness of hers compared to mine. I really need a better camera for running!

Even though it was still pretty early, it felt hot out! It's so dry out here, which makes us all worried about the likelihood of a fire at some point this summer. The fire danger was 'extreme' according to the sign, and will likely be such all summer.

We did have a fun wildlife sighting on this run, right before returning to the car! Abbie and I looked into the field on the left, and there was a beautiful deer! It moved foward to the trail, about 30 ft in front of us, sort of bobbed its head out and back to check for any danger, and then crossed the trail! It was pretty cool :)


On Sunday, my Dad and I decided to just go out on a father daughter run, so I took him up to Modjeska Grade, where the Joplin adventure had started, to just run out to the flags and back. Why there are flags here, I don't know, but it's a great spot for a run turn around!

Just before I left, I decided to check out the OCTR sight, which posted a warning about mountain lions, saying that one had been sighted earlier this week on Modjeska Grade. Needless to say, I was slightly paranoid for the first few miles! My dad checked in with me on mountain lion protocal (if you see one, make yourself big, noisy, and as unlike prey as possible!).

We were just about the clouds when we started, and it was pretty amazing to look down on the blanket of white below us.

The uphills are a bit intense at time on this route, not so much because of steepness, but more just the length. It seems like a few of these hills will just never end! It was fun looking down into the canyon and seeing the wisps of clouds hanging between the hills. We could also see Tucker Wildlife Reserve, where the Joplin run ended last weekend, which was fun. I enjoyed pointing out to my dad the end of the trail that took us to the run's finish :)

There were a few mountain bikers that passed us not too long after we started, but it was pretty quiet on the trail until after the turn around, which was both nice and a little eeriee.

Before long we reached the flag, which looked beautiful against the blue sky.

I had my dad sign the OCTR book and we enjoyed taking a bit of a break at the scenic vista before turning around to head back to the car.

All in all, the route was just around 7 miles and a really lovely way to spend a Sunday morning.

I enjoyed having a lighter week, with just over 36 miles logged and no runs longer than 8.5 miles. This week needs to be a bit stronger, with at least 40 planned, and then I think I'll head into my taper for Tahoe! Only a few more weeks :)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Finish Line Videos!

Just found great finish line videos for 1-10th place at WS.

My favorite to watch is Andy Jones-Wilkins (4th place). He is just so estatic, hugging everyone. If you watch the later videos, you can see him in almost every one, hugging the finisher. He just seems like the nicest guy! Watching the video can't help but make me smile :) I love that he's so postive. I hope that I can have the same kind of additude when I finish my first 100 (whenever that is :) ) Scott Dunlap did a great write up on Andy, for anyone interested in learning more about him! Another cool thing, though he's now an Idaho resident, he used to live in Oakland, training at many of the parks I visited when I lived in Berkeley :)

Great Find!

Jessica gets credit for turning me Mrs. May's! Mrs. May's makes great snacks that are cholestral free, wheat free, vegan friendly, dairy free, and have no artificial flavors. On top of that, they taste fantastic!!! With the categories: nut crunch, fruit and nut crunch, mixed nut crunch, and seeds, you're bound to find something you like :) So far I've just tried the Almond crunch and loved it (its basically just almonds with some kind of glaze that keeps them stuck together in little bite sized chunks). The ingredient list for them is just: "Almonds, Rice Malt, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Sea Salt". I like it when I know what all the things are!

My newfound excitement about this product stems from the fact that you can now get a variety pack of the snack sized baggies at Costco! The pack I got has Cashew Crunch, Almond Crunch, and, I think, the blueberry nut crunch flavor. They have 2 oz of product, which is about 350 calories worth, and are perfect for bringing on long runs :)

From what I've read, you can also get them at some Trader Jo's, Whole Foods, Walmart, Sam's Club, BJ's Wholesale (is that a back east or midwest thing?), and Cost Plus.

It's also available online both through the company website and through the always wonderful Zombierunners :)

Anyways, its a nice healthy and satisfying trail food for people who like to have nuts while running. Lately I've been having paydays and trail mix out there with me, but the Mrs may's product seems to be a bit of a healthier choice, since it's lower on sugar and such and all natural. For those with a gluten allergy, its also gluten free (I have some friends with this who let me know about the snack sizes at Costco).

I also tried an almost identical product by Mareblu which apprently used to own Mrs. Mays and makes the same kind of things. It tasted essentially the same, but I don't think they sell the small baggies. They also had this at Costco and would be an equally good buy :) (I got both! Figured you can never have too much snack food, and it keeps for a year)
The good thing about Mareblu for some people is that it's peanut free, so if you have a peanut allergy, they would be the ones to go to. It's also Kosher, for anyone that follows those guidelines. I think they have fewer flavors, but they still have seven to choose from, so you'd likely find something you'd like. It also looks like, from the website that they are touring Costcos but are only available online? Another good thing that I've just discovered is that Mareblu is produced in Anaheim (Southern California) while Mrs. May's is produced in China, so for people trying to buy more locally, Mareblu would be better.

