Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Plan for 2009

So here's the deal. Training for ultras just takes TOO long for me. It isn't working out with my family commitments. Instead of being a positive, it becomes a negative stress for me. Don't get me wrong, I loved my long runs in the woods. It's just the wrong time in my life for that.

Plus, I hate how slow I've become. It kinda hurts my ego to be so S-L-O-W.'s the new goal for 2009 -

A sub-20 minute 5K.

That's an attainable goal, with plenty of time and wiggle room to accomplish. My all time 5k best is 17:09 - so I am capable of it. And there's all kinds of added benefits, it'll speed me up at all distances. I'm probably better suited physically for the short stuff anyway. Plus it'll be something that's more family friendly all around. I won't be gone long for training and they'll be able to hang out and watch the races without it being too long.

I'll be starting the advanced plan for a fast 5k after the 1st of the year. I'm now doing some get-in-shape for the training cycle runs. I'll shoot for a 5k after the first 8 week training cycle. That one will be a test run to see where I'm at. (If I accomplish my goal then, great! But probably pretty unlikely the first time out that early in the year).

I'm pretty jazzed about this goal. I'll get in great shape, have fun and find my speed again!

The kids are just going stir crazy with these holidays. Ugh, I can't wait until school starts again and they are back on a schedule (and so am I). They are in each other's hair and just driving me nuts. They are set to start some fun classes after the first of the year so that should keep them busy.

Yesterday I ran a moderately paced 4.28 miles. My time was 32:00. I threw some fast surges in there (6:09 pace) and some bounding plyometrics and such. I'm letting my stride open up again as I'll be concentrating on speed. I've been constricting my stride (marathon shuffle) and I think that has caused some problems, both physical and performance-wise. I think I just have a naturally longer stride. I'm just going to run "naturally" from now on and not mess around with my style too much.
Today I'll run a little longer, 6-7 miles at a slower pace. Maybe a hilly route. I have some new running clothes to wear that Santa brought to me! :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I haven't felt much like blogging. The holidays are, well, busy as they are for everyone. And now all the kidlets will be home with me for a while. I'll be cleaning constantly.

Everyone at Casa Coyote currently has a cold. Mama and Papa Coyote are going to be missing the one holiday party that they were going to to go to this year due to said disease. Funny how it hardly seems to phase the pups. They just continue to run around, scream, fight, play and drip snot. We on the other hand drag ourselves around like zombies.

So, no running to speak of. I'm hoping that I'll be well enough to sneak out for an early morning run on Monday before the entire clan wakes up. That would be nice. If not Monday than Tuesday hopefully.

Hope that you all are having a wonderful holiday season.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Try This Workout

My new coach is relentless. As soon as I've achieved a new fast pace she yells at me to run faster. And she doesn't allow stopping for anything. Plus, I have to push her in a baby jogger throughout my whole workout!

Little N is brutal, unforgiving, destined to be a high school PE teacher or the dictator of a banana republic.

She does LOVE the baby jogger and going for runs with me. It's quite motivating to have a happy little cheerleader. And if I'm lucky she nods off for a nap during the run, allowing me to take a break.

No running today. I'm all knotted up. We'll do some yoga to get the kinks out.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Momma's Got a Brand New Bag

Back home and it's the first week of the new schedule, aka - no preschool/daycare and mommy at home. So far (3 days) so good.

It's settle back in time after a pleasant trip to AZ and Grammy's ranch. The girls have no idea yet how lucky they are to have a Grammy with HORSES. I'm sure it will sink in when their little friends get jealous.

We were welcomed home by the kitties AND a broken water heater. Yay. Just what I wanted for Xmas. So I spent some quality time with my dad and little N installing a new water heater. Of course it turned out to be 10x more difficult than anticipated because we had to jerry-rig earthquake straps, solder a new pipe into place for the pressure valve and the hot water pipes to the kitchen sink became clogged when we used it to bleed air from the water tank thus creating a whole NEW project. I just reassembled the faucet before plunking myself down infront of the 'puter.

The Hub and I got some quality runs in in AZ. We actually ran together once, first time in literally years. Someone always has to be home with the kids ya know.

We checked out some of the properties for sale. Fabulous ranch houses three times the size of our little bungalow for hundreds of thousands of dollars less than what our tiny little place is worth. It was nice to dream of more than one bathroom...and luxury ones at that! I've never seen anything in the Phoenix job listings that would be suitable for The Hub or I.

And then there's summer. I'm not sure how I feel about three months of 115 degree weather.

November is deceiving in AZ - the weather is just about perfect, tricking you into thinking that moving is a distint possibility. I'll have to visit again in July to see if it's really possible.

Little N and I are going to saddle up the baby jogger and head out on an afternoon run. Hopefully she'll nap too. Tonight is M's winter concert at her school. I hope it's not too long.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Life Less Feral

It's little N's last day at daycare/preschool. I've told her about it, I think she gets it and it seems like she doesn't care. I hope so. I have fun plans for her so that she should be happy post-preschool.

Me? Well, I certainly haven't been hitting the trails much as of late. I've actually been doing things like baking, which is totally unlike me. I've also been doing some heavy duty home repair like refinishing walls and the deck. Makes me feel all macho and useful. And kind of domesticated...eeek.

But change is good and getting things done is good too. I'll post before and after pics when I'm done. As for the running - the more intense workouts I'll do in the early mornings and on track evenings. During the day I'll bust out the baby jogger for adventure with the N.

Running today - A little run around the 'hood with some tempo in for good measure.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


How can there still be pirates?

You've probably heard about the pirates cruising off the coast of Africa. They've been big news since they took over a Saudi oil tanker.

I love cartoony pirates. Like
these guys - and this hunk. I'm sure I wouldn't like these guys at all.

A few years back I spent some time in Kenya. I stayed for a while in a city called Mombasa on the coast. I spent a lot of time throwing rocks at monkeys to keep them off my balcony and out of my food. I encountered the most spider infested public toilet there near the beach and I actually used it because I had no choice.