Happy Eating!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

It's Western States Day!

From the WS webcast page

Just sitting here, feeling extra lazy for not wanting to run today (and only doing 6!) when such an awesome race is going on right now. Last year, I don't think I was really aware at all of when it actually took place. I'm having fun with the live updates on the runners, checking out eric and a few other peoples, as well as the frontrunners. As of now (12:40) Hal Koerner is doing awesome in first, Lon Freeman has moved up to 2nd (Winner of Miwok 100k this year), from something significantly lower that he was at last time I checked. Graham Cooper (last year's winner and Oakland resident!) is in 7th place. Nikki Kimbell is in 10th overall and is first woman, yet again :) and Beverly Anderson-Abbs is 2nd woman again, and 19th overall.

Eric is doing awesome, with what seems to be 3 miles to Miller's defeat. His pace has been never more than 15 minute miles, which is great :)
Wendell Doman (of PCTR) is doing really well, with a pace between 11.8 and 13.5 so far. That's so awesome

Gordy Ansleigh is keeping a 13 to 14 minute pace, and doesn't seem to be that much ahead of Eric. Michelle Barton (amazing so cal ultra runner) is planning to pace him later :)
Phil's recommendation for watching is Karsten Solheim, a guy who's 70 and still doing great out there. May we all be in such great shape when we reach that age!
(now, all of you probably already know all this, since I'm sure most of us are all following along, but I still thought it would be fun to post!) The links will go to the live update pages to show where the are when you check.

For now, I can conceptualize running 50k no problem, 50 miles fairly well, and even 100k without too much difficulty. 100 miles still seems pretty far away. But with reading Josh's account of his first 100 last weekend, Kim's first 100 mile finish a few months agao, and following the amazing accomplishments of the ultrarunners in blogworld, it continues to become just a bit more tangible. It's amazing to think about all the brave and strong individuals out there right now, some for their first 100 ever. I'm excited to think about the day in the hopefully not too distant future when I can be one of those first time finishers of this incredibly respectable distance.

But for now, I'll enjoy from the side lines and cheer on everyone out there accomplishing something that I can only imagine for now.

Let me know if there are any other fun runners to add to the 'watch list' :D
(edit- so far 11 people have missed cut-offs, 6 have voluntarily dropped, 2 have been injured-hopefully they're okay!-, 2 are unknown for why they dropped, and 1 is metabolic- I'm guessing that means they lost too much weight? I'm figuring that if I everyone at some point gets a DNF, especially when tackling a 100, so its good to figure out why certain people don't finish. Looks like it's mostly from missing cut-offs, which I'm guessing will be one of my biggest problems when I tackle that distance)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A New Leaf

With the Tahoe Rim Trail 50k exactly a month from today, I've decided now would be a good time to recommit to a healthier lifestyle, to help me feel the best that I can come race day. Coming home is always hard. I find myself munching on foods that I shouldn't be having, and in quantities that aren't appropriate. Unfortunately, my metabolism is such that even with 40 mile weeks, I really need to watch what I eat to keep from gaining weight, which I haven't been doing. Hence, I've definitely put on 5 or so lbs since finals. Now, I'm still over 15 lbs down since last August, for which I'm thankful, but I never did reach my goal before I stopped trying as hard.

So, today (or last night, more specifically) I have made a commitment to be conscious of what I'm eating. From now on desserts (which I love) need to come from smart choices, like fruit, cereal, or yogurt. The Special K I love so dearly needs to be measured so I don't 'accidently' end up with a breakfast for 4 in my bowl. And late night snacking needs to stop. The whole eating when I'm not hungry, in fact, needs to stop. And, for good measure, alcohol (especially wine, since that's predominately what I drink down here) needs to be saved for special occassions only!

I know that when I eat healthier, I'm more motivated to run, and I feel better about myself. So here's my commitment. I'm not sure what I weigh right now, but I'm going to go back to WW next friday and hopefully will be close to my goal weight there by then (woo-hoo for not having to pay!). From that goal weight I want to lose an additional 10 lbs. Overall, I think I have about 14 to lose. I know that if I'm smart, it's not that difficult to the weight. I just need to not try to cheat the system. That never works!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Running Low on Saddleback

Cheers rang out as we saw the trailhead marking. After over 2 hours, we had covered just under 2 miles, rising up 2000 ft, and taking turns pushing a mountain bike up the technical trail; we were all relieved to have finally left Joplin behind. Standing on Main Divide, our hardy group of five looked at each other thanksful, but also exhausted and now concerned.
Skip turned to me. "Addy, got any water left?"
"I'm out" I frankly replied. Nothing to be done about it now.
"Me too" "Me too"
Going around in turn, it ended up Jessica was the only one with any water left, and it wasn't much. So here we all were, 10 miles into an isolated 22 mile run, with temperatures pushing past 90 degrees, and we were out of water. Things did not look good.
Now, the day certainly hadn't started so ominously. I arrived at Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary at around 6:20 am, meeting and greeting familiar faces as well as new. This day promised to be one of the bigger turnouts for an OCTR event and it was fun to finally meet some of the runners that I had heard mentioned before. After most everyone had arrived, we grouped up into vans to carpool to the start. This was one of the first out and back runs I had done, and I was excited about the distance we were going to cover. However, even before we left, there was lots of talk about bringing enough water. The last group who had done this run had run out and ended up drinking from a stream. However, with my 64 oz of water, I felt relatively confident. Added to that, a member of the club was very kindly going to leave water for all of us at around the 12 mile mark. Against my better judgement, I left behind my extra handheld and joined the rest of the group.

The whole crew, all 22 of us! Photo courtesy of Jessica

We all immediately split into different factions, based on pace. As planned, Skip and I were going to stick together in the back, and were joined by his other "Love from the Back" runners Nattie and Beiyi. The four of us took a nice and leisurely pace, enjoyed the early morning views and the coolish air. It promised to get hot later (and the fact that we were sweating a little already didn't bode well) but it was nice for the time being. From the beginning I planned to walk most of the hills, and stuck with that more or less, while still keeping up with everyone else.

3.5 miles in we hit the first landmark, the flags. I signed the book there, and then we continued on towards old camp, our next destination. Skip kept trying to give us false hope about the arrival of the final descent to old camp, but soon enough, it was there. As we neared this point, a number of runners passed us going back. Some of the group was just doing 16, and so turned around at old camp. These were the smart ones :)

At old camp we took a break, sat down around an (unlit) campfire, and refueled. I checked out my hydration pack and was reassured to see 40 oz or so still inside. It seemed like that should be able to handle 14 more miles. Jessica was there waiting for us with her bike and after about 20 minutes we all headed out together. Shortly though, it became readily apparent that that mountain bike wasn't going to get itself up the trail easily, so we all offered to pitch a hand, trading off as we went up the grueling trail. The first half didn't seem so bad, and we were all proud of how well we were doing on the trail. But then it started getting hotter, the bike seemed heavier, and the trail steeper. It seemed like we were never going to make it to the top. I tried to mimimize my water drinking, but it was just too hot.

And this brings us to the start of the story. Hot, dehydrated, out of water, and so far from the finish.


As we recovered from the arduous climb, we refueled, all eating a lot and trying to regain some energy.

On the water front, there was still hope. The promised water in 2 or 3 miles. We headed on, not too quickly for fear of sweating too much and dehydrating faster but steadily nonetheless.

A jeep approached and we begged a water bottle from them. It was some of the best water I have ever had. Seeing how happy we were, they gave us another bottle. Between the 4 of us (Jessica didn't have much since, with her bike, she'd be down much sooner) we each got about half a bottle which rejeuvinated us and raised our spirits. Onward we went, running some and walking some, down the wide trail.

Now, for almost the entire run I had had to use the bathroom (ironic since the one thing I needed to retain was water). I've never done that in nature before. But, I finally gave in, went for it, and while weird, was also quite relieving. Feeling much better, I continued on, knowing that our promised water wouldn't be too far away.

I saw the others who had gotten down before me, who announced that there was no water. Well, things just got a lot more interesting. The irony here is that there was water, 4 gallons, plus ice, that had been left. Unfortunately, there was miscommunication on its location and we never found it. Hopefully some other dehydrated runners will stumble upon it and be helped. But, for the time being, we had to figure out what to do. Beiyi was still up on the trail and didn't seem to be doing that well. A yellow hummer was approaching. The man inside rolled down his window and asked if we were okay. We admitted we weren't, we were out of water. Without saying a word. He got out of the vehicle, went to the back and presented a 36 oz bottle of water. As we thanked him, he gave us a few of his business cards and told us that he had also given a bottle to a woman up the trail a bit, Beiyi. The kindness of these strangers really really helped us, and we really owe them so much.

In a few minutes Beiyi approached and we figured out our plan of attack. We were now 9 miles from the finish, and we each had about 12 ounces of water. The Laurel Springs were only 4 miles away, and those became our next goal. Jessica headed down on her bike, and we continued down main divide on foot, quickly separating. Beiyi fell back again and I kept close to Skip and Nattie, but still a bit behind them. I was rationing my water, having one sip for every 1/2 mile I completed, hoping that that would be motivation enough to get down. Lots of thinking about stranded people on boats and islands and how they managed without water. We also started fantasizing about what we'd like to do when we finished. Strawberry Daquaris and swimming pools were popular fantasies. Nattie wasn't doing that well, and gave in, draining her water after about 2 miles. We were really getting discouraged despite our attempts to raise each other's spirits.