I remember going down to the beach for the first time when I got there and I encountered...NO ONE. Completely empty. Not a soul on a pristine white sands beach that met the bluest water imaginable. I walked up and down. No sunbathers. No fishing boats. There are lots of open spaces and wild places out there, even close to relatively large city like Mombasa. You could get away with a lot. Pirates are not out of the question.

Great run around town with some of the trackmates. It was Trackarchy! My pace is improving. Did about 6 miles in the dark hills around town chatting with a few of my running friends. The weather was crisp and cool but I could have worn shorts instead of my tights (wimp).

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ditchin' Daycare

We chose this daycare because:

1. the facilities were beautiful, clean and safe.

2. the teachers were great

3. they served hot fresh lunch meals

4. the price was reasonable

We're leaving because:

1. I'm not working outside the home anymore (mostly this)

2. it's too darn far away

3. the administration is a bit harsh

The secretary at little N's daycare hates kids. She just can't hide it. We call her Ms. Sunshine. Why do people who hate kids work in schools and daycares? It's like why do people who can't manage become managers? The Peter Principle in action.

Ms. Sunshine scowls like the grim reaper and barks hello to every kid as they get to school in the mornings. If they don't say hello back she yells hello at them until they do. She's not happy to see them, so why does she bother to say hello?

Both Ms. Sunshine and The Director expect little kids to act like adults. This is my biggest complaint. But they are fiercely protective and watchful of the kids. So I've never been worried for either of my little tikes there and I've always felt that they were safe.

I called to give little N's required two-week notice. Ms. Sunshine was noticably surprised. Her voice jumped an octave and she nervously exchanged pleasantries with me. I'm sure that she's wondering why we're leaving and thinking the worst. It's just in her nature.

Ms. Sunshine amuses me in an ironic, dark way.

I wonder if Little N is going to miss her preschool and her friends, if she'll be sad. I'll sign her up for some classes and take her out to the parks and reading circles at the library and such. Hopefully we'll meet other kids. I also wonder if she'll miss some of her favorite teachers, heck I'll be kinda glum about not seeing them again.

Or maybe it'll be like the nummie. We thought it was going to be a battle royal to get her to kick the habit but it only took one evening. I'm hoping for a smooth transition.


Went for a nice 3 miler in the sunshine this morning and then did a crossfit workout. I was too lazy to change the weight on the bar from when the hubby worked out. It was 10 lbs heavier than what I've been dealing with. So now I've upped the squats, thrusts and pushes by 10lbs. Go me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Go With the Flow

Words to live by.
I've been trying to force things into happening lately. We'd do well with my income...if I had one. But maybe that's NOT what I'm really supposed to be doing right now. The job hunt not only is exasperating and apparently futile...but it FEELS that it's that way for a reason. It's not meant to be. I ignored my intuition when I took that last crappy job from which I was laid off. Now when I search for jobs and send out resumes it just leaves me feeling more stressed than if I hadn't done anything at all. My intuition is banging me over the head with a hammer. Maybe I should listen this time?

It's not meant to be. Something ELSE is supposed to happen. I'm supposed to be doing something else. So I'm not going to continue doing what I think I should be doing. I'm going to to do what I'm lead to do. Again, that intuition thing that I've been too afraid to follow.

Ah fear...there's my old enemy again. Ignore fear and follow intuition. Easy to say, not so easy to follow through with.

This means taking little N out of daycare/preschool. That will free up a HEFTY amount of money that we've been paying to keep our spot there for when I got another job. We can use that money for so many other things. And I'm so tired of driving her there. Little N will be able to take some dance or art classes instead for a mere pittance in comparison to the cost of preschool. I miss her during the day anyway, it'll be nice to have her around.

Then I can shift my workouts back to early morning before everyone wakes up. A guarranteed way to get them done! And a way to get some valuable quiet me time.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Time...and Large Cats

It's already 12:30pm and I've hardly accomplished a thing. I've updated my resume and added a few samples to it for easy sending and more visibility, so that's something at least. And I have sent out a few to some job prospects. But it's nothing that I can see or hold in my hand. And probably nothing will come of it but sadly I must keep at it or give up entirely. It such a dismal, time consuming process.


Another large cat sighting in the area. This one is amazing. I Google mapped the intersection where said kitty was spotted crossing the street and leaping into a suburban yard. It is a quite well manicured area and not at all wild. Why don't I ever get to see anything like this? I'd probably pee my run shorts...but still it'd be worth it if I wasn't eaten.

Workout today - will be yesterday's CrossFit and CrossFit Endurance workout. Yeehaw.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

It's 5pm and I think that this is going to end up being a rest day workout wise. Because of the holiday the girls were home and we had to get out and find something for them to do so that they wouldn't tear the house apart.

So we picked up Omi (grandma) and drove over to Princeton Harbor just north of Half Moon Bay. Omi and Opi own some property out there so Omi got to check out what was going on out there and we got to have fun at the seashore at the same time.

I've been going back and forth with two possible job prospects and waiting, waiting, waiting for them to get back to me. I'm at a point where I need an answer because I have to make some child care decisions pronto. I need an answer from them to get be able to make some changes that I've been wanting to make. Job prospects always take much longer than they estimate they will. I hate job hunting, it's terrible for the ego.

I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving. It's become my favorite holiday.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Good Outcomes

Well, my guy won and I am happy. I hope if your guy didn't win that you're not too upset. It's going to be okay, really it is. I'm confident that this positive change will improve our standing in the world. As my mother, an emigrant, said, "This isn't the country that I fought so hard to come to." I'm looking forward to more diplomacy, less bombs. More thinking, less knee-jerk reactions. More oversight over institutions that need it. More work on infrastructure, education and health care. We need to clean up our own house. I'll pick up a broom and start, wanna help?