Finally we saw the sign. "Laurel Springs 1/4" with an arrow pointing to a side trail. The idea of an extra 1/2 mile total seemed frustrating. With the heat I was worried about how much water there'd be, if there was any at all. Holding my small amount of water left in the bottle close to my chest, I followed Skip and Nattie down the trail. We reached a broken down picnic table, not exactly promising. It was hot and the trail was narrow and it didn't seem like we were getting any nearer to a water source.

And then, suddenly, we were there. A shaded, green, wet oasis! We took turns placing our bottles underneath the water trickling water, drinking in the cool wet wonderfulness. It was amazing to suddenly have access to the thing we had been without for hours, and to be in such a beautiful place enjoying it. Skip took some and poured it on his head, exclaiming how great that was. He then offered me the same experience, and, my was it heavenly. The water was so cool, and it felt so great to get the salty residue off of our faces. There were pools of muddy water all around us, and I finally decided to give into the urge and dip my feet in a shallow pool by the dripping water. As I put the first foot down, I was shocked to discover that it wasn't a few inches deep, it was more like 4 or 5! I stumbled and my other foot plunged in, the water covering my feet and going halfway up my gaiters. We all laughed at the mixture of shock and pleasure on my face, and I encouraged the other two to do the same. It felt heavenly. In turn Nattie, and then Skip took foot dips, and all of them gave quiet moans of appreciation. The water really did feel that good. Skip and I both took off our shirts briefly to soak them to keep us a bit cooler and we loaded up on water from the springs. It was amazing how much difference the stop made. Everything seemed so much more approachable now and we were ready to take on those last 5 miles.

The only thing that worried us was that Beiyi never joined us at the springs. She had gotten much more water from the Hummer man, so we hoped she was doing okay. Not too long after we left the springs, a mountain biker was heading up the trail so we asked if he had seen a woman in a blue shirt. He had, but she was walking with a man. Was that her? We had to hope it was.

Finally after getting water we felt like we could run a little again. Our bodies were pretty beat by this point, though, and we still need to take walking breaks. We had pretty much drained our food by this point, but I had some ginger chews, which we all enjoyed. The heat was still feeling pretty oppressive, but every once and a while a cool wind would revive us. We continued pushing, trying to will the finish closer. Soon, we saw cars. They had to be ours. We weren't that much further. We started seeing hikers, and took that to be a good sign. One woman with her daughter asked us if this was a loop course. We started laughing, looking slightly crazy I'm sure, explaining between laughs that we had been going for 8 1/2 hours and almost 22 miles. They moved on. Skip and I started running more now, knowing we were just a few short miles from the end, and going downhill.

We let out a cheer as we reached the gate and headed into the parking lot. At the gate was a less than reassuring sign. I guess, had we known, it just would have been one more thing to worry about. We didn't see any cats, so not to worry :) Nattie finished a few minutes later. After 8 hours and 52 minutes, we had completed our journey, not without some moments of fear, exhaustion, and also enjoyement. It will definitely be a run that is sure to be etched in my memory for a long time to come, and, if nothing else, taught me a good number of lessons about running on an isolated trail :) We later found out that it was, in fact Beiyi who was with the man, a hiker she had connected with towards the end. Without the springs stop she finished about half an hour ahead of us.

All in all, if we had been more prepared, this run has the potential to be great. Unfortunately, you need an incredible amount of water to really be okay on this course. We figured with a 64 oz camelback, two bottles stowed inside (adding another 48 oz or so) and 2 handhelds (adding another 40) you might be okay. Maybe. But you'd probably still run dry. That run is just brutal, especially now that the So Cal summer is upon us. Still, the views were beautiful and some parts of the trail were just visually spectacular. I'm glad I got to experience my hometown moutain, even though it was in less than optimal circumstances.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Frustrated with Santa Cruz

Now, as most of you know, I'm moving to the gorgeous and trail filled Santa Cruz in just over 2 weeks. I'm really excited and am looking forward to the more rural and natural landscape of the campus and the surround areas. However...

I can't find any trail specific running clubs!!!

The only running club, it seems, anywhere in Santa Cruz is the Santa Cruz Track Club which seems like a great organization but that only runs trails "now and then". Their main focus is wednesday night track workouts :( I suppose it could be good for me to learn things about speed workouts but, honestly, I'd rather unwind for the day on some trails than running in circles. I really came to depend on my wednesday night trail runs over the last few months, and even now, in OC, I'm making sure to get in my wednesday trail run with the group. I've been searching and searching, though, and even sent out a plea to the Ultra List, with no responses besides emails pointing me to SCTC.