On the workout front -

I'm now following CrossFit and CrossFit Endurance. Yesterday I did both WODs. They are ass-kickin' but fun. Today is a rest day for Endurance, and I'll do the main WOD for CrossFit in a little while. It is -

Five rounds for max reps of:Body weight bench press & Pull-ups

I've been doing a lot of pull ups lately on these WODs. They are getting easier everyday plus I'm getting some pretty nifty definition in my arms. I like these short and explosive workouts. I'm done quickly and I'm seeing and feeling results quickly. It probably has something to do with my muscle make-up (I do think I have more fast-twitch fibers). I've also cut down on my sugar intake. That has made a dramatic difference in my appearance. I look much more cut. When I really paid attention to the garbage carbs that I was taking in and cut them way down I immediately lost five pounds. I'm adhering to more of a paleolithic style diet now, which isn't that tough because I love veggies and meat more than breads and sweets.

This is all an experiment of course (an experiment of one). We'll see how I react to it. I'm supposed to get my cholesterol checked soon. I'm very interested in how the "Caveman Diet" will effect my levels. From all of the research that I've read it should have a good effect on it. I'll report the results. I haven't had my cholesterol checked in years, I just remember that it was normal before. (Something like 170/53 I think. )

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


obama - biden graphics

So now you know how I voted. Voted weeks ago by absentee. It's the only way to fly, seriously because I live in Murphy's Law Land. If I were voting today both my kids would have food poisoning and the roof would cave in on the polling place. I highly recommend voting absentee so that you can sit in the comfort of your own home, have a nice relaxing drink and figure out all of those damn propositions in private.

I can't believe that it's almost over. I'll probably be up all night watching election night coverage. Yes, I was a polisci major in college.


The creepy little kid, my three year old, pitched the biggest fit this morning on the way to preschool (see what would have been happening if I had been going to the polling booth!). It was all about the lack of snacks in the car. I knew it was bad because both shoes and socks were yanked and thrown. Somehow this is a punishment or an indictment on me, whatever it's BAD. I ended up having to leave her at preschool screaming at me barefoot in a hallway. I was shooed out by the teachers and directors who know (as I do too) that as soon as the parent is out of sight the kid calms down. It's tough, but they're right. She's such a bullheaded little thing. I'm hoping that she channels that righteous indignation to effective study methods for med school and effective training for the 2020 Olympics. It's possible.

Tonight is track night. 8 x 400m. I love 400 meter repeats. Really. It's like the perfect distance. And at some time today I'll do the CrossFit WOD. Maybe at the track. I know you're supposed to do them separately but who has the time???

Monday, November 03, 2008

Post Halloween

Well, it's done. The girls had a great time although I think they were exhausted before we ever even got out to do the trick or treating. Maya feel asleep at dinner time and had to be poked awake.

Our neighborhood has a few blocks that go ALL OUT for Halloween. Every house does a haunted house thing. One of the haunted houses reported to me that they had over 1000 trick or treaters. They made multiple candy runs throughout the night.

Nadya was quite taken by the creepiest devil decoration I'd ever seen but terrified of the goofy cute skeletons. Go figure. She kept saying, "But I LOOVE the devil monster!" to everyone who would listen. I think she really freaked some moms out because they had to ask me, "Ummm, what is she saying?" So we had to go back to look at the devil monster that was up on one of the haunted houses' balconey. She proclaimed him her friend. She's a creepy little kid.


So with all of the family stuff going on I'm woefully undertrained for ultras. There will be no Stinson 50k...and that's okay. I'm really enjoying the family things and the upcoming holidays. I just don't have the time or the inner drive for the training. I've started doing Crossfit and Crossfit Endurance. It seems to be doing something for me! I've lost about 8 lbs and firmed up. I' definitely have more definition in my arms and abs. And I have more time to do other things. I'm hoping that Crossfit Endurance will help me regain my lost speed as it involves a lot of interval type training. I'm going to do Crossfit workouts exclusively throughout the winter to see how it affects me. I'm banking on it being a good base that I could spring off of easily and do an ultra or two from it. I find the philosophy to be interesting and I'm predicting that it will do well for my body.

Since I'll probably regain some speed I'll try my hand at some shorter races again. I haven't done a 5k in many years. It might be fun, it will definitely be painful I'm sure. But at a 5k I won't be gone for hours and my kids can watch me barf at the finish line.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's Soggy Outside

Or so my kindergartener says. And that wasn't even coached, she came up with that all by herself. Yep, we're back to the early morning fog. I can't decide if I like or hate it. It's beautiful, but it's chilly. After a few miles, it DOES feel good...but it takes some time to get used to. And I hate that first step outta the door into it. I end up putting on capri running leggings when I really should have just worn shorts because I get too hot half way through the run.

But what I'm a complaining about? I didn't even go running this morning. Only because I'll be hitting the track tonight for Tuesday Night Track. I'll run there and back. In my capri tights.


Only a coupla days 'till Halloween. I got a sh*tload of candy for the event. I won't need as much as I got but I'm buying for leftovers for the kids. We'll have candy treats for 1/2 a year now. Seriously I need to fill them up on something because they seem to be in growth spurts now. I can't believe how much a skinny little kindergartner can put away. Where does it go? Hubby suggested that we rebuild the house gingerbread style so that they can just break off pieces when they are hungry. I'm considering it.

Oh and I saw some lawn fairies a few nights ago....

Monday, October 27, 2008

So I've Been Tagged

Angie tagged me. That means I have to list 6 different things about myself that others may not know. Here it goes -

1. I love bagpipes. I don't know why, but I love bagpipe music. I really dig running to it. Some of my favorites are a band called Enter the Haggis, and The Great Big Sea.

2. I haven't been anywhere in ages but in my earlier life I traveled to 32 different countries. Mostly to archeaological and nature sites. My dad worked for an airline so my folks took advantage of the benefits.

3. I almost was a ballet dancer. I had been a dancer since the age of 3. I was really good and I performed a lot through my highschool years. Decided it was better for me to go to college and to stop starving myself.

4. I love pirates and ninjas.

5. I speak German

6. I'm arachnaphobic but I appreciate and I'm fascinated by spiders. This leads Hubby to show me every picture and movie on uTube of large exotic spiders that he finds. I won't kill them - if I find a tarantula I'll shew it across the road...but I won't touch it.


Running Report - Very little. But actually it kind of feels good to take a break. I went out for an hour on Saturday. Maybe I'll get out this evening for a bit. Right now I'm putting family first and it's taking a lot of stress out of my life. But I do miss the trails! I'll be back, I promise!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Down Time

I had a super fun run with my littlest one (she was in the baby jogger) yesterday. We checked out all of the cool Halloween decorations. The most amazing one is a two-story high spider in a web covering the entire front of a house. I kid you not.

That run really left me wanting more. I wanted to get out there and get those miles in that I need for Stinson. I was ready. I was able.

Then I woke up this morning.

Sniffly. Sore throat. Achy.

There's not a damn thing I can do. I have a hot cup of tea, a book and the TV. I applied to some jobs...

And then the weather! Does it have to be scrumptiously perfect out when I'm sick? I thought of laying down outside on the grass for a nap in the sun...but I feel a bit vulnerable out there. I could get a nut buried in my ear or something.

There's nothing more aggravating than forced rest.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Home Improvement

Well, if I haven't been running lots at least I've been getting SOMETHING done. I just completed a two day oven installation extravaganza. I got to spend a lot of time with my dad who is Mr. Fixit, owns every tool known to man and knows how to build anything and everything. Seriously. I haven't found a mechanism that he can figure out and fix. He's a "retired" mechanic.
Next it's back to replastering my walls and then painting them. Then I'll rip out the carpets and refinish the floors.


Today I also picked up Simba the cat's ashes. That opened up wounds all over again. I still miss him everyday and catch myself looking for him. I can't believe that all I have left of him is pictures, ashes, some saved fur and a clay pawprint. He was too young to go, I fully expected him to be with us for a long time. It's times like these that I'm really banking on an afterlife to keep myself sane. (Picture of Simba sleeping peacefully in the backyard a few weeks before his untimely death)


Running today? Dunno. We finished the stove thing rather quickly, so maybe I'll get out before I go to volunteer at the animal shelter tonight. The whole Simba thing has gotten me down. I'm sure that going out for a trail run would make me feel better, it's just a matter of actually getting myself out there.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Always When I Don't Have my Camera

My hubby, (to be known as Hub from this point on) is baffled by why I carry a camera with me on my runs. Hub was looking for pictures in my files this weekend and saw all of my trail pics and was perplexed. He couldn't believe that I carried a camera with me on my last race. Hub is officially out of the loop and on his way to geezerhood.

Yesterday I went on a 6 miler or so in the neighborhood. I was trying to get something in with some flats, as when I run trails around here it's only hills or mountains all of the time. It's great for training, and I'm glad that we have such rugged terrain but sometimes the bod needs a break. And I wanted to work on some technique and maybe a little bit of my non-existant speed. I didn't bring my camera. I thought about it because there are some cute decorations up around the neighborhood, but the less to drag around with me the better.

So up in the hills (I can't avoid them totally) in one of the woodsier neighboorhoods I passed by a house with a long walkway to the front door. Right near the street in the middle of the walkway stood a large statue of a buck. I thought it was a wierd place to put a statue...then it turned its head and watched me trot by. I stopped. He was quite lovely. Beautiful healthy coat, shiny wet nose and multiple points on his antlers. Behind him stood a more nervous doe. The three of us admired each other for at least a minute before the buck was startled by a walker coming down the road. It's been a long time since I've seen deer in the neighborhood, it was so nice to see them again. And it would have been an awsome picture, so of course I didn't have my camera with me.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Still Not Really on the Wagon

Well I did go for that 6 mile run. And it was good. But I didn't go for that trail run the next day. Nor for a run today either. And I just don't feel like it.

I'm hoping to cattle prod myself outta bed tomorrow morning for a run. At least I've been productive in other ways, lotsa house work and even some freelance writing (woohoo!). But I'm going to start getting fat and lazy soon if I don't do something.

I wish I had decided to end my seaon after STTS. But Noooooo! I had to sign up for Stinson. So I have a little wee bit over a month to get ready for another 50k. Gah.

On a happier note it appears that little N may be potty trained. Finally. Well, that's something good at least.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Gettin' Back on the Wagon...

I haven't blogged since my race! I've thought a lot about blogging and what I'd say, but just didn't get around to it. Didn't want to turn on the ole 'puter for awhile.

Running has been sporadic in the past two weeks. First the family got hit by the first back-to-school virus, so that slowed everyone down for a few days. And then we tragically lost one of our dear kitty cats when he was hit by a car. We're still devasted. He was quite a character and we loved him dearly. It's hard to write about. I just haven't felt like doing much, running included.

But, in a few minutes I'll get out for a morning run. I've shoved everyone else off to work and school. I'll probably get in a 6 miler or so. Tomorrow I'll get out on the trails again.

Last night we had a thank you dinner for Frank our volunteer Tuesday night track coach. He's "retiring" from this duty.

So many things seem to be changing - changes in the the track group, loosing our dear kitty, etc. - and I don't like it. I crave some stability and sameness. I know that nothing is permanent but change...but I don't think I'm coping so well with it. All of the changes in my life are piling on top of each other and I'd just like them to stop. I've always been one to roll with the punches pretty effectively but I'd just like to call uncle on them for now. Enough is enough!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

I am now officially an ultrarunner!

And my quads are toast. Plus I have about 12 -15 super itchy wasp/yellowjacket/something stings. But I'm happy.

Aunt Cathy was super wonderful and drove me to the start of the point to point Skyline to the Sea (now known as Skyline to the Bees) 50K race. It was beautifully cool, foggy and misty. Perfect running weather.

The race started at a plodding walking pace. Perfect. That's the way I like to start a race! No bolting out of the gate...hey folks, we'll be out here for a few hours.