How can a place with so many beautiful parks and trails surrounding it not have more of a running community? UCSC doesn't even have a running club, which just seems sort of ridiculous.

Perhaps once I hook up with SCTC I'll be able to meet people that I could maybe meet up with outside of the club workouts to run with. I suppose I could hit trails alone, but it's just been hammered into my head that that isn't safe, and I'd really rather run with others.

Oh well. Sorry about the vent all! I just really want to love living in Santa Cruz and am a bit shocked by its lack of groups, compared to Berkeley.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Weekend Fun and an Easy Week

This weekend I had the pleasure of, not one, but two trail excursions, which seems to be a treat that I don't normally enjoy.

Saturday I met up bright and early with OCTR for a run in Black Star Canyon, which, contrary to mapquest's prediction of a 40 minute drive from my house, was actually only 25 minutes away. Nice to be closer, but it resulted in my arrival at the start almost a half an hour early! Much to my surprise, instead of the empty parking area I expected, the roadsides were packed with cars. There was a huge truck in the middle of the road and a crowd of people standing by. Apparently the only other people crazy enough to get to a trailhead at 6 in the morning besides runners are mountain bikers, and there were lots of them!

By 6:30 most everyone else had shown up, and we took off in slightly separated groups, some going as long as 18, while others (myself included) planning on just 12. The great thing about Black Star is that it's mostly uphill the whole first back, and, as an out and back, treats you to a lovely downhill on the return. I stuck with Vinnie, Skip, and Tracy on most of the out section, and we enjoyed taking it easy, running patches and walking others.

Vinnie, Skip, and Tracy heading up
Always ready with the camera, I had fun running ahead to snap pictures and then falling back into walking. As we approached the 6 mile turn around, we collectively decided that just one more mile up wouldn't be too much trouble, so we headed up a bit further.

Skip and I pause for a photo-op

Finally, we turned around, and began the wonderful 7 mile descent back to the cars. As downhill running is my favorite part of trails, I kept getting ahead of Skip and Tracy, enjoying the carefree feeling of gravity pulling me towards my destination. After stopping and waiting a few times, Kalea (who was doing 16) caught up, and I decided to go ahead and run in with her, since she seemed to be going a good pace. We stayed together, inadvertantly pushing each other towards the end, and had a really nice finish to the run.

Getting back to the car, we saw that Vinnie had already hooked up his toaster and had the bagels and cream cheese out. A lovely end to a good run :)

For anyone wondering (per my profile) I can indeed make an airplane out of a banana peel :)

Sunday was a father daughter run, after my dad suggested we hit the trails together this weekend. This was only his second time on trails, and I was really proud of how well he did. We got lost a bit, and ended up with 7 miles instead of 5.5, and considerably more elevation, but we enjoyed ourselves. It was a beautiful day in Whiting Ranch (the Only Orange County trails I really know) and we enjoyed some of the beautiful singletrack in the park. we saw a huge deer that was hanging out on the side of the trail, which was fun, and of course some jackrabbits and squirrels as well. No mountain lion sightings, but I can't say I'm complaining about that one :)


This week the marathon (and the 60 mile week that inadvertantly followed) has finally caught up to me and my legs are feeling pretty shot. My foot was hurting a little today, and my knees felt a little off yesterday, so I'm going to be smart and take thursday and friday off (as much as it pains me to even write that!) I'm doing a challenging (but slow!!) 22 miler on Saturday and the last thing I want is to get injured just over a month out from tahoe. I think I got ahead of myself, feeling so great w/ the marathon and getting in these 40+ mile weeks, and I need to cut back. My run tuesday ended up being 3 instead of 6 because my legs were so beat (and it was 85 degrees) and today my legs felt pretty tired as well. I know time off will make me a better runner, so I'm doing what I need to do. It's sort of cool though, I guess, that taking off 2 days in a row seems like a big deal now.

Instead of running, I'm thinking I'll go to Barnes and Nobles and use some of the $100 gift card I was given for graduation. Any book suggestions?

Monday, June 11, 2007

RR Catchup!

Well, it's been over a week, but I figured I should at least make some effort to put up a San Diego Race report, since it was a pretty big weekend. Hopefully with the time distance, it won't be the novel of my other reports :D

Well, the weekend shaped up quite differently than I thought it would, much in part because of my becoming a temporary member of the Orange County Trail Runners the week before. I had been mentally preparing myself to enjoy a solo trip to San Diego, as none of my family would be able to attend the race, and had decided to just enjoy some alone time, bring a book, and not shoot for a PR.

Instead, I met a great group of people the week before the race, many of whom were going down for the event as well! Skip, one of the club members, even had a condo down in San Diego where most of the club members were staying and I was invited to hang with all of them Saturday, turning my solo day into a group event.

I met up with Skip and Wendy a little after 9am at the expo to get the bib and, more importantly, shop! In the past I've always gone to expos with very goal-centric, no frills, individuals, and shopping was always a half-hearted rushed event where little was actually purchased. Not so with Wendy around. We spent a leisurely 5 hours (!) at the expo shopping and shopping and shopping some more.

(The shopping crew, courtesy of Wendy Garcia)

Under her encouragement I actually bought things, though I did still feel a bit guilty. My favorite purchase, which I probably wouldn't have gotten on my own, was a short sleeved official marathon shirt, that's super comfy, tech material, and has a small zip pocket on the side for a key. I also got a running skirt, but the verdict is still out on whether or not I'll wear it. All in all though, a fun shopping day!

(Myself, Abbie, and Wendy enjoying the view from Skip's condo complex)

Afterwards we went back to Skip's condo and hung out until other OCTR folk arrived. Around 6 or so we all headed out to this great Italian place just walking distance from Skips and enjoyed a lovely dinner.

(all of us at the restaurant, courtesy of Wendy Garcia)

Jessica joined us part way through dinner, having come up not to run but, rather, to be part of the awesome cheering section on the course.

After dinner, it was getting late, so I headed to my hotel to finally check in. I had printed directions and was feeling optimistic about getting to my room and relaxing a bit before I went to sleep. However, I discovered the horrible confusing that is "Hotel Circle Drive" I must have spent at least 20 minutes driving up and down this street, attempting to find the Seven Seas Best Western to no avail. Starting to get stressed and frustrated, I finally called the hotel and was able to get there just a few minutes later. Thank Goodness.

Upon arrival, the man at the front desk looked me up and then told me, "ah, you're the lucky one that got upgraded to the suite! Now, when you go in, you won't see a bed, but don't worry. That's just because you have multiple rooms in the suite. You'll enter into the living room" Those are the words every stressed marathoner wants to hear :) Stress turned to happiness knowing that I had the best room in the house, and I hurried over to see it for myself.

Unfortunately, at this point my camera was dying so I didn't get a chance to take a picture of the king sized bed (you cna sort of see it in the mirror of the picture on the right) or the two plasma flatscreen tvs, but they were all there and they were lovely. I only wished I had more time to enjoy the room!

After getting organized and laying out my race day outfit, it was after 10 and I was tired. Still, I didn't want to got to sleep without appreciating the bed fully, so I stayed up for 1/2 an our reading My Life in France by Julia Child (really great read for any food lover!) and then finally turned in.

At 3:30am my phone rang with my wake-up call, and I was up and ready to get going. My shuttle was leaving the hotel at 5, and I planned to check out before, which meant I wanted to leave the room by 4:45 at the latest. Getting ready was quick enough, and before I knew it I was on the way to the start. The starting area was as crowded as I had remembered, but I felt less lost this year. I decided to go with the gear check this year so that I could wear a sweatshirt at the beginning and have nice flip flops waiting at the end (good idea!) so after dealing with that and numerous porta-potty stops I used up the extra hour nicely and before I knew it it was just about 6:30.

I filed into the coral and found the 4:30 pacing group. I approached someone standing with them and asked, "Just what is the pace exactly to get a 4:30 time?" "10:15" he replied. I smiled, laughed a bit, and then moved back. No way was I going to try to hold a pace like that!

I met a lovely girl standing by me (who's name, I think, was Lauren) who was doing the TNT half marathon, and we decided to run together for the first half. She was aiming for a 2:20 half, which would fit nicely with my 4:45 goal. (picture to the left shows us chatting, and is due to the wonderful kindness of Phil, who painstakingly copied and cut out all my marathon pictures for me so that I didn't have to pay an arm and a leg for them. Thanks Phil!!!)

As crazy as it was, I actually felt frustrated going slowly in the beginning and the whole first half I felt like I was trying to push the pace a bit. Lauren noted that we (or rather I) had sped up, and I was a little nervous about this strategy. However, I reasoned, I had never hit the wall, never had a slow last few miles, and honestly, I wanted to see what would happen if I did push it from the get go. I was worried about it blowing up in my face, but had a bit of morbid curiousity of what it would be like to actually 'hit the wall'.

(Another Phil Photo, of me just cruising along somewhere in the lower miles of the race. Check out my awesome blue and gold outfit, complete with Cal shirt and visor!)

We crossed the halfway mark at 2:16:17, and I immediately felt a bit of a weight lift as I no longer felt like I was being pulled back by Lauren, and could finally run the pace I wanted. Had some faster miles here, which was nice. It was really enjoyable to run this middle section so well, when the same section last year featured me stopping at least every mile to stretch a painfully tight thigh muscle. I was really enjoying wearing my cal outfit and getting the "go bears" comments, to which I always responded in like and with a smile. It was a good pick me up and made me want to run just a bit faster, to respresent those bears well :D

So, the miles ticked on, and I kept pushing, waiting for something to go wrong. Much to my surprise, my stomach started feeling off around 14 or so, which was something I conveniently forgot about that has happened at my last marathons as well. I had had the foresight to bring some ginger, but at that point was too tired to try to find it, so I just dealt the best I could and hoped I could hold it together.