The first 6 miles or so were mostly downhill to the first aid station. I had fun listening to everyone's conversations around me and piping in here and there. At about 3ish miles in I heard people screaming on the trail up ahead. Huh? That's not good.

Wasps, yellowjackets...killer bees? We're not sure what they were but they were darned angry and protective of their digs. We encountered several pockets of these buggers through the race up until about the midpoint. Then blessedly we didn't have anymore. The worst for me was right after the China Grade Aid Station where one went down my shirt and stung me a couple of times on the neck and back. I happened to be crossing a "bridge" that was only a single wooden plank over a break in the trail. I nearly went ass over teakettle into the ravine.

China Grade was the biggest uphill in this race. Didn't seem bad at all and I was really being conservative and did a lot of hiking on the hills. I probably didn't need to and would have had a much better finishing time if I hadn't. I found the extreme downhills to be worse. I actually WANTED to go uphill instead! I was way too conservative on the five mile loop at Gazos Creek. There was a pretty steep uphill of a few kilometers that I mostly hiked, which was okay but I could've run some of it easily. But not knowing what to expect I played everything very conservatively.

The Famous Dirt Diva Catra and her man Andy were at the Gazos Creek aid station. So I got to see them twice as there was a loop there. Thanks for being there guys. It really motivated me in the miles before that to know that there was someone there I knew.

It was the downhills that killed me! Especially around Berry Creek Falls. Lots of rocks and very steep downhills that required big strides that I was no longer happy about/capable of that late in the game. I started talking to and yelling at the rocks. Like after millions of years laying there they had no right to be in MY way.

Okay, so I shut up so that no one would pull me for hallucinating. My wasp stings were all taking turns burning - first the ones on my left arm, then the ones on my right shoulder, then the ones under my right shoulder and lastly the neck/back ones. Then the cycle would start all over again. At least they took my mind off of my back/upper glutes which were very tight. They've been tight for a while so I wasn't surprised. I was just hoping that they wouldn't go out on me or something. Surprisingly, they seem totally fine and even loose now! My quads are what is tight and tired now!

After Berry Creek Falls the trail widens out and slopes gently downward for the most part. Every little rock in the trail required a lot of brain power for me to avoid. I ate half of a Cliff Bar. Where in the world is that last aid station? I knew that when I hit that aid station there was only 2-plus a little bit of miles to go! Around every twist and turn I looked for that aid station. They must be moving it further away as I run toward it! Did they shut it down already??

There was much rejoicing when I found it. There was even more rejoicing when I found out that there were only 1.9 miles to go!!! I didn't really need anything at this station, just added a bit more water to my bag for the final assault and I was off.

I emerged from the woods next to some farms and fields. This was a total dejavu moment, I remembered this scene from running here years ago. It can't be far now.

Suddenly there were people and cars and a parking lot! Is this it? Not yet. I see the striped ribbons up ahead signaling a turn around a building. The trail then dove into a wierd hedgerow type of environment that was sort of marshy too. Crossed a couple of little bridges over streams. What the heck is this? The bushes are at least 15 feet high on either side. It's like running through a tunnel. I start to doubt that I'm going the right way....

And then bam! I'm out and there are orange cones and a finish line. And there's hubby scrambling for his camera. And it's finished! I'm done. I'm an ultrarunner!


Things That Weren't so Great -

  • Probably ran too conservatively - I'm really not at all upset about that, better safe than sorry, I didn't know what the heck to expect!

  • Wasps/bee stings - Eh! Whatever. It's nature and you've got to expect it. I rather have that than a lot of other things.

Things That Went Great!

  • Volunteers, Aid Stations, Race Directors - Great race guys! Thank you so much!

  • No turned ankles, falls or anything like that

  • No blisters, toenails are all accounted for

  • Finished strong. I could still run.

Today, my quads are still quite sore. Decending anything is a bitch. But I'm smiling. I'll be running again in a few days and looking forward to the Stinson Beach 50K!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tomorrow is THE DAY

Yikes, or Zoikes! as Scooby would say.

It's here, I knew the time would come eventually. I wish I could have gotten two more looooong runs in to feel really confident...but there's no time now. Skyline to the Sea is tomorrow.

I have my transportation all figured out. Hubby and girls are going to drop me off at Saratoga Gap at about 8ish and meet with hubby's aunt for breakfast and hanging out together for the rest of the time. Maybe going to Santa Cruz. I will run for 6ish+ hours through the woods. I'll give them a call from just before the finish if I'll be earlier (by some miracle of the running gods no doubt).

I'm going to get my bag all packed and my hydration pack all packed today/tonight. I'll make sure that I have everything set so that I don't have to worry about it at all. Since I already have the willies I don't want to add any more stress to myself because I'll just become a crazy whiny fool.

Today, a little yoga and stretching. And my usual Friday evening volunteering at the local no-kill animal shelter. And then a goooood night's sleep if I can get it.

Wish me luck! The next post will be about the race.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I'm not sure why it works but it does. Better than regular stretching, yoga seems to loosen up all those knots on me. I'm going to go hit that mat again today to loosen up that lower back.

I might go for a wee little trail run at Edgewood today to get the willies out. I'm getting excited for the the race on Saturday. I'm actually not scared or nervous...I'm totally excited for it. Is that a good sign? I hope so. I can't wait for a beautiful day in the woods where I'll be met at the finish line by my kiddos, my hubby and his auntie.

I'm enjoying my off-time from regular 9-5 work. I've enjoyed it so much that I've decided for sure that I'm not going back. Life is so much better for the family this way. I have some emerging opportunities to do some fitness training part time -which I'm exploring (everyone cross their fingers!) The changes are exciting, and needed. Like so many other friends out there in blogger land this fall seems to be a season of change. And I believe that they are all good changes!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Taper Caper

All I want to do is go on a long run in the woods. Because I shouldn't.

Today it will be an easy something or other around here and some Yoga. My butt and back are tight again. I'm constantly stretching but it doesn't seem to be helping. Some gooood downward dogs should help. Happy running everyone and congrats to everyone who ran Angeles Crest this past weekend. It sounds like it was epic!

Transcendant Trail Run Pics

Right after this sign things get really steep.
This is looking down the canyon...I just can't seem to capture how steep it is here.
The beginning of the Lonely Trail, which it is. Nothing else intersects it until the end. Parts of the trail get thin and worn away so you can tell that not too many people get up and out into these parts.
I found this little dude on the Lonely Trail. Ain't he cute?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Transcendant Trail Run

(Will update with pictures when camera is charged up!)

I did my last long run yesterday from Huddart thru Phleger, over the Skyline Trail to Wunderlich and back again. All in all it was about 20 miles I think. My Nike iPod thingy crapped out in the middle somewhere and was on "pause" for some unknown reason so I lost some mileage there. It's just details....doesn't really matter.

Yesterday was glorious, gorgeous, spectacular on the trail! I was a little creeped out up on the Lonely Trail all by myself, but I eventually got over it with some endorphins and the beauty of the redwoods plus the perfect weather. I didn't pass a single other runner on the trail through my whole run! That in itself didn't make it a great run, it was just strange to see no one at all. I wouldn't have minded some company.

I noticed that the big climb of the Miramontes Trail just before the Lonely Trail intersection was a lot easier than when I ran it before. It's a tough, steep climb -- but this time I wasn't winded at all. All of the climbs have suddenly become easier! I almost felt like I was floating up the mountain! I must have lost weight and gained some fitness. It's funny how it seems to happen suddenly, out of no where. I've been training hard for months, but the changes seem to come over night and surprise me.

I love this feeling of fitness! It's better than any tequilla drink or ice cream sundae. It's freedom. That's what I like the best about it. I'm suddenly unencumbered by my lungs or dragging my fat body up a trail huffing and puffing. To dance along the trail is a feeling that I've missed since 2000. That day that I broke my leg I was having a fabulous trail run, ironically my husband was huffing and puffing behind me not having a great day. Luckily he had enough in the tank to carry me out to the car.

And the freedom to have no fear on the trails! More than fitness, more than laziness it's fear that has kept me from going very far. I had to get over the fear of breaking my leg again or doing something else damaging out on the trail. The leg break was a freak accident, not something that normally happens. But now I carry my cellphone and a bunch of other things in my water pack incase of emergency, so I'm prepared. And when I run alone I'm cautious on the downhills and very conscious of every single footfall.

I do fight the eebie jeeies about mountain lions. I have seen mountain lions, so it's not a baseless fear, BUT -- they've never done anything to me or even hinted at doing anything to me. Of the encounters that I've had (3) two were clearly bored by our prescence and the third was scared out of his wits. I welcome the other animal encounters, coyotes, bobcats, deer, etc. I don't listen to my iPod when I run trails, I like to be aware of everything around me (and hear the birds sing and the squirrels chatter)

I finished my long run strong! That's what I'm proudest and happiest about. I actually sprinted in and didn't feel strained or super tired. I really concentrated on my pose form throughout and I think that this made it the great run that it was. I have confidence that next weekend will be good for me. I can't wait until a 50k training run is no problem for me...a walk in the woods! (Yes, I secretly want to be Catra).

Today I feel pretty good. My lower back is tight and needs stretching, but that seems to be my ailment of the month and was not caused by the run. So now it's taper time. Low mileage...take it easy 'till next Saturday... :)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Track Day?

Hmmmm. Maybe I'll do a technique training day. Yeah, that's the ticket...I'll work on technique at the track rather than speed. I don't think that any heavy speed work is going to help me all that much at this point. In fact I'm afraid of it hurting. So if I happen to go fast due to better technique...well so be it!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Whew! Hot Spell

Wow! We had a long spell of hot (for us) weather. About a week of 90+ temps. What was cool about it is that it didn't bother me at all - so I guess I'm heat trained and acclimated...just in time for the end of summer!

Well, actually, it is good because we do get some of our hottest weather in the fall. So I'm prepared. Much better than the Big Basin race where the heat just bitch-slapped me into a whining pile of meat. I was being such a baby.


On my long run last week I hit Huddart Park during the heatwave and did a nice 2 hour loop in the woods. It wasn't nearly as long as I wanted to go but I ran out of time after having done some errands that I shoud've done on another day. But maybe it was good that I had a little bit of an easy week on the mileage because I was starting to feel a little ragged.

It was 95 degrees in the parking lot. That's pretty hot for around these parts. What makes it even hotter is that most of us don't have air conditioning in our houses so they become little ovens during these heatwaves. But, like I said, it didn't seem to bother me this time around. As I headed off on the trail ( I went out Zweirlein to Crystal Springs) there were gray squirrels just kickin' it in the middle of the trail. They'd lay with their legs splayed out, bellies dug into the dirt in the shade to cool off. Very, very mad when I disturbed their comfort.

As I wound up the mountain I concentrated on leaning into the hill and using gravity as my friend - i.e. "falling" up the mountain. I'm revisiting the Pose Method as I'm feeling that my running is getting too much like plodding. I discovered a little tidbit of information buried inside Dr. Romanov's book. He mentions briefly as you learn the method to just kind of bounce in place to get the feeling of elasticity in your legs. This helped my relax my feet and ankles too, which were very strained and stressed. Why on earth do I carry tension in my feet? Anyway, this little excercise created a kind of "aha!" moment for me, relieving the tension in my ankles and feet and giving me that right Pose Method feeling back again.

Going up the mountain you end up running through two different types of forest - an oaky brushy one and the redwood forest. The oaky one makes me nervous. Strikes me as the best place for a mountain lion to sneak around. It's also very dry right now, dryer than I remember ever seeing it. It looks like some of the springs have dried up as I saw a lot of ferns that were totally dead. I just hope we make it to the rainy season soon and without an awful fire up there. There's a big section of this brushy forest that I run through on the Crystal Springs Trail. I love getting out of it and back into the redwoods again. The redwoods are also noticeably cooler and moister. Great for running. And the trails under the redwoods are noticeably softer and smoother.