Now, something I need to stop and note here that was just amazing, was the presence of Jessica, Abbie and E-rod, who came down to support the OCTR and who I saw at miles 4, 7, 14, and 22. They were truly amazing and such a welcome sight each time they came into view. My own family never went to that many spots along any of my races and it really just made me feel lighter and happier to see a friendly and encouraging face, especially at 22 when I started getting pretty tired. So Thank you thank you thank you guys!!!! (picture to the left was taken at mile 14 by Jessica as I was getting high fives from the OCTR cheering section :) )

Reaching the hill right before mile 20 was such a high point for me. Now, in the ultra world, this would not be considered a hill. It's merely a freeway overpass and doesn't even last that long. However, last year, this hill killed me. I thought it's ironic placement right before where 'the wall' was supposed to appear was poetic, and, well, cruel. I started walking before I even gave it a chance. This year I powered up it, picking up speed and passing many a walker in the process. It really reminded me of how far I had come.

(Phil photo to the left)

Getting to 20, I began to entertain the possibility that perhaps this wouldn't blow up in my face after all. In fact, I started getting a sneaking suspicion that might finishing time might even have a 3, in it! I began to secretly hope for 4:32:38, which would be exactly one hour faster than my 2006 SD marathon time. I was definitely getting tired, but this was, after all, 20 miles into a marathon, so it made sense to be tired. No reason to let that slow me down though!

At around 23 I started trying to do the math, and realized that it looked really good for my coming in under 4:30. That was just unreal! I kept pushing and pushing, knowing it was almost over, though the finish was a long time coming, and finally we entered into the marine base. Nowe, I had remembered the finish being pretty close to that point, but apparently that wasn't exactly the case. Still I started giving it everything I had, really trying my best. I started getting teary as I realized I was definitely going to break 4:30. I really never thought I could get that fast, especially in just one year. As we neared the finish line, we could hear the announcer calling out finishers. With just the home stretch to go, the announcer stated that just 2 minutes were left to break the clock time of 4:30. People all around me were breaking into sprints. I tried my best, but couldn't manage to go much faster.

Before I knew it, I was under the banner, crossing the mats and was done.

(Thanks again Phil for all the wonderful photos!!!!)

Clock time: 4:29:43
Chip time: 4:23:56

A 32 minute PR and 1 hour and 9 minute course PR

Looking at my splits, my average paces broke down as,
for the first 10k: 10:23
10k to the first half: 10:22
1/2 to 21 miles: 9:50
21 to finish: 9:36
a negative split all the way through :)

Even better, my 2nd half was a new 1/2 marathon PR by 3 minutes. Quite the way to finish :D
Thanks so much to all my running friends both in real life and online who were so encouraging and awesome! I always think of myself as a back of the pack runner, but, perhaps, I'm losing that status a bit now. Never thought I'd finish a race in the top third of the field, and the top 19 percent of my age group.

I always sort of thought boston was a somewhat impossible dream for me. But, distance runners peak in their late 20s and early 30s, right? That means great things are yet to come. As Skip encouragingly stated, "Wow Addy, you're going to run a sub 4 someday!" Never thought I'd see the day, and yet, that doesn't seem so far away anymore. I mean, if I can improve this much in just a year, imagine where I'll be in 5!

Thanks again all, and thanks to anyone who made it through this monstrosity! Apparently time doesn't make these things shorter after all :)

And congrats to all the other great SD Finishers out there!!! Congrats to Skip, Wendy and Alexa from OCTR (if any of you are reading this) for completing their first marathons! Check out Phil's report of his great PR at the marathon as well :)

Friday, June 08, 2007

6 Weird things about me!

Since E-Rod tagged me, I guess It's my turn to join in on the fun :P

“Each player of this game starts with 6 weird things about himself or herself. People who get tagged need to write a blog entry of their own as well as state the rule clearly. In the end, you need to tag 6 people as well and list their names. Don’t forget to let them know they’ve been tagged!”

1) I have a phobia of moths and other flying insects. Logically, I know they can't hurt me, but the way that they flutter will send my heart up into my throat and cause adrenaline to race through my body. Even butterflies, when there are enough of them, will be enough to freak me out.