I always forget about one section near the top that is so steep it's pretty much unrunnable. Makes me cuss out loud. At least here I was entertained by a beautiful pileated woodpecker. I tried to get a picture of him but he just laughed at me and swooped from tree to tree. I've seen more of these this year than ever before.

I got to the top in good time and was super happy to have the rollercoaster downhill home ahead of me. Just as i was blasting around a turn a very young buck with little stubble horns bolted across the trail about an arm's length infront of me. I tried to get some pictures of him and his three girlfriends but my hand was pretty shaky right after that, and he wasn't holding still either.

I was surprised to feel so good on the way down. I "posed" it down Chincapin to the Dean trail and back down to Zwierlein. My legs felt nice and springy for a change. I saw a coupla bunnies just before the Werder campground area and tried to get some pictures of them but they were off and bounding by the time I got my camera out.


This week I'll do a looooong training run and then start tapering for Skyline to the Sea. I think a good final long, long run will give me the confidence and stamina to pop that 50K bubble. There's nothing more that I can do for the event except just do it. The best I can do after my last long run is....nothing. Actually, taper which I know is going to be sooo hard!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

End of Summer

I can feel it in the air. Fall is coming. And there are Halloween decorations at Target. All the signs are there....summer is coming to an end.

Every year it seems to come sooner and it feels harder to accept. I like summer, a lot. I like it being light for so many hours. I like the warmth. I'm not ready for fall and winter yet.

Sometimes I do like the nip in the air and the peacefulness of running in the dark. But I think I dislike it more than like it. One of the problems is that it's always sort of winter here and never really winter. All the seasons are like that. Oddly enough I think that I'd tolerate the winter more if it would just really be a big bad snowy winter and get it over with already. We get a wet, grey, drippy, old gym sock of a winter out here with lots of grey days and endless nowhere rain that is neither a storm or a sprinkle. Boring. And very un-Yuletide-y.


Just for the record - I had a dream about a big earthquake. Let's hope it means nothing more than that I need antacids before going to bed.


We celebrated the end of summer by heading up to hillbilly heaven for a bit of outdoor recreation. There was much running, trail hiking, dirt collecting on clothing and just futsing around. The long weekend went by way, way too quickly. The kids are still tired. Nadya napped on the way to school this morning. Now that's tired!

I almost did the 20 miler of the Run on the Sly race series but opted to sleep in instead. It just was too much to squish into a family weekend on late notice. I'm definitely putting it on the calendar for next year, and then it will be the 50k.

We did visit the trails that the race was run on. And we accidentally visited the spot where in 2000 I tripped on some inbedded rocks and broke my leg. It took a long time for me to be able to run again, and a long time for me to be able to run on trails without being afraid of this happening again. I feel so lucky to have healed so well.

Infamous leg-breaking rocks on trail around Jenkinson (aka Sly) Lake

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mills Canyon Run

Here's some pictures of the Mills Canyon section of my neighborhood runs. Enjoy!
There's more that I'll post later. It seems that Blogger only lets me post a few at a time.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Long Runs and my Aching Butt

Yesterday I wanted to go running at Edgewood Park but ending up just running around the neighborhood because I ran out of time. And wouldn't it just figure that I missed out on seeing some kitties. Apparently there were two mountain lions spotted moseying into the park from the west (so from Canada Road side). I bet they were young siblings. I hope that they don't get into any trouble and that people leave them alone.


I ran outta time yesterday because I had a chiro appointment to fix my twisted sacroiliac joints. Apparently my butt is too tight. (Okay, yeah, tight ass jokes). Alright, so I'm no supermodel but I guess that I at least have to pay a bit more attention to my glute stretches. Along with the usual cracking and popping I endured some Graston Technique treatments. This involves deep massage with medieval torture device-like metal implements. All my bones are back in their proper alignments now, but now I have bruises all over my talibone. And my glutes were definitely still tight for my long run today. I got that not so terrific tight/tingly feeling in my butt muscles, and I just generally feel too tight back there to really get my legs swinging effectively. Ah well, this too shall pass with proper stretching...which I admit I have not been doing. Idiot.

My run was otherwise good...I crossed Skyline Blvd. at the top and tooled around for a bit in Corte de Madera too. I have to check my maps for that place to get a good additional route mapped out to extend my run. I also went up and down Skyline Trail towards Huddart for a bit. It was quite warm out, but not miserable. What's so nice is that the woods keep the hot sun from beating down on you keeping you cool even during the heat of the day.
What I want to know is what is up with the squirrels out there? There is much unneccessary spazzing when I run past them on the trails. They've got to be used to humans, somewhat. Are people hunting and eating them? I had one panic so badly when I came around a blind turn up near the top that he nearly ran under my feet trying to get away. It's some good comic relief, but I hope I don't fall into a ravine from tripping over one of those hairballs.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

One Month to Go

Sans make-up, growing my hair out.
Well it's now about 1 month to go 'till the Skyline to the Sea 50k. Am I on track? I dunno. I think I'll only know when I cross that line a month from now.

The Tuesday Track workout was 1600, 1200, 800, 600, 400 and a 200. Pretty much just what I needed, I think. I got some good leg speed going at the end. I may have been too careful and slow for the 1600 and 1200 though at about an 8min pace for those. I had a lot of gas left after them, so I hit it really hard for the 600 on down.

I took Wednesday off and today I'll do a five miler on the trails, probably Wunderlich. I'm waiting to get in touch with my chiropractor because my sacroiliac joint feels a outta whack. No one is in their office today until 1pm, so I have to wait around.

Tomorrow I'll do a long run. Trails of course!

That contract gig came lookin' for me again. This time no overtime. So I decided to give it a little whirl and make a few extra $$$s for a few weeks at least. So I'll have to push my runs to the very early morning (ugh, yawn!). At least for a little while. I'll start next Tuesday, same day as my oldest starts kindergarten. But I'll start late, after I bring her in and get her settled.

At the very least the extra $$$s will pay for the Halloween costumes that I've already ordered for the kids. Ariel and Snow White. Disney owns our asses.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Monday's Run

I did a little 5k of my own. Not fast, but not slow either. I think I'm speeding up! The weekly track sessions are helping put some spring in my step again.

This run was orchestrated to get the lactic acid out of my muscles and relieve the soreness from my long run on the roads. It worked! I felt much looser and soreness-free after my run and shower.

Today....track workout.

Not All Opportunities Should be Taken....

Well, my interview went really well but what I found out about the job made it a no-go. They expect the person in that job to work from 8am to 8pm at least. I am not kidding! Seriously. They have a crazy deadline to meet and it would all fall on me. So, someone else's lack of planning would become my torture. No thank you. Plus, it wasn't enough money either. And where's my training and mommy time? Ridiculous. If you want a machine, hire a computer...oh wait, you can't hire a machine to do a person's creative work? Hmmmm. Then you need to treat people like people and not machines. Oh, and plan better. I'm sure that you've known for quite a while when you needed the work done by.

I don't wish them anything bad, it's just that it seems to be the same old story that I endlessly run into. Treat people terribly, work the hell out of them and then spit them out. The interviewer basically admitted to me that they needed to do things fast because they are planning on laying off some of the workers that they are working to death right now. Right after the deadline hits. So again, no thank you.

It's a great learning experience. In the past I'd do too much, bend too much for my work. It really was a confidence problem. And whenever I'd do this things would turn out to be a disaster. I'd be unhappy, and then my work would suffer. Or I'd really lay it all out on the line, do a great job, killing myself in the process and NEVER get repaid. Someone else would get the promotion, or I wouldn't even get thanked for my efforts. As a friend of mine said, "I'm learning to own my seniority and defend my boundaries." She's right. It's hard to me to stick to my guns, but I will. The agency has called me back TWICE now trying to renegotiate something. But it's like a break-up with a boyfriend/girlfriend; sometimes when it's over it's just over. I'm just not interested anymore.

I think I need more time off, at the very least and maybe permanent time off the corp ladder in reality. I'm mulling over some writing projects that I've had in mind that might lead to a book. What better time than now to explore this option? All in all, going back to work for someone else right now just doesn't feel right, and I'm going to follow my intuition for a change.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Long Runs are Good

....sometimes, not always. But this time, this Sunday my run was muy bueno. It was not a traditional long run on wooded trails like I ususally do. This time I ran on the roads and streets. I had mapped out a route that I wanted to do that involves running past Sawyer Camp Trail head. I just wanted to see if I could pull this thing off....and I did! It was about 13 miles long.

I left later in the morning than I had originally wanted to. I wanted to leave pretty early so that I didn't take a big chunk out of our weekend time. But I woke up feeling really tired and I needed some coffee to jump start myself. The street run was orchestrated so that I would take less time out of family time by not driving off somewhere to run. As long as I'm unemployed I can run trails during the week, and then do some local stuff on the weekends close to home. Anyway, the late start made the return trip home hot and annoying for me. But really only the last three miles were miserable. All of the uphill section was in some lovely fog bank, keeping me cool.

One really cool section was the long gradual downhill of Highway 35 from Crystal Springs Golf course to the Sawyer Camp Trail Head. It's a beautiful area of rolling hills right next to the Crystal Springs reservoir. They really need to carve an actual trail next to the road. It was kind of empowering to run all the way to Sawyer Camp. As I ran past the trail I felt a little superior to all the people who drove there...hahah not really. I was just sweatier and hotter because by then the fog had burned off.

I turned left and ran down Crystal Springs Road to El Cerrito Road. The Crystal Springs section seemed longer than I remembered, but I've never run it before, so no wonder. It was a bit narrow in sections, but okay. I did notice a trail on the other side of the creek that is next to the road. It's water district property...but I might sneak in and run on it anyway because the road is too f**ing narrow and that peaceful trail looks so lovely. I'm sick and tired of all that fabulous natural land being off limits and only for the water district use. Phooey. I so wish that there was less concrete and more dirt around here.

I saw a rattlesnake on the side of the road and two deer up on the hill. The rattlesnake was a nice reminder to not forget to keep my eye out for them! I haven't thought much about them lately since I've been off in the the cool redwoods most of the time.

Once I hit El Cerrito I felt like I was almost home, and I almost was. There were only about 3 to 4 miles left on my run at the most and I cruised it on in. I ran out of fluids about 1.5 miles from home, but I was okay. I did stop and walk for a bit but reminded myself that it only made my run longer and if I'd just step it up I'd be home in a few minutes. And really, when I started to run again I felt so much better.

One thing I've noticed after this run is that road running makes you so much more sore! I bounce back after the trails so much faster! Hills are easier on the roads because you can only encounter an incline of so much, while the trails can dish out just about anything.

So today there will be lots of stretching and only a short easy run. Tomorrow will be intervals!

In other news...

I have a phone interview today with a possible contract gig. I'm kind of ambivalent about it. I'm dreading loosing my freedom again. I know this is negative thinking. I'm trying to tell myself to just take things as they come and be relaxed about it. I'll definitely have to have next Monday off to watch my oldest, as she ends preschool on Friday and starts kindergarten on Tuesday so she has Monday off. And then I'll definitely be coming in late on Tuesday to see my girl off to school. I dread dealing with telling any work situations about things I have to do with the kids because they treat me like a criminal about it. Like I did something wrong by having a family or that it's something so wierd and out of the ordinary. It really angers me. Makes me wish I lived in a country that doesn't just give bullshit lip service to "family values" but actually protects them. I do think that it may be a function of where we live here in the Bay Area - I don't find it to be a family-friendly place anymore. It seems that companies here expect you to not have a real life outside of work. I wish I could do this contract gig from home. I hate corporate politics and I DON'T want to be involved with them again. So I'm hoping to just stay contract, for good!