2)I research, sometimes to the point of ridiculousness, anything and everything I take on, and, or, am afraid of. For example, because I'm afraid of mountain lions, I have researched far and wide online to find out where the attacks in california have been over the last few hundred years (16 attacks since 1890) and when the last ones were seen in areas I run (one was seen in berkeley about 2 years ago). I also look up information and pictures about most any run I'm thinking about doing (looked up pictures of Black star since I'm running there tomorrow- did you know it's haunted?), as well as read any race report I can get my hands on :) A bit neurotic, I'll admit, but at least I'm prepared!

3)I sometimes really enjoy running to classical music, especially cello played by yo-yo ma. I find it relaxing! (but perhaps that's why I'm so slow:) )

4) I really hate to be in a room with open doors. For some reason I find it unsettling and am much happier to be in an enclosed space.

5) I didn't try a cheeseburger, burrito, or hard boiled egg until high school.

6) I hated running my entire life, until a few years ago. I even offered myself up as the team goalie when I played soccer so that I wouldn't have to run for most of the 10 years that I played soccer.

I think about half of these make me seem incredibly neurotic, but oh well :P

Now, I'm tagging, Josh, Kim, Bob, Red, Terry, and Gretchen.

Have fun guys!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Nightmare Remedies?

So, this is a little bit of an odd post, and not running related, but I thought it was worth a shot.

I'm someone that has always had an overactive imagination, which has heavily played into my sleep experience for as long as I can remember. While I occasionally get the fun, exciting vivid dream, I often have weird dreams and, sometimes, really horrible nightmares.

The last 4 nights have featured stress dreams (where bad things happen and I can't stop them and, subseqently become really stressed) but last night I had actual nightmares, featuring my realization that my dad had died (which, of course, he hasn't), going to turn in my thesis and realizing that it was full of mistakes and was completely undone (its turned in and already graded) and that I was trying to drive a car across the san francisco bay on the water with my mom and a huge wave came over and destroyed our car, and, probably, us as well.

The death one was the most disturbing and I forced myself awake after that one and went downstairs to hug my dad and make sure he was okay. Still having trouble shaking the memory of that dream moment when I realized he had been dead in my dream for some time. It was a really horrible moment.

So, after these ramblings, my question is, does anyone else struggle with this? And are there any home remedies or such that anyone has found effective to limit bad dreams?

Any suggestions would have the thanks of an exhausted and frustrated runner!

Monday, June 04, 2007

A PR and a Reflection

Something exciting about the marathon that I just figured out today is that the splits for the 1st and 2nd 1/2 of the race were 2:16:17 for the 1st half and 2:07:39 for the 2nd half!

My PR for the 1/2 marathon distance is 2:10:09 meaning that I got a 1/2 marathon PR in the 2nd 1/2 of a marathon!!! That's really cool :) Not sure if I count that as an actual PR since it wasn't done in a 1/2 marathon race, but it's exciting nonetheless. Imagine how fast I could go if I hadn't already run 13.1 miles? Perhaps breaking 2 hours isn't as far away as I thought :D


I looked back into my coolrunning log tonight and stumbled upon an entry from Monday, November 2nd 2004, which showed:

Monday,Nov 22, 2004
Running Training run 4:45 pm
4 miles41:14 (10:18/mile)

That felt so awsome to run for such a long time. Thats the longest that I've ever run in my life, and I sort of felt like I could have gone longer if I had wanted to. Body still getting achey though while I'm running, which sucks...that better not happen on thursday! i'm glad to be working out again though.

It's funny to remember a time when 4 miles was a long run and an exhilirating achievement :) Amazing how far you can come in 2 1/2 years!

I'm looking forward to my first post-race run tomorrow, hopefully 6 miles or so :D

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Awesome PR!

Full report will follow, but the short version is that I had an awesome race.

Final time: 4:23:56!

That means my pace was an average of 10:04!!!

Beating my previous pr of 4:54:56 by over 30 minutes :D

I ran this race last year in 5:32:38, so I took over an hour off my marathon time in one year :)

Plus, my half time was 2:16:17, meaning that I had an awesome negative split!

I was aiming for 4:45, but decided to push early, since I never had before, and had such a great race. I kept waiting to blow up but never did. My last mile was a 9:06 pace and the last 1/2 mile or so was an 8:22 race (my watch was about .3 off of the actual markers). It was so cool to be 'fast' for once in my life.

Just checked out the results and I finished in the top 32% of all runners, the top 20% of women, and the top 19% of women 19-24.

I'm still sort of in shock.

But super happy that I really have improved so much fitness wise in the last year. I felt a million times better this year than last.

Thanks so much everyone for all your support!!!

Friday, June 01, 2007

A good sign!

Thank goodness. I finally found my Garmin, which has been missing since I left Berkeley :) I was trying to mentally prepare myself for running without it, but I'm much happier having it for the marathon. I'll be leaving around 7am tomorrow morning to get to the expo when it opens! All that's left to do now is to pack :)

San Diego here I come!